Weight training tip

Relatively late in my weight training career, I’ve made a new yet basic discovery. Adding more exercises for each muscle group helps me gain strength and size faster. For example, until recently, I only did two sets of most movements, except for squats, which I’d do three or four sets of. I’d do two sets of shoulder press, bench press, and dumbbell row, three sets of weighted chins, and one or two sets of deadlifts.

This wasn’t enough volume to make rapid strength or size gains. My chest strength (bench press) in particular saw very little progress over the years, while my back strength (chins and rows) was much better. I thought this was because I was naturally stronger in pulling movements than pushing. Now I think the reason is that I always did five sets of pulling movements (three sets of weighted chins and two sets of dumbbell rows) while I only did two sets of bench press each workout.

Now I do at least three sets for each muscle group. For chest, I do two sets of flat bench and one set of incline press, or vice versa, depending on which benches are available. I’ve also added two sets of pushups (for chest), and two sets each of bethaks, frog jumps, and duck walks (for legs) as “finishers” at the end the workout. These finishers improve my mind-muscle link, enhance balance/coordination, train higher rep ranges, improve endurance, and exhaust the muscle beyond the brief, intense work done with weights.

With this approach, workouts are longer and I need to rest for at least two days between workouts for the soreness to go away. However the size and strength gains seems to be coming faster. I jog, stretch, or do martial arts on some of the days I don’t lift weights, so I still exercise four or five days a week.

For protein, I’ve settled on eating a 750 gram container of plain greek yogurt almost every day (I add honey for taste). I find this better than whey protein because it’s less processed. Cottage cheese is a bit cheaper and higher in protein but not as easy to eat in large quantities. Greek yogurt is expensive and I plan to stop eating so much of it after I reach a certain bodyweight.

Nofap “Superpowers”

A lot of guys on the nofap groups are claiming “superpowers” from nofap. These include a deeper voice, attention from women, more energy, higher confidence, more strength in the gym, improved intelligence, less social anxiety, and higher status among guys. Here are my thoughts and experiences on each of these points.

  • I didn’t notice my voice getting deeper from nofap. My voice is actually deep for a small guy, although getting severely bullied in my 20s caused me to strain my voice higher (permanently). It’s notable that big, strong, dominant men sometimes have high-pitched or soft voices while the voices of physically smaller men can be deep and masculine.
  • Nofap definitely gave me more energy. I can work or exercise more intensely for much longer periods. I also don’t need as much sleep as I did in the past.
  • Nofap did improve my confidence and self-esteem. I feel cleaner and more disciplined, and feel that I have an edge over most other guys because I am one of the few who is saving his seed. This confidence sometimes morphs into arrogance. When I feel arrogant I remind myself that I have a lot of work to do to overcome my miserable past and poor genetics.
  • Like I mentioned in previous posts, nofap (hardmode) gave me strength and muscle in the gym. This was one of the biggest benefits for me and the reason I started nofap. At age 30, I finally went beyond beginner level in my lifts and was able to gain some muscle.
  • It took 5 or more years of nofap for my lifelong brainfog to start going away. I can remember more of what I read, and I am willing to read material other than novels. I also have more “intellectual confidence”. Daily meditation may have also helped clear the brainfog.
  • Nofap did not bring me more attention from women and I didn’t expect it to. I think the young guys who report more interest from women (sometimes after only a few days of nofap) are decent-looking to begin with, and nofap just improved their confidence and assertiveness. I’ve been doing nofap for 10 years and I am still a nonentity to women.
  • My social anxiety did not go away; if anything, it is worse than ever because the pent-up energy causes very strong and crazy intrusive thoughts or impulses. I am actually thinking of quitting nofap because of this.
  • My status among guys has risen (hopefully) from an omega to low or middling beta. This was after 4 to 10 years of nofap, force-feeding, hard training in the gym, meditation, spiritual study, and desperately intensive work on myself. I will assume most other guys continued life as usual, coasting on their good genetics and status, living without much morality or discipline. I am no longer the scapegoat by default (I hope) but I still get little respect in daily life. Sadly, in the big picture I am still just a peon and it might be foolish to expect more improvement at this age. So a few weeks of nofap is not enough to raise a guy’s status, unless he had very good underlying qualities (genetics, status, etc.) that couldn’t be expressed due to masturbation.

