Life Updates

Things are changing. Well -- for me, at least -- not necessarily for you with respect to The Pomp, but as always, I like to keep you all updated with what's going on my end. It's helps to explain what's ahead for us and The Pomp while also providing the reason for some delays. First things first.

I've finally started my career as Mechatronics Engineer at the Volkswagen Group's (i.e. VW, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, etc.) Electronics Research Lab. I can honestly say this is the closest I have ever been to finding my dream job. I have studied to shape myself as a designer in as many ways as possible -- ranging from industrial design to mechanical design to embedded systems design and even into event-driven software design. In this current role, I have the chance to work very closely with UX/UI, industrial, and product designers to realize their crazy ideas into functional prototypes with my fellow mechatronic engineers that will shape the future of how you interact with your automobile. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I get to stay and live a comfortable life in the Bay Area instead of getting shipped out to Detroit or other heavy industry cities. For those of you also in the engineering field, I very intently sought a job in R&D because as much as I like the immediate impact of consumer electronics and manufacturing, the idea of breaking new ground is a more effective motivator for myself. Plus, the timelines that come with R&D projects allows much a freer lifestyle -- and that is very important to me.

Outside of work, you'll either find me lifting or spending time with Luna and Van Anh. Strength training has been very good to me, and in turn, I've made me it one of my very serious endeavors. Short term goals have been to hit 1.5X for bench, 2X for back squat, and 2.5X for deadlifts with respect to my bodyweight ( 135lbs/61.2kg ) as my 1RM. As of today, I just need to PR on my bench and that would check off that entire list. I'm hoping to do that next weekend which would settle the time at 10 months -- less than a year to go from nothing to a definite something. Long term goals would be to then up to 2X bench, 2.5X squat, and 3X deadlifts. If I can do that and maintain my weight around here, then you'll definitely find me at some powerlifting meets competing to win my weight category.

However, as those of you who follow me on Instagram definitely already know, I'm in cutting mode right now so strength gains have been slow while aesthetics are off the fucking chart. Obviously, it's been a parallel progress between strength training and dieting to get to this point. In addition to continually driving my self to push and pull harder, I'm incorporated cardio and superset abdominal routines in my daily workouts. I run 3 miles a day on the treadmill comfortably keeping at a 8 minute per mile pace. The idea is to just get my heart pumping and keep it pumping without infringing on my strength training. Also, I'm content with the treadmill because I'm not interested in running any marathon or even a half marathon (quarter, eighth, one-sixteenth, whatever). By relying on the machine to hold my pace, I fail to develop the mental integrity to keep my own pace outdoors. Anyways, adding the core workouts was very nice since it also only minimally infringes on my normal strength routine.

Now onto dieting. First and foremost, I hate that word and it makes me cringe when my coworkers think I'm dieting. I'm not merely reducing calories to lose weight. I'm just restructuring and redesigning my meals to increase what I need, decrease what I don't need, and support my strength training. Neither side of the spectrum is healthy -- one being someone strictly calorie counts and eats well below a healthy daily intake and the other being someone who recklessly consume whatever they want and not what they need. I think consciousness (might I even say mindfulness) is a healthy choice. Whether you're cutting or not, merely choosing to not be ignorant to what you're putting into your body is a good step forward. At this point, I've lost 10% of my bodyweight -- moving down from 150 lbs to 135 lbs -- while losing no strength. In fact, I've still been able to make significant gains in many major lifts while cutting. As of right now, I'm still cutting at 2200 calories a day and a macro-split of 40:40:20.

In order to maintain sanity though, Van Anh and I go fucking mad on cheat days -- that's every single weekend. Those are also my recovery days, so I end up going into Monday very well-rested and full of carb-backed energy. Don't get me wrong. I love food. I craved sweet carbs all the time, but now that I have a very low sugar and highly-regulated diet, I know how certain things effect my body. Excessive saturated fats from animals will make my chest dense and stomach bloated. Carbs will have me bouncing off the walls even if it isn't simple sugars. It's taken a lot of mental training and habit breaking to be stable in this new lifestyle, and it's unquestionably been worth it. It's nice to brush some dust off your shirt and hear this weird sounds because you're basically strumming your abs like a guitar. Or the stretch of your skin when you flex. But most importantly, it's good because you feel like you can fucking do anything.

In short, everything is good. I have almost nothing to complain about -- with the exception of Luna still destroying some of my things.

James Bui1 Comment