This is my journal. As I start this, I feel the need to put my lifting career into perspective. I started lifting seriously (or so I thought) last April at about 188-190 lbs., probably my lowest weight since I was 17. Things went well... I was up to 209 by last August. I assumed without question I'd be at least 225 by today. Well things didn't quite turn out that way. Long story short, I started experimenting with different things, and I lost my focus. I was also dabbling in a sport where high body weight is a detriment. To cap it all, I spent the spring doing a 3-month investment banking internship where I worked 90+ hours per week, slept 5-6 hours per night and drank/partied in my free time like nothing else. Diet went out the door... I rarely ate breakfast and usually ate 2 meals a day. I tried to lift at the corporate gym when I could but it was difficult, and really a waste of time because of the rest of my lifestyle.
Well the past is past, and now I'm going in a new direction. I'm giving up on having a low body-fat percentage (which saddens me tremendously ) and I'm going on a legitimate bulk until at least the new year and I might possibly stick with it straight until next spring. I hope this journal will keep me honest and committed, because if I have a crappy workout or I start messing up I can't just pretend it didn't happen... it'll be right here for all the world to see.
I'm using a routine that's a combination of Doggcrapp's and Stuart McRobert's principles... Low volume, try to hit each bodypart approx. 3 times per 2 weeks. Big compound exercises, little overlap. Something along these lines:
Five Day Split:
Day 1: -chest press (i.e. DB incline press OR flat bench OR...)- 3 sets
-Military Press- 2 sets
-Narrow-Grip Bench Press OR Dips (tricep-focus)- 2 sets
-Shrugs OR behind-back Shrugs- 2 sets
Day 2: OFF
Day 3: -Pullups- 2 sets
-Barbell Rows- 2 sets
-Bicep Curls (standing hammer OR drag OR...)- 2 sets
Day 4: OFF
Day 5: -Deadlifts- 2 sets OR Squats- 2 sets (alternate so each is done once per 10 days)
Day 5 is hardly a workout at all... reason is, I hate squats, they hurt like hell and so I like giving them their own day because it's the *only* thing of significance I'm doing in the gym that day so I better do it well because there's nothing else... I can't say "well I missed on squats but at least I hit my whatever well..." Nope; I literally have to squat or go home. I'm basically devoting an entire workout to acing the huge exercises of deadlifts and squats.
I gotta stress warm-ups... There's not much room for error here because of the tiny number of work sets so I gotta go balls to the wall on the few sets I have.
Speaking of which... does anyone believe this is TOO abbreviated? I've dropped a ton of work... obviously I'll see how it goes but is it possible to do *too little* work??
Anyways, what else...
How about some measurements with my crummy tape measure-
Bicep- 14.5 in
Forearm- 12.0 in
Chest- 40.0 in
Shoulders- 49.0 in
Waist- 35.2 in
Thigh- 23.6 in
Calf- 16.2 in
I'm 203 lbs. today.
And what the hey, let's throw in some goals-
-Weigh 210 lbs. by July 15; 215 lbs. by August 31; 220 lbs. by October 31; 225 lbs. by December 31.
-Flat Bench DB Press 70s this Thursday for 3+ reps; 75s by July 15; 80s by August 31.
-Deadlift 275 for 10 controlled reps by July 15.
...I'll add and adjust goals as time goes by of course.
These goals don't seem ridiculous when broken down like this... actually they seem quite reasonable. But if all goes well and I hit each goal I'll be a pretty big dude by the end of the year.
I'm going to be working in investment banking again for the next 3 months, beginning in 2 weeks. It's gonna be a branch office but nonetheless I expect more of the same brutal hours. But this time is gonna be different... I'm going to stick to my plan through hell or high water. I'm going to insist on eating and sleeping enough during the week. One good thing about the job is they're very easy-going about what you do during the day so if I'm chugging back a tub of yogurt and protein powder or what-have-you no one really cares.
Phew! That was long. Well I'm in now... I promised a lot in this post, now it's up to me to deliver the goods.
