The Pursuit of Mythical Gains

Okay, we all know the drill – somebody gets fired up and decides this time is going to be different, this time, I’m going to stick to it, this time! Well, for me, it’s not as much about sticking to the gym habit as it is tracking the habit and keeping a log…finally. I had been parking a few pics on another thread but I just started a new program and I decided to keep track of it, so, I’m going to do it here.

Down to 183 on Sunday, I finally feel like I am lean enough to start bulking, so that’s my plan. A slow, clean bulk until I hit 190 or 15 percent body fat, whichever comes first. I use a Tanita scale to measure bodyfat, and I use an average for the week. I know it’s not that accurate but it’s the only tool I have.

I’m using Mass Made Simple by Dan John. It’s a full body workout three times a week. I tend to walk a lot (40-50 miles weekly) in my daily life, and I’m afraid of getting fat, so I don’t expect to gain very quickly. I would be happy to average 1/2 pound per week for the next four months.

I started the program on Monday, it was an A day.

DB Clean and press 3x5 @ 40
Goblet Squat 3x10@50
Deadlift 1x20@80
Rows 5x5@120
Pullup 25 (70)
Bench 3x5 @ 140
Curl 3x5@35
Farmers Walk 1x45

Wednesday was a B day

DB Clean and press 5x5 @ 45
Goblet Squat 1x10@50, 1x10@60
Deadlift 1x20@30
Rows 3x5@140
Pullup 15 (35)
Bench 5x5 @ 140
Curl 3x10@30
Farmers Walk 2x60

I’m starting light because I’m one of those guys that didn’t work legs before. I like squatting, but my gym doesn’t have squat racks and only has a few Smith machines so I avoided it. That’s also why I’m Goblet squatting. My legs were pretty sore on Wednesday but felt better after lifting. For those not familiar with the program, the Deadlifts are a tonic to the squat and are supposed to be done with very light weight.

I realize how ridiculously light these weights look. I am in full injury avoidance mode….or maybe I’m just a big sissy. Hopefully this log will get me progressing to respectable numbers.

Aight, that’s that. Plan on gymming tomorrow to finish up week one. I hope to post then and not be that guy that starts a log and never keeps up with it

C day, third day of the program for me. Taking it pretty easy until I adapt.

DB Clean and press 3x5 @ 50/45/45
Squat 5X10 @ 100/105/115/115/115
Deadlift 1x20 @ 100
Rows 2X5 @120 (Cybex)
Pullup 12x25
Bench 3x5@160
Curl 2x5@35 1x10@25
Farmers Walk 2x50x300

Welcome to T-Nation. Enjoy your stay and may the gains be plentiful. Now that I’ve gotten the welcome message out of the way. I’ve a few questions that may help flesh out your training log. How tall are you? What are your training goals(bodybuilding powerlifting etc) and what are your current best lifts? Not only will this help new readers, it’ll also provide you with a reference point when you look back.

Aight, I’m 6’1", not real clear on my maxes as I’ve never really gone for that but I have benched and squatted 225. I’m working on hypertrophy.

I’ve a few other threads here and there and much of the information is in those - I didn’t think to include them here. My main goal for this log is to keep track of my lifts to force me to increase the weight in the hopes of gaining muscle. I’ve just been casting about without sticking to a program and keeping track, so now I am.

Thanks for the suggestions.

2-15-2016 “A” Day

DB Clean and press 3x5 @ 40
Goblet Squat 3x10@ 50/55/60
DL 20x1 @ 35
PU 3x8 @ 40/55/70
Row 5x5 @120
BP 3x5 @140/150/170
Curl 3x5 @ 40/35/35
FW 1x60 150ft

2-17-2016 “B” Day

DB Clean and press 5x5 @ 50
Goblet Squat 2x10@ 60
DL 20x1 @ 35 (ea)
PU 2x8 @ 55
Row 3x5 @120
Flys 5x5 @ 115/100/100/100/100
Curl 3x10 @ 50/50/70 (machine)
FW 2x35 150ft ea (racked position)

I read an article about the farmer walk and so I am trying that - at side, then racked, then overhead. I felt comfortable to start with the 35 racked, will try them overhead next (and probably look like a total dork…more than I already do).

