So, I came up with the brilliant idea of taking Mark McManus's advice and starting a blog about my MuscleHack journey.
Let's see, where to begin. Ah, yes. The "beginning", as it were.
High school, 1994-ish. My Grade 12 year. 6'3" and about 155-ish pounds. Evntually got myself to a stunning 165lbs by the end of the school year. As a classic ectomorph, gaining muscle with the rampant metabolism of a teenager was nigh-impossible. I would slag away in the gym for hours each week, but the only real muscle I built was in my legs. This was ironically due to not only my gym time but my time spent bicycling all over Toronto. I'd do 30-40kms a day without breaking much of a sweat by the time I was 18.
My attempts at gaining mass after high-school were marginally successful - a steady diet of fast food, beer, pop and other unsavoury ideas got me to about 185lbs. The only reason I stopped there was my biking (of which I did less now that I had a full license) and my devotion to playing ice and ball hockey with my friends. This kept me going until I was 21 and I then moved to Northern Ontario.
Here, I spent a couple of years doing almost nothing - no weights, no biking, no real hockey. Then, I finally got off my ass and went back to school - and got back into the gym. At my heaviest, I was just over 200 lbs. I was fairly strong, but I was spending way too much time at the gym and cardio was killing my muscle gains (although I didn't know that just yet). I then proceded to decline quite steadily in health after graduation, even though I landed a great job in my field (still at the same company - almost 9 years now!). I stopped working out (again), no hockey, no biking. Notice a trend yet? Over the next 6 years I would cycle in and out of gym memberships / efforts until about 3 months before my 30th birthday. I had had enough! Enough, I said!
Hmm, right then. Off to the gym with you! The first 6 months in, I make lots of gains (and losses). I "cut" down to about 175lbs via agressive cardio, weight lifting (still killing growth, unbeknownst to myself!) and radically changing my eating habits.This lasts 6 months. Hockey lasts longer (finally playing ball hockey again - this with co-workers now, had done so sparingly over the years at work) but 1.5 years into this "chapter" I realize that I'm a cyclical animal, I'm an idiot, I must be doing soemthing wrong and I need to change myself.
So, to address the last four points directly: yes, yes, yes and hell yes.
Everything from this point on references my previous-to-now gains, tribulations, deliberations and aggravations (few, thankfully) as I decided to take a new approach on myself and weight lifting and started following Mark McManus's MuscleHack.com workouts.
Some final words - I've gotten to know Mark some over the last year and a half. Seriously. Even though he's in Ireland and I'm in Canada, he's very approachable and a credit to his profession. He stands behind his methods and his words, and he also backs them up with not only independent research - he lives the life he tells us about as well. He is the original MuscleHacker.
I will tell you one thing: his e-books DO work. All of them.. You just need to commit yourself to fulfilling the plans he has put in place for you. I'm just detailing my experience with his Total Anabolism 3.1book. It works. Flat out. I'm in the best shape of my life at 33. I look better than I did at 23 by far, or anywhere in between. I DO recommend that you go to MuscleHack.com and read up on his offerings for yourself. You could do far, far worse by yourself than spending a few minutes reading about a terrific way to change your life. It changed mine.