Tyler Robbins Fitness

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

Filtering by Category: "Mass Building"

Day 325 - Body Beast Final Results

Quote of the day:
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-Thomas Edison

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Day 317 - My Diet Through Body Beast Part 1: Build and Bulk Diet

***Part 2 of my diet (supplements) can be found here***

This blog will detail what my diet consisted of, as well as the timing during Phase 1 (Build Phase) and Phase 2 (Bulk Phase) of Body Beast.

Please note, that as I am writing this blog, this is the first time that I have actually 'counted' the calories that I consumed. I completed my own mass phase back at the beginning of 2012, so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to eat, so I didn't feel the need to count.

Once I get to the Phase 3 (Beast Phase), I will count my numbers religiously to make sure that I am correctly aiming for my proper calories and macronutrient ratios.

Please note, the schedule below is my usual day. I did not follow this plan exactly to a tee every single day, but most days I did.

Also note, my dinners vary quite drastically so I have an overall consensus of how many calories I would take in on an average day. More often than not, my dinners would consist of 1-2 servings of protein, a veggie side, and a carb side (potatoes, rice, bread, etc.)

My schedule:

5:00am - Alarm goes off, drink coffee (a little bit of milk, no sugar)

5:45am - Starting workout by this point at the absolute latest

6:30am - Finished workout, immediately drinking 500mL Chocolate Milk with creatine (see below)

500mL Chocolate Milk - 340 calories (5g fat, 56g carbs, 18g protein)

7:00am - Once dressed and ready for day, 3 scrambled eggs

3 Large Eggs - 240 calories (18g fat, 3g carbs, 21g protein)

9:00am - Banana, Chocolate Shakeology mixed with 12oz. 1% Milk (take vitamins at this time)

Banana - 110 calories (0g fat, 30g carbs, 1g protein)
Chocolate Shakeology with 12oz. 1% Milk - 316 calories (6g fat, 34g carbs, 30g protein)

11:00am - 1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese mixed with 1/2 Cup Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt

1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese (2%MF) + Yogurt - 167 calories (2.5g fat, 16g carbs, 19g protein)

12:30pm - Turkey sandwich (3-4 slices turkey breast, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese), baby carrots, Clif Bar

Clif Bar - 250 calories (5g fat, 44g carbs, 10g protein)
Turkey Sandwich:
Sliced Turkey/Chicken - 460 calories (12g fat, 60g carbs, 30g protein)
Cheese - 360 calories (30g fat, 3g carbs, 21g protein)
Whole Grain Bread - 240 calories (5g fat, 40g carbs, 10g protein)

1:30pm - Apple, Fibre 1 bar

Apple - 80 calories (1g fat, 21g carbs, 0g protein)
Fibre 1 bar - 140 calories (3.5g fat, 26g carbs, 2g protein)

3:00pm - Vanilla Whey Shake with 1% Milk

276 calories (6g fat, 19g carbs, 38g protein)

6:00pm - Dinner (see below)

9:00pm - Pre-bedtime snack (Ice-Cream or Peanut Butter)

4 tablespoons peanut butter - 360 calories (32g fat, 16g carbs, 12g protein)


My totals are entirely based on what I eat for dinner each day (which varies greatly). Dinner basically always consists of meat, a starchy side, and a veggie side. Meat is generally one of the following: 2 chicken breasts, 1-2 pieces of salmon, 1 filet of tilapia, 1 1/2 cups of shredded roast beef.

Starchy carbs involve white potatoes, rice, bread, etc. For veggies, I would try and eat broccoli whenever possible because it is a great, nutritious food, and I really like it!

Totals - 3200-4000 calories

~120-150g fat = 30%-40% total calories
~360-400g carbohydrates = 40%-50% total calories
~210-240g protein = 25-30% total calories


Plain and simple creatine monohydrate, crystallized. I take mine mixed in my post-workout chocolate milk. I pre-loaded with creatine for the first 5 days, taking 20g of creatine daily (4x5g doses).

Now the Body Beast guide recommends taking 10g of creatine following every workout, but I found I was getting a bit of stomach upset after 30 days or so, so I dialed it back to 5g post-workout.

