Project 300

ThraxThrax 🐌Austin, TX Icrontian
edited November 2010 in Fitness
For those of you who don't know my fitness history, all of it has been cataloged in this old thread which I am letting fall off the page. I am turning a new leaf, and with a new leaf comes a new thread packed with new information!

Brief background
From August 2008 until March 1 of 2009, I gained 32 pounds to go from 168 pounds to 200 pounds flat. I did this through eating right and lifting heavy 3 days a week.

On March 1, 2009, I began my cut to shed the body fat I started with, and the fat I had unavoidably gained throughout my bulking process. In the 32 weeks between March 1 and October 15 (when I began to ramp up my calories again), I lost 30 pounds, for a rate of about 1 pound per week. That's a pretty good pace, but I made several critical mistakes:

1) I tried metabolic experiments that ultimately did not pan out (carb cycling).
2) I had several weeks where I slipped into starvation mode because I was careless. My metabolism tanked and my weight didn't budge.
3) I severely underestimated the amount of body fat I was carrying. I estimated and allotted time for 20 pounds, but the real amount is just shy of 40.
4) I was really demotivated by cardio, but I discovered in just the last 3 weeks that I didn't even need it. A correct caloric deficit was enough to spur weight loss for me, even in the difficult final 10 pounds.

It's not all failure, though. I can happily say that I have replaced every ounce of body fat I had in August of 2008 with lean mass. The only fat I have left is what I gained from bulking, because I am very near to the weight I was at when I started. I have transformed my body in a big way.

That said, I am not yet happy with my progress, my body, or my efforts. I can do better. I made fitness mistakes. I made mistakes I've told other people how to avoid. I made silly decisions at times. But the lesson is that I picked myself up, and I'm going back at it with renewed vigor.

This week I am beginning a new round of bulking which is designed to:
A) Significantly increase my lean mass and;
B) Reduce my body fat percentage by adding minimal fat while my lean weight increases.

My goal with this project is to be 100% ready to be a Spartan from 300 at the next Oktoberfest. That was my 2009 goal. I promised it this year, and I failed. I know others are disappointed, but nobody's more disappointed than me. I'm disappointed that I have to spend another 6-8 months unable to see any of the definition I have worked for. No six pack, no v-shaped torso (from the front), no separation between quads, etc. Basically, I have fundamentally failed to achieve the appearance portion of my goal, but I'm fixin' to fix it starting today, November 2.

Here's how it's all gonna go down.

I will be eating a standard 40/30/30 diet of protein/carbs/fat. I have continuously refined the quality and consistency of my diet to the point where I have a very small stable of high-quality foods that my body responds very well to.

I am a big believer in the "path of least resistance" when it comes to fitness, in that I don't want to spend 50% more time for 2% better results. That's just not for me. I also don't want to spend gobs of time diversifying my diet with a horrifying amount of daily cooking. I don't have time for that. So as a result, I've tailored my diet for quality, convenience and portability. I can't do much better than what food I've picked, but all of it I can take with me to work, which is what I need if I'm going to eat right.

Meal plan

Meal 1 (9:00 AM): 1.5 cups oatmeal (dry before cooking), 40g peanut butter

Meal 2 (2:00 PM): 6.5oz chicken

Meal 3 (6:00 PM): 452g cottage cheese, 40g peanut butter

Meal 4 (9:00 PM [Pre-workout]): 1 cup oatmeal (dry before cooking), 3 cups 2% milk w/ 3 scoops protein powder

Meal 5 (10:30 PM [Post-workout]): 3 cups 2% milk w/ 3 scoops protein powder,

Meal 6 (1:30 AM): 6.5oz chicken

Calories: 3269
Protein: 342g
Carbs: 248g
Fat: 110g

I also plan to supplement 300mg daily Omega 3, and creatine for energy/definition as an experiment.

Three days at the gym is no longer sufficient for the level of fitness and the appearance I am striving to obtain. That is why I am switching to a 4-day split on Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri that will give me more energy and more time to dedicate to each muscle group.

My current muscular development is truly a limitation of the time I dedicated on the first go. My rear delts are underdeveloped, my chest--especially my pectoralis minor--needs considerable work, my lats need help, and finally my Adonis Belt. Everything else is proportioned correctly, but simply needs to be enlarged for the figure I want. This will also have the added effect of adding the vascularity that isn't particularly prevalent in my current weight class.

