Why Am I Not Growing?

Most of you are probably like me...

You do this because you enjoy the feeling.
You do it because you like the way it makes you look.
You do it because you want to get bigger!

That last one can be so very hard to acheive, and it takes so much work that at times it pushes people away because the results don't just jump right up and slap you in the face. There are so many parts to the equation, from your diet to your routine.

This following link has a neat bulking calculator, give it a try, it's rather helpful:

For starters, there is a lot of experimenting in this "game." You have to be willing to fail at times, and you have to be willing to not see any results at times. Why, you may ask? Because to find out what works best for you, you will have to try different things. You will have to dedicate yourself to different programs, change them to your liking/needs, and then see where they take you.

When you first start out, almost anything will work, but don't let that fool you. If it's not meant to be, you will see the returns diminish rather quickly... At this point, it's time to switch it up, do barbell curls instead of dumbbell curls. Do box squats rather than front squats. Try 5x6 rather than 3x12.

After a while, there will be so many numbers floating around in your head that it's bound to get you confused/frustrated/annoyed. DONT STOP!! Just get the numbers under control and use them to your advantage.

One of the Most Important Things to Remember...

While working out and lifting weights and getting in shape is meant to be hard...one thing that you should never forget is...

You Should Have Fun Doing It!

Remember when it was still fun? Remember when you first started and you actually looked forward to each day? Then, you started learning too much...you started paying attention to numbers too much. You started basing your workouts off of everyone else's. You aren't going to get the same results as person A because you aren't person A. Also, just because they enjoy doing it doesn't mean that you will. You could possibly end up hating it!

Don't do that to yourself. It's a great way to lose motivation and to possibly even stop working out. Enjoy yourself! Have fun! But at the same time, get in shape!!

Time to Try Something Different

Okay, so here it goes, it's time to try another workout routine, something that I know I will stick with and hopefully enjoy. What's sad is I have had so little motivation lately that if my routine gets too difficult or demanding, I just stop...I used to not be that way AT ALL...and it's extremely frustrating...

I workout at home, always have...and I've never had a problem with doing it that way. I had my workout partner (who was my nephew) and we had great workout days. Then, there was the whole "life crisis" that lasted a few months...and it's kind of made me turn for the worse when it comes to being motivated. Now my nephew has a girlfriend, and he's pretty much stopped working out all together...So I no longer have a workout partner, which means I don't have a spotter or anyone to help me put weights on the bar or anything...which I guess can be considered nice because that means that my workouts can actually flow better. I get into it and I finish it without having to wait on him (because that was his downfall...he was slow and easily distracted). However, when it feels like you are spending more time changing weights and adjusting bar heights, etc, it gets hard to want to do that because it takes so long to get to the actual lifting...

Anyway, that's enough of that... I will go into detail into my new workout routine and why I chose to do it that way in my next post.

Hypertrophy Specific Failure?

Well, I haven't updated for a while, but here goes. I failed, miserably, at HST. I gave it a go, but doing a full body workout, 3 days a week, all by myself burnt me out rather quickly. I made it for maybe 5 days (workout days that is) but then had to stop. I wasn't motivated at all to continue and I was overly tired every day. I am sure that a great deal of it had to do with the fact that working out at home definitely doesn't make this very long workout routine any more tolerable, as I am constantly having to adjust this, and move that, and switch the weights from this bar to that one...

Oh well, maybe I will try HST again some other time...that or maybe I will just stick with what I know and what has worked for me. That, and one thing that HST does is it focuses solely on size and not really at all on strength, and I kind of like knowing that I can lift a pretty good amount of weight and would rather not risk losing those maxes that I have worked so hard to reach.

On to the next routine I suppose...makes me kind of sad as I was so excited initially about getting into HST...

HST Update

Okay, so one week of HST has gone by and here is what I have to say about it so far...

It is undeniably intense!

I was amazed that the weights that were so much lighter than what I have been doing are so difficult to lift. I was convincing myself before I started that doing it fifteen times wouldn't be all that much of a challenge....

I was wrong, oh so very wrong...

When I finish for the day, I am tired, I have no energy left to even think about doing an extra set or anything...and I am so drained and excited about my days off from training.

