It’s been a while since I last blogged about my Body Beast progress. It’s been a busy few weeks both from a life and a workout perspective which has caused me to miss a few sessions. A couple of music festivals, weekends away and working away have meant that the 12 week journey is going to take a little longer. I don’t worry about this because, whilst this is defined as a 12 week programme, working out is something I just do now. It won’t finish at the 12 week mark because I’ll simply set myself another challenge or embark on a new programme. I’m still loving the workouts, although the definition of love when it comes to legs is a little different to the norm. Bulk legs requires me to dig deep to get started and continue to ‘beast up’ to get through it but I know that this one workout probably drives bodily change like no other so I push on through. This morning I decided to get up early in order to workout before coming into the office (I usually work from home). So up at 5:45, BCAAs, creatine and black coffee necked I went at Bulk Chest. Usually fasted training leaves me feeling pretty empty of energy but maybe the addition of creatine to the mix helped me as I added weights to almost all the movements. The muscles across my chest and, to some degree, my triceps experienced a fantastic pump and fatigue by the end. Over the weekend I had an extra rest day (from weights) in order to do some mountain biking. I rode for 2 hours on some pretty demanding terrain. After 30 minutes I was done [...]
It’s been a good while since I’ve blogged about my Body Beast progress. That’s partly down to laziness, partly down to the fact there’s little for me to report day-to-day that I felt warranted me writing about. I thought it best instead to write a catch-up blog and here it is. In terms of progress I’ve just completed day 1, week 2 of the Beast phase. This phase is designed to help you shed any excess fat you might have accumulated while going through the Build and Bulk phases. I can say that for me, there was a bit, especially around the midsection. In order to achieve this my target calories have dropped down by about 1000 which is relatively easy for me, I simply cut out the Weight Gainer shake and my daily dose of instant oats and protein. Toward the end of the bulk phase I felt myself beginning to plateau. The same progression of the same exercises in the same order for 6 weeks seemed to begin to lose its effectiveness. I can see however that I’ve made decent gains in size and strength over the period. As I worked through my final week of Bulk I was really looking forward to changing things up, even it meant fewer calories. Also I’ve racked up a few injuries, my inside elbow is sore on bicep contraction at some angles (particularly on chinups where the movement is simply too painful to attempt). Also, my right hip flexor is strained meaning certain lunges are too painful to do too. I’ve taken the recommendation from Paul in TiM to apply a Band-It compression bandage and apply Tiger Balm (the smell reminds me of being a [...]
I’ve been a bit lackadaisical recently with regard to keeping up-to-date on the old blog so here I am (with a kick up the arse from Kt – thanks So, as so often seems to be the case in the summer, I had a busy weekend. Meeting up with friends who rarely get out due to their newborn baby and then a work doo and a spot of camping. This meant consuming a bit of alcohol on Friday and Saturday. Luckily Saturday was a rest day in the calendar. It’s a choice I make, it’s rare for me to have two nights out in a row on the pop but I understand that it will impact my performance in my workouts and that’s fine with me. I balance it with being super clean on all of the other days of the week. So, Sunday was my 2nd crack at Bulk Chest. Thanks to my naughty weekend it was tough, weights actually went down on some moves. Alcohol wasn’t totally to blame, this was in part down to having to sleep on the floor of the office. (Long story). At the end though, the burn in my chest, so clearly defined in terms of where the pain started and ended, was intense. Form was deliberate and controlled to compensate for the lack of energy and I think it was a good workout. Today was the dreaded “legs day”, my second crack at bulk legs. At the end of it, I literally wrung the sweat out of my T-shirt. It’s one hell of a workout, requiring so much energy, determination and focus. Legs are my nemesis but I’m determined that I won’t look like Brad from Home [...]
