Last Tuesday marked a month since I first had the idea of starting a fitness blog and making that idea a reality. It also nicely coincides with my 8-week lean bulk “anniversary”. Yet in that short period so much has changed: commencing another academic year at University (and all the highs and lows that come with it), changing workout plans, changing gyms to name a few. Yet there were other things that have remained the same: the dedication and work ethic to progress and get closer in reaching my bodybuilding goals being a prime example. As such I have decided to dedicate this post to showing you guys my progress, in particular the effects, if any, that the changes in my life, however minute they may seem, have impacted my progress.
Since the “after” segment of my transformation picture (refer to the first post cover image) three months ago, I have spent a month travelling around Asia and a week visiting the beautiful Switzerland. Five weeks abroad without my food scale, working at a miniscule hotel gym and enjoying the finest local cuisine did have its toll on my physique but more so on my strength! I had no regrets (especially none about emptying out a Lindt store in Switzerland), but I predictably came back smaller and weaker than where I had left off. Subsequently, I have been on a lean bulk for 8 weeks now and plan to continue to do so for at least a year, unless circumstances change. Unlike the last time I attempted a bulk, I have been closely monitoring my bodyweight. As a “wannabe” bodybuilder, the way in which I look should take priority over my body weight and my lifts, but the mind can be deceptive at the best of times. Tracking my bodyweight every morning (refer to the image on the right) allows me to know more accurately whether or not I have gained mass, if so how much and whether any changes need to be made in my diet as a result. In these initial 8 weeks, I have managed to gain 1.2kg, which is well within my 0.2-0.69kg per month limit.
As well as gaining overall mass, the bulk was aimed at bringing up specific body parts that were lagging behind. Being torso-dominant meant that my chest and back grew at a much faster pace than the likes of my arms and calves, creating a Johnny-Bravo type of look, which although did look cool in the cartoons, is not exactly the look I am trying to go for! I started training my back (which although may not be a lagging body part; you can never have a back too big), legs and arms twice a week for a while, but this proved to be too much of a step up. As a result, along with a complete change in my workout plan, I have recently dropped training legs twice a week back to once a week but it remains to be seen how that will affect my progress going forwards. For now though, as you can see from the photos below showing me at the end of my cutting phase compared to the images taken within the last week (Left: July 2014, Right: October 2014), my lats and arms have grown although there is definitely room for progress.
In terms of strength, a lot of progress has been made but at a much slower rate than normal. However this is to be predicted since the emphasis of my training has changed from being more strength-based with a mix of hypertrophy to being purely hypertrophy focused. Whereas I was benching 120kg for a 1-rep PR, I’ve been reduced to benching 50, 60 x3 and 70 kg for 15, 12, 10, 8 and 6 reps respectively. My squat and deadlift stats follow suit too. Likewise, the way in which I perform these lifts have changed with more emphasis being put on “feeling” the contraction of the target muscle group, rather than getting the weight up by any means possible.
Going forward, I probably will not be changing things much anytime soon (other than possibly increasing my calorie intake). One issue that will need to be resolved, would be my time-management and finding a consistent workout schedule where I can constantly give it my all. Either that, or I may be due a rest week, as I have been feeling strained lately, resorting to multiple cups of coffee in order to stay alert for University and get hyped enough to workout.
Feel free to share your progress or any comments you have in the comments below or on the facebook page.
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