T Nation

First Contest ~ My Prep Log

An update:

Okay, well I went to the diet, etc. clinic.

Like all of you said ~~~ I need to eat more. More on training days. More veggies, Time my carb intake with my workout (which I did for the first time today by the way), etc.

I’ll also scrap the notion of being “done” when I hit 190 lbs.

Per recommendations, I’ve added an additional feed into the mix.

By the way, eating carbs before the workout had an immediate impact. For the first time in months, I finally could feel a little bit of a ‘pump.’ It wasn’t a full blown, swollen feeling, but it was something close to a pump, and I can still feel it as I type now. Feels good! lol

I also scouted out the other guys that were there at the seminar. I have a myopia for judging myself relative to others. When you work out in your garage, you’re always the biggest guy in the gym, so it is nice to “see what everyone else looks like (when you’re standing beside them) for a change.”

Safe to say, I will not be competitive in the Men’s Open (which I figured as much anyway). One of the contest organizers said, “you’ll be fine in the Masters Category” (age 40 - 50) ~ which I guess was my plan all along. I took his comment to mean, “You won’t be laughed off the stage.”

As today’s workout: Saturday’s workout was Back & Biceps (for anyone that has interest). I really tried to “think” think of the arm portion of the workout as the “focus” instead of my Lats today. Obviously my arms are completely out of proportion with everything else. Hopefully I can bring them up in the next 15 weeks ~ and beyond.

Chinups 5x10 (with a 10 lb DB for added resistance)
T-Bar Rows 3x12
1 Arm DB Rows 3x12
Standing Dumbell Curls: 5x12
EZ Bar Curl (2 sets to failure)
I finished with my Shoulder Rehab Exercises ~~~~ They mainly address my rear delts

After the workout, I took some measurements, and got some good feedback.

Compared to Sept 2012 (6 months ago, here are the results as of today) ~~ BTW, I got these measurements off of some BB calculator, that made recommendations based on the circumference of your wrist ~~~~~ so some of them may not be necessary.

Chest ~ 46": bigger by 4 inches~~~ this growth is pretty much all in the lats, because during that same time frame, my shoulder was getting worse and worse, and I wasn’t able to do any pressing movements to speak of).

Hips ~ 38.5": smaller by 2.5" Woohooo!

Neck ~ 18" ~ bigger by 1.75" ~~~ Not sure what to chalk that up to. Maybe shrugs? ~~ and “why” is the size of your neck important at all? lol ~~~ I don’t remember anyone ever saying, "Man, did you see the size of Dave Draper’s neck???!!!

Quads ~ 25.5" bigger by .5 (all of this growth has occurred since the New Year when I made squats an accessory movement ~ because of limitations with my back ~ which limited the amount of weight I could work with and never really let me train my legs). For me squats are always a back exercise ~ unless I prefatigue my legs. BTW, I wish I had realized that sooner, because my legs were much larger when I was a soccer player than they are now that I lift weights. I’ve probably lost an inch or two off my quads since I stopped playing soccer (especially the teardrop, and the quad flare).

Waist ~ 37" unflexed ~ (sigh) ~ remains unchanged which is a bit of a disappointment ~ but the mirror seems to suggest that I look better in that area so I trust the mirror.

Calves ~ 17" unchanged. FWIW, in 2010 ~ just as I was transitioning from soccer to lifting, they were 18"

Arms ~ 15.5" (hiding my head in shame) This number actually dropped by .5", but on a positive note, my “peak” is more visible than it was, so I’ll take it ~ I guess. Still 15.5" inch arms are nothing short of a joke in weight lifting circles. What to do? What to do? What to do? Zraw, and Stu, I look at shots of your arms, and I am convinced I’m not doing something right! In the context of a cut, does anyone have any suggestions as to “how much volume could I put toward my arms without over-training them?”

I think if I could just figure out my arm training, I could grow in that department. My Dad’s has a great set of arms, and he’s 71. Two Sunday’s ago, after church, my kids voted unanimously for him in a double bicep pose. I could not believe how big his arms still are. The next Sunday, I put a tape on them ~~~ 18." He thinks mine 'could be as big as his if I’d only “take up farming.” ~ as he hasn’t trained a day in his life since he left the Marine Corps in 1966. lol

Best,
J

i dunno how well your routine is working(like how much do your arm lifts increase every week?) but 1x a week is very low frequency

throwing in more volume won’t necessarily help

[quote]marshaldteach wrote:
i dunno how well your routine is working(like how much do your arm lifts increase every week?) but 1x a week is very low frequency

throwing in more volume won’t necessarily help

[/quote]

What would you suggest? Every other week I hit bis and tris twice (a TeamSkip idea), but I have not been doing it too long.

