My response to From Geek to Freak by Tim Ferris
For me, gaining muscle is hard. For years it seemed that relentless visits to the gym and gulping down buckets of whey protein made no difference. So when I stumbled upon Tim Ferris’ post I was pretty excited; here’s a guy who put on a phenomenal amount of muscle in a short time. It sounded too good to be true (doesn’t it always?), but it was pretty convincing all the same.
So a few months ago – with nothing to lose and everything to gain – I set about the task of turbo-boosting my muscle, Ferris-style. But here’s the catch; I wanted to do it completely without supplements. That’s right; no casein, no whey protein, no Weight Gain 4000 – just simple meat and vegetables. What’s more I wanted to prove you don’t need to be a gym-obsessed meat-head to make gains, so I ditched the gym too! Crazy huh? Here’s how it went:
UPDATE [31st Aug 09]: If you came here wondering how I added TEN kilograms of muscle (rather than the 5kg now in the title) then you may be disappointed – but don’t be! If you’re aiming for 1kg a week you are probably deluding yourself (I know I was). Find out why in the follow-up post. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the article:
1. Multi-Joint Exercises
To gain maximum weight you’re going to have to learn to love squats! Fortunately, barbell squats is a fantastic exercise that leaves you buzzing afterwards. Combined with pullups, pushups, crunches, deadlifts and rows this is a really great workout. Here’s my schedule (note; this is totally ripped from Stronglifts.com, so please visit their site!)
|Day 1||Day 2|
|Squat 5×5||Squat 5×5|
|Bench Press 5×5||Overhead Press 5×5|
|Inverted Rows 3 Sets to Failure||Deadlift 1×5|
|Push-ups 3 Sets to Failure||Pull-ups/Chin-ups 3 Sets to Failure|
|Reverse Crunch 3×12||Prone Bridges 3x30sec|
2. Record Everything
Measure your weight, body fat, dimensions and all your calories. How will you know to eat more or less if you don’t know what the changes are? I recorded my body fat using calipers I bought from Amazon (these ones are the best, in my experience). I cannot stress enough how important this is; you MUST measure your % body fat accurately – looking in the mirror can play tricks on your mind.
3. Always Make Progress
Don’t increase your weights suddenly by 10kg and struggle to do 3 reps; simply add 2.5kg every training day to your squats and deadlifts, and 1kg to the others. But ALWAYS do 5×5. This way you’ll make great progress.
4. The Equipment
For this experiment I didn’t use a gym; I wanted to prove that all you needed was a few of our apps, and a few freeweights. It’s definitely doable, but making a home gym that’s safe requires some care – especially as the weights start to get seriously heavy. I’ll be writing how I did this, on a budget, very soon. Subscribe here to read it first.
5kg of lean muscle is a spectacular result and is actually in the upper end of what I could have expected to achieve. I also added a couple of kgs of fat (which might not be a bad thing – having some body fat is thought improve your ability to fighting, for example) but this needn’t have happened had I monitored my stats better.
All in I’m really pleased with the results because before I was totally convinced I was a slow-gainer; just goes to show what hard work can achieve. Plus it was great fun – and that’s what GymFu is all about; whatever your goals, keep your workouts fun and you’ll achieve amazing results!