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Thrax's big fitness adventure

ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind DroneAustin, TX Icrontian
edited Oct 2009 in Fitness
IMPORTANT LINKS:
Anyone looking to do REAL and SERIOUS muscle building MUST READ THIS GUIDE.
Anyone looking to track their nutrition must go to FITDAY.

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.

Then: UNEMPLOYMENT.

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:

WEEK 0:
SATURDAY 8/23:
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)

NUTRITION:
Here

Later that evening, my body was blitzed. It felt great. I could barely move.

SUNDAY 8/24:
NUTRITION:
Here

MONDAY 8/25:
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. ;)
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Comments

  • TimTim Southwest PA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    My fatness is on my mind also. I'm 6' tall and am currently 260 lbs. I've been doing some exercise for a few months now, but probably not enough. About 5 times a week I'll walk @1-1/2 miles around town in the morning, then do pushups and situps. I'm up to 45 pushups and 30 situps now. I increase by 5 when I can, I started at 25 and 15 back in July.

    My big problem is that I sit in front of computers too much, and the fridge is only 20 feet away. I've tried some mild dietary changes, but I think I still eat too much.

    People have told me I'm not losing weight because I am getting more muscle now, but I don't care about that, I just want to see the scale numbers go down.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    If all you care about is the scale going down, you're never ever going to be more fit.

    The scale is completely worthless as a measure of fitness level. 99%. Completely. Entirely. Worthless.

    The only time, ONLY TIME the scale is useful is to verify that you are at or above a healthy weight for your height. This 1% of the time is the only time. I cannot stress that enough. Beyond that, all that matters is a fit body fat % which for men is between 9 and 13%.
  • edited Aug 2008
    My Mom works at the gym in town and I often see people confronting her asking questions that fit within the area of where your first started out, so it's great to see you made the first phases to better health completely by yourself (from what I see).

    Now I can only wish you good luck with your workouts. Enjoy yourself!
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    It's great to see you post your fitness adventure here, Thrax.

    I have no doubt you're going to get ripped. It's funny, though, how the more you read and research the easier it is to see how the common wisdom "more = better" is so completely wrong when it comes to working out to build muscle.

    One caveat, though: Brad Pitt was not in all that great shape for Fight club. He was cut, no doubt, but he was down around 155-160 pounds. His shoulders and arms were big, which gave the illusion he was in great shape, but his chest and core muscles were probably underdeveloped. Granted, he was in much better shape than your average American, but he was by no means ideal.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Even a lean 155-160 for a man of his height is healthy. It's small, but it's healthy. At that point, the discussion centers around your version of ideal. Some people would prefer to be smaller and lighter while remaining lean. The "Brad Pitt" look does it for them, and it's not wrong.

    Then there's what I want. As much lean mass as I can put on until I'm satisfied.
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    I only have one question: Will the progress pics be boxer-briefs only or completely nude?
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Thrax wrote:
    Even a lean 155-160 for a man of his height is healthy. It's small, but it's healthy. At that point, the discussion centers around your version of ideal. Some people would prefer to be smaller and lighter while remaining lean. The "Brad Pitt" look does it for them, and it's not wrong.

    Then there's what I want. As much lean mass as I can put on until I'm satisfied.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply it was wrong, just that his physique is disproportionately focused on arms and shoulders for Fight Club, giving people the impression he's bigger than he is. In fact my weight goal is still somewhere in the 155-160 pound range, which on my frame will probably look substantial.

    I'm certainly not saying "don't do that" but I am saying you probably have more muscle mass at your core and chest now than he did in Fight Club.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    @Rob: That's quite possible, yes. ;D
    @Anne: /lech
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    WEEK 1:
    TUESDAY 8/26:
    Squats: 4x7 @ 120lbs
    Leg Curls: 3x7 @ 60lbs
    Leg Press: 3x10 @ 100lbs
    Romanian Situp: 3x12
    Plank: 2x60 seconds

    CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS WEEK:
    Squat: +10lbs
    Leg Curls: +10lbs
    Leg Press: +10lbs
    Romanian Situp: +1x12
    Plank: No change

    NUTRITION:
    Here

    WEDNESDAY 8/27:
    NUTRITION:
    Here

    No workouts today.

