Image Map

buff guy barcurlingby: Greg Brooks
Bulking Up: The Pre-Game Show

I am officially one bulk/cut cycle away from my first bodybuilding competition, which will take place in April, May, or June of 2005, depending on which one I choose to enter. I will be holding a “bulking” series – an in-depth analysis of everything I do from now until my cutting cycle, complete with logs, pictures, measurements, and everything else imaginable. Now, I shall set the stage, and examine an overview of my plan of attack.

Goals

A good bodybuilder always sets goals for him/herself. This way, one can stay on track and have an easier time following through with difficult tasks—knowing they will all yield specific achievements. An added source of motivation for me is the competition I will partake in. I shall accept nothing less than competing with my best physique possible, so I will do everything in my power to ensure this dream becomes a reality. In order to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to have an extremely solid bulk, followed by an equally successful cut; this brings us to the next topic: bulking strategies.

Bulking 101

There are two traditional options for a bulk: the all-out approach, which consists of gorging yourself with everything that resembles food, and the “clean bulk,” during which one eats at a level only slightly above maintenance (300-500 calories above), and all calories come from “clean” food. Of course, being the determined bastard that I am, these two options are not good enough for me. Ideally, I want to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time!

Ok, you can stop calling me a [insert your favorite insult here], and return to your seated position. Take whatever object you were about to throw at the monitor and place it gently on the desk. Let me further explain myself.

Recently there have been tremendous breakthroughs in the idea of manipulating nutrition partitioning, which is a sector of research which I truly believe is the key to doing what we once thought impossible. For those unaware, nutrition partitioning is what your body does with the food you consume. Your body will either send the nutrients to muscle tissue, or to adipose tissue (fat cells). The bodies of those blessed with good genetics naturally send more of their incoming nutrients to muscle tissue, while the unlucky among us tend to have bodies that tend to send more of the incoming calories to adipose tissue.

Avant Labs has a few products that actually repartition dietary intake; your body is manipulated into sending more of the nutrients to muscle tissue and less to fat cells. Theoretically, this repartitioning would mean one could eat at maintenance calorie levels but reap the benefits of being in a calorie surplus, all while halting fat gain. In other words: maintenance calories in the non-genetically gifted individual should typically yield no fat gain, but no muscle gain either. However, assuming the effectiveness of the repartitioning agent (LeptiGen Mass), more nutrients will be ushered to muscle cells simulating a calorie surplus, and a subnormal (considering maintenance to be normal) amount of nutrients will reach fat cells, encouraging fat loss.

Obviously, I have simplified the process, as there are many, many more facets responsible for fat and muscle mass changes. However, I digress. With the help of these products, a flawless diet, and a workout program that induces anabolism unlike most, I firmly believe that I can either pack on muscle while negligibly increasing fat mass or even while losing fat. So, let the experiment begin!

The Workout

As previously mentioned, I am going to embark on a journey considered impossible or silly by most. In order to accomplish this feat, I need a workout that maximizes the time I spend in an anabolic state. If you are familiar with my articles on nutrition, I am referring to the Window of Opportunity. Interestingly enough, summer is here and I am not working. This leaves me the entire day to schedule my workouts and meals. And, there is nothing more beneficial for intensity levels, nutrient partitioning, and a plethora of other things, than two-a-day workouts.

Think about it. If working out created that anabolic environment for almost three hours, if I can go through the prerequisite (working out) of creating this state twice in one day, I will have doubled the anabolic environment when muscle tissue is repaired and built. Furthermore, almost all the nutrients will be sent to that muscle tissue, with a negligible amount being sent to adipose. Perfect!

Well, let us examine the plan I am going to use. Being a bodybuilder, I am extremely concerned about my symmetry, which is by no means perfect. Henceforth, not only do I want to gain lean body mass throughout my body, but I also want to bring up my weaker body parts and correct any bilateral differences symmetry-wise. I consider these weaker body parts to be my triceps, forearms and hamstrings. I will be focusing on them more than my other body parts, along with my back. Although I do not think my back is much less proportional (if at all) than my other body parts, I want to concentrate on it nonetheless. My left lat is not as developed as my right one, so that must be fixed as well.

