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Thread: Journal: Novice on HCT-12

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  1. #1
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    Journal: Novice on HCT-12

    I always got minor questions about the routine popping up here and there, so I figured I might as well start a journal so people can see what I'm doing if I need advice.

    This is my week three on HCT-12, and I've been starting pretty easy. Today was the first WO that felt hard (thanks to DLs).

    Here are the last three WOs:

    B (Jan 12.)

    Squat
    90kg x 6+2+2+2

    Romanian DL
    75kg x 6+2+2+2 (first time I did these)

    Seated calf stuff
    30kg x 6+2+2+2

    Curls
    25kg+ez-bar x 6+2+2+2

    Abs and back extensions.

    *

    A (Jan 14th)

    Chins
    7,5kg x 6+2+2+2 (body weight is something like 93-94 kg)

    DB floor press
    34kg x 5+2+2+2 (couldn't do six on the first set. I really love this one)

    Pendlay rows
    74kg x 6+2+2+2

    Arnold press
    20kg x ? (First time I tried these.)

    Close grip BP
    55kg x 6+3+3+3

    *

    B (Jan 17.)

    DL
    120kg x 5 (personal best, and I felt in full control)
    110kg x 5

    I was planning to do six reps on the back-off set, but I felt too close to technique-failure on the fifth rep so I stopped. I might drop the back-off set later, as I have had very good progress just doing one straight set of five while doing Starting Strength. I felt pretty tired after this too.

    Leg press
    120kg x 6+2+2+2

    Curls
    30kg+ez-bar x 6+2+2+2 (Weight was a bit to heavy on this one. Couldn't have done one more rep on any of the sets)

    Abs

    Back extensions
    3x10 body weight

    *

    Today's WO felt incredibly awesome. Straight into top 5 list of workouts ever
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 01-17-2011 at 08:48 AM.

  2. #2
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    A

    Chins
    +10kg 6+2+2+2 (+22 lbs)

    Pendlay rows
    75kg 5+2+2+1 (165 lbs)

    DB floor press
    34kg 6+2+2+3 (75 lbs)

    Arnold press
    22kg 5+2+2+1 (48 lbs)

    Close grip bench
    60kg 6+2+2+2+2 (132 lbs)

    Face pulls 3x12 (very light)

    I'm loving this split! First couple of weeks have been pretty easy, but all of todays exercises except CGBP were hard.

    It's a bit hard to hit the exact right weight to get RPE9 after six reps. Therefore it seems natural to me to also autoregulate the number of reps on the first set, and possibly also the number of cluster. This way you can always get the right amount of work, and I don't think you're muscle care that much if you do 5, 6 or 7 reps.
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 01-19-2011 at 09:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    How come the +3 on bench but no clusters on deads?

    Good work tho mate. Keep at it HCT is fun
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...?136143-Hct-12

    A Westside journal.

    'There are no layby's on the road to strength'

    'The greatest pleasure in life is achieving things people said you could not achieve'

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiff View Post
    How come the +3 on bench but no clusters on deads?

    Good work tho mate. Keep at it HCT is fun
    +3 on the bench was just because I picked a weight that was a bit too easy and I wanted to feel like I got some more work done. The plan is to do clusters of 2 on that too. Just need to throw some weight on

    No clusters on deads is just because I've had such good progress ramping up to one straight set of five up until now I didn't see any reason to add more at this point. If I'll do anything more I think I'll just do some easier explosive and form-focused sets afterwards. I've always found technique difficult on deads, so I like to feel 100% ready and concentrated each time I get in position. In fact, there is a very similar program to HCT calle Myo-reps written by Borge Fagerli; he actually doesn't recommend doing clusters on deads and squats in his program.

  5. #5
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    keep up the work - I'm in week two of my second cycle on HCT-12 - I love the program, it's just great!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreggNJ View Post
    keep up the work - I'm in week two of my second cycle on HCT-12 - I love the program, it's just great!
    That's cool. It takes some weeks to get things right, finding the right weights, picking the exercises you enjoy the most etc. I think the second cycle will be when I really get to feel what HCT is all about

  7. #7
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    B

    Squats
    100kg x 4 (220 lbs)
    95kg x 4+2+2+2 (209 lbs)

    Here I actually failed on the 4th rep of the first set, so I took of 5 kg and started over. I stopped one rep short of failure on the second set.

    RDL
    80 kg 6+2+2+2 (176 lbs)

    EZ-bar curls
    40 kg 6+2+2+2 (88 lbs)

    Abs & back ext.

