Year In Review!

One of Bodybuilding.com's biggest physical change. Needless to say I am both very excited and pleased with my gains and progress I made in the past twelve months.
What a year this has been for me! I am so excited about the gains I made in this past year. I grew like never before in the last twelve months and plan to keep growing even more in the coming months. Even with the setback I had (missing four weeks due to gallbladder surgery) I still was able to pack on nearly fifty pounds of muscle in only twelve months. I allowed myself twelve months to achieve my goals simply because it really allowed me more time to fine-tune my training, nutrition and supplementation. This plan really worked out perfectly for me. With all the fine-tuning I was able to learn what worked really well for me and now I can almost grow on command.

April 23, 2000 I sat in my garage when I decided I would put myself through a brutal twelve-month assault trying to pack on as much mass as possible. I knew that it would take a ton of food, water, supplements and heavy weights to make it happen. I didn't set a limit; I was just going on an all out attack and just sit back to see what would happen. As a natural bodybuilder I was told that I couldn't pack on much more than ten to fifteen pounds a year. Man were they wrong!

    Beginning Stats:
  • Weight: 190lbs
  • Chest: 44 ½"
  • Waist: 36"
  • Arms: 15 ¼"
  • Thigh: 24 ½"
  • Calves: 14 ½"
Well after I took my stats on that Sunday night I new I was nowhere near where I wanted to be, but I had found a starting point. So from here I planned my attack, training techniques, nutrition, supplements and rest time. I also started a journal tracking my progress over the year. This was a great idea to do, it really helped me determine what worked and what didn't work and allowed me to be able to fine-tune every thing I did to work better for me. In my journal I kept track of strength gains, my stats and my eating habits. I recommend keeping a journal to anyone, I don't do it that much anymore but that's because I have the perfect routine for me because I kept one. Not only did it keep up with my progress but also it served as a reference point to what worked and what didn't, that way I didn't waste anytime during that twelve-month span.

I have written enough articles on nutrition and training and the importance of both so I won't go into a long spill about them, just read and follow my articles because those are the principals that I followed for the entire twelve months.

Once I had my starting point I set my goals, both short term and long-term goals. My short term was to gain at least twenty pounds in that twelve-month span. My long-term goal, and still is, was to get to 270 at around ten percent body fat. I also made the pledge to myself to stay natural and become the largest natural bodybuilder on the face of the earth. With my plan and goals in place it was time to start growing.

For the first month my body weight went from 193-196lbs but I added an inch to my chest, half an inch to my arms and over an inch to my thighs. This is where the training journal really helped me keep my confidence up. With expecting a bigger gain in weight I was disappointed but seeing that I had significant gains in muscle size erased all disappointment. I averaged about three pounds of weight for the first three months and slowly saw my body weight creep up. After the first three months of experimenting with different aspects of training, nutrition and supplementation I was ready to take my all out attack philosophy to the extreme for the next nine months. I evaluated what had worked for me well during the first three months and added to it constantly fine tuning what ever needed it over the next few months.

At this time I started using more supplements, eating more foods and training more intense with heavier weights. I made my workouts very basic focusing on using compound movements and building up my strength. Staying basic is the key to muscle growth. One major reason I attribute my significant increase in size to is working out at home. See, at home I have a very basic set up with no machines so I have to stay basic with what I do. The reason this is so significant is that when I trained at a gym I would find myself slacking and relying on machines when I didn't feel like carrying and moving weights around. I did very little isolation movements in this time frame, only using them on occasion when I would tone the weight down for a few weeks to let my joints and ligaments take a break from the heavy lifting. I would usually go really heavy for six to eight weeks then take two weeks off using higher reps, perfect form and really feel the negative. Also in this two-week period I would cut back the amount of food I was consuming so that I wouldn't get so burned out with eating. Essentially in this two-week period I was only doing maintenance work.

One thing I would like to point out is my grocery bill each month was and still is right at or above five hundred dollars. Hey I got to eat to grow because if I am not eating I am not growing. Just a year ago we could get away with around one hundred and twenty or so dollars every two weeks but not anymore. But that's the way it is, bodybuilding is not a cheap sport by any means.

Now for the results! I must say that this was the best year I have ever experienced since I first started training. Not just because of the gains I experienced but my knowledge of my own body is better than it has ever been. I can now listen to my body and how it responds to different things. I have developed a level of muscle maturity in the past twelve months that I have never had before. Now with all the information that I have gathered I can almost grow when I want too. One of the things I try to stress to people is listen to your body and you will be able to tell what works and what doesn't. This takes time to learn but when you really get the hang of it, it does wonders.

Here are my beginning stats again and pic.

    Beginning Stats:
  • Weight: 190lbs
  • Chest: 44 ½"
  • Waist: 36"
  • Arms: 15 ¼"
  • Thigh: 24 ½"
  • Calves: 14 ½"
    Ending Stats as of the end of April
  • Weight: 240lbs
  • Chest: 51"
  • Waist: 36"
  • Arms: 18 ¼"
  • Thigh: 30"
  • Calves: 17"
Needless to say I am both very excited and pleased with my gains and progress I made in the past twelve months. It was a ton of work, meal preparation like you wouldn't believe, money for food and supplements, but it was all worth it. Now I don't expect these kinds of gains each year but I do plan on pushing my body to the limit each day and see just how far I can push the envelope naturally. My goal has always been to be the biggest natural bodybuilder to walk the face of the earth and I think I can and will achieve that goal.

Now it's time to evaluate where I am and my goals for another twelve months.

This past twelve months has really put me well past the point I thought I would be at this time so all my long term goals have really move up as much as a year or so. I plan on competing locally in 2003 with hopes of competing in Musclemania and maybe some national shows in the years to follow. I know, I have set some pretty lofty goals but that's the way I think, BIG. It will be another tough coming twelve months but I am up for the task. One of my goals again this year is to get up to at least 260lbs, which is a little less than twenty pounds I would have to add as of right now, but I hope to get to 270lbs. Well until next time, keep growing!

Todd Blue
Large by Choice