In this post, I give you my status update along with a quick lesson on how to workout depending upon your goals. Many people think and act like they know what they’re doing but never really see results. They then blame everything but their method. If only ignorance were painful maybe then people would take the time to get proper information. On that note, quit reading those damn muscle mags that show you 100 ways to curl a dumbbell.
Operation beefcake in full swing
If you’re keeping track you’ll notice I’ve taken a week off of writing. Nothing much new has developed so I figured instead of rambling about my lifting sessions I’d save it to this week. Plus, I’m posting progress pics!
It’s been another two weeks towards my ultimate objective 90 kg or 198 lbs at 8% bodyfat. I’ve gone from 172 lbs (78 kg) in the beginning to my current weight of 184 lbs (84 kg). This weight seems to be holding steady and not too much water weight from the creatine. After a body fat analysis using a handheld device, I’m getting a reading of about 12.6%. Up a little from my usual 10%. To be expected when increasing my caloric intake to such a high amount. More on nutrition later.
Monday of week-3 I emphasized my upper back with bent-over rows and face pulls. After the issues with my back last week, bent-over rows weren’t the best decision. (face-palm). Tuesday’s squat session was a so-so affair. I had to take it easy because of my back and couldn’t lift to 100% of my abilities.
Unfortunately, deadlifts were much the same. So, I enjoyed the much-needed rest from Saturday and Sunday and my cheat day!
I enjoyed a night out for a friends birthday and the next day was cupcakes and club sandwich from my favorite sandwich shop. My cheat day lasts exactly 24 hours. The best part about it is I feel completely guilt free about it. I’m sticking to my healthy eating and training so a cheat day is ok.
Week 4 was better.
I can tell my back is starting to settle down. It’s pretty normal for this to happen. I have to work with the pain and stay determined. Eventually I’ll be lifting to my max potential.
So here’s the progress pics as promised. You can actually see my shoulders aren’t even. It’s from the issues in my lower back. Years of contact sports and lifting weights has taken its toll. Anyway, No excuses.
I don’t see it, but whatever.
Ok, so a little lesson for today
Split routines and The Importance of Muscle overload
One thing I haven’t really talked about is the biggest part of my workout. Compound sets! Most good trainers understand the importance of training a muscle group more than once a week. This is why many trainers scoff at the idea of doing any kind of split routine, i.e. shoulder day, arm day, leg day, forearm day… You get the idea. And there is some credence to avoiding this type of training. I’ll give you a few reasons why without going into too much detail, but here is the basic gist.
1. The first exercise you do for a muscle group will be the most effective.
Spending an entire hour doing 20 different variations of a bicep curl won’t really help you build muscle. You quickly reach a point of diminishing returns. As the muscle fatigues, you won’t be able to lift adequate amounts of weight to properly overload the muscle. Plus to train every muscle like that takes a lot of time.
Another way to look at it, lifting is like medicine. Small doses at frequent intervals is the best way to go. Your body doesn’t need or even want that much overload all at once. It can actually lead to negative effects as well. That is of course unless you are juicing.
2. You need to train a muscle group more than once a week to maximize results.
After you train a muscle group it’s ready to go again after 48-72 hours of rest. Not only is it ready to go, it needs that stimulus at regular intervals to continue seeing results. Similar to the medicine analogy above. Small frequent doses is the best approach.
3. Compound movements stimulate the greatest release of testosterone.
Your bodies testosterone levels undulate up and down throughout the day. This means you can get a natural anabolic boost (building muscle) by stimulating it’s release. Exercise helps stimulate that release but doing bicep curls won’t really up the boost by a significant amount. If you really want to get a natural boost you need to do large compound movements several times per week and go heavy. Thrusters, squats, rows, deadlifts, and bench press are great examples of compound movements. Doing these once a week won’t cut it either.
Again the medicine analogy. Small (intense) doses at regular intervals is the best way to go.
How to workout properly (depending on your goals.)
I love split routines. I’ll be the first to say it. But (and a big but!) they have to be done properly. Proper programming and tracking are key. Also, do no more than an upper/lower split 4-days per week. Absolutely demolish your upper body twice a week with at least two days rest between each session. An hour on upper body is plenty. If it isn’t then you aren’t lifting hard enough on the important exercises such as Bench and rows. Speaking of which do these early in the routine. They need to be the emphasis of the routine.
My current routine focuses on 5×5 compound sets. Heavy row on Monday and heavy bench press on Thursday. For the day I do rows I will perform heavy 5 reps immediately followed by face pulls for 15 reps. Do that for 5 sets and your arms are cooked! I then do the rest of the workout for upper body. Everything is 3 sets 12-15 reps.
For Bench Press it’s similar. Instead of doing face pulls I will drop down and knock out push ups usually to failure. It’s given me the biggest chest pump I think I’ve ever had!
When Compounding deadlifts I will do glute ham developer and squats I go to the trusty iso-wall squat for that nice deep burning sensation.
Total body weight routines three days per week. Stay in the 10-15 rep range. This range is the best for releasing fat burning hormones. On the other days you should alternate between long slow distances or steady state training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This can be a mix of your favorite cardio exercise (think sprint intervals) and even exercise circuits. With exercise circuits, keep the weight light and the reps high 15-20.
Don’t forget the all important nutrition. That’s a topic for another week. 😉
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