“What are you doing?! Is that salad?” I stopped filling ingredients into the blender for a second to look up into my girlfriend’s incredulous face. Ceren was standing in the kitchen with a bewildered expression. Not noticing or consciously ignoring my “good morning!”, she continued “And what is this under there, a banana?”
Over time Ceren had become quite tolerant of my food experiments. While she doesn’t share the same enthusiasm (give that woman some pasta and a glass of Coke and she has an enjoyable meal), she was at least used to it. But this was going a little far even taking into account her previous experience.
So what on earth was I doing? The above episode happened a few weeks back when I started reincorporating smoothies into my diet. This wasn’t a new thing for me as in 2012 I lived off green smoothies for a week (which is not something I recommend by the way, as the lack of calories will make you feel sluggish), but for the first-time witness it can be a little “unusual”. Read More
Two days ago I turned 30. That means my twenties are officially over.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m not one of those people who awaited this birthday in dread, thinking that now I’m officially “old”. I don’t feel old. Physically and mentally I am probably in one of the best shapes of my life.
I also have many things to be grateful for:
I have a great family who has always been there for me, a wonderful, smart and supportive girlfriend and there are people allover the world who I can call my friends,
I live abroad in one of the most interesting cities on the planet and regularly get to travel to other countries.
I live the life of a web entrepreneur, can set my own schedule, pursue projects that interest me, and indulge in creative work.
Besides that I have food to eat, clothes on my back, a place to sleep and don’t wake up in the morning fearing for my life and safety. That is more than many people can say. Read More
“How many pull-ups can you do?”
This question is most often met with silence. Nobody does pull-ups. They are among the most neglected exercises in commercial gyms. And the reason is this: pull-ups are hard. Very hard. Not even their slightly easier cousin the chin-up finds its way into many fitness routines. In my 10+ years of going to gyms, I can remember exactly one person who I saw do pull-ups with good form as part of his regular workout.
That’s why when you can do them, it is a true testament of your strength and endurance and a feat to be proud of. Pull-ups are also among the best exercises for upper body strength. There is a reason that professional groups whose job it is to be physically fit, such as firefighters, policemen, and the marines, make them part of their screening test for new candidates.
Before I signed up for a gym over the winter, I worked out outdoors a lot (the gym is everywhere, remember?) Because there wasn’t too many choices in the park, I did a lot of pull-ups. Well, “a lot” is a lie. Let’s say I did them “often”. Because it took me a long while to work up to doing more than a handful.
Because of this emasculating experience, it is now one of my goals is to master this exercise. If you want to give it a shot as well, here’s why and how to do it. Read More
To many people (and by that I mean guys), the bench press is the pinnacle of strength training. The question “how much do you bench?” is a tried-and-true filler for party conversations revolving around fitness (closely followed by “Do you even lift?”).
For good reason. The bench press is counted as one of the “big three”, the three exercises that are preferred to measure athletic prowess in strength competitions (the other two being squats and deadlifts). While you may have no motivation to enter a powerlifting tournament any time soon (I certainly don’t), you can still use the bench press when your aim is to lose fat or gain muscle. Read More
I’m naturally a pretty skinny dude. I’m tall, have long and thin limbs, a fast metabolism, very little body fat, and overall find it hard to gain any sort of weight. I’m the type of guy who can play video games and eat chips all day and still be one kilo lighter the next morning. If I didn’t work out, I would easily weigh 10 kilos less than I currently do. In professional circles, people would call me a “hardgainer” or “ectomorph” (though they only say that behind my back).
When I was a teenager, I really wanted to put on muscle (Who doesn’t at that time? Ah the folly of youth, today I’m way past that of course – wait, I still want to do that). What do you do when you are 16, have the physique of as supermodel (a female one that is) but want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? You start lifting weights.
So I went to the gym and I worked out. A lot. Every other day. How much weight did I put on in that time? Not all that much. Of course there were some changes, but not the big gains that I was hoping for (of course I was also yet to discover the role of diet in fitness).
I did what every other reasonable person would do in that situation – finding excuses for my lack of success. I convinced myself that I was genetically disadvantaged, that god or some other supernatural entity hated me, or that “something must be wrong with these weights”. Talk about self-limiting beliefs. This gave me an easy excuse to stop trying and not question what I was doing.
But, as I have been saying before, if we don’t succeed, there usually is nothing wrong with us but with our method. And my method was definitely flawed. Read More