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A Year For Improvement: Derek's Journal To Add Muscle Mass - Intro.

It has been almost one year since my last competition, but I will not be competing this year. Instead I will be resuming my online training journal as readers are still responding to it from when I was a teenager.

After competing in the 2004 NPC Michigan Natural Bodybuilding Championships and placing 7th out of 16 competitors in the Men's Light-Heavyweight division, I went to work.

Being the lightest competitor in the class at 180 lbs. (Light-Heavyweight division ranges from 176.25-198.75 lbs.) I knew I needed to add some quality mass, specifically on my chest. My final week competition plan also needs work, but that will be addressed the next time I compete.

Click To Enlarge.

It has been almost one year since my last competition, but I will not be competing this year. Instead I will continue to improve my physique during the "competition season". I just completed a month of cutting, of which the last week was a total failure results wise.

This setback made me reevaluate my plan of attack and finalized my decision not to compete this year and focus on adding more quality muscle to my frame.

Returning To My Journal

After additional evaluating and thinking, I decided to resume my online journal here at much like I did as a teenager. After looking back over my journals and realizing that I still get emails from readers stating how much they learned from my journals and appreciated me sharing my experiences with them I decided that my journals would give my readers much more valuable information than any technical article I could write.

My journal shall include the details of my entire program: my diet (every single food I eat and when I eat it), my training (every set and rep), and supplement program (everything I take and when and why I take it).

I will take monthly progress pictures along with my weight, body fat percentage reading, and muscle girth measurements. In addition to this I will also include my thoughts and feelings about my training, random tips and bits of information I pick up along the way, answering questions from readers, and much more. I will post my beginning stats and pictures below.

Beginning Stats

Body Composition

    Date 5/29
    Pectoral 5
    Abdomen 6
    Quadricep 10
    Total 21
    Bodyweight 210
    Weight Change From Previous -
    Weight Change From Beginning -
    Weight Change From Beginning -
    Electronic Bodyfat Percentage 5.2
    % Bodyfat (I Add 3% to reading)* 8.2
    lbs Bodyfat 17.22
    Fat Mass Change From Previous -
    Fat Mass Change From Beginning -
    % Lean Mass 91.8
    lbs Lean Mass 192.78
    Lean Mass Change From Previous -
    Lean Mass Change From Beginning -

    *I have found that the 3-point caliper measurement is about 3% lower than what I would measure at with the 9-point test. Because someone else has to take some of the measurements for the 9-point test, I simply use the 3-point test since I can do this myself and add 3% to the reading.

My goal for the rest of the summer is not to add any body fat; I will actually most likely lose some along the way. I will adjust my caloric intake accordingly as my body composition changes.

Muscle Girth

    Date: 5/29/2005
    Body Part L R
    Quads 26 26
    Calves 17½ 17½
    Forearms 13 3/4 13 3/4
    Arms 15 3/4 15 3/4
    Arms (flex) 17 17
    Shoulders 51
    Chest 46
    Waist 33 1/2
    Weight 210

Some of my measurements decreased slightly during the past 4 weeks of cutting. I don't expect any large changes anytime soon as my calories will be around my maintenance caloric level, but they should increase gradually.

Starting Pictures

Click To Enlarge.

The main thing I use pictures for is to chart my progress. Using pictures to gauge muscle growth is much easier when you have lower body fat compared to when you are at a higher level of body fat; This is not a problem for gauging fat gain/loss as that is visible at a body fat level.

From Here On Out

From here on out, the articles in this journal will contain my diet, training, and supplementation in full detail. There will also be more information that you can apply to yourself and your own training.

I will take my body fat measurement along with my weight and waist measurement every week. I will do muscle girth measurements every two weeks and pictures every 4 weeks. If you have any specific questions for me along the way, feel free to email me at and I will try my best to answer your email.

Got Questions? Visit Derek's Section On The Forum.

Until next week,