Monday, April 28, 2014


Clean and Mean - Workout Hour - Back and Legs #1
Long time no write! I've been a busy with other things lately, and I am sure that everyone else has been too. I just had a tight window for my workout time earlier today, and it gave me an idea that might help some people (including myself). I will start taking note of my clutch workout routines that I do whenever I have limited workout time. If ever they yield pretty decent results relative to the time consumed, I will post em here!


Everything that I will post in workout hour would be something that I have been able to do in an hour or less. You should have some spare time afterwards. You can add exercises if you want! During rushed sessions, I would generally want to keep on moving. I would not drop the weights to the extent that my whole session would be cardio, but you can do a little bit less than usual just to keep yourself moving. For this specific routine #1, i threw in a couple of mini circuits. I would do two different exercises, one after the other, before i would call it a set. A sample set would be 12 reps of exercise A, ideally to be immediately followed by 10 reps of exercise B, then rest. The next set would then be another 12 reps of exercise A followed by B.

Adjust the weight so that you may do em all without considering the day as a light day or a cardio day. The availability/opportunity to circuit is subject to the number of people in your gym.

If you are grouping your workouts to Back and Legs on one day, with Chest and Shoulders on another day, then this workout hour routine# 1 can give you a solid burn in less than an hour. This should beat up your lower back, all of your other backs, and should be pretty ok for the legs too. It will not replace leg day though. Treat it as a major in back, minor in legs program.

Here was my routine:

1. Mini Circuit of Deadlifts and Bent Over Barbell Rows
    Rep Range:
    Set 1 - Deadlift x 15 + BoBR x 12
    Set 2 - Deadlift x 12 + BoBR x 10
    Set 3 - Deadlift x 8   + BoBR x 8
    Set 4 - Deadlift x 10 + BoBR x 8   (I lightened the weight for Deadlifts for this routine's final set)

2. Mini Circuit of Seated Cable Rows (Double Grip) and Bodyweight Squats (Ass to the grass)
    Set 1 - SCR x 15 + Squats x 15
    Set 2 - SCR x 12 + Squats x 15
    Set 3 - SCR x 12 + Squats x 15
    Set 4 - SCR x 10 + Squats x 15

3. Mini Circuit of Lat Pulldowns (Default Bar) and Forward Lunges 
   Set 1 - LPD x 15 + Lunges x 10 per leg
   Set 2 - LPD x 12 + Lunges x 10 per leg
   Set 3 - LPD x 12 + Lunges x 10 per leg
   Set 4 - LPD x 10 + Lunges x 10 per leg

4. Leg Press - 15/15/15/15
5. Bodyweight Chin Ups - 12/12/12/12   (You can circuit 4 and 5 if your gym isn't too crowded)
6. Leg Curls - 12/12/12/12
7. Leg Extension - 12/12/12/12
8. Lat Pulldowns (Double Grip Handle) - 15/12/12/12

+ Objective is to get something done within an hour or less. 
+ Have a conscious effort to reduce workout time and rest time.
+ Add activities if you have extra time and energy (biceps, abs, cardio)


Saturday, April 5, 2014


Clean and Mean - Grip Strength

There are a lot of goodies that can help improve your performance in terms of grip. Some of those innovations are the grip powders, chalk, and gloves. They might help you in the short run by making it easier for you to do what you intend to do. In the long run though, I would still prefer to do things as your body could naturally do on its own. Those aids would be good once in a while if you were trying to break your weight limits and if your grip strength, or lack of it, is a constraint that holds you back. I would not recommend a daily dependence on external assistance as it would oversimplify the variables involved in your workout. But why would you want to keep your grip development in pace?

Getting a good solid grip will help you in a whole lot of things. Firstly, it improves your exercise efficiency. Having a better grip can allow you to perform your routine with a higher level of intensity. Having a strong grip will allow you to add weight as well as the constraint of having a weak or slippery grip will be taken care of. Better grip leads to reduced constraints, which means = better workout session.

