Ending Week 14 With Some Surprises

Hey guys Ercekj here!

So I would like to star out this post with some of the old “good news” “bad news.”

So the bad news was that this last week I have been sick from last Wednesday til this Friday. So that means having to take a break from going to the gym and all the fun it entails.

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The good news is that I have managed to get down to 183lbs and have been able to stay at 183lbs this whole week. I attribute it to the fact I have been sick, and drinking a lot of herbal teas to flush myself out, and also trying to stay away from my supps.

Anyways on to my topic for this week which is about my favorite subject in the world of fitness next to exercises, dumbbells, and a certain supp brand that I love purchasing when I got the cash to spare.

This week is about Supplements.

As I said in my last post, there is a whole realm of fitness brands dedicated to concocting the best product(s) for your goals. These goals can range from wanting to put on lean muscle, loose belly fat, or even just to maintain a desired level of strength and or endurance.

However, there are a lot of risks when it comes to using supplements. But there is a lot of problems when it comes to buying the right ones from the right brand.

If used properly supplement can be a powerful ally.  However if you are like me and still fairly new to the world of fitness and body building they can also cause some undesirable situations. One of those situations is losing more money than you ought to when it comes to buying them.

So here are a few simple tips to consider when you are thinking about  purchasing supplements from a certain company. Follow these simple steps and you will avoid a lot of the unnecessary backlash that most beginners go through. I know I did.

#1 Know Who you are buying From

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This happens a lot. You are inexperienced and unfamiliar with the world of fitness and the sad thing is that like every business there are a lot of charlatans (which is a nice word for scumbags) wanting to make an easy buck.

There are plenty of brands to choose from and a lot of them are not very honest when it comes to selling something. So the best thing to do is to look for an endorsement from a third party that has reviewed the product and given it there stamp of approval. One of those companies is Nature’s Best.

If there is no endorsement from a third-party company that has reviewed the product then the next thing is to look at the company that makes the product. What is  there history? Where they operate from? When did they start?

Also check in the news to see  if there were or currently are any set-backs that have happened recently to said brand and or company.

One brand that I refuse to buy from is Force Factor because there was a huge amount of online scamming and to be quiet honest I was not at all impressed with the results I got from trying out there products. I remember signing up for a pre-workout product and it actually made me sick.

#2 Consumer Reviews

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A lot of websites actually encourage you too rate a product that they have in stock upon purchase. This is to improve the relationship between consumer and provider.

Websites  and companies like Bodybuilding.com, GNC, and Muscle&Strength.com have customer profiles where you can rate products. More importantly, there are the reviews of previous customers and why they liked a product or why not.

The best products to look at buying are not necessarily the cheaper ones but the ones with the most consumer satisfaction. For example I remember I wanted to buy a BCAA blend that would taste good and be great for recovery after a workout. So I looked at price, how many people bought the product, and also how satisfied they were with the product.

Another way you can do this is talk to your circle of friends and see what they think. If they use a particular brand why is that? They can help you.

#3 Know What is in it

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This is the nutrition facts on a jar of Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme a pre-workout that I love to use from time to time.

This is something that warrants a story.  So when I was a kid one of the major myths that I heard was that Taurine( an ingredient commonly found in energy drinks) was actually bull sperm.

Now you tell that to a fourteen year-old boy he will never drink an energy drink that has the word “Taurine” printed on the can ever again which is what happened to me.

However as I grew older I familiarized myself with more websites that explain what certain things are and to learn more about them.

Then boom!

I found out that Taurine is actually a “conditional amino acid” that is common found in meat and fish. In fact Taurine supplements are used to help with problems like kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and cystic fibrosis.

So just like with this experience you have got to look at what you are putting in your body. Is it going to help your body do better or is it going to make things worse for you?

Also read up on some of the more popular brands of products to learn what they put in it. If you see a word that is difficult to pronounce, or something unfamiliar then Google that crap quick!

Also, be on the look out for a naughty word that is on most products called “proprietary blend.”

