Square One of a Different Phase.

Where to begin?

I’m vegan now. I made a lifestyle choice to cut out all animal by-products from my diet two weeks ago, when I realised how crappy I felt eating so much dairy and meat. My skin felt greasy, my energy levels where non-existent, my mood swings were dangerous for the people around me (Haha, apologising to my best friends for what i’ve put them through). I grew accustomed to waking up with nausea, that never seemed to die down. I just didn’t feel good.

Living with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, my body wasn’t appreciating the meat anymore and the hormones that came with it. 2 weeks into this lifestyle change, and I feel great. I got my energy back, I stopped snapping at people every minute and I just feel much better. For those of you who are wondering how i’m going to make muscle gains and hit PR’s on a diet that has been perceived as low in protein and ‘extreme’ by a majority, I will be fine. Protein is protein, and as long as I keep hitting my macros, I will still be inching towards my goals, regardless of where the protein is from (Hello, vegan protein powder). I’m still very inconsistent with my lifts and IIFYM, but i’m accepting that this is simply part of the process. What matters is, i’m never giving up on this. Lifting is and always will be an integral part of my life, and something I love more than anything else. I feel like I can start from scratch. With my lifts, my PR’s, my entire approach to health and fitness in general. Your passion doesn’t have to be moulded into a rigid routine that calls for complete discipline. But now, i’m determined to exceed where I left off with lifting and IIFYM.

Till next time.

 

Right Now? (An array of thoughts)

Right now, I have stopped my reverse diet. In fact, I wasn’t tracking macros (remember those?) for at least 3 months. Yesterday was my first day back on the tracking wagon.

Right now, I am focussing on my lifts, and just making sure I eat more than 220g of carbs, 40g of fat, 80g of protein and 1600 calories. As long as I am eating more than this, I know my muscles will be fuelled enough. I plan on doing a mini-bulk during Summer, followed by a cut. But, that’s a discussion for later.

Right now, I am focussed on my squats. They have been stuck at 28kg for longer than i’d like to admit, and I know exactly where consistency can take me. Consistent training has gotten me to where I am today, and has given me the physique I have today. I had to compromise this consistency for justifiable reasons (regarding my mental health and heavy school workload), but I can feel my eyes locked onto my goals now. Nothing is stopping me. I have been having very good lifts lately, so I thought I’d share how I got my determination back.


We often rely on just motivation to take us from one goal to another. But motivation is fickle, it will help you power through a workout one day, but when the flames die out, you are left feeling like avoiding the gym for at least a week. I’ve been there. Determination is what takes you from one day to the next. Sit down. Take a breath. Think about why you love doing what you do. Change your workout program, learn new lifts (the sky is the limit when it comes to lifts), set tiny goals every week so you know what to focus on. Trust the process and most importantly trust and respect yourself enough to know you will get to where you want to be.

But remember: it’s okay to pause your goals. I paused my goals for months till I was okay again, and I respect myself for making that decision. Life will get in the way, sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up for missing some workouts. That leaves you feeling at war with yourself, when in all honesty, you need to love and be friends with yourself if you want to make it. So, take it one step at a time. And never give up. Even if you’ve been taking a hiatus from working out for a while, trust yourself enough that you will get back.

Trust that your determination will take over your reliance on motivation.

Till next time.

 

#BeastMentality

I’m not a normal 17-year-old.

I don’t sleep in, cause I believe that’s a waste of time. Why dream, when you can physically work towards turning a product of your imagination into something your reality can bask in.

Sometimes, I wake up at 4 AM to fit in a workout. I don’t care if most of the population is asleep, and I don’t care if i’m still tired, I have goals to conquer and absolutely no time to waste.

Things get difficult sometimes. So tough, where i’m left overwhelmed and shaky. But everything I have been through has moulded me. Being fat, academically weak, someone who didn’t have a shred of self-respect. I’m proud of myself, the things i’ve accomplished and the things I know i’ll achieve. I respect myself to the core, and absolutely love myself now.

Find your inner strength. Find the mentality that allows you to pursue everything they thought you couldn’t achieve. I don’t care if you’re 17 or 70. I don’t care if you have an army of supporters or none. This is you. This is your life. You have one shot at this. So don’t conform to what the population thinks you should be doing.

When I was 14, I was minding my own business, lifting my 2kg dumbbells, not listening to the people who told me I was too young for this sport. That I would look buff, as if that’s a bad thing for a woman. Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 9.09.07 am.png

3 years later, and i’m still not listening to anyone who thinks they can get in my way.

So, find your strength. Find your passion and take ownership of your goals.

Till next time.

