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  1. #1
    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    How to resume mass gains?

    For 5 months I was gaining 0.5lb/week, of muscle (a bit more in total mass), consistently, and then I got mentally and somewhat physically fatigued (when attempting to move from 3/week to 4/week) and switched away from Strongur Phase II workouts to Fierce 5...both adapted to dumbbells, due to covid. Tape measure, calipers, the mirror, and my wife, all clearly indicated muscle gains on Strongur.

    When I switched, mass gains stopped right away (no muscle, no fat, and no weight change) and have been flat for 5 weeks, and strength continues to improve.

    Strongur took 2 hours (including warm up and cool down), and I liked the idea of Fierce 5, because I could do the workout in one hour. It's the same exercises, but lighter weights are necessary due to shorter rest periods, and supersets. Strongur was so hard that I could only do 3/week continuously, but with Fierce 5, it's so easy that 4/week is just moderately hard.

    For each week of no gains I added 100 calories a day, for the week. So, I was doing great at 3100/day (50C/20P/30F) for 5 months. Then 3200...3300...3400...3500...and still no weight change. I'm hesitant to keep adding calories, at this point.

    Do I switch back to Strongur, or is something else happening?
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    Last edited by ClimberTrav; 07-10-2020 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Clarification that I'm looking at muscle gain, and not general weight gain. Also updated today's pic and avatar
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    Registered User lsiberian's Avatar
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    If your strength goes up then you are still making gains and changes aren't needed.
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    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    Oh boy...imo you need to re-think this entire approach.

    1st off, mass does not = muscle.
    2nd, fact is both programs are NOT working for you. You get burnt out with the 1st and no gainz from the 2nd. Stop them and never trust another fancy named workout routine ever.
    3rd, you are chasing numbers and although numbers can be a sign of improvement it is not the be and end all. Your goal should be overall progress using those very same numbers and regularly taken pics to judge your progress.
    4th, chasing numbers, weight, and mass at the age of 50 and you're probably natty is not a good idea whatsoever. At 50 (no insult, I'm close to 50 too) your potential to gain much muscle is drastically shrinking. I would look at making what you have simply better and to be in the best shape you can get at 50 regardless of weight, weight lifted, or what program you're on.
    5th, no weight training workout should take 2 hours. That's either fornicating the canine or overkill.

    Go back to the basic exercises focusing on progressive overload (a steady increase in either reps, sets, or weight but NOT all 3 at once) every session. This will lead to sustainable gains because you won't burn yourself out lifting. It also puts you in more control and leaves room for changing things up at will.

    If you want to gain muscle instead of mass you need to figure out your basal metabolic rate and then up your cals gradually by introducing more fat and protein. Carbs are for energy, they are not essential building blocks to building muscle, fat and protein are.

    And a counter intuitive approach is to introduce cardio during this time. Cardio will support your overall health, if you are not healthy your body will not cooperate trying to build more muscle that it doesn't need.
    My $.02.
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    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    Updated my original post to indicate "muscle" gain, and not "mass" gain. The original program really did produce great muscle gains. I track weight, bf, and measurements, but I have no pics--I'll add that to the program.

    I'm also 46 y/o. I've done years of training to get from 136 lb to 170 lb at 14% bf, with almost all of 2019 with zero training. Throughout my life, I've done very little supplemental work. Prior to 2020, I was just hitting the big 6 exercises, and now I'm doing supplementals. Bigger arms and legs lead to bigger compound lifts--could this have been beginner gains to body parts which had very little activation in the past, and these new beginner muscle mass gains have tapered off.
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    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ClimberTrav View Post
    Updated my original post to indicate "muscle" gain, and not "mass" gain. The original program really did produce great muscle gains. I track weight, bf, and measurements, but I have no pics--I'll add that to the program.

    I'm also 46 y/o. I've done years of training to get from 136 lb to 170 lb at 14% bf, with almost all of 2019 with zero training. Throughout my life, I've done very little supplemental work. Prior to 2020, I was just hitting the big 6 exercises, and now I'm doing supplementals. Bigger arms and legs lead to bigger compound lifts--could this have been beginner gains to body parts which had very little activation in the past, and these new beginner muscle mass gains have tapered off.
    The more accurate info we can get the closer we can come to an answer, thanks.
    I think you're correct with that conclusion and its perfectly reasonable. If your arms look bigger or if you've taped them before starting the supplementals and the measurement has increased we'd have a definitive answer.
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    Registered User xTeTe's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArchAngel'73 View Post

    Go back to the basic exercises focusing on progressive overload (a steady increase in either reps, sets, or weight but NOT all 3 at once) every session. This will lead to sustainable gains because you won't burn yourself out lifting. It also puts you in more control and leaves room for changing things up at will.
    That's the name of the game right there. Even if the gains come slower, they'll still come with PO. Eating the RIGHT foods and pushing yourself will help keep the T levels up too.
    Amateur boxer turned bodybuilder...