    * * * *

    About the squats... I need some help here. A month ago I was training on Rippetoe's program and I used 107 kg (235 lbs) for three sets of five. Now, of course I understand that when going from a program that is VERY squat focused, and has you squatting three times a week, to a program that is more focused on other things, there will be changes and you can't expect the same progress on that particular movement. But is this type of regression normal? I mean, just one month ago doing six reps at 100 kg would be easy! And now I failed at four...

    I suspect it is because of the drastic reduction in frequency of the squatting. From three times a week, to a total of two times in three weeks the way my split is set up now. Next week I won't be squatting at all.

    This makes me want to modify my split and increase the frequency of squatting somehow. Currently I'm alternating the Squat+RDL combo with DL+legpress combo on B day. Maybe I could keep squats fixed on B day, but alternate RDL and DL, and on DL day do deads first followed by a lighter set of squats? Also, since I dropped the calf exercise from my split, the B day feels pretty abbreviated. This might justify doing some more volume. Say back off sets on the squat.

    Comments/suggestions are very welcome on this.
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 01-21-2011 at 07:54 AM.

  8. #8
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    This was on monday:

    A

    Chins
    +12kg 6+2+2+2 (26 lbs)

    Pendlay rows
    75kg 6+2+2+2 (165 lbs)

    DB floor press
    34kg's 8+2+2+2 (75 lbs)

    Probably ready to try the next set of dumbbells the next time.

    Lateral raises
    6 kg 8+3+3+3
    8 kg 8+3+3+3

    As you can see I'm trying out different things for shoulders. I know this isn't the best idea in terms of progress. I don't worry too much about it though, as I consider it a learning process. I used to always do standing barbell presses, but I've had some shoulder problems in the past and I wanted to go easy on them for a while. I might go back to the standing barbell press again next cycle.

    CGBP
    65kg 6+2+2+2 (143 lbs)

    This is still pretty easy.
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 01-27-2011 at 04:59 AM.

  9. #9
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    First a comment about diet. I've been gaining for months and I am now trying to more or less hit maintenance, before starting a cut.

    Morning weight: 92kg (202 lbs)

    * * *

    Yesterday's WO:

    B

    Squat
    95kg 6+2+2+2 (209 lbs)

    The squats were probably about RPE9.

    DL
    122kg 5 (268 lbs) (personal best)

    RPE10 I guess. Maybe I could have done more, but not with acceptable form.

    Ez-bar curls
    40kg 6+2+2+2 (88 lbs)

    Abs, back extensions.


    So as mentioned earlier I'm not entirely happy about the low frequency of squatting in my split, and I'm worried it might be the cause of my drop in squat strength (see comments two posts up). I decided to test the Squat+DL combo to see how that feels at this point. The hope is to be able to do squats on every B day. I went with squats first this time. Next B day I'll do squats+RDL as usual, and the one after that I will probably try squats and DL from the floor, but try the DLs first followed necessarily by a lighter set of squats. Then I will decide on what I think is the best setup. Comments are still very welcome on this.
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 01-27-2011 at 04:16 AM.

  10. #10
    LuNa
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    Dont forget that lowering your calories can have quite a significant impact on your strength. GL with the routine. Trying things out and seeing what works best for you is the best aspect of lifting.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RvNijnatten View Post
    Dont forget that lowering your calories can have quite a significant impact on your strength. GL with the routine. Trying things out and seeing what works best for you is the best aspect of lifting.
    Yeah, could be part of it. Every other lift has gone up quite nicely though.

    A

    Chins
    +13kg 6+2+2+2 (28.6 lbs)

    Pendlay rows
    76kg 5+2+2+2 (167 lbs)

    DB floor press
    36kg's 4+1+1+1 (79 lbs)

    First time I tried the new db's. Pretty happy abut doing 4 reps. Will stick to this weight until I can do 8-9 reps probably.

    DB shoulder press (seated)
    22kg's 6+2+2+2 (48 lbs)

    My shoulders are very injury prone, and I don't really feel 100% comfortable with this exercise. I wonder if doing only lateral raises would be enough for my shoulders...

    Close grip bench (about 2/3 of max ROM)
    70kg 6+2+2+2 (154 lbs)

    Quite happy about the chins progress. On Starting Strength I was doing them for three sets of about 8-9 reps with body weight, and I hardly ever progressed on them at all. Week in and week out I was doing the same number of reps. This makes me suspect that chins is an exercise best done at lower reps (and fewer sets)?
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 01-31-2011 at 10:50 AM.

