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Started By Jeff (Toronto, M5T, Canada)

Started on: 5/26/2005 11:20:40 PM, viewed 5678 times
Training Journal

Thursday 26 May 2005

Hi Guys!

I said I was going to start a new training journal, so here it is. It is intended to chronical my experiences with a volume training program. As some of you know, I′d had decent progress with the Consolidation Routine for a few months, and then went on a volume binge and experienced relatively rapid size and strength increases. This made me re-consider some of my training ideas and to investigate Dual-Factor Theory somewhat. This log will be based on my new found interest in this method.

First, I feel as though I should make several things clear.

1) I understand that this is a "HIT" Forum, but it is also a Bodybuilding Forum. I am keeping my log here because I respect the members here and value your input. I could keep it elsewhere if I looked around, but I doubt I′d find members with such a breadth of understanding of weight training.

2) I also understand that this site is dedicated to Mike Mentzer and Heavy Duty Training. I am a big Mentzer fan and my last 40 lbs or so is the product of Heavy Duty Training. I have had good success with Mike′s methods, and me following a volume routine and keeping a journal here is in no way intended to disrespect or discredit his work.

3) When I initially opened my mind to HIT and HD years ago, I was ridiculed by others. I persevered, however, and had considerable success. I would bet that we′ve all experienced this. I′m keeping this journal here because I assume that we are not dogmatic like those volume trainers who ridiculed me long ago for trying HD. I also trust that you will not be dogmatic and ridicule me for abandoning HD for the time being and trying something different. No matter how this turns out, success or failure, for better or worse, we will all learn something from it.

A Few Things About Me


I have a post on the Gerneral Forum under the thread "Our Bodybuilding Histories," so you can get a bit about me there. The gist of it is that I abandoned random volume training when I was in Highschool and made exceptional progress with HD. I have been using HD (when actually training) for years now, and have only recently started to branch out again.

My genetics are average, not great but certainly not poor. In no way am I a genetic marvel or superman. I′m of average height and am built in an odd way. On the sematotype triangle, I′m probably right in the middle. I can see meso, ecto, and endo qualities in my body, and so it is hard to say where I lie. Untrained I probably look more endo-ecto. I have wide "child bearing" hips and narrower shoulders, and I′m relatively thick from the side view. In middle school I always came last in both the endurance run and the sixty meter dash; wasn′t good at either one. I′m not and have never been "overweight" but I′m also not and have never been "underweight" either.

The Program


I wanted to try a higher volume program that would let me go to the gym more often, so I could actually engage in my hobby that I love so much, instead of just talking about it, and actually make progress at the same time. I also wanted some guidance with this, as I knew from previous experience that I′m not good enough to just train by instinct. I did a few searches on the net and decided to buy the Musclenow program. I know people normally look down upon buying things over the internet, but I checked it out quite a bit and he also gives a 90 day money-back guarantee, so I figured I didn′t have much to loose. He also gives free email support for life, so it′s like having a personal trainer in a way. I′ve already emailed him a couple of times, and he got back to me within a day. It cost $100+, but I′ve spent faaaar more on HIT/HD books, so that didn′t bother me much, especially considering he offers free email support. I know in the past I′ve said that I′d never buy an internet muscle book, but I guess I was wrong about this.

The author makes his living off his book, so I think it would be unethical of me, or anyone for that matter, to discuss aspects of the program in detail on line. It just wouldn′t be fair I don′t think. I′ve read through the book, and 95% of it I had heard of before. I′m sure that some of you have heard all 100% of it before; it′s really nothing overly new. Moreover, at one time or another, I′ve tried about 90% of it, but I′ve never tried all of it at once. The book is a complete Training and Diet "course," something I′ve never seen before, and everything is meant to be done in conjunction. It is very clear and simple to folow. I can give some general things about it here.

