Goal: Rebuild A Broken Man — The Back From The Brink Workout

After injuring his back and pelvis in a skiing accident Cody fell victim to poor habits. Read on to see how he took control of his diet and nutrition and got himself back on track!

Vital Stats

Name: Cody Hill

Cody Hill Cody Hill

Before:

Age:
16
Height:
5'11"
Weight:
145 lbs
Waist:
30"

After:

Age:
21
Height:
5'11"
Weight:
195 lbs
Waist:
32"

Why I Got Started

In March of 2004 I was involved in a skiing accident that left me with a broken back (t12 burst fracture & t3 fracture) and a broken pelvis (2 fractures on the left side). I dropped from roughly 160lbs to 145-150lbs within 2 weeks after the accident. The best part of the healing process was that I was lucky enough not to require surgery to fix my injuries. I was, however, in a TSLO for 5-6 months after the accident.

Therapy/rehab started with getting out of bed and sitting in a chair, unsupported, for 5 minutes and ended with me being on the swim team in high school; a journey that took 10 months. The intermediate stages of rehab involved a lot of stretching, core strength exercises, and very light weightlifting.

Surprisingly, the weightlifting during rehab was not enough to get me hooked on the bodybuilding lifestyle. The healing process was as follows: I could walk without crutches, a stroller, or wheelchair after 3 months (June) at which point my pelvis was healed but still not fully recovered. I had muscle atrophy and minor nerve damage.

The intermediate stages of rehab involved a lot of stretching, core strength exercises, and very light weightlifting
+ Click To Enlarge.
The intermediate stages of rehab involved a lot of stretching,
core strength exercises, and very light weightlifting.

I got a full release from the doctor 10-11 months (January) after the accident at which point my back had stabilized, the bone healed, my t12 vertebra had naturally fused with the vertebra above it (t11 I think) and the soft tissue could support most normal daily activity. However, even 7 years after the accident, it is apparent I will likely never be back to 100% or the way I was before the accident.

I continued playing sports (soccer, lacrosse, swimming) until I finished high school, however once I got into college I put on some weight over freshman and sophomore year due to inactivity and poor eating habits and got up to 180lbs.

Luckily, I realized I was headed down a slippery slope and cut my weight back down to about 160-165 pounds by swimming 4 days per week. Unfortunately, family, friends, and my girlfriend (ex now) told me I looked skinny, sickly, and frail ... the criticism combined with the thought of me being a slumped over, inactive, miserable 40-year-old man who couldn't play with his future kids was weighing on me.

My back, legs and pelvis ached, it hurt to stand for more than an hour, I was out of shape, everyone including myself thought I was skinny, I was slightly self conscious of my body ... something had to change and my passion for taking better care of myself (bodybuilding) developed over night!

I knew that if I didn't stay physically fit and develop healthy diet and exercise habits my body would quickly deteriorate due to my injury.

 I knew that if I didn't stay physically fit and develop healthy diet and exercise habits my body would quickly deteriorate
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I knew that if I didn't stay physically fit and develop healthy diet and exercise habits my body would quickly deteriorate.


How I Did It

I just jumped in. Over Christmas break (Dec - mid January) of 2008 I hit the weight room weighing in at a measly 160-165 pounds and roughly ~10% bodyfat. I was pretty clueless as to what I was doing so I lifted 3 days per week and did a "full body" routine.

Since I was so uneducated on lifting, I neglected my legs and many of the big compound lifts (military press, deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, dips, bent over rows) that build a great foundation for bodybuilding, athletics, strength or just a healthier life. I spent a lot of time on arms and chest with a little back and shoulders thrown in here and there.

I started making progress and saw some gains which were enough for me to stay motivated and determined but after about 6 months of these minimal gains I wised up and started reading fitness magazines (Muscle and Fitness, Mens Health, Flex, Muscular Development etc). I would follow routines and meal plans and experienced even more gains and progress.

However, the gym I was working out at was at my apartment complex with limited machines and equipment. It lacked a free weight bench press station and squat/power rack. Bench press and squats were performed on a Smith Machine. Furthermore there were no adjustable barbells and the dumbbells only went up to 70 pounds.

I thought I was making great gains at the time but in hindsight I could have been more productive had I gone to a real gym which I eventually did in September of 2010. My progress went through the roof once I made the jump to a real gym which had all the equipment I could ask for!

Last summer I discovered Bodybuilding.com and the wealth of information that it contains. I read through articles, forums, programs, found answers to many questions, and became extremely motivated and inspired by those on BodySpace. Furthermore, the tools and interface on one's BodySpace profile served as tremendous motivation for me.

Up until Bodybuilding.com I hadn't compared my own before and after pictures but when I uploaded them to my profile I discovered another wave of determination. The tools, atmosphere, and community at Bodybuilding.com provides its users with an unrivaled experience and opportunity to reach one's full potential.

My progress went through the roof once I made the jump to a real gym which had all the equipment I could ask for My progress went through the roof once I made the jump to a real gym which had all the equipment I could ask for
+ Click To Enlarge.
My progress went through the roof once I made the jump to a real gym which had all the equipment I could ask for.


Supplements

I use a lot of supplements and I find them as an integral part of my routine and they serve as motivation too! However, I am most proud of the fact that I have never used any (legal or illegal) steroids, pro-hormones, HGH or any other substance similar to those.

