Convenience vs Survival

Convenience vs Privacy is so 2010. But it’s a good point. I just read 2 sentences that sums up the whole debate. Back in the day, it’s very easy to have privacy because it was so, so, so hard to be known, to get famous. It is now easy than ever to be heard, and yes, it’s harder than ever to remain private. To put simply, for the average users (this isn’t 50%. This is like 95% – except the very very hard-core tech-savvy geeks), there isn’t privacy online. We have all heard about the nightmares how someone’s confidential information is dug up (legally or otherwise.) People search services are popping up like weed. The bottom line is, as we migrate online full-time, total control of your own privacy is novelty. This is now a social web remember?

But this post isn’t about the struggle between giving up your privacy for convenience. It’s about how we trade our survival for convenience (somehow the word “convenience” doesn’t sound like a nice word anymore!) The biggest illustration of this? Credit cards. I know you have heard a million times that credit cards are evil and we shouldn’t have debts and blah blah blah. But it’s different this time. I’m saying the sky-rocketing interest rates (19.75% for mine as of September 1 2010, according to TDCanadaTrust) aren’t the reason we should hate credit cards. It’s the convenience it brings that we should be wary of. We are using it for convenience, trading our future and our very own survival for it. If it wasn’t because we could buy and consume before we produce (to get money to consume,) would we able to buy stuff? It is this “inflated” buying power that produces the garbage islands, the digital dump ground, and the Hall of Shame.

What about food? How about “convenience food”? Do I have to go any further on this one? We’re trading our health for convenience. The result? http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity (top of the list is of course America, 30%. A surprising second is Mexico, 24%) This isn’t the only problem though. We have practically lost our survival skills – without the microwave and a bag of hotdogs, we’re toast!

I always try to come up with a possible solution whenever possible. Not this time though because the solutions are already out there. You just have to know that there is a problem.

Protein Powder and The Online Segments

For the record, I LOVE protein powder. So versatile! In dry form, you can take it anywhere and with a bit of water, you have got a semi-meal. You can add it to yogurt for snacking, cereal/oatmeal for breakfast, milk for a milkshake. And frankly I don’t think it tastes gross at all!

It gave thoughts for this post though. As you may guess, my coworker saw my bottle of protein powder and “ew-ed” me. Previously, I would have felt embarrassed when someone disliked my stuff. But not anymore. Because I know there are tons of other people who will die praising protein powder. I’m not weird! I’m just different from my coworker. And my different-ness is okay, because there are people like me. On the net. Example:

Enter Scooby’sWorkshop. One of the guys on YouTube I watch regularly is Scooby. He’s this 40-ish year old ripped engineer/bodybuilder/geek who teaches skinny aspiring geeks like me how to do weight lifting exercises and eating to build muscle while having a full time job (or 2.)  Some of his recipes (actually, most) involved canned food and dried fruits (again, I got a few more ewws from the office for eating canned beans). Without the online community, I would have never shown anyone my protein powder bottle or the canned beans I’m eating right out of.

That leads to the real point of this post.

We have heard a lot about how online communities connect like-minded people from different geographical destinations together. I would say that Online Communities also encourage people to be “unshy” about themselves because it gives a sense of “I’m not the only one” and “its okay that some people don’t get it, because there are a lot more who do get it”.

It also widens our boundaries of acceptance. Considering myself a not too shabby “onliner”, if I saw a guy going to work bare feet tomorrow, it won’t be such a shock because I know there are thousands of others online. One here: http://www.realbarefootgirls.com/for-bare-feet.html

My love to Protein Powder!

Strength Training

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Barbell This post is about Strength Training and Why it wins over Body Building in my opinion.

Basics

Strength Training is all about the barbell. The program I am following right now has 5 basic exercises:

  1. Squats – 3 times/week
  2. Bench Presses – twice/week
  3. Deadlifts – once/week
  4. Rows – twice/week
  5. Overhead Presses once/week

and 2 addons (though they are just as important):

  1. Dips twice/week
  2. Pullups/Chinups once/week

Basically, you try to add weights to every workout – 5lbs each. For example, on Monday, I would do Squats at 135 lbs (45 lbs on each side plus the barbell is 45 lbs). On Wednesday, I would try to do 140 lbs.

Of course, you can’t add weight forever! When it starts to slow down, you’ll add weight every week. This week I’m squatting 220 lbs and next week will try to go 225 lbs.

What’s the point? Strength Training of course gives you strength.

  • You will get a lot stronger by lifting more weight.
  • Combine with proper nutrition, you will get a lot more muscle and achieve satisfying body look.

On the other hand, Body Building leans toward dumbbells and all the machines and cables. In my opinion, body building is a product of the industrial revolution and of modern life. Strength Training uses minimal equipments – you literally only need the barbell, some weights and an overhead bar for the pullups/chinups. And a lot of strength training movements resemble daily activities, such as deadlifts – lifting heavy things from the ground. By the way, once you get into strength training, you will NEVER, ever, lift something up from the ground with your back rounded. That’s bad form and it hurts your back!

Body building uses a lot less weight and lots more repetition. That’s why I think it’s boring. For example, I can only do 5 repetitions of Squat at 220 lbs. But with body building, I would do dumbbell curls at 20 lbs for like 20 repetitions.

  • You won’t get a lot stronger because you are not lifting heavy weight
  • Combine with super strict nutrition, you will get a lot of muscle and a fantastic body. Arnold Schwarzenegger is perhaps the most famous body builder of our time.

Why I think Strength Training Is Better

Now you might think Body Builder is better because it gives you better look. True! On the same level of nutrition, body building will more likely give you better result look-wise compared to Strength Training. However, you would have to spent a lot more time in the gym plus follow a very strict diet for optimal result.

Strength Training is better because:

  • It takes less time to train
  • It’s mental challenging! Try to lift 220lbs one more time is way more challenging than adding 5 more repetitions at 20 lbs! You really have to push boundaries to progress and that’s the beauty of it.  You will really feel that you are ‘the man’ after pumping that last repetition of weights on your shoulder. Every workout is a quest that you have to conquer.
  • Real men have strength AND look good

There are a ton of other reasons why Strength Training is better such as better knees, less likely for injuries, increase hormones level. You can read all about Strength Training at stronglifts.com

It’s funny because I started off with body building for a while until I found stronglifts.com. I don’t think I will ever look back. Just simply knowing that I am stronger than I was yesterday gives me this intense desire to hit the gym! A word of warning: it’s addicting. But it’s good addiction!

Happy lifts!

My Stats

Weight: 135lbs

Back squat: 220lbs

Deadlifts: 165lbs

Bench Press: 150lbs

Rows: 105 lbs

Overhead Press: 95lbs (shame!)