At one point I was doing a Back/ Tri and Chest/Bi (with the idea of hitting my biceps & triceps twice a week, but I wasn’t gaining anything ~~~~ so I figured it might be too much frequency for me).

As to adding weights weekly ~~~~ I’m doing most of my bi exercises with DBs, and it’s difficult to measure improvement. I do use the EZ Curl bar on the last 2 finishing sets, and I try to add 2.5 lbs per week. If I concentrate on feeling a burn, I have better results with lower weights. I’m not sure what I’m looking for though, so I tend to vary the weights a bit in hopes of being half right… (the perils of working out in your garage, is that there is no strongmen to ask advice from when you have a question).

Other updates.

  1. I overslept and the whole family missed church as a result. Still, I dig the “Spring Forward Sunday” It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

  2. The scale was kind this morning. 205.9 lbs.

  3. Today’s workout will be:
    Hack Squats: 5x15
    Straight Leg Dead Lifts: 5x20
    Shrugs: 3x max
    Cardio ~~~~ 30 min

Lastly (and related to the picture of the man himself, did Frank Zane ever claim to be drug free? I watched an interview with him recently, and it seemed that he might have suggested he was, but it wasn’t absolutely clear. Here’s the video (his comment is in response to the question posed at 3:37): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvnbKZA9rdE

i’d try upping the frequency and see if you are still progressing, work out as frequently as possible on each body part as long as you can get away with it.

feeling a burn won’t increase you arm size, lifting heavier and for more reps each week will. you should be recording all of your lifts… not sure what you mean by difficult to measure improvement. If you lifted the same amount as last week you haven’t improved

[quote]marshaldteach wrote:
i’d try upping the frequency and see if you are still progressing, work out as frequently as possible on each body part as long as you can get away with it.

feeling a burn won’t increase you arm size, lifting heavier and for more reps each week will. you should be recording all of your lifts… not sure what you mean by difficult to measure improvement. If you lifted the same amount as last week you haven’t improved
[/quote]

…lol?

First… and dont take offense… you will be no where near the 190s and in contest shape… unless you are 6’2" You need to increase your foods which I read many people say… but if your contest is only 15 weeks out… a good diet will have you losing 2lbs or so every week… Here is just an example of one I have used.
Example Day for Diet Plan?
With this plan you need to bust your ass in the gym. Lots of reps and sets. Do whatever cardio you have been. For me this was non… Until I got below 4% I wasn?t going to start… also if things aren?t going as fast you can switch to half and half brown rice and jasmine rice
Meal 1: 3 eggs I use small amount of mozzarella cheese and make omelets, ½ cup oatmeal, 4-6 oz lean meat… I had lots of ground beef with onions and mushrooms and peppers already prepared and mixed it with my omelets. 1 grapefruit or 100% grapefruit juice no sugar added not from concentrate.
Meal 2: 2 scoops protein shake 41g protein with water (low carb protein)
Meal 3 : 6-8 oz turkey meatballs(or lean meat), ½ cup jasmine rice(or similar), Soy sauce or similar for flavor
Meal 4: same as meal 2
Meal 5: same as meal 3
Meal 6: pic any meal 2 or 3… start with same as meal 3 for awhile and we will see how your weight reacts.
Every Saturday night for a few hours as your last meal, eat whatever you want. Go big and get full, junk food and sweets. Have a desert too. Then get back on the diet Sunday. You will gain weight from this but should lose it and then some by the next Saturday. If you find that you are losing weight week in and week out and one week you don?t, don?t get excited. Even though the scale doesn?t show it you are probably getting leaner and will probably lose more the next week. Don?t let the scale dictate your mood or how you are doing its going to be a roller coaster on this diet because of the re-feeds. Trust me it works well. I always use calipers and a 7 point test. I have never missed contest conditioning… the picture in my profile is 7 weeks out from a contest.
As I get closer to show … cheat meals go out the window, meat turns to tilapia, brown rice.
Now I can’t guarantee this diet for you… But for me it works. I generally sit around 10% and get to low 3% by the time I weigh in.

BTW I Didnt list any greens… I consider them free foods … so i can eat them with any meal at any time. FYI
Also i throw strawberries or bluberries in on occasion.