Now,  in most cases if there is a proprietary blend it screams to me “It’s great just we are not gonna tell you what is in it!” I mean would you drink something questionable if someone refused to tell you what was in it? I should think so.

You will be wiser, and be able to identify the stuff that is essentially necessary for your desired goals verses what is just extra fluff. The last thing you should be putting into your body is something you are better off without.

In Conclusion

So there you have it! Using these three guidelines you will be better off when it comes to  purchasing supplements and using them as part of your regimen.

Links as always will be down below.

Be strong, be wise, and be awesome you guys, because that is what I recommend. Until next week guys see ya!

Links:

What the heck is Taurine?

Websites where you can get great deals:

blackstonelabs.com

fastsupps.com

tigerfitness.com

a1supplements.com

www.muscleandstrength.com/   

End of Week 12 On to Week 13!

Hey guys it is Ercekj here with another fitness update!

So if you have been keeping up with my fitness journey in my last blog post I made a short video updating my progress and talking about my plans for the next 6-8 weeks leading up to my goal date.

But rather than talk about the supplements or my routine I wanted to talk today about something that is a huge motivator for me in the gym and can help you reach your goals!

That thing that hardly costs anything can make all the difference to your workout and overall feelings of the experience. The thing I wanted to talk about is music!

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Picking Your Jam

Music is one of the best things that can make or break your workout and I love my music when I am in the gym trying to get shredded.  I have my own favorite artists and music that really pushes me to give it my all no matter what day and what I am training.

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The rule is simple when choosing music: Only listen to what motivates you!

For example if you are doing a cardio workout pick music that is upbeat and cheerful. Does not matter what artist or what genre, as long as it puts a smile on your face and makes you feel good!

Some people find cardio the most difficult part of there workout but a workout is not one without a cardio session.

Best way to help with the difficulty? Good music to jam out too when you are doing your session whether you like biking, swimming, or just going on the treadmill.

In Conclusion

So that is all I have for this week. I am sorry it is such a short one. But I will be back next week with another update and also some advice on working out as well as how to get more bang with your buck when it comes to purchasing supplements, and or gear.

Also down below are some reviews I did on some products. One is a beauty mask and the other is a beverage. The titles really say it all. I hope you enjoy them and I will see you awesome guys next week!

Review # 1 Face mask

 

Review #2 The Monster-In-Law

 

 

Beginning Week #7 The Shift

JohnHErcekIII (1 of 4)

Hey guys Ercekj here!

So amidst all the crazy stuff going on in the word today I have another update on my fitness journey to lose weight, and feel great.

So in terms of weight I have maintained a steady weight of 185lbs so that is the good news. Still I have a long time before I hit my goal which is to be down another ten pounds in two months.

Plenty of time but I got to be careful, no slacking now!

In an earlier post I mentioned how I was going to be talking about the supplements that I was going to be taking, what they do and why I implemented them specifically in my routine.

Well the reason I am mentioning them now is because when week 8 comes around I will be taking a 4-week break from the supplements that I am taking and using some other things instead.

The reasoning is because some of the stuff I use requires a break period to help the body readjust. So here are some things I was using and more than likely will be taking a break from as I make this “shift” in my routine.

Muscle Recovery Agent/Anabolic Activator: Anogenin by Blackstone Labs

JohnHErcekIII (2 of 4)

So Anogenin is an Anabolic Activator which means it helps me gain more muscle faster then if I were to chug a bunch of protein shakes after a work out.

The best part was that it is derived from plants not testosterone which is the common process of how anabolics are made. This is made from the plant-based steroid called Laxogenin.

When combined with a good diet and steady workout program BSL(Black Stone Labs) claims that you can put on clean muscle mass in as little as 2-3 weeks of it’s use!

Also since it is plant-based it is safe for both men and women with no adverse side-effects like insane facial hair growth, or mood swings.

Recommended use is to use it for a period of 8-12 weeks with a four week break in between. So it is now time to chill out and let my body take a breather.

