For the past five weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a new workout plans and diet that was intended to pack on some muscle. I weighed in today at 169.2 lbs, a gain of about 7 pounds (I’m not posting a picture, cause I gained a bit more fat than I care to show :).
I used a 3 day per week training schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and I alternated between training lower body and upper body each session. I kept the rep range between 6 – 12 for most exercises. And I used supersets quite often, especially for the upper body training. Oh, I also used single joint movements including biceps curls and triceps extensions.
I based many of my workouts off of Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secret’s Manual… Although I put a bit of my own twist on it…
Below are two days of my actual workouts:
Wednesday August 19, 11:49am – 12:18pm
Bench Press: 135lb x 8, 165lb x 8, 175lb x 6, 170lb x 4, 155lb x 6.
Superset Strict Pull Ups, Dumbbell Shoulder Press, and Body Rows with heels elevated.
Pull Ups: 11, 5, 4.
Shoulder Press: 40lb x 10, 40lb x 7, 40lb x 6.
Body Row: 4, 3, 3.
Superset 75lb Cheat Curl with Close Hand Push Ups.
Curls: 6, 6, 4.
Push Ups: 7, 5, 7.
Friday August 21, 4:17pm – 4:34pm
Squat: 135lb x 10, 135lb x 10, 165lb x 10, 165lb x 8.
Single Leg Deadlift: 135lb x 3, 135lb x 3.
Sit Up Stand Up w 20lb medicine ball: 10 reps.
Hanging L-sit hold: max effort, but not timed.
My diet was pretty regimented when I started this little experiment. But after actually LOSING weight the first two weeks, I threw the rules out the window and started eating as much as I could. And I ate everything! Cheeseburgers, pizza, french fries – you name it I ate it.
Oh and beer. . . there was definitely more beer than usual. Once I started following the advice I usually give to hard gainers, “eat like it’s your job”, my weight started going up – But so did my body fat percentage.
So did I actually pack on some muscle?
Well, not much. I’ve had a few comments that my arms look bigger and my shirts do fit tighter across the chest. But as far as any major changes in muscle gains, it just didn’t happen… But in 5 weeks, I really wasn’t expecting a ton of progress.
So where was the flaw?
There is no doubt in my mind that the missing link was diet. Even with my see-food diet (if you see food, eat it), I still wasn’t getting enough calories. Certainly not “good” calories. I’m a fan of prepping and planning meals ahead of time for the week. I only did this once during the five-week experiment and it took me nearly 4 hours to get everything ready – about twice as long as it usually takes me to prep meals for the week. And for me to get a solid 4-hour block of time each week is just no going to happen with my hectic schedule.
If I had to do it over again, I’d consume more dairy as my body tolerates it well. I was consuming a pint of chocolate milk after each training session, but that’s the only time I was drinking any milk. I’d also eat a lot more nuts between meals. When I did eat some almonds or walnuts, I didn’t limit the amount I had. But I didn’t exactly push myself to eat a lot of them either.
So What Did I Take Away From This Muscle Building Experiment?
Dieting for fat loss might be more difficult from a mental aspect, but eating for muscle gain is definitely harder from a logistical standpoint.
I missed the high impact movements like burpees, box jumps, and skipping rope.
Cheat curls were my favorite single joint movement. And I might actually still do them from time to time.
My training sessions did not take that much longer – most were about 20 – 30 minutes long.
My cardiovascular conditioning suffered, as I found out in my return to high-intensity training today.
I think If I continued this for 12 weeks with a better diet, I would have seen some solid results. I certainly would have put on a few more lbs of muscle, then I could have started leaning out with more circuit training after the 12 weeks.
If you’re skinny, and looking to put on some size I definitely recommend Jay’s manual Muscle Gaining Secrets… It works, just make sure you eat, eat, eat!
Let me know if you have any questions about the plan I did by leaving me a comment below…