THEME OF THE WEEK: #1: 5 Months to go!
JUN-19 #HyperWorkouts 8 week training block done. Been bulking for four months with great results. It’s time to check in on progressive’s and plan the last 5 months of my 2 year body goal challenge!
I’ll push my bloods update and new supplements I’m trialling to the next journal.
#1: 5 Months to go – will I make it?
Right, shit’s getting serious! Only joking, it’s only a body goal challenge I set myself. The result is not important not does it impact my quality of life… but I’m a goal kinda guy. Once I’m locked in, I’m like a dog with a bone!
As mentioned in the last Body & Mind Progress Journal (W26), my overall weight gain has been lower than expected. It comes down to a significant change in my nutrition, where I am now eating a LCHF meat-dominant diet, and have dropped carbs from ~25% to 12%.
Now, I’ve been intrigued as to how that has impacted my gains. Subjectively and visually, it seemed that I was putting on fat at a slower rate than normal, yet in the mirror I was looking thicker and incrementally more muscular.
Combine that with decent strength and volume gains in the the gym as I’ve just finished up JUN-19 #HyperWrokouts Training Block, all clues suggested I might doing alright. At the end of the day, we all want muscle gains with minimal fat gains, as well as feeling satisfied with our day to day diet.
The curiosity got the better of me! Whilst a few weeks away from my target bulking weight, I decided to measure up and see how I’m doing from a body fat and body measurement perspective. Check out the below eye chart…
- Lean Mass Gains! – currently up 2lbs since the end of my last bulk. That’s awesome for someone with my length of training history (3 years of proper training).
- Lower Than Expected Body Fat! – Based on a 4 month bulk, and especially as I’ve been eating more than ever at 4400-4600kcal a day, I should have been at 12-14%. Only at 10%!
- Shoulder & Back Gains – Definitely seeing decent shift in size of my back and shoulders, which is confirmed by shoulder and chest circumference measurements. Overshot goal!
- Thighs Are Getting There – Slowly but surely. Stepped up isolation work on quads and hammies big style. Leg press and hack squat machine is getting a lot of use!
- Meh results on Arms and Calves – both seem to be really stubborn for me. 1.5-2cm of growth over 18 months, the progress is painfully slow. Am I doing enough?
All in, I’m pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the progress. Especially overall lean mass and relatively low fat mass gain. I’m sitting well for achieving some aspects of my End 2019 Body Goal, which feels great.
Of course, the true test will come when I finally shred off the extra weight, but that final push will not happen until baked of the year. I’m feel good about achieving leanness and was it goals. The issue is the lagging Arms and Calves, as well as stepping up the growth rate of my thighs.
So, What’s the Plan?
Hmmm, well… I know part of the plan. Will it result in the outcomes I’m aiming for? I’ll have to wait and see. It’s a tall order to bring up my stubborn muscle groups by an inch plus each in 5 months. Eeeek.
Diet / Body Comp 5 Month Plan
The goal was always to get two more cuts in for the year. Not sure if that is entirely productive based on the slower fat gain results of the current bulk, but psychologically it sits better with me to manage my fat gain soon, to prevent the final cut being too painful and detrimental to muscle mass.
I’ve decided to crack on with my bulk until I get to a consistent 204lbs, which I’m hoping will be hit in three weeks from now. That ties neatly into a a short break coming up, where I don’t want to be cutting and miserable with friends and fam! I’ll then do a 3 week blitz cut.
From there, I’ll enter my last bulk of the 2 year Challenge, running for 10 weeks and a goal weight of 206lbs. Then, time to get shredded! I’ll finish up with a 5 week cut that will get me down to sub 8% by Mid December. Take some photos, then go and properly enjoy Christmas!
The below should help make sense of the three remaining nutrition phases:
Cutting Strategy – I’ll be mixing two effective concepts, especially in the super short 3 weeker. I’ll be following the Blitz Cut approach I’ve previously followed with great success, as well as loading in 3x multi-day fasts. The fasts will be 48-72h with just a special Electrolyte blend and water. Results will be lightening fast, whilst still retaining a bunch of water weight and energy.
Bulking Strategy – I think I’ll carry on with the current approach. A Meat-Dominant Low Carb gig (10-12% carbs). I feel good, fat gain is slower, and I get lots of bioavailable nutrients and amino acids from this nose-to-tail animal-based diet. Throw in some rice, potatoes, mushrooms and salad. Done.
Training 5 Month Plan
The key for the next few months is to configure my training blocks to better focus on my lagging body parts, whilst not letting my other gains slip. However I cut it, the volume WILL need to increase.
I love my heavy strength training, but I think I’ll need to prioritise more higher rep high volume hypertrophy work. The strength training will brink up my whole body, which has been great so far, but it’s not focussed enough for what I need now. More arms, calves and thighs.
I’m going to need to increase my isolated Biceps and Triceps work – both in number of sessions (frequency), higher reps, and more sets. I’ll also play with drop sets, more sets to technical failure, and occluded training.
Same goes for Quads, Hamstrings and Calves. Drop the weight and do a ton of German high volume squats and lunge variations, but the real focus will be significantly more isolation work. More leg press, hack squat, calf raises, good mornings, leg extensions and leg curls. Luckily, I’ve outfitted the AdapNation home-gym with this gear… no excuse!
Honestly, I think it’s a tall order on arms, and especially so for my calves. Getting half way to declared goals will be a victory given my body genetics and current condition. For the thighs, I see the potential for another inch, mainly because of the combined big muscles of quads and hamstrings seem to be responsive to the increased training volume. Let’s see…
Another change will be Training Block duration. The #HyperWorkouts have mostly been 8 week meso cycles. To create more opportunity to respond to what is needed, and to limit the fatigue and onset of boredom, I’ll be dropping them down to 6 weeks, followed by a one week deload.
Lastly, when it comes to cardio, it’s been limited to lifestyle cardio for the most part. Walking the dog for 45mins every morning. Playing basketball, frisbee and other antics with my girls. And the odd bit of gardening. In the last cut, I’ll augment with 3 or so 20-30min steady state cardio sessions in the gym. Bike, rower, cross trainer.
Am I Missing Anything?
This feels like the most robust plan I can come up with. I’m chuffed with he progress to date, and quietly confident that the visual outcome will be close to the goal I set in January 2018. Here’s a quick reminder…
My goals on the proportions and sizes will be a challenge, but I’m willing to throw everything I have at training, nutrition and recovery over the next 5 months. Whilst build the business, reasoning products and having a life with my family. No biggie, right?…
What do you think of the plan? Does it seem solid? Would you do it differently – whether it be the diet plan passes or the style of training? Would you supplement with some specific stuff?
I’d love to hear from you. Help support the goal! Whilst it’s an inconsequential goal, it has an impact. It sets the tone for what is possible if you have a solid plan, put in the work, stay passionate, and have the introspection to assess and flex. Even in your late 30’s!
Coming Up In Next Few Weeks
In terms of Training, Wellness, Mindset and Body Goals, here’s my focus for the next few weeks:
- Blood Work – As promised, I’ll share the details in the next journal
- Results From Supplement Additions – In this weeks podcast with Christian Thibaudeau, we discuss some new supplementation strategies I am trialling
- Designing AUG-19 – As per above, I’ll be putting together a 6w High Volume Hypertrophy #HyperWorkouts training block
- Currently Reading – Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Harrari
P.S. I’ll let you know how I get on with an update every few weeks… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.