Shouldn't be a problem, because at that point, my muscles most certainly have reached their maximum "saturation level" and should have PLENTY of creatine available to them.


One thing I will add, the first 30 or so days of the program I was not drinking enough water. Well, I should say I was drinking enough to "get by", but I needed to drink much more. Your muscles volumize while on creatine, so it is important that you have plenty of extra hydration to allow those muscles to fill up like sponges! Keep a water bottle handy at all times...

***Part 2 of my diet (supplements) can be found here***

Quote of the day:
"Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can."
-Lowell Thomas

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Day 265 - Body Beast Days 17-21

Quote of the day:
"The best motivating is self-motivating.The guy says,"I wish someone would come by and turn me on."What if they don’t show up?You’ve got to have a better plan for your life."
~ Jim Rohn
Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Day 254 - Body Beast Days 7-10

Quote of the day:
"Positive thinking won’t let you do anything but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will."
~ Zig Ziglar

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Day 100 - My Top 10 Blogs

To be honest, I am quite proud of myself for reaching 100 straight days of blogging! I can honestly say that when I started out with this goal to write 365 blogs in a row, consecutively, I knew it was going to take some time and dedication, but didn't realize it would be this time-consuming.

Having said that, I feel as though I am in a good rhythm and routine now and am looking forward to at least 265 more days in a row!

Since 100 straight blogs is a bit of a milestone, I am going to do something a little different today. I am going to post my Top 10 Most Popular Blogs. Below, you will find a list of my Top 10 blogs, according to number of views recorded by blogger. These are not necessarily part of my 365 "Grow Younger Every Day" blogs, but my Top 10 none-the-less. This is a great opportunity for any new readers out there to see what all of the fuss has been about in the past.

I would like to thank those of you who have stuck with me and continue to read this blog. I have seen a pretty tremendous increase in readership over these past few months, and am hoping to continue that trend. So thanks!

Top 10:

10. March 26th, 2012 - Warrior Training

9. October 13th, 2011 - Calories

8. February 20th, 2012 - More Discussion into Morning vs. Evening Exercise

7. April 25th, 2012 - Think Like an Athlete

6. February 3rd, 2012 - My Thoughts on Crossfit

5. March 16th, 2012 - Mass Phase Progress - End of Phase 1

4. April 19th, 2012 - Warrior Training Revised

3. March 30th, 2012 - Mass Phase P90X Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Modifications

2. February 15th, 2012 - Time to Move Some Weight

1. January 3rd, 2012 - Reader Question - Should I do Insanity if I'm a skinny guy and can't keep weight up?

Quote of the day:
"Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today."
- Benjamin Franklin

Mass Phase Final Results


Well, my 9 weeks of building mass is complete. I have to admit that I am quite happy with my final results (video above). I set out with a few personal goals. I wanted to try and stay as regimented with my diet as possible, lift as heavy as possible with good form (to avoid injury), and to put on some weight while gaining some strength. All of my goals were met - except for a few small nagging injuries picked up just from the sheer forces my body was put under.

I still learned a few things along the way, not only about my own body, but also about what to value with health and fitness. I would definitely consider myself a 'hardgainer' with a body type somewhere between an ectomorph and a mesomorph. I have always been quite active and athletic growing up, so that, coupled with the fact that I have a smaller body type, creates difficulties for me in gaining any significant mass.

My diet was quite spot-on, hitting anywhere from 3500-4000 calories, 6 days a week. I was right around the 30% protein every day as well. Now I will mention that in order to hit my protein numbers, I was supplementing with protein shakes on a very consistent basis, while trying to use wholesome dietary sources as much as possible.

I do not want any of these things to sound like excuses, as I feel like I still put on some mass, as I intended to do, but there are some things to learn from my own little experiment these past few weeks. First of all, I was attempting to build mass by using my own home gym. Research tells me, which I knew going into this, that in order to build significant amounts of body mass, I should incorporate more large-muscle and multi-joint exercises into my program (heavy squats, deadlifts, bench press, snatches, etc.).

Also, I aimed to cut down on my activity level the best I could, so that my gains would not be hindered by doing too much cardio for example, but I still played hockey outside of my 6-day-a-week workout schedule.

