Come So Far, Not Stopping

So, stick to your original 12 week plan, then lean bulk with all that strength. Whats your gym/ diet lean bulking plan look like?

Weighed in at 169.2lb this morning, another ~half pound down.

To be fair, the 12 week plan wasn’t originally a 12 week plan. It was 4 weeks whilst I was doing lots of 20-30 rep stuff after my layoff recovering from injury, and gaining some strength and consistency back. Then it turned into longer because I was happy at how easily the strength was still coming back.

Halfway through the 8 weeks, I started coming across a lot of “12-week transformation” content. With me not struggling to keep my calories in a deficit I thought I may as well extend it. Now though, I am feeling so small, never planned to go below 170lbs. I know in the long run it gives me a lot of space for bulking but fear I may look too small in tshirts and I risk getting too hooked on keeping the 6-pack (which is very almost there) or something.

A pretty standard upper lower with exercises I enjoy. Diet I haven’t worked out yet but it’s gonna be super simple to do. The best thing about tracking meticulously for so long is it makes it easy to make adjustments. Post workout I’ve just been having a 100cal shake and 50cals of a basic carb. If I replace that with a ~600calorie meal and then add milk back into my evening shake, BOOM… 200-300cal surplus.

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For some reason felt chubby today, maybe that’s a sign to continue. Managed to gain reps on everything today. Maybe it’s a little psychological trick making this whole thing easier. If I was getting weaker like in a typical cut, I’d probably be jumping back out of it already. Adding reps and weights each week make me barely even feel like I’m losing weight.

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It would appear I’m somehow useless with straps now. On my RDL sets today, they were slipping at the end. Hasn’t happened even slightly during my entire journey back to full fitness. Not sure why it’s happening. I felt like I had more in me on all my sets. I added 7.5kg and only lost 3 reps from the lighter weight last week so I don’t why I’m so annoyed about it. That’s still progression at the end of 9 weeks into a cut - I hate feeling like I should have done more though, I was weary of adding another set due to the lack of calories. GET OUT OF MY HEAD MISSED REPS THAT I PROBABLY DIDNT EVEN NEED ANYWAY.

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Still dieting. Hit 150kg x 12 on the TBDL today (got 145kg x 12 last week) so my strength is still increasing despite entering my 10th week.

Ezbar curls, leg curls, facepulls went up also. Lat pulldowns have frozen but I feel like I know why. Where I got a minor injury under my armpit a while back, I get really afraid at the end range of motion. I feel little twinges/bits of pain meaning I then do things like cut the range of motion slightly to manage to reach the rep amount I have in my head. Because of this, I’m very cautious of other vertical pulls so am lat pulldowning twice a week which also doesn’t help - especially when I can’t vary the rep range much.

I want to get myself doing chinups again because I was getting really good at them. I’m so fearful of reinjury though my vertical pulling sucks.

EDIT: Also thanks to the people who are still following my log despite my long absence. I will try to catch up on everyones when I’ve got the time and am properly logging again. Lifes a bit hectic atm.

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Still here dude and happy that you are back here a little more.

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Appreciate it @rugby_lifting , hopefully I’ll be as active as I was before soon.

Almost at 11 weeks of the cut. Hunger starting to rise a bit but I think that’s in anticipation for switching back to a bulk rather than my body actually making me hungry.

Forever I’ve been doing two vertical pulls, two horizontal pulls a week. My back has always recieved the most compliments and I always felt wicked being able to do quite heavy weighted chin-ups. This little under the armpit injury is plaguing me though and affecting my back workouts. I’m tempted to switch to all horizontal for the time being (or maybe 3 horizontal, 1 vertical pull as more of a rehab/slow/mind muscle connection thing.

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Scale hit 168.4 a couple of days ago. Back up to 170lb today and I actually feel fatter. I haven’t strayed from my calorie deficit and I’ve actually added 30-45mins of walking several days the past week or two. Having these experiences really allow me to see why so many people who haven’t been given the right information can really struggle with weight loss.

If I wasn’t the kind of guy that posts on internet forums and over researches stuff, an emotional attachment to the scale would have killed this cut 10x over. I have managed to avoid these reactions that most will go through…

“Scale gone up” - Weight loss not working
“Scale not moved” - Must eat even less putting me at an unsustainable amount of calories and making my life hell"
::had something salty last night:: - Where has that 2lbs of fat come from!?
“Shoulder press went down today” - Losing muscle, need to bulk again!

And of course not overelying on cardio (well, at all really).

But I know I will see 167lb soon without changing anything. Maybe in the next few days. Feeling a bit fluffier the past couple of days is nothing but inflammation and water retention. I haven’t been getting enough fiber in, my digestion is off, a little bit of reflux, a little bit of constipation etc. Today I have been pissing like a racehorse already so perhaps the magic is already happening.

