TRAINING FOR THE MASSES
Part II of III
I present to you part II of Hardcore Training for the Masses.
Of all the work Iíve done here at AE, I think my
Extreme Eating for Mass and Hardcore Training series stand head
and shoulders above the rest and have the most practical
application to bodybuilders at every level.
I felt that this particular article was long overdue, as
many viewed Hardcore Training as too advanced, or too confining,
for their particular application.
Itís important to remember that Hardcore Training is
not a static system that every bodybuilder is plugged into
regardless of their genetics, experience, or level of
development; weíre not attempting to make the square peg fit
into the round hole. Rather,
HT is a training philosophy, based on a set of time-tested
strategies and principals. Applying this philosophy to your training program is a sure
fired way to guarantee results in the gym.
left off last time discussing some of the older HT articles that
have appeared in past issues of AE. Admittedly, these workouts are simply a literary fly on the
wall look at some of the best training sessions Iíve had for
various body parts. Part of my goal with the original HT series
was to entertain as much as to inform.
Having said that, the workouts I discussed in the series
have happened, and occasionally do happen, but they are not
indicative of my day-to-day toiling in the gym.
youíre natural or juiced to the gills, your body can only grow
so much in a given period of time.
And even if weíre diligent enough to eat, train, and
sleep properly, growth does not occur forever.
I donít care how great your genetics, or how many
steroids you choose to pump in your body, there will come a time
when your body needs to rest, to accommodate itself to the slabs
of freshly added muscle tissue. Thatís why I advocate that bulking periods are cyclical in
nature, with each bulking period followed by a period of
relative rest. Perhaps
the term rest is misleading, as this period of maintenance could
only be considered ďrestfulĒ when compared to the brutality
of the period preceding it.
Let me explain.
times throughout the year, I prepare myself for a bulking cycle.
Now to most, this would mean that I plan on taking a
rather heavy dose of steroids in order to gain mass.
However, that is but a small part of the overall picture.
And regardless of whether you choose to use steroids or
not, youíll find yourself making greater gains over time by
following what Iím about to outline.
During this period, usually lasting about 8 weeks, I
commit myself to eating as much as humanly possible, to training
as hard as humanly possible, resting as much as needed, and
using supplements (and pharmaceuticals) in a fashion that
supports maximum growth. Itís
safe to say that for 8 weeks, my body is pushed to its limits in
just about every fashion, from the digestion of food to the
recovery of brutal workouts.
And inevitably, at the end of this 8-week period, Iíll
have made some significant progress.
I guess the question is, why donít I do this year round?
Quite simply, by the end of the 8 weeks, my body is shot.
I can only sustain this level of training, eating, and
commitment a few times out of the year, not only for physical
reasons, but psychological as well.
Let me put things into perspective.
I currently weigh 305 lbs.
Iím shooting for a weight of 320 lbs before I start
dieting down for my contest in November of this year.
Since I started my most recent bulking cycle, Iíve
added 15 lbs of LBM, starting at a weight of 290 lbs.
Think about that for a moment.
I started at 290 lbs.
In order to simply maintain that weight, the amount
of food I have to eat is astonishing. The workouts I suffer through to maintain 290 are brutal and
grueling. And the
amount of supplements (and pharmaceuticals) used to maintain 290
lbs would make the average man shudder.
So, in order to take things even further than an already
imposing 290 lbs, things have to get REALLY extreme.
everything else in life, bodybuilding and weightlifting is bound
by the law of diminishing returns.
That is, the more you advanced you become in the sport,
the harder you will have to work to see even a modicum of
progress. While a rookie can enter the gym with little or no knowledge
and make impressive gains for months on end, the seasoned
veteran will have to fight for every additional pound and inch.
I would imagine that when Ronnie Coleman steps offstage
at each yearís Mr. Olympia contest, he wonders how in the
world he will best his conditions for next yearís shows.
