Sunday, September 1, 2013

What's in MY gym bag?

"What's in my gym bag?" post inspired by my buddy from IG @workout2eat 
1 ) Foam roller from DICKS Sporting Goods for self myofascial release/deep tissue massage to make muscles more elastic for greater mobility preworkout and for recovery post workout. 
2 ) Inzer Forever Lever 10mm Powerbelt from for stability and safety during lifts. (I care about longevity)
3 ) Harbinger gloves from 24hr fitness to reduce calluses.(gf doesn't like me holding hands with her with calluses)
4 ) Nike Romaleos from for solid stability, an increased comfortable and more natural depth and increased emphasis on quads. 
5 ) Precision Engineered portable funnel from Vitamin World to bring my preworkout with me.
6 ) 7th gen iPod from target and Kinivo bth240 wireless headphones from for music. 
7 ) Precision Engineered blender bottle from vitamin world for postworkout shake. 
8 ) Chalk for a strong and tight grip instead of using straps for a more natural feel and no readjustment needed if weights wiggle around, also easier to just grab the bar since no set up is needed. 
9 ) Harbringer dipping belt from to help me easily add more resistance on weighted dips and weighted pull ups. 
These are currently what I use for gym. I'll be ordering knee sleeves, a lacrosse ball and wrist wraps in the future. I have no problem with investing in myself if it helps me be safe, more mobile and perform better. #investinyourself


If you guys aren't following me on Instagram(@neilvegetadang), here are some updates of the things going on in my life.

Yes, I'm competing in my very first powerlifitng meet on September 14th, 2013 at Metroflex in Long Beach. I wasn't planning to at first, but my brother got me into it and one of my bestfriends Cal La(Chris) is doing it so I'm doing it. I'll be doing the 165lbs weight division in the 20-23 age group. I know I won't set any records, but I'm doing this to hit my own PR's and to beat my buddy Cal. ;)

Stocked up on LoA(Legends of Aesthetics) Stringers. I won't be wearing them till I'm shredded again though. Thanks Matt Ogus( and Chris Lavado( for these awesome stringers!

Oh, and got a new car. :) 2013 Scion FR-S.

^Poverty macros at it's finest. Thanks for viewing!

-Neil V. Dang

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Bulk is OVER! Let the shred begin!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

First off I'd like to's great to be back in California!! I was in Houston, Texas for vacation for the past 2 weeks and it just made me realize that I love living in SoCal!!

So my bulk has finally come to an end...I've stuck with Flexible Dieting/IIFYM(If It Fits Your Macros) throughout this entire bulk. In fact, It's been one year since I've done Flexible Dieting now! It worked on my shredding phase from last year and worked during my bulk. At the end of my cutting phase from last year I stood at 133lbs on September 27th, 2012. In my 42 weeks of bulking I have gained exactly 40lbs. This morning I weighed myself on an empty stomach and post-poop. Today I stand at 5'5", 173lbs.

My caloric intake during my final days of bulking were up to ~3450 calories with macros being at 95f/420c/225p. It might not be much to some folks out there, but for me I was getting sick of eating..

^You can see that I got pretty fluffy. Story for how I got fluffy towards the end of bulk is that from July 2nd - July 16th, I was in Texas for vacation with my girlfriend and I just started eating everything in sight because I had a hard time tracking everything since her family from Texas kept taking us out to eat and making home-cooked meals that I couldn't trace nor turn down because it's rude to turn down your girlfriends mother's

My reviews from my bulk - I felt I did pretty well staying at a consistent caloric surplus. Weight slowly/gradually progressed by about 0.5 pounds to 1 pound per week which is a great sign and was what I intended. Strength also dramatically jumped up for all my lifts as well. Joined the 300 club for squats, 400 club for deadlifts, and 100 club for incline and flat dumbbell presses for chest. I felt that the parts that made the most muscle growth were my back, chest, and hamstrings. Overall, I'm happy with my results in terms of strength and body composition.

My goal now is to lose 1-1.5lbs per week and maintain as much muscle mass as I can while shredding down. I will not make the mistake of pushing to failure during my training sessions again as I've learned from my previous cutting phase that it'll cause me to lose much strength in the long run and may cause me to lose some muscle mass. Basically when I'm at a caloric deficit, my body isn't getting in as much nutrition to recover as well as it would during a surplus. So when I push to failure on my training sessions during my deficit I won't be getting optimal recovery. *This is what I've learned about how MY body works. Not everyone is the same.

