A Year For Improvement: Month 1, Week 2!

The hardest part about dieting in the summer for me is getting in meals, specifically healthy foods, when I go out. This week I will be talking about how things went including gains made and a roadblock that almost caused me to miss a workout.
The hardest part about dieting in the summer for me is getting in meals, specifically healthy foods, when I go out. To my delight, I was able to get all my meals in this weekend even while going out and having fun. One thing that allowed me to do this was taking a protein shake in the car with me.

On Saturday, I put a scoop of casein protein powder and a TBSP of Olive Oil in a shaker with a lot of ice and kept it in a cooler in my car. I drank that in the early evening, and then when my friends and I went out to eat I got a chicken salad. Sometimes it may seem like a pain to go through hassles like these, but as a result progress was not negatively affected.

If you take two steps forward during the week, then one step back every weekend, you are selling your progress short. As I type this Monday morning, before my first workout of the week, I know that I will continue to move forward and not backward. Knowing I have another week in front of me to make improvements and progress motivates me to not veer from my plan and work through any roadblocks that may get in my way.

Monday, June 6th, 2005

I guess I couldn't have picked a better time to write about roadblocks. There were some pretty bad thunderstorms last night. I didn't think anything of it because I had power at my house, but when I drove up to the gym I noticed that there was not a single car in the parking lot.

I drove up by the door and saw a note that said, "Sorry, No Power. Gym Closed." All of the other stores in the area had similar signs up. So I parked for a second to think if there were any other gyms close by. I knew of a Power House Gym about 20 minutes away, so I drove there because I was getting my workout in no matter what.

I found the gym with no problem at all and only had to pay $5 for a guest pass since my gym was also a Power House Gym. This gym was a bit smaller than mine, but it also had a more "hardcore" atmosphere with similar equipment. This gym had up to 200 lb. dumbbells, which were huge! They were not all pretty like the other dumbbells. They looked old and beat up, like they had been put through many battles. I gave the gym a quick glance then went into my workout.

Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Bench 3 5 4 3 255
Bent Row 3 5 4 3 255
Incline DB Press 3 5 4 3 110
Rev. Bent Row 3 5 4 3 235
Military Press 3 5 4 3 185
Shrug 3 5 4 3 445
BB Curl 3 5 4 3 145
CG Bench 3 5 4 3 255
Cable Fly 3 10 12 15 75 50 35
Seated Row 3 10 12 15 150 120 100
Cable Lateral 3 10 12 15 30 25 20
Machine Shrug 3 15 12 10 230 200 180
Conc. Curl 3 10 12 15 35 25 15
DB Kickback 3 10 12 15 35 25 15

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday, June 6th, 2005.

Cable Lateral Raises
Click To Enlarge.

Despite lifting in a gym I have never lifted at before, my workout progressed just as it would at my normal gym. I felt strong on all my lifts and my shoulders/rotator cuffs feel fine. I had planned on doing 405 lbs. for shrugs today, but there were four 100-pound plates by the power rack. I decided to just throw those on for 445 lbs.

To my surprise I was able to get my targeted sets of 5 reps, then 4 reps, then 3 reps. While doing these shrugs I had a couple of wicked veins on my traps that I haven't seen before.

My first sets for barbell curls and close grip bench were particularly intense. The 4th rep on CG bench was very hard, but something in my mind told me to go for another rep. As I was lowering the bar I seriously wasn't sure if I would be able to push it up. But that survival mechanism kicked in and I got it up. Same thing happened during barbell curl. The 4th rep was very hard, but I said to myself, "I got 5 reps on CG bench and have to match it on barbell curls." I made sure not to swing the weight or arch my back during the 5th rep and completed a solid final rep.

I'd say the most intense part of this workout were my final two exercises, concentration curls and DB kickback, specifically the final two sets of 15 reps. I felt like stopping at 12 reps on both exercises, but I pushed through and got my targeted 15 reps.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

Tuesdays are not as exciting as my weight training days, so now would be a good time to talk about supplementation. As of right now, my absolute favorite supplement is Scivation's Xtend. I am a huge supporter of BCAA supplementation, as should be evident by my recent article on BCAA.

Xtend combines BCAA with Citrulline Malate and Glutamine, which are also great supplements. I particularly like citrulline malate due to its ability to make cardio seem much easier throughout while increasing aerobic ATP production. The combination of BCAA, Glutamine, and Citrulline Malate makes for an incredible recovery stack. It doesn't matter how many sets I do or how many days a week I lift and do cardio, I always recover amazingly when I supplement with Xtend. To top it off, Xtend's new Watermelon tastes like candy, seriously.