One thing that ended up being one of my biggest successes through all of this, was my strength gains that I achieved. I continually pushed my 'numbers' as best I could through every workout, increasing either repetitions or resistance (weight) in order to promote muscular growth. My gains in strength will now help me with my future plans and training for the coming months.

Now that I was able to put on a bit of mass, and gain a pretty substantial amount of strength, I look forward to my upcoming P90X2/Asylum hybrid, where I can now take my strength gains and apply them to a desired goal (Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder).

This is where I feel I truly excel - competing. From the time I begin my hybrid on Wednesday April 25th, until I cross the finish line at Tough Mudder on Sunday August 19th, I will be competing. Sure, it is nice to lift some heavy weights and try and look all ripped and muscular, but I have been an athlete my entire life, and competing is what I like to do. I will be keeping everyone informed on how I am doing along the way!

Mass Phase UBX Modification - Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

I have had many requests from people wanting to know what "changes" I made to UBX. For those of you who aren't familiar, UBX is part of Tony Horton's One on One series. I really enjoy the structure and pacing of the workout, but have made some modifications to it to suit my mass goals.

Keep in mind that this workout is being used as a slightly higher rep-range workout (12-15+ reps). I have included the exercise list below, with descriptions of each exercise.

1. Weighted Pushups
2. Pike Press
3. Forearm Plank Triceps Kickback
4. Weighted Pushups
5. Pike Press
6. Forearm Plank Triceps Kickback

7. Chatarocker Pushups
8. Strip-Set Shoulder Press
9. 1-Arm Bench Dips
10. Chatarocker Pushups
11. Strip-Set Shoulder Press
12. 1-Arm Bench Dips

13. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
14. Callahan Press
15. Side Triceps Extension
16. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
17. Callahan Press
18. Side Triceps Extension

19. Flat Dumbbell Chest Press
20. Seated, Bent Over Circle Fly
21. Skull Crushers
22. Flat Dumbbell Chest Press
23. Seated, Bent Over Circle Fly
24. Skull Crushers


Weighted Pushups - Weighted vest or weighted backpack to intensify the pushups. Adjust resistance/weight in to target your specific repetition range.

Pike Press - Same exercise seen in P90X, basically a handstand pushup. You vary resistance based upon how high in the air your feet are. Again, aim for a foot height that will target your desired repetition range.

Forearm Plank Triceps Kickback - A 3-point plank, balancing on your two feet (toes) and 1 forearm while the other arm is doing triceps kickbacks.

Chatarocker Pushups - These are detailed in Tony's UBX workout. You perform this exercise by starting in plank, lowering yourself while keeping your triceps hugging your torso, then 'slide' your body back to "Sphinx" position, and then reverse the motions. Add resistance like a weighted vest or weighted backback to target your repetition range.

Strip-Set Shoulder Press - Set up 3 sets of decreasing weights for these military shoulder presses. 8 repetitions of each exercise with 15-20 seconds quick break between each set.

1-Arm Bench Dips - Triceps dips while only using one arm at a time.

Incline Dumbbell Chest Press - On my home workout bench I use the 1st setting above 'flat'.

Callahan Press - Also detailed in the UBX workout, hard to explain the full dynamics behind this exercise. This is a shoulder press exercise, but in between repetitions, your elbows do not drop below a 90 degree bend. At the point where your elbows reach the 90 degree angle, you bring your weights together in front of your face as if you are closing a door. If this is confusing to you, then buy the darn workout and you can learn it yourself!

Side Triceps Extension - This is the same version that Tony uses in the workout, although I remove the plank portion of the exercise. I lay on my side on my workout bench with my top arm raised up perpendicular to the bench. The elbow bends and extends working the triceps.

Flat Dumbbell Chest Press - Pretty straight forward...

Seated, Bent Over Circle Fly - Same exercise Tony performs in the UBX workout, although I sit while performing the same action. You raise the weights up by using your rear delts, and then perform 3 circle flyies backwards alternating with 3 circle flies forwards.

Skull Crushers - Laying on my bench, arms extend above your face, bend at the elbows lowering the weights above your face and then extending back upwards. 