My new macros now for my deficit are 60g fat/350g carbohydrates/210g protein. I'll be sticking to these macros 6 days a week and have my refeed days once a week on Fridays. My refeed macros will be 60f/440c/210p. Setting my refeed carbs to ~25% of my deficit carbs. If these macros no longer work or don't work the way I want them to, then I'll just adjust them accordingly. Simple as that. :)

Supplements I'll be taking daily during this cutting phase:
1) Whey Protein Isolate - muscle maintenance and recovery
2) Creatine Monohydrate - strength and muscle support
3) BCAA's - muscle maintenance and recovery
4) Multi-Vitamin - heart health, organ health, immune system
5) Fish-Oil - heart, brain & joint health
6) Glucosamine - joint health
7) ZMA - recovery and healthy testosterone levels

^For those that are new to my blog, this was my journey from 163lbs-133lbs. I was able to lean out before, and now I'll do it again. Motivated and hungry for gains. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This isn't a post to be taken lightly. Serious topic. I have too many good friends and I know friends of friends that unfortunately deal with this. I'm also aware that there are "coaches" and personal "trainers" that take shortcuts to get their clients to get lean as fast as possible while neglecting their health and aren't even aware of what Metabolic Damage is, just to make a quick buck off their clients. So let's move on..

What is it?
It's exactly what it sounds like. Your metabolism has been damaged.

How do I know whether I have it or not?
If you're at a caloric deficit(eating less than what your body needs to maintain weight in order to lose weight) for a long period of time and your fat/weight progress slows down or if you're no longer getting leaner while at a deficit, you may have it.

What causes metabolic damage?
Metabolic damage can be caused by being at a deficit for too long without re-feeding or by being at a deficit & doing a massive amount of cardio(1-2 hours/500-1000 calorie sessions) a day for a long period of time. *Some individuals may have even been at a blind deficit and not know it(hence the word blind).

Example of someone who has metabolic damage:
Let's say an individual(we'll call him Bob) has a maintenance caloric intake(the amount of calories needed to maintain a certain weight) of 1800 calories a day.

Now, Bob wants to lose weight desperately so he puts himself at 1200 calories which is a 600 calorie deficit. So now Bob is consuming 1200 calories a day. (THIS alone is ENOUGH to lose weight. In fact, he shouldn't even be going more than 150-200 calories of a deficit for health reasons.) Bob is consuming 1200 calories a day and burning 500 calories per cardio session). Now because Bob is burning 500 calories, his body thinks it's at 700 calories a day for this weight loss to work. This is a total caloric deficit of 1,100 from his MAINTENANCE. Overtime the 700 calories will no longer suffice and he would have to consume either less calories or do MORE cardio(which will take quite a toll on your joints. Too much of anything can be bad for you) to get even leaner. This is probably the most common thing to happen to an individual to cause metabolic damage.

Overtime something known as Metabolic Adaptation occurs. This basically means that your body has adapted to a certain calorie intake so that it can survive on simply just that. 

Why is metabolic damage so bad?
Eventually, Bob will hit a wall and he will no longer be able to get any leaner. Or maybe he gets where he wants but what happens the moment he binges? All that weight will come back INCREDIBLY fast. Because his body was so used to eating so little and burning so much, that a binge day would be an absolute caloric surplus for Bob.

How do I fix metabolic damage?
You can start by bumping up calories VERY slowly. Layne Norton, PhD in Nutritional science, suggests that you should experiment by starting with as little as 5g of carbs per week while backing off training. If that alone is causing you to get fat already, take it even slower like 1-3g of carbs a week. This will take TIME to recover from. And the amount of calories an individual can bring up varies from one person to another. Take this process as slow as possible. The longer an individual has been suffering from metabolic damage, the longer it'll take them to crawl out of it.  When backing off training, cut down your intensity and days of training to half the amount so that your body can make use of the nutrients towards an optimal recovery. Slowly start to up your water intake as well and take in at least 15-20g of fiber a day to help your body digest and better absorb nutrients.

FORGET cutting anymore calories or doing more cardio. Focus on repairing and fixing your health and metabolism. Think about the bigger picture. Your dream physique CAN wait. Fitness is a lifestyle so there is NO rush. No one is sticking a dynamite down your throat forcing you to look good for them. Prioritize and invest in your health/well-being.

How do I PREVENT metabolic damage?
When you're trying to get leaner or going on a cut, take it SLOWLY. A deficit of 75-150 calories from maintenance ALONE is enough to make you lose weight. In fact, a deficit in general is enough. You do NOT need to do endless bouts of cardio. And if you crave cardio, try going no further than 15-20 minutes of cardio. But if you're weight training I suggest sticking to HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) as your source of cardio but limit even that. Another thing to mention. When hitting your macros go no more than 5g above or below your macro needs as this will help to keep you towards your goals and prevent any massive unwanted changes in physique composition.

If you are being coached or trained by someone who is setting you at a blind caloric deficit for a long period of time and making you do a massive amount of cardio or work. Question them. Ask them if they are aware of what metabolic damage is. Try to track(refer to my "What is IIFYM" post) your calories and macronutrients for a week straight to figure out what you've been consuming. There are often too many times where a "coach" or a "trainer" will have you eating way too little and doing way too much because they don't care about your health. They just want you to get as lean as you can as fast as you can so they can get their money. This is almost a certain way to damage your metabolism.

