Weight: 170 lbs
Body Fat: 12-15%
Weight: 210 lbs
Body Fat: 10%
Why I Got Started
When I was 19, and fresh to the Navy, I was incredibly skinny. I was a computer geek and an ex-wrestler who had maintained 170 pounds since 11th grade. I had never gone to the gym except for the mandatory physical training sessions with my command. A couple of guys started going during lunch, and it wasn't long before they started dragging me along to the gym.
It was a scary, foreign land at first, and I had no desire to grasp the controlled chaos of it all. But I started lifting, strength training for the first few months with my co-workers as my guide. They taught me a lot, about peak contractions, controlled movements, negatives and body part isolation.
It was amazing, the feel of my muscles actually working and needless to say I started growing and fell into the a nearly religious state with the art of bodybuilding.
How I Did It
At first I only had the advice and knowledge of those that I worked with. I didn't know about lifting, nutrition and supplements. My lifting was going okay, but my diet was in shambles and I refused to use supplements, my ignorance referencing them to dirty drugs.
My diet was pretty much the same as it had been during high school, greasy burgers and lots of white carbs and sugar. I would have a bowl of ice cream with lunch and dinner nearly every day. It was horrible, and I refused to believe that my body was being held back by my diet.
I was skinny, an ectomorph and I didn't fear saturated and trans fats. I was heading down a road of disaster from the beginning, even telling those more knowledgeable that my diet didn't matter. Then one of the guys put it in a language I could understand: math.
He explained that even on the most intense days, I only workout for at most 1.5 hours a day, and that's only 5-8% of the day. He said that you sleep for 7-8 hours a day and that's roughly 40% of your day. Finally he said that the other 50% of your day is diet and work.
It really is that important, and just hitting the weights wasn't enough. It really hit home. The almost pure logic of a healthy diet, regardless of your body type, was going to dictate your progress just as much as your lifting plan, and maybe even more.
So I started to study dieting and nutrition at any free time possible. He told me he could ramble on and on about good nutrition and supplementation, and I might pick up half of what he said, but instead directed me to Bodybuilding.com. Needless to say, soon Bodybuilding.com became my homepage, and dominated my free time.
I constantly searched and read nutrition and mass building workout regimens, and constantly found myself taking notes and even rereading articles. I armed myself with as much knowledge on everything possible. I bought my first supplement within a week, a jug of 100% Whey Gold Standard from Optimum Nutrition.
- Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard
- BSN Nitrix
- BSN NO-Xplode
- All American EFX Kre-Alkalyn
This kind of meal plan is the one I used during bulking. During a leaning phase, I would cut out milk and replace it with just water. I always aimed for 1-1/2 gallons of water everyday.
Day 1: Chest And Triceps
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Decline Bench Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Rope Pushdowns: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Overhead Extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Reverse Grip Pushdowns: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Dips: 3 sets to failure
- Bent Over Barbell Row: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- One Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Cable Rows: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- EZ-Bar Curl: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Leg Press: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Deadlift: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets of 15 reps
- Military Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Shrugs: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets of 15 reps
- Cable Crunches: 4 sets of 15 reps
- Side Planks: 3 sets of 30 seconds
- Wrist Curls: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Behind The Back Wrist Curls: 4 sets of 20 reps
Day 2: Back And Biceps
Day 3: Legs And Shoulders
Abs And Forearms
I kept cardio to a minimum during bulking, during leaning I did anywhere from 15-45 minutes, always rotating it so it didn't get stale.
My training also varied during phases. Occasionally I would test my 1RM on the big three. I would also rotate an exercise each workout between barbell, dumbbells and machines (if applicable).
Suggestions For Others
Never give up, never give in! I was laughed at once early on in my training. I was struggling on the flat bench with 95 lbs, and I saw some dude actually laugh at me. Pointed, snickered, then shook his head. Needless to say I was downed. I turned it around, though, and it has become my fire. I bet I am bigger than him now.
Know your limits. This is the opposing voice of reason to the above. Going hard is one thing, but hurting yourself is another. I started to get knee pain after a round of heavy squats. I sucked it up and took off for about 1 week, not even looking at the gym. My knees got better and I actually got stronger from the break.
Learn! Knowledge, in bodybuilding, is literally power. You can never know too much about your body or how it works. I especially recommend learning about supplements and nutrition, since these two fields will be the greatest differential between you, a hard-core iron pumping beast, and the guy next to you in the gym.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Knowledge, In Bodybuilding,
Is Literally Power.
Learning what to take, how much to take, and when to take it can completely change the rate at which your results appear. And what better place to learn than on Bodybuilding.com? A constantly growing database of articles covering everything under body buildings umbrella exists here, why not take advantage of it?
Get a partner! I don't think I have ever got stronger or bigger than when I trained with a partner.
Don't underestimate the big 3! Bench press, deadlift, squats. I used to not do them. I also used to gain in small amounts. I credit, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the deadlift for 99% of my size gains. I always include it, and its variants into my legs workouts. The big 3 should be a staple of you workouts if you are trying to gain.
Love yourself. Hating yourself will hinder you; it will depress you and consume you. I have a horrible chest, bad genes and all. But ask me what my favorite muscle is and I'll tell you that it's my chest. Love your body, baby it, give it what it needs, and beat the hell out of it in the gym.