Addressing my lower body, my left leg is slightly bigger than my right. The difference in the quadriceps is evident but not present in my hamstrings. However, my right calf is visibly smaller than my left. Considering all of these issues, and also incorporating prioritization, I developed the following routine…

 

Monday

AM: Legs

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Set
4
Squats X
Stiff-Legged DLs
Leg Press X X
Leg Curls
Leg Press (Rt. Leg Only) X X
Hack Squat Calf Raises
HSCF (Right Leg Only) X X

PM: Triceps/Biceps

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Skullcrushers (SS)
Overhead DB Extensions (SS)
Rope Pulldowns (DS)
BB Curls
Hammer Curls X
Incline DB Curls X X

Tuesday

AM: Back/Forearms

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Set
4
Hyperextensions X X
Pull-Ups X
Bent Over BB Rows
DB Rows (Left Only) X
Static BB Holds X

PM: Chest/Abs

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Set
4
Flat DB Bench
Incline DB Bench X
Cable Crossovers X X
Cable Crunches
Decline Sit-Ups

Thursday

AM: Back

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Deadlifts
T-Bar Rows (Close Grip) X
Lat Pulldowns (Wide) X
Lat Pulldowns (V-Bar) X
Seated Rows X

PM: Triceps/Forearms

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Set
4
Set
5
Close Grip Bench Press X X
V-Bar Pulldowns (SS)
Dips (SS)
Behind Back Wrist Curls X X
R Seated DB Wrist Curls X X

Friday

AM:
Shoulders/Traps/Abs

Exercise Set
1
Set
2
Set
3
Set
4
Military Press X
Side Lateral Raises X
Rear Lateral Raises X X
BB Shrugs
Front/Side/Rear Lateral Raises (SS) X X
Cable Crunches
Toe Touches

PM: Legs

style=”border: 1px solid white; width: 590px;” border=”0″>

Exercise

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Leg Curls

Front Squats

X

X

Standing Leg Curls

X

X

Leg Extensions

X

X

X

LE (Right Leg Only)

X

X

Standing Calf Raises

X X

Without elaborating too much, this workout obviously puts me in a solid position to accomplish my goals. However, overtraining is something of concern to me and I have a few remedies to avoid falling into that trap. Firstly, I will not be training to failure—instead I will end my sets 1-2 reps shy thereof. This will prohibit my CNS from dying after the first two weeks, which always helps. Next I will incorporate either a low volume week or a deloading week if/when I feel it may be needed. How I feel, and if progress suddenly halts, will both help determine if/when I utilize one of those tactics. Lastly, I may tweak some aspects of my routine to incorporate the theory of progression if deemed necessary. Regardless, I feel this is a very strong split, and will yield excellent results when used synergistically with the other facets of my bulk.

 

The Diet

Without a doubt, one’s diet is the most important aspect of any attempt at manipulating body composition. To reiterate, my diet will take advantage of the increased anabolic windows that I have created via my workouts. However, I must take into consideration my goals (and my individual phenotypes), and therefore I have fine-tuned my macronutrient ratios. Because I feel I am somewhat carb sensitive my overall carb intake, after considering the carbs burnt as a result of exercise, will be lower than the norm. Additionally my protein intake is much higher than most bodybuilders, as I am a firm, firm believer in the power of protein.

Henceforth, I will be totaling 409 grams of protein per day; 370 of those grams are coming from complete protein sources. At my current weight of about 180 pounds, that is a total of 2.27 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, with about 2 grams of complete protein per pound of bodyweight. Now I am eating an inordinate amount of protein, and I do not expect all of it to be used as such – there is just too much for my body to utilize it all as protein. Thus, a small percentage will be broken down as carbohydrates (after all, protein and carbohydrates are composed of CHON and CHO respectively), which will indirectly increase the amount of carbohydrate (or macronutrients digested similar to carbohydrates) intake each day. To touch on fats, they will total about 20% of my daily caloric intake. With that said, allow me to post the diet:

Meal # Food Serving Size Protein Carbs Fat Calories

1

Oatmeal 1 Cup

12

51

5

291

Splenda 3 Tablespoons

0

5

0

18

ON Whey Protein 1.5 Scoops

35

5

2

176

Skim Plus 1 Cup

11

17

0

112

Natural Peanut Butter 1 Tablespoon

5

4

8

104

SesaThin 1/4 Teaspoon

0

0

1

7

Leptigen Mass 8 Grams

3

0

1

21

Totals 66 (54)

82

17

729

2

ON Whey Protein 1 Scoop

23

3

2

117

Skim Plus 1 Cup

11

17

0

112

Totals

34

20

2

229

3

ON Whey Protein 1.5 Scoops

35

5

2

176

Dextrose 3 Tablespoons

0

30

0

120

Totals

35

35

2

296

4

Oatmeal 1 Cup

12

51

5

291

Splenda 3 Tablespoons

0

5

0

18

Chicken 5.5 Oz

40

0

4

206

Totals

52 (40)

56

9

515

5

Whole Wheat Bread 4 Slices

12

44

4

260

Tuna 6 Oz Can

40

0

5

218

Low, Low Fat Mayo 2 Tablespoons

0

4

4

52

Rice Cakes 2 Cakes

2

20

0

88

Leptigen Mass 8 Grams

3

0

1

21

SesaThin 1/4 Teaspoon

0

0

1

7

Totals

57 (43)

68

15

646

6

Rice Cakes 3 Cakes

3

30

0

132

Skim Plus 1 Cup

11

17

0

112

ON Whey Protein 1 Scoop

23

3

2

117

Totals

37 (34)

50

2

361

7

ON Whey Protein 1.5 Scoops

35

5

2

176

Dextrose 3 Tablespoons

0

30

0

120

Totals

35

35

2

296

8

Oatmeal 1 Cup

12

51

5

291

Splenda 3 Tablespoons

0

5

0

18

Chicken 5.5 Oz

40

0

4

206

Leptigen Mass 8 Grams

3

0

1

21

Totals

55 (43)

56

10

536

9

Sunflower Seeds 1 oz

7

5

14

165

Totals

7

5

14

165

10

Micellar Casein Protein 1 Scoop

22

1

0

90

Natural Peanut Butter 2 Tablespoons

9

7

16

208

Totals

31

8

16

298

Day Total 409 (370)

415

89

4071

My logic, which follows the suggestions presented in my articles on nutrition, highlights a number of things. Firstly, I make sure to have a large breakfast eaten immediately upon awakening. Not coincidentally, this meal is about two hours before my workout.

Then, 40 minutes pre-workout I down a liquid meal, to further prepare for my morning workout. Of course my post-workout shake is present, as is a meal rich in carbohydrates and protein, consumed 60 minutes thereafter. My next meal is eaten to begin the preparation process for my afternoon workout and is accompanied by another liquid meal (save the rice cakes), which I drink 40 minutes pre-workout.

After my post-workout drink and the next post-workout meal, I shift over to mainly fat as my source of calories. I am consuming sunflower seeds (seedless ones for convenience) because they not only are primarily composed of healthy fats and dietary fiber, but also are quite portable. I will be going out during the night and quickly whipping out some seeds is much easier than grilling up a chicken breast or heating up some oatmeal while out on the prowl. Lastly, the micellar casein serves as a nice, slow digesting protein to be taken right before bed along with a source of fat, which will slow down the absorption rate of all nutrients.