Sounded a little too good to be true but after using it I felt great and started gaining good muscle mass in my legs and arms. Gradually over time it spread all over and I must say it was one of the better products that I have had the pleasure of coming across,

Pre-workout : Dust V2 & Dust Extreme by Blackstone Labs

JohnHErcekIII (3 of 4)

So we all have our motivation, mine is actually looking forward to that scoop of pre-workout just before to get me all hyped up for the gym.

Now that I am almost out however it is now time to step back and give myself a break for four weeks. Why is that you may ask?

Well for one I was using V2 Dust when I started and then I heard about the Extreme one and thought “That sounds like something I have to try.”

Secondly, just like our bodies have a tolerance to alcohol we also have a tolerance to caffeine and the more we drink it the stronger it becomes until you need double or sometimes triple what you used in the past.

Dangerous business as situations like this can easily lead to someone overdosing and possibly resulting in death. A break period is good because then you can reset your tolerance and save money at the same time by not wasting it on more good stuff that won’t help you are be nearly as effective as it was before.

It’s the old saying “Too much of any good thing will kill you.”

Protein Powder: ISOPURE Low Carb by Nature’s Best

JohnHErcekIII (4 of 4)

Everyone love’s a good protein shake but finding one that will function well for your fitness goals is tough. Some can actually be more of a hindrance than help due to what your body type is and also any allergies you may have.

I used there Dutch Chocolate flavored one because it was low carb,  it tasted great, and it contained no dairy in it which is a big deal because I learned that my family has  a milk allergy.

Still for helping me loose weight this was good motivator when it came to working out. I would work out and then have a nice ice-cold chocolate protein shake waiting for me. Knowing you have something to look forward too with the workout is a great motivator.

Sad thing is that this protein powder for all it’s benefits  was one expensive , and two not as effective in helping me gain muscle mass like with Anogenin or other protein shakes. I would recommend it however if you were looking to loose weight.

In Conclusion

These are some of the many  supplements that I have used in my routine and will probably return to at a later date, it just depends on whether or not I can afford them.  If there is one takeaway I hope you get it is that you learn what helps your body and what can hurt it.

Just like with training and diet you got know what will build you and what can break you. There are some things you may be ready for now and other stuff that you will have to gradually work towards.

Be safe wherever you guys are. If you are interested in anything I use links are included in the description of each product.

If you are new here hit the follow button to keep yourself up-to-date on my journey. If you loved the post hit the like button. I love you guys and I will see you guys next week on my fitness journey.

 

 

Transformation Beginning Week 5

Hey Guys Ercekj here with some news.

Well some good news and some bad news. So I will start out with the good news first.

Good News

So after training for a good long time my strength has improved to where I bench one hundred and fifty pounds flat and one hundred and forty pounds at an incline.

As far as cardio is concerned I have also increased my cardio from running at six miles an hour to six and a half and I got to say it felt better pushing myself further this week.

I also enlisted the aid of some new supplements to help with my goals, thus leading into the bad news.

Bad News

 

JohnHErcekIII (1 of 2)

The Bad News first is that I gained another three pounds in the last week alone leaving me at 186 lbs.

I attribute and or blame this on my inexperience in dieting. The fear of this all turning  into another big, fat, failure and not getting to bed at a reasonable time has definitely been messing with me as well.

Oh! And I had just learned that apparently my family has a history of type II Diabetes.

For those that are new Diabetes is a disease where the body of the person who has it has an inability to produce or respond to insulin resulting in the body having at best an awkward metabolism when it comes to processing carbohydrates.

In my case though I have not been clinically diagnosed with having Type II the chances of me getting it are still pretty fair. I mean because I live an active lifestyle but even so if I am not careful I could still get it.

Learning this I also stopped taking a supplement that maximized my insulin production to help build muscle and loose fat. Reason being that it messes with my pancreas and I did not want to risk ruining my pancreas.

What’s the Takeaway?

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Well, one thing is for sure I am staying accountable for my actions. I could have easily photo-shopped some guy’s abs onto me and said I was doing fine but I am not one to lie about things like trying to shape my body.

