Uh,… Wow - lol. Thanks guys. Guess it’s weird to realize that I’m not a newbie anymore. I had the same feeling teaching college, all I could think of was the really great professors I had had, who were obviously better qualified than I was to be teaching anyone anything.
It’s certainly not like I have any secrets, I just think I have a pretty analytical mind, and have approached my training and nutrition in that manner. Luckily I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie on this board enough to share my own thoughts on things, without worrying about being wrong, and in most cases, it seems I’ve been pretty helpful to a lot of people (cool! -lol)
I’m not Christian Thibs here, but I’ll certainly answer any questions anyone may have. The number of PMs I get seems to have jumped a bit in the last year, so maybe I know what I’m doing afterall.
I’ll give a little BG if that helps, I certainly didn’t start out a big chunk of muscle, and was definitely not an athlete in high school (although I ran track and did martial arts). I was tha artsy kid in the honors classes. For those who don’t know, I’ve been working as an animator and storyboard artist since the mid 1990’s, so my view of bodybuilding was more sculpting than anything athletic. IN fact, I didn’t even start lifting until I was 20, and in my 2nd year of college. I was 5’9 (on a good day), and weighed all of 150 lbs. I thought I was in good shape because I could see some semblance of abs, I didn’t realize that it’s how the human body is supposed to look if you’re not fat.
IN hindsight, I did everything wrong. I was still running 9 miles a few times a week, was going to the gym every day, and I was eating a very very carb heavy diet (I could steal bagels from the school cafeteria to eat with peanut butter) with no regard to protein content, feeding frequency, or even overall calories. I’d also like to note that there was no internet, the only magazines were total crap (eventually muscle media 2000 came out and made me realize that pro BBers used steroids -lol), and even the coach to taught the weightlifting class didn’t seem to know very much (I realize this NOW).
For someone who was pretty new to athletics, let alone weight training, I got really strong really fast, which of course made me ‘chase numbers’ in the gym instead of chasing hypertrophy. After my 1st year training, even though I could now bench 315 lbs, I had maybe put on a grand total 1 lb! The guy I trained with, who was pretty big at about 5’10 and 220lbs, still wanted to train every day. He was in law school, but because he had attended my undergrad school, was allowed continued free use of the weight room. Eventually I managed to separate myself from training with him every day, and cut back to 4 days a week. The weirdest thing happened when I did… I actually started putting on a couple of lbs. I kept reading MM2000, and learned a little about nutrition. I started looking for protein in my foods. I would buy dented cans on tuna (cheaper!), small cans of peas, and store brand mac N’ Cheese in a box (25 cents each), and combine them all for a meal. I would buy fat free cheese and make tuna melts over expired bread that I bought at the Friehoffers outlet that was in town.
I got a part time job at the local GNC so I could read the magazines for free, and get a discount on totally cutting edge stuff, like Hot Stuff and Cybergenics (don’t laugh, we all did it! -lol). I read that old school BBers took Dessicated (whatever that meant!) liver pills and amino acids every few hours… I did likewise. I read that Ripped Fuel would cut you up like nothing else. I popped a handful and waited for things to happen. I was totally deluded by the supplement ads, and with very little in the way of knowledge, despite my modest gains from cutting back my training frequency, I quickly stalled out again. Even though I had cut out the running, I was on 2 intramural deck hockey teams, and didn’t even realize how badly it was compromising my recovery.
A few years later, I graduated and attended graduate school in Manhattan (NYU). As all of the classes were in the evenings, I pretty much had the entire day for myself (and my coursework). As luck would have it, my apt was one block away from the NYU gym. As a thank you for some work I had done for a family member, I had received a copy of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty book. As Dorian Yates (reigning Mr O at the time) was always speaking highly of Mentzer’s theories, I quickly read the book several times over. I decided that the reason I had not fulfilled my full genetic potential in 2 years (as Mike said anyone could), was that I was grossly overtrained, and grossly undernourished. Well, seeing as how I had the perfect schedule, I was going to do something about this.
For the first time in my BBing life, I started eating every 2 hours. Protein Bars were a new idea (the 1st Metrx bars came out the year before), but the friendly guy at the local Vitamin Shoppe always hooked me up (on $40 for a box! -lol). I would eat 2 of them at once during classes, as well as having shakes between meals which always seemed to have my blender going (Usually Milk, Milk protein -no Whey yet!- Peanut Butter, Honey,and Flax Oil). I also reduced my training days to 3 a week (eventually I moved to 4, but that was my 2nd year). My workout was based on what I read in Heavy Duty, very little work on parts that were overlapped with larger parts.
Monday - Chest, Delts, Tris
Wed - Back, Bis
Fri - Legs
The reduced stimulation (and big weights, I should note that I got VERY strong during this period), large amounts of frequent food, and very sedentary lifestyle (classwork, and deskwork) all came together, and for the first time in my life, I felt, not like a guy who likes to train, but like I really looked like a bodybuilder. On my small frame, my 16" arms looks huge. I could finally fill out an XL shirt (although they were always a little too long), and I’d get checked out by gay guys in the village when I was walking with my girlfriend -lol.
I’m sure that’s probably a little more than most of you care to know, but I figure for those folks who look at other peoples’ avatars are think everyone else has great genetics, or was just born big and ripped… lemme tell you, I’ve worked damn hard for every ounce of muscle I’ve put on. From a scrawny 150 lbers, to my biggest, of 220 lbs (which I admit was a little less than ‘ripped’ -lol), it was a hell of a journey. It’s really only now that I’m trying my hand at my 1st bodybuilding contest that I think I truly have some decent perspective.
And on that note… I gotta take my dog out!
(Thanks all, this was a nice little compliment)