Taking the past week away from lifting any weights has been bliss. No supplements, no food monitoring, enjoying a Zaxby’s or 2…the good life! It was excellent timing as well. I haven’t had chance to fully acclimatize to the time change in the US. I’ve been working pretty much since I got off the plane and had no grace period to get over the jet lag. By the end of my week off from the gym, my body had crashed. My lights were off before 10pm and I was sleeping until my alarm went off (I’m usually up earlier) for about 4 days solid. It was definitely needed.
Despite this, there is no doubt I missed going to the gym. Running for 30 minutes a day was a nice change of pace, but the gym has become my sanctuary. For an hour and a half on most days, I leave my phone, forget about any life stresses and focus on nothing else but the work I’m about to put in. Knowing I was starting up again this week, deciding which program to try out was a challenge. I knew that I wanted it to be a mass builder, following the weigt and bodyfat lost during Shortcut to Shred. I also knew that I wanted a program that incorporated cardio. The Y3T program, which I considered, was nothing but weights…not for me.
I eventually decided on the Modern Physique by Steve Cook. Aimed at developing a functional as well as aesthetically pleasing physique, I felt is was ideal for me. Like most skinny fella’s, I want to be able to take my top off at the beach with no hint of self doubt creeping in. But as I’ve gotten older, my priorities have changed, and being able to perform is more important to me than looking great. No one wants to be that muscular guy struggling to lift a grocery bag.
Modern Physique looks to develop 8 key pillars of fitness, aimed at developing a body that can take on anything. These pillars are
- Symmetry – we’ve all seen those buff upper torso’s with skinny legs…this is making sure both match up
- Strength – actually moving heavy weights, not just looking like you can
- Power – strength & speed combined
- Flexibility – Not being static and moving like a robot
- Endurance – having cardio for days
- Muscularity – mass & size
- Definition – low bodyfat %
- Athleticism – being able to perform other activties in your life due to your work in the gym
The first thing that stands out looking at the program is the amount of supersets that are scheduled. To compliment that, giant sets are also included. For those that are not sure, a giant set is a set that uses FOUR back to back exercises. For example, a set of 10 bench presses, followed by 10 lat pulldowns, followed by 10 dips, followed by 10 dumbbell rows. Then repeat. Twice. Having done these once previously, they take a lot of mental fortitude to complete as your muscles and lungs scream for a break. They also take a lot of luck, as expecting to use 4 pieces of equipment at the same time in a public gym is wishful thinking.
The rep ranges will also vary, with a mixture of low rep compound moves and higher rep isolation moves taking place. Compared to my previous program however, these will take part on the same day as opposed to seperate days.
Cardio will mostly be HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) style training, with a lower paced, steady state form of cardio (most likely a 30 minute run) on active rest days. HIIT has been widely proven to be more effective at burning calories than running at a steady pace consistently. Judging by the amount of food I’ll be taking on, that’s a good thing.
The plan for each week, will look like this
- Day 1: Upper body and cardio
- Day 2: Legs
- Day 3: Active rest
- Day 4: Abs and cardio
- Day 5: Upper body and cardio
- Day 6: Legs and plyos
- Day 7: Rest
Diet & Supplements
CARBS!!! That was my initial thought upon seeing the nutrition plan for Modern Physique. After limiting my carb intake to 85 grams a day at the end of Shortcut to Shred, being able to indulge a bit again by aiming to consume 300 grams of carbs a day made my eyes light up! Quinoa is back on the menu.
Counting out my total calories, initially I will looking at consuming 2,600 a day. The program comes with a pretty nifty calculator that asks your weight and gives you the macro nutrient (protein, carbs and fats) recommendation. With 1 gram of protein and carbs each containing 4 calories and 1 gram of fat being made up of 9 calories, 2,600 a day is the goal. Hopefully, should I put on the weight I am aiming to, this will go up week by week.
Supplement wise, I’ll be taking whey protein, casein protein, creatine and l-carnitine. The whey and casein protein are vital in allowing me to consume the relevant number of grams of protein daily to help rebuild and repair my muscles. Both have seperate purposes based on when they are used. Creatine helps give me the energy for maximum exertion. L-carnitine is being taken for 2 reasons. Firstly, even though it is not highlighted as a supplement to use during Modern Physique, it helps me keep fat off. L-carnitine takes fat and converts it into energy. With the increased calories I will be taking in, this is key to keep my bodyfat percentage down. Secondly, I got a 2 for 1 deal on the latest shipment I bought…makes sense to use them.
Current weight – 165lbs
Target – 170lbs
Current Bodyfat – 14%
Target – 14%
Ideally I want to see some big improvements in the width of my back, size of my chest and arms and firmness of my stomach. Although I am happy with how much slimmer I am around the mid-section, I also appreciate that I have lost some size after Shortcut to Shred.
I think that 8 weeks is enough to make some positive changes. I’ll be mindful of pushing heavy weights, yet I am also keen to perfect my form. This will mean that some weights are lighter than previously. However, I feel as though the form improvements will provide greater long term benefits. Let’s build this Modern Physique.
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