The Training


Basic voume training, no ifs ands or buts about it. It′s volume, through and through. He′s got a 3,4,and 5 day a week program, and says the 5 day program is best. I′ve decided to do the 5 day program and train Mon-Fri, schedule permitting. If I can′t make five days in a row, I′ll bump it back and train on Saturday. I′ve done a few days of it already this week, and the split is pretty good and the workouts are fine. As I go, however, the workouts will get more difficult. The workouts should probably take between 45 and 75 mins aproximately, depending on the workout and week of the cycle. He cycles volume, reps range, rest, and frequency, and requires that each work set be taken to total failure. It is possible, when the volume is high, that a bodypart might get 15-20 sets to failure twice a week.

Essentially, the training program goes against 99% of what I had believed before. It takes out a lot of the variables I had thought about before and makes everything as basic as possible. The fact that it goes against everything I had thought is very exciting for me.

The Diet


This is the best part of the whole thing in my opinion. He lays out an exact diet program and gives specific carb, protien, and fat ratios for each meal of the day. The ratios change depending on which meal of the day it is. There are also specific things he suggests for certain meals, which also makes the diet all that much more effective I think.



He has a specific way of measuring progress. Essentially, the tape measure is your guide. You measure once a week, under the same circumstances, and if you′re trying to gain size, you should see a measureable increase each week. If you don′t see a measureable increase each week, then you must increase calories to see progress again. In essence, the training program stays the same and the diet is what changes. This is the complete opposite of what HIT says, which is very interesting to me. I must admit, I am eating less than his recommended starting caloric level because I have just come off a layoff and wasn′t ready to eat as much as he suggests. Today, however, after being back for a few days, I feel hungrier again and will probably have to increase calories soon.

Strength will aslo progress as well, he says, but it is a bi-product of muscle gains. Essentially, he says that muscle mass increase is the goal, and strength increases are secondary. It′s essentially the opposite of what I′ve always thought. I′ve always said that one should train for strength and the size will come, but he says one should train for size and the strength will come.



Since this is a trainig journal, and I′ve decided to share it with you, I will also post some starting stats as a way of measuring progress. I won′t post all measurements or strength numbers, but I′ll post the important ones. I took the measurements at the beginning of the week before starting the program, and the strength numbers are after the first round. No laughing kids, it′s about progress, not absolute size and strength 😉


Height 5′10 (on a good day in the morning after a big breakfast)

Arm 16 1/4

Chest 40 3/4

Waist 36 5/8

Quad 25 5/8

Forehead 22 3/4

Weight 207

I feel as though I should explain some of my measurements. I′m not the best at doing my chest consistently. I tend to do it over the nipple and exhale totally, which gives me about 4 seconds to take an accurate measurement before I pass out. It never works the first time. Also, my large child bearing hips give me a larger waist than what it looks like. I know guys of my height with smaller waists who have considerably more bodyfat than I do with a bit of a gut. I′ve always had a larger waist measurement, and it doesn′t look as bad as it sounds, so it doesn′t bother me. Moreover, my legs certainly aren′t "small" at that measurement, but my hips make them look relatively small. I measure them 10 inches up from my knee cap and they generally look smaller than they measure. I′m still looking for a program that will get me over my height plateau (at least 10 years now), and I think my forehead is lagging, so hopefully that comes up to par. I measure just above my ears and eyebrows.


Hammer Strength Flat Bench Press 150 x 11

Wide Grip Pulldown 160 x 10

Straight Bar Shrug 255 x 10

Overhead Dumbell Extension 75 x 11

Preacher Curl 75 x 6

Hammer Strength Leg Press 430 x 10

Bench Sit Static Hold 90 sec.

Most these rep numbers are okay for some weeks, but are far too high for other weeks. I′ll keep track of the heavier weeks, so I will try to add enough weight to get the reps down.

