Several lucky readers received free manuals in exchange for 'before' and 'after' pictures, along with allowing me to interview them so they could provide honest feedback about whichever manual they received.
So, first up is Arkad Yousif, a college freshman who considered himself a hardgainer. You can definitely learn something from him; I'm sure many of you feel like he did not too long ago. Just check out the following pictures and stats!
Name: Arkad Yousif
Start Date: June 23, 2006
End Date: July 21, 2006
[ Q ] Arkad, tell the readers a bit about yourself. Age? Job? School?
A: Well, I just turned 18 and live in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I am going to
college at the
University of Illinois at Chicago and studying to get my B.S. in Movement Sciences (Kinesiology) and might shoot for Dietetics. I am also planning to be a certified
personal trainer. I also work at the college and commute about 1.5 hours back and forth to school, so my time is limited.
[ Q ] How did you become interested in training?
A: It all started my sophomore year in high
school. I was out of shape and very weak. I decided to join
wrestling and noticed that my body wasn't conditioned and fit enough that year. I decided to start training for wrestling the next year. I cared more about training for
endurance because of wrestling so I did a lot of high reps, long distance run, nothing that heavy-based.
I was conditioned the following year and had a great season, except the following summer I was tired of wrestling and wanted to do something new. Bodybuilding.com turned me on to bodybuilding; it sounded interesting and I wanted to get a lot bigger and stronger. Ever since then, I have been reading more about nutrition, training styles, and different supplements.
[ Q ] How long have you been training?
A: I have been training since the summer of 2004, but in those two years, I wasn't aware of my diet and training. Of course, over the years my
training and dieting have improved. I used to only train 4x a week, and now I can train more often - like 6x a week - because my
recovery rate has skyrocketed.
I have been improving my diet along the way as well, cleaning up my diet such as removing processed junk like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. My only problem was that I never lifted heavy and I never ate a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle mass.
[ Q ] Do you train in a gym or in your home?
A: Both. It depends what time of year it is. Mostly I train at the gym, but if I don't have time I'll
train at home. When I first started training, I didn't have a gym membership so I only trained at home, but now training at the gym is much better because they have more
equipment to use.
[ Q ] How did you hear about "Weapons for Mass Construction" and why did you choose this manual to follow?
A: I was surfing the Bodybuilding.com
forums and I saw a thread started by Dr. Mohr asking if readers would be interested in reading his mass-building
book and to follow the program, then provide honest feedback. I asked myself if I should give a shot and probably I could start packing on some mass and
strength and break out of my
plateau of staying small.
| What's A Plateau?
A level of attainment or achievement in weight loss or bodybuilding where one gets "stuck in a rut", barring further progress or noticable results. As obvious as it may seem, if you continue to do the same thing, you will continue to get the same results. Click here for tips on breaking through plateaus.
[ Q ] What was your first impression when you received the manual in the mail?
Wow! When I saw the manual it was an amazing sight! I said to myself, "This book is huge! 300 pages worth of mass building ideas?!" I just wanted to jump in and read the whole thing in one day. I opened the book and flipped it a couple of times and saw a lot of interesting chapters.
The book talks about everything from fueling your body with the right nutrition to what supplements are recommended. It's all based on scientific evidence. The book also has 12 weeks of meal plans and workouts ready to use which makes every thing quick and convenient, plus it's got great-tasting muscle recipes!
[ Q ] Did it meet your expectations - or did it exceed them?
A: I exceeded my
goals big time. I mean, I packed so much mass from the great advice the manual gave including nutrition, training styles, and what supplements to use, I couldn't believe it. I didn't think it was possible for me to build mass this quickly.
[ Q ] If someone is trying to gain mass, would you recommend this program? Why or why not?
A: Definitely, if you're a
hardgainer and need help to pack on some serious size and strength then get this manual. I promise you that you will learn a lot and why you weren't gaining as much as wanted too when you first started training. The book goes through the program very well, gives a lot of info on what to do in order to pack on size, and then provides a 12-week nutrition and training program for free!
[ Q ] Is this something simple to follow or do you need a high level of expertise and knowledge in the fields of training and nutrition to do so?
A: No, you don't need
any level of knowledge on the field of nutrition and training. What's great about the book is that it explains
everything to you from the
basics of nutrition to training strategies.
To View The Latest Basics Of Nutrition Articles, Click Here.
[ Q ] These pictures you submitted are 30 day transformations - pretty impressive to have gained 11 pounds in just this short amount of time, and you clearly haven't gained any bodyfat. Do you have an endpoint goal in mind?
A: Yeah, I gained a good amount of muscle mass in a short time, plus I lost a bit of
bodyfat from the program due to changing my diet, training, and supplements. I still have goals to reach and I am still going to bulk and add mass during college so I'll try to get to around 200 pounds. After getting a good size and base I will probably get ready to step on the big stage and
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
[ Q ] I know I'm eagerly looking forward to the next round of pictures you send, since you told me you're still gaining. What advice would you have for someone in your shoes - trying to gain lean body mass, confused on how to go about doing so, or maybe just in a plateau?
A: First of all, I don't blame anyone for having trouble gaining lean mass. The thing is a lot of people are misinformed on nutrition, training, and supplements. If you want to gain lean body mass you have to eat right
and enough to pack on some lean mass - this was my biggest mistake.
Third, give it all you got. I would say training heavy and intense for an hour max is enough to stimulate the muscles.
Lastly, supplementation is next and a lot of newcomers to bodybuilding don't need to take a lot of supplements and waste their money. They first need to focus on nutrition, like that outlined in "Weapons for Mass Construction," and just a few basic supplements to start - I would recommend some multivitamins, fish oils, whey protein isolate and creatine.
[ Q ] Any words of wisdom for those out there who were once in your "hardgainer" shoes?
A: Of course! When you start bodybuilding with a hardgainer body, don't worry about your
abs showing or gaining a little
fat. I have seen a lot of people going on a bulk adding 5-7 pounds of muscles and once they see those abs disappearing they go on a
cut and they lose an inch or so on their
arms just to get a six-pack.
Think about it ... when you have more muscle, you burn more calories. In the end, you probably might gain a little fat - but with a huge amount of muscle mass. Trust me, you look better when you've got more muscle packed on your frame and when it's time to show the abs you'll know why it was more important to build that size first.
You need a good starting point and a base in order to be successful in the bodybuilding world. Next time - think about it, if you want to build the base of a house, would you choose clay or concrete?
[ CM ] Arkad, thanks for your time! We'll look forward to continuing to follow your progress!