Thoughts

Introducing my Facebook and Instagram pages

If you’re subscribed to my website, you know that you’ll get an email from me whenever I post something new. I know many of you wish I’d post more often, and for those of you that want that, I’d like to introduce you to my Facebook and Instagram pages. I’m quite active on Facebook; I post several times a day to my Facebook page. I’ve just started using Instagram regularly and I post once or twice per day to my Instagram profile.

I post a lot of photographs of homes and gardens, of interior design and I talk about various style issues that pertain to my Elegant Gentleman series of videos and articles. I’m particularly proud of my collection of curated albums of exterior and interior design. It’s definitely worth your while.

So, if you’ve been wanting to see more content from me, please join me on Facebook and/or Instagram! See you there!

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Exercise

Had a great time completing Arnold’s Blueprint

Today was Leg Day and the last workout in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint, an 8-week workout program that he launched a few months ago. I had a great time doing it, although it took me more than 8 weeks to complete it, due to the various projects we’re working on and the fact that we now have a little girl. I couldn’t go to the gym six times a week on a regular basis and made it there 3-4 times a week instead. There were a few times when I was able to go 5-6 times and it felt great.

I made a lot of gains in strength on most exercises. For example, my bench press went up to a 2-rep max of 225 lbs., which is something I haven’t been able to do since college, and even then only a few times. Back then I hovered around the 185-205 lbs. range. I can now deadlift 5 x 315 lbs. I can also squat 2 x 225 lbs. and this was another problematic exercise for me. I can’t remember how much I was able to do in college, but I think this is right up there with my previous max.

I finished the program with a bang, too. I was supposed to try for a 1-rep max on the front squat and I managed 195 lbs, which is more than I’ve ever done. And right after that, I maxed out on the deadlifts as already mentioned above.

I remember how much this program kicked my butt when I started it. I simply hadn’t been doing sets of 30 reps at any weight, and that’s what it started with on the first day and kept on like it for the first three weeks. I was so sore the first few days. I found it extremely difficult, both in terms of pain and stamina, to push through that many reps, but I stuck with it, did every workout and now I’m done.

I didn’t measure my body when I started. I really should have. It would have been great to see my progress that way. All I can tell you is that my weight is up a bit since the last time; it’s now at 187 lbs. Not a big increase but then only I know how busy I’ve been and how little I’ve eaten. Most days I got 2-3 proper meals when I should have eaten five. Such is life when you take on too much. I’ll tell you one thing though: doing renovations on your house as you live in it and also having to act as the general contractor for said renovations is a pretty surefire way to go cuckoo, especially when you need quiet time to work on your business and your other projects.

Here’s the bright side though: I didn’t go cuckoo, gained muscle mass and strength and finished the program! Yes!

Last but not least: thank you Arnold for a wonderful program!

Me

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Here’s the fifth episode of our talk show, De Vorba cu Ligia. In this episode, we talk about the launch of Ligia’s pregnancy advice book, “Jurnal de Sarcina”, which took place on May 12th, 2014, and about the 7th edition of our raw food and lifestyle expo, Raw Generation Expo, which took place on May 11th, 2014. Both events took place in Bucharest. Enjoy!

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Released 05.05.2014

Thoughts

The trailer for my YouTube channel

This May, YouTube introduced a new design to the channel page which is easier to customize and resizes itself automatically on screens of multiple sizes, be it desktops, notebooks, tablets or phones. We can customize the videos that appear on the channel page much better than ever before, making it easier for visitors to see a variety of videos from our channel’s library. Best of all, we can create a channel trailer that helps those who are new figure out what our channel is about. It gets shown automatically to those who aren’t yet subscribed. Those who already are see viewing suggestions instead. Here’s my channel’s trailer:

If you haven’t yet subscribed, now is a good time.

Thanks!

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Exercise

An arms workout

Here’s a recent arms workout I did, filmed by Ligia:

I performed the following exercises:

  • Warmed up with standing dumbbell curls, followed by regular sets of the same,
  • Triceps rope extensions,
  • Standing curls with preacher bar,
  • Dips,
  • Concentration curls,
  • Alternate sets of prone and supine triceps pulldowns and
  • My original variation on one-arm preacher curls: the one-arm cable biceps curls.

It was fun! And afterwards I naturally drank one of my Wonder Smoothies.

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Exercise

A chest workout

Here’s one of my chest workouts, captured on video by Ligia recently. I warmed up with standing cable flyes, followed by the workout, which consisted of incline dumbbell presses, dips, machine chest presses, lying cable flies and incline dumbbell flyes. 

I talked about each exercise in various detail, giving advice gleaned from my experience. At the end of the video, I extended an invitation for bodybuilding-related questions. I’ve got about nine years of intensive experience in the gym, on both animal and vegan diets, and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t along the way. If you’ve got some questions, I may have the answers.

Till next time!

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Exercise

A whole body workout

Want to see me work out at the gym? Ligia filmed me during a recent workout, the first after taking a 1-month break due to travel and business. It was a whole body workout where I warmed up on the roman chair, then did the clean & press, pull-ups and stiff-legged deadlifts.

In-between the sets, I also talked about form and gym etiquette.

I’ve mentioned this before, but for the benefit of those just tuning into my website, I am a raw foodist, which means I eat mostly uncooked vegan foods, and that’s also how I obtain the protein for building muscle.

I began working out regularly again last fall, in the month of September. I was sidelined for a couple of months due to an ankle injury and my current goals are to: (1) add significant muscle mass and (2) prove that I can do it on raw food, without animal protein.