I should also explain my poor performance in strength as well. The Hammer Bench is really close to the flat bench weight wise, but I can go to failure without a spotter on it. Also, I′m an absolutely horrible and pathetic pusher. I think I′ve said this before, I can′t press to save my life. I′m just bad at it. The Hammer Leg doesn′t look impressive, but I′ve only ever seen one guy in my gym do more than me, and he had his seat so far back as to almost eliminate the ROM totally, and bounced the weight so hard off the stops that people accross the street could hear it. The only reason I moved to the Hammer Leg was because I couldn′t put any more weight on the 45 degree Leg Press, and I didn′t want to start stacking plates on top without a holder. The mechanics of the Hammer machine must be much better. Anyways, I like it more because I don′t have to put all those plates on. Bench Sit Static Holds aren′t up to par, but I′m just starting to do them seriously now.



So, here is the beginning of the Journal. I know my intro is extremely long and detailed, but I wanted to be relatively thorough about it. If you′ve read it, I thank you. I won′t update every workout, as that′ll be almost every day, but I will stop in and update the numbers regularly and will definately post measurement changes and my progress and feelings over time. This program requires a bit more diligence than anything I′ve done before, but I am confident I′ll be able to stay the course and be consistent. Keeping an online journal will help me do this, but I′ve never been one to slack off before, so I′m sure I won′t slack off on this program.

Although I′m not as active as some, I hope my reputation on this board is good enough that what I write here in this journal will be taken as true and honest. I will write the good and the bad, so we can see all sides. As such, if I make good progress, I hope nobody thinks I′m lying, some genetic mutant, or on gear just because I′m making progress on a volume routine. Conversely, if I make little or no progress, I hope nobody thinks I′m fabricating this so as to add more support to HIT/HD. I am well aware that some people will secretly be hoping that I fail. I must say, in a strange way, I have mixed feelings about it as well. Whatever happens, good or bad, I can only give you my word that the results will be honest and legit.

Well, here we go!

Cheers Guys,


This Topic has 62 Replies: Displaying out of 62 Replies:

Jeff (Toronto, M5T, Canada) on 5/27/2005 3:04:26 PM

Well, a little bit of a setback today already. Nothing big, just an annoyance.

I go to a University that has two gyms, a good one and a bad one. I use the good one, but I it seems that Graduate Students are not allowed to use that gym over the summer, unless they want to pay for it. I don′t understand why, but understanding is not going to change the situation.

At least we are allowed to use the bad gym over the summer for free, so I will have to do the workouts there. The place is a tiny sweat box, and they don′t have near the equipment that the good gym has. As such, I′ll have to use some different exercises than the ones I mentioned above, and also switch to Barbells instead of Dumbells, as their DBs only go to 85 lbs (pretty weak if you ask me).

Here are the changes to the exercises I listed above.

1) They don′t have a Hammer Strength Flat Bench Press, so I will probably be using the Nautilus Flat Bench Press instead. I′ve tried it before, and it′s not as comfortable as the Hammer Strength, but I′m not in the mood to use a Barbell and to constantly search for a spotter all the time.

2) They have a different Pulldown apparatus, so I′m assuming the weight won′t be exactly the same as the other one. Also, they don′t have the attachment I was using, so instead of the wide pronated grip, I′ll be using a medium hammer grip instead.

3) Their DBs only go to 85 lbs, so I′ll be using an EZ curl bar instead of DBs for the overhead tricep extensions.

4) They don′t have a Hammer Strength Leg Press, so I′ll have to go back to the 45 degree Leg Press again. Needless to say, I′m not very happy about this, as the Hammer Strength was excellent and I didn′t have to put as much weight on the machine to reach failure in my target rep range. When I stopped using the 45 degree Press, I still had a bit of room left to put some weight on, but not much. I may have to start stacking weight on top of the sled soon, and I′m definately not happy about this either.

5) I′ll start keeping track of the calf raise as well. I didn′t want to at the beginning, because there wasn′t enough room for weight on the calf raise machine at the good gym, so I had to start fooling with my rep speeds to reach failure within an acceptable rep range. The bad gym has a standard standing calf raise machine, so I should be able to use regular rep speeds without running out of room for weight, thus making strength increases more obvious.

