T Nation

Natty on Pennies


I’ve been feeling a shift in my mood and mindset as of late. A couple of times per year I go into these places mentally where I just have endless energy and inspiration and a burning need to strive further and be better - those are the times I make really good progress. But those are also the Times I need to stay focused on my goal as I tend to have a lot of trouble keeping a single goal in mind when this happens. Now don’t get me wrong, I train hard and do things as well as I can year round. But for most part it’s just business as usual for me. To put it in perspective - for the most part I’m just going parachute jumping with safe conditions - a new parachute, a good pilot, everything is good. But during the months where I shift into that mood the plane is burning and I’m throwing the parachute out before jumping, catching it mid air. It’s just so much more fun and intense. (For the record, I have never gone parachute jumping)

So during these months/weeks I may do stuff I wouldn’t normally do. My work capacity and ability to recover goes to another level, and to be honest, it’s pretty good at all times. What suffers is my ability to focus and to think rationally. I may act impulsively, I may even get a bit aggressive at times. But I’ve gotten a lot better with managing all that, with channeling it and using it for something useful.

I don’t know what it is that causes it, it ain’t voluntary. But really, I don’t even care too much. It’s a part of my life and I’ll just roll with it.


Daily log:


Creeping towards a new low

1200 Calories
190g Protein
40g Carbs
30g Fat

200 Calories worth of cardio

Man I’m anticipating the mass gaining season already. I’m one tick away from just jumping head first in there right now. But I’m gonna contain myself for a month more. And then, slowly out of the gates. Really, not even out of the gates for another month or so. But one thing I know for certain - after thisI’m not gonna eat a single can of tuna for years.

In regards to training, I feel like I haven’t trained hard enough in the past two or so years. Like, I train hard, I get dizziness, cramps maybe I blackout every once in a while, but I still feel like I haven’t pushed it to the absolute limit after my last cut. Nowadays it’s more like a daily thing for me, training hard is monotonous and I don’t get as excited for it as I used to. So obviously I need to crank the intensity up another notch.


Daily log - Happy Danteism edition


A new low, looking pretty crispy in the morning

1470 Calories
220g Protein
80g Carbs
30g Fat

Upper body

1a Clap pushups
1b Explosive sternum chins
2 Close grip bench
2 triples
increase weight
A double
increase weight
2 singles (See notes to find out what I hit; cliffhanger)
decrease weight
A triple
3a Bench holds
110,120,130% of top weight
3b Weighted pull ups w/fat grips
4a Overhead press
Work up to a smooth set of 4
drop 10% of weight
4b Pull ups
5a Cable tricep extensions
5b Back-supported hammer curls
6a 2 way lateral raise
6b Head-supported rear laterals
7 Side delt burns
1 stripset
5 minutes of cardio

Really happy how this went.

With the CGB, I was trying my old double for “semi-close grip” (half a thumb wider grip on each side) for a single. Got it up but apparently my spotter helped me a bit. So I told him not to touch the damn thing and hit it again in a minute or so. Very happy as last time I benched three (metric) plates I was about 10kgs heavier, now I’m not saying that I was strong but 140kgs on close grip at 84.3kgs is something. Whoa, I just posted something about my lifting stats online. It’s a miracle. You know this happens in about 0.2% of my posts. Really the reason I dint post my numbers online is because I don’t think my lifts are anything special and really, numbers don’t matter that much.

As you see, I did overhead press today, that’s because all of the benches were being used. Also literally every single thing you can use for rows was being used (apart from barbells but that would’ve been a tad too taxing on the body) so I just did bodyweight pull ups inbetween sets.

Now after finishing up I hit a couple of poses and guess what?

I saw a vein. A new one. You’ve heard of my quad, forearm hip, trap and felt veins. But this one, it was beautiful. It was almost like a bicep vein, I’m telling you. I got a goddamn brachialis vein. So it’s on the inside of my upper arm at the point where the bicep and tricep meet. If I can’t get a bicep vein this is the second best option I guess.

One last thing. The amino acid/creatine/hmb drink. It’s magic. I’m telling you. I function better, I can lift better, I get immense amounts of energy from it and I feel like megadosing creatine and HMB makes me harder and my muscles look fuller. Today I had the freakiest delts I’ve ever seen on myself, and I’m completely depleted of carbs! There’s definitely something to that thing as I didn’t experience this before.


I have no idea what that last thing is…


Killing it man! I’m enjoying these daily updates. I also am chasing the ever elusive Bicep vein. Not that I’m lean enough at the moment but one can dream!




HMB is a L-Leucine metabolite that is used to prevent muscle loss. (In bodybuilding as well as in medical circles for cancer patients etc.)

Nice to hear you like 'em!

The other day I was at the gym with a friend of mine who likes to be at a higher bodyfat and only lifts leisurely. The dude is around 25% bodyfat and has veins as thick as fingers on his biceps, goddamnit.

It’s a cruel world.

