Ho Chi Min, Mui Ne, Da Lat
I just chilled throughout the last five days in Phuket. There weren´t many things to do without a motorbike. I got back to my normal schedule.
- Wake up early
- Have a walk
- Have a swim in the pool
- Work on Beasts by Nature
- Go to the Gym
- Eat post workout
I know this is a little bit boring. It was just for five days. That´s okay.
By the way. I could get some avocados as well as cashew nuts. There were quite cheap. If you are looking to buy large amounts of food, “Makros” is the solution. This supermarket offers groceries in decent portion sizes.
Hello, Vietnam. The last hours 28 hours were hard. Two flights, only two hours of sleep and a lot of waiting at the airport. In this time I met Sean. A guy from the states who is teaching English in Southeast-Asia.
Ho Chi Min City (14-16.03.2017)
The best homestay ever! Domino 5. If you are looking for a quiet room in Ho Chi Min this is a good choice. You don´t have to sleep in a dorm. Everyone has his own tiny room. There is a shared kitchen and the staff (especially the old man) is kind. Share some food with him and he will love you.
After arrival, I could only think about getting a motorbike. Some seconds later I got a message from Sean. He wrote that there are lots of bikes available at the backpacker area (Bui Vien Street). We decided to meet and explore the surroundings. I thought it could be nice to get there by walking. 5km, easy.
If you are searching for a cheap motorbike, Bui Vien is the right address. I decided not to buy one on the first day because I could not think clearly due to the lack of sleep. We headed to the Ben Tanh market to explore the surroundings. This market was annoying. At least for me. The sellers are so pushy that you can´t look at something without being pulled into the shops. I decided to buy some food and return to the homestay.
Back home I ran into Dino and Philip, two German guys who also travel through Vietnam by motorbike. They already bought theirs. We had good conversations and ate dinner together.
And yes I haven´t trained at this day…
Philip was so kind to drive me to Bui Vien in the next morning. I went to a little shop that I saw the day before. An hour later I was the owner of a lovely Honda win replica. Like all the bikes it has gone through hard times. But I was sure that it would get me up to Hanoi. The first time driving in Ho Chi Min was a shock. I thought Thailand was crazy but this is another level.
Back at home, it was time for a workout. I met Josh, an ex Bodybuilder from Canada. He told me about a good local gym near our homestay. The old man I told you about brewed me a pre workout coffee and I walked down there. The gym was nice! They had all I needed and 0.80€ per day was cheap. You can not find it on google maps by typing in “gym”. So, follow this link.
That evening Philip, Dino and I decided to head off to Mui Ne together. We booked a room in a nice house on Airbnb. With Sea View!
I got up early and had another workout before we left Ho Chi Min City at 10:30 am. 190km to go. After the first two hours, we decided to take a route closer to the ocean. That would be longer but we should arrive before the dark. Okay, that did not work…. My bike broke down. The cylinder head gasket decided to quit his job. We lost 1.5 hours.
A lot of guys told us that it is dangerous to drive in the dark. Honestly, it´s suicide. The bus drivers are crazy. There are rumours that some of them use amphetamine to stay awake. That would at least explain a lot.
Despite driving in the night we made it to the house (actually it was some kilometres before Mui Ne). All we needed was sleep.
Mui Ne (16-18.03.2017)
Upon wake up, I started to explore the surroundings. I found a great gym. The best one so far. This was in Phú Thúy. They charge you 1,20€ per day and it´s worth the money! Here´s the link.
We had a nice dinner on our balcony. The sea view was no lie ;). The two other guys killed the mini bar…
Time to drive again. Next stop was Dalat. I wanted to see the sand dunes of Mui Ne before this. There are rumours that the police will fine you for everything if you drive a specific route. I decided to see the white dunes instead of the red ones to avoid this problem.
The road from Mui Ne to Dalat was nice. I arrived in the afternoon and went to the Gold Gym. It was dirty but the people were kind. One of the trainers smoked cigarettes in the gym.. While exercising.
I bought fruit, veggies and eggs along the street and drove to Big C for other essentials.
This day was meant to catch up with sleep. I took a mini nap after my morning coffee and woke up at 4 pm. The only thing I did this day was my training session.
I moved to another house. A spacious private room was better than the little chamber in the dorm before. A little bit hippie but it felt like your own home. That´s where I met Dino and Philip again. They coincidentally booked the same accommodation.
Dino and I went to the market. I stocked up on fruit and veggies and went to the Tai Nguyen Gym. 40.000 per day. A little bit overpriced but you can deal with. Use google translator to ask if you can try it for one day. I saved some money here ;).
Another sleeping day. It´s good that I´m not the person who has to do something every single day… The altitude got me tired as hell. Dalat is located 1500 meter over sea level. I tried a third gym this day. It was new, full and overpriced. 50.000 per day. At least I had a good training with a nice guy from Argentina.
Lang Biang. The hike up there was beautiful. Do not use the main entry if you want to save the fees ;). There is a little dirt road 20 meters before the entrance (right side). But well, it was not too expensive.
Elephant Falls. The drive took me around 40 minutes. I noticed this morning that my luggage holder was broken. While driving it felt like it will break off completely. I spent around two hours exploring the waterfall and its surrounding. Try to be there as early as possible to avoid tourist tours. It got my bike whelmed afterwards and drove to a viewpoint where I took a break for an hour.
Flat tire. I got it fixed before going to the gym. Nothing else happened this day.
Paradise Lake in the morning. It was a stunning place. There is less wind in this area. Due to this, it feels like walking through a painting. You can drive to this point and take the small path to the left to a place where lots of local eat their lunch at the lakeside.
I had a flat tire again later this day. This time I changed the tube.
Takeoff. Next stop Nha Trang.
Training and Nutrition
I had the option to weigh myself in the gym. My current weight is 93 Kg. And like every guy in this sport I feel skinny. At the same time a little bit too fat. My estimated body fat percentage is around 10%. Not bad for a natty. Leon and I had a little goal for this year. It is to increase our body weight by five kilograms. In numbers that are 98 Kg for him and 95 Kg for me. You might think that five kg per year isn’t this much. Right. I could gain this weight in two days. It would consist out of water, stomach content and fat. Congrats. That would be an improvement.. We wanted to put on these kilos in form of muscle. That’s a lot. Always aware that this might not work. Anyway, it’s worth the try.
How do you eat for this slow increase in weight if you’re not tracking your macros?
The method I use is simple. It works well for me. My protein intake is based on 5-10 eggs and 600-800g of fish or meat. I switch up the protein sources often to have a high variety of dishes.
To increase my body weight slowly I have to eat until I´m not hungry anymore. The next step is waiting for an hour and eat another snack. Maybe around 300-400 kcal. That’s it.
What I have learned
I do not know now what my body is capable of. I thought I would be near the limit with training full body every day. Always in my mind that my body could not recover properly if I would do more than this.
Since the trip started I´m way more active. A mountain hike in the morning. Buy groceries by feet which often adds another 5-8km of walking per day. Have a swim in the ocean. Contrary to my expectations, these activities improved my recovery. My performance in the gym rose, too. I got stronger way faster than before.
As always there are various variables which will influence the result. In my opinion, there is another key factor besides nutrition and training. Your personal mindset when it comes to this sport.
I stopped thinking about the gym and training until I started my workout. In addition, I do not care about weighing my food and hit specific food goals as well. Ad libitum is the new macro tracking. This takes off a lot of mental pressure! It might sound too simple. But even simple things can have a huge impact on your life.
This was the first time I wrote an article in this diary style. I hope you like it. If not, let me know!
PS: Most of this article was written 5 months ago. Some points of view changed in the meantime.