Anyone looking to do REAL and SERIOUS muscle building MUST READ THIS GUIDE
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Without these tools, you may never learn the proper form and habits to generate a cut physique. Most information out there regarding male muscle development is WRONG and has you exercising TOO MUCH.
Some three years ago now, I decided to get serious about my personal health. I had always been fat, and had always been unhappy about it; I knew it was nobody's fault but my own. I ate too much and moved too little. As I graduated high school and moved into my year of college, the dorm life got to me, and I threatened to pack on the Freshman 15. My weight crept from 205 (at 5'9" or so) to 212. When I came home during the Thanksgiving break of 2004, my weight-gain was startling and very frustrating. Right then and there vowed to get more fit.
Considerable research left me calculating my daily calorie burn, my basal metabolic rate, and got me counting calories. I discovered that my average daily burn was 2700 and my basal metabolic rate was about 1830. If I ate somewhere around 2000 calories every day, I would lose weight. Lo and behold, as the year slipped into 2005, I had dropped from 212 down to 155.
But there was a problem: I was still very doughy. I was "skinny-fat" as they call it.
Skinny-fat occurs when someone is at a healthy weight for their height without the right body composition, in effect: too much body fat and not enough lean muscle. From 2005 until 2007, I lived with my skinny-fatness. It was disappointing the entire way. Imagine the frustration of carefully plotting out your diet every day for 3 years and simply looking like a smaller version of the fat kid you once were.
In the early summer of 2007, I started working out with a rudimentary plan I developed for myself that included bodyweight exercises. At this time, I knew nothing about proper diets for muscle-building, but I had noob gains and managed to bring myself up from 155 to 165 in muscle mass. I was still eating whatever I wanted as long as it was within the restriction of 2000-2400 calories a day, because I thought that would help me lose body fat. By the way: It won't. Muscle-building and fat loss are 100% exclusionary outside of the first 30-60 days. I didn't really know that at the time, however.
By August of 2007, though, I had fallen off the bandwagon again and lapsed into laziness. A sedentary job that delivered delicious lunches every day helped me gain a few percentage points of body fat again, and I once again grew irritated with my appearance and lost a lot of self-confidence. Come January, the damage that began in August with my new job had slowed to a stop, but I was still pretty unhappy. I kicked my own ass and again returned to watching my calories and nutritional breakdown.
Yes, a sedentary life was made even more sedentary. In January of 2008, I was laid off from my firm and began seven miserable-ass months of enduring the ****ty Michigan economy (I have since been reemployed). As March rolled around, I felt I should be doing something more with my free time. I rewrote resumes, sent them out, and browsed for jobs each and every day, but I still couldn't shake this restless feeling.
So began my third attempt at getting fit. My problem had always been that I was aimless and without direction when it came to building muscle. I always knew what I needed to do to shed body fat, but finding concrete guides to building new muscle had always eluded me. In March I ran across the fantastic and inspiring "How to Be Ripped Like Brad Pitt From Fight Club in 12 Weeks or Less
" program which I have since given out to several people. The guide told me, week by week, exactly what to do. It was light on nutritional advice, but it was a damn good start.
From March until July, I followed the plan. It was the first time I'd ever been truly optimistic about building lean bulk. Every time I fell off the boat (which happened two or three times), I started over from my best week. I still have not gotten to the end of the plan because I had not exhibited the necessary discipline to complete it to my satisfaction. My most recent and satisfactorily-completed week was week six. That was as of the middle of August (this month). Throughout this time, I learned how to eat right. This meant good carbs, a preponderance of protein and choosing the right foods for healthy fats. I meticulously tracked my diet and even abstained from more than just THREE BEERS at the ICLAN08. That's self-control.
My first paycheck coincided with the realization that I was not accomplishing much from home any more, though. As I could do squats, lunges, decline/incline/flat pushups with 70 pounds on my back and did not have heavier freeweights for other exercises, my abilities to improve my performance plateaued. I knew I needed to go to the gym, and my paycheck let me enlist for four months at $100.
Nomad put together a plan for me with body-building in mind. My ultimate goal is one of aesthetics, not strength, but since appearance is the product of strength (and what you eat), it's going to be a long, steady haul to health victory.
This is my attempt at getting ripped. It's not even an attempt, as attempting implies potential failure. I'm going to get ripped. I'm going to get ****ing huge, shred phonebooks and bend buicks in half. But all of it starts with day 1, and that was on Saturday (8/23).
My first trip to the gym was with Nomad for form training and experimentation with good starting weights. We did a cut down version of my Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday exercises in a single day which I will call week zero:
Squats: 4x7 @ 110lbs
Leg Curl: 3x7 @ 50lbs
Leg Press: 3x10 @ 90lbs
Romanian Situp: 2x12
Plank: 2x60 seconds
Bench press: 3x7 @ 120lbs
Incline bench: 3x7 @ 100lbs
Barbell Shoulder Press: 3x7 @ 65lbs
Dips: 2x5 @ Body Weight (171)
Lateral Dumbbell Raise: 3x10 @ 20
Cable Crossovers: 3x10 @ 30lbs
Deadlift: 2x5 @ 115lbs
Barbell Row: 3x7 @ 75lbs
Pull-up: 2x5 @ Body Weight (171)
Lat Pulldowns: 3x10 @ 40lbs
Barbell Curl: 3x10 @ 60lbs
Dumbbell Curl: 3x10 @ 20lbs (This value may not be right since my arms were still tired from BB Curls)
Later that evening, my body was blitzed. It felt great. I could barely move.
No workouts. I only really ate when I was hungry.
From here on out...
Every week I will post a breakdown of what I ate each day, and my performance in the gym. I will also begin to post regular pictures as soon as I get some time to take some. Expect the "before..." fatty pictures pretty soon here.
Thrax 'bout to get ripped. I promise. See you at ICLAN09.