I have been lurking here at T-Nation for about seven years now. During this period of time I went from 160 lbs. at 6’2" to 205 lbs., and then back down to an Auschwitz-like 150 and am now hovering around 165. At this point I am looking to bulk up again and looking for help.
Back when I did pack the meat on, I was weight training about 5-6 times a week using high volume, and eating more or less on John Berardi’s suggestions here. I ate every two to three hours, went to school, had 20-hour-a-week (i did full-time during the summers) job where the microwave was right by the warehouse desk, and could spend an hour in the gym easily.
Now things are a little different: I work about 60 (sometimes more) hours a week, there’s one quarter-sized refrigerator on the whole floor, I’ve got an issue with bulging discs in the lumbar and c-spines. On the other hand I do have access to a 24-hour-gym.
So, in my estimation, here are my issues:
Time. I don’t have time to spend 10 hours a week exercising twice a day–I do have 24 hour gyms within about three blocks from home, though. I don’t want to hear the “you have to make time” crap, because I “make time” as much as possible with my current job situation, otherwise I’d be a loony tune by now. The only way to make more time is a meth addiction. So that leads to problem two:
An effective and consistent training program. I’ve looked at and used the “Busy Schedule Big Muscles” but don’t like it–I would rather stick to core exercises. The problem being that it’s really hard to get all the core exercises done with adequate volume for the week in one or two sessions–I’ve been struggling with that for about a year now and haven’t found a balance.
Should I go for a high-volume upper-body day, and a high-volume lower-body day? HIT? Should I go for a lot of shorter sessions? What works in these circumstances? Right now I am getting in once or twice a week to to some lactic-acid style training just to keep my health up.
- “Falling Off the Wagon.” It really just takes two back-to-back intense weeks at work and I’m back to square one it feels like.
On the other hand, these aren’t issues:
Diet. I’ve got a plan. I eat clean but can still sneak in a couple “better bad” meals a week, but getting consistent high calories can be rough. My current thinking is to shoot for three or four solid meals and a lot of nuts/trail mix, with two or three high-quality prepackaged MRPs a day. I was doing this for a while but fell off the wagon.
Injuries. Having thoroughly de-trained almost all my tendonitis has disappeared, and by keeping a clean diet, and having learned to respect my spine and joints, and getting regular massage and accupuncture, I’ve been helped tremendously. The only real issue I have is that I front squat rather than back squat b/c of my neck.
Anyway, anyone with any help or encouragement is greatly appreciated!