We all know that just because you are tired or sore that doesn't mean that there will be mind blowing results, and as I have only finished one full week I can't say for sure whether or not it is doing anything other than kicking my butt... However, it is kind of fun, especially in the sense that I both look forward to it and dread the idea of doing it...

Onward! To week two!

PS. After the initial 30 squats...so far I have consistently felt nauseas for the rest of my lifts....just an FYI.

HST - Week One - Review of First Day

Well, I promised that I would go over my feelings of HST as far as results and if I feel that it is being effective at all...and, well, though skeptical at first, day one has already made me change how I felt about it.

I am sore, still, from Monday. Even with those very small weight, the volume was enough to kill me!

For example, I did 2 sets of 15 reps for squats. My legs are feeling it, and I only did 165 pounds!! I am used to doing 390 pounds, and that little bit of weight kicked my butt harder than the higher weights!

If it continues like this, I have a feeling that even if the results aren't quite what they are hyped up to be, it's going to be one heck of a ride.

Today will be day two. We shall see how it turns out!

...not starting HST until next week...

Well, here I was so excited last Friday about starting up my first Hypertrophy Specific Training cycle this week, and well, I ended up postponing it...

I wanted to be completely and utterly prepared for this, so I want to make sure that I have no distractions and that I have everything that I need set in place. Also, I thought I might as well do a full 2 week deconditioning phase before I even got started up.

That...and for some unknown reason I have been dog tired for the past month or so...

Hope to come back with good news next week...

Today is the day of "The Blonde Myth"

That's right, I felt like posting some pics of Lee Priest. Why?

Just take a look.


Getting excited. Can't wait to start the new routine next week.

Ok, this is it. It's coming down to the last couple of days before I embard upon the training known as HST, or Hypertrophy Specific Training. I have it all worked out, and the next 8 weeks are completely planned out for me.

I really do hope to get the results that one would expect from going for strict hypertrophy. I know, it's not strength like I am used to, but still, I want some size before I go back to focusing on strength. I started out as more of a strength trainer, and it was okay at first because I was making rapid gains...but then it tapered off rather quickly, and rather than making gains in size I have been making only gains in strength.

Now, that's not all bad, not at all. I am glad that I can boast being able to squat over 400 pounds, and that my bench has broken through many plateaus...but I still like the idea of being as big as my strength implies.

As always, keep motivated, and keep looking for what works for you.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

I think that perhaps this man's physique was ideal.

He had all of the good traits of a bodybuilder, without overdoing it. He was big, vascular, and lean.

Today's bodybuilders seem to focus more on sheer size, less on aesthetics. Arnold was from a time when a bodybuilder looked much more like they were chiseled from stone.

Here are some pictures of Arnold to look back on what bodybuilding used to be like.

Thinking about trying a fat burner...

Hmm, okay, so I am bouncing all around with new ideas and trying to change this and that all at once...

I have way too much going on in my head all at the same time, gets a little crowded in there...

I am definitely thinking about trying a fat burner. I know, I am normally all about losing the fat with my lifting and burning it with the extra muscle that is built in the process....but I am becoming desperate. I was down to exactly where I wanted to be, and now it has jumped back up to being not quite what I want...so now to put a little extra help in there....

I think that I may end up going with Nutrex Lipo 6x... Why? Because, after doing a month's worth of research, which I know isn't much, but still, it was rather intense research, I have seen more good reviews and more good feedback on Lipo 6x than other products, so why not give it a try? It also has a very good ingredient profile, and that definitely doesn't hurt.

Just like with my HST, once I start on the Lipo 6x I will be sure to report back with progress/changes/likes/dislikes.

Until then...

Hypertrophy Specific Training (or HST for short)

Okay ladies and gentlemen, I am about to embark on another fun offset journey in my weight lifting... I have been trying to figure out lots of things about bodybuilding, and powerlifting, and in the end, I have come to realize that most of what I have been doing is powerlifting and not getting bigger. Granted, my lifts continue to go up and my strength keeps increasing, but my size is pretty much stuck in one place.

I have to get out of this rut...well, I keep saying that...

