Day 80 – That’s More Like It!

Today, I completed Session A of the Beginner Program from Jason Ferruggia’s “Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0″ program.  Instead of shoveling snow I actually got to devote some time to the weight room this afternoon!  It felt great!!!!

I can honestly say that today’s session was one of the best lifting sessions I’ve had in a few weeks.  Part of it was due to having been away from the weight room for 3 days.  I miss my lifting sessions; they are therapeutic & invigorating.  One day off is difficult enough. 3 days off was sheer torture!  I have a much better appreciation for my lifting sessions as a result.

The other reason that today’s session was so good is because I entered the weight room with a new attitude.  A positive attitude.  An empowered attitude.  A winning mentality.  A certainty that I AM on the way to reaching my fitness goals

If you read yesterday’s blog post, you might be a bit puzzled by all of this.

When I last sounded off, I was a bit disappointed in not being selected as a finalist for the 6-week “mini-transformation” contest.  Actually, a bit disappointed is an understatement.  I was rather upset by the news.  I did my best to handle the situation with some dignity & grace but it was difficult to hide the disappointment.

Not long after updating my blog last evening, something amazing began happening.  A number of fellow body transformation contestants started reaching out to me & offering words of encouragement. I was humbled by the outpouring of support.

They offered up things like: “You should have been a finalist.”, “Glad to know I’m not the only one who is feeling the sting…”, “How were you NOT picked?” & many other similar comments.

Many of these folks are complete strangers.  Yet they took a moment to pat me on the back & lift my spirits.  Wow!

A few of the contestants that reached out to me were not complete strangers.  Although I have not meet these people in person, I have communicated with them in various ways online.  Here’s how:

A component of this transformation contest is the Daily Progress Journal updates at the Early to Rise Transformation Contest site.

(Partial screenshot from the Progress Journal)

(Partial screenshot from the Progress Journal)

Each day I update my progress at this site.  Here’s my 3/26 update:

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 4.38.13 PM


As you can see above, other contestants have the ability to Like a post as well as Comment on a post.  There is also a feature whereby contestants can mark fellow contestants as “Favorites” & track their progress. (The white star next to my name would be Yellow if I were able to add myself as a Favorite)

It is through liking, commenting & adding favorites that I have been able to communicate with other contestants.

When my “Favorites” began reaching out to me & offering support/encouragement, I really began to feel the love.

It was too long before the following comment showed up in my email:

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 5.02.17 PM

When I saw this comment was from a “Favorite”, my eyes lit up & I cracked a big smile.  So, I decided to track back & see who left me the comment.  I wished to thank them personally for the kind words.

When I landed on her profile, that’s when it hit me – She’s a 6 week, mini-contest finalist!  How cool is this!?!?!  You better believe she got my vote!

There I was, moping about not being selected when someone I’ve interacted with over the last few weeks was being honored.  That totally turned things around for me.  Instead of feeling down, I felt great joy.

I went to bed last night feeling a million times better after receiving so much positive feedback from so many people.

Then this morning I had the following message from the “finalist” waiting for me:

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 5.03.57 PM


It took all I had not to tear up when I read this comment but I definitely felt the lump in my throat.  Those words gave me a jolt of positive energy.  They put a smile on my face.  They put a spring in my step.  They validated that the hard work over the last few months has been worth it.

I walked out of the house today with a completely new attitude, thanks in large part to comments like the one above.  Everyone who commented had a part in this new attitude.

I carried that attitude with me into the weight room today.

I also realized that I’m not just doing this for me.  I’m doing this so that those who are following my progress will be better off for having done so.

Maybe it is a blog post that gives them a spark?  Maybe it is a new lift that helps them bust through a plateau?  Maybe it is a dietary tip that helps them lose some fat?  Or maybe it is just a kind word that keeps them from quitting?

I honestly don’t what it will be that helps someone else achieve their goals.

What I do know is that I am making a positive impact on those who I interact with.  That’s an awesome feeling!

Day 67 – Current Circumstances Aren’t Permanent

Today, I completed Session C of the Beginner Program from Jason Ferruggia’s “Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0″ program.  This is an Upper Body Dominant weight training session.

This training session was very similar to Monday’s session: Incline Barbell Bench Presses, Military Presses, Pull Ups & Inverted Bodyweight Rows.