    THURSDAY 8/28:
    NUTRITION:
    Here

    WORKOUT DAY! YAY! Stats to come.
  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Good articles. Just what you've done weight wise is an inspiration. I'll have to join you on this. I've always been a fatty, about 185-195, and have never been able to shake it. I mountain bike 4-5 miles every weekday, but have never gotten into a real weight training/diet "thing". I have access to one of the best facilities in the area at Grand Valley State so that is perfect. If you have any more info on diet stuff or w/e I'd appreciate it. I'm going for Spartan 300 status by next lan.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=998224

    If you follow that guide to the letter, and I'm serious about that, every word... You will get results. You will get results. You need to eat like a damn race horse. 100g of clean fats every day, 200g of complex carbs a day, 300g of lean protein a day, if not more, EVERY DAY. If you follow rippetoes, you will get ripped. It's a the weightlifting bible for beginners and intermediates. There is no better advice anywhere.
  • tmh88tmh88 Pittsburgh / Athens, OH
    edited Aug 2008
    My metabolism has always been very high, although it has started to slow down some since I've gotten to college + less activity. I have never had to worry about eating unhealthy foods because it does absolutely nothing to me. Anyway at 6'2", the most I've ever weighed was 166lbs. I'm about 162lbs now, so yea, tall and thin. I try to eat healthy foods just because I feel better and gives me more energy, but I could easily get away with eating fast food and pizza every day and not fluctuate in weight. One of my room mates worked at a pizza place so we always had pizza around. Last year I ate pizza for like 2 weeks straight every day and managed to drop 2 lbs somehow.

    edit -Forgot to add I'm around 10-12% body fat, and I forget how to calculate BMI. I have a scale that can calculate it, but those things aren't extremely accurate. I know weight isn't a measure of overall health, I'm just making a point that I have a high metabolism.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Weight isn't a measure of health.
  • GnomeQueenGnomeQueen The Lulz Queen Mountain Dew Mouth Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Keep up the good work! :D You even make me want to go work out. :)
  • cherplunkacherplunka Sunnyvale, CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    very admirable thrax,


    and you can rip phone books in half!

    you don't have to be as big as the guy in the video though.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVkeidmKl3E


    i know it's not quite what you mean,
    but it works, and it'll make you feel good to do.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Today's stats:
    Bench press: 3x6 @ 115lbs
    Incline bench: 3x6 @ 100lbs
    Barbell Shoulder Press: 3x6 @ 65lbs
    Dips: 4x3 @ Body Weight (171)
    Lateral Dumbbell Raise: 3x10 @ 10
    Cable Crossovers: 3x10 @ 30lbs

    Not a good day. I lost some ground in the rep department, which means I will back the weights down some and try again (harder) next week.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Today's nutrition:
    http://fitday.com/fitness/PublicJournals.html?Owner=Thracks&Year=2008&Month=7&Day=29

    //EDIT:

    Some have commented that they see Wendy's on my fitday menus. You must understand that I carefully pick what I'm eating from there when I go for lunch. For example, if I get a double burger, I'm getting without mayo, cheese, ketchup or mustard and taking off half the bun. In the case of an Ultimate Chicken Grill, I ask for no special sauce, and again take off half the bun.

    In all case I proactively minimize the bad portions of those meals by being very picky about how they're being put together. Wendy's can be nutritious, but you have to be cautious.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Wendy's is probably some of the healthiest hamburger you can get at a fast food joint. It really does come in fresh every day.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    I feel compelled to point out that fresh != healthy, especially in the meat aspect.

    Good work Thrax, keep it up.
  • NomadNomad A Small Piece of Hell Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Work harder.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Today:

    Deadlift: 2x6 @ 135 (+20lbs)
    Barbell Row: 3x8 @ 85lbs (+10 lbs)
    Chin Up: 12 reps
    Lat Pulldowns: 3x10 @ 50lbs (+10lbs)
    Barbell Curl: 3x8 @ 60lbs (No change)
    Dumbbell Curl: 3x8 @ 20lbs (No change)

    Need to work on the BB curl and the DB curl. My arms are so tired by the time I get to DB curl. I also think my deadlift form is still pretty ****ty; I think I'm rounding my lower back too much.

