Now back to being comfortable on my commitment to ‘bulking’, it’s been a solid week in the gym.
Bulking and overload is really the ONLY way to hit my 2018 & 2019 body goals, as opposed to pursuing the short term need to get shredded for the business. I’m now at peace with that.
#1 – My weight is up to 189lbs, which is a good couple of pounds up from last week. It’s definitely not all extra muscle mass, but the weight is an indicator that I’m trending in the right direction. For most of the days, I’ve been +/- 50 cals from my 3,500 kcal budget. Knowing I had a couple of nice social events in the diary – friends over for lunch and going to a comedy night, I managed my consumption before/after each meal to ensure I could enjoy breaking bread with friends and having good food guilt-free.
#2 – Once I get firmly into the 192-194lbs range, I’ll take a few weeks out of bulking to go on a mini-cut. Basically stripping off some of the gained fat whilst attempting to preserve the new lean mass I’ve built. That helps give the digestive system a bit of a break, plus makes for a better longer term strategy as my goal is to be bigger but lean (8-10% body fat). We’ll do a podcast and an article on building Mini-Cuts into your bodybuilding programme for long term success in the next month or so.
#3 – This week was also about Strength Training. You see, there are different modalities of weight training dependant on your goal – whether it be to get Stronger, to get Bigger Muscles, or to get more Aerobically Fit. If you want to get physically stronger as your primary goal, be it for athletic performance or competition, you want to focus the majority of your work within the 4-6 rep range for 4-5 sets – i.e. lifting heavy with a big demand on your muscles and central nervous system.
This range is not optimal for growing size and fullness of muscles, but provides a solid foundation for hypertrophy work (8-12 rep range) to then follow. To be clear, you will get jacked doing strength work, but it’s not the primary benefit.
#4 – It was a fun week in the Gym – I personally really enjoy training for strength. It’s so physically and mentally demanding, and there is something animalistic about the focus and energy needed to lift heavy shit. So this week was fun. Taxing and brining on a little anxiety at times, but on the whole my body and personality type is well suited to this grinding work over a few reps, versus doing high volume high-burn hypertrophy sets.
THE NOT SO GOOD
#1 – Gone backwards in Strength – My strength is pretty good for my size and relative experience in proper weight training. However, I’ve gone backwards a little in my max weights across the big lifts, in part due to a back injury in December, and also due to deliberately doing more lower weight high-rep work for the last eight weeks. No major shakes, I’ll build back up and surpass my PR’s, but it is a little setback.
#2 – Sleep is still an issue – This week was better than last, but I’m not back to my mandatory 8h a night habit I built up in the back half of 2017. Averaged about 6h a night last week, but quality and timing was not great. This is exclusively due to the demand and focus I’m placing on building up AdapNation. There is no such thing as balance when you want to be great at something. To lean in on one thing, means some other stuff gets less attention of priority. This NEEDS to change, as sleep is critical to high performance, mood and recovery – both in the gym, for my family and generally in being sharp and energised.
#3 – Unhealthy focus on Work – I need to find a way to control the amount of time and mental focus I apply to work. This is paramount, as it could quickly become a slippery slope to bad health and damaged relationships. At the moment, it’s everything, leaving little to being fully present for my wife and kids. It’s leaving nothing for down time, chilling and small things like reading a book, sharpening the saw or just watching TV.
#4 – Skin issues return – Connected to sleep and lack of down time, some skin issues have reappeared for the first time in about a year. Nothing horrific, but I get some flaky/red skin on my face and also a flaky scalp. My diet is on point, so I know this is purely a function of burning the candle from both ends, being highly wound the last few weeks, and staying up working far too late every night in January.
Managing International Travel – Next week, I’ll be travelling to the US for a short business trip. I’ll plan to manage my diet and working out as best as I can, but I do accept that I will be out of my schedule and normal surroundings. I won’t be able to be as in control of what I eat, nor necessary get the workout format I have programmed.
Returning back to High-rep Workouts – I’ll also be returning back to the higher-rep Hypertrophy modality next week. Bryn and I are experimenting on a programme format that has us do weekly undulating periodisation and combined with progressive overload. It sounds fancy and complicated, but in a nutshell we are doing a week of strength focussed work, followed by a week of hypertrophy focussed lifting, with some built in progression expected from week to week. As we near the end of this 8-week cycle, we’ll report on it’s effectiveness in terms of building lean mass and what we see in the mirror.
I’ll let you know how I get on… 🙂
Follow this blog as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.