I performed 1 fewer set of each exercise & I also used a slightly lower weight.  I did increase the rep count for each set this session though.  This was done in accordance with the program guidelines.

I had to resist the urge to substitute in the Lumberjack Press for the Military Press:

I thoroughly enjoy the Lumberjack Press but figured I should give this program an honest effort & not tinker with it too much.  Plus, I have already modified the program somewhat by substituting Inverted Rows for One-Arm Dumbbell Rows.  I did this because my dumbbells only go to 52.5 pounds & I can exceed the desired rep ranges using this weight.



I probably should have sprung for the Bowflex 1090’s instead of the 525’s but it’s ok.  Inverted rows are an ass kicker so I will stick with them.

I don’t really have much more to add in regards to my training session today.  Plus, I have a few things I would like to get done this evening so I am going to get busy with those activities shortly.

I would like to leave you with a thought to ponder:

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you are going, they only determine where you are starting from.

Keep that in mind the next time you think it isn’t possible for you to get into shape.  Your present circumstances are merely a starting point.  They aren’t a be-all, end-all.

Look at these folks:



They haven’t let their current circumstance of being elderly keep them from exercising.  If they can do it, what is stopping you?

Today’s Training Session Track Listing:

  • Brother Go On – Black Water Rising
  • Du Hast – Rammstein
  • Vasoline – Stone Temple Pilots
  • Du Oder Ich – Megaherz
  • War Pigs – Black Sabbath
  • Disposable Heroes – Metallica
  • Electric Eye – Judas Priest
  • Take the Power Back – Rage Against the Machine
  • Sabbra Cadabra – Metallica

Day 64 – A Slice of Humble Pie

Today, I completed Session A of the Beginner Program from Jason Ferruggia’s “Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0” program.

Why the Beginner Program instead of the regular 12-week program you ask?

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Jason recommends that those with less than 1 year of training experience start with the beginner program.  I fall into that category.
  • There a few exercises that are the foundation of the main 12-week program.  The beginner program calls for performing these exercises twice a week.  The increased exposure shortens the learning curve & speeds up mastering these lifts.
  • I have roughly 4 weeks left in this contest period so this is a good time to begin transitioning to a new 90 training block.  Plus, there’s a good chance I will add a little bit of mass over the next 4 weeks.

Although I really enjoyed the 8 weeks that I put in with Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training Program, I was feeling the urge to change things up.  I used the last week to try out a few lifting routines I designed.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I was rather critical of most of the sessions I designed.  These lifting routines were what I intended to perform over the final 4-5 weeks of the Early To Rise body transformation contest.

I’m no personal trainer but I have a decent amount of knowledge when it comes to weight lifting (or so I thought).  But the majority of the routines I designed sucked.  Too many isolation exercises, not enough heavy compound lifts & a few other things meant that following these routines would have done very little to help me gain mass.

Once I faced the reality that my routines weren’t the best, I decided I had better find some that were & quickly.  No need to panic but there wasn’t much time to jack around, either.  Time to put the ego away.

I had noticed over the past few weeks that during his Facebook Q/A sessions, Craig had been asked on numerous occasions different variations of the same question.  Basically, skinny guys were asking him the best way to pack on a decent amount of mass in the shortest time possible.  Craig’s response in nearly every instance was the same thing:

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 5.44.42 PM

Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 Program

Although I am no longer “skinny fat”, I’m not the “biggest” guy, either.  So, when someone like Craig recommends a program that can add mass in a relatively short time, I pay attention.  The fact that Craig recommended a program by someone other than himself also speaks volumes about the value of that program.

So, I put my ego aside & ordered the program.  I read through it at least 3 times yesterday.  I picked up A LOT of good information.  I also created my training logs when I finished up my reading.  I studied over them during my lunch break today.  During this time I visualized myself coming home & putting in a great effort in the weight room tonight.

Guess what?  I had an absolutely AWESOME lifting session tonight!!!  Best session I’ve had in over a week.

Started off with Incline Barbell Bench Press:

Next up was Military Barbell Press:


After that I made a slight modification to the session for the next exercise.  The program called for One Arm DB Rows.  I substituted Overhand Grip Inverted Rows in its place. I did this because I don’t have a dumbbell heavy enough that would have allowed me to stay within the recommended rep range (I can lift it more than the 6-8 recommended reps).

