An Overseas Experiment

Up front: I claim no awesomeness, am not huge, can’t move a house worth of iron etc etc. This is just something to do.

With that in mind, I thought this would be interesting to document. I am doing my final two semesters of architecture school in Bangkok, Thailand. Food is awesome but distinctly different and limited compared to the plethora of mass gainers like beef, good milk and cheap eggs we know in the USA. I also had access to a KILLER gym at University of Idaho over the last 4 years. Those two factors, good plentiful food and a great gym got me from a little over 140 to 171.2 on my single heaviest weigh-in. Ended the last semester in early May at ~166 lbs. Calipered myself (accuracy doubtful) at 10% fat.

Let’s see what a Thai diet can do for a guy over the course of two semesters. I don’t know any good, economic shortcuts yet, but I have a clear advantage: my US dollars buy a LOT of street food. I found one street vendor slinging a dish with a pile of steamed rice, various choices of meat, and a fried egg for 35 baht, or about $1.15, right by the school. 2 of those post workout oughta get me somewhere.

Standing in the apartment in bad lighting. I awoke at 3am about to barf from some travel bug yesterday and consequently had nothing but water and a bowl of ramen for the preceding 36 hours. Skinny arms, no chest. I guess I should make those targets, but then I love deadlift and squats…

Yes SIR, got a local gym membership for 40 baht per year.

40 baht Per year.
30 baht = $1.
40 baht/12 months = 3.333 baht per month
$1/30 = $0.0333 or 3 1/3 cents per baht.
$0.0333 (3.333 baht per month) = $0.111, or

While the wight room itself leaves much to be desired, I will be doing that stuff at school. What shines here is a real-deal powerlifting area, with platforms and bumper plates and chalk and everything. For my first workout in a month, I threw down some deadlifts, continuous clean ans press as per Thibaudeau, and snatch grip high pulls. This is my first experience with kilo plates so I found myself doing the plate-math all over again like a beginner.

Since today was day one of the semester long grind session, I took it easy on myself. That will go away very, very soon.

12 x 60k
6 x 90k (x3)
1 x 140k - added this one wrong, though I was up against about 350lbs, felt like god when I ripped it off the floor hahaha.

Continuous clean and press:
1 x 40k (never done this movement before, wasn’t sure what to expect)
1 x 40k
1 x 40k
3 x 40k
This is a fun move, I will be doing it much more and clearly with added weight. The 40 was not even a challenge ( I would hope not!)

10 x 40k
8 x 40k
7 x 40k
8 x 40k

Called it a day there, I’ll get back in the groove of things before the real onslaught begins. This was my first experience at this gym, plus I don’t know my full weekly schedule for school yet, so I just walked in with the do-what-I-can mindset today. Very happy to have a real powerlifting facility because there isn’t even a squat rack on campus!

Short on time, leaving for the beach this afternoon, so it’s a one exercise kind of day: Overhead press!

8 x 30 k (2)
6 x 30 k
4 x 40 k
10 x beyond the range push ups
1 x 50 k, stalled mid way, held it like a pin press til failure
1 x 50 k, success, held lockout until mid back screamed for mercy
5 x 30 k
8 x BTR push up
5 x 30 k
8 x BTR push up

Grabbed some fresh cut pineapple from a street vendor, just outside the sports arena grounds, for 10 baht. Now that’s some Thai diet post workout awesomeness that I was hoping to get into, and will be repeating it every single time.

Now onto my big 7oz can of sandwich tuna in brine (29 baht!) and a massive bowl of Corn Flakes, yes real brand name Corn Flakes, in whole chocolate milk. I think I’m gonna find some dietary magic here.

Ah man, this is getting fun in a hurry. I like my odds more every day.

Went to an ALL YOU CAN EAT bbq joint last night, where each table has a little grill, and you just load plate after plate with raw veggies and fruit and of course, raw freakin’ meat. Sea food of all types, chicken, beef, pork, even sausages and liver and just mountains of awesome. It dawned on me that I found an all you can eat sushi place near my apartment as well. Whichever day in my weekly schedule proves itself most convenient, I see a massive pig-out session happening one way or the other.


