9/28 – 182.4lbs – Back – 2100 calories eaten – 2600 calories burned (3.5 miles – 7000 steps)
9/29 – 184.8lbs – Legs – 2000 calories eaten – 2800 calories burned (6 miles – 12700 steps)
9/30 – 183.6lbs – Cardio – 1900 calories eaten – 3000 calories burned (6.75 miles – 16000 steps)
10/01 – 183.2lbs – Shoulders – 2100 calories eaten – 2750 calories burned (5.24 miles – 11000 steps)
10/02 – 183.6lbs – Off – 1900 calories eaten – 2500 calories burned (2 miles – 4410 steps)
10/03 – 181.2lbs – Pull – 2500 calories eaten – 2550 calories burned (3.5 miles – 7500 steps)
10/04 – 182.3lbs – Push – 2600 calories eaten – 2600 calories burned (4 miles – 8000 steps)
This week I’ve been focusing on 8 reps for usually 3 sets maybe 4 on just about everything. 8 reps is a very interesting amount of reps, because it seems to be the perfect middle ground between strength and hypertrophy. 6-12 is the recommended “golden range” for bodybuilders because these are where most of the metabolic and size advantages come from. Anything below 6 reps is pure power, but you can gain power without an visual changes. Going below 6 reps usually taxes the Central Nervous System, which results in some pretty bad fatigue if you do it too often. Since I like lifting heavy, maintaining perfect form and training daily, 8 reps seems to be the holy grail. I played around with different ranges like pyramids, 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 sets of 12 reps and even burn out sets, which are good if you do them correctly, but it was a nice feeling to go into they gym have 3 sets of 8 reps in mind for everything and just knock it out. I also got an incredible pump on everyday.
3 sets of 8 reps is also nice because if you go too heavy and hit 6 reps thats fine, because its still in that prime range. On the other hand, if you go to light, you’ll probably hit around 10 reps, which is still in the optimal range. Its also easy to progressively overload this way. Last week I did DB bench for 80×8,8,7. This week I did 85×8 80×8,7. Next week I will do 85×8,8 80×8. (thats the goal anyway) So by slowing increasing the weights each week, muscular strength is easily achieved.
I also plan to go back to Push/Pull/Legs/OFF repeat. So it would be 6 days a week and hit all muscles twice a week. I may only do one legs days, but not sure yet. I felt the shoulder and arms day was fun, but unnecessary. I would much rather hit the big muscles twice a week and finish off the arms and shoulders after they have already been hit by the prime movers. I noticed if I do a couple of bench press exercises, my shoulders are on fire. But sometimes if I hit the shoulders on their own day, I barely feel a pump. (not sure why this is, because the form is on point, but the pump just doesn’t show.) Same with biceps though. They wont get sore from an arms day, but do heavy rows and pullups and then knock out two curl exercises for 3 sets of 8 reps and they will feel beaten down the next day. For my body, I feel this is my ideal split that basically comes crawling back to me every time I leave it.
I implemented some activation techniques this week as well. Basically activating the muscle with bodyweight or light weights before you begin with the heavy weights. Pushups of varying angles on push day, bodyweight squats on legs day and pullups on pull day seems to help tremendously with the mind muscle connection, which is very important to have to feel the muscle working. It leads to a much better pump than excluding it from the workout.
Details of the P/Pu/Legs split:
One of the pull days will focus on vertical pulling and the other one focused on horizontal. Traps, rear delts and biceps will be done on both days.
One of the push days will focus on chest, while the other shoulders.
The legs day will hit everything in a balanced fashion and hit abs at the end. I am taking a more narrow stance with squats to hit more quad instead of hamstrings.
On the rest days, I plan to do nothing. Walk a little bit at slow pace is fine, but no incline cardio. I want this day to just let the body recover.
Cardio is just a 5-10 minute run before I lift to get the blood flowing and wake up the body.
Each workout will be 6-7 exercises for 3 sets of 8 on everything.
Sample Push Workout:
- DB Bench
- INC 30 degrees DB Bench
- DB Shoulder Press
- Cable lateral raise
- Skull Crusher
- Rope Pushdown
I plan to bump up the calories to around 2300 on workout days and 2000 on rest days. The extra 300 calories is for the increased volume in my workouts and also increased training frequency.
I read a pretty interesting article about Frank Zane, who is bodybuilder that peaked 20-30 years ago. He basically stated his calories rarely went over 3000 and he stayed right around the mid to low 2000’s most of the time. He was around 185lbs with a very low body fat meaning his Lean Body Mass was around 180lbs. I estimate mine to be around 165lbs. But the point is, he found a calorie range that worked for him. As I wrote in my calorie article, just because a calculator predicts you might burn 3000 calories a day, doesn’t mean you do. The body is very complex and many factors play a role in how much you can eat without storing fat. Clay Hyght on Tnation also consumes around the same amount I do.
A good general rule I find pretty accurate for someone that trains 4-6 times a week, but isn’t an athlete or doing endurance cardio for an hour a day or more:
LBM x 12 = Fat loss
LBM x 14 = Body Recomp
LBM x 15 = Maintenance with a 1-200 calorie bump to accelerate muscle gains, but if you look bloated the next day than its too much food.
Most people should be feeding their lean body mass, which again is your total weight – body fat. Its doing most of the metabolic functions in the body and its also something you should strive to increase. LBM can also increase while total bodyweight either stays the same or decreases. This is why its important not to eat too many calories because even though your LBM will go up, so you will you fat stores. By finding a sweet spot (body recomposition) you can increase the LBM will losing or maintaining total weight. In other words, more muscle less fat and that’s what most people are looking for.