So far, many of the transformations have revolved around fat loss. But as anyone who trains hard knows, the real slog is gaining the muscle. Then when you get round to the losing the fat, you reveal the hard work and look flipping awesome.
Hence today, my friends, we have a story of personal conquest, of triumph and of tribulation. Another Propane Athlete has been forged through flames.
Introducing Blaine, an olympic lifter who has the goal of competing by the end of this year. He came to us with a simple goal: gain as much strength as possible while staying within the limits of his weight category for his competition. As an extra constraint, he was battling with a knee connective tissue injury.
Muscle and strength gains while dealing with injury AND trying to stay in a weight category? No problem for Propane Fitness.
Initial Stats: Skinny.
Final Stats: Propane Athlete.
Blaine made the above results over 6 months, in spite of the injury interruptions.
Training: simply olympic lifts and strength lifts (minus bench).
Diet: I went from consistently consuming 4000kcals/day to 5000kcals a day over that 3/4month period. I think this is what slapped on the muscle. I also feel that the nature of my job helped me to keep fat at bay via lots of activity.
After my injury I changed my diet (after studying Precision Nutrition by John Berardi) to around 3500kcals a day and followed a predominatly upper body program: horizontal pushes and pulls, vertical pushes and pulls, and some bicep work, (If I bench at all my chest grows overnight) along with the odd conditioning session, maybe once a week.
This has led slowly into integrating squats in again and has been like that since. Hopefully more to follow. My muscles look a lot fuller now and I am probably the same BF% as i was when i started to bulk, only 5/6kg heavier! Answer? Eat and lift.. lol
‘Bulking is easy, we need to eat to survive, so why not just eat a little more to put on weight?’
How have you benefited?
I have benefited mainly in two ways:
1. Body Composition
Throughout the process I have easily gained 3-5kg of lean body mass with my muscles looking fuller and more athletic.
2. Weightlifting performance
Injury aside I feel that with the bulking phase and directed upper back and shoulder work has improved my lifting performance. It has made me a lot more comfortable and stable throughout the shoulders and the thoracic back in the overhead squat/snatch catch position.
What did you learn?
This experience has taught me that appropriate weight gain can be simple. As I have said before, we eat to survive, so just eat a little more to promote that weight gain energy balance.
I have also learned that while it may be more difficult to eat healthy foods that are not calorie dense (fruits and vegetables), but packing meals with chick peas, lentils, kidney beans are a great way of packing in extra of that valuable protein. I would highly recommend whole milk/pouring cream for weight gain if managed right.
I still stand by the method of high protein, other metabolism raising foods, vegetables and a negative energy balance for weight loss while weightlifting. This works wonders for me.
What would you say to anyone about to go through something similar?
The hardest part of this for anyone would be the enormous amount of non calorie-dense food I had to eat. I would suggest for other to start on a tolerable level and work up 100kcals every few days to the desired level. I did this going from 3000kcals to 5000kcals in a few weeks. It made it a lot easier for me. The main thing is to stick at it. Grind out the hard days and force it down.
On cutting down, for me it was the social aspect. The obvious lure of beer and night out are very hard to deal with. I managed to keep that to once/twice a month. Also with the social aspect in work, fellow staff members consuming all the breaded foods, sugary sweet foods and pastries along with all the flavoured drinks. I also kept that to a minimum allowing one treat a week. It is all about developing self discipline!
How easy/difficult you find the transformation?
Honestly? Easy. I could go through the whole event again with no problems. As I have said before, I love to eat and do eat a lot when I allow myself. I feel that I could have gained a lot more if my injuries allowed, but we may see for another time!
You can see how Blaine ate and trained here, as well as following up on his current progress.