I am currently doing cardio for two reasons, (1) to burn some calories and (2) to increase nutrient partitioning to skeletal muscle and away from fat. I currently take some Substance WPI, Xtend, Glutamine, and Enova (Dag) Oil around my cardio sessions. Enova Oil is diacylglycerol (DAG), which is preferentially burned in the liver for energy production.

The combination of BCAA from Xtend, Glutamine, and Enova Oil ensures that I spare muscle tissue while burning fat and sending muscle building nutrients to my muscles. Spare muscle and burn fat, sounds good to me. On to the cardio!

Today's Cardio:

  • Warm-Up- 5 minutes
  • 10 Sprints- As fast as I can go (around 350 rpm) for 15-20 second then 40-45 second light (150 rpm) pedaling
  • 20 minutes of moderate intensity pedaling

    I finished the rest of the day eating my veggies and grape fruit along with my protein and fat intake.

Wednesday, June 8th, 2005

I woke up a little late today; actually I turned my alarm clock off when I meant to hit the snooze button. I guess I needed the extra sleep. After I woke up, I ate my usual eggs, oatmeal, and banana and am now typing this. I feel like lifting everyday, which is a good sign that I am recovering from my workouts, but I know I need time off/cardio only days to let my body rest.

Following this diet has been extremely easy, even on my lower carb days. I think eating a higher fat intake than I normally due is keeping my satisfied and I am eating plenty of vegetables and grapefruit, which also keep me full.

I am definitely still leaning out, so I will most likely up my carb intake next week. I will wait until this Sunday to make my decision though based on the changes from this week.

Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Deadlift 3 5 4 3 505
Pull-Up 3 12 10 8 505
Dips 3 12 10 8 505
Leg Detail Work
1-Leg Press 3 20 15 12 200
1-Calf Press 3 30 20 15 200
Adductor 3 15 20 20 30
Abductor 3 20 15 12 40 50

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Wednesday, June 8th, 2005.

Deadlifts were hard and heavy today. 505 lbs. went up pretty easily and I will definitely increase the weight on deads up to 515 next week. My goal is to add 10 lbs. to the bar every week until I get up to 585 lbs. (six 45-pound plates per side). After I accomplish that I will still continue to add weight to the bar, but I am taking things one-step at a time.

Pull-ups and dips felt decent. I have never been good at doing high reps on these exercises, but I can use a lot of added weight for low reps on them. Because of this, I may switch it up from week to week and to different variations of these movements. For example, for pull-ups I might do chin-ups or V-Bar/Supinated pull-ups and for dips I may do "Larry Scott style" dips or reverse dips. As I type that, it sounds like a good idea and I shall indeed incorporate switching up the movement into my program.

The First Mr. Olympia,
Larry "The Legend" Scott

Click To Enlarge.

"Leg Detail Work". My legs are big, but I think I can improve the quality of them. My legs are also the hardest part of my body for me to get ripped and hard come contest day. My legs are also not very vascular. I am hoping this high-rep, isolation exercise work will help increase the definition/"shape" in my legs. So far, I do notice a difference.

My legs look leaner than usual at this body fat percentage and I am starting to see a couple veins in my quads and hamstrings. I think my legs look a little smaller than usual, but I am going to stick to the plan and see what happens.

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

Another fun day of cardio. After a heavy day of deadlifts on Wednesday, I opt to do moderate-intensity cardio instead of my HIIT.

Today I did 30 minutes on the Elliptical machine.

Friday, June 10th, 2005

I am really feeling good right now. I definitely think the increased natural testosterone production created by Rebound XT and ActivaTe is playing a big part of this. My recovery while using Xtend is outstanding and the addition of Rebound XT plus ActivaTe makes recovery almost a non-issue; I am recovering at an unbelievable rate. On to the workout:

Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Incline Bench 3 4 3 5 245 245 225
Lat Pulldown 3 5 4 3 230
DB Press 3 5 4 3 120
V-Bar Lat Pulldown 3 5 230
DB Lateral 3 5 55 50 45
BHB Shrug 3 5-6 405 425 445
DB Curl 3 5 55
Hammer Ext 3 5 125
Cable Crossover 3 10 12 15 70 60 50
X-Pulldown 3 10 12 15 120 110 100
Seated DB Lateral 3 10 12 15 20 15 10
S. Machine Shrug 3 10 12 15 230 200 180
DB Preacher Curl 3 10 12 15 30 25 20
DB Extension 3 10 12 15 30 25 20

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday, June 10th, 2005.

I was kind of disappointed I did not get 5 reps on incline bench press today. I should note that I do not train to concentric failure, but rather stop about a rep short of failure.