I am happy for the teens and young adults who describe near-magical results after a few days or weeks of nofap, and I’m glad they are improving their life. Maybe starting nofap in one’s late teens or early 20s really does have far better results than starting at age 30. I was much more wide-eyed, sensitive, excitable, and impressionable when I was younger and I might have reported similar results. However, for me, a few weeks or even a few years of nofap wasn’t enough to undo years, decades, or maybe even centuries of bad habits, poor genetics, family curses, bad karma, low confidence, and negative experiences. Nofap does work, but it is a lifelong thing and not a miracle cure.

One year of hard mode

It’s been about a year since I started my current “hard mode” streak. I viewed no porn, had no sex, and abstained from masturbation. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t terribly hard either, as I’ve recorded hard mode streaks of two or more years in the past.

My current mindset is to try not to care or have any interest in sex and women.  This is not easy for me as my ego and fleshy desires are incredibly stubborn, unruly, devious, and hard to annihilate. This is despite countless brutal rejections from girls in my teens and 20s, a decade of nofap, and years of meditation and spiritual study.

I gained a bit of muscle and strength this past year but not as much as I could have, because my schedule didn’t allow me to lift weights regularly.

I did not experience any breakthroughs in meditation despite meditating 40 or more minutes daily. Improvement has been very slow, subtle, and gradual in the form of better concentration, more self-awareness,  better intuition, and noticing of synchronicities.

I plan to go for 11 more years in hardmode to test the claim that 12 years of celibacy leads to god-realization. The saying may be a metaphor not to be taken literally, and the required period of abstinence may vary depending on a person’s capacity and karma. But I do believe the message that saving sexual energy over a long period enhances spiritual development.

Sex and Masculinity

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An increasing number of guys are abstaining from masturbation to increase masculine traits like muscle mass, strength, confidence, energy, dominance, and aggressiveness. I think abstinence does boost such qualities, while sexual activity decreases them. Although scientific studies haven’t found a lasting correlation between sex and testosterone, some studies have found a link between sexual activity and sex hormone receptors.

A study done in China found that testosterone spiked in male subjects after seven days of abstinence but returned to normal the next day. This sudden, one-day rise and fall is surprising; I would have expected testosterone to gradually increase over several months, and then reach a “fully-charged” plateau. It could be that the body immediately uses the extra testosterone to develop male traits.

In rats, sexual activity was not found to affect testosterone levels. However, the brains of sexually-sated rats showed fewer androgen receptors and more estrogen receptors, so although the rats had the same level of testosterone in their body, they were less able to use it, while they were more able to use estrogen. Presumably, this would cause the rats to become less masculine and more feminine.

Some internet forum users do report higher testosterone after a period of abstinence, exercise, and a better diet.

People say that NF [NoFap] will increase your testosterone and for me that was more true than I could have imagined. My total testosterone went from ~550 to 911 according to my last lab tests. This is on a scale of 300 – 900. So I currently have the test levels of a 21 YO, and I’m 41 YO. That was not always the case. I used to be more in line with a 70 YO.

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Because of this I had pretty darn low testosterone, the actual level was 145 but I refused TRT. The normal scale is 300 – 1200 here. Before I found out about this tumor I’ve lived with it. In 2013 I started nofap and even with this low level of T it turned my life around but of course a single fap would put me right back in my cave feeling like shit.

As of 2014 I decided to supplement several minerals including, but not limited to: Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium and calcium. Within these 3 months of supplementation I feel like I’ve unlocked my full potential and have been failing allot with nofap ever since. Before I could do streaks of 120 days and now the max I’ve lasted is 12 days. I’ve retested my T lvl and it turned out to be a stunning 1359.