Warrior Training

***Things just got even crazier! Click here to see my revised schedule, including training for TOUGH MUDDER!***

Even though I just started week 6 of my 9-week mass-building phase, I am already gearing up for what I plan on doing following my meatheadedness (is that a word?). Part of the fun of being fit and active is being able to focus on your goals. Part of the fun of goals is being able to change them from time to time based on your aspirations or mood at different times of the year.

Last year, I competed in a Warrior Dash run. It was my first time competing in such an event, and I had a blast. I had so much fun, in fact, that I have decided to register and compete again on Saturday July 21st.

I would be lying if I didn't say that I thought the Warrior Dash last year was going to be easy. Come on, I am a guy who stays very active with hockey, P90X, Insanity, Asylum, etc. I figured a silly 5km run would be, well, a walk in the park. I was wrong.

I did fairly well at the event, finishing in around the 30min mark from what I remember, but I wasn't anticipating the amount of hills involved with the course I ran. To be honest, for those of you familiar with "mud-runs" like Warrior Dash, I felt the 'obstacles' were fairly simple and easy, I didn't really have a problem with them at all. But as I mentioned before, there were a lot of hills to run up and down. The event I attended was held at a ski resort, so the entire race wound its way up and down ski hills - steep ones - so I certainly was gassed by the end!

On top of all of that, my training, or lack thereof, could've been better. Now I will not admit to being a great distance runner, but I certainly knew that when I finished that race, that I could have done better.

As I said, I was very active leading up to Warrior Dash last year, but my activity was not really focused on what I was to be competing in. Sure, I was doing some leg work, some upper body work, and even some cardio, but none of that was really becoming specific enough to maximize my results at the race. On top of all of that, I was completely naive in thinking that doing Tony Horton's P90X MC2 One on One: Base & Back the day before the race wasn't going to hinder my results. I have touched on this in the past before as well, speaking about proper recovery.

Any individual who trains for a specific event should know that the recovery time is just as important - if not more important than the training itself. Your training should be aimed at making your physical performance peak at the right time. You can be a very active person, but your body is constantly progressing through different stages of repair and/or known as the "General Adaptation Syndrome". Professional athletes know this, as they attempt to get their physical abilities to peak right at the beginning of their season, and then simply "maintain" their strength and power throughout their sporting season.

The schedule (listed below) will be to focus on a few things. First of all, I will be training in 3 periodized phases. Phase 1 will be designed to create a base-level of fitness while increasing my overall conditioning. Not only that, but Phase 1 will be my step back into serious anaerobic conditioning. I have been enjoying my mass phase, but I am currently focusing on building muscle, so my conditioning has taken a bit of a back seat, so it will be time to start to work off some of the "goo" (see: body fat).

Phase 2 will be building off of Phase 1, building strength while maintaining overall fitness levels. There will naturally be a bit of muscle hypertrohpy at this point, but the main goals will be to increase strength and athleticism.

Finally, Phase 3 will be designed to increase my performance for the event. The idea is to build on the strength gained in Phase 2 and make that strength dynamic and useful. Strong muscles are only as good as what you train them to do, so Phase 3 will be aimed at making them fast and efficient. I will then end off with a few recovery days to rest up and recovery before the event on Saturday July 21st, 2012.

I will be combining P90X2 and Insanity: The Asylum for majority of the schedule but there will be a few routines from Insanity and the One on One series thrown in as well. One thing that may seem very unusual to me at first is the order of the weeks. When I first started out P90X a few years ago, "Day 1" of each week was always on my Monday. I eventually transitioned to Sundays being "Day 1". Now, since I will also be playing summer hockey late on Monday nights, I will be coordinating my schedule so that Tuesdays are my "off" days. That results in my weeks running Wednesdays to Tuesdays.

