A Jim of All Trades

Gaining Weight – Part 3 of 3

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Last week I finally finished the six month lifting program I was doing in conjunction with a revamped diet in an effort to put on some weight. I did an official weigh-in the day after finishing and …drum roll… I gained a total of eight pounds.

My feelings on this: meh. I’m not disappointed, but am not overly happy either. Just meh.

My first concern was that most of the weight gain was fat and unfortunately I can’t confirm how much fat I gained. I completely forgot about checking my body fat percentage before starting six months ago. I did check it the day after finishing the program though, and my body fat percentage was surprising low. Like, as low as it’s ever been in my adult life since I began checking it. So that probably takes care of that concern.

Truthfully, I don’t know how to judge my gains. Is eight pounds in six months good, or not really? I’m definitely a hard gainer and at my age I think it might be getting harder to put on muscle, but eight pounds over six months still seems low. I was hoping for more.

Anyway, it was a neat little experiment. I’ve done a wide variety of different workouts since I first began lifting and have gone to great measures tracking my progress building strength, but never have paid this much attention to physical changes before. (To note, I did actually take some measurements before and after to document any physical changes, but I’m not going to get into that on here.) If I have a weak link in my training, I’m pretty sure it’s my diet. Though I’m paying more attention to it, it’s nowhere near the amount of effort true lifters and body builders put into planning out what they eat. I simply don’t have the motivation or interest to get to that level. I think I’ll continue to eat how I am now, and I think I already take my working out pretty seriously, so if I can keep making gains over time I should be satisfied with that.

The Work Out:
I don’t think I’ve really spoken about it on here… it was called “Max OT” and I had found it online when searching for ideas last year. It subscribes to using high weights for low reps for training. That’s sort of what drew me too it; through my personal experience I’ve always done better at gaining strength under similar programs. It was created by a natural body builder (forget his name) and seemed more legit than some things I come across, so I gave it a go.

Having completed it though, I can’t say I’d do it again. I didn’t like the low number of sets that you typically do. The amount of work done was by design and while I understand not wanting to over train, at times I wondered if I was training enough. Overall I felt like I had good workouts most of the time, it’s just weird only doing a few sets spread out over a number of different exercises. I don’t fault the program for any shortcomings I had in making gains; just heading out of it, I feel sort of lack luster about how it was structured.

In the end, I think this just reenforced something I’ve believed for a while: There’s no absolute right way of lifting for all different kinds of people. There most certainly are things you absolutely should not do, and things that are better to do than others, but there’s no one fit-all-solution for everyone.

For example, the guy who created this program was a really big, ripped competing body builder who swore by doing a lot of weight for few reps; it’s what worked for him. You hardly ever did more than six reps in any of his exercises, and you’d usually only do two or three sets per exercise. But, there are just as many really ripped, big body builders who swear by doing more sets and more reps. Take Hugo Rivera for example; I’ve been looking at some of his workouts recently and don’t think I’ve ever seen him recommend anything less than six reps per set, and usually he’s doing more, though still keeping the total workout time down.

To me, it just goes to show that there are different ways of accomplishing the same goal and the same thing won’t work for everyone. This might seem like common sense, but take a glance at the covers of fitness magazines sometime, or search around online for workout ideas. You’ll see a lot of “guaranteed results” and strong wording about the massive gains you’re sure to make, or the amount of weight you’ll lose. I could really get off topic going into this, hopefully you get my point.

Closing Up:
Next week I’m going to dive into another lifting program, and though I’ll take it seriously as always, I’m not going to the same level of detail in tracking body changes as I just did. I don’t think I’ll be doing any posts related to it or my progress, either. I just wanted to do this series to track my progress, and maybe someone will stumble upon this and find something that’s helpful, but I might even decide to remove the posts after a bit now that I’m done with it; we’ll see.

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Written by Jim

April 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm

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