02-19-2016 “C” Day

DB Clean and press 3x5 @ 50
Squat 5X10 @ 50/55/60/65/70
Deadlift 1x20 @ 70
Rows 2X5 @ 135/150
Pullup 3@25 6@55 5@55
Bench 3x5@160/170/160
Curl 2x5@40, 1x10@30
Farmers Walk 2x35x150

2-21-2016 “A”

DB Clean and press 3x5 @ 50
Smith Squat 3x10@ 115/125/135
DL 20x1 @ 135
Row 5x5 @ 135
PU 3x8 @ 40/55/55
Incline BP 3x5 @ 150/170/180
Curl 3x5 @ 40/35/35
FW 1x35’s Racked 150ft

2-23-2016 “B” Day

DB Clean and press 5x5 @ 40/45/50/55/50
Smith Squat 2x10 @ 135/145
DL 20x1 @ 35 (ea)
Row 3x5 @120
PU 2x8 @ 55
Flat Bench 5x5 @ 155/165/175/185/175
Curl 3x10 @ 25
FW 2x50 150ft


DB Clean and press 3x5 @ 50
DB Squat 4X10 @ 110, 1x10 @ 120
Deadlift 1x20 @ 60
Rows 2X5 @ 135/150
Pullup 3@25 9@55
Bench 3x5@ 170/180/180
Curl 2x5@40, 1x10@30
Farmers Walk 1x100 180ft, 1x110 180 ft

Pretty tired today, long week. Some of the weights and exercises differ because I am going to two different gyms, sometimes it’s hard to get a Smith machine so I goblet squat or today, DB squat - makes it hard to see progression but it’s still only three weeks so I shouldn’t worry about that.

2-28-2016 “A”

DB CandP 3x5 @ 50/55/55
Smith Squat 3x10@ 135/140/155
DL 20x1
Row 5x5 @ 140/160/140/140/140
PU 10@ 55, 10@70, 5@ 55
Flat Bench 3x5 @ 175/185/175
Curl 3x5 @ 40/40/35
FW 1x60’s 180ft

March 2, 2016 “B”

DB Clean and press 5x5 @ 45/45/50/55/55
Smith Squat 2x10 @ 145/155
DL 20x1
Row 3x5 @ 130/130/140
PU 10@55 5@40
Flat Bench 5x5 @ 165/170/175/185/190
Curl 3x10 @ 27.5
FW 2x55 150

Won’t be able to get to the gym again until Monday, going skiing, woohoo! Can’t decide whether to work out at home on Friday, where I only have 25# dumb bells, or move my C workout to Monday. Probably the latter.

I’m gaining weight, BF is holding steady, and am adding weight to the bar, so I am thrilled.

Will switch to 5/3/1 after six weeks, I think, but may wait until I have done eight weeks of this. I’m anxious to get started on 5/3/1 but am making progress on MMS so I’m confuzzled.

Any thoughts?

3-6-16 “C” Day

DB Clean and press 3x5 50/55/55
Smith Squat 5X10 135/135/145/155/165
Deadlift 1x20 Rows 2X5 @ 135/150
Row 2x5 160/150
Pullups 8x40, 6x40
Bench 3x5 185/195/205
Curl 2x5,1x10 35/30
Farmers Walk 1x110 180ft, 1x120 180 ft

Legs were tired from skiing all day yesterday but a good workout. I added in a bunch of extras at the end because I had the energy, tricep for mass and lat work so I might actually be able to do a pull up one of these days.

Second guessing about starting so light but am enjoying seeing the weight go up - good prep for 5/3/1? Plan on starting that in two weeks, BBB prep phase and then BBB.

Well, the ADHD got the best of me and I am switching gears. I did four weeks of the Mass Made Simple program and feel like I learned quite a bit - eat, add weight, repeat. I added weight to the bar, gained some weight, and didn’t get too fat. My plan was to eat more and follow a program with progression until I hit 190 pounds or fifteen percent body fat, whichever came first. I’m going to stick to that plan but change to 5/3/1 BBB Opposite. While I had planned to stick with MMS for eight weeks, I just couldn’t wait to get started on 5/3/1. In four weeks I went from 182 pounds and thirteen percent BF to 188 and fourteen percent BF. I consider it a success and would recommend the MMS program. But, the lack of attention span got the best of me so today I went to the gym to figure out my Training Maxes in the four main lifts.

I took a guess at my maxes and did a modified 5/3/1 today to get maxes to use for the first week of 5/3/1. I did two warm up sets, then working sets of five at 65,75, and 85 percent of my guesses with my final set being AMRAP. Based on the number of reps in the final set and the weight, I calculated training max using the formula (weight x reps) x .0333 plus the weight. I know some of these might be a little off because I did all four lifts on the same day, but it’s a starting point. I finished off with some chin ups and some curls, 4x10 at fifty percent of max, my version of assistance work.