Finally, first real work out in a long time.


Still didn’t go all out. I like to get back in the swing of things before going completely crazy, pretty used to a several-months-on with one to two month breaks, thanks to the old college life for the past 4 years. Kinda like on and off seasons, and the first game is right around the corner…

Warmed up with rapid fire deads, really looking to fire the hamstrings pre-squat.
10 x 70k
10 x 70k
10 x 70k

6 x 70k
10 x 70k > - fast out of the hole as possible, drop just short of lockout right back to next rep.
8 x 70 k

3 x 100k
2 x 100k > - few seconds pause in the hole to remember how to hold the weight.
2 x 100k

LEG PRESS - holy crap I missed having a real sled, the one at my home university was some swinging contraption that felt terrible on the knees and messed with the loading angle through the ROM.
18 x 90k
12 x 90k, 15 sec rest, 12 x 90 k. Like an extended set of 24.
8 x, 8 x, 6 x, 4x 90k - Same as above, srs pain kicking in.

They were already half-torched from doing 120 bodyweight reps on a step at home last night:
10, rest 10sec, 20, rest 20 sec, 30, rest 30sec (x 2)
8 x 90k
7 x 90k > - longest ROM possible, hold stretch and peak contraction ~2sec, all on the leg press
6x 90k

Crushed another quarter pineapple right outside the gym for 10 baht (about 30 cents.) Rice, chicken and a fried egg I bought on the street plus about 1.5 liters of water (drank the water over 2 hours.) 7oz can of tuna plus some chocolate milk coming in a couple hours.

Feels good to almost be back. Ordered a kilo of Aminocore and a kilo of creatine today as well, for shits and giggles.

As far as food trickery goes, I am actually finding some great stuff. Other than the all you can eat places that set you back around $10 US, I have found some funny little things. The lobby in my apartment complex has a free supply of ramen, so cheap and easy carbs (and a big dose of sodium) are always a moment away.

Tipco juice boxes! 1 liter boxes of PURE fruit and vegetable juices in about 100 varieties, including an amazing veggie/fruit blend that’s about 2/3 broccoli and kiwi. Vitamin count through the roof.

I don’t mind the salt here, as I am from the desert, so any time I go out in the humidity I just sweat instantly and incessantly. I am crushing 3 liters of water a day like it’s nothing just to keep up.

On that note, there’s a store like Walgreens or whatever here calles Boots that sells electrolyte packets, 50 for 250 baht, or about $9. SOLD. And then of course, I can buy these at any street corner.

If you haven’t gathered by now, 7 oz cans of tuna (now that I found the good deal on a 4 pack) are less than $1 each.

And, I need to try this dish at a nearby street cart that looks like about a dozen quail eggs over a cup of rice. That’s got mass builder written all over it.

My schedule is almost set for the semester, wherein I’ll be able to write up a solid program and stop going in doing whatever sounds good for the day. In the meantime…

Upper body

Warmed up the traps and bi’s with one of my favorites:

BW x 12
BW x 10
BX x 8

8 x 40k
7 x 40k
7 x 40k

3 x 50k
3 x 50k > - Really feeling these all up my neck into my skull. A monster trap exercise.
5 x 50k

8 x 40k
10 x 40k

First time trying these at 50K. Not easy for me, but it will be…soon. Felt every inch of my upper back by this point.


3 x 40k
3 x 40k
1 x 50k
1 x 50k
3 x 40k

This is just a great movement. I found after having fairly murdered my upper back, I really had to rip these off the floor as hard as I could to get the catch, and started to feel my erectors up high like I never have before. I am very accustomed to deadlifting, but not with that explosiveness. I see it carrying over to several lifts.


BW x 12 wide grip, 8 narrow grip
BW x 10 wide grip, 8 narrow grip
BW x 6 wide, 5 narrow
BW x 4 wide, 4 narrow
BW x 4 wide

The gym has a bar set that looks like a V so you can vary grip width in one second. Never had that luxury before, totally ripped up my chest on the wide grip.