If you guys need information on how to lose weight/fat, here's another post I made to help.

So that's pretty much it guys. Information provided is my own personal knowledge and understanding of it. You can go beyond and get different perspectives and approaches by simply researching.  Hope this helps. Thanks for reading. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle. Prioritize and invest in your health and well-being as well as you can.

-Neil Vegeta Dang

Push Day

Those who have followed me have known how I looked at my fattest and have seen me lean out while eating oreos, ice cream, chipotle and Carl's Jr. "Oh but that's because you have a high metabolism." No. If I did, I wouldn't have gotten fat in the first place. You want living proof of IIFYM? I'm right here. You CAN get leaner without sacrificing the foods you love. However I still recommend getting at least 70-80% of your macros from HEALTHY food. For obvious HEALTH reasons. Meal timing? Unnecessary. 5-6 meals a day? Unnecessary. Sacrificing yumz for the physique you want? Not the only approach in the world. F**k the broscience. 

Also got to watch Iron Man 3 over the weekend. $4 for a ticket at 4 Star Cinema and we got to watch it 3 hours before anyone else. :D

Friday, April 12, 2013

Quickie Update

Quick Update:
4/11/13. 156lbs. +23lbs since September and somewhat maintaining abs. Bulking with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting. Eating whatever I want as long as I meet my macronutrient needs. No need for meal timing, no need to eat the same meals over and over again. No discrimination between "clean" & "dirty" food. Forget the broscience. Forget the ones who feel a moral superiority over others by only eating "clean" foods. 10 more months of bulking to go before I start cutting. Going to make the old Neil look like crap. This doesn't mean I ONLY eat unhealthy foods. 60-70% of my daily intake comes from healthy meals. I'm just opening eyes to show that 6-7 "clean" meals aren't the only way to change body composition. Don't diss it till you've tried it. Experiment and try new things, stay open-minded. I'll continue to be living proof of it. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Improving on form and function

There's always room for improvement. I noticed I have loads of error with squats and deadlifts so from now on I'll be working on improving them. My mobility and flexibility could develop a lot more. I'm incredibly stiff...anyway these videos are just for me to study from. But I'll leave them here on my blog for those interested.

Improving squat mobility.

Improving deadlift set-up to perform better.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some current PR's & updates of 2013 thus far

Current Weight during PRs: 150lbs @ 5'5"

Current Macros: 2750cals, 61f/344c/206p.

Current Supplements:
Pre-w/o: Muscle Prime by All Max
Protein: Syntha-6 isolate by BSN
Carbs: Carbo Gain by NOW
Creatine: Cell-Mass 2.0 by BSN
Intra/anytime BCAA's: AminoX by BSN

Comparison shots:

Left: September 27, 2012 133lbs, Right: January 27, 2013 150lbs.
+17lbs in 4 months using IIFYM. Ab lines still maintained during this controlled bulk.

Left: 150lbs in February 2011, Right: 150lbs in January 2013.
Same weight, different physiques. Holding much more muscle mass now compared to before.
Dirty "see"food bulk vs. Controlled IIFYM bulk.

2/6/13 405lbs deadlift x 1 first ever attempt. The session went like this:
Warm-up, 2 sets Lat pull downs w/70lbs x 8

Work sets:
bodyweight x 5
45lbs x 5
45lbs x 2, dropset to bodyweight by 3
25lbs x 5
25lbs x 5


Came into the gym thinking I was only going to do multiple sets of 315 for reps. But my buddy Arnold Hwang persuaded me to go for a 1mr. Glad I did!

2/5/13, First Day at Gold's Gym, Fullerton. Great leg daymy buddies Matt Rojana, Mark Sanchez & Mylene Montoya. PR'd 315lbs squat. Only had 3 hours of sleep the night before from 7am-10am. Was unable to sleep due to taking 2 servings of ON Platinum-Pre the night before when hitting chest with my buddy Jonny Cage. Never again..Only had 1 meal 6 hours prior to this attempt as well. If my tensor faciae latae wasn't injured along with adequate sleep and more meals, I know for a fact my mind and body would've performed this much better with a greater range. Next time!

January 22nd or 23rd.. 2013
Chest day w/Arnold Hwang. Arnold is a MONSTER!! Amazing chest strength. He reps 100lbs w/Dumbbells full range on incline & flat like cake..

1/19/13. Got to meet 2012 Mr. Olympia PHIL HEATH!! AKA THE GIFT!! He is HUGE and very humble! 

All them free samples from the LA fit expo ;)

That's pretty much all I've got to update with! :)