After this I finished up with good old Pull Ups:

Nothing fancy but very effective.  I really liked this training session!

Over the next 4 weeks, my intention is to put forth my best effort in the weight room.  Upon completing the 4 week beginner portion of the program, I will move onto the 12 week main program.  Although my contest period will have concluded by then, I will still be blogging about my experience with the MGS 2.0 Program.

Today’s Training Session Track List:

  • Lord of This World – Corrosion of Conformity
  • Dissident Aggressor – Slayer
  • The Mob Rules – Black Sabbath
  • South of Heaven – Slayer
  • Nightmare/The Dream Time – Motorhead
  • A New Level – Pantera
  • Orion – Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • Helter Skelter – The Beatles
  • Raining Blood – Slayer

Day 60 – Back Online!

This evening, I completed an Upper Body dominant workout that I designed over the weekend.

It wasn’t as bad of an experience as the Lower Body Density workout I completed on Tuesday.  But this workout left me feeling less than satisfied.  I will skip the details because I probably won’t be doing this particular workout again.

Sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board.  But, I have a pretty good idea of what I am going to do for the final 4 weeks of this contest period so it’s all good.

On another note, a friend recently asked me if I would be sharing more nutritional information via the blog. I haven’t touched on nutrition much over the past 2 months for a couple of reasons:

  • What I do is customized to me.  Custom from the foods I eat, when I eat them, what foods I pair together, calories ingested, etc.  I eat in a way to compliment my body type.  So what I do really is specific to me.
  • My meal plans reflect my current goal(s).  I am getting ready to switch over to more of a fat-burning focus at the beginning of next week.  My meal plans then will look different from how I am eating now.
  • Honestly, my meals are probably very “boring”.  I rotate protein sources most days, cycle higher glycemic carbs & watch what kind of fats I take in.  Basic, boring but effective.  Not the most exciting stuff to read about.

So, I have avoided making nutrition a big focus of my posts for those reasons.

But, I do have a lot of good “general” resources that I will begin sharing on a regular basis.

A quick tip when it comes to nutrition is this: The majority of the calories you eat should come from one-ingredient foods.

I eat a lot of brown eggs, leaner cuts of meat, “raw” nuts, fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes & oatmeal (NOT the flavored kind in the packets).

As far as “processed” foods go, I do have cheddar cheese every few days.  I also have some cottage cheese on occasion.  The protein powder I use doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners or things of that nature.

So for the most part I am eating whole foods each day.

Oh, I also eat this stuff called bacon.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?


It’s my one regular indulgence.  And man do I enjoy it.

Sadly enough, when Monday morning rolls around, I will substitute the bacon with another egg or 2 & some chicken breast.  Honestly, I would rather not have to cut out the bacon.

But if I am to have a legitimate shot at placing in the top 3 of this 90-day body transformation contest, I only have 4 weeks to get the job done.  This means it is time to focus on getting my ab/core area tight again.  To do so will require dedication to my workouts & adhering to my meal plans.  EVERY DAY.

Once this 90-day contest period is over, I will reassess my physique & create a new set of fitness goals.  From there I will craft meal plans & workouts to get me there.

Sound nutrition is a key component to building the body of your dreams.  Daily, positive food choices that are in harmony with your fitness goals is vital to your success.

Day 57 – Hey, I Remember You…

Today, I started a new 5-week block of training.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the last 8 weeks of training, it was time for something different.

Specifically, I was looking for something that was customized to my likes/dislikes.  The workouts needed to be challenging as well.  Plus, I have a bit of fat that needs to disappear from my lower abdominal area so that had to be taken into consideration.  I really needed something that would be muscle sparing & fat burning in nature.

I spent the better part of Saturday evening designing my next 5 week training block.  What I came up with will address my concerns above. As the weeks go by, I will be talking more about my workouts & why I structured them the way I did.

Unfortunately, I am pressed for time this evening so my post will be somewhat short.  But, I would like to share a little bit of information about tonight’s workout.

Tonight, I completed an Upper Body Density workout.  Not just any density workout.  Nope, the workout I completed tonight is a custom designed workout that my former personal trainer provided me with.  Specifically, this workout was my upper body workout each week for the 2nd month of my 6 month training program.

I liked the workout last summer & I liked it even better today.  Why is that?

