Four years ago I was more than 100lbs heavier with fat than I am today, I attribute this to correct diet and in great measure to HIT. Four years ago I visited a heart specialist and was told that my bad LDL level were beyond the very dangerous levels and that I had a near heart attack, I was 38 years old at the time. The doctor told me that if I did not make some radical changes in diet, lifestyle and diet, that I would most likely not live to see my 45th birthday. After having the wires connected to me on the treadmill it was revealed that I was equal to the heath of an 85 year old man.
I took this rude awaking to heart and made the decision to do whatever it would take to turn around my heath condition and live. I had very little fitness experience prior to getting started except a little weight training in my mid-teens. From the age of 20 onwards I owned my own successful sales and marketing business but with no fitness program and eating high on the good life, I became quite obese.
Before embarking on my new plan to lose the fat, I did quite a lot of research and study and concluded the best way was to incorporate weight training and muscle gains as a way to speed up my metabolism. Not only would this help to lost the fat, but also to keep it off. I also liked the idea of being muscular, but then who doesn′t?
Its one thing to want a thing and quite another to obtain it. Gaining muscle naturally is not easy; its very hard, and as I would learn, very involved and challenging. This is what has kept my interest and even more so now, as I set higher goals to obtain more lean mass. I just really like looking in the mirror and seeing the person I am now, and look forward to much more muscle in the future.
So I started researching a training program on the internet. Of course I located the typical 5 day split volume routine promoted by Weider, even bought the Weider training system and books. Hey if it was by Weider it had to work right? The first few weeks went well I was progressing in weights used, doing upwards of 40 sets using the pyramid, and I seemed to be gaining strength. I was also using a calorie reduced diet, and the fat was coming off, everything seemed to be going well.
Then after about eight weeks I noticed the progress was slowing, I was not getting stronger, I was not gaining new muscle, I was not happy. In fact for me, I refuse to keep doing something if I′m not getting results; I just do not see any sense in doing it. Soon after about 12 weeks, I noticed I was getting weaker, and looking in the mirror I noticed the little muscle I had gained was being lost.
I then knew something was seriously wrong and stopped my training; put my Weider books away, and went back to the drawing board searching the net. I went to work spending many, many hours reading through endless web sites, I even bought many different e-books and they all seemed to be saying the same thing Weider was saying.
Eventually and I cannot remember exactly how I got the web page, but I ended up at www.mikementzer.com. Right away I recognized there was something very different about this way of training. Only 1 set, using heavy weight to cause failure in the 8-12 rep range, short workouts with days off in between! But it caught my attention because what I was doing was not working, and what Mike was saying in the writings was I was over trained. It′s like a light came on; yes I was not gaining because I was over trained!
So I ordered two of the news books they had, High Intensity training the Mike Mentzer way, and the Wisdom of MM. I have read these many times and continue to open them now and then. Every time I read I seem to get a deeper understanding of the principles, resulting in greater gains in the gym.
After reading the books, I started my first HIT workout the ideal routine. The way I understood it was that I would get the best results taking 7 days off between workouts. I trained like this for 6 months, and although I saw great increases in strength at the beginning the progress began to slow after a couple of months. I later found that my frequency was too low for a beginner as I was not creating enough intensity to justify the 7 day breaks, I was de-training. So I made some changes and set up a workout similar to this that Mike Gave to Dorian Yates.
Here is my current workout notice a-lot of free weights due to the fact where I live there are few machines.
Workout 1. Chest, shoulders, Triceps.
1. (chest) Incline dumbbell bench press-1 Set X 8-12 reps to failure.
2. (chest) 2 arm cable crossovers-1 X 8-12 reps to failure
3. (shoulders) Seated dumbbell press-1 X 8-12 reps to failure
4. (shoulders) Standing 2 arm dumbbell extensions-1 X 8-12 reps to failure
5. (shoulders) Bent over rear delt dumbbell fly′s-1 X -8-12 reps to failure
6. (Triceps) V-Bar cable press-downs-1 X 8-12 reps to failure
7. (Triceps/chest)-DIPS-1 X ?failure
Workout 2. Back, Traps, Biceps
1. (Back) Barbell bent over row 1 X 8-12 reps.
2. (Back) seated cable rows 1 X 8-12
3. (Biceps) Barbell curl-1 X 8-12
4. (Biceps/back) Close grip cable pull-downs (hold for a 1 count on each rep at the contracted position, do a static hold on the final rep) 1X-8-12
5. (Traps) Dumbbell shrugs-1 X 8-12
6. Dead-lifts-2 X 6-8.
Workout 3. Abs & legs
1. (Abs)-Leg lifts (weighted)-1 X 12-15
2. (weighted cable crunch) ? 2 X 8-12
3. (Quads)-Barbell or smith machine squats-1 X 8-12
4. (Quads)-Leg extensions-1 X 8-12
5. (Hamstrings) ?Leg Curls-1 X 8-12
6. (Hamstrings)-Leg Press (High to hit the hamstrings)-1 X 8-12
7. (Calves)-Standing calve raises-2 X 12-15
8. (calves)-Seated raises-1 X 12-15
I then took of 3-4 days between workouts with the occasional 5-7 day breaks. I noticed my progress really began to pick up after making the changes and my fat loss began to increase also. I continued to search and study and found a-lot of negative material written against HIT and Mike Mentzer which I did not like because I knew this was a very good way for a natural bodybuilder to train, it just made logical sense. I felt the material being written was based on Jealousy of Mike as he was a true winner with in my view, the best overall body every built.
Looking back, one mistake I made was getting to intense about losing the fat. I became almost fanatical and cut to very low levels but I wanted all the fat gone before increasing calories for mass gain. I always got stuck with this little roll of fat on my lower abs and I wanted that gone. I would eventually learn that I shut down my metabolism in the process of cutting for a long time.
So after posting my photos and people commenting that I looked like someone from a concentration camp, I made the decision to go on a 12 month mass gain with the goal being to gain 12-20, I will now say 15- 40 lbs of muscle as I am gaining fast. Here are my photos and as you can see I started with very little muscle and a whole lot of fat.
From May 2, 2008-May 28, I have gained 8lbs of muscle. When I reported this over at bb.com then said it was impossible unless using a ton of steroids. I have never used steroids and never will. The great thing is since increasing calories and eating more carbs I have LOST more fat while gaining new muscle! Makes one wish I started this 6 months ago. as I was quite lean already 6 months ago.
Now regarding intensity; High intensity is something that comes gradual for a new trainee to HIT. I have learned how to mentally prepare so that when I HIT the gym I have the right High Intensity mind and focus. I have learned to reach for higher intensity than I ever dreamed possible, and I love the way it makes me feel. With frequency I have learned to feel my body and know when its ready to give 110% effort, so I feel out when my next trip to the gym will be. I like to cycle the frequency taking 3 days off then 4, then 6-7 back to 3 and so on but its not set in stone.
I also change up the exercises from time to time, and add an extra exercise for a muscle one week and take away on another. I rarely do more than 1 working set to failure as I believe it is simply not necessary and may well be anti-productive.
The past 4 weeks have been great as I have seen sizable gains with all muscles. Difficult areas for me to gain have been upper pecs, & biceps but this has been coming along well.
Well that?s my short HIT story, and I just want to say again that I believe HIT is the best way to gain muscle for a natural because it incorporates everything needed to make gains.
Classic HIT; High intensity muscle stimulation and the required time to recover and grow simple and powerful.