Package of ramen
7oz can of tuna
Half a dragon fruit
750ml water
12oz coffee
…some random amount of pineapple juice.

Gonna hit pushups for volume throughout the rest of the day. I plan to do this for calf raises multiple times every week as well.

Forgot the back shot earlier. It was upper back mayhem day after all.

More dietary magic, costing me 62 baht per liter:

Juice is packaged without pasteurization or heat treatment (so says the other side of the label) and it’s 100% fruit/vegetable juice. Win.

Rest day. My quads, glutes and back are absolutely destroyed right now. I could use a way to SMR here but so far have found nothing.

Welcome back to the game indeed.

Eggs are super cheap here in Thailand… so there is no excuse not to eat a bunch of eggs.

Regarding milk… I prefer Chok Chai (available, everywhere) as it tastes exactly what you are used to in the US and the cows are free range on the Chok Chai ranch which is a pretty cool visit if you ever have the chance to go.

Fish is dirt cheap here and should be main protein staple for you; pork and chicken second.

Good luck! Enjoy Siam.

Hey, thanks man. Problem is I have no kitchen. I will look for that milk (but for now I am verrrrrrrrry happy drinking the chocolate milk!) I tried the Meji stuff and oof…not good.

Here’s the program I’ve tentatively written up. I feel it needs some final tweaks because it has some issues. Copy and paste from another post:

"So here’s what I’ve come up with. It’s hard to strike the right balance of no overlap, getting proper spacing between particular movements and placing certain movements on the days where I will be on or off campus.

I had it really dialed in, but it turns out the off-campus gym is closed Monday and that really jacked it all up. Right now I think this is workable, and my only real concern is the rowing day interfering with the high pull day. I would gladly just trade those but I’m at the wrong end of town to use the right equipment on those days.

Monday -


Wednesday - ROW

Thursday - SGHP


Saturday - DEADLIFT

Sunday - SQUAT

2 days of pressing because, well, look at the photos in my log and tell me what needs to Grow!

I suppose deads and squatting back to back poses an issue, but those are inarguably my strong points so I feel like I can handle it. Any bright ideas out there for a better scheme? Maybe 2 days of SGHP and one monster lower body day on Sunday? No matter what I change there’s always some conflict I run into.

…and then reading over this post, there’s the fact that I have FOUR consecutive upper body days. Pain in the ass."

So anyone reading this that might chime in know what’s going on, I am using two different gyms throughout the week. They both have limited equipment and so I am really trying to do specific movements on specific days, according to this schedule:

Monday: Off campus
Tuesday: On Campus
Wednesday: On campus
Thursday: Off campus
Friday: On campus
Saturday: Off campus
Sunday: Off campus

The off-campus gym has powerlifting equipment for days. The on-campus gym basically has Planet Fitness stuff. Monday, the off-campus gym is closed, so that’s my best choice for a rest day.

This is running CT’s layers system, at lest what I’ve been able to glean from reading his forum. That style of training has done wonders for me in the past, everyone reporting back says they are beasting out at an incredible rate…and I just plain enjoy some heavy ass, brutal lifting.

So yeah. If someone looks at this and sees a way to improve it, I am all ears. I was thinking it was good until I noticed the 4 days of upper body in a row…

You know what? Fuck the campus gym whether it’s inconvenient or not. They are slacking on getting me card access anyway.

Monday -

Tuesday - SGHP + lats


Thursday -

Friday - SGHP + biceps


Sunday - SQUAT or DL

BOOM. DONE. See you tomorrow high pulls. Life is easy when you make decisions.

Ah yeah.

Warmed up with some inverted rows again.


Ramp from bar to 52.5 kg

Clusters at ~ 90% = 47.5 kg
#1 = 9 reps
#2 = 5 reps
#3 = 3 reps

HDL at ~ 70% = 37.5 kg
Times 3. Oh god my neck by this point.

Pump set at ~ 50% = 25 kg
5 + hold
4 + hold
3 + hold
2 + hold

…aaaaaaaand that was about enough for the morning. Can’t wait to feel what level of soreness tomorrow will bring.

