2019 W51 of 52 – Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal

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THEMES: #1: The Body Goals End!, #2: The Photoshoot & #3: What Next?

Yep, you read it correctly. My two year body goal that I’ve been banging on about forever is finally over. Insane really, can’t believe two years have gone so fast. So, this is the finale. The grand reveal

Comment below and let me know what you think. How would you rate my goal achievement out of 10? Is there more to go? Should I set a new body goal to further optimise my physique?

The End of My Body Goal Journey

Reflection and Lessons

Two years of journaling about the development of my body (and mind). Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the insights and honesty. The tips and tricks across nutrition, exercise, recovery and body care. The charts and data analytics that I just can’t help myself from doing… 😬

I’ve learnt so much along the way – about myself, body building, getting the training/rest balance right, and what styles of training bring results and enjoyment.

I’ve also learnt just how slow an already trained body naturally responds to fully committed training and nutrition plan, and how lagging body parts… stay lagging.

But most importantly, I’ve reinforced a few super important concepts that I will carry forward with me:

  1. Setting very specific public stretch goals has an incredible effect on effort, commitment and goal attainment
  2. Holding yourself to account with regular public journalling sharpens your focus when you otherwise might slip and fall off the wagon
  3. It’s hard to predict metrics that are suitable. Nonetheless, whether too audacious or not, there’s a strong chance of great satisfaction with the end result
  4. The difference in Lean Mass between Bulked and Shredded is striking. and scary, unless you understand your physiology

The Objective Results

Just take a flick through Steve’s Body Journals. You’ll see that I had set some aesthetic and any body measurements goals back in January 2018, and systematically assessed myself against these numbers periodically.

I’d say progress has been solid throughout the two years, but I always knew my calves, biceps and thighs were simply never going to reach the lofty goals I set. I also knew about half way that my shoulders, chest and back were super-responding, and the rest of the metrics looked achievable if I stayed fully committed.

So, here are the results. It’s the familiar table I’ve been using throughout, but I’ve stripped away most of the mid-term measurements so it’s easier to follow. I’ve noted my gains / measurements as per my shredded and bulked state, as well as the delta against my original goals.

Take a moment to digest this chart. I’ve got some commentary below for extra context.

Tracking body fat and muscle mass
Where I ended up after two years of all in training and nutrition

My thoughts and observations

  • Aesthetics and Metrics are sometimes hard to marry up in predictions and goals. As you’ll see below, I am really happy with my aesthetic, yet there were a couple of objective misses
  • Weight – I actually came in at a low of 185lbs, but after a couple days of maintenance, I bounced up to 187lbs. Hence using that number as a realistic end point. I over achieved this goal, in the time I had planned
  • Body Fat % & Lean Mass – I came in at the leanest I have ever been, and it was relatively easy. I suspect getting leaner would be increasingly harder. I probably would not shoot for lower, as you do lose visual size due to fat and muscle-water weight. About 7% feels good
  • Chest, Shoulder and Back – Job done! Now, to be honest, I could do with more weight and strength in my lower pecs, and I’ll be working on that going forward
  • Waist – This is where the weight mostly goes for me when I bulk. I need to get to 7% or so for it to drop back into an athletic proportion. Smashed this goal, and it showed with abs popping
  • Arms, Legs and Calves – Disappointed. Well, not totally, as they look pretty good (see below), but given how much work I put into these areas, the relative metric growth is meagre. They all need to be bigger, and my thighs need more width.
  • Total Muscle Gained – Honestly, I would have hoped for more. Perhaps that’s a common response from most guys. In speaking with Christian Thibaudeau in episode #105, he thought my progress was bang on given my training age. I agree academically, but assume perhaps I could have squeezed out a little more with some tweaking.
Christian Thibaudeau Podcast on Training
PODCAST: #105: Christian Thibaudeau on Overtraining, Your Max Muscle Potential and Training to Failure

On the whole, I’d chalk this up as a success. I hit many of my ideals in terms of metrics, and perhaps I had placed my arms/legs ambitions simply in unachievable territory given my age, training age, genetics, lack of drugs, and the elapsed time available.

That said, there is more fight in me left. There’s a HUGE difference between missing your goal, and not achieving it… YET.

But before I get ahead of myself, I think I should first share how I look…

My Body Goals – A Visual Journey

I don’t see the point in showing the start physical transformation from circa 2014-2015, because that’s old news, and it isn’t relevant. Instead, let me walk you through the last couple years.

Jan 2018

Steve Katasi at start of his body goals journey
This was just as I started AdapNation in late Jan 2018.

