Why I Decided To Change My Body
I began training my freshman year in high school at age 15 weighing 145 pounds. I read any bodybuilding magazines, books, and online articles I could find - and of course, as any beginner, I idolized Arnold and used his Encyclopedia to learn the basic exercises as well as a motivational tool.
I tried to learn as much as I could on the topic, and through experience, I gained a sound understanding of the sport for a beginner. I kept my diet clean and trained hard throughout my first three years of high school. I made solid, consistent gains, however, I felt I needed something to shock my system and give me a goal to put my energy into.
While I remained lean year round, I wasn't making any drastic improvements. My diet and workouts were getting too static - I needed a change in order to keep fresh and hopefully spur new results. After three years of building a solid foundation, I decided to experiment.
This past summer I had been reading about different types of "bulk cycles" and "mass stacks" that bodybuilders went on in attempt to gain size. Ever since I started, I had been trying to simultaneously gain muscle and burn fat. I needed a single goal to shoot for, and that was gain as much pure muscle mass as I possibly could.
When I Got Started
I began the cycle this past summer, weighing about 165. Here, I changed my whole routine: my diet, my training split, and supplementation all were now altered towards achieving my one specific goal.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
My New Diet
Since my old diet of the basic bodybuilding foods became too boring and monotonous, I decided to add some new muscle-building foods to my plan. This is just a sample of general foods I ate during the program. I gave myself the privilege to cheat on my diet at my leisure, because eating clean all of the time was not going to get me the gains in mass that I desired.
This ended up being about three to even four times per week. Eating cheat meals like ice cream, pizza, burritos and other forbidden foods actually helped me gain that mass that I was looking for. I had to judge by my appearance - if I was getting to soft, and my muscles looked blurred and smoothed over, I would have to eat clean until I returned to my normal state.
On the other hand, if I wasn't gaining consistent weight and my muscles appeared flat with no vascularity, I would cheat to help shock my body and fill out my muscles. The main point of my diet was to eat lots of protein and carbohydrates and a moderate amount of good fats at my own discretion.
Note: I drank water with every meal, which turned out to be 1-1½ Gallons.
Here is a sample day of my new diet:
- 3 whole-wheat pancakes
- 1 banana
- 1 protein bar
- 2 slices of whole-wheat bread
- 2 TBSP natural peanut butter
- 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 1/2 cups of broccoli
- 2 cups of oatmeal
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
Meal 5 Post Workout:
- 6 slices of whole wheat or white toast
- 6 TBSP jelly
- 1 bowl of granola cereal
- 2 scoops of Nitro-Tech Chocolate Protein Powder
- 2 cups of skim milk
- 12 oz steak or salmon
- 2 baked potatoes
My New Split
My split needed to be adjusted as well if I was going to make the proper gains. The exercises changed as well. My old split consisted of a variety of exercises, reps and weight used. It also included several supersets, dropsets, etc.
||Super Set Video Guide:|
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The new split is focused mainly on heavy, compound movements with free weights constructed around the big three - Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press. I didn't do an isolation exercise to finish, because I'm saving it for when the bulk cycle is over. I am also not doing any cardio or abs, since I'm already lean and my focus is now on solid gains in mass.
Abs are also used to support most of these major compound moves. I feel that training each body part only once per week keeps the program simple and highly effective. Each workout lasts about an hour, which makes it almost impossible to overtrain.
Here is my new split:
- Day 1 - Back
- Day 2 - Chest
- Day 3 - Legs
- Day 4 - Off
- Day 5 - Delts
- Day 6 - Arms
- Day 7 - Off
As for supplements, I have also chosen to stick to the basics. Throughout the program, I relied on three main supplements.
My New Supplementation
NO-Xplode is not necessary, however can be a fantastic pre-workout stimulant and give a ridiculous pump in the gym. All of these items can be purchased the cheapest and easiest through the Bodybuilding.com web site.
The program lasted 8 months. I began weighing 165 pounds then finished at 195 pounds with surprisingly a similar body fat percentage. This is all through experimentation and learning how your body responds to different exercises, supplements, and foods.
My Advice To Others
Through this program, I learned that even experienced bodybuilders can make drastic, positive changes to their physiques if they are willing to try something new. For those who have looked the same for the past few years, or are simply unhappy with their results, I strongly recommend you set a single goal and try your hardest to achieve it.
Regardless of the goal, I've learned that it is beneficial to shake-up your old workout plan and add something new. When I began this program, I was not trying to break out of a plateau - I had been making slow, but consistent gains.
However, I was trying to bring some unity and focus to my workout plan, in hopes of achieving a different physique. When you are focused on one goal, everything is easier, and your results can prove it.