Today for me began the Beast Bulk phase with Bulk Chest. I’ve been really excited about moving into this phase due to its focus on one body part per workout and it didn’t disappoint. Nearly 4 hours later and I still have a deep tiredness in my pecs. This was the first time I’ve ever done a ‘Force Set’. This a sequence of 5 sets of 5 reps with 10 seconds rest between each where you hold the weight at the beginning of the movement. I did this with 18kg dumbbells and the last set was a massive challenge and form went out the window. It was also my introduction to Progressive Sets for incline press. They work like this: choose a light, medium and heavy weight. Start with 15 light, 12 medium, 8 heavy without rest. Then 90 seconds break before going back the other way with 8 heavy, 12 medium and 15 light. Again, that final set was a killer, using 13.5 kg dumbbells that felt like anvils, I got to 12 before having to drop the weight and use just the handles of my powerblocks. I think I’m going to like this phase End of Build Phase stats: Height: 5′ 11″ ( No change ) Weight: 182lb (up 4lb) BF%: 9.9% (up 0.7% all in my legs apparently) LBM: 164 (Up 2lb)
This is the start of the final week of build and it’s probably my favourite build workout – Shoulders. I like the fact it’s focussed on one muscle group, whereas the other upper body workouts are paired up – Chest & Tris, Back & Bis – meaning your arms are pre-exhausted before hitting them specifically. For that reason, I’m looking forward to the Bulk phase which appears to focus on one muscle group at a time. I had a rather staccato start to the workout, I just finished the warm-up and a call came in, then an urgent message on my computer, then the estate agent with a (rather low) offer on my house. All of which I couldn’t put off responding to. Once that little volley was over with, I got stuck in. Managed to raise my weights again on most movements with good form, albeit sometimes by as little as 1kg but every little counts. I blasted through the 1,1,2 front raises through a burn the like of which I’ve never felt before in my front deltoid. Amazing. Next up was Beast Abs, I’ve not felt this how I should in the last couple of goes but today I felt it hit my midsection much more. That said, I still don’t think it’s quite as good a core & abs workout as the likes of Athlean X 6 Pack Promise, P90X Ab Ripper X or Ab Ripper X2 so I may sub in some extra abs during the bulk phase. Tomorrow is a rest day, then only 5 workouts before I start to bulk
This is a bit of catch up blog of the last 3 days. Due to the unexpected fillip of getting the chance to see the Olympic rowing at Eton Dorney yesterday I swapped my rest day and chest days around. So Thursday night I got stuck into my Build chest and tris workout wondering if the previous day’s exertions on shoulders would affect my performance. As it turned out this was by best performance yet on chest, flat pressing 32kg in each hand, a personal best. Went up on almost all exercises and managed far more unassisted press-ups; very pleasing. Yesterday’s experience of the Olympic was amazing. I saw GB win a gold and two bronzes in a fantastic facility, beautifully organised and I even caught a bit of sun. After the racing I had a go on the rowing machine and canoe ergo machine in the experience tent and came 2nd out of 4 in my race to a 6ft 4in rower so pretty happy with that. After the rowing I caught up with some old footie mates and a lot of beer was consumed. In fact, the whole day was a bit of a write-off from a nutrition perspective. Fish & chips, pizza, beer and whisky. I double checked the nutrition guide but I couldn’t find any mention of these foods. Today began with a hangover and an early start to sort my house out ready for a couple of viewings then Build Legs it was. What a struggle! Unsurprising really and my own fault given yesterday’s exploits. I had a mental battle all day and was seriously considering postponing this one but the beast prevailed and I got stuck in. I matched [...]
Today was week 2, day 2 of my Body Beast journey. You pile straight into a 4 sets of deadlifts with dumbbells. Despite my legs being sore from yesterday I upped my weights here. I have to be honest, I don’t copy Sagi’s form perfectly here. His form seems to involve his back being almost parallel to the floor at the bottom of the movement, whereas I prefer a more upright position, more akin to a real barbell deadlift. Next up is a superset of dumbbell pullovers and pullups. Again, I upped the weight on my pullovers but my pullups suffered, probably as a result. I managed the full complement of 10 on the first set but then 4/6, 3/7 (unassisted/assisted) on the following two sets. As Tony H would say, I presently struggle with pullups, and always have. Pressing exercises are much more my thing, I think biomechanically I have shorter arms which might explain why. I’m sure you now have a picture in your head of a human-T-Rex hybrid but I can assure you they’re not quite that short EZ Bar rows went up in weight too but weights on one arm rows remained the same but form was better than last time so I’m happy with that. Reverse flys went up. After this you’re into a serious, expletive inducing, bicep blast. Most weights went up here and so did the expletive count. The burn here is incredible, across four sets you do 129 reps on each arm! Then you blast what remaining muscle fibres you have intact with some EZ Bar curls. (Sagi properly cheats his last set here, a disgrace – leave your ego at the door he says, hypocrite!) [...]
Today I started my second week with the Beast with the punishing Build – Legs workout. As I’ve said before, legs workouts kill me for some reason so it’s with a degree of trepidation that I took the plunge today, knowing this time what I was up against. I’m proud to say I gave it my all, went higher on most of the weights and finished the session feeling totally spent. As with last time, this workout really took it out of me. Now, 4 hours later I’m still struggling with energy levels, despite having a good dose of carbs and protein for lunch and a mid-afternoon snack since then. Early night for me, I think.