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A Guide To A Good Life, How To

Hair care advice for men

Do you want to know how to get great hair and keep it that way? Tired of bad hair days, of dandruff, of itchy scalp, of putting up with what you think is the “norm” for your hair? Have a look at this video I made, where I’ll give you detailed advice on the matter and I promise you that you’ll gain valuable insight that will pay off down the road.

Here’s what I talk about in the video:

  1. Genetics
  2. Diet
  3. Haircuts
  4. Hair care products

I truly hope this helps you! Enjoy!

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De Vorba cu Ligia

De Vorba cu Ligia: the first four shows

De Vorba cu Ligia

As I looked over my site archive today, I realized that I haven’t yet told you about Ligia‘s latest show, which is called “De Vorba cu Ligia“. Translated from Romanian, it means “Talking with Ligia”. It’s a simple name and a lovely show where she interviews various interesting people doing good things in Romania. It’s a show where we also talk about raw food, which is what we did in the fourth, most recent episode. We publish each episode to Ligia’s YouTube Channel in full 1080p HD. We started filming it in December of last year, when Ligia was about six months pregnant with Sophie, and we filmed the last episode this last weekend, when Sophie was 2½ months old.

I’ve posted the first four shows here for you. They’re in Romanian, but I know that at least a few of you subscribed readers know the language, so you’re fine. As for the rest of you, the last two episodes will be of interest, because we’ll show you stuff, not just talk about it, and that’s easily understood in any language. Besides, you’ll get to see our little Sophie in the last one, and babies are adorable in any language!

Episode 1 (12/20/12):

Episode 2 (2/5/13):

Episode 3 (2/14/13):

Episode 4 (5/22/13):

Enjoy! 🙂

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Exercise

My progress from December 2012 to March 2013

First I’d like to say this: for those of you uninterested in bodybuilding and wondering why I write about the subject on my site, it’s for three reasons:

  1. I began weight training in 1994-95 and am still passionate about it, many years later. My interest in weight training and bodybuilding pre-dates this website by about seven years. 
  2. I am a raw foodist and I want to prove that you can build serious muscle on raw food. For me, raw food means a mix of 20-40% cooked vegan food, with the rest made up of raw vegan food and superfoods. My protein supplementation is about 75% raw vegan and 25% vegan.
  3. I’ll turn 37 this year and I want to prove that one can build muscle at this age and even beyond it.

Last autumn, I started going to the gym regularly once more, with the specific purpose of building muscle. All summer long, I’d been exercising at home, using Arnold’s 1% Workout, getting my body ready for weights. And that’s one thing I’d like to stress right now: if you’ve been off weights for a while, years maybe, like me, you’ll need to get ready for weightlifting with a few months of bodyweight exercises. Don’t just go to the gym and start lifting, you’re asking for unnecessary inflammation, pain and potential injuries.

From September to the end of October, I made great progress. My muscles started remembering their previous size and began to grow again. I was on my way to wonderful results, sooner than expected, until an unexpected injury sidelined me, right at the start of November. This was completely unrelated to bodybuilding. We were doing renovations at home, and the workmen had dug a trench in the garden to lay some new pipes. They forgot to tell me. We came back home at night from an out-of-town trip, I took a walk through the garden in pitch black darkness and fell right in. It was a strange feeling, stepping into a void… When my foot hit bottom, I heard a terrible crunch and then the excruciating pain began… The force of the impact pulled on my ankle ligaments so much that it fractured both the tibula and the fibula at their ends. (The medical term is bimalleolar fracture.) It snapped one of them clean off and the other managed to hang on.  Let’s just say I have a nice zipper-shaped scar on my ankle and a couple of extra titanium screws in there. I’m thankful that the ligaments didn’t tear, because the recovery would have been more painful and would have lasted longer. Here’s the x-ray after surgery.

ankle x-ray

I was told to take it easy after the surgery, so two months of what would have been fruitful weight training went down the drain. I finally couldn’t take it any longer after the holidays and went back to the gym on crutches, hopping around on one leg from machine to machine, training what I could train without affecting my ankle.

Things got better soon after that. I also went to physical therapy, did acupuncture and my ankle is almost fully healed now. There’s still some soreness in the mornings, some swelling still has to disappear but I can use it: I can do standing and sitting calf raises, I can walk normally and will soon be able to run and jump as well.

It’s now March and I wanted to show you the progress I’ve made since the start of December. I do wish I’d have taken a photo of my body earlier, at the start of my weight training, but I didn’t. The best I can do is this photo, taken in September on a trip to Lake Vidraru. You can clearly see that I have little muscle mass and my arms are pretty thin.

Raoul in September 2009

Now let me show you a much better example of my progress.

My progress from December 2012 to March 2013

Here you can clearly see that my arms are much thicker and my back is thicker, justifying the ~10 lbs. of weight I put on. And I can assure you that it’s all muscle; if anything, my body fat is lower now.

This is only the beginning. I plan to add muscle mass until I get to 200 lbs. It’s not so far-fetched as you might think. In college, I went from a skinny ectomorph of 135 lbs. in my freshman year to a muscular mesomorph of 195 lbs. in my senior year. Granted, I did it on a traditional diet of meat, dairy, eggs and vegetables, but I know it’s also doable on raw foods. If I got to 195 lbs. once I can do it again and I can go beyond it as well. I can do it on raw foods and more importantly, I can do it without steroids or other illegal substances. My body is perfectly capable of secreting all of the hormones it needs, as it did so in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Wondering what my diet looks like? Here’s a peek.

I may also do a workout video (or videos) in the future.

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