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.

Blaine’s Approach:

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


Blaine spent only 12 days at the end cutting the fat.


‘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!


Great pose mate…


You can see how Blaine ate and trained here, as well as following up on his current progress.

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18 responses to “Blaine: Intensified

  1. first off, good progress in 6 months.
    a few things in the article concerned me:
    you can’t bench or your chest will grow over night. WTF? i am assuming you don’t want your chest to grow because you needed to stay in your weightclass. why then would you bother training other muscles that require (to my knowledge) no direct training for oly lifintg, such as biceps!?
    chickpeas and kidney beans are alright for cals but they’re just about the worst protein sources i can think of and should not be counted towards your protein intake (if you do count them they shoudl be a very small proportion of your intake).
    what’s your problem with calorie dense foods?
    lastly, how often do you get your chest waxed?

    “For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

    “the ones wanting to be ‘toned’ still have bodybuilding goals, they just don’t realise it” – Yusef

  2. Good progress, but I am confused. You want to do Olympic lifting by the end of the year but you are doing body part splits? Is this because of your injury? Or wanting to get strong?
    You are probably at a much lower BF% for abs to show but the article says you went to 5000kcals then “Blaine spent only 12 days at the end cutting the fat.” So I guess my questions are: How long were you eating 5000kcals for? and What did calorie level did you cut on?

    ruaidhri said:
    chickpeas and kidney beans are alright for cals but they’re just about the worst protein sources i can think of and should not be counted towards your protein intake (if you do count them they shoudl be a very small proportion of your intake).

    I had this discussion a while back with a dietician about whether you can count legumes towards protein intake. This is quite a good primer on complementarity proteins ( The fact is that legumes/seeds/grains have incomplete amino profiles but by combining say oats and lentils (very filling) you can get a complete profile. Although whether the protein amount superposes (20+20) or interlinks (20=20).

    Protein complementation is combining plant protein sources to achieve a better amino acid balance than either would have alone. Because of differences in amino acid make-up, when plant sources are combined, the strengths of one make up for the deficiencies in another. For example, many grains are notoriously low in lysine, but beans are high in lysine. On the other hand, beans are low in the sulfur-containing amino acids, while grains like wheat contain much of these. Thus, by eating beans and grains “together,” the strengths of one make up for the deficiencies of the other, making a source of complete protein.

  3. Guys,
    My main aims are to olympic lift. From my blog you can probably tell that i am still trying to build a solid base of strength from where to progress. Bench press and other movements not specific to olympic lifting will transfer to olympic movements i.e bench press strength transferring to Split jerks.
    With regards chest growing with bench press, the idea of cutting to 69kg to lift is in my mind a bit out of reach, so with cosmetics in mind, and strength transfer to jerks, pulls, bench press and curls were thrown in. First thing woman look at right?lol.
    While bombing in calories i was easting 4000kcals for most of it, the 5000kcals was only for around 3/4weeks until i hurt my knees and had to reassess. 1-2 weeks after knee injury i messed about around 3,000-3,5000kcals while on less activity, and for the 12 day cut it was 2,000kcals.
    Kidney beans are around 16p a tin. For the price on a budget, good protein source lol.
    I also have no problem with calorie dense foods, it was just an attempt to keep my diet as clean as possible with vegetables (beans etc).
    Bench was only training during knee injury phase just for another days training.
    I dont shave my chest, smooth as the day i was squeezed out into this world.

    ‘It then dawns on me that this guy has done his homework and is much more educated that
    I am, but at what expense? His program still sucks!’ Dave Tate

  4. Jonny said:
    I eat mars bars and include the protein in my daily requirements – negative affects? – nil.


    you clearly missed the bracketed part of my post. say you weigh 200lb, if you were to get a large proportion of your 200g intake from mars bars and kidney beans do you really think that would be optimal?

    these are crap sources of protein, end of.

  5. sorry Blaine i misread your post. i thought you were giving that as a reason not to bench but you were in fact benching…

    you said you were trying to keep your diet as clean as possible. what does “clean” mean to you?

    @fred: just read your post, cheers. i have read about that before. apparently veggies/vegans years ago used to mix their protein sources to get a complete amino profile but now nutrionists tell them there is no need to do this (i can’t remember why, maybe because your average vegan isn’t a bodybuilder!)

  6. Clean to me is a balance of meats, fruits and veg etc, minus shit foods.

    I can vaguely remember that i was eating around 700g of beans/lentils etc during this phase. This totals to around 150g of protein and probably would have been 40-50% of my overall daily protein intake. In that way i feel that it was appropriate to count them towards my protein intake.

  7. that’s a lot of protein for someone of your weight!!
    personally i make sure i hit at least 1g per pound of protein from quality sources (dairy, whey, meat, eggs).
    @ fred: wasn’t suggesting you can’t get big as a veggie or vegan, just that what i read had nothing to do with bodybuilding or weighttraining. gaining 10lb doesn’t necessarily mean much but i’ll read the article before passing judgement.
    and yeah i love meat too, vegetarianism is fvckin stupid, we are carnivores!
    edit: he gained 7lb and in the pics there is no visible change at all lmao.

    “For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

    “the ones wanting to be ‘toned’ still have bodybuilding goals, they just don’t realise it” – Yusef

  8. Good recomp though.

    Im confused though, the lifts that matter to you arent back to pre injury levels yet so when did the injury occur and what were your pbs during the transformation?

  9. Injury was about 3 months ago. During weight gain and up to injury i was basically PBing on eveything. Either due to diet cut or more than likely my knee injury my strength has suffered a lot, although now that my training is structured again this will be back up there soon to match previous PB’s. However my snatch has had an increase of 5kg during the layoff and weight loss.

  10. George, the vegan guy who posted on here a while back, found that Berardi article really useful when I posted it on his thread.

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