Ego, social media, and bodybuilding

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I am just a little under #4weeksout of WNBF Singapore, after battling bouts of high and low days, I am feeling better this week, I am feeling excited that the show is just around the corner.

I have planned everything that I needed to plan at the moment, there is some other details that I need from the show organizer, but at this moment, I feel prepared.

Everyday, I’d open up my journal to this page that reads “I am absolutely capable of fullfilling anything that is asked of me ; I have all the knowledge that I need to do this already inside me ; I am fully resourceful and able to rise to this challenge.”

What do I do without quotes…

I have just came back from KK (Sabah), and before I write about my thoughts on Ego and bodybuilding, I have to admit this blog post is inspired after being at a powerlifting event. I have flown there from Sibu to be with my best friend Dorothy (a Sabah native, but currently working and living in KL) as her entourage. There is a similarity with both powerlifting and bodybuilding, powerlifters and bodybuilders often don’t see eye to eye, bodybuilders tend to see powerlifters as being egotistic, and powerlifters just think bodybuilders are a bunch of narcissistic vainpots.  If only we could see how similar we all are,  infact, this similarity is consistent amongst all the different pursuit of sports.

Something Mike Tyson said on Joe Rogan’s podcast a while ago has stuck with me, about how he doesn’t lift weight anymore because he finds that it inflate his ego. A light bulb went off in my head, I then thought about my ego, my addiction with social media, narcissism, my constant craving for attention through either bodybuilding or powerlifting, I question my motive, when it comes to the hobbies I pursue, are they in control of me, or am I in control of them? Am I really doing it for self growth, or simply feeding my ego?

I will always be a great fan of both sports, and there’s a beauty in both the pursuit of strength and physique that captivate me. But with the rise of social media, so much of this has become about social approval. By focus my attention on pursuing it for self growth, I have gained a much deeper insight in the process. What was I looking for by posting my “progress” anyway ? Does it help me, or more importantly, others? I was clueless, I was simply a sheep in a herd, following what everyone else is doing.

I have battle with myself more times than I can count this prep. I have found great satisfaction in acknowledging my shortcomings and overcoming my challenges, all without posting or complaining on the social media. I do admit sometimes I slip, and let me emotions drive my actions, with that, I realize I need to safe guard my behaviour and never let my attention slip, because it is too easy to fall back into the rabbit hole.

There are many elements that makes a human being thrive : bodybuilding, powerlifting, or just lifting in general,  it is only a very small part of my self development journey. With bodybuilding, I understand it’s imperative that I use it to improve myself, let it build my character instead of the other way around. Bodybuilders aren’t egotistic, but physique and strength sports tends to attract egotistic people, keep ego in check, and it will nourish you.

 

 

Prep Journal : Six Weeks Out

I’ve been on a struggle bus lately, you can bet there’s a certain level of deceit whenever I share prep related updates, not because I am reluctant to be vulnerable, but mostly because I am more afraid of amplifying the negativity. Again, complaining really doesn’t make the situation better. I am the only one responsible for my prep, and I don’t want to complain about myself.

I am more clear headed now as I am typing this, as I had a good amount of food in me, (approximately 800kcal is consumed before I felt competent to type up this post) perhaps, I am using this opportunity to self reflect,  to sooth and convince myself that I’ll be able to pull through.

I’ve had my fair share of doubts, thoughts of giving up came up repetitively, then I thought about the effort, time and money I have invested in my prep, and I hesitated. With dieting, meal planning and training, I know I’ll have time to perfect my skill, but you can’t get the stage experience without stepping on stage, the answer was clear to me, I have made my decision then.

Momentary lapses happens, emotions rises and falls, instead of repressing them, I just have to wait it out.

I always have to remind myself this is a luxurious pursuit, it is the strangest thing you can put yourself through if you live a relatively comfortable life, you are literally inflicting pain on yourself, while your body fight against you to stay in homeostasis, you fight with yourself 24/7 to control your impulses.  Looking at this from another perspective, perhaps I am the lucky one, as there is no other pursuit in my life that requires this much mental restraint.