    NUTRITION:
    Here
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina New
    edited Aug 2008
    Keep hitting the Gym hard Thrax, can't wait to see your progress.
  • WagsFTWWagsFTW Grand Rapids, MI Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    ' wrote:
    [v][AGIC']Good articles. Just what you've done weight wise is an inspiration. I'll have to join you on this. I've always been a fatty, about 185-195, and have never been able to shake it. I mountain bike 4-5 miles every weekday, but have never gotten into a real weight training/diet "thing". I have access to one of the best facilities in the area at Grand Valley State so that is perfect. If you have any more info on diet stuff or w/e I'd appreciate it. I'm going for Spartan 300 status by next lan.

    I can't wait to try to start working out with you, and helping be your support on this. You are gonna look HOT.
  • WagsFTWWagsFTW Grand Rapids, MI Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Thrax, I'm very excited for you on this. You have really inspired Magic to join you on this plan as well. I hope you get the results you are looking for, and can't wait to see the progress!
  • NomadNomad A Small Piece of Hell Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    ' wrote:
    [v][AGIC']Good articles. Just what you've done weight wise is an inspiration. I'll have to join you on this. I've always been a fatty, about 185-195, and have never been able to shake it. I mountain bike 4-5 miles every weekday, but have never gotten into a real weight training/diet "thing". I have access to one of the best facilities in the area at Grand Valley State so that is perfect. If you have any more info on diet stuff or w/e I'd appreciate it. I'm going for Spartan 300 status by next lan.

    Hey, I actually lost a great deal of weight biking (From 180 to 138) in less than a year. Had I known more about diet I would have done it quicker, but some basic tips:

    - Drop pop, I lost 15 pounds alone on this
    - Eat breakfast
    - Opt for whole grains, vegetables, and fruits whenever possible
    - Don't eat after 9 PM (Particularly carbohydrates)
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Nomad wrote:
    Hey, I actually lost a great deal of weight biking (From 180 to 138) in less than a year. Had I known more about diet I would have done it quicker, but some basic tips:

    - Drop pop, I lost 15 pounds alone on this
    - Eat breakfast
    - Opt for whole grains, vegetables, and fruits whenever possible
    - Don't eat after 9 PM (Particularly carbohydrates)

    Holy crap, yes. Dropping pop is one of the best things I ever did, both for my body and my wallet. I never drink anything other than water and juices these days, and overall I just feel more fresh by default.

    Oh, and drink water. Everyone drink more water. I drink about 40oz of water a day, if not more. I always keep a water bottle at my side. Not only will you stay properly hydrated (which is a massive boost to workout), but it'll help curb your hunger if you keep sipping away at water.

    And breakfast. Definitely do breakfast.

    Keep it up Thrax, this is awesome. Very inspiring story. Follow this plan like you've been doing, and you'll be swooning the ladies with no shirt and tearing books in half. It'll be awesome.

    Getting fit (thought I'm still a work in progress), is one of the best life-changing decisions I've ever made. I highly recommend to anyone thinking about getting in shape to find a plan and do it! It's hard, don't expect it to be an easy switch. But stick with it, and you will be happy with the results. After a little while of doing it, workout becomes habit. Then it becomes easy, in a sense.

    Just get to it everyone!
  • tmh88tmh88 Pittsburgh / Athens, OH
    edited Aug 2008
    I didn't find it worthy to start a new thread for this, but I figured it fits in with the health genre. Today I realized just how overweight America really is. I was at a water park, and I was in absolute shock at how overweight the majority of people were. Seriously, like I'd guess 65-70% of the people there would easily be considered overweight, and of those people, about 1/3 were just huge. I know some of it deals with genetics, but it's still hard to believe.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    It almost never deals with genetics. Only a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction has an abnormal metabolism or a disease that affects the metabolism. Everyone else just has fat **** syndrome.
  • tmh88tmh88 Pittsburgh / Athens, OH
    edited Aug 2008
    Thrax wrote:
    It almost never deals with genetics. Only a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction has an abnormal metabolism or a disease that affects the metabolism. Everyone else just has fat **** syndrome.

    I didn't mean it like diseases or anything like that, I just meant that some people have a bigger frame and will never have a 32 inch waist no matter what they do. For the most part, "fat" people are that way because food is so tastey, and exercising hurts.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Aug 2008
    Yeah, well, if people are getting hung up on their waist size as opposed to their body fat % and lean muscle mass, they're already on the wrong train.
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