So, I stumbled upon the idea of training just for the sake of hypertrophy. Namely, the kind of hypertrophy that promotes size moreso than strength.

Don't get me wrong, one of the main things that I want out of this is strength, but, if I can get a great deal of mass and then pick back up on the strength later, what would that hurt?

The idea of HST is very simple, yet very difficult all at the same time. What makes me say that? Well, let's go over the basics, shall we?

For starters, your training is broken up into 8 week "cycles". Your first 2 weeks are based around 1 set of 15 reps for all of your lifts. Your second 2 weeks should fall somewhere around 20 total reps for each lift, meaning you could break it up into 1 set of 10 and 2 sets of 5, or 2 sets of 10. Basically, that second week is "supposed" to be your 10s week, but you have to be creative and mostly try to get 10 in there somehow. And finally, you hit your 2 weeks of 5s. This is where you are still trying to total 20 reps, however the way that you do it is all up to you. My plan is to do 4 sets of 5. After that, you have a few choices as to what to do with the final 2 weeks, but my plan is to continue with my 5s and see how far I can go with it.

The way that you should ideally split this up is into 3 intense, full body workout days. That way, you give your body plenty of time to recover, and you will be hitting those same body parts 3 times a week.

Another rule of thumb is that you will go up EVERY single time you do another lift. And it takes a bit of math, but it's not OVERLY complicated, especially if you use a RM calculator to figure it out for you. What you want to do is find your max for each of the rep ranges, and that is the number you want to be at by the END of that specified length of time. For example, if your 10 rep max is 140, you should go something like this:

Week 1: 115 120 125
Week 2: 130 135 140

See, simple in its complexity....

Oh well, that is the gist of it. I will be keeping you all updated though on how this ends up working out for me.

In the meantime, lift heavy and eat heavy!

I think that pictures really can say a million words..

I promise that my posts will become more informative again soon, I just have little bursts as of late and thought, why not? I'll just get some pics and movies up to keep inspiring everyone, but only if they are good quality pictures of course...

So, here we go with another day's worth of pictures.

Ronnie Coleman!

Pictures of Markus Ruhl

Okay, I have been doing research on this man and I am quite impressed by him on many different levels. For starters, he's actually a very fun loving guy (or at least he lets off that kind of vibe).

You see him laughing a great deal, as well as being playful, and he seems to love his wife dearly...

And, on top of all of that, you cannot deny his size. He is massive, all over, not just in choice spots here and there.

Frank McGrath

I thought that today I would throw in some pictures of a guy that I was introduced to from the Animal Arms DVD that I got with a purchase from bodybuilding.com.

This guy is HUGE, not only that, but his arms are MASSIVE. Highly impressive. Take a look for yourself!

Video of the Day

Today's video isn't so much a motivational video as it is an instructional video.

Today we will be taking a look at the proper form to be used for close grip bench press.

This lift focuses on the triceps.

6/9/2009 Motivational Video of the Day

Markus Ruhl, if you know who I am talking about, this man is a MONSTER.

He is huge, and he definitely puts in the effort to be big, take a look for yourselves!

What to do...lost in a sea of testosterone...

Okay, I know, pretty cheesy sounding title, but maybe as I go on you'll understand what I mean...

Looking back on when I first started, it feels like it was only yesterday... literally...though yesterday feels so far away...

I remember back before I lost the fat, before I got into some sort of "good shape"...I really didn't think too much about my day other than enjoying myself and enjoying my life (well, whatever I had that I called a life that is)... I would eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I would go home and just game to my heart's desire, I did the things that, at the time, I thought were fun. What is sad, is more than anything, the fact that I have always felt that girls just never looked my way twice has made me want to push myself more and more to be better looking.

And now, here I am, a few years later and it seems that everything has to be in place, every single day, and if I even slip slightly it's frustrating. I have to eat at certain times, every day. It has to fit into what is "healthy" and "muscle building". If any fat shows up on me at all, I freak out and try to figure out what in the world I could have possibly done wrong when I haven't changed my diet at all. Every day is about going home and working out before I can do anything else, and then as soon as I get done working out I am back in the kitchen cooking up another meal to eat before I can relax.