July 2018

Steve Katasi Bulk July 2018
July 2018. Looking a little fluffy, but still holding on to my abs.

March 2019

Steve Katasi Body Progress March 2019
March 2019. Starting to come together. First time trying an aggressive cut approach.

Oct 2019

Steve Kataso Body shots Bulk Oct 2019
Not too shabby for a bulk. This is how I looked before my final 5 week cut of 2019 in October

My 2 YR Body Goal

Quick interrupt and reminder. This was the look I was going for, and had written about in January 2018.

Steves 2018-2019 Body Goals
MY 2019 BODY GOAL – I wrote this in Jan 2018, with specific measurement goals

NOW – Dec 2019

Let me know how you think I did. Don’t worry, I’ve got thick skin. 😉

Steve Katasi Abs and Arms
For stubborn lagging arms, they don’t look too bad
Steve Katasi Physique 2019
Yes, I may have had some bronzer and baby oil applied…
Steve Katasi Body Goals 2019
No complaints on my back, mid section and delta
Steve Katasi 2019
I almost look athletic here… even with doing ZERO cardio and nothing resembling athleticism
Steve Katasi Back 2019
Not too shabby. Delts, lats, traps, rhomboids all coming through pretty well
Steve Katasi Arms 2019
Must be a magic mirror. I don’t care… I’ll take it as a win!
Steve Katasi 2019 Abs
I must admit, it does feel great when you can always feel (and see) your abs… even under clothes

My Final Thoughts

Not much else to say to be fair. I am really happy with the result. All the effort was not in vain. I’d give myself a solid 8.5 out of 10 in terms of goal attainment and generally physique based on my ideal.

I’ve gained the confidence necessary to manage my physique for life, and know exactly what it takes to stay at a great 8.5-9 out of 10 year round.

But, as my body goals journalling has shown, if you want to put on muscle, you have to accept long stretches of time where your aesthetic is a little fluffier than you’d like. I’m totally ok with that, up to a max of 12% body fat.

So What Next?

Well, I’ve probably let the cat out of the bag already.

I LOVE training. It’s a keystone habit in my life that fuels progress and confidence across every other area of my life. I absolutely will NOT be stopping training any time soon.

I have also derived a ton of metaphorical value from achieving an ambitious body transformation. It’s the kind of reinforcing proof that I can achieve what I set my mind to. I can set a public goal, and publicly preserver through rain and shine.

For these two reasons, it makes no sense to ‘stop’ here. Nor did I expect to. If I am going to the gym, and like setting goals, then I may as well set the next physique milestone. It would be wasteful and unproductive not to.

For now, I’ll keep with these Body Goals

  1. Tracking my Thighs, Arms and Calves against the goals set in Jan 2018.
  2. Attempting to put on 2-4lbs of extra lean mass in 2019
  3. Keeping within 7-10% body fat as I bulk and cut in 2019

My Current Training Approach

Lastly, even though it’s Christmas time and work has been incredibly intense as we’ve been launching the #BeYourBest Self-Optimisation Journey, the training hasn’t and will not stop.

But let’s be clear, I’ll be training because I love to train, not because I am fearful, orthorexic or otherwise guilty. That, and the AdapNation gym is in my back garden.

What makes it easier is that DEC-19 #HyperWorkouts Gym Workout Plan is much shorter than the previous plans. Taking a leaf out of Paul Carter’s and Christian Thibaudeau’s book, DEC-19 is all about reduced volume, increased intensiveness, and getting minimum dose for maximum effect. It’s all about Training To Failure, just one working set per exercise, and getting in ~15 Maximally Effective Reps per muscle group.

It’s a six-day-a-week Push/Pull routine, and I must say, I am loving it! Done in 45mins, getting stronger week on week, and allowing more time to recover and focus on the business.

DEC-19 AdapNation #HyperWorkouts
DEC-19 AdapNation #HyperWorkouts Gym Workout Plan

Coming Up In Next Few Weeks

Here’s my focus for the next few weeks:

  1. #BeYourBest Self-Optimisation Journey Traction – I’ve created something truly special. The world now needs to know it exists…
  2. Christmas, NYE, Family Fun & New School – i.e. load of family fun over the next couple weeks. Can’t wait
  3. Getting some balance back – Sleep, chill and reading has taken a hit over the last 6 weeks. New year, new start. It’s important.

P.S. I’ll let you know how I get on with an update every few weeks… 🙂

Enjoyed the read?

Comment below, and check out our longer-form Articles, our shorter Micro Blog sections, grab Healthy Meal Ideas from AdapNation Food Diary, and Free Gym Workout Plans at #HyperWorkouts.

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