I am much stronger now than I was then so the workout was more manageable.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still challenging this evening.  But I didn’t struggle as much to hit my marks.  I was able to keep up with the pace while keeping my rest periods honest.

I was able to use heavier weights this time out as well.  Compared to the last time I did this workout the numbers were much, much better!  In some instances I was lifting nearly twice the amount of weight this session versus the last time I did the same workout!

I would love to delve more into the specifics of this workout but I have to run.  Next week, I will share more details regarding exercise selection & workout structure.

Until then, if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the article found at this link.  My former trainer does a much better job explaining Density Training than I could.  So, if you are curious as to what style of workout I did tonight, this article will give you a brief summary.


Day 56 – Back To The Drawing Board

Sunday morning.  Off day from the weight room & also weigh-in day.

My expectation going into the weigh-in this morning was to have gained at least 1-2 pounds this week. I based this on the following factors:

  • In comparison to last week, I increased my caloric intake on the 4 days that I lifted weights.
  • I also had a bit more calories on non-lifting days than I did last week.
  • Some of the additional calories were in the form of Casein Protein & Almond Milk drink prior to bed.
  • I looked bigger & noticed more definition in my shoulders & upper chest this week. I verified it this morning – I measured in having gained nearly an inch on my chest & a 1/2 inch on my shoulder measurement in the last week.
  • I also had a cheat meal Friday night that consisted of nearly half of an 18 inch Luca Pizza!
  • My pattern of 1 week of weight loss followed by 2 weeks of weight gain had held steady for the prior 6 week cycle. I was due for a rebound gain week after having dropped some fat last week.

So, when I stepped on the scale & I was 0.2 pounds lighter this week than last week I was left scratching my head.  All of those factors listed above should have resulted in me having gained some weight on the scale.  But that wasn’t the case.

First thing I did after taking some more measurements was to look back over my meals from the last week.

I have structured my meal plans in an effort to help the number on the scale nudge upwards.  After all, I’m attempting to add as much mass as possible over the next couple of weeks before I really hone in on a fat-burning phase & get rid of a little bit of abdominal fat.

I noticed that I pretty much hit my desired macronutrient profile each day this week.  I was a little bit under on calories Friday but I saved up a bunch for the cheat meal that day as to minimize the damage.  Other than that I was good.

I could have chosen to be disappointed.  In a sense, I had failed in my mission this week of  nudging that scale upwards.   But I wasn’t upset.

There were visible signs of progress all around:

I knew that I had shed a little bit of fat this week because my jeans were looser in the waist.  I had to use a belt for one pair in particular.

I also know from my increased chest/shoulder measurements & slight decrease in body fat % that I was able to add a bit of muscle this week.  Shirts that were loose-fitting a few weeks ago are getting tighter in the arms, chest & shoulders.  Jeans are getting looser in the waist but tighter in the seat & thigh area.

Visible, measurable progress!

So all things being considered, I am happy with how the week went.

But, I’m not “satisfied”.  Not by a long shot.  Despite the success from the past week, I know that I can do an even better job in the upcoming weeks.

A better job of eating clean & eating more food on lifting days.  A better job of adhering to my ab routines (that’s another blog post for another day).  A better job of increasing the intensity in the weight room from session to session.  A better job of sharing ideas & thoughts on this blog.

Part of being better about my training & nutrition is to have taken the time last evening to map out my strategy for the next 5 weeks of this contest.


This is a rough draft of what will eventually be my next 5 week training block.  This rough draft is what I will use to design my workout logs.

As you can see, it’s sloppy.  I was writing at a fast pace as the ideas were flowing to me so I didn’t use my best handwriting.

I also changed my thinking a few times on a few things as the entire program started to come together.  Hence the large number of cross-outs & scribbles.

But with a little work, that same sloppy looking sheet will be transformed into something like this:

Screen shot 2013-03-03 at 11.31.59 AM

JG Upper Body Density Workout Log  (Click for an expanded version)

This is my workout log for my Upper Body Density workout I will be utilizing over the next 5 weeks.

By this evening, I will have completed the remaining workout logs for the other training days in this program.

I will also have updated meal plans ready to go for next week as well.  High carbs on lifting days, lower carbs on HIIT & off days.  Large amount of proteins each day. Decent amount of healthy fats as well.