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-09-2004 at 11:31 AM.
Hey, a journal I can relate to. LOL.
Whilst I don't put in nearly the type of hours you'll be suffering through, there are times when my job feels like I'm working for an investment banking firm. heh.
Good luck with this.
Good Luck w/ teh goals
Weight: Not Big Enough
“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.” — Bruce Lee
Good luck bud. btw, you are freakin tall.
I am on vacation but forgot to pack pants.
" I'd give up a pinky or a toe or something I don't need those"
"Remember, as long as you don't kick them in the head or use a weapon, it's only a misdemeanor." -JustinASU
I nominate this thread for the Tim Nissen Award! -El P
Damn, 2 people taller than me now!!
Good luck with your goals man!
From one tall dude to another...
...you can do this.
Freakin go for it. eat hard, lift hard, and work hard. Write in this journal, and we will be watching.
Sleep enough. Sleep is the major determiner for whether I'm going to have a good day the next day.
Well you feel tired, or feel like crap late at night. Don't think about the next day. If you do, you will start to think of all the work you have to do. Your mind will assume that your body will feel the same as it does now.
Do not watch TV or party to help tomorrow never come.
Visualize going to bed, and memorize the fresh feeling you have waking up.
Memorize the good feelings you have when reaching a goal.
Write them down, internalize them, and reproduce these feelings later, when you are tired and feel like throwing in the towel.
This is all mind games. Let's do this.
*note* Don't mean to sound like i'm preaching. I'm tellin this to myself more than anybody.
LET's DO THIS!
Last edited by mickyjune26; 06-08-2004 at 07:09 PM.
Thanks for the replies. Micky- yep we can do this... it's like no sweat. And, a friendly competition always keeps me motivated
So here's the details of yesterday's workout...
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Assisted Pullups: 2x5 w/ 20 lbs. assistance
Negative Pullups: 10
Barbell Rows w/ Overhand Grip: 10 @ 115 lbs. (too easy); 10 @ 120 lbs.
Hammer Curls: 40s in each hand/dropset to 35s- 6/4; 2/2
-this was an improvement from last time
Weighted Decline Abs: @b.w. + 25 lbs.- 10; 5
Cable T-Bar, pulled to bottom rib: 13 @ 120.
I weighed in at 205 pounds.
I have a funny nagging injury in my right forearm, that makes it hurt like hell when any force is applied to it in a supinated position. Hence, I can't do chinups, underhand barbell rows, underhand barbell curls etc. So I make do with variations that are easier on the arm.
I really tried to go balls to the wall on every set, and the fact that there are few sets makes it a lot easier to do that. My back and lats feel torched today, like they haven't in a while.
Which is actually interesting... I've been sleeping a lot more this last week or so, and eating like a horse- yet my muscles are really tender for quite a while after one of these low-volume workouts. I take this as a good sign, that I dialed up the intensity on these sets, and I hope to see good growth as a result.
I was gonna go to the gym tomorrow for chest/tri/shoulder day but I might push that back to Friday if these bodyparts don't feel 100% recovered. We'll see how that goes...
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-09-2004 at 11:31 AM.
So your schedule is like this..?
Are you going to do shrugs or grip?
Are you doing all your legs on one day?
If you're sore, that souds good. For me, I can't do so many parts in one day, but have to do a 4-day split...might have to do 5 day.
Lift routine is a 4-day split, each body part is only 1x/week.
I'll post it tonight, after I help a girl with her resume.
Micky- My workout program is very personalized, and flexible. I really think it's quite nice actually. I have shrugs on my chest/tri/shoulder day, but if my traps are a little tender I won't do them. Traps get hit on a lot of other exercises so I'm not worried about it. I am on a 5-day split, but on the 5th day I'm alternating deadlifts and squats. So it's really more of a 10-day split... Whereby I do deadlifts once per 10 days, squats once per 10 days, and all the rest twice per 10 days. But this is flexible of course... if I don't feel fully recovered going into a workout I just take an extra day of rest until that part of my body feels up to it.
