The Imprint of Bodybuilding

Written by: Adrian Lester Tan

I believe that majority of the people doing serious change in lifestyle must have had that ‘turning point’. I was overweight and overeating when I started to work. It was a very unhealthy phase in my life. We then had this company event where I got into an accident and had to be rushed to the hospital. Since that day, I promised myself that something had to change. Going to the gym was probably the immediate choice, and there was a cheap one near our place –  PHP 100 per month back then. I gained a few friends that helped each other out, and the rest was history.


I shed a few ‘true’ pounds and was lucky enough to be featured in a 2012 Men’s Health issue because of it. (Captured above)

My Top 3 Fitness Tips 

It’s all about making a lifestyle change. You have to be committed to it.

1. Enjoy.

There’s this trend at the gym where it gets really packed after New Year and during the summer, then the gym-goers dwindle down. These are obviously individuals with short-term goals. The only way to engrave it in your lifestyle is to simply enjoy. Period. When you sweat, you’re happier. This is science actually – those things called endorphins.

2. Lower your expectations and you’ll see changes within weeks.

It took me months of total discipline on both diet and exercise just to see the small changes! If you follow the previous point, you’ll learn to set your mindset to not always look in the mirror and find those muscles saying hi. You’ll instead wake up in the morning and look forward to a good breakfast. You’ll have a good workout session, finally being happy that you sweated and made your muscles sore. I have set my mindset to be easily contented with the expectations of a day. As long as I have a good workout, my day is complete.

3. “Be the hardest worker in the room.” – Dwayne Johnson

There’s this trend at the gym where it gets really packed after New Year and during the summer, then the gym-goers dwindle down. It’s about sculpting your body and putting focus on all aspects of it. Learn about all the parts of each muscle group and research on how to make them better. Bodybuilding is a continuous experimentation of life. Not all exercises would give the same results for everyone. I believe that each individual has this certain set of exercise combinations where they can be most efficient. It’s safe to say that the sport is a never-ending process of art. These are the things that I always keep in mind to ensure I stay true to the work.

It’s not always about the weight you’re putting up on those bars. Form should always be the #1 priority. If you can’t do an exercise with proper form, then drop some weight. Again, we are doing art, and art demands grace, not brute force.

Positives/Negatives and Full Range of Motion (FRM). To complete the proper form, you have to always be conscious about these things. Positives and Negatives are those exercise movements that you do. When you lower the bar on a bench press (Push Exercise), that’s negative, and when you push it up, that’s positive. For Pulling Exercises, it’s the other way around. I try to always make my negatives slower for maximum muscle tear and positives fast for explosive movements to pump those muscles up. In addition to this, doing exercises with full range of motion (FRM) is always a must. So when you do your bench press, you lower the bar as much as possible – without touching your chest. Note that all weight exercises shouldn’t touch anything because it will give you a point of rest. Make sure during your entire FRM, your muscles are in constant tension.

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