Yesterday wasn’t the best preparation for the workout, a day out in London with the boys to watch the road cycling followed by consummate amounts beer and gin. However, I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of taking on the beast. Plenty of water before bed, a bit of a lie in, some ibuprofen and a dose of Jack3d and I was back in the zone. On day 7 you tackle the Chest & Tris workout for the 2nd time so you know what you’re up against, understand the pacing and can focus on the workout a little better rather than having to pay close attention to Sagi on TV. Most of my weights went up this time, which I’m pretty pleased with. I took a conscious decision to drop the weight slightly on the tricep kickbacks in order to get a better contraction at the end of the movement and felt the burn in my tris much more as a result. I do find that, due to pushing so hard on the dumbbell moves, the finishers of decline pushups and tricep pushups are a real struggle. I’ve yet to manage a full complement but I’m sure that’ll come. Feeling good now, enjoying the journey, now need to devour some food…
Today was cardio and abs day, a day off the weights you might think. Not exactly. Beast Cardio is a 30 min interval training workout. For most of the movements you’ve got a pair of dumbbells in your hands and doing compound, multi body part movements. For example, a sumo squat followed by trapezius raise for 20s then hold under load for 10s, repeat a further 2 times. My traps being toast from yesterday’s shoulder workout, I felt this deeply. I went really light on the dumbbells here, 3kg in each hand and for me, that was enough. I was blowing hard at the end of the 30 mins with heart rate sky high. I think I’ve lost some cardio fitness since I was doing P90X. Recovery from this workout was fast though, within 25 mins of finishing I felt like I could do more. After the 30 minutes of cardio I then took on Beast Abs. This is a 10 minute workout, some with weights like Russian Twist and others without, such as regular crunches. This started out well, Sagi encouraging hard contraction of the abs in the opening crunches and then maintaining a low body position in Russian Twists (far lower than in P90X, for example) making moving a dumbbell back and forth across the body particularly challenging. However, after this I didn’t feel too much more in my abs. There are lot of plank based movements which are great for core but maybe not so much for abs. The burn I’ve felt in Ab Ripper X, Ab Ripper X2 and Athlean X-6 Pack Promise have been far greater than in this workout. Which gives me a quandry, do I swap it out [...]
After getting a little mixed up and reading the Lean Beast schedule rather than Huge Beast I thought I was lined up for a Beast Cardio workout. My legs are still burned out from Tuesday’s leg session so finding out that Shoulders was on the cards was a welcome relief. This workout introduced a couple of new exercise to me. The EZ Bar Underhand Press, basically a barbell shoulder press with palms facing inwards and the amusingly named Sagi Six Way. The latter involves doing a seated lateral raise then at the top of the motion moving the weights forward until they’re in front of your face, then from there you lift them, straight arm, to a vertical position. Then you do it all in reverse for 1 rep in total. It’s a killer and an amazing way to finish off all three heads of the shoulder. I loved this workout, just like the others it’s focussed on the combination of single, super, giant and drop sets which totally exhaust the whole shoulder girdle and traps. All-in-all it felt supremely effective. Tomorrow is cardio, having had a quick look at the workout to see what was coming it looks like P90X plyometrics crossed with Insanity Plyo Cardio Circuit….with weights!
I woke up this morning fired up and looking forward to this one. Then events of the morning took an emotional toll leaving me listless and tired. After some encouragement from Team Immortal and a scoop and a half of Jack3d I got stuck in. It’s amazing how physical exertion can help you clear your mind, at least for a while, as you pour your energy into slinging some heavy metal around. So, what of the workout? Here’s that word again. Intense. There is no let up, it just keeps coming at you. Also, another humbling experience as you transition from back into bicep exercises you do 3 sets of 30 second close grip chin-ups. On the final set I managed 1 unassisted chin-up. 1! I’ll say that again, 1. Bonkers. Then it’s into a progression of single sets with a drop set for each final set of 8. The killer here for me is 1,1,2 hammer curls. That’s a left arm hammer curl, a right arm hammer curl, then both arms together. That counts for 1 rep. The progression is 15, 12, 8, 8. By my reckoning that’s 129 curls. No wonder my arms felt like they were ready to explode. Then you polish the lot off with 4 sets of EZ Curls. Afterwards I felt awesome, arms and back were incredibly pumped and mentally I felt clearer. It’s cardio and beast abs tomorrow. Not sure exactly what to expect, except I’m sure there’ll be more heavy metal…
As those of you in the Team Immortal Facebook group know, I begun my Body Beast journey this week, perhaps not surprisingly I’ve decided on ‘Huge Beast’ rather than ‘Lean Beast’. My first day of the programme was Monday 23rd July meaning, if I run to schedule, I will finish on 21st October. My aim for this workout, as you might expect, is to add lean muscle mass. The programme claims you can add 10lbs so that’s what I’m shooting for since his lines up with the key reason why I workout which is, as I get older, for as long as I possibly can, I want to get stronger. Whether it be lifting heavier, cycling or running further or walking longer I want to challenge the ageing process. My current age is 35. Some facts and figures: My starting weight is 12st 10lb (178lb) Body Fat Percentage (according to warrior callipers) is 8.6% Lean Body Mass = 162lb I’ll be keeping a keen eye on these figures as I progress. I might even post some pictures at some point. The first phase or block of Body Beast is Build. This is 3 weeks of 6 days on, 1 day off. Before receiving the programme I’d run through some of the workouts via worksheets in order to understand the progressions and movements and I’m glad I did because during the workout you get very little time to think. So, by way of a quick catch up, here’s a quick synopsis of the two workouts I’ve done so far: Build-Chest/Tris This workout introduces what appears to be a recurring theme in the programme – Dynamic Set Training (trademarked by BeachBody) This involves a progression of single [...]