I could probably benefit from better grip strength. I notice it definitely tanks on deadlifts, shrugs, even on cable rows yesterday... Any insights into taking care of that?
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-09-2004 at 11:24 PM.
Work hard and the payoffs will come along. Keeping up with the journal is a great motivator in itself. Anytime you feel like giving up, take a look back at the hard work you put into the journal and it will motivate you.
Good luck, I will continue to visit to see the results.
Tuef = "I need to get my ego stroked more often."
Do your grip on a day that it isn't already being worked, such as your leg day.
Do them at the end of the workout, so your weak grips won't make other exercises fail.
The most common grip lift is the farmer walk, where you grab the heaviest dumbbell's you can handle (maybe start at 60 lb and work up), and walk around the gym until you can't hold them any more.
Here's a link for grips:
GrumpyTX- Thanks for the kind words. I was looking through some old (very rough) notes I took sporadically from last spring and summer, and seeing how rapidly I was gaining in strength and size then has already been a huge motivator to getting back on track here.
Micky- Thanks for the tip... Alright, I'm gonna add grip work to my routine. I'm thinking once per 10 days, at the end of my back workout two days before my squats workout... That way my grip will have the maximum amount of time to 'recuperate' before I need it again.
Nice session Don. Have you had the injury checked out?
Yeah dude, you'll be surprised on how quickly you can get stronger. I don't have any science behind this, but I think that taller guys can get stronger quicker.
...but we pay for this by having to gain more wieght to look just as buff as a guy 12 " shorter. It's cool though; we are all in this for the same thing.
Friday, June 11, 2004
BOOMING workout today... I had been down the last few days because of the roll of fat developing around my midsection, but today's workout definitely lifted my spirits.
(warmup sets in italics)
Flat Bench DB Press- 5x20s, 5x40s, 6x70s, 3x70s
30 deg. Incline DB Press- 4x65s
Overhead Shoulder DB Press- 5x25s, 6x45s, 4x45s-dropset to 3x35s
Narrow-Grip Bench Press- 5x65, 7x120 (+1 assisted by spotter), 4x120
Shrugs- 12x205, 16x185
I weighed in at 204.
Each of these lifts was improved from last time I did them.
I smoked my goal of putting up 70s for 3 reps on flat DB press... I haven't done flat DB press in a long time, and this was my first time trying 70s. I was also happy with shoulder press- I put the seat at 90 degrees (I had previously been doing them the notch before that, I guess that's 75 degrees) and focused on pushing the weights straight up to stress the side delts. My NGBP form is really awesome now as I have been doing it for quite a while, and I feel my numbers on NGBP were good considering it came after the other presses which worked my tris considerably.
Justin- Dunno why, it never occurred to me to get it checked out... I always thought it would go away, now I've had it so long I guess I just started to assume I'll always have it. I'll try to get it looked at.
Micky- Well I've always known it takes tall people a lot longer to look "thicker" relative to smaller people... But when we DO get thick, we look awesome.
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-11-2004 at 11:17 PM.
Since flat DB bench went well today I'm gonna switch up the goals a little... I'm gonna say 3x80s by July 31.
Good luck. Lifts look good.
Tuef = "I need to get my ego stroked more often."
Looks like you are moving along nicely with the training - good luck with it all!
Monday, June 14, 2004
Well I hit up back and bis today...
(warmup sets in italics)
Pullups- 4, 3, 2, 4 w/ 10 pounds assist
Negative Pullups- 10 slow negatives
Deadlifts- 5x135, 5x185, 4x235, 6x265, 3x245 --> ah this should be more... I think I have developed form issues that I'll have to correct
Barbell Rows- 9x125, 6x125
T-Bar Cable Rows- 9 full to bellyx130 (+2 almost to belly)
Hammer Curls- crap...
I weighed in at 203.