I have also learnt to be more forgiving with myself, some things will just have to take a step back at this point, as my energy level took a hit, my family and work requires alot of my attention, my book writing has definitely taken a step back. Regardless of how hard I try, without sufficient glucose, my brain just refuse to cooperate with me. I have also noticed I am more vulnerable to fall back into my old habits, I have started using coffee again after going through the awful withdrawal phase…I tend to look for distraction during meal times…so on and so forth. Even thou I know this is just temporary, I still feel bad regardless.

On the bright side of things…atleast I already beat her.

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Prep Journal : 10weeks out : Empathy

I think about empathy alot lately. Having empathy is being able to understand and share the feelings of the other, regardless of whether you share the same experience or not. The more I think about it, the more I feel skeptical, can we truly feel empathetic for someone without having to deal with similar circumstances ? Likely not.

Empathy is a virtue, but it’s existence is as rare as unicorn. I often think of myself as a empathetic person, but I think I am just a hypocrite.

The other day, my husband and I had a discussion on empathy, I was telling him it doesn’t really matter whether he understand the difficulty I am going through, but I need his empathy. Anya overheard our conversation, obviously, she doesn’t understand the meaning of “empathy”, but she chimed in and said : ” Yea dad, why you gotta be so rude? ”  (cue : The song RUDE by Magic) I got a good laugh out of it, she often has a way to soften the tension between us, and I am very grateful for that.

By requesting him to be more understanding, I am already being unreasonable, where is my empathy for him? Having a partner who has a peculiar hobby sure isn’t easy to deal with, and he didn’t sign up for this. I should be more empathetic towards him, instead of the other way around.

Phew ! I got the heavy stuffs out of the sack..let’s move on to the brighter side of things.

My prep started off rather slow, untill I started tracking food, then it finally picked up it’s pace. I am just a little over 10weeks out now, what I want to achieve with this prep is to do better than my previous prep. I definitely feel more mentally prepared this time around, I have much less anxiety, and I’ve built up a really good routine to mitigate all my other stressors, the only stressor I have now, is the deficit itself.

April VS June

Starting weight : 63kg

Current weight : 59.3kg

Pardon the different lighting, I eventually had to move posing practice as part of my morning routine because I get way too exhausted and demotivated to do it after a long day. Had to get it out of the way first thing in the morning (after meditation) (before the sun even rises)

I look forward to building up my upper body after this prep, given that I barely had time to recuperate after my last prep, as I really wanted to bag another prep and stage experience before I take time off. I’ll have time, as with natural bodybuilding, time will be your ally.

 

 

 

Prep Journal : 12 Weeks out : Prep brain

I may have experienced my multiple episodes of “prep brain” today. I usually let my thoughts ruminate for a few days, but today I felt compelled to sit down and pen down my thoughts.

I am currently at about 12 weeks out of #WNBF Singapore , up untill last week, I was still feeling alright. As things weren’t moving at the rate that we liked, we dropped 200kcals last week. Stress and fatigue accumulates, and it didn’t hit me untill today, I was thinking to myself, what a difference a day made, because up untill yesterday, I was still feeling alright. (not best, but today is just absolute poop)

Incident No 1

As I reversed my car out of my house for grocery earlier, I knocked my car into our neighbour’s car, as they were just turning in at the same time. Both of our cars are scratched and dented, and it was hard to pin point whose fault it was (they were coming in too fast, and I was going out too fast). We were both nice and civil about it, thou. I told them to get it fixed and send me the bill (truth to be told, I was too exhausted and I wanted to avoid conflict). I was shocked to learn from my husband that it might cost about 800-1000 to fix the car, I guess I will need to input that into my “bikini comp budget”

Incident No 2 

I actually mistaken another car as my car, and I stood there trying to get the car opened for a long time, I was thinking the key lock of my car must have ran out of battery. It was only after a few minutes, that I realize, that’s not my car, my car is all the way on the other side.

