Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week #5 THT 4.0 V1 shoulders done!

Well, I'm relying on my form history in Firefox to tell me what week I'm actually on here, with my ankle recovery and all. So, I'm going to call this week #5 of my THT 4.0 Volume cycle #1 run.

I smashed a plateau on my shoulder day yesterday. I busted out 160lbs overhead x 6, 150lbs x 7, 140lbs x 7, followed by 130lbs x 8 and 120lbs x 6. Also, delt raises (bent arm, dumbells) are up to 60lbs each x 8 and a second set of 60s x 5. Up next week - 65lb raises!

Also, shrugs were epic - 310lbs x 8, followed by 300lbs x 6, 290lbs x 8 and 280lbs x 7. I love when the last sets are less than the top sets... it shows just how tapped you are by the end of each portion of the sets. I didn't get my burnouts in yesterday, largely because I kept running into everyone that I knew after being gone for a week, as well as doling out a bit of training advice to a guy I had met a few months back who had some more questions. I wish I had a pic of him before he started MuscleHacking! I don't recall his name, we know each other by face and he had quite the pot belly a few months back. Now, he has seemingly lost ALL of his belly, and he's quite toned. Quite the shift over just a few months. He says he "follows what I recommend" from the MuscleHack site and he's eating a lower-carb diet. Not bad for just word of mouth!

Today is leg day. Today is a day where I'm looking forward to an entire 4.0 Volume workout because I haven't had a full, proper one since I was injured. My HIT workout last week was decent and I was able to work every body part without issue. So, onward and upward.

A new article is being compiled for your perusal over at MuscleHacker.com. Yes, this will be the article detailing my friend Oscar, the guy that has gone from 340lbs to 250lbs in just over a year. He has done it simply by changing his eating habits / diet and adopting a modified MuscleHack THT 3.1 HIT and Volume-based workout. Lots more detail will follow, as well as before and after pics!

Have a great day everyone! Train hard and lift smart!


PS - here are a couple of pics from after both a week off (on vacation, travelling) and a THT 4.0 HIT-style day last Friday. The pics were taken after the HIT workout. I was so tired, I couldn't even really flex my tricep in the front pic when I posed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

THT 4.0 V1 back and biceps day done!

Yesterday was an interesting workout day. Unlike previous cycles where my friend Oscar and I would workout the odd time together, this cycle has been largely just me, by myself. Yesterday was a change in that we got to workout together for the first time in weeks. So, while I did get to spend some time spurring him on, I asked a favour of him. Thankfully, he agreed and shot a short video of my bent-over dumbell rows.

So, armed with the fact that a quick review showed I had a bit shaky form, I quickly corrected it for my second set (and indeed, second half of the first set!).

Currently, I'm uploading to my "catch-all" Youtube account, but I'll make another next week specifically related to my workout "self" and relocate the video there.

Having said that, yesterday's gains were INSANE for a THT 4.0 Volume #1 Back and Biceps day. That was my first time "throwing" 120lb dumbells around for bent-over rows. I wanted at least 5, and I got 6. I needed at least 7 with the second set and got 8 reps. Bicep curls, always a favourite, progressed again.

The dumbells in question:

I can't always shoot video because I largely workout alone and don't want to bother fellow gym members, even acquaintances, with the task of "shooting" me. But, when I go with a friend, I'll see what I can do.

Also, as a teaser, my friend Oscar has agreed to let me write an entry for MuscleHacker.com that is all about him - how he started out last spring at 340lbs and how he's feeling now at 250lbs. Once I have the content written and he approves it, I'll put it up for Mark's review. If I've ever "inspired" anyone to workout, I hope this story inspires 100X the people I have!

All the best for a great weekend  everyone! Train hard and lift safely!


PS - I'll be off for the majority of the week next week on vacation, hopefully returning to the gym for a 3-day run starting next Friday. Or, I might just do two HIT days to recover before starting the next "week" of my cycle on the Sunday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

THT 4.0 V1 chest and abs done! Plus, a retrospective on training.

We are all given different starting points in life in a number of ways. We might be born into privilege, or into abject poverty. Quite a few of us will be born into the "in-between" of those two extremes. You might be born with a predisposition for science, a passion for the arts or a desire to perform public service. However you start in life, with a few tragic exceptions, you can always change your ways and, furthermore, change your own life.