  12. #12
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    I forgot, this is week 5 and should have been deload week. Will deload next week instead.

    My morning weight seems to stay at 92 kg, so I think I'm pretty close to hitting maintenance calories. Here's what I ate on a typical WO day recently:

    Before WO (around 1200)
    6 slices of whole grain bread with liver paté(?) (not sure what it is called in english, but it is made from liver, high in fat and calories, and a normal thing to put on bread where I am from)
    0,5L whole milk

    Post WO (around 1600)
    2 bananas
    protein shake with about 50g prot and 1L whole milk
    followed by dinner at my school cafeteria

    Last meal (around 2000):
    4 boiled eggs
    100g cottage cheese and some caviar

    I don't know the calorie or macro-nutrient content of the cafeteria dinner. Excluding that this totals to:

    2460 kcal, 182g prot, 174g carb, 118g fat

    So, say the cafeteria dinner is something like 700kcal, I should be just above 3k calories. 3100-3200 or something like that. And probably above 200g protein.

    I plan to start a cut in a couple of weeks, and I plan to do it by reducing the whole milk.

    * * *

    Here's today's workout:

    B

    Squat
    97kg 6+2+2+2 (213 lbs)

    Form was kinda ****ty on the 6th rep:/

    RDL
    85kg 6+2+2+2 (187 lbs)

    These felt real easy, but afterwards my lower back didn't feel to good. I think it's a good thing I have deload week next week.

    Curls
    40kg 5+2+2+1 (88 lbs)

    Dunno why, was just weak today in this movement.

    Abs.

  13. #13
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    A

    Chins
    +14kg 6+2+2+2 (31 lbs)

    DB floor press
    36kg's 5+2+2+1 (79 lbs)

    Pendlay rows
    76kg 6+2+2+2 (167 lbs)

    OHP
    45kg 6+2+2+2 (99 lbs)

    CGBP

    72kg 6+2+2+2 (158 lbs)

    OK, next week is deload week.

  14. #14
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    So deloading is nice. Everything done for two sets of 15. Doing 15 reps for squats and DLs was really tiring, in a good way, even though I stayed far away from failure. I got some really serious DOMS even now, two days later.

    I have 'officially' started cutting now. I will spend this week to get the meals right, and probably make a post about what I eat on WO and non-WO days next week.

    Here's a pic of my skinny-fat ass. Morning body weight is 91.5-92 kg.



    Just for fun, here's a pic of me from this summer, before I started lifting too. Body weight back then was 75-77 kg.



    I know they are not easy to compare, but I really do look different now.

  15. #15
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    Lol, some guy walks up to me in the _middle_ of my 15 rep DL set today, me breathing really heavy, and asks me how much I got left. Cant you see I'm trying to get some work done? wtf

  16. #16
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    I definitely liked the deload. I will continue doing them as planned and exactly as written. I understand their purpose much better now. It's not at all like it's a week off.

    I started squatting with the same weight as before the deload, and it felt pretty comfortable. This is on a calorie restriction too now, so I'm happy. According to fitday I should be on about 2800-2900 cals now.

    Yesterday's WO:

    Squat
    97,5kg 6+2+2+2 (215 lbs)

    RDL
    90kg 6+2+2+2 (198 lbs)

    Curls
    40kg 6+2+2+2 (88 lbs)

    Back extensions & Abs

  17. #17
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    Morning weight yesterday: 90.3 kg
    Today: 90.7 kg

    I think that's OK? I was about 91.5 about a week ago I think.

    I can feel being on restricted calories already. I'm definitely more hungry.

    Yesterday's WO:

    A

    Chins
    +15 kg 6+2+2 (33 lbs)

    DB Floor press
    36kg dbs 5+0+3+2+2 (79 lb dbs)

    It was like I lost balance or something on the first cluster, so I couldn't get the weights up. I took another 20 sec break and started over.

    Pendlay rows
    77kg 4
    75kg +2+2+2

    Took off some weight for the clusters, since 77kg apparently was too heavy. :/

    Lateral raises
    8kg 12+5+5+5+5

    Close grip bench (2/3 ROM)
    75kg 6+2+2+2

  18. #18
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    How come you are cutting?

    Do you want to be smaller? 90KG is not that heavy you could get some good results by eating maintenance for a few months...
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...?136143-Hct-12

    A Westside journal.

    'There are no layby's on the road to strength'

    'The greatest pleasure in life is achieving things people said you could not achieve'

    'He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man'

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiff View Post
    How come you are cutting?

