Skinny Bastard No More

Where to Start,

I wanted to start a blog in the Over 35 section because of all the positive feeback from some of the long-time members (DZ, soldog, skidmark, Burnesy, bunny, j_willy, KNB, and others). This really seems like the place to get good advice and honest input on training/nutrition/improvement.

– 37 years old
– Weight training for the last four years
– 6’8" tall
– 216 lb (as high as 245lb, 18% BF)
– 10-12% BF (estimate, going for caliper test on 05/28/08)
– Bodybuilding type training for the first three-years, then I did a basic 5X5 compound lift program for six months, Waterbury training last year-and-a-half.
– Until about a year ago, I tried to combine basketball (2-3X a week) and weight training. I got stronger but not much bigger
– Fast Metabolism, I can drop weight very easily and have a hard time putting on muscle.

Current Program:
– I just started (05/26/08) DeFranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards (WS4SB).
– I will be following DeFranco’s template in order to increase my overall strength, size, and efficiency.
– I will be throwing in some strongman type stuff for conditioning (tire flips, sledge work, farmers walks, prowler, sled work, slosh pipe, barrell throws, etc.)

Short-Term Goal
– I will be competing in a powerlifting competition here in Wisconsin in November 2008.
– I will be lifting raw in order to truly assess strength gains.
– My goal is to get three complete and qualifying lifts at whatever weight possible.
– I would like to increase size/strength/efficiency without drastically increasing bodyfat (stay under 18%) or harming health (fitness level, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc).

PR’s on Major Lifts (these will be my benchmarks)
– Bench Press - 270lb (March 2008)
– Squat - 315lb (October 2007)
– Deadlift - 355lb (September 2007)
– Chin-up - 240lb bodyweight plus 45lb plate (March 2008)

Bloodwork (May 2008)
– Blood Pressure - 102/56
– Resting Pulse - 52
– Cholesterol - 130
– Triglyceride - 29
– LDL - 75
– HDL - 49
– Total Test. - 543
– Globulin - 28.1
– Free Test. - 12.69
– Bioavailable Test. - 298

– No serious injuries other than sore shoulders and back. The normal stuff that everyone struggles with.
– My height (6’8") does make certain lifts a little more challenging.

Tape Measurements - Provide tomorrow…

– I’ve been eating based on Berardi’s Precision Nutrition guidelines for about a year.
– I track all of my eating on a FitDay account (calories and macros).
– I was eating approximately 3,250 calories in order to drop some bodyfat.
– I increased my calories to 3,750 and will be increasing my intake by 250 calories every two weeks. I will keep increasing calories and tracking weight gain and BF%.

– Fish Oil (3X a day)
– Creatine (10mg a day)
– BCAA (peri-workout - 18 Biotest BCAA tabs, non-workout days - 3 tabs 3X a day)
– Green Tea (2 12ounce cups a day)
– Post Workout Drink (Whey Protein, dextrose/malto-dex. mix, 600 calories, 72 grams protein, 90 grams carbs)

I will be updating this log each day with my training/weight/nutrition/mood/supplement/? information. I will try and include pictures or even videos when possible. My wife will also be training with me so you may get lucky and see her in some of the videos (she is much easier on the eyes). I am really interested in everyone’s input on where you think I could improve or modify the program. As hard as it is, I am including my beginning pictures.

I am looking forward to the journey

Here is a side shot from 05/27/08

Here is the back shot. The lines on my back are from just getting out of bed.

No group of photos is complete without the leg shot. As you can see, my legs are my weakest bodypart. I’ve been working them two to three times a week (Waterbury style), but they just grow very little. I really think there may be a 20-squat program in my future (Burnesy).

Mday, I will follow your log with great intrest. Just one piece of advice from me. NEVER take advice from me!!

Hell I need to be taking it from you!!!


The main reason I decided to put a blog together was to get input from other readers. I have seen how others have benefited from everyone’s comments.