Secondly, a heightened grip strength improves the durability, endurance, and power of the involved muscles and parts. Allows you to punch harder and longer without hurting yourself (with or without a glove). This allows you to create a more solid fist for punches. This also works when you are using boxing gloves too as you can clench the glove firmly and minimize harm from punches that hit incorrectly. Having involved parts close to each other, a strong grip could be correlated to stronger forearms, wrists, and fingers as well. This will allow you to train better, and to perform better while reducing your risk of injury at the same time.

Finally, an endless amount of mini improvements will be felt throughout your daily exercises. Just a quick list from the top of my head would be : better steering (driving), improved (lighter) feel when playing musical instruments, decreased difficulty when carrying grocery bags, etc.


The cheapest and simplest way to improve grip strength is to workout without chalk and without gloves. This will help your grip to adjust naturally to your workload. Be happy when your palms and fingers get callouses. 

There are a couple of tools can help improve grip strength too. One will be the hand grips. It is easy to sneak them in your life. You can do grips while watching TV. Switch around from building up reps and building up your squeeze time while you watch your favorite shows. There are different resistances for these grips, but the grips on their own are not variable. The downside is that the grip cannot be adjusted. If you really want to build up on your resistance progression, you might have to get tougher ones as you get stronger.

 Another tool will be a stress ball/ squeezy thing. This might not be as tough as the hand grips but they offer stress relief for absolutely anything. They should be good for physical stress, pain, and soreness, and they should also be good for emotional, and spiritual (maybe?) stress as well. Squishing em around will still be considered as an activity and can probably build on some grip as well. Possible substitutes are papers, plastics, and cloth. Please consider the consequences when choosing your substitutes. It might not be good to waste a ton of paper just to improve grip strength. There will be other ways to do it anyways. Try squeezing your palms (like a handshake to your self), it might be more environmentally sound.

As mentioned earlier, the wrists and forearms involve muscles that could be involved with your grip too. Try opening and closing your fist, and compare your twitching muscles and nerves to the ones that move when you twist your wrist or even when you move it up and down. You can add some resistance to those actions by doing them with a dumbbell. Try to feel which motions work best for you, with the weight that is safe and best for you too.

A Good Grip:
+ Improves training efficiency!
+ Improves performance efficiency!
+ Reduces risk of injury!

Clean N' Mean

Monday, March 31, 2014


Clean and Mean - The Secret to Getting Abs
How do you get an eight pack/ six pack abs? What is the secret to getting abs? The ways are plenty
and are all out there. The tried and tested ways of training, and of eating clean are all things of the
past! Nowadays, it is all about your P's. Your products, and your programs. It is all about the diet
plan that you follow. Believe it or not, some diets claim that you will burn fat while doing nothing.
Yes, get abs while doing minimal exercises. There will be supplements that do the same thing too.
All you have to do is find the best diets and supplements to burn the fat out and your abs will show.

Proper nutrition and intense exercise and training are not required anymore nowadays. You just got to
remember  to improve your metabolism and rev up your fat burning by maximizing your product
intake. Those products and diets are famous for a reason - they do work! Human beings tend to be
lazy. That is why all those diets and supplements have been developed. People want shortcuts.

Following your diet plan and remembering to take your supplements will be the most difficult parts
of your road to a set of clean and mean abs. As long as you have chosen your tools, you've won half
of the battle already.

Lastly, you might want to drink a lot of water! I am sure that it helps too!
So get out there and go get your abs! :D

Clean N' Mean
*just in case you missed it, read vertically!*

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I am pleased to introduce my first  home-made GIFs: The Pushup Hero (left), and The Squat Champion (right). More to come!

GIFs were created through GIMP! You can grab your GIMP software from their site for free!

Clean N' Mean

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Clean and Mean - Cost Drivers and Incremental Tracking


    Before you start tracking your daily calorie consumption and expenditures, especially if you are lazy to monitor every nutrient that gets processed by your system, you might want to know the most intuitively influential factors when it comes to fat loss (clean - or lean) and muscle building (mean). Before we dive into the depths of what does what, let me introduce the incremental tracking method that I used when I was trying to lose weight. Anything that is out of the ordinary will be the incremental data that you have to keep mind of. They will be anything that is not present in your daily diet and exercise. It is a simple yin and yang philosophy. For every slice of bread (100 calories) that I ate, I ran a hundred calories on top of my daily routine. Simply put, if you do not want to track your daily nutritional intakes, and your daily calories burned, just track the extra, incremental, uncalled for junk food that you eat, and compensate it with equal exercise. If I could not burn a significant junk cheat meal in a day, I would split up the exercises and burn it within a couple of days before I allow myself to ingest a calorie heavy incremental meal.