It's important to note that last part: change your own life. When I started to really get into MuscleHacking (and submitted my first testimonial to Mark McManus), I never intended to "change" anyone's life but my own. I wasn't satisfied with my level of personal fitness and I had always wanted to be "more", physically, than what I had ever been before. When Mark had mentioned to me that I should write my own blog about my training experience with the MuscleHack THT systems, I was enthusiastic about the opportunity to tell my story as a "hardgainer" bodybuilder. In reality, I also know that the audience I would reach at first was tiny, but would hopefully expand over time.

As one of my favourite Internet memes goes, "Suddenly, everything". I started to really put on some muscle almost 2 years after starting out, but with some "breaks" in training that I didn't want - travel, injuries, other commitments, it still wasn't piling on as fast as I wanted it to. My blog started to gain some consistent readers (thank you!) and my progress was published for all to see. This kept me accountable, but apparently it also had a motivational effect for other folks. Things like that always make me smile!

So, 3 years later I've been published as a pictorial testimonial for Mark's latest free training guide - Targeted Hypertrophy Training v4.0 -  and I've been invited to be one of the first authors on Mark's new website, MuscleHacker. In fact, my first article is up and I've been asked to continue writing! I plan on doing so for as long as I'm allowed to continue. I owe the MuscleHack community, especially Mark, more than I can ever repay for the chance and tools to build a better me.

Now, I look back at what I have done in the past three years and I'm truly shocked by it. I'm humbled by my ever-expanding reader base and the feedback I receive from everyone. I'm inspired by the messages I get that tell me that I've inspired someone else. I'm bolstered by my own conviction to keep putting on muscle and to be able to keep helping friends, acquaintances and complete strangers effect change within themselves - to help them obtain the shape and health they've always wanted.

My favourite part is that I do this for free for them. Every last one of them. I guess I really am "paying it forward" as a MuscleHacker because Mark has made so much knowledge, so many tools available to us for free. It only seems right to continue that philosophy. For as long as I can assist others in a mneaingful way to them, I'll keep blogging and training others as I train myself.


Training note: chest and abs day was yesterday. Gains, gains, GAINS. I love a solid day with no back-pedaling! Benching was hardcore, narrow-motion pec deck was BRUTAL, but so worth it. Abs work? Slaughtered 'em. All in the name of gains. Today is back and biceps day. LET'S DO THIS!

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings today. Apparently I just had to "get that out" of me.

Train hard and lift safe!


PS - an "aftermath pic" from training yesterday. Toasted abs and shredded pecs!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A quick note and some news

As always, our lives seem to keep us in constant flux. We have our longer-term constants, but short-term stuff loves to throw a monkey wrench into things. So, I'm now behind by a day but I'll catch up by Saturday.

Next week will be at least a part "week off" for me as we're heading out of town for a few days and I won't have access to any real weightlifting gear.

However, the positive side to this post is that I've had my first "article" published on Mark McManus's new website  - MuscleHacker. I was one of a lucky few from the MuscleHack community that was chosen to write for Mark's new site and I'm beyond thrilled that my first submission was posted already! If you like what you've been reading on here and you have a couple of extra minutes, please head over and have a look. I'll happily respond to your comments there or here!

So, it's a good start to a good day. Hitting the gym tonight is a definite thing. Knowing what life has in store for you around the next corner - not so definite.

In any event, go nuts and enjoy your day today because if you're not enjoying life, you're not really living.

All the best for a happy and productive day! Lift hard and train smart!


Monday, August 15, 2011

THT 4.0 V1 - triceps done, shoulders done!

So, as promised, yesterday was an epic double-up day for THT 4.0 Volume cycle #1. I started out with shoulders - and almost pulled an upper shoulder-blade muscle (the name escapes me right now). Not a trap but the ones directly on the shoulder blade. So, I still managed to get in two decent sets of overhead press and all of my lat raises for delts - with gains for delts!

I rested for a bit, feeling myself out and decided to press on with triceps. Instead of French curls, I've been doing overhead tricep extensions, two-handed, with dumbells. I progressed in every set yesterday. Trust me, I can feel it today! I also smashed out full progressions on tricep pushdowns!

