Jeff60 Surge Challenge Training Log

Getting ready to go…

My kit arrived today (17th June 22). I’ve read and re-read the materials before I attempt anything at the gym so I fully understand the program, and have also planned out the weights I intend to use. Purposely gone lighter on my selections… My first workout will be Saturday 18th, so I will soon see if I’ve over or under estimated my start point.

I’d like to thank Ellington for being open minded enough to re-assess his views on strength training and for sharing them with us all and to thank Tim Patterson at Biotest for providing and shipping the materials for the challenge FOC.

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Well… woke up after my second consecutive night of bad sleep (it’s been VERY hot here and no air conditioning!) truly feeling like I didn’t want to train, but consistency is key and so I gave it my absolute best.

As a side note - I had bought a pouch of Surge so have been loading all week. I don’t like the face tingles but my back had got super pumped from weeding my lawn so I was hopeful for a similar effect when I trained.

Here we are - glugging down 600 ml of this stuff pre-workout was no chore although I did feel bloated. I’m sure that this bloat will go down throughout the day. Glugging down the remainder as I trained was more of a chore for me. I didn’t even get close and it was a challenge as I didn’t feel like drinking it. Normally quaffing 1 litre of plain water as I workout is no problem at all. Maybe that’s why it’s named the Surge Challenge? (joke)

Block One:
Pump phase: Got the weight wrong. This proved too heavy and I only managed 3 reps of the third set before I felt I was very close to failure.
Stimulate phase: Dropped the weight and was closer to getting this right but not quite (still a bit heavy).
Flutter stage: I think getting the weights too heavy on the prior phases had a knock on effect and I only managed 14 seconds before I had to stop.
Results - fatigued and breathless but not much of a pump

Block Two:
Pump phase: Lesson learned - reduced my planned weights considerably. Starting to feel this.
Stimulate phase: Bugger! This felt too light and then I forgot the 10 second hold at the end.
Flutter stage: Still too light, but pretty pumped.
Results - more fatigued and breathless and now starting to pump up

Block Three:
Pump phase: Still experimenting with the starting weights but felt this was much closer.
Stimulate phase: Yep! Clearly learning. Weight felt right and didn’t forget the final 10 second hold.
Flutter stage: Very, very pumped.
Results - Very breathless and pumped up

As with all training methods getting the weights right and being precise enough with the movements takes practise. I don’t have a training partner (or someone watching me) but felt that would have helped. I did get a good pump in the end but had to be very choosy about my weight selection. I have no idea if Surge helped. As I said, the pre-workout drink was fine. Pushing it down during the workout was harder (but I did get a reasonable amount in me).

Jeff, try half as much Surge 300 ml 20 minutes before your workout and 300 ml during your workout. That should eliminate the bloat. But keep sipping the remainder of the Surge throughout the day. Lower the weights on most of your exercises and focus on each rep. Then, get lots of sleep at night. You can master the protocol.

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Drastically reduced the weights in my workout and used Ellington’s direction to mix Surge in 300 ml of water for pre and intra workout drinks. Overall experience was better and got a good pump. Not as bloated pre-workout. It’s now 2 hours since I finished training and still pumped. Weight has gone up by 1 lb since Saturday 18th. It’s not fat but I am bloated and look more like a billiard ball than I usually do.

Still finding selection of the appropriate weight to use a challenge. I was way too light on some movements and a bit too heavy on others. Absolutely humbled by the Pendulum Squat (in lieu of Leg Press). I can (and regularly do) Hip Belt Squats with around 600 lbs. On the Pendulum Squat pump phase I could only just manage 45 lbs and had to reduce this by 50% for the stimulate and flutter phases. Even then the flutter phase was immensely hard to complete.

I have found the exercise changes mid phase to be complex when you’re trying to do it by yourself, review your notes and only take as little as 10 seconds between some movements. Now I’m planning to reduce the number of exercise choices within the phases to simplify the workouts a little. @Ellington_Darden - thoughts?

Size wise, my bodyweight is now 1 1/4 lbs up in a week, but I remain bloated in my midsection.

Jeff, you can adjust your weights and time between exercises. You know how to do that. With the bloat, try the opposite of what I recommended previously. Drink more water with the Surge, not less. I believe that will unbloat your midsection.

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Almost half way through week 2 and I’m now finding the groove. I can’t handle anywhere near the weights other people are reporting. I think this is because I have predominately FT muscle fibres and am very neuromuscular efficient so the layered phases are leading to a very deep amount of inroad when I train. I am VERY tired. Still bloated - I’m currently mixing Surge with 300 ml of water pre-workout but am then mixing my other doses with extra water and slowly drinking it during the day and it seems to be helping. I also look somewhat fuller (especially calves and pecs) but am still only about 1 1/2 - 2 lbs up from my starting weight and recognise that how I think I look can be an illusion. Not taken any measurements (other than weight) yet.