I’ll start 5/3/1 on Thursday and probably lift three days a week. If I can get four in, great, but will just progress as I can through the cycle without worrying about weeks. I expect to finish the first cycle within six weeks or less. I’m sure I will make a few mistakes along the way but am looking forward to the journey.

There are several things I learned in the last four weeks - you have to eat (bumped my calories up to 3,000), you have to keep records, and you have to add weight to the bar. In the past I lifted for hypertrophy and didn’t bother to keep track and I ended up wasting a lot of time without getting stronger. My goal has shifted from getting lean to getting strong and that’s a huge shift for me, being a former fat bastard.

For the record, I’m starting 5/3/1 at 188 and fourteen percent body fat. I’ll continue to log here to make myself accountable.

March 10, 2016

5x40 WU
5x50 WU
3x60 WU
14x80 PR

Weights are not exact percentages of TM as I was using dumb bells.

10x45 WU
10x65 WU
10x75 WU

Pull ups
5x10x100 (assisted - can’t do a pull up, how pathetic)


I like the greater volume (217 total reps) but didn’t feel like I got the intensity where it should be. Just keep reminding myself to start light and be patient.

Figured since I am in the first cycle, and the weight isn’t too demanding, it would be a good time to lean out a little bit so I am going to cut my calories and carbs for the next few weeks and see if I can’t lower my body fat before getting into heavier weights.

Looking forward to dead lifting tomorrow, never really done it. I will be doing squats and abs for assistance work. Not sure what else to add in, maybe some leg curls and some tricep work, will see how I feel.

March 11, 2016

5x100 WU
5x125 WU
3x145 WU
10x205 PR


Hanging Leg Raises

Arrived late after a long day, expected to do more assistance work but sort of felt like I should “do it as written.” Plus, I was tired and had a 2.5 mile walk home. Also, didn’t expect to be so gassed from this workout - expected it to be like yesterday and to have energy to “work up” but I didn’t, so I didn’t.

I’m planning on doing Day 3 tomorrow (bench) to catch up for starting the program mid week. I know rest days are a good idea but I figure since it’s the first week of the first cycle the lower weights won’t kill me. I struggled today but I haven’t worked my legs much at all so I blame that for the fatigue. I’ll see how I feel in the morning.

In spite of doing “just” three exercises, it felt like a good workout. I’m thinking in the future I may strictly follow it as written and not do isolated finishing stuff like curls and push downs and add FSL’s or Joker sets to add volume if I can do it.

For the record, when I calculated my maxes my DL came out to 275. My PR set today came up the same. I’m not sure if that’s relevant but it seems to confirm the consistency of the method. Not the same story for my OHP PR set yesterday which calculated out to a higher max than I had figured. Whatever. I have a long way to go.

March 12, 2016

5x80 WU
5x100 WU
3x120 WU
12x170 PR
15x135 FSL



Third day in a row of lifting, started the cycle mid week and want to get on a weekly schedule so I am going to lift four days in a row. Happy with the PR set, added an FSL set. Felt good after the OHP so I added dips - have never done them before and was pleasantly surprised to find out I was able to do one much less five sets of five. I expect this to be a regular part of BP day and to improve quickly.

March 13, 2016

5x80 WU
5x100 WU
3x120 WU
12x170 PR
14x130 FSL



Farmer’s Walk
120 x 180 feet

Survived the first week. It’s probably just mental but I feel like I’m getting stronger/bigger/leaner. Looking forward to taking tomorrow off. Not sure if I am going back Tuesday or Wednesday, will wait and see.

March 15, 2016

5x45 WU
5x55 WU
3x70 WU
21x80 FSL


Pull Downs


Something funky going on with the PR set - got it confused on my phone and that PR calculates to an estimated 1RM of 166, a huge increase over last week. Will have to wait until next week to see if it is accurate or if I got my weight screwed up.

Excited to get back in the gym today, couldn’t wait another day. Workout felt short and I was short of time so I couldn’t work in any other assistance work, which might be a good thing. Looking forward to DL tomorrow. I bought a belt and it arrived today. I know I probably don’t need one at such light weights but I’m injury adverse and it makes me feel more comfortable on the PR set. Had some knee discomfort last week after squat day and am thinking about buying some sleeves - how ridiculous will that look squatting 110 on my 5x10’s with sleeves?

If you feel you need a belt, use it. Light weights to some aren’t light to others, I’ll bet you say dang should’ve used one before. I think we are about the same age and I just started using a belt on the working sets of DL and squatz, made a world of difference. Good luck