I haven’t really discussed my own plan and progress much since the blog restarted. Musings on motivation and overseeing the squat challenge has rather overtaken the blog. But it can’t be about you lot all the time. Keeping myself accountable was one of the main reasons behind starting the blog in the first place, and obsessing over my own training and progress or not is a topic I feel I have rather overlooked of late.
So where am I and how did I get here from there?
Since September I have been focusing on first strength and then hypertrophy. I had lost a lot of muscle mass over the year of terrible inactivity and wanted to put it back on again, and then some. I wanted to gain some proper muscle mass. I have never been big and hunky, and as a midlife crisis goal it seemed as good as any. My plan was to spend six months building strength and mass, then cut back the inevitable accumulated fat and take stock from there.
I have put on 10 kg in the 5 months to here. That’s 22lbs, roughly a pound a week every week. I started at 83kg and I am now 93. I still have a month to go on my original six month plan, and I’m hoping to get to 95kg by the end of the month, which, based on current progress, should be achievable.
How much of that gain will prove to be muscle not fat remains to be seen but I’ll worry about that at the end of the cut. This is, I am pretty sure, the heaviest I have ever been, although my waist is still a good 3″ smaller than it used to be back in the fat old days. Also, all my shirts and jackets are now tight across the shoulders and round the arm, so I a fairly confident that I have put on at least some muscle to my delts and triceps. I can also see chest muscle where previously there was none. This was the first time I have ever done a straight bulk/cut phase, and it has been a really steep learning curve. I can see already where I have made major mistakes in training and nutrition terms and it didn’t help that I lost a big chunk at the end of the year where I went from training days a week to barely getting a day or two in here and there due to family circumstances. I am already planning how to do things better next time around.
I am actually quite looking forward to the cutting phase. I feel heavy, and I feel out of condition, so getting some regular cardio back into the mix will be quite welcome. I miss going out running. I miss ‘feeling fit.’ I miss doing metcons. I know I hate brutal metcons when I am actually doing them, but the feeling afterwards is great (remind me of this next months when I am crying about the cardio). I am rather fed up of eating so much every day. Particularly all those carbs. I have been a renowned carbophobe for several years and having to suddenly have so many of them every day has been a lot less fun than it sounds, and it doesn’t even sound fun.
For what time remains on my bulk, however, I am going to up my game to try and maximise my gainz. More food, more protein, more training volume. I am adding an extra set to all my exercises on my main workout days. I am doing the Months of Abs. I shall watch Pumping Iron at least once a week
I put up a photo of my current condition on the Gym Outcasts Facebook Page the other day asking for advice, and had one person advise me to keep going with the bulk on the basis that I could pack on a decent amount of muscle in the last month, and one person advise me that I should stop bulking immediately because my body fat was way too high and I had gone about things all wrong, basically. I confess this did give me major pause for thought. Both pieces of advice were well-intentioned and from people who know what they are talking about.
The pictures in question. This Week: Bodyfat to the Goddam Max!
To be honest, looking at the pictures side by side now, I can’t really tell any more. Obviously my face is fatter and my stomach, but not a stone and a half just around my waist and jowls. I think my chest looks bigger, and my delts. If anything, I think I look fatter in the New Year picture than I do now, which is not inconceivable as that was at the end of my sporadic training period (plus, y’know, Christmas) and I have been pretty religious since then although I am a full kilo heavier since then. My hair has definitely grown though. At least one gain I can be certain of.
I have decided, however, to see the thing out. It’s only another 4 weeks. Even if the whole thing is a wash and I end up just the same size when I strip off the fat, then at least it has been a learning exercise. I would rather finish the plan, however flawed it may prove to be and then analyse why than just abandon it now so close to the end.