The lifting plan
Mon (11/2):
Squats: 7/6/6 @ 230
Calf Raise: 3x8 @ 145
Hamstring Curl: 8/8/8 @ 130
Leg Press: 3x8 @ 370
Weighted leg raise: 3x8 @ 25

Tues (11/3):
Incline Bench: 6/6/5 @ 155
Flat Bench: 6/6/5 @ 170
Pec deck: 3x6 @ 90
Cable Flyes: 6/5/4 @ 65
BB Curl: 10/6/5 @ 60

Thurs (11/5):
Deadlift: 7/6 @ 315
Chinup: 8/6/6 +10
BB Row: 3x6 @ 110
Skullcrushers: 7/5/5 @ 60
Dips: 3x6/6/6 @ 40

Fri (11/6):
Hammer Curl: 3x8 @ 45
Reverse curl:
Shoulder Press: 3x7 @ 110
Wrist curl:
Reverse wrist curl:
Reverse flyes: 3x8 @ 100

Please note that these rep targets are taken straight from my log. The actual target is usually 3x8, or 3x10 in the case of forearm/bicep work.

Final thoughts
I am targeting a non-lean weight between 185 and 190 pounds, which will take me no longer than the end of March. If my calculations are right, my body fat will be approximately 11.5% by the end of March as a result of lean mass composing a higher percentage of my total body weight. This will put my lean weight around 180-185 pounds, or within a 3 month cut window.

I would like this to be my last bulk/cut cycle. This is my last real shot to get major muscle groups in check and into shape. By this time next year, I want to be around 180-185 with 9-10% body fat, eating approximately 2700 maintenance calories a day. I want to be in a position where I can experiment with weights, maybe try strength training, and only have to worry about fixing small proportion issues.

Let's see what happens.


  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    Incredibly impressive. Your dedication to your fitness is worthy of emulation, and I congratulate you on your success so far. I have no doubt you'll reach your end goal.
  • ZenModeZenMode Royal Oak, Mi Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    Rob, you will do it this time sir!
  • chrisWhitechrisWhite Littleton, CO
    edited November 2009
    Thrax you're a badassmofo. You can totally nail this!
  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    Badass.... yep.
  • AlidraAlidra Metro Detroit Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    I have complete faith in you, Rob! Kick ass! <3
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    These are more or less my before pictures. Approximately 13-14% body fat after 2 weeks of bulking. I am 173 pounds in these pictures. My camera is shitty.


  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    You know I'm behind ya. Look forward to results come EPIC
  • pseudonympseudonym
    waits in thread for Annes.
    Michigan Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    waits in thread for Annes.
  • CharshieCharshie Hollywood, California Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    You can and WILL attain your goal, Rob. And in the meantime? Saying you look wonderful is putting it lightly.
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    pseudonym wrote:
    * pseudonym waits in thread for Jackie.


    Fine job, Thraxy. Keep it up.
  • poofiepoofie Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    hubba hubba.
  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    I remember you from 6-7 years back and you have made some incredible progess that you should be more than proud of. Good luck on your new goals man.
  • GnomeQueenGnomeQueen The Lulz Queen Mountain Dew Mouth Icrontian
    edited November 2009
    Annes wrote:

    Fine job, Thraxy. Keep it up.

    Oh hai guys, what's going on in this thread?
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited March 2010
    I start my cut today.

    As of this morning, I'm 195 pounds with 17.73% body fat. I started at 170 pounds with 14.1% body fat, making for a total gain of 10.6 pounds of fat and 14.4 pounds of muscle. In other words, about 60% of every pound I gained was in new lean mass.

    Due to the addition of new lean muscle, the amount of fat I can burn per week has dramatically increased: With a lean muscle mass of approximately 175 pounds, I can lose 2.25 pounds a week without compromising my body or entering starvation mode. With a lean mass of 160 pounds (before this bulk), the maximum limit was 1.2 pounds. I have nearly doubled the fat-burning potential of my body by adding lean mass.

    Those who have read my thread know that I had to lose 40 pounds going into my last cut. At about 1 pound a week, I abandoned my cut for another phase of bulking because it would have taken so long that it was unreasonable. This time, however, I plan to lose about 1.5-1.75 pounds a week, and I only have 25 pounds to lose. I'll be done by mid-July, even if I'm sloppy about keeping my calorie count in check.