I pigged out yesterday after the high pull routine and generally felt awesome. Laab Moo is such a killer dish and I know where to get it cheap.
Anyway, on to this morning’s workout:


Ramp from 40 to 110 kg (that was surprising to me)

Clusters at ~90% = 95 kg
#1 - 3 reps
#2 - 3 reps
#3 - 3 reps
Difficult keeping hands dry (unventilated unairconditioned weight room in Bangkok in 80% humidity)
I suck at pressing, these were feeling heavy but good. Expected more reps.

HDL at ~70% = 80 kg
#1 - 5, 4, 2, 1
#2 - 4, 3, 2, 1
#3 - 3, 2, 1, 1
Freaking pumped up at this point.

Pump set at ~ 50% = 60 kg
#1 - 5, 4, 3, 1
#2 - 4, 3, 2, 1
#3 - 3, 2, 1, 1

Holy crap I can see this fixing my lack of upper body. Can’t wait to see the weekly pics a couple months from now.

Also, weighed in on the gym scale at an even 75 kg or 165 lbs today.


Ramp from bar to 62.5 kg. What was my last one, 52.5? Hell of a bump in weight.

Cluster at ~90% = 55 kg
Awake now.

HDL at ~70% = 42.5 kg
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
5, 4, 3, 3, 2
Feeling heavy but was able to crank out a little extra. I can feel my explosiveness and form improving with every set right now, even when I am getting tired. Coordination between hip action and shrug action is getting much smoother.

Pump at ~50% = 30 kg
5, 4, 3, 2, 2
5, 4, 3, 2, 2
5, 4, 3, 2, 5
All with holds. Holy crap my upper back at this point. This exercise is so awesome.

Seated row, half the stack.
Dropped a couple plates for another 10.
Machine has a mirror right next to it so I could inspect my form, FINALLY got my lats to fire massively on this move. I love seated row but I think I love it even more now, I have never felt my lats like that, ever.

Wolfed down a pile of fried chicken and dragon fruit. Now off to class.

Shit, forgot to log my work!

Saturday was supposed to be incline press but I had equipment availability issues (crowded weight room) so I opted for flat bench from blocks in the powerlifting room. Had the bar set to just above my elbow resting on the floor.

Ramped from 40 kg to 82.5 kg

Clusters at ~90% = 75 kg
Those were NOT easy. Wanted to drop the weight but decided working near 90% was more important than 2 extra reps. Did I say I suck at pressing? For once though, I was actually FEELING my chest do the work.

HDL at ~70% = 60 kg
5, 4, 3, 1
5, 3, 2, 2, 1
4, 3, 2, 1, 1
The horror.

Pump at ~50% = 40 kg
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
5, 4, 3, 1
4, 3, 2, 2, 1

Gnarly chest pump, felt like they were going to explode. No soreness on Sunday though, interesting.

Sunday - SQUAT

Warmed up with lying leg curls from hip extension.
Some amount of unmarked plates that was heavy for 3 sets of 10.

Ramped from 50 to 110 kg and felt like hell. The rack I have to use is frustrating and uncomfortable and the bar was just destroying my traps which is strange, because I have never had that issue. So, hate on this if you want but I bastardized my work for the day and switched to DL.

Worked up from 80 to 140 kg. I am out of practice because it felt heavy and only came up one time.
Blasted through a handful of reps at 110 kg and said fuck it, my hands hurt.

Leg press.
80 kg x 30, varying foot position every time I had to take a quick rest.
Calves - 10, 5, 4 from super deep stretch to contracted hold.

Repeat x 3. Felt my teardrop ripping apart in a good way.

Now it’s Monday. Time to feast.

I’m in on this. From what I’ve read, you access to a pretty damn good gym and cheap, quality bulking foods. Let the games begin.


I had the epiphany that I can do scrambled eggs in the mircowave yesterday, so yeah, mark that as a WIN.

I’m thinking I should start buying whole fish and crush one a day. I can get all sort but unfortunately the cheap ones are all deep fried.