I managed to traumatise my calves doing this training protocol. Walking funny for 5 days!

Although I’ve had good pumps (not spectacular) during the challenge and I look bigger (especially thighs, calves, pecs and triceps) I’ve found making my way to the gym 3x a week a chore. To get the best from my workouts I’ve been thinking about a simplified hybrid protocol which would see me training whole body 2x a week. In my head a typical workout would look something like this:

Block 1 - Legs

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Pendulum Squat 8 10
Pump Pendulum Squat 8 10
Pump Pendulum Squat 8 60
Stimulate Leg Curl 10 60
Flutter Leg Curl 20 Sec. 60

Block 2 - Lats

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Seated Row 8 10
Pump Seated Row 8 10
Pump Seated Row 8 60
Stimulate Pullover 10 60
Flutter Pullover 20 Sec. 60

Block 3 - Shoulders

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Overhead Bar Hang 40 Sec. 10
Pump Press 10 10
Pump Press 10 60
Stimulate Lateral Raise 10 60
Flutter Lateral Raise 20 Sec. 60

Block 4 - Chest

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Incline Press 10 10
Pump Incline Press 10 10
Pump Incline Press 10 60
Stimulate Dumbbell Fly 10 60
Flutter Dumbbell Fly 20 Sec. 60

The stimulate phase would either be Stretch / Hold or 30-10-30 on an alternating basis.

Thoughts? @Ellington_Darden @Tim_Patterson

Jeff, you’ve done your homework well. Your twice-a-week routine is designed with fine structure. I like it and approve. Keep reporting.

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I agree; you’ve done an excellent job. Certainly, what you’re proposing will work, but I believe 3x/week training is superior to 2x/week. You can get great results 2x/week, but it’s limited compared to 3x/week.

I recommend doing a third workout at home. Becoming an expert at training with limited equipment will make you a better trainer and improve your overall results.

Is working out at home an option?

If I were tasked to create an effective 2x/week program, I’d need time to consider it. It’s interesting and maybe something we should do.

Thanks Tim. I’ve been training for nearly 52 years now and spent many months training at home during the height of the pandemic with nothing more than bands and a bullworker. Not for me!

I understand.

We’ll help you with your 2x/week plan.

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Hybrid Experimental Training (HET - I’ve invented a new acronym!)

Well… that was f**kin hard!

Block 1 - Legs
Pump: Pendulum Squat
Stimulate: Leg Curl (30-10-30)
Flutter: Leg Curl

Block 2 - Back
Pump: Hammer Low Row
Stimulate: Pulldown (30-10-30)
Flutter: Pulldown

Block 3 - Shoulders
Pump: Overhead Bar Hang - 40s
Pump: Press
Stimulate: Lateral Raise (30-10-30)
Flutter: Lateral Raise

Block 4 - Chest
Pump: Incline Press
Stimulate: Dmb Fly (30-10-30)
Flutter: Dmb Fly

23 minutes from walking in to walking out
Weight increased from 214 1/2 to 217 1/2 lbs in 18 days


And the next part of the plan…

Block 1 - Thighs

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Leg Extension 10 10
Pump Leg Extension 10 10
Pump Leg Extension 10 60
Stimulate Leg Press 10 10
Stimulate Leg Curl 8 60
Flutter Leg Curl 20 Sec. 60

Block 2 - Calves

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Calf Raise 12 10
Pump Calf Raise 12 10
Pump Calf Raise 12 60
Stimulate Calf Raise 12 60
Flutter Calf Raise 20 Sec. 60

Block 3 - Triceps

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Tricep Pushdown 10 10
Pump Tricep Pushdown 10 10
Pump Tricep Pushdown 10 60
Stimulate Tricep Dmb Extension 8 10
Stimulate Tricep Dmb Extension 8 60
Flutter Tricep Dmb Extension 20 Sec. 60

Block 4 - Biceps

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Curl (narrow grip) 8 10
Pump Curl (medium grip) 8 10
Pump Curl (wide grip) 8 60
Stimulate Zottman Curl 10 0
Stimulate Hammer Curl 10 0
Stimulate Dumbbell Curl 10 60
Flutter Dumbbell Curl 20 Sec. 60

My workouts are taking 23 or 24 minutes in a busy gym… I don’t get why some people are finding this takes 40+ minutes.

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Today was another Hybrid…

Block 1 - Thighs

Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Squat - 60
Double Holds Leg Curl - 60

Block 2 - Back

Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Seated Row - 60
Double Holds Pulldown - 60

Block 3 - Shoulders / Traps

Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Seated Lateral Raise - 60
30-10-30 Dmb Shrug - 60

Block 4 - Chest

Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Decline Press - 60
Double Holds Decline Fly - 60

Block 5 - Torso

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Negative Holds Dip N/A

Still using Surge