EDIT: After a short morning walk, came back, took another piss and was 168.2. Scale be acting crazy!

Feeling a bit beat up at the moment. In 2 days I will have hit 11 weeks in the cut. Am considering doing a deload for my last cutting week and then going straight into maintainance/bulk (will build up over the first few days). Never done a deload in a cut though so anyone with any information/experience? Would be great to hear some input. From my knowledge I think this could be a pretty good idea.

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And there it is. A long time since i’ve seen the number 167 on the scale. 167.8lb this morning.

Sorry to bore you all with my plans to come out of this cut again. I’ve felt knackered the last couple of days, falling asleep early and still feeling bleugh in the mornings. I am taking a deload @ 60% of weights used with either same reps or a few less. All this whilst doing my last week of the cut making it 12 weeks. I don’t think anything drastic is going to happen with just 6-9 days training light even in a cut. Back up to around maintainance then and either continue there to see how performance keeps returning (I believe I can still continue to lean out at maintainance), or enter a slight surplus.

The way I see it is I can bulk and cut between 165-175ish getting leaner each time with shorter more aggressive cuts, or I can continue to drag out this slower cut trying to milk out more recomp. My body right now despite the diet itself being easy, it feels ready to be anabolic and there is no better feeling and progression that you get when you start feeding your body again after several months of a deficit.

EDIT: I didn’t eat or drink anything until around 11am. I saw 167.0lb on the scale!

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Quick update, not been on-site much at all!

Had a few weeks of maintainance, back into a small calorie surplus now. Lots of strength I had a couple years ago is back, all whilst being 35-40lbs lighter! Injuries feeling a lot better. I’ve actually had more niggles along the way but I have gotten so good at managing this stuff that even a fresh little strain doesn’t impact my training at all - and if it does it’s minimal. Not all that long ago every time I got a minor injury felt like the world crumbling down around me. Now I don’t even stress over it. Long-term this difficult period has made me a better trainee, whilst simultaneously improving my attitude to health and my body in so many ways.

Squatting on my 100% torn adductor again with weights climbing quickly with more comfortable form than I’ve ever had. RDL’d 130kg x 10 for a couple of sets a few days ago with no pain in my lat whatsoever. Still have a twinge under my armpit that effects my vertical pulling right now, but feeling a much better mind-muscle connection with the lighter weights.

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Just a little bit of theory/journalling in my head I wanted to type out for myself to refer back to. It doesn’t matter if nobody reads this.

I’m not so meticulous with my programming as I used to be, trying to maximize everything. I feel like a lot of that’s just not relevant for the 90%. I’d often have things in my head like “6 sets of chest and 6 sets of shoulders each upper session otherwise I’m leaving too many gains on the table” always in such a rush to improve. All because the top coaches say things like 5-7 hard sets per muscle group per workout. When you look at their actual programming though, it’s rare they follow their own apparent rules in many cases. You’ve only got to look at a generic non-specific “intermediate” routine.

Push volume for an Upper 1 might be
Bench 3 x 5-8
Dumbell Shoulder Press 3 x 8-12

And Upper 2 might look like
BB Shoulder Press 3 x 5-8
Dumbell Bench 3 x 8-12

Well that’s just 6 sets each. The average dude who’s done his research will say “That’s not enough!”. Some programs might not have two shoulder press and instead opt for an incline press in one of the slots as a “2 in 1”. So now we’d count out 9 chest sets and 6 shoulder sets, even though an incline press decreases some part of the chest involvement, as well as some part of the shoulder involvement dependant on the incline percentage used. With a low incline, how can we possible consider that as 6 sets for shoulders over the course of the week? Yet people achieve fantastic physiques doing exactly these things. Even adding a few sets of lat raises leaves us well under these recommendations, and I’m a strong believer that most people incorporate isolations either too much or too soon. This is not to say I think lat raises aren’t a vital exercise for many people - I’m not here to talk about the nuances of individual programming.

A nice compromise in many programs is 3 sets of shoulder isolation Upper 1, 3 sets of a chest isolation on Upper 2. This isn’t where the bulk of your growth will come from though. So much of this stuff is arbitary. The body doesn’t know what the 7-day week is. For arguments sake in my own brain that 9-12 sets is enough for MOST people… if I do 3 sets bench Monday, 3 sets dumbell bench Friday, that’s only 6 sets. But in 8 days, that’s 9 sets. Does something magical happen in that extra 24hours that means the stimuls was never enough? I’ve seen too many people flip their 4-day program into a 3-day program and still progress to know that is not the case.

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Its a fair point. I often wonder about the whole volume argument.