Looking back, I kind of miss not having so many "obligations" during the day. I mean, yeah, I look better, sure, but when it comes down to it, but is it worth it? I don't even try to have any "fun" anymore really, and normally, after being at work for 9 hours a day and then working out as soon as I get off, I really don't even have any real time to relax...

What should I do...?

Three Day Weekends? Good, or Evil?

I just got back from a three day weekend (thank you Memorial Day!). Man, that can get you so off course for everything...

Luckily I'm a bit ridiculous...My mom did some of my favorite outdoors cooking (can you say barbecue ribs?...) and I turned them down because I had hard boiled eggs for dinner (yumm, right?).


And, on top of that, while the rest of my family was outside playing around, enjoying each other's company.......


I was lifting weights in my weight room....I was pushing for another "pump" in my forearms...

Yeah, it was still a good Memorial Day, in my own sad way...and now here I am, back at work...wondering why three day weekends even exist...because when they are over, how many of us are stuck thinking, "Man, I don't want to go to work this week at all..."?

Did deadlifts last night...

Okay, so one week after I did a pretty good job of hurting myself, I decided to do deadlifts again...and, well, it actually didn't end too bad. Yeah, I kind of aggrevated it by doing it, but I am not in any more pain, and if I keep feeling better like I have been I see myself being ready for a full assault next week.

I did play it safe, however! I didn't do as much as I did last week, I actually cut the weight in half. That, and rather than doing it with a bar, I did it with dumbbells.

It actually didn't hurt at all yesterday, and now it's only slightly sore, but nothing compared to what it felt like last week.

I need to stop hurting myself...

Motivational Video Of The Day 5/22/09

Victor Martinez.

What works for me...? Could it work for you?

Okay, so I have been through tons of different workout routines, I've tried everything that I've thought might work or might be interesting.

Ever heard of Doggcrapp (or DC)? Yeah, well, if you haven't and you're anything like me, then stay ignorant of it. If you have, then you know just how intense and demanding it is. I stuck with it for a month and I was done, but what makes it hard to do something intense like that for me is the fact that I do my workouts in my very limited, small gym at my house. Just freeweights and a bench. No machines or anything fun like that to supplement my freeweight workouts....

Then, I tried this one little program that doesn't have a name (as far as I know)...and man was it crazy... I feel that it was most likely geared to those, well, on gear, and as I wasn't it did nothing but make me feel overly tired and in the end I think I actually got weaker after I did it. Basically, when broken down to its simplest form, this program was basically two weeks where you only get one day of rest, and the rest of the days you are working out basically twice a day. So here I was, getting up at 5 in the morning to do squats before getting ready for work, and then as soon as I got off of work I was back at it, all over again...Yeah, not fun... On top of that, doing sixty reps of deadlifts EACH DAY was oh so painful...

Now, as for the one thing that seemed to work best, and I have gone back to it, is the tried and true 5x5 workout routine. It's as cut and dry as it sounds, 5 set of 5 reps on each and every lift, and when you can do all 5 with good form, you increase your weight. That simple. I think that what made me stop doing it the last time that I was happened to be that I hit a brick-wall of a plateau, and I wasn't going up in weights in anything but squats... I was ready to call it quits with 5x5...but looking back, I was in the best shape during that time period, I made the best, most noticable gains back then, and I've definitely lost some of my definition since I've stopped doing 5x5s.

To each his own though, so try them all! Switch it up, but when you find something that works, stick with it, push yourself to overcome the hurdles that it throws at you...and yeah, change the lifts you are doing once in a while to shock your muscles.

Addicted? Ridiculous? Stupid? Dedicated?

I don't know, maybe I'm all of those...

Last week I hurt my back pretty bad doing deadlifts. I have been doing what I can to nurse it this week, but it still hurts. Well, it's that day again, and I'm going to do deadlifts again, knowing very well that my back isn't fully healed and that it still hurts to bend over certain ways...

Okay, you are probably thinking to yourself, "Man, what a freaking idiot." And you know what, I can't say I dont agree with you. Yeah, it's stupid, especially since your back is one of those things that you just don't want to screw with, because once it's messed up you are pretty well S.O.L. However, I've had such a boost in confidence and self worth since I got myself into shape that I don't want to lose what I've worked so hard for.

