“A fast-paced fitness attack guaranteed to torch body fat, build muscle, and boost your strength” is the claim that bodybuilding.com make on the home page of Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred program and and after stumbling around yesterday towards the end of my gym session, looking like someone who was drunk and lost, it’s fair to say they’re not wrong.
2 weeks have passed since I completed Kris Gethin’s 12 week Muscle Builder, and though I used that time to complete 30 minutes of cardio a day (swimming, running and 1 day attempting to surf on a wave machine), I was also enjoying daily beers & cocktails, and my diet was hardly what nutritionists would class as ‘healthy’. Curries, lasagne’s, wedges, pizza’s, yorkshire puddings, burgers and local Singaporean fare…I guess that’s what a vacation does to a man who has been living on eggs, oatmeal, broccoli and ground meat for the previous 12 weeks.
Day 1 went by without much issue. My technique was sloppy on both the bench press and incline dumbbell press, which left me a bit cheesed off. I didn’t embrace the mind-muscle connection (the idea of picturing the target muscle group that you are working on as hard as possible while performing the exercise. A great tool to build muscle which I would recommend trying) and as a result, I came away feeling as though I had cheated myself a bit. Thankfully, come the decline Smith macine press, I was able to put this to one side and use as much mental energy as possible to focus on the target muscles and came away a lot more satisfied.
Just as annoying is that I feel as though my strength has decreased. This isn’t a feeling, it’s a fact, as teh weight I was lifting on certain exercises was a fair bit less than 2 weeks previous. Probably due to the aforementioned diet and not having taken any creatine supplements over the previous 2 weeks, it’s fair to say there is a lot to be done in the next 6 weeks. This contributed to me using the rest-pause principle on quite a few occasions to make sure I hit the target number of reps the program requires.
As for the cardio acceleration, it was tough, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Little did I know that it was waiting for day 2 to say “now I’m gonna kick you arse.”
It’s been 6 years since I’ve sweat so much, when training Muay Thai in Bangkok. With a humidity level of 60-80%, temperatures of 80-90 degrees and a gym that thought it woudl be a bright idea to replace the air conditioning with ONE fan, coming away with a t-shirt drenched in sweat and looking like someone had chewed me up and spit me out is completely understandable. In a small village in the south west of England, during the winter, and a gym that has the windows open, not so much.
Cardio acceleration coupled with leg day no joke. The extra oxygen required to work the largest muscle group in one’s body, along with moving straight into a 60 second cardio blast and repeating 10 times certainly tests you, both mentally and physcially. At one point, during the single leg-leg press, I stood up from doing Mountain Climbers (my acceleration move of choice) and found myself wondering where I was. I circled twice, confused and dazed, before regaining my bearings. In hindsight, slowing the cardio down and gviving my body chance to perform more effectively would have been a wise idea, and one I’ll be taking with me into the next leg workout.
The food plan has been going as expected – consitent and boring. Tuna, ground beef, spinach, brown rice, cottage cheese, broccoli, eggs, avocado. Rinse and repeat. For me, switching onto autopilot diet wise is the most assured way of staying consistent with the macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) required. I’m not a fan of cooking for the week, but by changing foods it means to much time calculating whaat you need to eat each day, which, as a man with a regular job and social expectations, I just can’t dedicate the time to. Jim Stoppani is a professional in this game, I’m just a skinny fella looking to build muscle!
It’s certainly understandable after 3 days why the recommended carb level is at 1.5 grams to every lb of bodyweight. You certainly need to get used to the energy output required for these workouts and with carbs providing the main source, starting with a higher amount before lowering in week 2 makes complete sense. I haven’t been hitting the required macronutrients exactly (Protein – 255 grams, Carbs – 255 gram, Fats 85 grams), but I’m close enough not to worry about it (Protein – 257, Carbs – 242, Fats 80). As I’ve said, I’m training for personal gains, not a competition. Close is fine as far as I am concerned and I’m fully confident this will be fine to reach my target body fat percentage.
- Start cardio acceleration at your own pace. As long as you are keeping your heart rate up this will be enough. You will know when you are ready to push it further
- I’m using quite a few supplements, which I will go into more detail about in a later post, but I would advise that Whey Protein (fast acting post workout shake) and Creatine (allows you to keep intensity of lifting up) are necesseties above all others. I’ve had really speedy service from both www.bodybuilding.com and www.myprotein.com, delivered within a day of ordering online.
I’ll be touching base again on rest day to discuss hoe the remainder of the week has gone. Feel free to leave your comments and/or ask any questions.
This post contains affiliate links for bodybuilding.com and myprotein.com