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    OCB Pro smokinal's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ClimberTrav View Post
    Strongur was so hard that I could only do 3/week continuously, but with Fierce 5, it's so easy that 4/week is just moderately hard.
    I'm shocked that there is any confusion here at all.
    Not trying to bust your balls but how is anyone confused that you were gaining on a "hard" program and staying flat on a program that "it's so easy" ??

    C'mon man, don't go millennial on us. If you want something, you gotta work for it.

    I understand that there have been great advancements over the last 100 years in industry, production and business that allow us to "work smarter, not harder" and achieve the same, if not greater, results.
    The human body is not like that. It still needs an old school pounding to grow. Yes, you can maintain, like you are doing now, on a simple program with moderate effort. But to grow; to make improvements; make advancements, you gotta work for those.

    All that said, keep in mind that you also have to be in a caloric surplus to grow.
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    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    How long to rest between sets

    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post
    I'm shocked that there is any confusion here at all.
    Not trying to bust your balls but how is anyone confused that you were gaining on a "hard" program and staying flat on a program that "it's so easy" ??
    Right on.

    Ya know, three times now I've been told that 2 hours is too long for a lifting session, and once I've been told that if you're gonna lift heavy, then you need a [a solid 3 minutes of] rest between sets.

    Here's where I landed with all of this. Some days are heavy days, where 3-5 reps will gas me, and I take all 3 minutes to recover before the next set, and this leads to a 2 hour session. Some days are not heavy and I can get by with maybe 90 seconds, and the session can finish in less than an hour. And isolation work--I didn't know there was a different timing scheme there, either. 90 seconds between sets if it's a heavy day, and straight up super or giants sets if it's not.

    I've learned to shave off time, when and where possible, with no degradation of performance, but on heavy days, I'll be working for 2 hours. Feel free to wave on your way in and back out.

    I appreciate all the input. It really has opened my eyes to considering rest duration and total workout time in a way I never had before.
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  9. #9
    I'm huge in Japan! xsquid99's Avatar
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    I'm confused, even if you were doing 5 sets of say two big compound lifts (say flat bench and an OHP on a push day) with 3 minutes rest between sets and then some accessory work added to that your workout should still be done in roughly an hour. What the heck are you doing that you would need 2 hours to complete?
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    I'm confused, even if you were doing 5 sets of say two big compound lifts (say flat bench and an OHP on a push day) with 3 minutes rest between sets and then some accessory work added to that your workout should still be done in roughly an hour. What the heck are you doing that you would need 2 hours to complete?
    Long ago, when I first learned about lifting, I must have heard “3 minute rests” between sets and I ran with it. So, imagine Deadlift, OHP, pullup, 2 supplementals and a core, with 5 progressive warmup sets for the first 3, and then imagine taking the full 3 minutes between each supplemental set. That’s how you get 2 hours.

    When I was climbing, 3 hours per day was pretty typical for me, so 2 didn’t seem bad. Combined with “3 minutes rest” that’s how I got there.

    Older and shorter on time, that same workout is around 75 minutes now, mostly by giant setting the last 3. So, would I take 2 hours if a program worked? Sure, but let’s give the 75 minute version some time and maybe I’ll find it’s just as effective.
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    I'm huge in Japan! xsquid99's Avatar
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    Yeah 5 progressive warmup sets for the first 3 exercises is completely unnecessary. Only my first exercise get a warmup, and usually 3 progressive sets with only a minute or two at the most between those warmup sets. Warmup for me is 25/50/75% and then into my working weight. After I'm done with my first big compound movement nothing else gets a warmup.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    Registered User evankyle's Avatar
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    no way are you 14% bodyfat. I would get leaner first. You are in good shape for your age. eating at maintenance while working out seems more ideal.
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    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    Fatter than I thought. Let's cut before bulking.

    Originally Posted by evankyle View Post
    no way are you 14% bodyfat. I would get leaner first. You are in good shape for your age. eating at maintenance while working out seems more ideal.
    Yes, I felt the same, so after posting, I got a Jackson/Pollock 4 body fat measurement, and recorded 16.83%.

    On August 11, I got Jackson/Pollock 7 and recorded 14.47%, after dropping 6.5 pounds.

    By now, I've dropped another 2.5 pounds and should be below 14%. I'll get another body fat reading some time in September.

    I don't know what body fat to consider as a target. I think I'll stop around 155 pounds, which might be near 12%.

    After that, I know that I don't need as much caloric surplus, so I will use a lower value. At 3100 I was making strength gains, but seems like too much fat, so I'm thinking to try 2900 this time, or maybe, as you said, I can eat at maintenance, and perhaps make gains. Seems like a logical thing to try before adding calories.
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    Registered User pondman's Avatar
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    Seems to be too much bro science. If you are lifting more this week, than last, you've gain muscle. As too your ability to gain 24 lbs of muscle per year, I doubt it. If you are in a calorie surplus, and are lifting more weight, you are gaining muscle.
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