Phase 1
3 weeks
Wednesday April 25th - Tuesday May 15th 2012

Day 1 - X2 Balance & Power
Day 2 - Asylum Speed & Agility and Relief
Day 3 - Asylum Strength
Day 4 - X2 Core
Day 5 - Insanity Pure Cardio
Day 6 - AM: X2 Total Body and X2 Ab Ripper - PM: Hockey
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

Recovery/Transition Week
1 week
Wednesday May 16th - Tuesday May 22nd 2012

Day 1 - Asylum Back to Core and One on One 20/12 Abs
Day 2 - Insanity Max Recovery
Day 3 - One on One Road Warrior
Day 4 - Yoga
Day 5 - Asylum Overtime and X2 Ab Ripper
Day 6 - AM: Insanity Cardio Recovery - PM: Hockey
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

Phase 2
4 weeks - alternating
Wednesday May 23rd - Tuesday June 19th 2012

Week 1/3
Day 1 - X2 Chest, Back & Balance
Day 2 - Insanity Plyo Cardio Circuit
Day 3 - P90X+ Abs/Core Plus and Insanity Cardio Abs
Day 4 - One on One Shoulders & Arms MC2
Day 5 - Yoga and X2 Ab Ripper
Day 6 - AM: X2 Base & Back - PM: Hockey
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

Weeks 2/4
Day 1 - X2 V Sculpt
Day 2 - Asylum Vertical Plyo and Relief
Day 3 - One on One Killer Abs and 20/12 Abs
Day 4 - One on One UBX
Day 5 - Yoga and X2 Ab Ripper
Day 6 - AM: X2 Base & Back - PM: Hockey
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

Recovery/Transition Week
1 week
Wednesday June 20th - Tuesday June 26th 2012

Day 1 - Asylum Back to Core and One on One 20/12 Abs
Day 2 - Insanity Max Recovery
Day 3 - One on One Road Warrior
Day 4 - Yoga
Day 5 - Asylum Overtime and X2 Ab Ripper
Day 6 - AM: Insanity Cardio Recovery - PM: Hockey
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

Phase 3
3 weeks
Wednesday June 27th - Tuesday July 17th 2012

Day 1 - X2 P.A.P. Lower
Day 2 - Asylum Speed & Agility and Relief
Day 3 - X2 P.A.P. Upper
Day 4 - Run Training
Day 5 - Asylum Vertical Plyo and Overtime
Day 6 - AM: Asylum Game Day and Relief - PM: Hockey
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

I will complete the schedule on Tuesday July 17th and then have a few days of stretching/yoga to recover before the race on Saturday July 21st.


Once I finish up with my mass phase, I will be cutting back from my quite-consistent 4k calories a day to either maintain or slightly reduce my weight from there. Some people may ask, "Why build muscle to then turn around and try and lose weight?" If done properly, the idea behind a mass building phase is to do just that - build muscle. Because of the large amounts of calories consumed to try and increase muscle tissue, it is inevitable that I have gained a few extra non-lean pounds as well.

I then follow that up with some high-intense interval training combined with some resistance training and a correct diet, I will aim to "cut" the fat off of my body so that I lose a bit of weight losing some body fat while attempting to maintain as much muscle as possible.

So for my diet, I will be aiming for a slight calorie reduction and a 40/30/30 plan again. The only difference here is that I will be aiming for about 40% protein rather than carbs.


I will keep everyone updated on my progress through this intense schedule as well as my results at this year's Warrior Dash, so stay tuned!

Photo - http://www.accelerator3359.com/Wrestling/bios/warrior.html

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

Time to Move Some Weight!

I will admit that I was originally planning on documenting my mass phase plans on my youtube channel but sometimes it is much easier to articulate and explain yourself via text, so here we are. I will also be including pictures of my schedule so my written blog seems to be the appropriate choice.

Why Build Mass?

First of all, let me explain why I wish to put on a bit of mass. I really do not have any problems with my body size/type as it is, in fact I am quite comfortable with how I look and feel, but sometimes it is nice to change things up. On top of that, since I am a trainer myself, I enjoy using myself as a guinea pig sometimes to test out some of my own theories/teachings that I can then share with others.

I essentially have 1 day remaining in my P90X2 schedule. This program has been great in increasing my athletic performance and core stability, but I feel I have lost a bit of strength and size along the way. I am certainly not complaining as a trade-off for increased sports performance generally means a leaner, quicker, more agile body anyways.