This powerlifting meet is going to be a real change of pace for me, so I am looking for whatever help I can get.

Plus, a good kick in the ass from everyone now and then can’t hurt…

Your reasoning is quite sound. This is a great place for ideas and to be held accountable. It will be fun to follow your journey.

Here is a summary of my workout from yesterday (05/26/08)

Workout #1 - Max. Effort Upper Body (WS4SB)
A. Flat BB Bench Press (weight/reps)
45/12, 95/8, 135/5, 155/3, 185/3, 205/3, 215/3, 225/3
Comments: I really tried to keep the elbows in and move the weight as fast as possible without bouncing. The 225 felt good but it was my max effort for sure. 230 next week

B. Incline (45 Degrees) DB Bench Press
55/20, 60/12, 60/12
Comments: My shoulder was bothering me on the sets with 60lb. I tried to keep the rest periods fairly short for all lifts (90-180 seconds). I will try and get 15 or more reps with the 60lb next week.

C1/C2. DB Rows/Facepulls Supersets
(80/12,120/10), (80/10,110/10), (80/10,110/10)
Comments: My form was a little weak on these lifts. The superset makes these two lifts very difficult. I backed off the weight/reps and focused on the muscle contraction. I will try and increase weight 2.5% next week.

D. DB Shrugs
100/8, 80/10, 80/12
Comments: The 100s were way too high to complete with good form. I went down to 80 and concentrated on pulling my shoulders to my ears. Go up to 85lb next week

E. Incline (60 degree) DB Curls
35/11, 35/8, 35/6
Comments: I was completely toast by this point in the workout. I focused on full-range of motion and keeping my elbows in. I failed on the last set (wanted to get at least 8 reps) but it was still a good weight. Stay with 35 next week and get more reps.

Overall, my first workout went fairly well. This is more volume than I am used to and it is different than most of Waterbury’s full-body stuff. It was rather strange to not have some type of lower body exercise to work on.

I took my BCAA throughout the workout and kept drinking water. My energy level was good I just felt much more specific muscle fatigue during the workout.

The really good news is that my wife did the entire workout with me and really enjoyed herself. At 5’2" and 120lb she is able to easily flat bench 115lb for three reps. It looks like I will keep my spotter for at least a few more workouts. We will see what she thinks after our max. effort lower body day (box squats).

No cardio today!!!

3,703 calories (135g fat/341g carbs/312g protein)
Comments: I was right on with the calories and protein but a little high with the carbs. I can get away with a little extra carb intake as long as it isn’t the really bad stuff (sugar, refined)

I got over 8 hours Sunday into Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.

My mood was great!! A new routine always seems to get the mood elevated and the desire back up. Going on a “growth” phase helps also.

Welcome mday! You’ve made a great start and put down some well thought out plans. Just one thing - I’m not really a long time member and I’m truely a rank begineer at this weight training. LOL

But anyway we all have fun with it!

We had to get in an early morning workout this morning. That meant getting up at 4:00 AM to be at the gym by 5:00 AM. Early morning workouts are the norm for me. Despite the early time, I was really energized for Day two of the WS4SB routine. So here goes…

Workout #2 Dynamic Effort Lower Body
A. Box Jumps (32 inch box platform
0/2, 0/2, 0/2, 0/2, 0/2, 0/2, 0/2, 0/2
Comments: These were easier than I thought. Since our gym does not have any higher plaftorms, I will have to go with some weight (DB) or try another variant of this exercise.

B. Weighted Bulgarian Split Squats (front leg elevated)
45/8 (each leg), 45/10, 50/8
Comments: These are a killer!! The elevated front leg really gives you a much longer range of motion and my legs were burning. Keeping my balance for all the reps was difficult. Next week, stay at 50 but increase the reps.

C. Rack Pulls (bar a few inches below knee height)
225/8, 225/8, 245/10
Comments: I’ve really been working on my form with any type of deadlift work. I have to remember to keep the back/abs tight and chest up. I started light in order to get the feel for the lift. I will need to pull heavier weight if I want to improve in this area. Next week go 265 to 275 for eight reps.