If you consider the amount of work it must take just to
maintain his physique, it boggles the mind at the steps he must
take to actually improve it.
as important as the bulking cycle are the months following it as
steps are taken to preserve as much of the newly added mass as
possible. I firmly
believe that your body has a natural set point, similar to a
thermostat in a house. Every
time you change your set point, by dieting or gaining new mass,
your body is going to take steps to maintain homeostasis, and
will fight you tooth and nail to return to what your body
considerers ďnormalĒ. Now
what weíve trained our bodies to accept as normal is far
different than Joe Blow who works at the car wash from 9-5 and
comes home to a beer and his wife with three teeth.
I view these maintenance periods not only as a way to
maintain physical and mental well being, but also a chance for
you to permanently change your set point, to up the thermometer
so to speak.
about it. We can
certainly force our bodies to change by taking in enormous
amounts of food, high doses of steroids, or severely restricting
calories and doing hours of cardio.
But over time, your body will adapt strategies to resist
change, and the more extreme the change, the more extreme your
body will resist. How
many of you have done a mass cycle, only to lose the majority of
your gains after the cessation of the mass gain period?
Both mass gaining and dieting bodybuilders suffer from
this yo-yo effect, ballooning up and down in weight as you body
seeks to return its ďnormalĒ state. So, during each maintenance phase,
Iím doing everything possible to reset the thermometer.
Yes, Iím not training as hard as before.
No, Iím not using the same amount of pharmaceuticals,
nor am I consuming the same amount of food.
And, thatís precisely the point of this maintenance
period. Iím still
training hard, Iím still eating correctly, and Iím still
using supplements (and pharmaceuticals, just not as much) and
resting as much as needed.
Realistically, Iím overtrained at the end of this
8-week period and rest (comparatively so) is exactly what my
body needs at this point. And
over time, Iíll train my body to accept this new weight as
ďnormalĒ, and be ready for another mass cycle.
the greatest knowledge that comes with experience in this sport
is that you learn to know when youíve reached your limits.
As Iíve previously discussed, the biggest problem faced
by rookies and neophytes to bodybuilding and weight training is
that of pushing themselves past their limits and becoming
itís not uncommon to see athletes with years of experience in
the gym still doing far too many sets and spending far too much
time in the gym, unable to accept simple truth that less time in
the gym will actually equate to greater gains.
Iím always hearing the same thing every time I leave
the gym. The desk
Nazis will comment ďLeaving already?Ē
Now, given the fact that Iím probably the biggest guy
in the gym, youíd think theyíd stop for a moment and ponder
the significance of the brief time I spend training.
letís see. Jason
is in the gym for very brief periods of time, yet is big as
fuck. Perhaps he
knows something we donít!Ē
invariably, the desk Nazis are thinking the same thing time and
I donít know how in the world heís so big, he never spends
any time training. He
must be some kind of genetic anomaly!Ē
admit, I was guilty of the same kind of thinking for the longest
time. When I was
going to college in Fresno, I trained around both Flex Wheeler
and Phil Hernon. While
both of these guys were in the gym for hours at a time, the time
they actually spent training was very limited.
Most people never really bothered to pay attention to
what these two behemoths were doing, but I watched them
intently, almost like I was a Zulu tribesman seeing Television
for the first time. I
quickly realized that although Flex and Phil were in the gym for
hours, the majority of Flexís time was spent chasing ass and
Philís time was spent reading a newspaper or joking around
with his idiotic friends and laughing in his annoying hyena
chuckle. And you know what I said to myself?
I donít know in the world those guys are so big, they never
spend any time training. They
must be some kind of genetic anomalies!Ē
course, I was young and stupid at the time, and I was working
out with a guy who was close to 40 and had trained back in the
old days with Robbie Robinson and Arnold.
He used to spoon feed me the old time propaganda, you
know, the ďYou need to work out for six hours a dayĒ
bullshit, and I promptly slurped it up like a diabetic eating an
ice cream cone. It
wasnít until I moved to Sacramento and started training with a
good friend of mine that I realized the folly of my ways. And
sooner than I could say ANADROL, my weight shot up from 255 lbs
to close to 295 at about 10% bodyfat.
Of course, I was soon arrested by the feds and almost
sent to the big house, but thatís another story.