Back to one of my earlier posts...when I hit a hard patch last year, my whole world fell apart. And it did so for a long time...and since all of that has happened what I had worked so hard to acheive had slowly fallen apart. Well, I'm still paying for it, as I also took a whole month off from working out and had pretty well lost my "perfect" diet....

On one hand, it's deterring me; it's making it harder for me to want to keep at it, and on the other hand it makes me want to push myself that much harder. I look at the videos of the pros, and it gives me something to push for (well...as close to that as you can get naturally)...but since I've taken so many steps backwards, it makes me feel like I am failing, like I'm starting all over again...it makes me feel like I'm hopeless...

I don't want to lose it, but at the same time I almost feel like I already have...

*sigh* Back to the drawing board I suppose...

Motivational Video Of The Day 5/21/09

This is another legend, if you are a serious weightlifter you should know about him.

Dorian Yates..

Prepare to be inspired.

The Importance of Form

I know that this blog isn't meant to be a personal account of thigns that happen to me in my lifting, but at the same time I guess this is a golden opportunity to share with everyone and maybe help someone else from ending up in pain like I am.

Last Thursday, while doing deadlifts, I was going along at my normal pace, and it was going just fine. Well, around the middle of set four, I started to get sloppy and my form was off. At that exact moment when I went back up for another rep, I felt something pull in my lower back, and felt a surge of pain that went from my legs down and my torso up...I almost dropped the weight then and there. I finished out the set, but then for the rest of that day I was in excruciating pain.

It's now Tuesday, and my back still hurts pretty bad...I hope it's nothing major, and I'm going to pretend that it will get better with time, but it still hurts, and it's making doing lots of things difficult/uncomfortable. Even sitting at my desk at work is painful...

So, try not to EVER give up form for speed or to try and jerk around higher weights then you are capable of lifting. In the end, all you are going to end up doing is hurting yourself which in turn hurts your potential gains.

Motivational Video Of The Day

Jay Cutler.

Just watch the video, hopefully when you get done you'll feel like hitting the weights double time.

Creatine? To use or not to use...

There is much debate going on about the effectiveness of creatine. Some people believe that it's gods gift to muscle builders, others think it's a crock. I, honestly, think that it lies somewhere in the middle of these two, and I'll explain why.

Let's begin with why it could be a bit of a crock. If you've done much research on creatine, I'm sure you've seen that there are tons upon tons of different types of creatine on the market. There's CEE (Creatine Ethyl Ester), Creatine Monohydrate, amongst others that companies pin a name on and try to make it sound like it's the "Best, most effective form of creatine ever made, with lots and lots of thorough research." The sad truth, though, is that it tends to be lies and all that they really want is your money with little to no substantial results from their overpriced concoction. Also, a great deal of creatine powders have so little creatine in them that you really aren't reaping the benefits of creatine supplementation by using them. What this all boils down to is that your best bet is to stick with creatine monohydrate, it's creatine in its purest, most effective form. That, and you can buy it in bulk for extremely cheap, rather than spending $50 on some name brand sludge that has some trace amounts of creatine in it.

Higher Power Creatine 1000 grams - Only $36.95 at Bodybuilding.com!

As for the good things about it? It's known to help some (and I won't say all because not all people react well to all substances, just like there are some who wouldn't benefit from using steroids, it's all about the way your body is made up...its chemistry), while others don't really get any results. In most cases, however, studies have shown that creatine supplementation not only can make muscle mass larger (because of the way that creatine pushes water into the muscle cells..."hydrating" them), but creatine supplementation is also shown to give extra energy for lifting as well as helping the muscles recover after a hard lifting routine.

So, in the end, what it ends up boiling down to is...give it a try. If it works for you, then keep using it, it's not like it's an illegal substance, nor is it toxic to your body (unless you use ridiculously high amounts of it, ie in excess of 20g a day), and it has actually been proven to work in most test subjects. I use it (about 8g a day) and while there is no supernatural amount of change, I feel that it does its job, and that it keeps me going, so I will continue to use it.