Incident No 3

My body is absolutely fried today but I still decided to take a dive at the pool for my swim practice. The public pool is 5 minutes walk from my house, and Andrew and Anya went there first by motorbike, and I follow suit by walking there later. I left earlier as Anya wanted to stay longer, I took my husband’s motorbike’s key and proceeded to walk home, as I thought I took our house key. Anya didn’t even have her slippers on and she walked all the way home, needless to say, I felt very bad. (She was awfully nice about it, kept saying how it was only a mistake and she was fine with walking home barefeet)

I understand things will get harder as I get closer to comp date, and drawing experience from my previous prep, the deficit seems to be effecting my cognitive thinking, as well as my emotional intelligence. It is precisely because of this reason that I’ve made many arrangements in relation to the competition well in advance, such as sorting out my flights/accommodation, as I remembered I made some booking mistakes my last prep (messing up the dates)

I have been extremely aware of how I carry myself and how I treat others, esp towards my husband this prep. It isn’t fair that he has to be the punching bag, as I chose to do this myself willingly. He has been supportive even thou he don’t understand the sport. And I need to be cautious of not taking him for granted.

It’s been a long day, and I am grateful to have this space for some self reflection as always. I cannot describe the relief I feel upon typing out these words, I often feel calmer and more collected when I reflect upon myself this way.

 

 

Prep Journal : 13 weeks out : Me and my canned tunas

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I have put off with writing my prep journal as I’ve been on a “struggle” bus lately. After a brief communication with Twain (my coach) this morning, it was decided that I need to start tracking food right away.

I want this journal to be a very honest account on my journey, by writing down my thoughts and struggles, I am able to self reflect and it brings a sense of mental clarity to me.

I am certainly no stranger to tracking food, with a macro based approach, I relied heavily on tracking to lose weight repetitively in the past. Since it has worked so well, why was I against using it this time around? I assumed I had enough experience to not use it this time around, turns out, it’s harder than I thought.

Fat loss is stressful, mentally and physically. Initially, I thought of tracking as an additional stressor, and the novelty of it, not tracking and still being able to lose weight, that’ll be a great achievement. Kind of idiotic if you think about it, what I hadn’t take into factor is the deadlines of a competition. As days goes by and weight is not moving on the trajectory that we had in mind (0.5kg per week, currently, it’s at 0.3) , it was causing me even more anxiety and stress.

So today’s the day, and I need to pick up my pace.

Aside from that, things have been pretty stagnant, I try to take it meal by meal, day by day, then reflect back on my week. If I have a particularly good day, I try to replicate it the next day. Days are harder during menstruation, thou taking progesterone has eased some of my PMS symptoms ; mood, appetite and cravings seems to fluctuate alot in the days leading up to my cycle. I have instructions to take a “deload” on those days, trainings remains the same with less weight to mitigate some of the fatigue I feel during the period, still, I’ve had some sub-optimal training session.

The other day, I was having a discussion with my husband, we were talking about how others always want to discuss nutrition with me, most of the time, I feel there is simply no way to simplify the topic. My husband then said to me :”You should tell them you bring canned tuna and squid with you when you travel, that’ll amuse them.”

Perhaps I took it the wrong way, maybe he didn’t mean what he said, but I took it as a mockery. I refrained from saying anything, because I knew it would blow up into a huge fight, which often leads to me dragging other topics into the “discussion”.  I let it slip, but my feelings were hurt.

I cannot expect him to understand since he isn’t in the realm of bodybuilding, I cannot take it personally, but I did take a mental note on my heightened sensitivity level, I noted that I am usually not this easily provoked.

I had this written in my notebook, dated 6th of May, 2019

If you are pained by an external thing, It is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgement about it, and it is your power to wipe out this judgement now.

If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we do not respond impulsively to impression ; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control. 

To end my blog post,  I do admit I am a protein snob and I don’t agree with most forms of protein powders, in true meathead fashion, I personally prefer to bring canned tuna and canned squid with me, as I find it easier to hit my protein macros with them, and not to mention, they’re cheap and more satiating than powders.

I know meatheads would agree with me.