Last month, I introduced you to Jeanne, who is trying to go from super-shredded, low cal, cardio-based workouts, to bulking and muscle-building. I am not her coach, or her adviser, she is doing all of her own research and coming up with her own diet and routines. This is our last checkup to see how her bulk went.
IB: Where are you in the scheme of your plan?
Although it feels like I have been doing this bulk/cut forever, I am actually only a little over half-way done with the bulk (ugh!), THEN I have a 14(ish)-week cut. I am DYING to start cutting now, but I love my long-term goals and know I have to stay the course to achieve them.
IB: What have you noticed since you started putting on muscle?
I started tracking my deadlifts, shoulder press, and bicep curls a month into the bulk – so, about a month ago - and have made some good strength gains:
Deadlifts – 1 rep max 206 lbs, 10/16; 218 lbs, 11/7. I had a mental breakthrough with this as the initial 200 lb deadlift was accomplished with a trainer. It was a HUGE barrier for me to even put the 200 pounds on last week and try it by myself. I was pleased to pull off a 3rd rep and - even though the weight increase wasn’t huge - getting over the mental barrier was.
Shoulder press – 1 rep max 62 lbs, 10/16; 90 lbs, 11/11
Bicep curl – 1 rep max 72 lbs, 10/20; 76 lbs, 11/12
Conclusion? Food is good!! I have also been able to lift more weight in ALL other types of exercises as well – lat pulldowns, concentration curls, squats, etc. Every week I am able to go a little heavier. It’s very cool.
IB: What is the next step?
This upcoming week’s challenge is to take a break from supplements. I do that between bb.com challenges and our last challenge ends this weekend. I’ll have to substitute matcha and lemon juice (blech and makes me slightly nauseous, but good for me) for my preworkout. And, for protein powder, I’ll just be doing LOTS and LOTS of meal prep this weekend.
IB: Matcha and lemon juice... ouch.
Part of me wonders why I just don’t skip the supplements, altogether, and stick with food. But, along with convenience, I truly believe there is a place for them in an intense training regimen that food can’t fill as completely as supplements can. For the average person, it’s a multi-vitamin (why not just eat what you need instead of a pill?) For a “bodybuilder” (I still hesitate to use that word to describe me because I don’t compete), it’s proper supplementation with lots of whole food – lean protein, fruits and vegetables (spinach! spinach! spinach!) and good carbs/fats. Be sure to throw in common sense and a breather from supps every couple months to let your body flush out and regroup for the next round (ding! ding!).
IB: Great. Best of luck on the rest of your bulk. We'll check in later, when it's over and you are ready to cut, then once when you are done cutting, so people can see the process of building muscle, then leaning out.
I reeeeeaaalllly want to thank Liz for suggesting that I do a bulk. I can’t imagine where I would have ended up without it, potentially quitting “all this” out of aggravation. I also want to thank her for opening up her blog to my little journey, here. It’s been motivating, therapeutic, and kept me one step ahead of the game, planning-wise. I have loved it and learned - and grown (ha!) - SO MUCH in such a short amount of time. Love ya’, man . . . (sniff)
IB: Awww, shucks.
And, thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read – and especially to those who made comments on - these articles. It’s very flattering and, again, motivating. I will see you all at the end of my bulk, with some more progress pictures, updates, and plans for the cut.