So, at the end of that week... I'm more than a little trashed. The good news is that as I write this, my shoulder feels decent so I might do 1-2 more overhead sets tonight to make up for it along with my legs.

Suprise #1: I've been selected by Mark McManus to write for his new website, www.musclehacker.com. This is OUTSTANDING! Mark has created a new site for all of us to get together on and contribute our experiences, our modifications to the THT routines (like my overhead tricep extensions) and everything else that goes along with being a MuscleHacker! I've got my login info, but I'm waiting as to when we're told we can log-in.

Surprise #2 - a fresh selection of pics from after yesterday's workout! I'm more than pleasantly surprised that I'm in this kind of shape with the last few weeks I've had. I'll take what I can get!

Have a great week everyone! Train hard and lift smart!


THT 4.0 V1 Biceps and Back day done!

This was for, figureatively, all of the marbles. I had not done deadlifts since the first week before my injury. I was genuinely afraid of how my ankle would react to the "pitched forward" starting stance of a true barbell deadlift - especially with a combined total of 265lbs for bar and plates on it to stay at my goal of constant progression.

I was about to find out...

The end result? Simply, WIN.

My ankle held up nicely and I managed to complete all of my sets without issue. Indeed, it was an epic back day! Then, having moved on to the biceps portion of my THT 4.0 Volume cycle #1 workout, I was ready for more.

I got what I bargained for. I had solid gains across all of my sets. Two days later, my biceps were seriously telling me that I was in recovery mode. I love that feeling!

Sorry about this post being late. The weekend was full of stuff for me to do, both for myself and work. Yesterday was a double-up day and I'll get to that shortly - with a surprise as well! Actually, two of them!

Have a great day all!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

THT 4.0 V1 Chest and Abs day done!

Well, as I'm known to do, when in doubt about how far I've come or how many weeks are left - just add more! I'm adding two more weeks to this run of THT 4.0 Volume #1 cycle as I'm recovering from an ankle injury and have had basicly two weeks off and one in the middle of my cycle. This should be my fourth week, but not 100% sure on that so I'll just add two more at the end.

Chest day is done! I analyzed my range of motion last week and found that I wasn't going deep enough on my benches. So, I decided to hit this week and bench as deep as I could go safely on the smith machine. End result: 200lbs x 6 for the opening set, 150lbs x 8 for the closing set. I don't mind backstepping on the weight cause it doesn't matter. All that matters is the growth.

My abs were slaughtered with 4 sets of crunches @ 235lbs. Last set was "only" 12 reps. Man was I ever feeling it after those - I love that burn!

Train hard and lift safe folks!


PS - a couple of pics from Tuesday. Sorta blurry but you get the idea. 

Week #4 THT 4.0 V1 Shoulders done!

Well, I've gotta be honest here: I'm not sure if it's week #4 or not. I'm pretty sure it is, but this ankle injury has messed up my training schedule and so far the only day I have four entries on now is my shoulders day.

I managed to progress everywhere, which isn't a bad thing. I've even decided that at this rate I'll do some squats and such on the weekend, and maybe some light calf raises to see how the ankle does.

In my usual fashion of "just do more", I'll literally do just that. I'm adding 2 weeks on to this cycle to ensure that all muscle groups get a decent chance to progress with THT 4.0 Volume #1 before switching to either Volume #2 or a 4.0 HIT cycle.

Also, sorry about the delays. Been really busy of late with everything else and I still have the update from last night's workout to write as well! It never fails!

Train hard but be safe folks!


Friday, August 5, 2011

THT 4.0 V1 futher updates

Well, this last cycle hasn't been as laser-guided accurate as my previous cycles for reporting, mostly because I started the cycle with a sprained ankle. With that said, it has been healing enough that I was able to do some dumbell deadlifts last night as part of my back / biceps THT 4.0 Volume #1 day.

I actually managed gains yesterday for Back and Biceps day. The same yesterday for Chest and Abs day.

It's really rough sometimes having to fight through an injury enough so that you can do the things you can still do 100% while making sure you also don't re-injure yourself again. The mental struggle just adds to the physical effort required for the day.

With that said, I can honestly say that I'm proud of my efforts and I can't wait to get back into the gym on Sunday for another Shoulders day workout.

Have a great workout everyone! And a great weekend at that!

Lift hard and train smart! Or, when in doubt - MuscleHack it!