There are workout sessions where you can just feel that you are getting stronger. Where you’re in that state of flow for the duration of your time at the gym. You can feel the muscles contracting through every rep. When gripping the bar, you feel as though it’s about to crumble in youur hands. You feel as though every press, every pull and every squeeze is doing exactly what it should. Week 2 was one of those weeks.
If week 1 was about dusting off the cobwebs and getting my body used to being in the gym again, then week 2 was about reminding my body how to work effectively. The mind-muscle connection is real and being able to embrace this fully allowed me to get the most out of every workout during week 2. I’m feeling bigger and stronger as a result…a feeling every skinny fella should have.
Training – Weights
Week 2 saw a change in the weight lifted and the volume of repetitions. As with the previous week, it was broken into 2 phases – phase 1 uitlising heavy, compound movements and phase 2 seeing a focus on lighter, isolation movements. During phase 1, I increased the weight used and aimed for 8 repetitions per set. During phase 2, I went to 20 repetitions per exercise. This was up from 15 reps the week before. I was keen to push myself, so I kept the weight the same as week 1.
Lifting the heavier, compound movements, I was pleasantly surprised with how much stronger I felt compared to week 1. I reached 8 reps on all activities and felt I could have pumped out some more on certain activities. I used the rest-pause principle sparingly, which was extremely satisfying. If somebody had handed me a phone book with the way I was feeling, I could have ripped it in half!
Moving onto phase 2, the progression and feeling of increased strength continued. I was determined to push myself and keep the weight the same for every activity from week 1. For example, the previous week I squeezed out 4 sets of 15 reps of leg extensions, with weight at 54kg. This took me to failure at 15 reps. This week, I went for 4 ssets of 20 reps, using the same weight. Although I had to use rest-pause with almost every activity, I was able to reach the failure target of 20 on each set.
I’m especially pleased with my use of the mind-muscle connection. I could feel the target muscle fully contracting and breaking down during every rep, accelerating the stimulation for added growth.
Training – Cardio Acceleration
Despite my gains with the weight training, I did not feel any stronger during the cardio acceleration portion of the workouts. There is a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I celebrated my birthday at the weekend with one drink too many. As a result, I suffered my first ever 4 day hangover. This meant that I was absolutely lagging fo the first 3 days of the week. My ability to consume much needed oxygen felt llike it had regressed by 3 years.
Secondly, I picked up a couple of knocks which limited the movements I could perform. I tweaked my lower back at the start of the week during squats. I’ll be wearing a weight belt next time. I also have a long standing issue with my right knee, which plays up big time when my foot connects with the ground in a particular way. The program recommends to mix and match cardio acceleration movements everyday, in order to keep the body guessing and I’m pissed off I was unable to do this.
Despite this, after purchasing a Xiaomi Mi Band 2 in order to monitor my heart rate, I’m pleased to say that my lack of variation hasn’t impacted things too much. Both my resting and working heart rate has shown a slight improvement over the last week.
Due to the aforementioned hangover, I wilted at the start of the week. The thought of eating was not appealing on both Monday and Tuesday, but I knew I needed to get something down me. I ate whatever I knew would stay down, but clean eating was not considered. I won’t be doing that again. Still, you only turn 35 once, right?! The remainder of the week I was able to stick with what the plan suggested, reducing the carbs to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
Honestly, I was dreading this. Since then, I’ve been proved right as to why. The drop in carbs has also seen a drop in calories consumed. I have been used to eating a certain amount a day. Eating less food means I am feeling a lot hungrier and I will be looking at increasing the amount of clean protein I am eating to potentially 2 grams per pound of bodyweight. I feel as though my body needs this in order to maximise the muscle growth and to stop me from being tempted to snack. I’m also concerned that I won’t be as strong by dropping the overall calories, even though the macronutrients will remain the same.
Results so far
Current Weight – 169lbs (same as week 1)
Current Bodyfat – 19% (down 2%)
- Don’t get so drunk you still feel the effects 4 days later! It’ll impact your performance and with only 6 weeks to make a change, every workout counts.
- Don’t be afrad to adapt. I’ll be increasing the amount of grams of protein I am consuming to help fight off hunger. This can also apply to exercises to suit your needs/flexibility/injuries. For example, I find I get a better contaction on my hamstrings using the leg press in stead of the hamstring curl, I feel stronger and see better results.
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