Thanks man.
I’ve always been a but self-conscious about my bench pressing as it has been a damn hard thing to progress on, I’m not proud of it yet, but I feel like I will be in a while


Daily log


Trained really late yesterday and thus had my last meal really late, so nothing surprising here

1470 Calories
220g Protein
80g Carbs
30g Fat

Really my macros are the same every day. When I diet I go tunnel vision and only eat what I’ve planned.
From what I know, intuitive eating or IIFYM would never work for me as I have such large appetite. With IIFYM the problem would be that I hate improvising with my diet. Even when I’m bulking I still eat according to a plan, not because I’m hardcore but because I like it. When I’m bulking I may eat something on top of my plan but the structure is always there.

Lower body; 45 minutes of time edition
Squat jumps paired with squat warm-ups
1 Squat
increase weight
A double
increase weight
A single
increase weight
A single
decrease weight
2 Squat holds
150,200% of top weight
3a Stiff legged rack pulls from mid shin w/fat grips
ditch fat grips, DOH with constant tension (so stopping half an inch from the pins)
3b Standing crunch on lat pulldown
4 Seated calf raise - 5s pause at stretch
5 Quad blast
1 round (see notes if you don’t know what this is)
quad stretch

Had 45 minutes for the whole workout, including general warmups, so I had to tweak it a bit. Ended up really good.

On squats you see I did two singles instead of one today. I also did a set of eight with the same weight I did for a double while going up. That’s what this is all about - I’m picking my spots. Going for it when I feel like it and dialing back when I don’t.

Did fat grips rack pulls again, I love them. I’ve started wearing shorts and that’s why I’m doing them stiff legged. (The extra hamstring activation is a nice bonus)

And yes, I did do a set of 30 with double overhand with the same weight I used for triples with fat grips. That’s a huge difference in difficulty. Used constant tension and got a nice pump from it as well.

Now for those of you who are not familiar with quad blasts, it’s another thing from Scott Abel. It consists of the following done with bodyweight:
25 Squats
12 Lunges/side
12 Jumping lunges/side
15 Jump squats
Keep your hand behind your head at all times

I’m thinking of doing these instead of cardio on leg days, in higher quantities of course. Only did one today as I was low on time.

Really happy with today’s performance, the DOH stiff leg deads surprised me, I thought I would get like fifteen without fat grips, but thirty, that’s crazy. The effect from removing fat grips was ridiculous as well, because the weight was rather light without them and the bar felt like a toothpick.

Tomorrow is a testing day for my mother, I’m not expecting anything as we only got seven sessions in this month, two of them this week. Yeah, she travels a lot.


Morning weight was 83.3kgs/184lbs and it’s a rest day (I was actually surprised it came down that fast) That means it’s time to carb load. This time I’ll be smarter about it and try to keep the fat even lower than last time to see what a purer carb load can do.

Starting strong, downed 250 grams of carbs on breakfast. (6g of fat, 35g of protein)


1500 calories!?

You must be starving!



I’m pretty hungry at the moment really, even though I had more calories for breakfast than I do on regular diet days. Lucky for me, it’s time for another meal. (I’m refeeding according to hunger but I have a minimum of 2.5 hours between meals)


Update on my mother - testing day

I was pleasantly surprised today with how we had progressed despite of the lack of training.

Gonna log this as simply as possible, so read like this:

A month ago > Today
Reps x weight

89.1kg>86.2kg (-2.9kg/6.5lbs)

Standing DB overhead press
Close-grip bench
Box squat
50xBW (no pause) > 20x40kg (with a pause)
Two arm kettlebell swing
1:34x20kg > 2:36x20kg


Her weight came down pretty well, hopefully we can keep it that way

The overhead press is the only thing I’m not pleased with. Last time she could’ve probably gotten 4-5 reps with the 10kgs but as I don’t know I can’t be sure.

Close grips went well, she got 2 reps and 2.5kgs more, so obviously her pressing strength has still gone up overall.

Deadlift went well too. We actually tried 70kg last time and she got 3, so essentially she doubled her reps with it.

The thing I’m happiest about is the box squat. She has never been able to squat with a barbell and now, in a single month we got her from bodyweight to squatting 40kgs for 20 continuous reps with a bar while pausing each rep. That’s crazy. The box was at the same height as before, so parallel.

On the swings we got an additional minute and some change, we’ll probably have to think of something else to replace this soon enough.

All in all, pretty good progress, and if we consider the miniscule amount of training we did, one could even call it great progress. Again, we do not peak or prepare for testing days, it’s just business as usual.


Daily log:


A new low, and it was under 84, so it was time to do a carb load. Next one will come once I drop another 1.5-2kgs, and at that point I’ll be pretty finished with this cut I think.

7389 Calories
318g Protein
1445g Carbs
30g Fat

It was so much easier to keep the fat down by doing this on a rest day. As I didn’t need to worry about my energy levels that much I only had stuff with under 2g of fat per 100 grams, and as you can see, the carb/fat ratio is pretty crazy.