6) The benches at this gym are more comfortable, so my Bech Sit Static Hold times may increase at a more rapid rate.

I don′t have any starting weights for these yet, but I′ll post them sometime next week once I′ve given the new lifts a try.



Jeff (Toronto, M5T, Canada) on 5/27/2005 6:34:06 PM

Hey guys,

I forgot to say so in my original post, so I′ll say it here.

This thread is not meant to be "closed." If, at any time, you have a comment, concern, question, observation, etc., please feel free to post. Of course you′re not forced to post, but I do value all of your ideas and would be interested in your thoughts. That is why I chose to keep the journal here and not search for an alternative.

On the other hand, I would appreciate it if nobody hijacked the thread and started debates about everything under the sun for pages and pages. We all know how this goes. Certain debates may come up that might fit fine here, but others may warrent their own thread. I just don′t want there to be 50 pages of different debates after two weeks, which would make it hard to find anything for comparisons.

I hope my somewhat contradictory statements make sense.

Thanks lads,


smanjh (somewhere in, the USA, U.S.A.) on 5/27/2005 7:08:52 PM

So, what exactly is your routine, how will you be eating, etc?

Jeff (Toronto, M5T, Canada) on 5/27/2005 11:08:20 PM


I can′t say exactly how I′ll be training and eating for the reasons I stated above. I′ve given you some insight into it, but I′ll try to elaborate a bit for you.



It′s a basic volume routine. There′s no other way of explaining it. Volume Volume Volume. It′s more volume than I′ve done in years, and one workout can be more total volume than I′ve done in the last 6 months! I′ll be training on a split system on 5 days a week, Monday through Friday with the weekends off. Each week most muscles get hit twice and some only once. Which muscles get hit twice changes every week or two. Some muscles get only one exercise, and others can get up to four. He′s got exercises that are required and other that are optional. I′ve chosen to do a few optional exercises because I like them and feel like doing them.

He cycles everything, frequency (like I said above), rep range, and volume. Some weeks are low volume, where a muscle group can get as few as two work sets, and others are high volume, where a muscle group can get up to 20 work sets. All sets are done to total failure and sometimes beyond. So, on high volume weeks when the frequency calls for two hits that week, some body parts could get up to 40 sets to complete failure that week. Yikes eh!

Workouts should take between 45 and 75 minutes or so, and possibly longer depending on the week and which workout is being done.



This is the bread and butter in my opinion. He lays out a specific diet regiment with specific carb, protien, and fat ratios that you′re meant to hit at each meal. Each meal is different depending on which meal of the day it is. His ratios are meant to encourage the most muscle growth and the least fat gain while gaining mass. Essentially, he doesn′t care much about the calories; you′re not even meant to record them. I do record them, just out or curiosity, but you′re only meant to count nutrient grams. He starts you on a specific caloric level, based on your body size and type, then has you increase or decrease the level based on results, but the ratios stay the same. He′s also got another diet plan for those trying to loose bodyfat.

He is specific about the types of carbs and protiens you can eat and in which meals. The carbs you can eat in one meal are not acceptable for other meals, and certain protiens are not acceptable either. One thing I really like about the diet is that he is very anit-supplement, something I am as well. Most personal trainers I know have said I need to take Creatine, L-Glutamine, and whatever other magic potion of the day, and he actually advises against it all. Diet is all you need he says, which is something I agree with.

Hope this give you a bit better of an idea of what I′ll be doing. Essentially, I′ll be doing the exact opposite of what I′ve been doing for a long time. I′ve always trained in a specific way, and eaten in a specific way, but what he′s got me doing is 99% different than what I had been doing, and also goes against 99% of what I had believed before. That′s very exciting for me. Basically the program consists of hard intense training, specific eating, and unwavering consistency.



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