Let's not forget that the human body would much rather be streamlined in order to not only improve survival traits, but having fast, efficient, but smaller muscles also carries over well into the sports world. Your body basically doesn't wish to carry around any more weight than it needs to.

Which brings me back to my original point...what's the point? Well, I would be lying if I said that I don't wish to look good. Let's face it, almost any guy (and some girls too) that exercise and workout, wish to grow their muscles. Plus, I am in my twenties still, which is a great decade for muscle growth, so I might as well try and get, while the gettin's good!

Small disclaimer here, however. I do not wish to ever look like that gentleman at the top of this blog. Not that there is anything wrong with his physique, but that takes extreme dedication along with, *ahem*, additional help. Without further ado, let's jump into the schedule.


My schedule will be a total of 9 weeks long - or 2 'blocks' of 4-week phases, separated by a transition week. All of my workouts come from either the P90X series, P90X+ series, or Tony Horton's 1 on 1 series. Many of these workouts have modifications to them as my goals are different than the videos are intended.

Phase 1

Day 1 - Chest & Back (modified) - Rep Goal: 8-12 reps
Day 2 - Super Cardio or Kenpo Cardio Plus (alternating weeks)
Day 3 - Core Day*
Day 4 - Diamond Delts and Just Arms - Rep Goal: 8-10 reps
Day 5 - Yoga**
Day 6 - Upper Plus - Rep Goal: 12-15+ reps
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

*Core day will consist of a rotating pattern of Beachbody core workouts that I have paired together. They are: Iso Abs/Ab Ripper X, X2 Ab Ripper/20-12 Abs, Killer Abs/Cardio Abs. I have designated a specific 'core day' so that I can attack my core more intensely for 1 complete day rather than short ab routines after resistance days. Not only that, but I can then also spend more focus and energy on my resistance workouts.

**Yoga will consist of whichever yoga routine I feel like doing on that given day. I may also turn this into a stretch/recovery day with foam rolling based on my tired/sore I am.

My Chest & Back modification - I will record this routine and put it on my youtube channel so that those interested can either follow along or take ideas from it. It is loosely based on Chest & Back from P90X, but I will be using additional weight for pushups as well as adding in some dumbbell bench press variations. My rep range will be aimed at the 8-12 rep range, specifically targeted for muscle hypertrophy (growth) of type-2 muscle fibers (fast-twitch).

My day 2 or cardio day will be very light for a reason. The intention here is to not necessarily gain any cardio stamina, but to increase blood flow to improve recovery from the previous day's resistance routine. In order to maximize strength and hypertrophy gains, cardio routines should be kept fairly minimal anyways.

Diamond Delts and Just Arms - This is one of my favorite workout combinations. Both routines run about 45 minutes, so by the end of the 90 minutes or so, my shoulders, biceps, triceps, and forearms are annihilated. These routines will be completed essentially as-is. They are structured around more standard weightlifting routines so I will not be making any modifications. I will aim for 8-10 reps on almost every exercise, except for some of the more 'fine-tuning' exercises on the shoulder's rotator cuff, and the forearm exercises, those I will be aiming for 12+ repetitions.

Upper Plus - Many of you may be wondering why this workout is here during a mass phase. While days 1 and 4 are aimed at type-2 muscle fiber hypertrophy, Upper Plus will be aimed at type-1 muscle fiber hypertrophy. Type-1 muscle fibers do not have as much potential for growth as type-2 muscle fibers, but they can still grow a little. Not only that, but by lightening my resistance, and increasing my repetition range within the same week, it allows me to grow much more well-rounded and strong muscles. Another bonus here is that this will somewhat act as a 2nd cardio routine for my week as I will be aiming for 12-15+ repetitions per exercise with little break, so my heart rate will be increasing while working my muscles!

I am not working my legs directly in Phase 1 because I will be giving them a bit of a break while still 'coasting' from my gains made during P90X2. I will begin to work my legs again in Phase 2 which will lead me into future plans.

Transition Week

Day 1 - X2 Core
Day 2 - X2 Recovery & Mobility (foam rolling)
Day 3 - Asylum's Back to Core
Day 4 - X2 Yoga
Day 5 - Insanity's Cardio Recovery
Day 6 - X2 Recovery & Mobility (foam rolling)
Day 7 - Off

Pretty simply recovery/transition week here. The main focus being just that - recovery! Some days I may add some very light cardio based on how the weather is, as I may be able to get outside for a short, easy run.