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I’d like to see more studies on this topic as it is central to a man’s quality of life. It seems like common sense that saving your male essence will intensify masculine traits while depleting that essence will weaken masculinity. It would be great to have more scientific evidence of this.

The site yourbrainonporn.com explains the science behind porn and masturbation in much greater depth. This page deals with sexual activity and testosterone.

A great article on androgen receptors: link

Scientific Studies on Masturbation

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I recently found a great site, howtostopmasturbation.com, that suggests numerous ways to quit masturbating. One of its pages lists scientific studies on masturbation’s harmful effects. The studies linked masturbation to problems including mental illness, lower sperm quality, less satisfaction from relationships, and increased risk of prostate cancer. Below are some of the studies I found significant.

  • introversion and depression were correlated to masturbation but not heterosexual intercourse link
  • depression was linked to greater desire to masturbate link, or higher rates of masturbation link
  • sperm quality was significantly lower in samples collected from masturbation compared to samples collected from intercourse link
  • masturbation (in women) was linked to greater use of immature psychological defense mechanisms such as somatization, dissociation, displacement, autistic fantasy, devaluation, and isolation of affect link
  • subjects who masturbated or were sexually inactive had worse blood pressure reactivity to stress than subjects who had penile-vaginal intercourse link
  • anxious and avoidant attachment were linked to masturbation frequency in women link
  • subjects who masturbated were less satisfied with their sex life, life in general, relationships, and mental health than subjects who had PVI link
  • masturbation frequency in women was correlated to less perceived “love” in relationships link
  • masturbation frequency was linked to higher risk of prostate cancer link

Resolutions for 2015

I no longer look at porn or masturbate, those things no longer interest me. However, I sometimes waste hours a day on things like chat, dating sites, or discussion sites like reddit and quora. Although I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions, I feel like I am running out of time and need to get my act together. I’ve decided on the following for 2015:

  • delete accounts on chat, “pen-pal”, “language exchange”, and dating sites
  • delete mobile chat apps like WeChat and Kakaotalk
  • spend less than 15 minutes a day of viewing “fun” websites (e.g. reddit, quora, youtube)
  • learn a computer language and create and sell a basic mobile app by December
  • write and publish 2 short ebooks for this blog: “10 Years of Abstinence”, and “How to Get Stronger”
  • regain and exceed my former “peak” muscular strength and size by December
  • wake at 4 am and sleep at 9 pm
  • don’t drink or take any intoxicants

One Year of Bowing

About a year ago, I started doing 108 bows a day. I’ve been bowing every day since then, except for several weeks when I didn’t have the privacy. I estimate that I’ve done about 36,180 bows in total (108 * 335). These days I am bowing in the mornings after 40-50 minutes of meditation. Here are my thoughts on the practice:

  • I can do the 108 bows in about 20 minutes with decent form, without pausing. My legs are not tired afterwards; I’m able to do a leg workout on the same day with no reduction in strength.
  • While bowing, listening to a recording that recites 108 statements of repentance, gratitude and aspiration is instilling good thoughts into my mind. One such recording in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7tuP2Muez4.
  • My body seems more flexible and coordinated. After not bowing for some weeks, I noticed how inflexible and uncoordinated I felt. My body even seemed to look more awkward in the mirror.
  • I don’t think 108 bows a day are enough, on their own, to make my legs stronger. The muscular load is too light. However, I think their high-rep nature is helping to maintain a minimal level of leg strength and size.
  •  My mind feels faster and clearer. The front part of my brain feels more “activated”. Maybe bowing is burning off bad karma related to mental functioning. Or maybe the act of touching my head to the floor is bringing more energy to the front part of my brain.
  • I think I have a slightly better personality now than I did a year ago.
  • My mind sometimes wanders while I am bowing. I need to fix this because in bowing, sincere intent is as important as the physical movement.
  • My “world movie” has not magically improved since I started. I still have bad days where bad things happen and I still make mistakes although I try not to. I do not have a saintly aura; people still mistreat me at times.