    Do you want to be smaller? 90KG is not that heavy you could get some good results by eating maintenance for a few months...
    Good question. No, I don't want to be smaller. Long term I want to gain. I dunno really what my ideal weight is, but definitely it's above 90kg. My thinking was that I should cut down to a lower bf% first, so that I have some 'room' to gain fat for my next bulk. I have been reading stuff from guys like Borge Fagerli and Lyle McDonald, and I get the impression they advice your bf% to be pretty low (like close to 10%) before starting to build. It might not look like it from the pic, but I _think_ that my bf% now is fairly high. According to the "Tape Measurement Method" in this calculator, my bf is closer to 20% (I got 19% something, don't remember exactly).

    I just thought it was smarter in the long run to cut first, and then start bulking again at a more controlled speed than what I did first time around. If I could do a few months with cutting without loosing much strength I'd be happy. But hell, I really don't know much about these things, so all input is greatly appreciated.

    What can I expect in terms of lower bf% if I eat at maintenance for say X months?
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 02-17-2011 at 06:27 AM.

  20. #20
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    I am by no means an expert so please remember that in my reply, i would reccomend you post your questions in the diet section there are some real diet Gurus on here that would be better at helping than i could.

    I just dont really see the logic in cutting weight then bulking just to put that fat back on in the 'room' you find.

    I stayed at maintanence for a couple of months and although i dont bother with BF%s as such i looked a lot better for it. And you can have more room for strength gains in there, especially if you have only been lifting a while and form and practice plays such a key part.
    If you are only going to cut to bulk quickly again there is not much point, however if you are going to cut and bulk real slow, and i mean .5LBS a week maybe a little more then go for it. At your size i highly doubt you are 20%BF if you get it tested do it properly rather than anyhting you can do at home. They are SO unreliable, my one at home put me at 43% bodyfat. I am 81KG so i doubt that very much
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...?136143-Hct-12

    A Westside journal.

    'There are no layby's on the road to strength'

    'The greatest pleasure in life is achieving things people said you could not achieve'

    'He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man'

  21. #21
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    Lol, yeah, I got one of those fat pinching devices (sorry, no clue what it is called in english) at home and it gave me 40+% bf too. I don't really care about the number though, just need some guidance in setting goals. I could probably use something like visible abs/not visible abs instead?

    My plan was to at least attempt to do a slow bulk after this. But I know it's hard to get right since is is such a slow, patient game.

    Yeah, I'll make a post in the diet section where I post pics and tell'em what I eat to get some advice. I use fitday so I have a reasonable control over my eating habits.

  22. #22
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoMoreFatChix View Post
    Lol, yeah, I got one of those fat pinching devices (sorry, no clue what it is called in english) at home and it gave me 40+% bf too. I don't really care about the number though, just need some guidance in setting goals. I could probably use something like visible abs/not visible abs instead?

    My plan was to at least attempt to do a slow bulk after this. But I know it's hard to get right since is is such a slow, patient game.

    Yeah, I'll make a post in the diet section where I post pics and tell'em what I eat to get some advice. I use fitday so I have a reasonable control over my eating habits.
    I will tell you one thing they will tell you mate. If you want to put on a decent amount of size forget about keeping your abs while you do it.
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...?136143-Hct-12

    A Westside journal.

    'There are no layby's on the road to strength'

    'The greatest pleasure in life is achieving things people said you could not achieve'

    'He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man'

  23. #23
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    Yeah I know...

    Here's one that better show the belly fat:



    (In front of the Christmas tree nonetheless.)
    Last edited by NoMoreFatChix; 02-17-2011 at 06:52 AM.

  24. #24
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Looking at your shoulders and chest i would say, stand straight. Build those shoulders and the arms sort your chest out and that belly will be well well WELL in proportion...
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...?136143-Hct-12

    A Westside journal.

    'There are no layby's on the road to strength'

    'The greatest pleasure in life is achieving things people said you could not achieve'

    'He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man'

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiff View Post
    Looking at your shoulders and chest i would say, stand straight. Build those shoulders and the arms sort your chest out and that belly will be well well WELL in proportion...
    Not sure I got that. Are you talking about fixing my posture with the first sentence? I am obviously bending over in that pic to show the fat more clearly. That's not how I normally stand! :P And "sort your chest out" means building it bigger, or did you mean something else?

    I agree though, if everything else was bigger, that belly wouldn't bother me much... And thanks for all the feedback. that's why I started this thread.

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