Today I started mission two: Bigger and Stronger!
Here are my stats as of this morning, October 20th 2008:
- Height: 168.5 cm (5ft 6in)
- Total mass: 66.2 kg (145.6 lb)
- Bodyfat percentage: 8.7%
- Fat mass: 5.7 kg (12.6 lb)
- Lean mass: 60.5 kg (133.0 lb)
As you can see, I have gained back about 0.9 kg of fat mass over the past two weeks (and gained 0.7 kg of lean mass) after I completed Metabolic Surge‘s Shredding phase and switched to the Strength and Recovery Phase. That is okay as aside from the strength training workouts, I have returned to a relatively normal eating plan (including eating foods like cake and cookies which I avoided during MS) and layed off on cardio (except for the two sessions over the past four days) in order to let my body recover and “reset” itself. As Tom Venuto says, one trains to reach a “peak”, but the peak by definition is followed by a trough, as peak condition cannot be maintained. The dedicated physique athlete then works on getting to a higher peak on the next cycle. That is my aim!
If I add at least 0.25 kg (0.5 lb) of quality muscle per week for twelve weeks while getting my fat mass to equal to or lower than at my previous “peak”, then my body composition would look like this:
- Height: 168.5 cm (5ft 6in)
- Total mass: 68.3 kg (150.3 lb)
- Bodyfat percentage: 7.0%
- Fat mass: 4.8 kg (10.6 lb)
- Lean mass: 63.5 kg (139.7 lb)
This would get me to a new peak.
So now I’m buckling down and moving toward this new goal. My plan looks like this:
Nutrition: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle plan, between 100 to 110% of maintenance level calories
Resistance Training: StrongLifts 5X5 Beginner program, 3 times a week, plus Flatten Your Abs core training
Cardio: 1 to 2 times a week on rest days (HIIT or steady state) if needed to control bodyfat levels.
For those who are not familiar with it yet (I’m still learning too!), the Stronglifts 5X5 training plan calls for whole body workouts three times a week, focusing on increasing the resistance on the compound exercises such as squats, bench press, deadlifts, overhead press, power clean, and pullups/chinups. The goal is to increase the resistance by 2.5 kg on each exercise, each workout, using a 5 sets X 5 reps protocol. The author recommends starting with an empty olympic bar (20 kg) on all the bar exercises with the exception of deadlifts (40 kg) in order to learn proper form.
So that’s exactly what I did today. On the training plan were squats, bench presses, power cleans, and pushups. I went to the gym, swallowed my ego, and did my workout with the empty bar! Surrounded by big guys, it felt a bit unnerving. However, I knew that if I don’t miss a workout and don’t stall, then there would be an increase of 30 kg of resistance every four weeks. In twelve weeks, I can be squatting 110 kg for 5X5 with proper form (hips below parallel), which would be more than what I can do now for 1X5 using crappy form. I did find that I could focus on proper form and balance the loading on my muscles when working with the empty bar, so that’s good.
Eat clean, train hard, and expect success!