I’ve been experimenting with a similar kind of upper lower (but with extra arms stuff) and I’ve ended up doing

Upper 1
Incline BB x 3 sets to technical failure
Machine Shoulder Press x 3 sets to technical failure
Pec dec x 2 sets
Triceps x 2 sets

Upper 2
DB slight incline (basically flat) x 3 sets to technical failure
Dips x 3 sets to technical failure
Lat Raises x 3 sets
Triceps x 3 sets

When i tried more volume i found i wasn’t recovered by the next session.

Nice to see you back here again dude, hope all your personal stuff is ok.

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Bah, adductor strained again. Been slowly working squats back in, dabbling with different form. Felt a little twinge in the warm-up but sometimes this can just be the muscle doing weird things as it stretches/nerves come back alive. I went on to do 3x5-8 working sets pain-free as I felt no discomfort whatsoever, and even did some sidestep/running as part of my rehab at the end pain free. Started to talk to me later that evening though and in some pain this morning. It’s not terrible pain or anything, and this adductor has gone what feels about 20x now.

Part of me feels like after the original injury squats was what got me not to even think about it for a couple of years and not even think it was a bad injury and was the only thing that ever rehabbed it properly. The other part of me says stop trying to squat.

It was trying to coach the girls football that caused it to start getting little aggravations, when I was just squatting all the time it seemed to be okay. But now i’ve getting afraid to squat and after having my first twinge DURING them now I’m all over the place in my head trying to work out my next step.

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Sorry to read that mate. I hate recurring injuries.

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Turned out alright. I was back to the same rehab weights within 5-6 days. I think I just did a bit too much. I shouldn’t have done all the side-stepping right after working in a 5-8 rep range for the first time in absolutely ages.

I actually did some high bar squats yesterday, a set of 15 and a set of 12. Not overly intense and I stay just above parallell. Just trying to think of how I’m going to program my leg days going forward.

I actually did a heels-elevated trap bar deadlift last week which really fired my quads up but didn’t enjoy them at all. I want to squat twice a week but also don’t want to go lower than 10 reps. Not sure if I’ll be able to recover from 3 sets of 10-15 twice a week but I may aswell try it out. The smart thing to do would be front squats on the second day, but front squats can fuck off.

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Just had a good session feeling strong even though I had 4 days off and a big booze up at the end of last week.

Reintroduced DB Rows and playing about with my form a bit. Was way more horizontal than I usually am and felt a bit of a stretch in my bicep on my first working set. I shouldn’t have kept upping the weight when I knew the movement didn’t feel overly natural. Feels a bit irritated right now but I did my second working set a little more vertical with no discomfort. After doing some close-grip bench I’d decided I’d skip ezbar curls though as it feels off enough to not bother with. Hopefully it’s something of nothing. These little things are common ground with me these days!

I was focusing on driving with my elbows, I think my hands were just a little bit too neutral, rookie mistake.

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Yeah, definitely some sort of minor strain. I’m such a dumb dumb… I get so driven into my workout sometimes that I let myself down with this stuff when I KNOW it’s not smart.

It’s nothing that’ll affect me for long, but I really should have known that feeling that much of a stretch would lead to a little pull. Weight itself felt so light though! My past history of banging out tons of much heavier rows made me feel invincible to anything happening. I’m currently trying to work out why I was feeling such a stretch before this happened (although learned that next time to listen to it). I love dumbell rows but not sure how to approach going forward. Part of me wonders that because I don’t do any heavy vertical pulling at the moment my bicep just isn’t used to holding that amount of weight in that position.

I believe this’ll only be a short thing; full range of motion, only minimal pain…just hoping I continue with my other exercises.

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Went in today, bicep feels 70% better just 48hours later. Was able to do 3x15 ezbar curls pretty close to failure.

Fucking squats though guys, why do I continue to persist? Years ago I squatted ~340lb for a set of 5, was always satisfied with my form and never overthought it. These days with all my groin issues… one week I’ll smash it, feel confident. The following squat session I’ll go in and everything feels off again like I’ve never squatted before, and something will talk to me that shouldn’t. I’ve said here before I’m leaving them behind but I ALWAYs go back and I ALWAYs go through the same thing. Bleugh.

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I played this SAME game with squats for 3 years and now, I haven’t proper, bar on back, done it for a full year. My body is much happier. Don’t underestimate the power of the leg press, belt squat and goblet squat - and also Bulgarian split squats. Less pain = More gain!!

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Heh, nice to hear. I actually started typing out a thread asking for everyones experiences with quitting squats and asking the reasons why. But then I stopped and started thinking about my form in my head, what I did wrong that last session, and how next session is going to be better. :muscle: :woozy_face:

I’m 100% sure my legs will grow better without them. My gym doesn’t have a belt squat, a hack squat or anything like that but as you imply, bulgarians/goblets/leg press are still great exercises. I think more of me is concerned for the posterior benefits I’ll miss out on. I have always been strong on deadlift variations but feel the squat has a lot to do with that.

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