In my last progress update I was happy to confirm that all expectations, determined at the start of Program One, had been achieved. It was reported that the final stages of Program One saw a drastic increase of 6.38lbs lean muscle mass, and corresponding decrease in body-fat of 6.38-pounds, achieved over six weeks.
These results represented to me gains that would previously have taken at least a year to obtain. Now, at the end of my first Program Two cycle (more specifically the 29th day of a 31 day cycle), the gains keep on coming.
Since the beginning of Program Two, which started four weeks ago, a further 3.98lbs of pure muscle has been gained, based on an increased bodyweight of 182.5lbs (from 177lbs at the end of Program One) and a slightly increased body fat percentage of 5.1 (from 4.4% at the end of Program One).
Combine this with the Program One total muscle gain of 6.38lbs, and the amount gained over just ten weeks training on this specialized program comes to 10.36lbs of solid muscle. Amazing results for a natural bodybuilder with over 10-years training experience. With two more weeks of Program Two, it is expected that a further 1-2lbs of muscle will be gained.
Program three will then take me into the competition zone - I will compete on May 14 - where body fat will be significantly reduced while gains in muscle continue to occur.
Program Two was specifically intended to facilitate extreme muscle growth over the shortest possible time frame. The first cycle has certainly delivered on this promise (see photos) and the remainder should continue this trend.
While Program One focused on moderate and light days, with the occasional heavy set or two on certain days, Program Two placed a greater emphasis on heavy (3-6 reps) sessions while continuing the moderate (8-12) and light (15-24) days.
In order to successfully train all muscle groups within various rep ranges, sessions were scheduled six-days-a-week; with some days demanding up to three separate workouts (see the attached Program Two).
Also included in Program Two are descending sets to increase intensity and stimulate growth.
Example of a Program Two descending set (again, see full program for all details):
First set: 150kg for six reps, strip weight and go straight to 110kg for 8-12 reps, strip weight again and complete a final set of 15-24 reps with 90kg.
Full Program Two:
After four weeks on Program Two, the changes are as follows:
Discussion Of Results
As stated, all physical goals, thus far, have been achieved. A re-evaluation of goals at the end of Program One gave me a greater incentive to bring up all weak body parts and increase overall training intensity. This has been done to a large degree and the results speak for themselves.
Legs, which were a real problem area for me at the beginning of Program One, have grown considerably over the past 10 weeks as they have, for the first time since I started training, been given a varied workload, and trained at least twice a week. They now measure 26.7 inches, the biggest they have ever been.
Similarly, chest and arms have come up also. I attribute these gains to an increase in training intensity (which has seen my squatting weight increase by 20kgs) coupled with Explosive Growth Blend (which has allowed me to break through the pain barrier and grow like never before).
Given my contest is in May I was told to increase calories to continue the positive anabolic trend. As a result, body fat has gone up slightly (to 5.1% from 4.4) as well as, more importantly, muscle mass. Under the expert guidance of Dan Gastelu muscle mass gains should continue right up to the day of the contest.
How Lean Body Mass Is Determined
Obtaining accurate body mass information requires, firstly, both an accurate bodyweight measurement (I use electronic scales for this) and body fat percentage (here I use the caliper method). The following formula is then used to determine the exact number of lean muscle pounds gained.
Throughout any physical transformation, body fat percentage and body weight should be taken regularly to accurately gauge progress. The mirror is an important tool for self assessment, but this can be deceiving as lighting level, subcutaneous water storage and personal perception (seeing what one wants to see as opposed to real progress) can all skew the result.
With Program's One and Two, taking bodyweight every workout and body fat percentage weekly, has given me an accurate, scientifically sound, progress assessment, which has enabled me to either increase, or decrease calories accordingly.
My progress as charted in this series of articles has been determined using the following method.
Bodyweight as recorded on 13/1/06 = 182.5 lbs.
Body fat percentage as recorded on 13/1/06 = 5.1% or 0.051.
Multiply bodyweight of 182.5 lbs. by 0.051 = 9.31 lbs. fat mass.
Subtract this 9.31lbs. of body fat mass from 182.5 lbs = 173.19 lbs. lean body mass.
|LEAN BODY MASS CALCULATOR|
My last progress article reported a lean body mass of 169.22 lbs. deduced from a total body weight of 177 lbs. and fat percentage of 4.4 percent. This demonstrates since that time (about four weeks) an increase of 3.97 lbs. has occurred, which shows the main goal of this program - to increase lean body mass continually - to be on track.
Total lean muscle gain has, over the ten week period, reached 10.35 lbs. as shown by the following: 173.19 lbs. (current lean body mass) - 162.84 lbs. (lean body mass at the beginning of Program One) = 10.35 lbs.