These meal plans often start the same way the workout logs do.  Sloppy & informal, but a starting point.  From there, a little bit of work & fine tuning will turn them into a document that will help me along the way.

It is vital to take the time to map out your course.  Sure, it takes some time but it is worth it.

Day 53 – You Aren’t Going Anywhere….

Today, I completed Workout C, Phase 2, from Craig Ballantyne’s “15 Pounds of Muscle in 8 Weeks” program.  This is a great Upper Body workout!

As with all of the workouts that I have completed this week, today marks the last time I will be completing this particular workout for a while.  I am getting ready to transition to a new 4-5 week block of training this coming Monday.

The time to focus on fat burning & getting my abs tight/popping is rapidly approaching.  While I have been fairly clean with my food choices the last 7 weeks, I have gained a little bit of fat.  Eating excessive amounts of calories in an effort to gain mass has that effect on me.  Can’t expect to win the contest if I don’t look the part!

I still have yet to decide on which program I will use for the last part of this contest period.  I have a couple of Turbulence Training programs that I have looked at utilizing.  I have also entertained the idea of dusting off a Density Training program that my former personal trainer put together for me.

Rather than attempt to explain Density Training in this post, I will leave it up to my old coach, Roman, to give you the details.  He has a great article on his blog that you can read by clicking here.  It is definitely worth reading, especially if you are looking for a new training method.

So, I have a few days to look at things & then decide the path I will take.  One thing I do know is that regardless of the program I choose, it will include my favorite shoulder exercise, the Lumberjack Press:

I have written about this particular exercise a number of times in the past & for good reason: It works!  In the last 7 weeks, my shoulders measurement has increased by 1 1/2 inches.  Now this might not sound like much but believe me, the change is noticeable.

I attribute much of this growth to the Lumberjack Press.  I have performed this exercise at least once a week over the last 7 weeks.  And it is paying off!

Some would argue that I should switch the LJ Press out for another exercise.  Maybe that is good advice, for them.  But for now, the LJ Press will remain in the rotation.  I have no intention of cutting out an exercise that is working!

Along with Squats & Deadlifts, the LJ Press has become a staple of my training routine & will continue to be for a long time!

Today’s Workout Track Listing:

  • Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – Bruce Dickinson with Godspeed
  • Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
  • Panama – Van Halen
  • Twist of Cain – Danzig
  • Points of Authority – Linkin Park
  • Flesh For Fantasy – Megaherz
  • Mouth For War – Pantera
  • Killing in the Name Of – Rage Against the Machine
  • Leider – Eisbrecher
  • One – Metallica


Day 46 – I’m Not A Lumberjack But….

Today, I completed Workout C, Phase 2, from Craig Ballantyne’s “15 Pounds of Muscle in 8 Weeks” program.  This is a great Upper Body workout!

I’m happy to report that I was able to make some measurable progress this evening.  For the majority of the lifts I performed this evening I was able to use a heavier weight than last week.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Close Grip Bench Press: +5 Pounds
  • Pull Ups: +3-4 Pounds (I weigh more this week, YES!!)
  • DB Hammer Curls: +5 Pounds
  • Barbell Curls: +5 Pounds
  • DB Skullcrushers: +2.5 Pounds 

But, there was one exercise that did not call for an increase in working weight.

What exercise am I talking about??

The Lumberjack Press:

Although I didn’t increase the weight used this week, I was able to pound out more reps.  That’s a sign of progress in my book!

I’ve written a great deal about the LJ Press in previous posts.  It is one of my favorite shoulder exercises.  Why?  Because it is a difficult exercise to perform correctly.  Balancing the bar while pressing it overhead is not an easy task.  An empty barbell can become a teeter-totter in no time at all.  Add weight to the bar & it is REALLY tough.

It took many sessions but I have finally gotten to the point where I have “mastered” the movement.  Now that I have the movement perfected, I can focus on adding weight to the bar.  Or increasing my rep count.  Or doing both.  Regardless of the method, from session to session I look for measurable signs of progress.

Don’t shy away from an exercise because it is “too hard”.  When I first encountered the LJ Press, it was a very humbling experience.  It was difficult & I had to use a light dumbbell instead of the barbell.  But over time I got better at the movement.  I also gained strength.  Now I look forward to the LJ Press.