[quote]The3Commandments wrote:

[quote]marshaldteach wrote:
i’d try upping the frequency and see if you are still progressing, work out as frequently as possible on each body part as long as you can get away with it.

feeling a burn won’t increase you arm size, lifting heavier and for more reps each week will. you should be recording all of your lifts… not sure what you mean by difficult to measure improvement. If you lifted the same amount as last week you haven’t improved
[/quote]

…lol?[/quote]

i heard it’s easy to just type lol? when you can’t put up any kind of coherent argument

[quote]Swolle wrote:
BTW I Didnt list any greens… I consider them free foods … so i can eat them with any meal at any time. FYI
Also i throw strawberries or bluberries in on occasion.
[/quote]
Probably a stupid question, but how would you define “greens?”

In the south, greens are reserved for a few items:
collard greens & spinach.

Naturally, I can’t stand either of these…

So, could I use items out of this list instead:
lettuce
cucumbers
tomatoes
peppers
green beans
black eye peas
navy beans

Also, what is the deal with sweet potatoes? I don’t like them either, and everyone says they’re ideal for carb loading… Is there another substitute for them?

Lettuce, spinach, green beans, asparagus, peppers… Those are basically my staples.

As for sweet potatoes, yes regular potatoes work, or quinoa, or rice…

If you don’t like spinach when it’s chopped up and cooked (I hate it too), remember you can eat it ‘raw’ in a salad. Get a big bowl of spinach, toss in sliced grilled/baked chicken breast, add a low-cal dressing (I like to use deli mustard as a dressing for this–tastes good and adds zero calories), and you’ve got a nutrient- and fiber-rich meal.

You asked about beans. As Swolle mentioned above, green beans are ‘free’ (assuming you don’t cook them with a bunch of bacon fat or something). I will skillet-cook a 1/2 pound of very lean ground beef, throw in a small can of green beans, and flavor the resulting mix with a little salsa. However, the other beans you mentioned (navy beans, black-eyed peas), while very healthful, contain significant quantities of protein, carbs and calories that would need to be accounted for in your diet.

Oh, and as a fellow Southerner, I can tell you that grits are acceptable when you’re looking for a high-GI carb source.

Thanks for the input guys!

I’m putting these on my “list” of tolerables

  1. Green beans
  2. Lettuce
  3. Uncooked Spinach

Salsa is awesome ~ I might make salsa it’s own separate category. Like grits, it tastes good with everything.

Today’s workout: Chest & Tris ~ the “double whammy of opportunity” as both need development.

Flat Bench 5x10 (progressive overload)
Incline Bench 3x12 (as a finishing exercise)
Bent Over Lat Raises ~ 3x12 (focused on controlling the weight and contracting the target group as much as possible)
Shoulder rehab protocol (started doing them for both shoulders) ~~~ When I’m done, they’re on fire.
Tricep Cable Press Down (w/ Rope) 5x12
Tricep Cable Press Down (w/ Straight Bar) 5x12

(I’ll hit Tris again on Thursday).
On that second workout, I’m in a quandary, as the only 'comfortable exercises are cable press downs, and the tricep kickbacks. I wish I had a bit more of a selection. I “think” my shoulder is beginning to warm up to skull crushers, but I know it still won’t tolerate many of them, close grip bench causes problems, and dips are way out of the question.

The scale registered 205.1-ish this morning. If I weren’t so stoked at the number, I’m sure I’d be able to remember it exactly. lol

Thanks again for all your help.

Best,
J

[quote]iplan wrote:
Arms ~ 15.5" (hiding my head in shame) This number actually dropped by .5", but on a positive note, my “peak” is more visible than it was, so I’ll take it ~ I guess. Still 15.5" inch arms are nothing short of a joke in weight lifting circles. What to do? What to do? What to do? Zraw, and Stu, I look at shots of your arms, and I am convinced I’m not doing something right! In the context of a cut, does anyone have any suggestions as to “how much volume could I put toward my arms without over-training them?”
[/quote]

In my case, my arms grew fairly well from all of the heavy chest and back work I did, but then I found myself having to do more specialization for my chest in order to get a better shape and all over development.

What you might want to try though, is keep your main arm work on the days you have them, and then throw in SMALL AMOUNTS of direct bicep or tricep work on other days (after larger bodyparts ie. back). I don’t recall at the moment what your exact split currently is, but if you’re not doing triceps with chest, throw in a few isolation movements for tris after it. If you’re not doing biceps with back, throw in a few isolation movements for them.

This way, you’ll be hitting your arms twice a week, albeit one serious session, and one almost 1/2 session (they receive indirect work on other days whether you want them to or not, so I wouldn’t suggest anything crazy like a 3x/week approach while dieting).

S

Stu ~

Here is my current split ~ it cycles every 2 weeks. I took the concept from Skip Hill’s Longevity video where he recommended working your arms once a week for a week, and then twice the following week ~~~~ I tried and and found that I didn’t have the energy to plow through the second week with the intensity that I thought I’d need, so I modified his concept decided that instead of having an additional exercise day every other week, I’d work something extra on the arms every week, either bis or tris. It seems to be a good balance.