Lessons Learned During Program Two
Body Fat Testing:
When measuring body fat through caliper testing, while aiming to get the most accurate result, it is important to consider the significance of the fascial layer. The fascia - a network of fibrous tissue, located between the skin and the underlying muscle - should not be included in the skin fold measurement.
This is often done by mistake when one pinches too close to the muscle when taking a skin fold measurement. Including the fascial layer in the measurement can give a false reading that exaggerates body fat percentage.
This happened to me when I began caliper testing. I soon realized that something was wrong, as the readings would drastically fluctuate on a weekly basis.
For example, one week the measurement would be 7.5, the next it would be 5.5. The following week it would be up to around seven again, despite unchanged bodyweight readings and physical appearance.
Since the beginning of this transformation all caliper tests have been performed with prior knowledge of this fascial layer discrepancy. They have been very accurate as a result. The idea of caliper testing, after all, is to measure the subcutaneous fat, and no other tissue.
Other aspects of body fat testing to be considered are the conditions under which the testing is done, multiple (three) measurements at each site and perfect measuring technique.
To ensure an accurate result, it is important to replicate the conditions for each test. This includes taking the measurement at the same time, under the same weather conditions, and in the same untrained state. Training before testing causes blood to travel to the skin, which increases the skins thickness. This gives an exaggerated result, as does measuring in hot, humid, weather.
Averaging three readings for each site test is a better approach to just measuring the site once, as this helps to ensure a more exact result. Taking one measurement only could give false reading if it is taken incorrectly. Using three measurements provides - taking into account the law of averages - a better chance of getting an accurate result.
It is a given that eating correctly is important for bodybuilding success. However, due to differences in training program, body composition, and program goals, one plan will not suit everyone. With Program Two, training frequency and intensity has increased to where I have needed to pinpoint the exact nutritional intake my muscles require.
Dietary guidelines for program two have been included:
1. Increased Calories.
Program Two is specifically designed to increase muscle mass to the highest possible level while dieting for bodybuilding competition. As such, and given the high workload required, an increase in calories in the form of good fats, complex and fibrous carbohydrates and protein was needed.
- Broccoli and other similar vegetables
- Eggs (including two yolks to every five whites)
- Various salads
As the contest approaches, a gradual drop off in calories will occur, to facilitate final body fat reduction. For the present time, daily calories are kept at between and 3500 and 4000.
Main foods used on program two include:
Increased calories has had a real muscle-building effect as it has helped to hasten recovery while ensuring no nutritional gaps.
Increasing the variety of foods has had a positive effect on muscle growth, I feel. Rather than the same old bodybuilding fare such as chicken, rice and egg whites, my diet has consisted of a wide range of proteins, fats, and carbs, from various sources. This has increased the nutritional profile of my diet, while giving me more energy to train on.
I think I am more tempted to eat meals that contain food from different sources and this has enabled me to eat more. The greater number of calories has seen my weight jump from 177 at the beginning on program two to 182.5, with virtually the same level of conditioning, in four weeks.
My weight has been as high as 185 on Program Two, while body fat percentage has remained between 4.4 and 5.7. This is due, in large part, to the training program and the higher calorie intake.
3. Explosive Growth Blend.
This product has been used since the beginning of Program One and I credit it with allowing me to plow through my workouts with consistently high intensity levels.
Working in tandem with the higher caloric intake, the EGB has given me the added advantage of higher energy levels and a high anabolic (muscle building) status 24/7.
In fact, the first two weeks of Program Two was done without any EGB due to my shipment being help up.
My energy levels during this week were noticeably down as was the hard look my physique had the two weeks previous. The workouts, although I completed them all, were actually a struggle without the EGB.
With the addition of EGB, my energy levels increased dramatically and the hard, steroid-like, look to my physique returned. This product has certainly been a cornerstone part of my bodybuilding program, as I prepare for my contest in May.
When I first contemplated competing this year, I had decided to, once again, go it alone. I figured my knowledge base would enable me to get into better shape than ever before. However, upon coming into contact with one of the more knowledgeable bodybuilding and fitness trainers in the world, Dan Gastelu, this all changed.
Dan has years of experience in the areas of training and nutrition and his knowledge base is staggering to say the least. I decided that given I am a qualified personal trainer who gets paid to help others, it would be unnecessary to seek competition preparation help from anyone else.
In hindsight, this was the wrong view. Having Dan guiding me to success could be the single most important aspect of contest preparation for me. I credit him, and his training and nutritional methods, for getting me to where I am now.
With just over three-and-a-half-months before competition time, I am feeling very optimistic about my chances of success. My goal competition weight was to be 180lbs ripped. I am now weighing 182.5 in reasonable condition, and Dan feels I can add another 10lbs of muscle before May.
Stepping on stage at over 185 (around 87kg) would be a major achievement for someone who used to compete in the under 70kg division. I will keep everyone posted.