Doing 108 bows a day seems to be a good practice, but not a cure-all. I intend to keep doing it. However, 108 bows a day is very basic and maybe not enough to overcome problems and tendencies that have been decades or lifetimes in the making. At present, I only have the time and energy to do 108 bows a day; I also have to work, read, and exercise. When I have more time, I want to do a thousand or three thousand bows a day.

Ten Years of NoFap

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A few days ago I passed my tenth year of not masturbating. I’ve come a long way since I began my journey in late October 2004 as a scrawny, weak, dull, timid, lazy, and foreveralone young “man” that people picked on and sneered at. I’ve gained strength and muscle from weight training and athleticism from martial arts. I look young for my age and feel healthy (like I should have felt during my teens and 20s). I can do mental math, I can read faster with better comprehension and retention, and I have a broader, faster, clearer mind. Emotionally, I’ve gained confidence, boldness, resilience, and yang energy. I have the energy and drive to set ambitious goals and work relentlessly to achieve them despite difficulty, danger, and hardship.

I’ve adopted good habits like doing 108 bows and meditating about an hour every day.

Despite my progress, I still have a long way to go. First, my accomplishment was only nofap and not complete abstinence. I was perfectly celibate for the first few years but I had sex several times a year after that. Each time I had sex I felt exhausted and it took me about two weeks to recover. Now I intend to be completely celibate in thought, word, and action and not waste any more sexual energy.

Second, I am struggling with issues like horrible intrusive thoughts, social anxiety, a bad temper, arrogance, energy stuck in the genitals, and a cold hardness in my personality. I was once the last and least out of all guys, now, although I’ve only improved a little, I am trying to suppress feelings of arrogance because I don’t masturbate while most other guys probably do. I am not sure of how to deal with these problems; maybe a meditation retreat or a lot of bowing (1000s a day) or prayer will help.

Difficulties aside, I am giving myself a pat on the back for good effort and progress up to now. I feel the real journey — including full celibacy, meditation retreats, spiritual development, and service to others — is just beginning.

winding-path

Standing Desk Experience

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For the past few weeks I’ve been using the computer while standing at a makeshift standing desk. I tried this a few times in the past when I first read of such desks but quit after couple weeks because my feet got tired. Now I am able to stand for an hour or two without much foot pain, and I have probably reduced my sitting time by 60% or more. I keep the chair far away from the desk and try to sit on it only when I eat or meditate. The following are some observations/thoughts from my new habit:

  • I feel more alert at the computer than when I used to sit.
  • I realized that I’ve been sitting on my behind for most of the hours I was awake, even after I took on a healthier and more physical lifestyle that included doing 108 bows a day, lifting weights 3 or 4 times a week, and doing occasional martial arts workouts. I was still far from being a physical person.
  • After a long period of standing, my feet get a bit tired but I can stand again after sitting for about 30 minutes.
  • Standing on a soft mat seems to mitigate some of the discomfort in the feet.
  • I am motivated to make the most of my time at my desk before foot pain sets in by doing useful tasks instead of browsing random sites.
  • My lower back pain hasn’t gone away, but it hasn’t worsened either.
  • This is just speculation, but I think bodyparts grow/shrink and improve/deteriorate in proportion to how much they are used. Sitting for most of the day could result in a bigger and wider butt and undeveloped leg and foot muscles.

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Sitting for the typical 8+ hours a day is very unhealthy even though a person exercises regularly and eats properly. Standing for long periods may not be healthy either but it seems to be better than sitting because it activates the muscles and nerves in the hips, legs, and feet. Standing desks may also help those struggling with porn addiction, due to the greater alertness and presence of mind that standing seems to involve. If temptation arises, it is easier to walk away from the computer if you are already on your feet.