D1. Hanging Leg Raises
10/10, 5/12, 5/11, 5/12
D2 Weighted Rope Crunches
220/10, 200/12, 210/12, 210/12
Comments: I had a good weight on these lifts. I performed the leg raises hanging from a squat rack (not sure if this is as bad as doing curls in a squat rack?). This makes the lift much more difficult for me and forces me to concentrate on pulling with my abs. I went down from my start weight on the rope crunches in order to keep good form. This is fine as long as you don’t bang your head at the bottom due to the lighter weight (d’oh…). Next week I will need to squeeze out a few more reps (15 on each set) and try and not hit my head.

This workout was a nice change of pace from yesterdays high volume stuff. Being a basketball player, I liked the box jumps but the split squats were tough. With very little turn-around time from yesterday afternoon’s workout, I really needed the BCAA (peri-workout) and a lot of water. We still kept the rest intervals fairly short (60-180 seconds).

No cardio again this morning

I only got about six hours of sleep due to the early workout time. I will try and catch up a little tonight.

My mood is good. I get to eat more and the new lifts add some variety to the workouts. I was very happy to have rack pulls back in the cycle. My wife also enjoyed the workout, although she was not thrilled with the box jumps.

I will update everyone tomorrow on the day’s nutrition (eating every two hours), supplements, and recovery methods. I should have measurements and BF% tomorrow. I may even have to do a little cardio tomorrow morning…

Keep it up. Looks like you have a good base to start from and a lot of potential for developing a high degree of absolute strength. WS4SB is a great program.

Food is your friend.

Welcome and I admire your determination. You’ve got some long levers to work with. Those weights are going to have to travel a long way. Wide squat stance? Conventional deadlift? Haven’t seen your whole work out yet but I’ll assume you’re hitting the shoulders and tris hard as well. Always fun to watch/read someones run up to a competition.

Thank you to everyone for your input.

05/28/08 - Rest/Recovery Day (another early morning workout)

Weight: 218 (headed in the right direction)

Bodyfat Measurement: 14.4%
I got my bodyfat measured by a trainer at our gym. The number was a little higher than I expected, but as long as I keep it under 16% I will be comfortable. I am planning on measuring every two weeks and adjusting my calories based on weight/bodyfat/strength gains

Upper Arms…15.5

Mostly recovery stuff today in order to get the blood flowing and work on my technique. I am really trying to keep my shoulders in good shape due to the heavy pressing and make sure that I am sitting back on my squats without allowing my knees to collapse in. These are the two biggest weaknesses I have and my recovery stuff will focus on improving in these areas.

A. Back Extensions
25x12, 25x12
B. Overhead Squats (with broomstick)
0/15, 0/15
C. BW Squats (focus on sitting back/balance)
0/15, 0/15
D. Shoulder Presses with elastic band (medium band)
0/15, 0/15
E. Cable Shoulder Cross-overs
40/12, 40/10
F. Scapula Push Ups
0/12, 0/15
G. Shoulder Dislocations (with broomstick)
0/12, 0/12

20-minutes of treadmill work at 65% max. heart rate

Nutrition: (total for yesterday)
3,763 calories (141g F(33%),284g C(28%),370g P(41%))

Supplements: (total for yesterday)
Post workout drink, fish oil, creatine, BCAA
I am thinking of adding a ZMA supplement?

Got to bed early last night, so I got my 8 hours

I am a little sore today but it is the good kind of pain, so my mood is good. The day off tomorrow will be nice. I was happy to see the number on the scale go up a little today. I know that getting stronger means getting bigger. I am excited about the weekend and my upper body repetition and max effort lower body workouts. We may even do a little bit of strongman stuff on Sunday! I may even try to get some video.