All of my gains are due to eating whole foods, the listed supplements or similar variations, (vanilla vs chocolate or Jack3d vs SuperPump250), hard work in the gym, and unwavering motivation!

After Breakfast:
1 Hour before Workout:
30 minutes Before Workout:
Intra Workout:
Post Workout:
Before Bed:

Diet

Cutting Diet To Lose Fat: I cycle carbs with a high-low-low-high-low-low-high pattern. Here is a sample day from the high carb day.

1-1.5 gallons of water a day.

Meal 1: 8:30am
Meal 2: 11:30am
Meal 3: 1:30pm
Meal 4: 4:30pm
Meal 5/Pre Workout: 6:15pm
Meal 6/Post Workout: 9:00pm
Meal 7: 10:00pm
Meal 8: Midnight

Bulking Diet To Put On Weight: This is the diet I used to go from 176 pounds - 195 pounds in 3 months.

1-1.5 gallons of water a day.

Meal 1: 8:30am
Meal 2: 11:30 am

Homemade Mass gainer shake:

Meal 3: 1:30pm
Meal 4: 3:30pm
  • Same Shake as Mid Morning
Meal 5/Pre Workout: 6:15pm
Meal 6/Post Workout: 9:00pm
Meal 7: 9:45pm
Meal 7: 11:15pm
Meal 8: 12:30am

Training

The program that has yielded the best results for me is Linear Periodization. When I combined this program with a healthy meal plan I gained 20 pounds in 3 months, my strength increased substantially and I felt great!

Here is a sample week during the 3rd phase of the entire periodization routine. I found this program in the pages of Muscle and Fitness in the November 2010 issue.

It was created by Jim Stoppani PhD and is one of several programs of his I have followed. This particular program cycles from high reps (15-20) and light weight down to low reps (3-5) and heavy weight.

Every two weeks the user advances to another phase subjecting their muscles to more stress which prevents plateaus.

Day 1: Chest/Triceps/Abs
Exercises
Reverse Triceps Bench Press Reverse Triceps Bench Press Reverse Triceps Bench Press
4 sets of 8 reps
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
4 sets of 10 reps
Cable Crossover Cable Crossover Cable Crossover
4 sets of 10 reps
Superset
Push-Ups With Feet Elevated Push-Ups With Feet Elevated Push-Ups With Feet Elevated
3 sets to failure
Pushups Pushups Pushups
3 sets to failure

Exercises
Triset
Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown
4 sets of 10 reps

Triset
Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise
4 sets to failure
Decline Crunch Decline Crunch Decline Crunch
4 sets to failure
Crunches Crunches Crunches
4 sets to failure
Day 2: Back/Biceps/Forearms/Calves
Exercises
Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift
4 sets of 8 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row
4 sets of 8 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
4 sets of 10 reps
Underhand Cable Pulldowns Underhand Cable Pulldowns Underhand Cable Pulldowns
4 sets of 10 reps
One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row
4 sets of 10 reps
Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows
4 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl Barbell Curl
4 sets of 8 reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl
4 sets of 10 reps
Standing Biceps Cable Curl Standing Biceps Cable Curl Standing Biceps Cable Curl
4 sets of 10 reps
Superset
Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises
4 sets of 15-20 reps
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise
4 sets of 20-25 reps
Day 3: Cardio/Stretching
Cardio
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill
2-3 miles
steady state

Day 4: Shoulders/Traps/Abs
Exercises
Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press
4 sets of 8 reps
Dumbbell One-Arm Upright Row Dumbbell One-Arm Upright Row Dumbbell One-Arm Upright Row
4 sets of 10 reps
Triset
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise
4 sets of 10 reps
Front Dumbbell Raise Front Dumbbell Raise Front Dumbbell Raise
4 sets of 10 reps

Exercises
Barbell Shrug Barbell Shrug Barbell Shrug
4 sets of 10 reps
Superset
Crunches Crunches Crunches
4 sets of 20 reps
Side Bridge Side Bridge Side Bridge
4 sets of 1 min holds
Day 5: Quads/Hams/Calves
Exercises
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat Barbell Squat
4 sets of 8 reps
Front Barbell Squat Front Barbell Squat Front Barbell Squat
4 sets of 10 reps
Leg Press Leg Press Leg Press
4 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups
4 sets of 10 reps
Superset
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions Leg Extensions
4 sets of 10 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl
4 sets of 10 reps

Exercise
Romanian Deadlift Romanian Deadlift Romanian Deadlift
4 sets of 8 reps
Superset
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise
4 sets of 20-25 reps
Donkey Calf Raises Donkey Calf Raises Donkey Calf Raises
4 sets of 15-20 reps
Day 6: Cardio/Stretching
Cardio
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill
15-20 min
HIIT

Day 7: Cardio/Stretching
Cardio
  • 30 min Tabata intervals, burpees or sprinting laps (swimming)

Suggestions for Others

  • Be patient and realistic…your gains will come with time.
  • Find a source of motivation and utilize it … be on the lookout for other sources (music, a picture, a video, a movie, someone's criticism or compliment…ANYTHING).
  • Eat healthy and Train hard. From my experience, meal plan/diet/food has been the biggest contributor to my progress/gains.
  • Find a reliable training partner
  • Cook, prepare and plan your meals in advance!
  • Keep things dynamic (diet/workout routine).
  • Educate yourself or at least get a subscription to a fitness magazine.
  • Take progress photos and measurements of yourself - huge motivation.

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