Testing out refeeding and having a complete rest day simultaneously, it’s practically a 24 hour break from the diet.

One thing I did notice is that I do not sweat nearly as much with low fat refeeds, which is an indicator of less metabolic response. That’s simply due to the fact that low fat refeeds don’t really stimulate your metabolism that much. And at the moment I’m not trying to do that either. What I am trying to do is to fill my glycogen stores and see just what kind of reaction I can get - how long does it take to get depleted again, how much I can eat before spilling over and getting bloated, do I get a performance boost from it?

For most of you stuff like seeing what kind of a visual change you can get from a carb load is probably not all that interesting, and I get it. But I love bodybuilding and everything related to it. With stuff like this I can get an idea of what to do if I get on the stage one day.


That is insane progress! You both should be exceptionally proud by that result!

Damn you drop weight quick. And damn you have monstrous refeeds! There must be something in the water over there. Is everyone in Finland so laser focused and fucking awesome at working towards their goals?


CT suggest to refeed carbs slowly introducing a portion more every week until you get to the level you want.

i.e. you are at 100 and want to go to 300. Add 50 for a week then 50 more etc until you get to your number. The amounts may be totally wrong but the concept of not going from low carb loads to max carb loads overnight is what I’m trying to communicate.


Thanks man!

That’s my superpower :wink: luckily I have a good appetite so refeeding isn’t a problem for me

Heh, thanks man.
Pretty much yeah, the natural bodybuilding scene here is actually really strong, there are a lot of world class competitors and other knowledgeable guys sharing information on YouTube, blogs and magazines. And it’s not videos of just chest workouts with 23 different movements, it may be, for instance, how to load carbohydrates, when to load and what is the science behind it, I think it’s really cool

On paper that seems like a great idea, but as I am only having a handful of refeeds on this diet there isn’t too much room to progress. On a longer diet (think a contest prep diet taking like 8 months) I’d do that too. And in a sense I have, but it spans from diet to diet.

Another thing CT probably though of here is the fact that the leaner you are, the better your body utilizes carbs, so it’s smart to start small because that way when you get to the bigger load you are leaner and there is more of a need for them.

Thanks for the input though, this is something a lot of new guys should see, the general consensus seems to be that you should have a full on cheat feast every week despite your bodyfat %


Daily log:


Up 3 kgs from yesterday, surprisingly little I have to say. One thing I noted today was the need to take a leak every 30-60 minutes. You want to know why?
That’s because when you use up muscle glycogen the water binded with it releases. Because of yesterday’s carb load I was burning a lot of carbs (my body uses up carbs pretty well) and thus a lot of water was released.

The more you know.

1470 Calories
220g Protein
80g Carbs
30g Fat

Upper body (see notes for two PRs)

1a Clap push ups
1b Explosive sternum chins
2a Incline bench
increase weight
A double
increase weight
A single
*decrease weight
A double
2b Weighted pull ups w/fat grips
3a CG Board press
3b Smith machine rows
4a EZ-Bar curls w/fat grips
4b Standing cable skullcrusher
5a Rear laterals
5b Side delt burns
5c Lying cable upright rows


A great workout. Started off with an all-time personal best on the incline press. (112.5kgs, please don’t laugh at me) It felt really solid too.

Told ya I’d hit it once I get a spotter.

On board presses I went to new horizons, I tried just how much storage strength I had built in the last two months by going for a 10RM. I used a close grip and a minimal arch, as before. When I started with the movement I was using just hundred kgs for sets of six, and I build up to 112.5kgs for five sets of six.

So what could I do for 10RM while unpeaked?
125 kilos. I did 10x125kgs at 86.3kgs (well, technically 83.3 as that is my “real” weight at the moment)

Pretty stoked about that. For once I felt like I was actually strong with pressing. Guys like @MarkKO will still put me to shame though.

On curls I worked with the same weight for the fourth time in a row, but once again, I added a rep to each set. With biceps I have no hurry.

I was looking pretty dry and full today, but I feel like I could get a tad fuller. Of course there is always the risk of spilling over, but I’ve yet to find that point.


This would be a first for me. I’ve always been at best a mediocre bencher and presser. I intend to change that, sure, but I’m still in the early stages.

Oh, and at 86 kg there is no way in hell I’d hit 112.5 kg on incline.


That makes two of us, pressing is hard man. Yhe only press I would consider myself decent at is the overhead press, especially my incline is ridiculously low when compared to it. (105kgs vs 112.5kgs -now note that I hit that OHP like a year ago, couldn’t do it at this bodyweight)

Why doesn’t anyone ever ask how much you row?

Race to being told “careful dear, there is terribly much weight on that bar!” By an old woman?

Weird, I swear I’ve read about you doing some pretty neat sets on the incline. Maybe it’s the diet brain playing tricks on me


I think I did 8x80 kg at around 87-8 kg bodyweight late last year