If there’s an exercise you suck at & it’s getting the best of you, don’t give up.  Stick with it, get stronger & before you know it you’ll be a master at it!  What a great feeling!

Today’s Workout Track Listing:

  • Thumb – Kyuss
  • The God That Failed – Metallica
  • Albatross – Corrosion of Conformity
  • Meatplow – Stone Temple Pilots
  • Strutter – KISS
  • Ghosts of War – Slayer
  • Raining Blood – Slayer
  • The Sky is Fallin’ – Queens of the Stone Age
  • Fear – Heaven & Hell
  • Divinations – Mastadon

Day 43 – You Make It Look So Easy

Today, I completed Workout A, Phase 2 of Craig Ballantyne’s “15 Pounds of Muscle in 8 Weeks” program.  This is an Upper Body, Chest/Back Antagonistic Superset based workout. While the arms & shoulders get a little bit of secondary work, the main focus of this workout is chest & back.

The Press/Row in-set dynamic is one aspect of this workout that I really enjoy.  I also like the fact that this workout is heavy on the Inverted Bodyweight Rows:

This is a great exercise for growing a larger, stronger back.  The arms get a good pump during this exercise, especially when using an underhand grip.  The shoulders & chest even get in a bit of indirect work during this exercise as well.

The Inverted Row is also a very versatile exercise.  Grip, feet placement, tempo & many other variables can be changed rather easily.  The Inverted Row is probably one of the best & most versatile exercises you aren’t currently doing.

I had no idea the inverted row existed until a few months ago.  And man was I not very good at it when I first discovered it!

It has taken some time but I am now able to knock out a decent amount of rows during this workout.  This specific point was the topic of discussion a bit earlier.

My 10-year-old son was in the weight room at the time observing me when the following conversation took place.  I had just completed a set of Underhand Grip Inverted Rows when he asked me the following question:

“Is that exercise hard?”

Me: “Yes!”

Him: “Then how do you make it look so easy?”

Me (smiling): “Lots of practice & building strength are why it looks easy.  You missed the sessions when I first learned the exercise.  I struggled with it & could barely do a few reps.”

Him: “Wasn’t it hard getting strong enough?  Did you ever want to quit?”

Me (with a bigger smile): “Yes, it was hard.  Yes, there were times when I wanted to quit.  But I kept going.  You know why?  Because I was unhappy with where I was at & I knew that eventually this would become easier.  It is still a tough exercise.  But it looks easier because I became stronger. And so will you once you begin to lift weights.”

Him: “Don’t worry dad, when I start lifting I am going to keep going when it gets tough.  And I won’t quit.  I know you don’t like quitters and I want to be your workout partner so I won’t quit on you.”

Me (with lump in throat): “That’s awesome buddy.  Soon enough you will be able to be my partner & we’re gonna turn you into a big boy!”

As if this 90 day contest hasn’t motivated me enough to keep pushing in the weight room.  Now I have an even bigger, more important reason than winning this contest.

One of the most important people in the world is watching me.  He wants to be like me.  He’s counting on me to show him the way.  I MUST continue down the path that I am on.

In just a short time, my workout partner will be old enough to join me in the weight room.  I must be ready for that day!

Today’s Workout Track Listing:

  • Hallelujah Goat -Volbeat
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Metallica
  • So What’cha Want – The Beastie Boys
  • Expendable Youth – Slayer
  • Communication Breakdown – Led Zeppelin
  • Sober – Tool
  • Stayin Alive – Ozzy with Dweezil Zappa  (click Ozzy Stayin Alive for a little listen)
  • Zero – Smashing Pumpkins
  • Animal – Pearl Jam
  • Your Disease – Saliva

Day 41 – Sometimes It Gets Dirty

Today, I deviated from my regular Saturday routine.  I was scheduled to do Workout D, Phase 2 of Craig Ballantyne’s TT “15 Pounds of Muscle in 8 Weeks” program this morning.

This particular workout starts off with some squats & is then followed up with 3-4 Body Weight Circuits.  Each circuit consists of 8 different exercises.  It is a fantastic workout that incorporates elements of resistance training & cardio-based training.  I enjoy it & in some aspects have found it to be the most challenging of all workouts in the program.

But I have noticed that on my last few Sunday morning weigh-ins, the scale hasn’t been nudging upward as much as I would have expected.  Considering the increased caloric intake & workloads in the weight room, I should be gaining more muscle.