 

The Supplements

The last variable in the equation is supplementation. I am a person that must know exactly what he is taking, what it accomplishes and how it works. Unfortunately time constraints prohibit me from individually discussing the various supplements I use to an optimal extent; however, information is waiting to be read on various message boards, or in other articles specifically written to address certain supplements. Additionally, feel free to e-mail me with any questions regarding my supplement usage and I will gladly answer them (or any other queries for that matter). For this section I will not be listing protein or dextrose. Otherwise, here is the list of my supplements:


9 AM:

  • 1 Centrum Multivitamin
  • 500 mg Vitamin C
  • 1000 mg Glucosamine
  • 200 mg r-ALA
  • 1/4 teaspoon SesaThin
  • 1 Serving LeptiGen Mass

10:45 AM:

  • 3 Scoops Black Star Labs’ GO

3 PM:

  • 1000 mg Glucosamine
  • 200 mg r-ALA
  • 1/4 teaspoon SesaThin
  • 1 Serving LeptiGen Mass

4:45 PM:

  • 3 Scoops BSL GO (If needed)

7:15 PM:

  • 200 mg r-ALA
  • 1 Serving LeptiGen Mass

1 hour before bed:

  • 50 mg Zinc (Gluconate)

 

Well, there is my supplement schedule. Now that you know the “whats,” I will briefly address the “whys.”

Upon awakening, I want to provide my body with, among other things, an abundant source of carbohydrates. Therefore, I take 200 mg of r-ALA in order to minimize (as much as possible) the insulin spike caused by this large amount of carbs. The multivitamin and vitamin c are both more or less standard issue, so there is no need to address those extensively. However, I do take one gram of glucosamine for joint support. No, I do not experience chronic joint pain, but given the stress of my routine, I want to take preventative measures as functioning joints are underrated. This is one of the times I will take LeptiGen Mass, which is a crucial player in the success of this program. Lastly, I take SesaThin for many different reasons, from its ability to increase fat oxidation to its extremely high EPA/DHA content. For more information on LeptiGen Mass and SesaThin, see Avant Labs’ web site.

Because I complete my morning workout relatively close to the time I wake up, I want to make sure that my intensity levels are not compromised. Thus, I will consume one serving of BSL’s GO at the recommended time of 15 minutes pre-workout. GO has a bunch of nice ingredients (EAAs, neurotransmitters, nootropics, etc.) that make a relatively potent ephedra-free alternative that doesn’t require you to down 600 mgs of caffeine. Given the ingredients, it packs a significant punch.

My 3:00 p.m. meal is the time where I am far enough away from the post-workout anabolic state that I begin to get concerned about insulin levels (remember I am relatively carb sensitive). Ideally, I would pop 400 mgs of r-ALA at every carb meal, but this is impossible from a financial standpoint, so I must limit my intake to the most beneficial time periods. This meal meets those requirements. In addition I consume another gram of glucosamine (my protocol is two grams daily, split into two doses), some more SesaThin and my LeptiGen Mass.

If I feel the need to, I will down another serving of BSL GO before my second workout of the day. Once again, if I could financially, I would surely take this serving daily. However I need to prioritize, and my morning workouts were scheduled first because they are more important to me, thus I will most likely only be taking GO once per day.

The reasoning behind the final dose of r-ALA is exactly the same as my 3:00 p.m. dose, so there is no need to further explain. This meal is also when I take my final dose of LeptiGen Mass. I feel that I cannot adequately discuss this advanced supplement without deviating too greatly from the purpose of this article, so I will once more refer you over to Avant Labs’ web site for a more detailed and justified explanation.

Approximately one hour before bed I will consume my final supplementation for the day—50 mgs of Zinc in the form of Zinc Gluconate. I feel that spending money on ZMA is excessive when I can get straight up zinc (albeit Gluconate as opposed to Aspartate) for a couple bucks. Regardless of whether the zinc actually increases my testosterone levels is merely a bonus to me; I use it because it allows me to get the much needed rest required to get up the next day and do it all over again.

Conclusion

Well, this marks the end of my Pregame Show. I feel that you should have a more than adequate understanding of my goals and how I am going to reach them. For all of the doubters out there that feel I will not be able to accomplish the “impossible,” I thank you for fueling my fire. I will leave you all with this little tidbit: research has proven that testosterone levels are higher in males during summer months than in the others (I refer you to this article written by John Berardi for more information). I figured I would add this piece of information just for all of you to know, so take advantage of the increased T levels, and go out there and make some progress this summer. I know I will be doing exactly that. Until next time, this is Greg signing off.

×