“You must do what others don’t, to achieve what other won’t” – Anonymous
After taking a week off after completion of the Shortcut to Shred program, it was great to get back in the gym again and start the Modern Physique program. That feeling of stressing my muscles and putting my body in awkward positions was sorely missed. Waking up with major DOMS (I’m struggling to walk properly as I’m writing this) is a feeling that I swear is enjoyed by those of us with a screw loose. I have learned to love it though. Though there is evidence to suggest otherwise, I find it to be a relief when I feel sore the next day. It confirms that the work I have put in has been worth it.
The week as a whole has certainly been a challenge. After arriving in the US 4 weeks late due to a delay in the issuance of my Visa, I have been playing catch up with work. My timing has been off in getting to the gym. I’m not a fan of going late at night, especially after 4.5 hours on the soccer field. As a result, I’ve missed exercises and not fully completed workouts. I’m disappointed in this, but it is what it is. Next week can be amended.
Training – Weights
I have been immediately struck with how different this program is to others I have tried. Exercises I have never contemplated are a staple part of it, as is the way of performing them. For example, the first exercise of the program was the close grip bench press. Nothing unusual there. However, the reps were 1 & 1/4. What this means is that after lowering, the bar is to be lifted 1/4 of the way up, before lowering again and pushing all the way up. It doesn’t seem like much, but after chooisng a weight to allow me to reach failure, I certainly felt it. The 1/4 lift allows for increased tension on the chest, thus increasing the opportunity for it to grow.
Plymoetrics play a big role in the Modern Physique program also. Though I coach soccer, it’s been a while since I played. I haven’t performed plyometrics for a long time. However, due to the 8 pillars of fitness the program is built around, they are important for the development of power. As with the close grip bench press, the rep range was very low, but I had legs like noodles only a couple of sets in. I had a flashback to how I was walking after 10 sambucas in my younger years!
One of the key factors in my decision to take part in the Modern Physique program was the inclusion of an ab focused day. It’s fair to say week 1 didn’t disappoint. As I mentioned when starting Shortcut to Shred, I’ve never had a six pack. After cutting my bodyfat down to 14%, now seems the perfect time for me to develop that area. 27 sets in total, each of 10-20 reps depending on the activity. The day incorporated crunches, stationary and rotational work, fully targeting all parts of the mid-section.
I’m unsure how much of an improvement I will see in my muscle mass. Though I have no doubt the program will test me and I will see improvements, the combination of strength, hypertrophy and power exercises has me worried that I am trying to hit too many growth opportunities at the same time. But that’s why I’m the Guinea Pig for this.
Training – Cardio
This is where I’ve really let myself down this week. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve not timed my gym visits well at all. This left me focusing mainly on the weight training and cutting cardio short, or not doing it at all. I know this is something I need to be wary of. The heart is the most important muscle in the body and needs to be worked accordingly. With the increase in calories and likely weight gain, this becomes even more important.
The HIIT element of training was a lot tougher than I imagined. The requirement was 10 rounds of 20 second sprints on the treadmill. The elevation was set at number 12, with a pace equal to a personal best for a mile run. I was to rest for a minute in between sprints. I thought, after the cardio acceleration I had been performing for 6 weeks straight, it would be a walk in the park. No. 6 sets in and I was struggling to get my breath. I can see why it is so highly recommended, not only for fat burning purposes but also ever so slightly increased cardio capacity.
I have no doubt that next week my time management needs to be a lot better.
Diet & Supplements
Following a strict eating plan again was surprisingly enjoyable. Not the taste of course. I’ve had enough brown rice and tuna to last me a lifetime. But the feeling of eating clean foods, feeling light despite the increase in calories and staying away from the fast food joints readily available 24/7 stateside.
As for the supplements, wolfing down 10-12 tablets a day isn’t ideal, but there is no doubt I feel better for them after taking a week off. Apart from my daily creatine and l-carnitine, I also take an omega-3 fish oil tablet and a calcium tablet. The fish oil as omega-3 is a fat that or body does not produce, but is essential to helping us perform. The calcium tablet due to members of my family suffering from osteoporosis and me being a bit wary about future developments. These are standard, dollar store varieties. I’m sure that there are higher priced options on available, but these work just fine for me.
Not much so far, but I feel that was to be expected. You will never see massive results after 1 week. Surpisingly, and a little worryingly, I’ve dropped weight. I am currently at 163lbs, which is 2lbs less then when I started. As a skinny guy, I cannot afford for this to happen. I will have to consider my eating plan and review where I can eat more.
- Plan your time – missing out on activities is not huge as a one off, but not ideal.