Progress Progress and more Progress - HCT12 Modified slightly
Hello all, so I've come to the decision to finally make a real workout log/journal. I've always felt that, in general, logging, blogging, journal-ing, writing down goals (vs storing them mentally) was a waste of time. I had always been confident that I mental fortitude and willpower to follow through on whatever mental plans/promises/goals I made to myself, however in only taking the briefest look through my workout history it's plain to see that (at least in this case), that was untrue.
I first started working out in 2005. It was after university (comp sci in case anyone was curious) and I started working. There was a gym in the building where I was working and a co-worker and I decided to check it out. The co-worker was a varsity basketball player in university and had some experience - I had none at the time. I worked out on and off for the next 4 years or so (which is to say I had a gym membership for the entire 4 years) - however I never really saw any gains during that time. Incidentally the co-worker is now probably my best friend and we still workout together when we can.
In looking back at that time it's clear to me now that the reason was because I never really pushed myself. I could get a bit more technical then that, but I basically got to what I felt was my max and just stayed there.
What happened next was I made the decision to go back to school (post grad diploma in GIS/Remote Sensing technologies). I managed to get my employed to lay me off so I could go on employment insurance and take a few months off before school. I sat on my ass, played video games, drank for the entire time and saw my biggest weight gain ever (was up over 260 at one point).
Sept came along - and started back to school. I had no money for a gym membership (I didn't take a loan for school relied entirely on savings) and only had a set of plates and dumbbells I got from walmart to work out with at home. The school I was attending was tiny and it's "gym" consisted of a multi-gym type machine (which may have been broke) and some cardio machines. That being said - I lost a bunch of weight my first year (2 year program) due to playing a lot of basketball at lunch, and I did maintain as much of a workout routine as I could at home with my dumbbells.
The summer between first and second year saw my biggest gains yet. I obtained summer employment and summer gym membership - which I was pumped about since it was practically next door to my office. I worked out a routine with my buddy (mentioned above) to continue to slim down and hopefully see some gains. I went to the gym mon-thurs after work everyday.
I'll briefly illustrate the routine for comparative reasons. Essentially I pushed really heavy to failure on one main exercise per day, then did low weight high rep accessory exercises after that. All main exercises were dumbbell exercises since that was what I was used to and the one time I tried the barbell chest press I actually couldn't push as much weight. So it went:
mon: chest (85's max)
tue: back (70's max single arm BB row)
wed: shoulders (65 or 70's max - can't really remember)
thurs: bi/tri's (used too different exercises to really compare and get a definitive max)
I was pretty happy with my progress and wanted to hopefully maintain it through the school year till I could get back to the gym. Two things happened that prevented that. Firstly, over the summer I had met what would soon become the girl of my dreams (we're engaged now), and secondly my second year at school was much much more intense then the first year.
Meeting the girl wouldn't have been such a big deal except for that she lived about 95-100mins away from the school I was attending (and I lived somewhere in between). So the extra travel time on the weekends to go see her combined with being at school until sometimes 10p at night doing work (even basketball was out at lunch) basically killed any extra time I would have had to work out. By the end of the year I was back up to close to 240.
So I finished the program this past May and started working again. The GF and I decided to get a membership at a rec center near where we lived which had a nice gym, pool, track, bball courts etc. It was a good deal, the only downside being that we would have to drive to get there. Basically that meant coming home after work, eating supper, then going to the gym - that was my first mistake. Motivating myself to go after supper and I'm home is next to impossible for me. But I did it probably 2 sometimes three times a week.
The biggest problem was that since the times that I was going to the gym lacked consistency; so did my work outs. I had reverted back to the go into the gym "do whatever" no routine kind of thing. In spite of that, I got back to probably 85-90% of what I had been at the previous summer. The other good thing I started doing while at this gym was using BB moves instead of DB moves.
About a month ago we found out my GF (finance now) was pregnant. There's a gym here in the office building where I work now which is ok and we get a good discount on. But we had got the membership at the rec center for the pool and other amenities. Unfortunately with my gf pregnant she wasn't able to make use of many of these anymore so I made the decision to buy out the remaining time on my contract at the rec center and switch to the gym here in the building.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Unfortunately my gf miscarried and it was actually kind of a scary time for us (it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy and she had to have surgery), but we got through it. Though I definitely took some time off from the gym during all that. Then we went away to Jamaica for my brothers wedding and I got back primed and ready with a gym in same building I worked which I knew I could easily goto 5 days a week if I wanted to. Now all I needed was a good routine.
That's what brought me to this site. I started reading about HCT12 and I liked the science/research that was behind it, but more importantly it made sense to me. In coming to this site, the bigger motivating factor perhaps was reading journals here on the site. It seems as though people got very motivated by the gains and setting PR's. This was a foreign concept to me.
I made the decision to do the HCT12 workout 4 days a week for now. I also decided to start logging everything in a spreadsheet so I could see the gains. I also committed to working my lower body, which has been perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in my past. I'm always nervous about working my legs because I have naturally big thighs and calves on their own.
