The Best of Training Times
As I look back over 30 years of training, I thought it’d be helpful to discuss those times where I made the greatest gains. This may help those of you in your teens, 20’s, 30’s and 40’s because the circumstances certainly aren’t unique to me. In fact, it may help you see when one of these times is coming and help you make the most of it.
The first big breakthrough was college. It was here where I was exposed to free weights, the meal plan and some like-minded training partners. We were fortunate in that the college gym was Spartan. The entire setup consisted of the following:
3 bench presses
An incline bench
Two Power racks
Two leg sleds
A dip/chin station
Some mis-matched DB’s
And that was it. We had a few mis-matched dumbbells but other than that, that’s it. There were no machines per se, save for a universal multi-station that nobody used. So we were more or less forced into performing big basic exercises.
The Meal Plan
As for the meal plan, it too was a boon because I was finally eating 3 big meals a day. Which was a step up from skipping breakfast, having an ice cream for lunch and then a healthy dinner. The first 6 months I made pretty good progress. The next 12 months though, would see an explosion of size and strength.
My roommate and I ordered a book from the back of a Muscle Mag International, “Super Big In Six Weeks”. It was designed for football players but assured that anyone applying its principles could gain big. And it worked. My bodyweight jumped from 165 to around 190 and I got considerably stronger.
The training consisted of hard work on the big basics 3x’s/week and eating 6 times/day. It also espoused drinking at least 1,000 calories/day and gave a killer home made weight gainer shake recipe. I still prescribe it to this day to ectomporhs.
The next big breakthrough was SuperSquats (another book). 20 rep breathing squats followed by breathing pullovers claimed to turn scarecrows into supermen, and I was determined to find out. I read it cover to cover first day I got it and couldn’t believe the simplicity: Take what you normally get for 10 and squat it for 20 reps.
Add 5-10lbs a workout and follow that up with a handful of basic exercises. I quickly found out that workout can bring you closer to God, especially if you’re pushing yourself. I cracked 200lbs in no time and eventually wound up around 225, and a hell of a lot stronger.
My progress was so fast and furious I don’t really recall certain weight records most people do. 200, 300 and 400lbs came and went pretty fast in the squat and deadlift. I got 500 pretty easy too, so my mentor said, “time to compete”.
It was an APA meet in Barre, VT and I was something like 10 weeks out. So I pulled the workout of the month out of Powerlifting USA, scaled the poundages and used that to prepare. Right on schedule, I peaked with a 1370 total, 525 SQ and DL, 320 bench. Good enough to take the New England Junior division..
A few years later, I set a goal to bulk up to 250lbs. For that, I ordered another book – The Anabolic Diet, by Dr. Mauro DiPasquale. It espoused a cycling ketogenic diet wherein I was to eat 6,000 calories/day in low carb foods M-F, with weekend carb loads. I did it, but in unconventional fashion: I drank 4,800 calories and got the rest from food.
That shake was 2 cups of vegetable oil plus 8 scoops of VyoPro chocolate whey protein. Sure enough, I hit 252 about 6 months after starting. Another goal achieved..
Later, my attention turned to bodyweight training. Always thought 1 arm pushups were pretty cool, so I sought more knowledge. That came in the form of Convict conditioning.
It called for 10 steps on how to get there, starting with simple pushups against a wall. I endured that and in a year’s time I was doing 1 arm pushups, a most gratifying accomplishment. – YOU GAVE ME IDEA FOR BP BULLETIN
Do you see the catalyst in all cases? I went in search of and found greater knowledge. I didn’t buy a bottle of pills, didn’t have a divine revelation about what to do – I sought out a different way, then applied hard work to it.
Not once have I seen or even heard of a trainee adding the 50+lbs of muscle necessary to transform a physique from some supplement. All of which leads me to this simple request..
Go in search of greater knowledge now, and you too will experience the magic of Gainsville.