Phase 2

Day 1 - P90X Back & Biceps - Rep Goal: 8-10 reps
Day 2 - UBX (modified) (Chest, Shoulders & Tricep) - Rep Goal: 12-15+ reps
Day 3 - Plyo Legs***
Day 4 - Core Day*
Day 5 - V Sculpt (Back & Biceps) - Rep Goal: 12-15+ reps
Day 6 - P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (modified) - Rep Goal: 8-10 reps
Day 7 - Off/Recovery

Plyo Legs - I will be doing this routine for 4-straight weeks, each week with a little bit more resistance via a weighted vest. My goal here is to not necessarily increase the size of my legs, but to increase leg strength.

I cover the entire upper body twice each week, both with lower rep ranges (type-2 hypertrohpy), and higher rep ranges (type-1 hypertrophy). The higher rep-range workouts also act as 'somewhat-cardio' days as this is circuit training with higher rep counts and shorter breaks, inherently increasing my heart rate.

For those of you familiar with UBX and P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, I will be filming my modifications to these routines when I do them and putting them on youtube as well for your interest.


Ah, yes, diet. The make-or-break piece of any health and fitness puzzle. As the saying goes, "You can't out-work a bad diet!" This applies to mass phases as well for those looking to put on some muscle because if you don't eat enough (or the right stuff) you are not going to get the results you want!

I have done some research on this and have found many different theories as to what works best for building mass based on your macronutrient ratios. I have decided that I will aim for 40-50% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein, and 25-30% fats. I will actually be trying to keep my carbs as low and as close to the 40% mark as possible, but when increasing calories the way you need to in order to build mass, carbs are generally an easy way to get your calories up.

I will try and keep my carbohydrates as 'clean' as possible - no white or refined sugars, only minimal whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables.

There is no real way for me to post exactly what I plan on eating on a day-to-day basis as of yet because my caloric numbers may and will change from a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. Instead, I will work away on my diet, and if I end up with results that I like, I can post more diet details at the end of the 9 weeks.


I will be supplementing with creatine. I will start with a 'loading phase' during the first 7 days of 20g/day (4 x 5mg doses). I will then continue with a 'maintenance phase' of approximately 4-5g/day for the remainder of the schedule. Creatine will be taken every single day, even on 'off' days to keep muscle stores topped up.

My Goals

As of right now, at the end of P90X2, I am sitting at 170lbs even. I will be aiming to gain around 0.5-1 pound of mass per week. The first week, I am anticipating a pretty quick weight gain because of the creatine loading and water retention, but the gaining will then slow. All in all, I am hoping to gain about 5-9lbs of lean, muscle mass.

Future Plans

The reason this mass phase is only 9 weeks in total is so that I can complete a full 13-week schedule in preparation for my Warrior Dash in July. I can post details about that schedule later, but you can expect it to include P90X2 combined with Insanity: Asylum! Stay tuned...

***UPDATE*** End of Phase 1 results here

***UPDATE*** Final Results can be found here

Photo 1: http://gaintruthmuscle.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html

Muscular Growth

Since I am soon heading into my own 'mass phase' where I will be looking to build a bit of muscle, I figured now would be as good of time as any to discuss the facts on muscular growth. There may be some myths or misconceptions that some people have so hopefully I can clear the air the best I can.


This form of muscular growth is one of the most debated amongst researchers because many are not even sure if the process is possible. Hyperplasia is the action of growing a muscle by increasing the number of muscle cells/fibers. This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions amongst individuals who look to grow their muscles. The shape and size of your muscles is largely determined by the number of muscle fibers contained in each muscle which is set by the time you reach puberty. Many people think that by working out, your increase the number of muscle fibers or cells therefore increasing size, which is not true.