Weight: fluctuating between 223 and 228
<will insert some measurements here later>
Before starting this routine I was at the following weights:
Bench: 185 (I had been pushing it to 225, but after reading a bit on this site realized that I wasn't going low enough so wouldn't count them)
Squats: The odd time I had done them was on the smith machine usually with 2 plates on each side
Deadlifts: Historically have scared me to death so I've avoided them like the plague. My family has a history of lower back issues and my lower back isn't "great" but I don't feel I have any major issues here.
Like I said above, HCT12 pretty much by the book 4 days a week. I'll be going on my lunch break to do my weight workouts. Many times I have an hour or so wait after work before my fiance gets here to pick me up (she takes the car since it costs an arm and leg to park at my building and she can park for free). So in that time I'll return to the gym and do either low intensity cardio, or HIIT cardio depending on how I feel on a given day.
Once I hit my current lifting goals - I'll want to cut down a good 5-8% body fat. This would put me at around 12% according to my scales at home which I know aren't that accurate but currently measure me at anywhere from 18-20%. Once I've cut down that amount I'll set new goals and keep moving forward in that manner.
Deads: ?? Not sure what a reasonable goal would be here. Short term it's just making sure I do them with proper form.
My diet isn't the greatest in the world, but it's also not the worst either. I don't eat fast food, I stay away from a lot of bad snack food. I do tend to eat a lot of processed food (specifically chicken strips/nuggets/burgers, fish sticks, fries (I do bake them at least)) but have been making an effort to cut back on that. I'm also not a huge fan of vegetables or even really fruit. In fact the only way I usually eat them is stir fried in some kind of sauce.
I don't (nor am I about to) count calories. I occasionally will approximate how much I've eaten to the best of my knowledge and generally will come in around 2000-2200 mark per day with around 150g of protein. Once my bloodwork comes back if there's no protein in my urine I'll increase that (no protein in the urine means that my body is using every bit that I'm taking in). If there is protein in my urine I doubt I'll dial it back any.
I have naturally done IF even before I read it on this site. In fact, there have been days during school where I ate one huge meal a day in the evenings. I almost never eat breakfast (except on the weekends tho since I actually read about it on this site I cut that out too). So I will continue to do this and work out in a fasted state at lunch time.
I've tried a lot of different supplements in an effort to get over what I perceived to be a plateau in the past in both muscle gains and fat loss. I feel like my body may be somewhat "immune" to a lot of supplements. I've taken a couple different test boosters in the past and seen no gains, but I also felt none of the other side-effects either. I've taken an EC stack before, in fact, up until the miscarriage I had been taking it (in cycles) since probably Oct of last year? So for about 4 months or so and only saw a 10-15 lb loss in weight in that time. Again none of the side effects, no sweating, jitteryness etc. Also have tried CLA before. Protein powder is and has always been a staple of mine.
Currently I'm taking nothing but a multivitamin and protein powder. (BSN Syntha-6) I also have a product at home called Muscle Synergy (pretty much like ALN's Results http://www.fitnessone.com/muscle-synergy-p-308.html). I haven't started that yet. I got my doctor to send me for blood work since I haven't taken any real supplements in the past ~month or so. This way I can get a good baseline and then get it taken again after trying this supplement to see what's changing (if anything).
I think that's everything, sorry I tend to be a bit wordy. Hopefully I covered everything. I've got exactly 2 weeks of work out logs so far. This is the start of week 3, so I'll post the data from the last 2 weeks.
Now that I've been at this for about 2 months consistently I've made a few modification to the routine. I'm maintaining the general structure of the four day HCT12 workout. The four days are as follows:
mon - 1A
Tue - 1B
Wed - C
Thurs - 2A
Fri - 2B
Each of the primary A and B workouts focuses on one major lift (ala 5/3/1):
1A = Bench
1B = Squat
2A = Standing Overhead Press
2B = Deadlift
These major lifts are done first following the same rep/set structure more or less as outline in HCT12 (I generally don't bother with many low weight warm up sets, but do ramp up my work sets and do the clusters). The other exercises performed during these workouts are exactly what HCT12 outlines, so for workout 1A I would add a horizontal pull, vertical pull and a triceps exercise, I may or may not add a light vertical pressing exercise (for volume) depending on how I feel.
That same principal holds true for the other workouts. The point of this is so that I'm performing my main lifts once a week and assistance lifts twice a week usually.
The other addition is a workout C, which is basically a do whatever day. I'm so used to going to the gym on my lunch at work now that I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I didn't go. So I use this day to get in exercises I wouldn't normally get in during my other workouts. I also do a lot of core work on this day as that tends to be a weak spot for me.
Week 4 Day 3 - accessory day
30 secs each side/front x2
Hanging Leg raises:
Lat Shoulder Raises (machine):
Leg Curls (machine):
Decline Bench (smith):
135 x15 x3
Just a quick workout for something to do. I'm going to keep doing light accessory work on wed's even though the program dictates this to be an off day.
Crazy burn on the decline bench!
Probably go back to the gym after work for some HIIT