The Sexualisation of Women in the Fitness Industry

The Fitness Industry. An Industry with holistic and passionate workers. People who stand on the foundation of health and wellness. This is an industry that looks out for the common population. “What are you eating?”, “When’s the last time you went to the gym?”, “Does your family have a history of heart-disease?”. These are the kinds of questions that pour out of the mouths of the industries ‘workers’. I grew up learning from anything and everything that the industry produced. Highly acclaimed magazines, websites with beautiful models advertising a weight-loss pill and even television shows that ‘want to help me lose those last pesky pounds’ was what I was exposed to. I was twelve. And I already knew what calories and crash-diets meant. As a fat child, I was constantly learning more and more of what the industry wanted me to learn and know. My idols were female fitness models, who told readers to stay away from bread and chocolate, and to do fifty sit-ups every day for ‘envious flat abs’.

   Women who both work for and receive products of the fitness industry are expected different things than what is expected of a man. Ladies working in the industry depict everything that society wants out of a woman’s appearance, in order to condition those who’re not apart of the industry to eventually want the same. Long, slim legs that forms a perfect gap when put together, a flat stomach, a tiny barbie-doll waist and prominent collar bones that have survived rounds of low-carb diets just to make an appearance. The industry raises women that do not strive for strength and athleticism, but those who want to fit society’s standard of what bodies look good in a swimsuit. What baffles me is the fact that women in the industry have been conditioned to train purely for aesthetic purposes. Nowhere in magazine covers or websites that specialise in women’s health and fitness (as if it is any different from Men’s health and fitness) do I read the lines ‘get strong’ or ‘improve your fitness and stamina!’. Instead I read the lines ‘Get slim’, ‘Get toned’ and ‘Get sexy this Summer!’ in bold red, in attempts to catch the attention of women who are new to the gymming atmosphere and buying salads instead of a hamburger.

I often make a mental comparison of a Men’s Health magazine cover to one produced by Women’s Health (these are two well-known fitness and health magazine companies). I flip through the glossy pages of Men’s Health, and appreciate everything i’m reading. Finally! A magazine that informs me about how to make my workouts more intense and efficient. One that will guide my in my conquest to get stronger and fitter. While flipping through the pages of Women’s Health I learn how to lose 20 pounds in 10 days. I learn how to make my body more appealing to the masculine eye. I learn how to completely avoid pasta and bread, till I can look at any food that fits into the bottom of a food pyramid and avoid it like the plague.  Nowhere do I see words in relevance to heavy weight-lifting. Female bodybuilding and weightlifting has been stigmatised to seem ‘de-feminising’, rather than empowering and a great way to get healthy. In fact, weightlifting has been male-specified, so it’s no wonder that the weight-room of a gym rarely has females in it.

  The words used on the covers of Women’s Health seemed so different to what was written on Men’s Health. This is when I realised; the goal of The Industry is to control how women view and care for themselves. By controlling these factors, they can lead women into believing over-exercising and starvation (disguised as ‘healthy diets’) are the ways to go about weight-loss and actually developing an athletic body that is healthy and able. Don’t worry though, at least men are better taken care of and equipped with information that will actually help them build a healthy body that could one day replace a machine.

   Let’s not forget to mention how women in the industry are masqueraded as symbols of sex. Thought-provoking poses and racy swimsuits are apparently a favourite in magazine covers. You rarely see a fitness expert flex her muscles when she’s displayed on social media. Instead you see her skin thick with oil, her hair let loose and her body bent into poses that reveal everything but her physical achievements! The industry sexualises women and disrespects them in regards to their health, but cleverly disguises this as something healthy, that will motivate you. Through the constant displays of sexualised ‘fitness experts’, women who are on the other side of the industry are automatically conditioned into thinking that fitness (for women) is only about looking beautiful and having men swoon over you. It isn’t about the actual blood, sweat and even more sweat that goes into the process of building a capable body. It’s about aiming to look exactly like the fitness model you saw on TV. Constantly sexualising fitness experts, strips them of the respect they worked hard to earn, and makes them seem like they shouldn’t be taken seriously. It strips them of everything they’re trying to represent, like being determined to get healthy and strong.

   The industry, like any other, has a lot to work on. The way it represents females needs to be completely changed, so that the female audience can get access to useful information that diverts from conditioning them into being insecure and overall poor in health. The sexualisation of women in the fitness industry, and the difference in what is expected and taught to a man and a woman in the industry is one of the main reasons why I am determined to change the foundation that the industry stands on.

Till next time.

