Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nothing makes you smile quite like...

...when it's legs and shoulders day and your opening set of dumbell shrugs makes jaws drop. That's the absolute joy of being me - my build is such that I can hide my mass fairly well (I look far skinner than I am once sleeves and pant legs start coming off!), and my opening weights when doing THT training can be kind of shocking to some folks.

That's ok by me, because while it's funny... it doesn't matter at the end of the day. I'm out there lifting what I need to lift in order to grow naturally. No more, no less. Well, there's always room to lift a little more or to add one more rep. ;)

Tonight is chest / biceps / abs day, thanks to the THT 3-day Volume cycle. Or as I call it, the "I'm super-ready to puke now" day because that's exactly how I feel when I'm dragging my carcass out to the car after today's workouts! With that said, I CAN'T WAIT to get back in the gym tonight.

I try to get the word out about MuscleHacking at least once a week, and judging by Mark's ever-growing FB presence others are doing the same. This is a good thing because you're opening yourself up to free training guides, free lean eating guides, free recipies, free data logging worksheets, and just a lot of free advice. How do you go wrong in this day and age with FREE?!?

I'm off to the gym shortly, folks. Lift hard and train smart!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Status Update: still growing

I've been kind of shocked, which seems hard to believe in and of itself, by my growth - or return to my "former glory" of late. Two weeks' worth of hard grind has gone a long way toward getting me back into the shape I want to be in again so that I'm ready to tear that old me in two and start again!

I read and then re-read the new THT 5.0 from Mark McManus, the original MuscleHacker. I then went squarely back to a THT 4.0 3-day split, but alternating off and on my burnout sets at the end of a muscle group. Why? To add extra confusion into the mix. It's not that I disagree with the THT 5.0 workout plans... far from it. I just need to play those mental games with myself.

I saw that for the new HIT cycle, which I will ultimately try out in the late spring, that the sole chest exercise is bench press. Realistically, I know it should work for me. Logically, it does make some sense. However, I'm a real "past experiences" guy and I know that either cable flyes or narrow/wide-grip pec deck will directly stimulate my chest more. This is a proven physical fact - you're bringing PCP work into play (your Peak Contraction Point, where all of the muscle's fibers are engaged and working their hardest to squeeze that muscle!). Because of this, at least at this point in my (re)training, I can't entertain doing bench presses solely for my chest work. I'll go at it in May, after my 3-day cycle and another 5-day cycle wraps. HIT works better for me in the summer as my schedule goes for a dump and my ability to commit to 3 or 5-day cycles is strained at best.

Now you're nodding your head and mumbling to yourself, "What does that all mean?" Well, it technically means I'm allowing my own judgement to supersede Mark's master plan for the time being. However, I'm still doing pure MuscleHack workouts / cycles - I'm just resisting change a tad till I'm back at top form. Then, once I'm back at my old super-jacked phase... I'll be ready to "play" and experiment with THT 5.0.

Yes, there are a lot of links in this update. I've always been upfront about my promotion of Mark's views and programs, mostly because he knows his business inside and out but also because they're FREE! Who the heck doesn't want FREE tools for getting into better shape, heck maybe the best shape of their lives? It works for me, it has worked for my friends and it'll damn well work for you if you put in the effort! That's the kicker though... YOU have to do the work. YOU have to make the sacrifices of your personal time, to change your eating habits and to STICK TO IT. When you do, you'll be transformed. It's that simple.

I'm attaching an update pic. It's hard to snap an "after" pic as I usually do because the gym is full of resolutioners still and that makes for an awkward moment (explaining why you're snapping half-nude pics of yourself in the mirror). This is as of the other day, post-shoulders and legs workout.

As you can see, I'm well on my road back! More to come as I progress.

Lift hard and train smart, MuscleHackers!


Monday, January 7, 2013

What will be the "theme" of your year?

I've given the New Year's Resolutioners the first week in the gym to get acclimatized, to get into a routine... or to just get out of the way.

I'm a very cerebral person. I enjoy playing head games with myself to keep myself on-goal and focused. I enjoy the mix of the surreal with the real, it helps to add some fun to what can otherwise be considered a "chore" at times - even for us "die hard" MuscleHackers.

So, I've realized in the last year as I've used different approaches to MuscleHacking (more strict, less strict, experimentation on basic principles), I need to stay pretty close to MH canon while adding my own over-arching themes to my workouts.

I'm also of the mind that we do our best work when we have both short-term and long-term goals that are both in play. Each goal should complement the other while positively reinforcing the final outcome that you desire.

Therefore, I've decided that my theme of 2013 will encompass one word. One tiny, often ignored word that has the capacity to change the future of so many people in so many different ways. For me, it's something of a clarion call, a reminder to get back in that gym and finish what I've started. I've been sick, I've had injuries, I've had successes, and cumulatively all of them have slowed me in the last year. My drive has fallen, my desire to be back in the gym, to get back into "the mix".