     Know your goal, and know what will help you achieve it, and what will delay you from reaching it. Once you have figured that out, it will be easier to select factors that you would want to watch. When it comes to the tracking guidelines, two opposing mindsets for two different goals will be helpful. To get best results, it is most wise to be liberal when counting the BAD things so that your repentance goals would be higher, while it will be best to be conservative when counting the GOOD things so that you would have to do or get more of  them. These are what I considered as BAD: Calories, fats (both good and bad!), and carbohydrates. They are not necessarily bad for you, but I put them on the BAD list because we want to be liberal in our BAD classifications. The more we put in the BAD, the harder we have to work, and thus more results will be obtained. For those whose primary goal is to lose weight, I did not include sodium on the list I put here, but that does contribute to water retention and might contribute to puffiness. These are what I considered as GOOD: Complete protein. Take note, it is complete protein. Not all proteins are complete. I only counted the complete protein. So for whichever daily protein requirement that you want to follow, count the complete proteins only. It will help ensure your achievement of your daily protein goals. You can combine the two concepts too! When I was doing incremental tracking, I tried to burn only the calories from fats (all fats - both good and bad) and carbs by doing some extra running. I did not try to burn the protein from the extra food unless I really felt like running! Take note that according to the principle of the conservative tracking for the good things, you need not compensate your extra running by doing something bad afterwards.

Combine the incremental tracking with the bad and good stuff and you can have a good instinctive conscience that will tell you that you need to work harder to compensate for your lack of discipline!

Cost Drivers:
+ Know what is good and what is bad!
+ Be liberal when counting the bad, and conservative when counting the good!
+ Modify your bad and goods to suite your goals!

Incremental Tracking:
+ Good for people who are lazy and who do not want to keep track of their nutrition
+ Easy as 1,2,3,  just count calorie intakes that are not part of your normal diet, and compensate by adding an exercise that will consume the same amount of calories to your workout!

Related Articles:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Clean and Mean - Get a Goal

Giving yourself a short-term goal will help you push yourself to the next level. I stagnated for a couple of years. I had to halt my usual programs and I had to settle with jogging around whichever neighborhood, while doing only body weight exercises for a quite some time. I eventually bought a couple of dumbbells, and then a pull up bar (that you can hook up on a door) after another couple of months. By the time I got a gym membership, my only goal was to get back to where I left at. Once I felt that I was around 75-80% back, I settled. I always believed that I would not be able to gain any kind of momentum given my crazy schedule which was plagued with night shifts, turnarounds, and occasional 2 week shift marathons. Ever since, I was happy with being within striking distance of any gains or get-back-to-shape runs that could possibly come up. That mindset lasted for YEARS. Oh so pathetic years of stagnation and settlement. Only recently did I feel the sense of purpose come back. Why am I even trying to keep pace if my goal is to be within striking distance of something? If you will eventually do it, why not do it now? And the fun came back. Every training day now has its life back. My 3 short term goals (hopefully short as I do not know how long it will take) are for me to learn and do (correctly) the following : muscle-ups, pistol squats, and one arm pushups. I might swap the handstand (and probably the handstand pushup) into the roster, but eventually I will try to tackle all of those. 

How does having a goal help? It will make you adapt to achieve your goals. You will change your workout, and you will break you plateaus. Having a goal will force you to train differently. You can do so by learning new exercises that will stress your muscles in a different way, or by adding weight to the exercises that you are already doing. Finding a way to achieve your goal will push you further, and will make you work harder. It will break your routine and the thing called fun will return.