Angry Workouts

The best PR’s and workouts are made when you’re absolutely down or furious about something. That’s the best time to lock everyone out, put in your earphones and just lift. Preferably do deadlifts, because anger calls for lifting an obnoxiously heavy barbell and then slamming it to the floor (don’t crack your floor though, your parents will get pissed)

I had a really good session on Wednesday. Here’s the breakdown.

Before I started my session, I did a tabata and ab warm up filled with jump squats, walking lunges, leg lifts, sit ups, high-knees and crescent stretches to ensure proper depth with my squats.

Movement/exercise Reps and Sets
Squat warm up sets 16kgx2x5
20kgx5
Working sets 25kgx6x3
28kgx6 (PR)
Cleans 30kg singles for 6 reps (PR)
Sumo and Conventional Deadlifts 50kgx5 (sumo pulls)
+60kgx3x2 (plates were 60kg, the barbell is either 5-6kg.) (PR)
56kgx3x5

This session was really important to me. It reminded me that no matter how down I felt, I could always rely on lifting to pick me back up. Remind me why i’m working so hard. Remind me of my ambition and my goals.

On another note:

I feel like i’m getting better with whatever was bringing me down in 2015. The anxiety and depression. You never really get rid of it, but you work with it, get stronger and learn how to cope with it. I’ve been taking things one at a time. Living life one day at a time. Journalling more, becoming more aware of my emotions. Meditating as often as I can. And most importantly, I stopped trying to control my emotions. You can never suppress or induce emotions. They can’t be stopped or started. So when you feel sad or angry, don’t suppress it or force it away. Let it happen. Breathe. Emotions demand to be felt, and they’re not there to upset you even more. They’re trying to tell you something.

So listen, and be kind to yourself. 

 

 

Let’s get buff?

I’ve been thinking.

I’ve been thinking about my current strength. As proud as I am for building everything I have now from nothing (the strength, the muscle, the physique, the mentality), I am still hungry for more. Which is why i’ve decided to stay on my reverse diet for a long time. Stay on this diet till I hit maintenance macros (290-300carbs/90protein/46 fat/1950calories). I plan on staying with my maintenance macros till I’m satisfied with the amount of muscle i’ve built and the PR’s i’ve hit. If I do cut this year (I might not), the lowest I plan on going is 220c/90p/42f/1700cals.

My cut in 2015 made me lose PR’s because my macros were too low for too long. So yes, this year is not going to be about abs at all. It’s not going to be about fitting into the ‘skinny girl’ norms (it’s never been about that) or being ‘bikini ready’. I just don’t care anymore. I want to build a whole new physique. Whole new level of strength. Turn my deadlift max into a warm up.

I am going slow with my new program. Focussing on my form and making sure i’m hitting all the right muscles. And taking it slow makes me feel like I can actually tackle PR’s that won’t slip away after two weeks this time.

Take it slow and let yourself grow.

 

We have the habit of starting a new year in the hopes that this time, it’ll be perfect. Absolutely flawless. Conquering your resolutions has never been so easy. You’re not going to shed a single tear this year.

But then reality cuts through the thick air of optimism you build around you. You go through really tough days. Things hurt. You cry. You feel defeated.

Maybe you should regroup your army. Prepare yourself for battles, know what you’re equipped with. Aim your sniper and don’t let reality defeat you this time. 

I’ve spent so many years hoping for a fresh start. But the only thing fresh about the next year is the Calendar you buy. Yes, there’s no denying it’s a new year. There are new opportunities  set out for those who are ready to work for them. Make sacrifices for them. But the happiness is never going to be handed to you. Fight, conquer, thrive.

We’re beasts. We’re not going to let reality get the better of us.

2016. It’s going to be a fresh page of the same story. And we’re writing our own happy ending.

A History of Resolutions

Merry Christmas Eve, beasts. I did something cool today. I went over my past resolutions (starting from 2012) just to see where I was and where I am now.

In 2012 I had the simple goal of losing weight. I was doing bodyweight workouts (remember doing air squats, lifters?) and I lived off of cardio DvD’s. I was also practicing clean eating but never acknowledged how unstable it made me feel.

By 2013, I developed so much discipline. My resolutions were again simple, except a bit more extreme. I was only allowed to have 2 cheat meals per month. I quote myself: “You can eat one cookie in a month so you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.”

Give me a moment, I can’t seem to stop laughing at how ridiculous I was. It also scares me since 14-year-old Priyasha was restricting herself so much while creating an illusion that her diet offered some flexibility.