There have apparently been studies that have shown cases of hyperplasia via longitudinal fiber splitting as a response to high-intensity resistance training (actually sounds painful!), but these studies have been largely ruled-out. Other such cases have been reported when muscles are treated to optimal conditions. Some theorize that muscle fibers only experience hyperplasia once they reach a theoretical size limit. If they can then be pushed beyond this point - oftentimes with anabolic steroids - they may potentially split to form new fibers.


Muscular hypertrophy refers to muscular enlargement resulting from training. Muscle fiber disruption and damage during intense resistance exercise stimulates muscle growth. Once the damage has occurred, the repair process on the muscle fibers involves many different mechanisms such as hormonal variations, immune system functions, and metabolic demands. The various bodily systems can only assist in repair if adequate amounts of specific building blocks are present (i.e. protein). Protein synthesis involves 3 main steps. First, there needs to be adequate water intake. Secondly, the body will restructure noncontractile protein structures. Lastly, contractile protein synthesis will take place.

One common misconception amongst individuals starting a new resistance training program is that they may initially experience strength gains from resistance training, but this is generally caused by increased neuromuscular adaptations. What this basically means is that the brain becomes much more efficient and develops new and stronger pathways in order to contract muscular fibers. To simplify this even further, understand that the muscle fibers simply become more coordinated in their contractions. When more fibers contract at once, you can produce more force. For hypertrophy to occur however, research suggests that an individual would need to exercise beyond 16 intense workouts or so. Mostly all strength gained within those first 16 workouts are attained from neural adaptations. Beyond that, the muscle fibers will then begin to grow.

Magnitude of Hypertrophy

So how does one maximize muscular hypertrophy? First of all, a well-structured program is key to reaching a goal of muscular growth. There are two main factors at play in order to increase muscle size. Mechanical and metabolic systems must be stressed in a pretty specific way. Mechanical factors include lifting heavy loads with progression. Also known as progressive overload, muscles must be continually pushed and challenged in order for continued growth. An example of this would be increasing either repetitions or resistance during every single workout. If an individual can perform 40lbs bicep curls for 8 reps for a set, they should try and push themselves to 10 reps the next workout, then potentially increasing resistance to 45lbs the workout following that.

Short rest periods are also encouraged during resistance training to increase stress on the glycolytic energy system. This increases concentrations of metabolites that may be involved in muscular growth. This is the second component of hypertrophy mentioned above - the metabolic system.

Muscle Fiber Types

Muscle fibers can be categorized into two different types - type 1 and type 2. Type 1 muscle fibers are referred to as 'slow-twitch', have lower force production, and rely heavily on oxidative energy systems. Type 2 on the other hand is referred to as 'fast-twitch' muscle fibers, have higher force production, and rely heavily on non-oxidative energy systems. When a muscle is resistance trained, both types of fibers are recruited for force production, therefore they both possess the affinity for growth. However, type 2 muscle fibers have a much higher affinity for growth so muscle size is largely dependent on an individual's ratio of type 1 to type 2 muscle fibers.

Load and Repetition Goals

Hypertrophy training should aim for 67-85% of 1RM with a repetition goal in the 6-12 rep range. I personally feel that individuals should try to not use resistance that would force them to drop too far below an 8-rep goal for assistance exercises. Assistance exercises are those that are single-joint and usually single-muscle (i.e. bicep curl, tricep pushdown). By using too heavy of resistance for assistance exercises, individuals can place far too much stress on those single joints.


In order to build mass, your body will require more calories than what you are used to. Having said that, if you wish to try and build as lean of mass as possible, your intake of calories should be clean. What I mean by this is that you still do not want to ingest total junk calories such as processed foods or refined carbs. Also, your macronutrient ratios should be spot on. Calorie counts will vary based on the individual and their mass building goals, but remember that building about a pound of muscle a week requires pretty serious dedication so do not set goals too much higher than that!

I have seen different opinions on this, but for the most part, ideal macronutrient ratios for lean mass building should be somewhere in the ballpark of: 40-50% carbohydrates, 30-40% protein, 20-30% fat. You will need carbohydrates (clean; whole grains, fruits, vegetables) to fuel your intense workouts and protein to build tissue.

Baechle, Thomas R. and Earle, Roger W. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning Third Edition
Picture: http://www.thedreamlounge.net/2010/09/