Gaining Back The Mass!

I hadn't taken a full week off in over 2 years. It was like telling a crack addict to stop cold turkey.
It's unbelievable how much faster your body will loose muscle, compared to gaining it. On May 15th I went into surgery to repair a hernia a got from going too deep on heavy squats. I had talked to the doctors and my first question was, ok, how long will I be out of training.

The answer from all of them was 6 to 8 weeks before you can even run. I was honest. I told them I couldn't do that. I hadn't taken a full week off in over 2 years. It was like telling a crack addict to stop cold turkey. As most of you know, this lifestyle is an addiction. The doctors just didn't understand.

Going Back

I thought I might take a few days off and just go back light. Wow, I had no idea what I was in for. The day of the surgery I walked out of the hospital and thought, that wasn't bad at all, I'll be back to training in a few days Then the painkillers wore off. I haven't had that kind of pain in my life. I had to crawl to the bathroom, and even laying down the pain was so much I was sweating.

For three days I couldn't even walk. I was so pissed. Training was just out of the question. On top of that the painkillers I was taking took away all of my appetite. I was forcing food into me but even then I couldn't take much more than two meals a day. I lost 12 pounds in the first 5 days. Then the pain was bearable and I cut out the pain killers so I could eat again. Walking was still painful but I beared it and ate my face off to try to keep what I hadn't lost.

Back To The Gym

After day 10 I made my first trip back to the gym. I just couldn't take it anymore. I went in and trained biceps. This was the only body part that I could train at the time without involving my midsection a great deal and I was very careful not to compromise the repair. It was the best and worst workout of my life. It felt so good to finally train but I was so uncomfortable and I felt like a woman with the weights I was using.

After 14 days I got back to my regular routine of 5 days on, 2 days off. But I was doing half the weight I was two weeks prior. This whole operation couldn't have came at a worst time. As I am writing this article I am in Malibu, California working at a camp for blind children for the summer. When the kids are here, I can't leave. I talked my boss into bringing in his weight set from home. In the dark, damp changing room in the boys locker room at the pool, I have a corner, with a flat bench, about 300 lbs in free weights (plates and bars) and a pair of 20 lb dumbbells.

"Thank god for"

It's the sorriest excuse for a gym ever. I am going crazy. I look forward to going to the real gym 20 minutes down the road every day off like a kid looks forward to Christmas morning. Besides the training being horrible the food is not at all bodybuilder friendly. Grilled cheese sandwiches and stale French toast don't provide much protein. I've gone trough 10 lbs of protein powder from in the first 3 weeks. Thank god for! The supplements I get here are the best quality and you can't beat the prices.

Well, without boring you anymore on how much my summer training sucks, the bottom line is I am in bad shape. I feel like I am anyway. I am currently at 192 lbs and about 12-14% body fat, but that's increasing everyday and it's everything I can do to not go below 190. I do have a plan though for when I get back to Canada. This is what my mass building plan looks like:

Monday - Chest+Shoulders

Warm-up - 5 min on bike, and light stretching with high reps of my first exercise.

    With chest I am switching from dumbbells week one, to barbells the next on both flat and incline press. Decline barbell press bothers my shoulders and this is the only reason I am not including them.
Flat dumbbell press - 2 sets warm-up, 4 sets- 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps
Incline DB Press - 4 sets- 10, 8,6,4 reps
Flat Bench Fly's - 4 sets- 10,8,6,4 reps
Pec Dec - 4 sets- 10,8,6,6 reps
Military DB press - 4 sets-10,8,6, 4 reps
Lateral Raise - 4 sets-10,8,6, 4 reps
Rear Delt fly (on incline bench) - 4 sets 10,8, 6, 6 reps
One arm front lateral raise - 4 sets 10,8,6,6 reps

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday's Workout

Tuesday - Quads and Calves

Warm-up - 3 sets of leg extensions, and 5-7 minutes of stretching, in addition to the regular warm-up on stationary bike.
Squats - 8 sets- 20, 18, 15, 12, 12, 10, 10, 8-10

    I then do a variation of 21's adapted to the squat. With a very light weight I do 7 reps with my butt about 4 inches from the ground to 90 degrees. Then I do 7 from standing straight to half way down. For the final 7 I do a full squat so my butt is about 4 inches from the ground.

    Please, if you are going to try these, use a spotter and don't be a moron, use a very light weight, like � of your maximum squat weight. Knee wraps are also essential. I do 3 sets of these 21's and in between each of these 3 sets I do a set of leg extensions till failure is reached at about 10 reps. Trust me by this time you will not even be able to count. This has given me unbelievable results in my legs.

What Are 21's?
One of Arnold's favorites. Using the curl as an example, you would do 7 full reps followed by 7 half reps from the starting position to half way up followed by 7 half reps from half way up to the top of the movement. All of this counts as one set.

Click To Enlarge.
21's Using The Curl.

View Video Of 21's
First 7 Reps
MPEG (297 KB)
Windows Media (88 KB)

Next 7 Reps
MPEG (247 KB)
Windows Media (78 KB)

Last 7 Reps
MPEG (1.1 MB)
Windows Media (277 KB)

Calves - 4 sets of each standing calf raise and seated calf raise for 25 reps.

I do not increase my weight, but rather keep the same and try to stay at 25 reps.

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Tuesday's Workout

Wednesday - Back

Regular warm-up
Behind the neck pull down - 4 sets- 10, 8, 6, 4 reps.
T Bar row (wide grip) - 4 sets- 10, 8, 6, 4 reps.
Low Pulley Row - 4 sets- 10, 8, 6, 4 reps.
Barbell row - 4 sets 10, 8, 6, 4 reps.
Dumbbell row - 3 sets 10, 8, 6 reps.

I finish off with two slow sets of lat pull downs. Squeezing at the bottom.

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Wednesday's Workout

Thursday - Abs, Cardio, Calves

    For abs, I do the same routine explained in my previous article " Abs - easier than you think" I do only 30 to 35 minutes of cardio. I mix up what machines I use.

    I primarily do this just to simply keep up my cardiovascular system. For calves I do the same routine done on Tuesday. This is almost a rest day, I like to call it neglect day, because the body parts trained are often neglected.

Friday - Arms, Shoulders, Triceps

Regular warm-up
Barbell curl - 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps
Alternate Dumbbell Curl - 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps
Preacher curl - 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 6 reps.
Concentration curl - 3 sets 8 reps each
Weighted bench dip - 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps
Tricep extension - 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps
Dips - 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps.
Single arm cable extensions - 2 sets to failure at about 10 reps.

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday's Workout

Saturday and Sunday are my rest days. Mostly because of how my schedule is. I am starting my second year of a Bachelors in Human Kinetics and study on the weekends as well as relax. Two days off per seven days I feel is very necessary, it gives your body the necessary rest. As well, you'll notice I try to follow a upper body one day lower body the next schedule. This allows my body even more rest. As far as my diet goes, I am still figuring it out and will write the next article on my mass gaining diet.

Sorry for the wait between articles and for those of you who I didn't get a chance to email back, I apologize. Please send me another and I will email you back answering any questions you have. Keep training hard! And listen to your body! Best of luck. More recent pictures are coming.

Best of luck!