This also can apply to other things such as losing weight, gaining strength, jumping higher, etc. What will you change in order to improve yourself based on what you want to achieve? That will dictate the changes in your diet (and will also help you stick with it), the changes in your routine (gain size? improve definition? improve functional power?), and the like. When formulating your short term goals, think of one of your long term goal. What are you really trying to achieve? Your short term goals should revolve around the long term goal. If you are trying to lose weight, you can definitely aim to increase your running pace and or distance. You can also create muscle-building short term goals as they can help burn your fat. By the way, given equal weights of muscle and fat, fat will have more volume as muscle would be more dense. I am trying to learn the new exercises because I think that those exercises focus on techniques and balance that can help my overall improvement and work on a lot of weaknesses. One of my "long term" goals right now is to improve my punch. All the exercises on my mini bucket list will improve the functional efficiency of my wrists (strength, endurance, stability). They will also improve the overall core strength, balance, and endurance as well. Just do not forget what you are trying to achieve! It doesn't mean that you can beat up Bruce Lee if you could bench 1000lbs. (We'll never know though ;)

*I believe in bone and skin training as well! Try sneaking in a couple of bare-fist days when you work the heavy bag out!

+Having a goal will force you to achieve it = It will force you to introduce yourself to new workouts and or variations, and will also force you to add weight or repetitions to your current routine.
+This will translate into new strengths and mind/body adaptations that will help get you to your next level.
+Exercising is much more entertaining if you do it with a mission.

Clean N' Mean

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Clean and Mean - Breakfast Ideas - Protein Oatmeal
Ingredients: Oats, Milk, Protein Powder

 Pump up your breakfast with protein! For around $1.60, you can treat yourself with a delicious 380 calorie breakfast that is packed with 35g of protein! Protein oatmeals are relatively easy and quick to prepare. It will provide you with good carbs from the oats, which also usually do not have significant amounts of sodium and sugar when compared to cereal or bread. You will get a good share of your daily protein from milk and your protein powder. Calories are based on the items/brands that I have right now.

How: Just cook your oatmeal (follow the instructions on the package), mix the powder, [not included in this article's calculations - add fruits, nuts, granola, cereal, and honey], then add the milk. 

**Note that some figures will not add up. It will probably be due to the rounding and computations of the companies that provide the nutritional labels**

When it comes to oats, I prefer the old fashioned oats mainly because of the chewiness and the texture. The one shown now is the quick cooking version, which more or less should have the same nutritional benefits.

Calories = 150
Fats = 3g (0.5g saturated, 1g monounsat, 1g polyunsat)
Carbs = 27g (1g sugar, 4g fiber)
Protein = 5g
Cholesterol = 0mg
Sodium = 0mg
Serving Size = 1/2cup (40g)
Cost  = More or less $0.10 per serving!!!!

For the milk, I am not too picky. You can get whichever you want ( full cream, low-fat, reduced fat, non-fat). The one shown now is the low fat variant. Usually, full cream milk will have higher fat, while the ones with the lower fat content would have some added sugars.

Calories = 140
Fats = 5g (3g saturated , 2g undeclared)
Carbs = 14g (13g sugar)
Protein = 10g
Cholesterol = 20 mg
Sodium = 150 mg
Serving Size =1 cup (240 ml)
Cost  = Around $0.25 per scoop


Any protein powder would be fine too. Edit your serving size according to your goals and needs. A scoop will generally be ok, but you can cut it to 50-75% a scoop since milk already has its protein. You can also double it up if you have enormous needs, but it might have a decreasing rate of return when you consume too much of the powder in one sitting. What I have right now would cost around a dollar a scoop.

Calories = 90
Fats = 0.5g  (0.5g saturated)
Carbs = 2g (<1g sugar, <1g fiber)
Protein = 20g
Cholesterol = 5mg
Sodium = 75mg
Serving Size = 1 cup (240 ml)
Cost  = Around $1.25 per scoop

** Be cautious with the protein powders. Always check the cholesterol levels per scoop, and adjust your diet accordingly. Do not forget to drink a lot of water too! **


Calories = 380
Fats = 8.5g  (4g saturated, 1g mono, 1g poly)
Carbs = 43g (15g sugar, 5g fiber)
Protein = 35g
Cholesterol = 25mg
Sodium = 225mg
Cost  = Around $1.60 per meal

It ain't too photogenic, but trust me, it is a damn good treat! You can add fruits, nuts, cereal, and granola too! Nutritional Info looks very very much Clean and Mean!

Clean N' Mean