My resolution for 2014 was to get arms like Michelle Obama’s, get ‘ripped’, adopt the 80/20 diet (80% of your diet is clean, unprocessed food and 20% of your diet can be ‘treat foods’) and to start studying. I was also just lifting thrice a week and barely eating. By the end of 2014 I was tracking without a food scale (my bad) and doing carb cycling. Some days i’d only eat 60g of carbs, which obviously forced my lifting numbers to stay low.

This year. My resolutions were to study and hit PR’s. Pretty simple, right?

I have failed some of my resolutions. I can’t squat 30kg (but I can clean 29kg, at least). I can’t do bent over rows, the overhead press and upright row with 30kg either. I still can’t do push ups.  The only goal I successfully accomplished was the 60kg deadlift, and even then I have lost that PR at least thrice this year. During this year, life got in the way of lifting. My focus shifted to getting good grades and keeping my mind happy. This year was a war, a bloody struggle. So yes, some of my resolutions have fallen short. But by looking at my past resolutions and by looking at where I was then and where I am now, I am nothing less than PROUD.

Proud of myself for the PR’s, the immense physique transformation, the decent grades, the things i’ve learnt about lifting and my body. I know where I failed this year and i’m so determined to smash the goals that I haven’t already. I’m not revealing my resolutions for 2016 just yet, but I know what they are and I know exactly how i’m going to get it.

Embrace your human side, beasts. We all have failures. Failures are what fuel as to smash even bigger successes. Failing is quite honestly the best tool a person has in order to win in the future.

A letter to myself.

When you go through anxiety or periods of depression, you often forget to give yourself credit for things you’ve accomplished. You start to beat yourself up, you start taunting yourself. You’re ugly, you’re weak, you’re dumb and you can’t handle this.
But i’m tired of it. So i’m writing myself a letter. To remind myself of where I started and where I am now.

Dear Priyasha,

You were never a fit person before. You were an insecure, fat little child who felt incredibly incapable most of the time. You couldn’t play sports and you’d feel your lungs give out after a minute of running. But you got out of that. You kept hustling till you were no longer the ‘fat little girl’. You lost the weight and you got strong. Yes, I just called you strong. Now you better believe it. You have gone from lifting 15kg in almost all exercises to being able to lift 60kg in some. And you call yourself weak? Sure, there are things that are yet to be accomplished. But I know you. I am you. And I know you’re going to get there. People will call you weak. People will call you ugly. People will taunt and sometimes you join them. But beasts aren’t defined by words of sheep.

This year was tough. But you’ve accomplished so much. You learned that being single doesn’t mean you’re unattractive and unloved. It just means you now have the chance to fall in love with yourself. And you did. You set a goal to get good grades, and you got there. And you’re still working. You got up every single day, no matter the mental state, and you just kept working. You learned all the things that are yet to be improved and I know you’re gonna smash those goals next year. So walk with pride. Give yourself some credit. Life is tough for everyone, but you’re fit enough to survive and thrive.

Love,

The Beast.

I suppose it’s weird to be writing myself a letter and even signing off on it, but I feel like reminding yourself of who you are and where you started is very important.

 

 

 

The Doubt Fuels Me.

They never thought of me as a smart person.

I never saw myself as a smart person either. I grew familiar with below average grades and teachers telling me about my ‘potential’. So then I studied. I studied every chance I got, I compromised sleep and lifting for books. And I got decent grades, for the first time in my life.

People don’t think of me as a fit or strong person either. And quite honestly, I agree with them most of the time (believe it or not.) Oh yes, I do have moments where I admire my strength. But it’s rarely genuine. The moment anyone asks me to flex my biceps, the moment someone challenges me to an arm-wrestling match, or when i’m asked to take part in events for sports day in school, I flinch. I don’t believe in my strength so I rarely flex. I’m scared of what they’ll say because somehow I have grown accustomed to doubting myself. But this doubt is what fuels me. Fuels me to become a person who’ll proudly flex, take part in everything without having anxiety eat me alive, beat anyone who just challenges me.

I don’t feel like the fittest or strongest person right now. I have never been able to even prove the strength i’ve gained in the last two years. It’s a bloody struggle, but that’s part of the hustle. Because of this,  I’ve decided to aim to become a more balanced ‘fitness person’. Start doing Tabata training for stamina, start working on bodyweight exercises like push ups and pull ups, start focussing on my form more. I have my eyes on the prize, and no one is going to get in my way.

I might cry, I might bleed and I might disappoint myself and other people. I might say i’m going to give up, but I never do.

I never give up, I never let obstacles get the better of me. I’m strong. I just need to start believing it and training for better strength now.

This blog post is for me, and my fellow beast. We’re going to keep the hustle going. We’re going to achieve and persevere and demolish anything

 

 

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that gets in our way. Your strength is immense.

I believe in us.