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I′ve been out of the gym since mid-September, so almost 4 months now. I should be somewhat settled for the next 6-7 months, and I′ve found a gym in my area as well, so I′ve decided to get back to training and keep a log of my travels here. First, a few preliminaries for those who don′t know me, and some extra useful info for those who do.
I′m 26 years old and stand at 5′10. I′m probaly right in the middle of the sematotype triange, as I can see endo, meso, and ecto qualities in me. I have relatively wide hips, thinck knees, and narrow shoulders. I naturally carry a bit more bodyfat than an average athlete and my metabolism is relatively slow. I have somewhat longer muscle bellies in my biceps, shorter in my triceps and forearms, and my lats are relatively short. Moreover, I seem to have a slight pain in my right shoulder that developed a while ago and is lingering around. It may be how I′ve been sleeping, but hopefully it won′t hurt my training.
I′ll be training at Olympic Fitness in Hamburg Germany. It′s old and dodgy, with old crappy irregular equipment, but the atmosphere is excellent. It′s full of signed pictures of pros who′ve visited the gym, trophies from members and the owner all over the walls, and massive giant bodies. It′s probably the most hardcore gym I′ve ever trained in, and I′m really looking forward to it.
I started as an ignorant volume trainee copying pro routines out of muscle mags. After roughly 2 years with this, and minimal progress after the first 6 months, I switched to Mentzer′s HDI and literally exploded with size and strength. My gains were spectacular, and they made me a convinced believer. I gained 30 lbs in 4 months, sending my bodyweight from 165 lbs to 195. My strength skyrocketed as well. My pressing strength more than doubled and my leg press went through the roof. I was an HD "poster boy" and praised HD at every opportunity. I scolded my friends for not following me, ridiculed athletes′ training, and scoffed at what any "expert" had to say.
I stuck with HIT/HD for 7 more years, and after the initial 4 months of bliss, my gains were next to nothing. I thought I was gaining strength on a regular basis, but that was more an illusion I created by switching exercises around a few times a year or so. My benchmarks never made it to anything worth writing home about, and my overall strength wasn′t very spectacular. I also gained a measily 10 lbs over the next 7 years, most of which was in the waist. Listening to Darden, I blamed my lack of progress and unspectacular body on my genetics limits. I also accused everyone who gained on non-HIT protocols of using gear and being a genetic superman.
After 7 long years I finally abandoned HIT in May 2005 and turned to more volume. I bought an internet course on mass building called MuscleNow, which mapped out an extremely potent training and diet program. My results were spectacular to say the least, gaining 20 lbs and 1 1/2" on my arms in a little over 3 months. My strength also skyrocketed again. I learned a lot from this experience, and it greatly changed my views on training.
Most importantly, my experience got me interested in theory and experiences outside the HIT bubble. I needed to know why I gained so dramatically instead of overtraining immediately like HIT told me I would. Uppon looking around the internet a little, I began to learn about Fitness Fatigue Theory (aka. Dual Factor Theory) and Periodization ideas. This is essentially how the top athletes the world over train, and it′s not a mistake that they hold all the records. After learning how fitness and fatigue interact with each other, and how the body adapts to stress given the GAS, I now understand my experience, and also understand how to continue making acceptable progress in the future.
My reading into how one builds muscle mass and strength, and my own experience for that matter, has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dual Factor Theory is correct and Single Factor Theory is not correct. As such, since HD is an application of Single Factor Theory, I think it′s fundamentally flawed. Single Factor may bring progress for beginner and intermediate trainees for a period of time, but it falls short for those who aspire to become more advanced. It is my view that, for those who want to go beyond the intermediate levels, Periodization, which is governed by Dual Factor Theory, is a more result producing way to go.
I will be training in accordance with Dual Factor Theory (ie: Fitness Fatigue Theory) and will also be using Periodization Methods. I′m not exactly sure how the training protocol will look, but they will go through the following periods:
A) General Fitness Period: Since I am basically a beginner again, with muscle memory on my side, I will be doing full body workouts 5-6 days a week. Weights will be light and I′ll work around 10-15 reps per set. Once the weights get a little heavier, I will split my body into two, add some exercises, and continue training 5-6 days a week while the weights slowly get heavier. I will stick to one set per exercise and stop well short of failure.
B) Hypertrophy Period: After my general fitness is back, I will use a wave volume and escilating density protocol, using distinct loading and deloading weeks. I will use multiple exercises and sets per muscle group, and parts will be trained relatively frequently. Fatigue will accumulate and the goal here will be muscle mass. I will probably use a version of the MuscleNow program, as it has proven itself useful to me.
C) Strength Period: Here I will keep my volume and reps relatively low, and rest longer between sets. I will train things relatively infrequently. This will be a recovery phase, and the goals here will be the dissipation of fatigue, deconditioning, and setting new strength PR′s.
I′m not sure how long each period will last, or how they will exactly look. I will have to play that by how I feel and listen to my body and what it′s telling me. I′ve only scratched the surface with Dual Factor Theory and Periodization, so I don′t know enough to lay out a complete program at the moment. I can only give a general outline like I have above, then apply what I learn and listen to how I feel as I go.
I′ll be using the MuscleNow diet plan, which is very potent. I will only be counting protien and carb grams, based on a caloric level. That means, my actual cals will be higher than what the plan reads, as fat cals are not counted. I′m going to start out at a relatively low caloric level for a trainee, as I haven′t trained in months and have been eating like a normal person for that time. I′m starting at 1500 cals per day (which is probably close to 1800 real cals a day), and I expect I′ll have to increase those relatively rapidly over the next month.
The plan has you raise cals by increments of 500. I have decided to raise in increments of 250 instead, since once I start eating a good amount of food, it′s difficult to get a full 500 more cals down per day. Going in 250 cal increments will be easier to handle, and will perhaps lead to less fat gain. I will take measurements ever week, and depending on what results I want from the training period, I′ll raise or lower my cals accordingly.
My weights are so low right now, that it′s not worth noting them. They are also in kilos and on machines that are so old it′s hard to have any point of reference. I can give some old stats for some comparison. These are old PR′s in lbs from September 2005.
Measurements are way down. I′ll put my old peak in brackets beside the ones I can remember. I will use the measurements at the end of September 2005 before I quit as my peak, which was after loosing 11 lbs through diet and training.
Arm: 15 3/8 (17 1/4)
Chest: 39 5/8 (43 3/4)
Waist: 33 3/4 (36 1/2)
Quad: 23 5/8
Calf: 15 3/4
Weight: 177 (214)
Caliper: 13 mm
As you can see, I′m much smaller than I was 4 months ago. I have a lot of muscle memory in the bag, but, depending on how my waist measurement changes, it might be hard to tell when muscle memory runs out. I′ll have to play it by feel. I′ll meausure, compare the strength numbers I can, and pay attention to how stobborn I become. From earlier muscle memory experiences, I blow up to my former peak easily, then get really stubborn. I′m planning to do this a bit slower this time to keep the waist from blowing up too much as well. I′ll just have to pay attention to myself.
That′s it. It′s long, but I thank those of you who read it. The purpose of this journal is to keep myself motivated, and to share my experiences and thoughts with you lads. It is not meant to be closed, so if anyone has any thoughts, questions or comments, please feel free to post. I will answer as much as I can and feel comfortable with. It is, however, a training journal, so if your post doesn′t have anything to do with the training journal, start another thread. That is also a purpose of the journal, to initiate discussion on the board.