A decent workout. I got 7 half-assed hours of sleep last night after a late night of gambling so that might've deteriorated things a bit. Everything seemed good until I got to Hammer Curls where I couldn't lift dickall... but I'm gonna chalk that up to having weakened my bis and forearms on pullups, deads and rows. I couldn't even lift 40s with my right arm (I'm a lefty) so I did like 5 reps of 35s and then I was like, "This is a waste of my time" and I left. After all if I already wasted my bis then there's not much point in working them even more.
In general my strength is improving and I'm gonna strive to add a little bit every workout now, i.e. next time do 5 pullups, 130 on barbell rows, 140 on cable rows, 275 for 2 sets on deadlifts. My one rep max on deads is 335 (January I believe) so... I should be pulling a little more.
I start my job next Monday which will actually benefit me physique-wise believe it or not... sure I'll be working a lot of hours but it's more of a routine... at the office by 9:30 every morning type-of thing. The next step for me is to come up with a daily diet, a list of meals I can eat every day, day in and day out. I'm getting stronger but... I'm also getting a fair bit fatter... so... I figure my best hope is to work out my diet and see what effect that's having.
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-14-2004 at 05:11 PM.
Great workout man!
You must know your stuff if you're doing deadlifts. so many people have taboo'ed those because of back strain.
Your workout looks pretty clean. i'll give it a try this Saturday.
Micky- Thanks man. Yah one really has to be careful with deadlifts. I really stress keeping my back straight, i.e. I look up while I'm doing them and I push my hips forward to keep my lower back straight. If anything it's arched back a little bit. Better safe than sorry is the correct policy for this kind of stuff. I love deads, they really tank my lower back muscles... but I think I have to tinker with my form a bit to bring the hamstrings into it more.
PizDoff- Haha of course... that is the whole idea. The full truth is I want to get thicker and stronger and I'm gonna be nothing but brutally honest with myself in terms of how I look and how my progress is going.
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-17-2004 at 01:33 PM.
Friday, June 18, 2004
Today was chest/shoulders/tris/traps.
Flat DB Press- 5x25s, 5x40s, 2x50s, 2x60s, 4x75s
30-degree Incline DB Press- 3x70s, 4x65s
Military Press- 5x45, 4x65, 4x95, 3x95
Narrow-Grip Bench Press- 5x65, 2x95, 5x135, 4x135
Shrugs- 5x135, 5,185, 4x225, 9x245, 7x245
I weighed in at 202 lbs.
I feel good about how today went. I waited one full week from the last C/S/T/T workout to let my chest recover fully. I was feeling a little tired but my lifts went off quite well nonetheless. I start my new job at the new office next Monday so I've been hitting it hard this week with my friends, playing a lot of poker and generally burning the candle at both ends this week. Because of this my diet has been a joke and sleep has been less than optimal. This should improve (at least the diet) when I got on my working-man routine.
Well I decided to hit up the 75s on DB flat bench (I had done 6x70s last week) and I put em up 4 times, so that was pleasing. Military press went well as far as I can tell... the numbers on that should be going up during the summer. I was really quite happy with NGBP, which felt quite easy, even after my tris had been used so much on the previous lifts. My forearms also got quite a workout with the shrugs, almost giving out... and to wipe them out I tried a "farmer's hold" kinda thing just for kicks at the end whereby I held 100 lb. DBs in each hand and just held them while standing straight- I dropped them after a mere 25 seconds. Doh!
Just an interesting side note... when I was doing NGBP these two guys came in, probably about my age. They were like 5'9" each and looked kinda skinny, not bony but just not too thick. Well they got into some DB flat bench and they started grabbing some decently-heavy weights. I thought I had maybe underestimated them when I saw the one kid pull off the 85 lb. DBs... well he got into position on the bench, and the other kid IMMEDIATELY grabbed his elbows and helped him push it up! Like, from the first rep! Then he went through his reps with this guy pushing on his elbows the whole way. It was priceless I mean what is someone like that trying to accomplish? Just because the weights say "85" on the side doesn't change the fact you're pushing with "55" effort... your body don't know the difference!
Last edited by Don Birnam; 06-19-2004 at 01:46 AM.