FruitPunch CellMass, Exclusive Flavor

A bit of motivation for the day..

This man is one of my BIGGEST motivators...

If you are wanting to be huge, ripped, and muscular...then you are probably like me whereas seeing someone that already has that makes you want to push yourself much harder. Though, one thing that I will never do is steroids...I'm trying to not break any laws here...

Enjoy this video though!

One of the hardest things...

It seems to me that one of the hardest things in this game is consistency...

You MUST be consistent in your diet, in progression, every step of the way requires consistency.

For example, I had my diet going perfectly for a good year straight. I was making good lean gains, and I was under 10% body fat. My abs were showing up nicely and I was cut and vascular and loving it. Then, when my life took a turn for the worst, so did my diet. It wasn't that I started eating bad, I started eating less! It was hard for me to stomach thousands of clean calories a day, and some days I only had one thing to eat all day. I was a mess and I was crashing...HARD...

So then, in a vain attempt at catching up, I started a very crappy diet of lots of protein bars and lots of other crap that looks good, but should only be eaten here and there and not all the time. I would end up replacing a whole meal with 2 or 3 Muscle Tech protein bars.

To make a long story short, I had lost all of my energy that I had to work out with, my motivation was slipping, and I've put on some very unwanted fat around the midsection. It's not that much, but it really hurts the ego when the coveted "V" shape is all but gone from your body after you've worked so hard to attain it.

Once you find something that works, stick with it! And if you are serious, don't let little things get in the way and mess it up for you...

The Best Proteins Available?

There are lots of choices out there for proteins. If you are looking for protein to gain muscle with then not all of them are worth your time.

See, people use protein supplements for different reasons. Some people are looking to put on mass while working out hard, others are looking to lose weight/fat and use protein to help as a catalyst. In this post I will go over proteins that I have used that work for me when it comes to wanting to build quality, lean muscle.

For starters, Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein is, hands down, the best quality whey protein I have ever used. It's got a very good nutritional profile, and the amount of protein per serving is above par (approximately 24 grams per scoop). Also, the BCAA profile is excellent. In a cost to serving ratio, again, ON Whey is a good choice, and if you shop around you can probably find it for somewhere around $45 for a 5 lb bucket. Yeah, I know, it sounds expensive, but if you are serious then it's definitely not a waste of your money, I can assure you. My favorite flavors would have to be the Mocha Cappucino and Extreme Chocolate.

Optimum 100% Whey Protein, 5 Lbs., Mocha Cappuccino

Click the image above to purchase Optimum Nutrition Mocha Cappuccino Whey Protein

Secondly, the brand that I started out skeptical about and have grown to love; All The Whey Protein Blend. This stuff is good! Not only does it taste good (mmm, chocolate peanut butter cup), but the price is amazing! Search around a bit and you can probably pick up a 5 lb bag of it for around $30 before shipping. This one comes with a pretty good BCAA profile, and it's not slacking when it comes to grams of protein per serving (22 grams per scoop). I think this one may become my staple as it is so affordable, and it has a great taste to boot. I must add, as with most protein powders, it tastes much better in milk (granted I can't drink milk so I put mine in rice milk) than water, but it's still palpable in water, so don't fret!

All The Whey Whey Protein Blend, 5 Lbs., Cup Cake Batter

Click the image above to purchase All The Whey Protein Blend

There are a few others, and I plan on writing some thorough reviews of all of them soon and posting them on here.

Begin your journey today.

I have struggled for years to figure out how to get in shape, failing on many occassions and wanting to give up so many times.

Finally, I've figured out how to sculpt my body to be the way that I want it, and how to gain muscle efficiently and lose fat fast. However, in the past two years, I have gathered an abundance of good information, tried many different techniques, and have managed to transform myself from flabby and out of shape to toned and trim.

It's not easy, but if you follow me I will post new information that I learn, as well as things that have worked for me. I will also use this blog to give advice on supplements that I have used that I feel have worked well.

I know, it's different for everyone, but hopefully we can work together and figure out what works for you too. Who knows, maybe you too could one day look up in the mirror and see that person that you've always wanted to see there that you never even knew existed.