Hello! Welcome to my blog: Cakes to Weights. My name is Jadesh. Join me as I share with you my progression through the world of bodybuilding and attempt to fight my genetics to be the Asian Bond (the names Manivannan, Jadesh Manivannan – doesn’t work at all I know!).To start off, let me tell you a bit about myself and the story so far.
I first joined the gym slightly over 2 years ago! July 3rd 2012 – I remember the date clearly, as it was my birthday present to myself. At that time, I had just scraped through fresher’s year at University, spending most of my time partying hard at night, being too plastered to turn up to lectures and too broke to afford proper food. It was bad. REALLY bad. So bad that at it’s worst I was waking up at six in the evening, getting ready for pre-drinks at eight, clubbing from ten to five, before knocking out and repeating the cycle! All this mayhem on a student loan meant one thing; I was piss-broke, living off a portion of 99p chips and a can of baked beans a day!
Now, before University I was a stereotypical chubby Asian teen, always working hard academically and useless at sports, with the exception of swimming (got a kickstart with the extra bouyancy aka blubber). Being so poor at sports was down to a combination of two things; being lazy and my mum’s cooking! I know a lot of people post pictures on Instagram or write posts on Facebook showing off their family meals but boy does my mum know how to cook! From currys to cakes, she knew how to make the lot! And to such a high standard too! I was aware of the extra weight I was holding at the time, constantly being reminded at the school gymnasium changing rooms by my peers, but my parents were oblivious to it. More importantly, when I first brought up the idea of working out to them, they simply decline and told me to focus on my education. I’m glad they did as it’s worked and got me to the man I am today, but I’m sure you’ll understand my joy when I found out that I was losing weight at University surviving off chips and baked beans!
So why did I join the gym if I was losing weight anyway? Simply put, because I was bored at home in the Summer holidays and at the time, wanted to be away from the family as a rebellious adolescent teen. My first workout session was with my best mates from high school, and they all (unintentionally) showed me up for being so weak. Whilst they were busy curling 10kg on either side of a preacher bar for 10 reps, I could just about mange two reps of JUST the preacher bar! Whilst they were benching 60kg+ using a barbell, I couldn’t manage a single rep of the barbell! This is where my desire to start bodybuilding truly ignited, not just to attain that “Daniel Craig physique” but more importantly catch up with my friends!
I had my body fat measured at our next session together – 24% at 69kg! Granted, it was calculated using the untrustworthy hand-held body fat devices, but looking back I was there or thereabout. Hearing the personal trainer at that gym inform me that the measurements tend to be inaccurate after eyeing up my size in baggy clothes – I intentionally wore everything baggy to hide my size – had sparked the only decision I regret now. I was so focused on gaining strength and size that I decided to dirty bulk for a year and a half. All this was done just to catch up with the statistics some of my friends were claiming as their PR’s on certain lifts!
During the course of the year-and-a-half dirty bulk I shot up to 96kg at 35% bf! I was educating myself about the science behind fitness, but the mentality of “screw it, I’ve already been fat for 19 years, I can live with being fat for 2 years more” took over. My strength did go up, but not as much as it should have. I was eating way too much just to ensure I was well within a caloric surplus making sure I conformed to the “1lb of protein per lb body mass” rule, but my training was poor.
This was when I came across Mike, a personal trainer at the gym near my University. He introduced me to what I thought was a crazy new workout routine, leading to all sorts of strength gains! I had initially been pessimistic with the routine thinking that the volume was not high enough, but by the first week all thought of the regime not working was dismissed and replaced with fear of the next session after suffering from severe DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness)! It was all worth it in the end as my statistics shot up in just 12 weeks:
Before – Bench PR 80kg; Squat PR 100kg; Deadlift PR 120kg
After – Bench PR 120kg, Squat PR 140kg, Deadlift PR 150kg
Despite the huge strength progress, I was extremely insecure about my physique. But, the decision to go on a cutting phase was brought about over a Christmas dinner when my mum told me bluntly “Stop eating, you’re fat”. You know its bad when an Asian mother comments on your size! As such, I contacted Mike, who helped me out and I went on a 6 month cut. Which leads me to where I am today, having finished the cut and starting a lean bulk phase, and transitioned from a 96kg 35%bf beefcake to a respectable 70kg 10-12%bf!
And this is just the start! Unfortunately, I can’t go into too much detail in one post but join me as I continue pursuing my dream, sharing what I’ve learnt in the process and maybe even inspire you to make a change! I am ecstatic to share my journey, and I welcome and encourage all feedback!