Also that would take forever for me to do and it would more than likely be a terrible photo.

Through this all I am encountering some difficulty and when stuff like this happens we got to ask ourselves not what we had done but have not done.

For me I realize I could be training much harder so now I will. I also learned that even though one supplement was aiding me in the short run it could have messed me up later on in life.

If there is one thing I would hope that any of you who read my blogs, look at my photography or watch my videos it is that the little problems happen now so that the bigger ones do not happen later.

Anyways that is what I recommend to anyone else that is struggling whether it is loosing weight, getting a job, or whatever the struggle may be. Be grateful for the small problems keep on fighting, and I will be posting again next week!

 

ref.: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/default.htm

Disclaimer: Photos were taken on my phone or handheld camera ergo the quality and the cut-off watermark.

Transformation Beginning Week #3

Hey guys Ercekj here!

So I weighed myself and I am still at 188 lbs. So the good news is that in my efforts to get shredded I have maintained my weight and not gained any more.

However at the same time something that was constantly bugging me was whether or not after having been doing this for two weeks if my muscles were getting any leaner or any stronger.

Then a thought came to me: “Was it my diet, my supplements, or my workout?”

Turns out it had been all three.

Mistake #1 Overworking

JohnHErcekIII (3 of 3)

Last week’s blog post I talked about how if your plan is out of sync in any way that means your training program, what supplements you are taking,  and your diet then your results will be minimal at best.

First thing I looked at was my workout. Now I like to do heavy weight training five sets five reps, some machines following the same rule, and then thirty to thirty-five minutes of cardio.

First mistake I realized was that I was training too hard. Most fitness trainers, and websites  recommend that if you follow the same training plan as myself that you should only increase your starting weight by five pounds the next time you exercise.

I had been increasing it by ten.

As a result I ended up over-exerting myself this week and had to take an extra day off to recover. Just because you workout more does not guarantee you double the results although after my experience I can say you will receive double the pain.

Mistake # 2 Being afraid of Sugar and Carbs

JohnHErcekIII (2 of 3)

So one of my biggest weaknesses is sugar, I love it and feel like life would be sad without it, and often times when I would feel the stress getting to me sugar was my drug of choice.

However sugar or as it is referred to in the Health/Workout world glucose is actually an important source of fuel for our bodies.

However I had been avoiding it thinking that too much would work against me and I would get fat.

This lead me making the huge mistake ever in attempting to cut sugar completely out of my diet and it was stupid for a few reasons.

One, as I stated it is an essential energy source for our body and can help with recovery.

Two,  it made it harder on my motivation to want to go to the gym. Without the boost from healthy sugars I felt sluggish and just downright miserable.

Three it messed up my supplement routine as I was taking a glycogen agent to assist in loosing weight and getting rid of unnecessary fat.

Mistake #3 Not Using supplements properly

JohnHErcekIII (1 of 3)

Now I have stated before supplements are not a “must-have” if you are looking to just get yourself into a healthier state. If working out was cake then supplements would be like the icing; sweet but not necessary.

All the same if you are like me and could use the extra motivation and help you need to know how to use them and most importantly when.

Take the glycogen agent I was taking. I had been using it as it had stated when consuming a lot of carbs. But the problem was that I was not paying attention to how much carbs I was taking in.

There were moments when I would feel boosts of energy which according to the product said was normal and even desirable, and then there would be moments when I was clammy, sweaty, and weak.

I later looked back at the product and even the videos that Blackstone had been putting up and there was actually a minimum amount of carbs that I should have been consuming while taking the product and I had been consuming less than that hence the clammy feeling.

Lessons Learned

When you go on a plan like this you have got to put it all together and be patient and calm with what you are about to do. The fact was that I may have or could have set myself back further than before if I had kept this up.

Stay safe and stay awesome my friends wherever you are and I will see you guys again next week!

(Disclaimer: The photos I used this week were stock images I got for free from perez.com that I later edited in Lightroom. Just FYI)

 

Transformation Beginning Week #2

Hey guys! Ercekj here!