    On the topic of calories, my cut diet is fairly simple: 1900 calories broken down into 45/30/25%, or ~54g fat, 147g carbs and 221g protein. I will be eating this across five or six meals, taken from the following pool of food:
    • 6 scoops of protein powder (81g protein)
    • 452g 0% fat cottage cheese
    • 2 cups (dry before cooking) oatemal
    • 52g peanut butter
    • 6oz chicken

    The protein powder will be broken into two servings of 3 scoops, mixed with 3-4 cups of water. I will drinking additional water beyond this 6-8 cups to bring my daily total up to one gallon. It's likely that my menu will look like this:

    Breakfast: Peanut butter + oatmeal
    Lunch: 6oz chicken
    After work: 452g cottage cheese
    Pre-gym: Protein powder
    Post-gym: Protein powder + oatmeal

    My life was fairly hectic throughout this bulk phase, so I was not able to bring the weights up in some of the exercises as I had wanted. Most notably, I did not make much progress on my squats, even though I still feel quite strong on them.

    A continued source of consternation, however, is the development of my chest. After repeatedly and consistently failing to bring the weight up in my 3x8--I stalled around 170 or 175 for quite some time--I switched to a 6x3 program, and later a 5x5 program, which I am still on. On the 5x5 program I have been able to bring the weight up from 175 to over 205 pounds (in four weeks), even while doing more volume at a greater intensity than I was ever doing with 3x8s.

    This new bench routine, coupled with the addition of incline flyes and incline hammer-grip DB presses has had a pronounced effect on the growth of my chest, but I did not discover its benefits until the last month of my bulk. As a result, my chest continues to be underdeveloped with respect to the rest of my musculature--the proximal sternal insertion point of my chest needs notable work.

    I also fear for the development of my lateral deltoids, as well as the width of my lats.

    I will have to assess everything once I am at 9% body fat, and evaluate what needs additional work, but I know my chest will certainly need additional help. This means I'm due up for another bulk phase in the fall of this year, likely around the beginning of October so I am still lean for our Oktoberfest celebrations and its costume event. I suspect I'll need to add another 6-10 lean pounds to correct everything, but we'll see.

    This spot reserved for final pre-cut reps/weights.

    This spot reserved for "before" pictures.

    Final notes
    In all I am very excited about this cut. Not only will it be extremely quick by comparison, I will finally be able to see the results of the efforts I have made since August of 2008.

    It has been a very long road, and I may still have a year or two of fine-tuning to go, but this is easily the most optimistic I have been since I started this entire routine.

    See you on the flip. :)
  • GnomeQueenGnomeQueen The Lulz Queen Mountain Dew Mouth Icrontian
    edited March 2010
    Thrax wrote:
    My life was fairly hectic throughout this bulk phase

    *Looks innocent*
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited November 2010
    The same thing that happened during my last cut happened during this cut: I got about 3/4 of the way done with fat loss and hit a wall, even with cardio and lifting. June, July and August were a total wash as I experimented with my diet to see if that would get things started again without (because I hate it) doing cardio.

    I finally resigned myself to doing cardio in late august, but soon thereafter injured my lower back when I rounded it doing a 325 lbs deadlift. Since then I've dealt with irritation that's localized to the right side of my spine, right around the sacrum. The pain is occasional, and only occurs when I do specific motions or put a load on my body that uses the core for support (deadlift, squat, DB raises, shoulder press).

    After giving it all a rest and found no improvement, I went to the doctor in September, and he said I had a "lumbosacral joint" injury, which is the physiological equivalent of saying "SOMETHING IS WRONG IN YOUR LOWER BACK, HERP." He did, however, torque my body eight ways from sunday, recommended heat+ice, stretching and aleve, but that has not remedied the issue. I've been out of the gym six weeks and counting.

    Moving to Canada has not helped me stay on track, either.

    So, once I get insurance in Canada (very soon), I will be looking for a sports medicine doctor who will try to fix the problem without saying "lol just lift less, silly" like a GP would do. There are myriad causes for my symptoms, including SI joint dysfunction, hip impingement, pelvic tilt and so on. Hopefully an sports doctor can point me in the right direction.

    In the mean time, I have been researching low-GI carbohydrates and gluten sensitivity to make sure that my diet avoids foods that commonly trigger fat retention through high insulin response or other mechanisms. I have compiled a diet that completely eliminates gluten and drops my carbs to < 50 grams per day by adding eggs and 2% milk to replace the whole/unprocessed wheats and oats I was previously eating.

    2% milk is a low GI carbohydrate (lactose), and eggs provide sufficient fat/protein to make up for the calorie deficit I was experiencing through dropping carbohydrates. Combined with the home workout routine I have begun to keep myself in somewhat decent shape, I hope to resume losing (albeit at a slower rate) fat over the course of then next few months.

    This weekend I will be fasting on Friday into Saturday to get an accurate weight/body fat measurement, and I will return to this thread with those numbers when they are available.

    Thanks for reading.
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