Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Mass Phase Progress - End of Phase 1

Well, today was my last day of Phase 1 of my Mass Phase. I am now heading into a recovery or transition week consisting of some light cardio workouts as well as some core work and recovery/yoga before I jump into Phase 2 starting on Sunday March 25th.

For those of you coming here looking for progress pictures, I am sorry, I am not posting anything until I am done the entire 9 weeks. This way, I can hopefully have as drastic of a change as possible. I can tell you, however, that I am up about 7 pounds since the beginning, 4 weeks ago, which is just under 2 pounds gained per week.

Although that may seem like a pretty impressive number, I will say that I am expecting to lose a bit of that weight during my recovery/transition week for a couple of reasons. One, when 'shocking' your body with a new workout regimen, you are no doubt going to gain some 'water weight'. This is due to the healing and repairing process the muscles do to build new tissue. Secondly, I have been supplementing with creatine, so there will be even more water retention on top of that. Not to worry however, as my diet has been quite clean, so I feel I am doing quite well packing on some good, lean muscle!

First off, let me detail what I have been up to for the past few weeks. For those of you missed my original post detailing my mass phase plans, you can check them out here. I made a few tweaks along the way, so I can detail a few changes below.

Chest & Back - I really tried to perform as much "progressive overload" as possible. Every week I tried to up my resistance on pushups by 10 lbs. and up my resistance on pullups by 5 lbs. while maintaining reps and form the best I could. Also, the last 2 times I did this routine, the 2nd "round" of bench work, I added drop sets for the decline, incline, and flat chest presses. This just allows that much more muscle fiber recruitment/breakdown to increase the affinity for hypertrophy.

Cardio - My day 2 of each week was used for really light cardio routines. They would be about 35-45 mins in length, and be just enough intensity to get my blood flowing to burn a few calories but also improve circulation and recovery. Too many people will reduce their chance of hypertrophy by doing too much cardio and not taking in enough calories. (See "Diet" below)

Fridays - On Fridays, I have been having to ingest crazy amounts of calories to try and maintain my weight. I am talking well over 4000 calories on those days. This is because not only have I been doing Upper Plus on Friday mornings, but I have been playing hockey on Friday nights as well. Now 4000+ calories is certainly not for everybody. You need to calculate your calories based on your age, sex, activity level, etc. and then add calories on to pack on weight. Again, you can see "Diet" below.


This is where many people fail in their attempts to gain weight, especially if you are somebody in their late teens or twenties. I know what you are going through, as I have been suffering from the same thing for years. Your metabolism is just so fast that it seems impossible to put on some weight. I definitely have my age on my side now as my metabolism has probably slowed down a little now that I am 27 years old, but I still have to take in some pretty crazy amounts of calories to gain weight.

For the most part, I have been aiming for, and hitting 3500-4000 calories a day - every day. My ratios have been pretty bang-on at 30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbs. I do not worry about my diet at all on Saturdays because that is my "off" day. On Saturdays, I certainly do not sit down and scarf down bags of Doritos, but I also don't track my numbers as religiously. I allow this for peace of mind and not worrying about 'the numbers'. Now that may come as a surprise to some who think that your diet should reflect your activity level - and it should - but in a mass phase, you want to aim to keep your body fueled, especially on your lighter cardio days or yoga days because your body is still recovering from the heavy resistance the day before. Here is a brief overlook of my diet in the order I consume each in a day. It is pretty vague as I do not eat the same things every day!

Pre-Workout (06:30am)

On resistance days, I drink 250-500mL of chocolate milk 30-60 mins. before my workout. This allows me to 'top-up' my glycogen stores as well as get some protein into the system. I will also generally have a coffee with 1 sugar and a bit of 1% milk.

Post-Workout (8:00am)

Without a doubt, 500mL of chocolate milk immediately following my workout. I mix my creatine in at this point so that the sugar in the chocolate milk helps the uptake. The carbs here help re-supply my muscle glycogen, the protein helps protein synthesis, and the little bit of fat helps me reach my caloric goals for the day.

Breakfast (8:30am)

I generally aim for 2-4 scrambled eggs and 2-4 pieces of low-fat turkey bacon here. A bit of ketchup on the eggs and I am good to go.

Mid-Morning Snack 1 (10:00am)

Banana and protein shake. I have been playing around with a couple different protein shakes these past 4 weeks. Usually in the morning I will have a vanilla-flavored protein shake mixed in 1% milk. This protein that I take has a few more carbs in it, plus, mixing it with milk ups the calories in the shake and adds some more calories.

Mid-Morning Snack 2 (11:00am)

I mix 1/2 a cup of 2%MF (milk fat) cottage cheese with 1/2 a cup low-cal vanilla yogurt and some berries (usually blueberries or raspberries). The yogurt is low in sugar, I add it basically to help me get past the taste of straight-up cottage cheese. I add in some berries for some more flavor as well as the anti-oxidants involved. Here I will also have a big mug of green tea!

Lunch (12:30pm)

This varies from day to day, but I aim to get at least 30 grams of protein through meat or dairy sources with a bit of carbs and lots of carrot sticks. Baby carrots really are my lunch-time staple! Lunch is always my time for a glass of V8 V-Fusion drink. This may sound like I am promoting this thing, but I really do like this at lunch. In 1 glass (250mL), I get 1 full serving of vegetable and 1 full serving of fruit. No fiber, and high and sugar though so I usually just have the 250mL.

Afternoon Snack 1 (2:30pm)

Apple, Fiber 1 granola bar, and an Isoflex protein shake. I like to have a bit of carbs in my stomach before I take the protein shake to help the absorption and uptake. Isoflex protein is actually designed to be quick-absorbing, but I like to make sure regardless! I like Isoflex in the afternoon because it is low-cal, low-carb, and mixes great with water that I can just mix at work, shake it up, and down it!

Afternoon Snack 2 (4-4:30pm)

Back to the cottage cheese/yogurt/berry combo again from before. 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese has 15g of protein in it! I have another big mug of green tea here. Gotta stay hydrated, especially when taking creatine!

Dinner (6-7:00pm)

I have been aiming to be as low-carb as possible during my dinners. I will almost always aim for a piece of meat (2 chicken breasts, 2 pieces of salmon, 1 big piece of tilapia, steak occasionally) with veggies on the side. The veggies usually include steamed broccoli, a garden salad, or some asparagus. I like to throw some cheese in here with the veggies for that extra protein kick. Topped off with about 250-300mL of 1% milk. The odd time I will throw in a bit of carbs to help my workout for the next morning. In those cases, I will have a bit of whole-grain rice or a red potato.

On Fridays, I have been having whole-grain pasta with meat sauce to give me some extra carbs/calories to help me during my hockey game.

Pre-Bedtime Snack (9:00pm)

I go back to the whey vanilla/milk protein shake here. The extra fat in the shake helps to slow digestion so it keeps my muscles fueled longer into the night. I will generally also have a few tablespoons of peanut butter here to help my bedtime sweet tooth and keep my stomach from eating itself before I fall asleep!

So there you go, that is a general look at my progress and diet so far. My diet will be essentially the same heading into phase 2 because it seems to be working for me so far. I will post my final results in about 5 weeks from now so you can all see my final transformation, stay tuned!

Photo - http://www.drugfreebodybuilding.com/gaining-muscle-mass.htm