Part of that was due to the need to refine my diet.  This past week I have implemented some dietary changes so it may take another week or 2 for the effects to be noticeable.

Another reason I believe I may have been coming in a bit light the last few weeks is due to the effectiveness in the bodyweight circuits to burn fat.  This is not a complaint by any means.  Merely an observation.

So this morning, I decided to change things up a bit in the weight room & the kitchen to see what will happen when I weigh-in on Sunday.

A few things to keep in mind here:

  • I entered the weight room around 9 AM on a 14 hour fast.  
  • I had very few carbs yesterday.
  • I consumed a 2:1 Carb:Protein drink during my workout.

I decided to do a Push/Pull Antagonistic Superset workout that focused on the Upper Body.  The focus was on compound movements with a few isolation movements just to balance out the push/pull dynamic.  (There may have been better exercises to have used but I put this together in about 5 minutes so it probably could have been refined with more time.)

The goal for each exercise was 8-10 reps.  3 Sets of each exercise per super set.

First Superset:

A1) Close Grip Bench Press

A2) Inverted Bodyweight Rows (Overhand Grip)

Second Superset:

B1) Lumberjack Press

B2) Upright Barbell Rows

Third Superset:

C1) Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

C2) Bent Over Dumbbell Row

Fourth Superset:

D1) Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

D2) Dumbbell Combo-Raises (Forward & Lateral)

Fifth Superset:

E1) Dumbbell Hammer Curl

E2) Barbell Curl

Total time for this workout, with rest periods & equipment changes was just under 55 minutes.  The curls weren’t necessary but I threw them in any way.

I definitely got a good upper body workout from this set of exercises today!  The workout drink definitely helped me get through the workout with enough energy.  But by the time I got out of the shower I was getting really hungry.

So after showering I headed out for a cheat meal at a Chinese buffet.

Right now I am attempting to put on as much mass as possible.  I have found it to be a challenge some days getting in enough clean calories to build mass.  I tend to be naturally lean so I have to fight to build size & even harder to retain it.

So every now & then, you have to get “dirty” when it comes to eating.  A massive caloric surplus is easier to do when you expand your food choices.

Plus, I had lifted fairly heavy in a fasted state so I had created a decent caloric surplus to start the day.  I needed a massive amount of calories & fast!!

Here’s the damage:

Trip #1:

Plates 1 & 2 2:16:13


Broccoli Beef, Vegetable Lo Mein, Sesame Chicken, Green Beans.

Finished off both plates.

Trip #2:

Plate 3 2:16:13


Broccoli Beef, Vegetable Lo Mein, Peanut Chicken.

Finished the entire plate.

Trip #3:

Plate 4 2:16:13


Chilled Shrimp, Broccoli Chicken.

The Broccoli Chicken sucked so I didn’t eat more than one bite.  Shrimp were good though.

Trip #4:

Plate 5 2:13:16


Broccoli Beef, Sesame Chicken, Peanut Chicken.

And of course, Dessert:

Dessert 2:16:13


Soft serve chocolate & vanilla swirl ice cream.

I honestly don’t know how many calories I consumed.  I went at the buffet with a big eating mindset because I had lifted an hour beforehand.  My body was primed to convert the majority of the calories into muscle glycogen at this point.  Especially considering that I had relatively few carbs yesterday.  My muscles soaked up the nutrients.

One thing you will notice is that on each plate there was a green vegetable of some sort.  In the one instance where I didn’t eat the broccoli, I ate only protein (shrimp) so that wasn’t too bad.  I made an effort to limit the damage.

But I also ate a bit dirty.  It’s ok though.  I will eat decent the rest of the day & for the next week as well.  But every now & then I like to dirty it up.

Today’s Workout Track Listing:

  • Searching With My Good Eye Closed – Soundgarden
  • The Bad Touch – Bloodhound Gang
  • Hate To Feel – Alice In Chains
  • Sunshine – Alice In Chains
  • My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide – Ozzy Osbourne
  • One In A Million – Guns ‘N Roses
  • Pass The Mic – The Beastie Boys
  • Peace Sells – Megadeth
  • No Good (Attack the Radical) – Pantera
  • Chop Suey! – System of A Down
  • Rock and Roll Angel – Heaven & Hell