Looking good there M. It will be cool to see what the weekend shows for you. You have a very measured and well thought out approach. I need to take some lessons from you!!

I look forward to following your progress, Mday. Looks like a good program!


Welcome mate. Look forward to following your progress.

I’ll be doubly interested as I to am planning on entering a powerlifting meet in November, I’ll also be competing “raw” as a first timer.

You look like you have a bit of a base to work with just hang in there as any size/weight gains are not going to stand out as much as they would on a short guy. Keep up the cals, focus on increasing your lifts and the weight and size will follow.


Log for 05/29/08

Thanks for the support Burnesy and Geech. I’ve followed both of your logs and appreciate having both of you comment on my progress.

As most have mentioned, adding any size to my frame is not going to stand out much. I just try to focus on continuing to get stronger. Eating right, lifting heavy, and getting rest will result in more size eventually. For me, the eating is the most important thing.

I will get in a little bit of soft tissue work (foam roller) and some static stretching, but today is a rest day to get ready for Friday (repetition upper body), Saturday (max. effort lower body) and a little bit of GPP work on Sunday.

Weight: 219lb (another pound)

Nutrition: (yesterday)
3,850 calories 128g F(30%) 309g C(30%) 390g P(40%)

Supplements: Post workout drink, creatine, BCAA, fish oil, green tea

Sleep: Got another 8 hours last night!

Mood: A little tired yesterday and the legs are a little sore from the bulgarian split squats, but I feel good overall. I really think the added calories, decreased cardio, and four weight training sessions a week are good for my growth. I have a tendency to fall into the “more is better” category when it comes to working out. For someone as lean as me, this can make it very hard to put on any size.

I would be interested in hearing everyone’s feelings on an issue I struggle with. How does everyone deal with the need to see immediate results? For me, gaining a clean pound or two a month is an achievement. It gets really frustrating to have to put in 30 days of hard work in the gym and at the dinner table only to see a one pound gain. How does everyone else handle this?

I hope everyone is getting ready for a great weekend! Sunny and 80 here Saturday and Sunday.


[quote]mday wrote:
I would be interested in hearing everyone’s feelings on an issue I struggle with. How does everyone deal with the need to see immediate results? For me, gaining a clean pound or two a month is an achievement. It gets really frustrating to have to put in 30 days of hard work in the gym and at the dinner table only to see a one pound gain. How does everyone else handle this?

I hope everyone is getting ready for a great weekend! Sunny and 80 here Saturday and Sunday.


Well for me the results I’ve been looking for are weight loss and strength gain. Somewhat contradictory but as a new lifter both are possible. On the weight loss side, I’m helped by the fact that weight fluctuates so greatly so one has to be patient and not stress over individual bumps. On the strength side, I try to bump the weight or reps each week to continue progressing and challenging myself. I’m a bit tentative with the weights because of my inexperience and previous injuries, so working the incremental steps helps.

As far as the weight gain, are you getting stronger? Maybe just changing your focus will help.

What soldog says for me as well.

Personally I just look in the mirror, jump on the scale, review my workout log and fuss, bitch and cuss a bit.

My weight is a battle, but I kind of like the new approach I take. My weights are a battle because I dont have a real specific goal in mind like most of the folks here.

So it’s fuss, bitch, cuss, and reflect. Repeat cycle.

I think for me, in order to not get too frustrated, I need to have a specific goal in mind. This new routine (WS4SB) and the meet in November really help me keep on task and feel more motivated. I need to not worry so much about the scale and the mirror and just concentrate on eating bigger and increasing the weight.

For skinny guys like me, it is always easier to go on a cutting phase because our bodies are made to be lean and the weight usually comes off fairly easily. Plus, I’ve never really eaten big, so a restricted intake is really not an issue. I do realize how fortunate I am in this respect.

Like everyone else, I don’t like getting out of my “comfort zone”. I think this is the main reason I am trying a PL meet. Tall, skinny, and long levers does not set up well for big PL numbers. We shall see…