I’ve been doing it for a month or so, and it’s the first workout schematic I’ve really enjoyed. It’s funny, I’ll think, "My tris really feel good today, and I’ll look at the schedule, and it’ll be the day to work tris.

I think I see some results as my bicep peak is higher ~~~~~ of course, this may be a product of losing more weight…

Week 1
Monday: Chest/ Tris
Tuesday: Bis
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Back/Bis
Sunday: Legs

Week 2
Monday: Chest/ Tris
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Tris
Friday: Off
Saturday: Back/Bis
Sunday: Legs

On those isolated bi or tri days, I’m doing 2 exercises usually:
Bicep Days: DB Curls 5x10-12 and EZ Bar Curls 3x8-10
Tricep Days: Cable Press Down Rope 5x12 and Bar 3x10 (or vice versa).

Based on seeing this layout, would you recommend any changes?

  • Today’s my isolated Bicep day ~~~~ so feel free to make a recommendation in that department also!

Best,
J

In my opinion… arms are just one of those things… they are genetic to a degree. You need to increase your overall lean bodyweight or your arms wont grow at least not as significantly as you may think. Its seemed for every 10 lbs or so of lean mass I put on in my body I would get another .5 inch or so in my arms. It is the rare genetic freak that has arms that grow at a disproportionate rate to their body… It would be nice but it’s not a reality. I expect to compete at just under 200lbs and I am only at a paultry 18". Not for lack of trying… and I have tried everything. There are many factors that come into play. Keep trying but don’t expect huge improvements without overall increases in lean body weight. But then again what do I know

[quote]iplan wrote:

Lastly (and related to the picture of the man himself, did Frank Zane ever claim to be drug free? I watched an interview with him recently, and it seemed that he might have suggested he was, but it wasn’t absolutely clear. Here’s the video (his comment is in response to the question posed at 3:37): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvnbKZA9rdE

[/quote]

Like does this even need to be questioned?

Swolle! You’re supposed to tell me about a little known arm routine that guarantees 1" in 30 days for only $19.95! lol

Seriously though, I do appreciate your honesty, and help. When I made the first post in this thread, I was expecting a lot of negative comments, as it’s clear from my physique that I was once a soccer player ~ and not all that long ago… Anyway, I mentioned to my wife last night, that beginning this thread in the T-Nation forum was just about the best thing I could have done ~ as I finally feel like I have ‘help’ for the journey. Thanks for all your comments so far.

Alright ~ well this morning weight was 204.8 ~~~~ first time I’ve seen that number since I read about a program called “Starting Strength” three years ago.

As to yesterday’s bicep day, I went very heavy, and did a 3x10 set on the EZ Curl Bar, leaving just a few reps in the tank for the first two sets. The last set, I got my 10 reps but I was not happy by the time i got there. It was a relief to set that bar down. Then I waited about a minute, and was able to crank out 8 more ~~~~ then I was done.

I watched the posing portion of the TEAMSKIP Longevity Video, and decided I might as well start working on that. Who would have ever thought that standing in a “Relaxed” pose for a minute could be so exhausting???

I was constantly in a state of realizing that some body part or another wasn’t flexed, so I’d flex it, and immediately lose another.

I didn’t do all of the poses. In fact, after watching the video, I mainly went back and forth on only two poses: Front Relaxed, and Front Lat Spread.

I can see that I need the practice.

Today is Leg Day. I’m feeling pretty motivated, so I’m going to increase my volume and see what happens.
Reverse Lunges 5x12
Hack Squats 5x10
SLDL 5x15
Calves 3 x max

I wish my garage was equipped with a hamstring curl machine and a quad extension machine.

Best,
J

[quote]optheta wrote:

[quote]iplan wrote:

Lastly (and related to the picture of the man himself, did Frank Zane ever claim to be drug free? I watched an interview with him recently, and it seemed that he might have suggested he was, but it wasn’t absolutely clear. Here’s the video (his comment is in response to the question posed at 3:37): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvnbKZA9rdE

[/quote]

Like does this even need to be questioned? [/quote]

So the answer to the question, “Did Frank Zane ever claim to be drug free?” is…?

Re leg training–Have you read John Meadow’s TN article on the subject? JM has built quite a set of wheels, so he clearly knows what he’s talking about. I did a 12-week training program with John, and the Legs component was gawd-awful (in a good way). Take a look; it just might inspire you to higher levels of pain and anguish: