T Nation

Serge Storms Experimentation Log - New Methods to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat


#1

Note to self: Just. Keep. Lifting.

Edit - Update - August 30

Weight - 192
Height - 5'11"
Age-40

Condition - Lean enough to fit into my skinny jeans
Goal - Just keep lifting, still.

Other goal - demonstrate the plausibility of a "continuous recomp" approach to making muscular gains in targeted areas while staying very lean and getting even leaner.

Training Strategy

Lift for about an hour, shooting for 7 days/week
Everything is auto-regulated with a focus on one or two muscles. Currently chest and back.
Work the priority muscles as frequently as recovery allows.
Most lifting is based on isolation movements.
Progression is dictated by auto-regulation, but opportunities for progression include:

Frequency
Volume
Rest periods
Movement sequencing
Technique improvements
Load
Quality of contraction
Music-muscle connection

Nutrition Strategy

Strive for continuous improvement with my food choices 90% of the time
Make sure I don't kill my progress with whatever I do with that other 10% of the time

Shoot for minimum protein intake of about 190 grams/day
Shoot for maximum fat intake of about 75 grams/day

Use carbs as the main adjustment to tweak things in the direction of fat loss or muscle gain, depending on how I look in the mirror.

If that doesn't work, adjust the lighting.


Thinking About Competing in Physique
#2

Specific physique-related goals/priorities:

  1. Zero in on the leanest condition I can comfortably hold long-term while still eating enough to support optimum performance, progress, and health.

  2. Keep building size in shoulders, arms, and upper back

If I’m compared to normal bodybuilding standards, I think my glaring weaknesses are lack of overall size and thickness, neck, chest, and lats. I don’t feel like wearing a helmet with a pole on it or strapping chains to my head is sustainable, so I’ll deal with the pencil-neck I was given. My wife HATES the look of a thick, barrel-like chest (front-to-back thickness), and I kind of agree. While my chest does seem to respond well to a high volume of work, I always end up with shoulder issues. As for lats, well, I’m happy to keep crushing new movements and building more mastery on the pull-up bar - I kind of just let my back take whatever form it will from the stuff I enjoy doing.

In summary, I try not to focus on defining my physique priorities based on bodybuilding standards. I want to look impressive in a t-shirt at first-glance and be lean as fuck all the time.

Current pics can be found in hub: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/hub/Serge%20A.%20Storms#photos


#3

Friday

1900 cals
187g C
181g P
41g F

Saturday AM Training

60 minutes
average HR 146
950 calories burned

Note to self #1: After four consecutive days of sub-200g carb intake, do NOT take two caps of powerful GDA supplement followed by 90 grams of pure dextrose.

Note to self #2: If you decide to ignore Note to self #1, at least mix it in a very large volume of water.

Holy Hypo. I got pretty light-headed and shaky in the beginning of my workout. I powered through, but really didn’t even get a good pump until the very end of the session. I should know better, but I was looking to get a sick rebound pump after having dried out a little bit. Not so much. The fluid mismanagement was also a rookie mistake. I was just too lazy to transfer everything to the big Nalgene bottle, so instead I mixed the whole 90g of carbs into a normal-size shaker bottle.

I hit that super-concentrated mix a bit too hard before starting to dilute it in serial fashion at the water fountain, and pretty much blew the whole strategy up. I was annoyingly thirsty as well - probably my body’s way of saying, “what the fuck is going on here” but oh well, lesson learned. In the end, I’m sure the carbs will serve me well, but the workout kind of sucked. Towards the very end of the session, things started falling into place and I could see some granular, fibrous striations emerging in the delts, so that was good.

Didn’t weigh-in first thing, but 190 immediately after this session.

I hit about 15 minutes of practice on the breakroping routine, back, chest, traps, bis, tris, and abs.


#4

So this is where you have been hiding.


#5

[quote]TRU76 wrote:
So this is where you have been hiding. [/quote]

Yep. Fucking paparazzi - they’re onto me, so I have to stick and move sometimes.


#6

Saturday

5500 calories
600 g carbs
225 g protein
130g fat

Sunday AM Training
75 minutes, 1,000 calories burned
traps, shoulders, arms, pull-ups, jump rope.
Hmm. I forgot to do abs today.

My body chemistry was probably pretty out-of-whack this morning after the, hang on…let me count…after the ten beers and five shots last night.

I had a serving of oatmeal, a hit of MAG-10, and a half-serving of almond butter before the session, just to pull some nutrients and water in. I ended up with a pretty decent pump, despite the hangover.

I’m taking this jump rope stuff to the next level. I had this crazy idea to try to moonwalk while jumping rope. When I first tried it, I deemed it to be impossible. But now it’s actually starting to come around and I think I’m figuring it out. Backwards is actually the hardest, but I already can do some pretty bad-ass forward and sideways moonwalking.

I’ve completely given up on caring about what people think about this break roping and breakdancing work I’ve been doing in the empty cardio room at the gym. The room is surrounded by glass and full of mirrors, so there’s pretty much nowhere to hide. I’m pretty sure someone is going to covertly pull out their phone and film me one of these days, and I’ll end up on Awkward Gym Moments. Hey, everyone is entitled to their five minutes of fame, right?

Looking forward to tomorrow’s workout already.

I might play around with a different schedule this week. Instead of hitting the gym first thing in the morning, I might try to get some work done from about 6-10, and then hit the gym during the first hour I have open on my calendar…something between 9 and 12 or so. This way, I can leverage my morning focus and energy to move some things forward at work, and then use my training session to break up the morning and slingshot into the afternoon feeling re-energized again.


#7

Sunday

2,000 calories
175g carbs
151g pro
60g fat

Averages for the Week

2,550 calories
250g carbs
185g protein
60g fat

Nails.

Two weeks to go in this prep.

No adjustments.

Well, actually, the intensity of my workouts (average HR) has been crazy high lately because of the rope jumping and floor work, so that adjustment alone will be about all I need, if anything, to sustain the shred.

Targets this week:
2500 calories
275g C
200g P
60g F


#8

Monday - 4pm workout

triceps, back, traps, shoulders, biceps, chest

1 hour - probably 600 calories burned.

I was a fucking machine on the pull-up bar today.

Not sure how many “sets”, but I did a lot of pull-ups. I’d say I got about 25 reps in my first set. Craziness.

I like the afternoon workouts - seems like having those carbs on board from the first few meals of the day makes it easier to get a pump. I also think maybe the natural adrenaline axis might be more favorable to pumps in the afternoon. Too bad the gym is full of fucking idiots, though.

11:30 workout tomorrow. MY TIME.

That’s a little something I say to myself when I walk in the gym sometimes…especially if I find myself stressed or prone to distraction. I just say “My Time” and remember to catch myself if my thoughts drift to anything but the music, the weights, the movement.


#9

Lean a’f…in


#10

When’s the trip?


#11

^A week from Friday, TRU.

Speaking of vacation, last year I made a half-assed attempt to get in awesome shape for vacation. I looked good, but honestly - after just one or two days of eating “normal people food” like fries and sandwiches, I felt and looked kind of soft and sloppy.

This year, I am much more firmly entrenched in the zone. I am not even worried about how I will approach my diet out there…it’s on lockdown autopilot and will continue to stay there.

“The chains of habit or too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” (Bertrand Russell)

I’ve been working on these eating habits for a while now, and just because I’m going on vacation doesn’t mean I have to let everything unravel. It’s not about looking good for one day, one week, or one part of the year. It’s about doing the important shit right, day after day after day.

Speaking of doing the important shit right:

Monday

2500 calories
293g C
217g P
61 g F
3500 mg sodium
82 g fiber

My weight is back up to 189 from 185. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m back home with full access to my staple foods and supplements. When I dropped those four pounds, I was on the road eating 3 or 4 moderate meals a day. I was also having a few drinks every night. If you have a few drinks but stay within your intake targets, it means you are missing out on quality protein or carbs. My sodium intake also drops during those kinds of trips…lots of my staples and supplements have sodium. It’s not any one particular item with a ton of sodium, but just small amounts that add up here and there.

If there is one “peaking” strategy for vacation, it’s hiding right there in the difference between a supplement-heavy day and a day “on the road”. Hit the staples and supplements hard for the next 10 days or so, and then leave it all at home for the vacation.

This way, I’ll be naturally “drying out” over the course of the vacation. I know some people feel like they look and feel better when they are “filling up” but I have not found this to be the case. I almost always feel best on the way down…as I taper my sodium, carbs, and calories. This is probably because my best features are overall leanness and detail, and not size.

Besides, traveling with funnels and bags of powders and washing out fucking plastic shaker bottles in the hotel sink is just stupid. I’ve done it enough to know. Have a bigger fucking steak for dinner and call it a day.

Training today was a bit on the light side, although I did get some quality work in on my delts and traps. And arms.

Oh, and abs.

I’m playing around with varying degrees of “overreaching” to see how different rep styles, body part splits, volumes, and frequencies work together to dictate the rate of progress.

For example, with abs…if I take two days off completely, my abs feel insanely strong. It’s nearly impossible to fatigue them. Does this mean I should only train abs every 3 days? Nope, because then that effect would be diminished.

So far, the best thing I’ve used to guide me is how I feel when I start doing something. If I feel awesome, then I’ll crush it. If I feel just pretty good, then I’ll keep pushing and sometimes I’ll cross over into a zone where it feels great. But if the weight feels heavy or my joints feel stiff, I’ll usually just bag it and work on that the next day.

This has allowed me to build up to a fairly insane amount of volume. As long as I feel great after backing off for just a day or two, I know I’m good.


#12

6:00 2 scoops Biotest BCAA
TRAIN
8:00 5 egg whites, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 slices of super-low cal bread
11-4 19 ml Barlean’s Omega Man Mocha Java Fish Oil, an orange, 1/2 c blueberries, 2 tbsp pistachios, 12 oz yellowfin tuna steak
4-6 1 apple, 1/2 orange, 8 oz ground turkey
6-8 the BOMB (1 Fage Non-fat greek yogurt, 2 splenda, 3 servings PB2, 1 serving Fiber One cereal), 1 Beck’s Light

1900 calories
145g carbs
204g protein
53g fat
2,000 mg sodium
40 g fiber

I could eat a huge bowl of cereal later and still hit my macros.

Or I could shut her down for the night. I feel like if I shut her down, I might have a better chance of freaking my wife out in the morning.

Maybe I’ll have a beer and think about it. Actually, for real though, a Beck’s Light is always a good option. It’s hard to have a taste for cereal after a skunky green bottled beer.


#13

Have another beer.


#14

Went with the honey nut cheerios.

Wednesday

2270 calories
280g c
182g pro
59g fat
2400 mg sodium
60g fiber

187.5 pounds

Training

Two sessions, 7AM and 5PM. Lifting, circuits, a little floor work, stretching, pull-ups, push-ups, chest, chest, chest - machine press, fly, smith machine press, db and cable cross-contractions

Eating schedule - 500 calorie limit before 11AM, 1000 limit between 11-4, and another 1200 left for 4-9ish.
I am flexible with timing on the carbs and protein, but generally try to keep fat intake to 12 g per meal or 24 g per window.
This has been working well. If I’m not hungry at night, which I haven’t been lately, I won’t force myself to eat my way to 2700 calories. If I feel flat or hungry, I can add some extra carbs and protein before bed.


#15

Cardio


#16

Averages for the week

300g C
200g P
60g F

Seems to be working pretty well. I thought I’d need to get down to 184 or so to be as lean as I wanted, but I think keeping my carbs a little higher has allowed me to get leaner without really deflating very much. I’m still in the 187-189 range right now.


#17

Well, I’m averaging about 2700ish calories and my weight is not really changing.

But I swear, I’m still getting leaner…gradually. I’m pretty sure I would need to drop down to 2500 if I want to take the leanness to the next level, but I’m not sure I need to do that.

I feel like 2700 is sustainable. In fact, I think if instead of focusing on daily calories, I just focus on eliminating those occasional days where I completely blow my diet, I can still manage to eek out some gradual leaning out without crossing into the deprivation zone.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my progress over the past few months. If nothing else, I’ve managed to learn more about structuring my eating to optimize ease and compliance, which will serve me well in the long run.


#18

Average macros this week:

Fat 60g
Carb 265g
Pro 190g

Been doing the same shit in the gym almost every day. I’ve had a slight lower-body tweak, so no jump-rope or leg work. That means I’ve had to modulate the upper body stuff so I can still get an hour of work done every day without burning out.

These are some of the core moves - but the art is in the way I use different contraction styles. What started out as a drop-and-catch rep has evolved into what I can best describe as poppin’ (b-boy term) with dumbbells. Twitch reps. You get the benefits of constant tension without the physical or mental fatigue. I really feel like if there is a type of contraction that makes a QUALITATIVE difference in the way a muscle looks and feels, it’s these twich reps.

lateral raises
front raises
cross-body raises (d-roy)

curls
overhead tricep extensions
DB kickbacks (fuck you, I’ll come over there right fucking now and do them in your squat rack)
DB overhead press
rear delt fly
pull-ups
push-ups
squats
pistol squats
leg extension
leg curl
low cable leg curl

crunches on the ab-rocker machine
cable crunches
reverse cable crunch

machine press
machine fly

I’m probably forgetting some shit, but yeah, sometimes I’ll do all of the above in one session. Sometimes I’ll stick with one movement for the duration of an entire song. It all depends on how I feel. Which depends on how I feel.


#19

Ready for this


#20

Thursday

2230 calories
280g C
135g P
45g F

Had about 4 servings of MAG-10 today.

Not sure, but it might be true that a high-quality, efficiently-utilized protein source allows you to reduce your overall protein intake.

If you re-allocate those calories to CARBS, then you keep the muscles full and happy.

If you keep the muscles full and happy, but then you constantly wring them out like little sponges with high-frequency, high-tension stimulation, then the happy muscles grow.

MAG-10. Makes your muscles happy.