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So the good news is that after weighing myself I lost two pounds this last week! I now weigh 188 lbs or 85 kilograms.

Despite some minor setbacks it looks like I am well on my way to my goals.

What setbacks you might ask?

Well when it comes to fitness there is a trio-formula for reaching your goals or that is to say three different areas that make it all up. It also means that if you fail in one area chances are good you will not succeed in your goals.

Number 1 The Workout Program

JohnHErcekIII (1 of 3)

The biggest problem with the workout program is that there are so many to choose from and if you are just getting started then that means a lot of research.

There is power training, crossfit, free weight training, machine, high intensity training, just to name a few.

Most fitness trainers recommend a combination of two of these with some cardio. Also it means dedicating a lot of time at the gym if you can or having to workout at home with equipment.

Long story short to manage your time and maximize your results look into your body type and what your goals are. If you are set on gaining muscle your plan should mirror those goals.

Lastly, never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Doctors recommend seven to eight hours worth to ensure your body as enough time to recover and to help yourself focus.

Number 2 Diet

JohnHErcekIII (3 of 3)

Not very many people like hearing me use this particular “D-word” but this is the most important part of your plan of all.

If you do not take a serious enough effort to regulate what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat then working out is not going to do much for you.

Ever heard the joke “I work out so I can eat more?”

It’s a TRAP!

People workout and then think “I spent an hour at the gym so I should be good eating a whole pizza.”I know this because that was me in college and I still struggle from time to time.

Weeks would go by and I wondered why I did not see any changes in my body and how I felt.

Then it dawned on me; I had not taken the necessary steps to check myself when it comes to what kind of foods I eat and when I eat them.

A good start to regulating your diet is finding out how many calories you need to consume to maintain good lean muscle mass, and then looking at how much you should be getting from your carbs, protein, fat, and sugar.

It all adds up and every little bit helps..or hurts so be mindful of that.

Number 3 Supplementation

JohnHErcekIII (2 of 3)

Now this one is not as important as not everyone needs them or can afford them.

But they are nice to have and if you are like me and need a little motivation, a chocolate protein shake goes a long whey.

See what I did there?

But you also need to weigh the risks against the costs. Some supplements are better than others and learning about what you can take in is not as important as what you should be taking in.

Also a lot of the ingredients that exist in some supplements can be harmful if combined with other’s so you need to be on the look out for that.

I will go over more of this in detail in a later post or video.

Good rule of thumb is to talk to a licensed health care professional, and a certified trainer. They can’t lead you wrong and can answer all the questions you have about your body and what you can do to keep yourself healthy.

In Conclusion

Always be safe about this journey, and remember that results are not gonna just magically pop up. You may have some drawbacks here and there a little.

Be patient with yourself.

Lastly above all love yourself because you are a unique individual and you are gonna be something greater as long as you put forth the effort and hard work to do so.

That concludes this week’s update.  I have included some links down below on dieting and body type research that I have used.

Stay tuned for next week when I begin week 3.

Peace!

-Ercekj

Links:

Body type & Calorie Counting

 

Photography Fun: Fire

So I was one night enjoying a pleasant Sunday evening and I took the liberty of building a fire for my mother. It was then that mesmerized by the flames I felt the desire to take some pictures and then edit one in Photoshop.

Before:

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After:

JohnHErcekIII (1 of 2)

So this is what I did:

First I opened the original document in Photoshop and created a new layer.

Then on the same layer I created a hue and saturation layer with the following settings:

Hue: -180

Saturation: -11

Lightness: -5

Somewhat negative eh? Well enough with the bad puns. After that I created a brightness and contrast layer  with the following settings:

Brightness: 30

Contrast: -30

This helped bring out the worn-look of the fireplace and more emphasis on the now blue flames.

Anyways here is something cool I did. If you like photography stick around and see my other works under Digital Imaging & Photography as well as my Visual Media categories and I will see you guys in a few days.

-Ercekj