This technique decreases the stress placed on the nervous system and allows one to train more frequently. I have been training using this strategy for almost a year now and I love it. Stopping just short of failure is another factor that plays into my hastened recovery.

That being said, I could have gotten 5 reps if I took the set to failure, but that is not my plan. Everything else went great. A couple things that stood out to me were behind the back shrugs, 1-Arm seated DB Laterals, and DB preacher curls.

Behind the back shrugs hit the traps differently than shrugs with the bar in front of your body. The traps are divided into "upper", "middle", and "lower" muscle fibers. Shrugs in the front seem (at least for me) to hit the upper fibers harder while behind the back shrugs hit the middle and lower fibers harder. I actually credit my recent shrug burst in strength to Scivation CEO Marc Lobliner.

I was able to get a workout in with Marc about three weeks ago when he was in town visiting his brother. Whenever Marc and I lift together, we always push each other. In Vegas it was the 675 pounds rack deadlifts. Three weeks ago it was shrugs. I had previously been doing shrugs in the lower 300's, but Marc and I decided to do our shrug sets with 405 pounds. This weight felt great, gave me confidence, and now I am doing shrugs with 445 pounds.

When I do standing DB laterals with heavier weights, I do not use "perfect" form. When I do seated 1-arm DB laterals, I then use perfect form. This movement felt extremely good today and I felt like I really targeted the medial head of the deltoids.

As I mentioned last week, I wasn't feeling incline DB curls so I decided to switch that exercise for DB preacher curl. There is just something about DB preacher curls that my biceps like. When I think back a few years, I made the best gains on my biceps when I was doing multiple sets of DB preacher curls. This exercise is staying!

My Post-Workout Meal

    I don't think I have mentioned this yet, but I have recently gotten off of the "dextrose bandwagon" and have begun to eat only low-GI carbs pre and post workout.

    Post-workout, I put 1.5 cups of milk, 1 scoop of watermelon Substance WPI, and about 2/3 cups of frozen strawberries in the blender, mix it up, and put in on my 1.5 cups oatmeal and eat it like cereal (I don't cook my oatmeal). It is DELICIOUS!!!

Saturday, June 11th, 2005

Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Squats 3 5 4 3 435
Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 5 315
Seated Calf 3 5 190
Leg Extension 3 10 12 15 160 140 120
Leg Curl 3 10 12 15 160 140 120
Smith Calf Raise 3 10 335
Incline Crunch 3 10 8 6 45
Swiss Ball Crunch 3 10 10

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Saturday, June 11th, 2005.

Leg day is by far my most demanding day. Once I make it past squats I am good to go though. My left ankle was bothering me a little bit during squats and seated calf raises as I rolled my ankle the other day. It shouldn't be a problem though.

Squats are the one exercise I really have to psyche myself up for. My latest motivation has been Dexter Jackson's physique. IMO, Dexter has the best physique of all current IFBB pros and a physique I want to model mine after. As I got ready for my first set, I told myself, "If you want to look like Dexter, you have to squat this."

The Motivational Physique Of
Dexter Jackson.

Click To Enlarge.

The 3rd rep of the first set was hard, but I kept pushing myself knowing that I have to give it my all to create the physique I want. I could have easily stopped and have been satisfied with 3 reps at 435 pounds, but they will power to push past the pain and dig deep into your self-motivation. That is what makes you reach new levels.

Sunday, June 12th, 2005

Sunday is always my day to track progress, the day to see if I accomplished what I wanted to during the week or not. I'd say this week was definitely a success as I lost 2.8 pounds of fat and gained 0.3 pounds of lean mass:

Body Composition
Date 5/29 6/5 6/12
Pectoral 5 4 3
Abdomen 6 5 4
Quadricep 10 9 7
Total 21 18 14
Bodyweight 210 204 201.5
Weight Change From Previous - -6 -2.5
Weight Change From Beginning - -6 -8.5
Electronic Bodyfat Percentage 5.2 4.3 3
% Bodyfat (I Add 3% to reading)* 8.2 7.3 6
lbs Bodyfat 17.22 14.892 12.09
Fat Mass Change From Previous - -2.328 -5.13
Fat Mass Change From Beginning - -2.328 -5.13
% Lean Mass 91.8 92.7 94
lbs Lean Mass 192.78 189.108 189.41
Lean Mass Change From Previous - -3.672 0.302
Lean Mass Change From Beginning - -3.672 -3.37

At this point, my goal is to start gaining lean mass, more so than losing fat, but I certainly do not plan on gaining fat during the rest of the summer. I will be working at the Scivation/PrimaForce booth at the NPC Junior Nationals Expo next weekend, so I plan on keeping my calories where they are at this upcoming week then increasing them the week after the expo.

On to the next week.