My word for 2013 is simply... rise.

To quote Tom Hardy's "Bane": "Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you!"

And in some way, my own victories had indeed defeated me. I lost some of my drive, having accomplished so much in 2011 and into 2012. I grew lax, complacent. An eye condition flared up and I let it bully me into not working out before I understood everything about it.

That will be the end of deterrents and other negative things like that. Sickness can be minimized, but not avoided. The same with injuries, and again with work and other life complications. However, I cannot and WILL NOT allow any of it to derail me further.

I've deferred my goals in weightlifting / bodybuilding over the last year or so for a number of reasons. Enough is enough. It's time to RISE.

Lift hard and train smart, MuscleHackers!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Back in the saddle - yes, really.

I never did post anything up about Jacked N Ripped. The reasons for that are two-fold:

1 - I mentioned I wouldn't post anything that would give away content that was protected within JNR as a workout plan / methodology. JNR is a paid program by Mark McManus and I have absolutely no problem protecting his intellectual property as it pertains to JNR. I have no problem with this (even though that's already the right thing to do) because he gives so much more info away for free, constantly, over at his main MuscleHack website.

2 - I went through about 6 weeks of JNR, and while it kicked my ass harder than any other program that Mark has EVER come up with I still didn't give it the full test drive that it deserves. It's on my list for a revisit later this winter (after Christmas). I'll write a bit more about it then.

So, with that out of the way, what the hell else have I been up to? Well, what I've been up to pretty much encapsulates the reasons that I haven't had time for JNR, or really much working out at all of late. At my worst, I've been in the gym once per week for maintenance following MuscleHack's THT HIT program. I've lost a bit of muscle, but I've stayed right on around 200lbs. Now that the last few weeks have allowed me some more time into the gym - and to myself - I'm able to ramp up some into a THT 3-day Volume cycle. WOOT!

Work has been keeping me VERY busy. This is a good thing, even though it has been keeping me out of the gym lately with after-hours meetings and other duties. I can deal with that. We opened an additional office here in my home town and I've been busy deploying hardware to our wholly-owned subsidiaries around the world as we move closer to integrating them with our head office. Lotta OT. Phew.

Also, I signed on with a volunteer organization that works in concert with the Canadian Department of National Defence. The org is called CASARA, and it stands for the Civil Air Search And Rescue Association. I've been trained as an aerial Spotter, someone who looks for target objects on the ground / in the water depending on the incident. It's a great feeling to volunteer as what amounts to being a "first responder", and to put in some time with a charity that knows your name. Our CASARA unit is a great bunch of folks and I'm both honoured and proud to be a part of their group.

 So, what does this all mean?

  • If you've crashed somewhere in the Eastern / Northern Ontario area, I might get called out to find you.
  • I'm even more ready for the zombie apocalypse than ever.
I'll post up some pics shortly. I'm on track, again, for 210lbs and under 10% BF all over again. It feels great!

Lift hard and train smart, MuscleHackers!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is probably entirely overkill

As you're no doubt aware, I'm a pretty dedicated (OK, completely dedicated) disciple of Mark McManus's THT training system, the free series of weight-training and lean-mass diet techniques from

I've been a fervent MuscleHacker for years. I believe in what the programs can help you accomplish. I've even helped friends lose weight (a LOT of weight) and regain their health with MuscleHacking.

Now, Mark has thrown nitroglycerine into a paint mixer with Jacked N Ripped. I have to say that I had a nice chat with Mark prior to getting into the program. He admitted that while it's a fantastic program, I was on the outlying edges of who the program was intended for. My bodyfat hovers around 10% (although it's about 11-12% currently) most of the time. I'm already in great physical shape. My only real detracting factor is my diet. Still, I was undaunted.

I know now what he meant by "the best work" he has ever done (in creating the new program).

I'm armed, primed and ready. I have the workout logs loaded and ready to go. I'll be starting mid-week, but then again that's nothing new to me. I don't like sitting around waiting for things to happen. Tonight is a mid-week start for Jacked N Ripped.

It's familiar to me and yet entirely new. This requires complete devotion from me for diet. It's different than how I've approached my eating over the last few years. I won't get into details, but this is a really, REALLY well thought-out program.

More news to come, but this is indeed more along the lines of TSPA in terms of the fact that it's a proprietary, closed-source program. I can't reveal exactly what makes up JnR. If you want in, and trust me... YOU DO... get a hold of Mark via his Facebook page and let him know.

Again, you WANT IN. Absolutely.

Train hard and lift smart, MuscleHackers.


P.S. - I will be offering updates, but they'll be non-technical, non-statistical and anecdotal in nature. I'll divulge as much as I can without giving away the content that Mark has worked so hard to compile and distill for everyone. I hope that you all can understand that.