"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."
This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.
To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.
Mild-Mannered Charlie Bean by Ellington Darden, Ph.D.
Charlie Bean was surprised. He had longer-than-average muscles in his upper arms and didn't know it.
"Charlie," I said, "you can build some impressive arms. And you can do so in 90 days."
Charlie's 14-3/4" arms project well in his double-biceps pose. An experienced eye can see the extra length that he has in both his biceps and triceps.
Charlie, 37, resides in Houston, Texas, where's he member of a large, downtown gym. Originally from Mississippi, he's a mild-mannered gentleman, who has an appreciation for physical fitness.
At 5' 9-1/2" tall, Charlie weighed 182 pounds when he joined me on April 7, 2008, for my Intensive-Coaching Workshop.
Over the next twelve weeks, Charlie's goals are to add a solid inch of muscle on his upper arms and bring his body weight up to 190 pounds. His training program was designed for him to reach his goals.
Dr. Darden asked me to post a quick update on my progress since my visit to his home on 4/7/08.
On 4/14, I got started with the A, B and C (arms specialization) routines that Dr. Darden created for me. So, based on the 72 hours rest between workouts that he prescribed, I've been to the gym 7 times between 4/14 and 4/30.
During that time, my body weight has increased by 3 lbs to 185 -- I'm sure that doesn't sound like much, but I'm not the kind of guy who gains weight easily. So, 3 lbs in less than 3 weeks is a lot to me.
More importantly, I've seen some growth in my upper arms during this time as well. My girlfriend, Dawn, measured my arms at 15.25" (R) and 15.5" (L) yesterday before we went to the gym. Dawn is, by the way, my "trainer" and you'd think she learned from Dr. Darden how to push me in the gym. Anyway, that's a 1/2 inch gain on my right arm and a little more than that on my left arm.
So, needless to say, I'm excited about my results so far. I feel like I'm just now settling in to these new routines (getting my resistance right and trying to improve my performance on N.O. chin ups and dips). So, I'm hopeful that I'll see continued gains over the next few weeks as I execute the routines better.
With respect to dietary changes over the past three weeks, I've primarily being trying to eat MORE of the same things I was eating before I got started. I certainly haven't started taking any supplements that I wasn't already taking (although I have added a recovery drink BEFORE working out whereas I was previously only drinking one AFTER).
Before I went to visit Dr. Darden, he asked me to give him a 2-day log of everything I ate and his opinion was that I was doing a pretty good job of getting down about 3,000 calories a day. I know from reading Dr. Darden's books that he encourages more carbs than I'm used to, so I've been trying to loosen up a little bit there and get closer to 3,500 or more calories a day.
For the most part, however, I do the best I can with my diet considering the fact that I have a regular office job complete with some business travel. Sure, I get some ribbing from my co-workers about my snacks at 10AM and 3PM and some strange looks from TSA agents when they pull the bottle of creatine powder out of my carry-on.
But, I've learned after many years of failure how important my diet is to achieving the goals I've set for my body.
Sorry, Billy, for the delay in responding to your question regarding my eating plan. I don't claim to have it all figured out and I certainly don't know enough about the subject to have come up with my own plan. So, I've copied things that I've read that make sense to me (usually defined as having read it multiple times in what I consider to be credible sources) and that fit into my life.
Basically, I try to eat 6 times a day with a snack 3 hours after each meal and the next meal 2 hours after that. So, for example, I might eat at 7, 10, 12, 3, 5 and 8. Work and travel pose challenges sometimes, but I try hard to be as consistent as possible.
Speaking of consistency, I think that's very important to getting results. If you're always changing up the way you eat and what you eat based on the last article you read, I think you're going to fail ... no different than constantly changing up your basic workout plan and / or the supplements you take because of what you read in last month's magazine. In my opinion, it's better to stick with a less-than-optimal eating plan than start a different one every month.
I don't know if that's the kind of detail that you were looking for. But, I can tell you that for the first time in my life, I feel like I know what to do to gain body weight -- thanks to Dr. Darden. I've gained 9 pounds of muscle in the last 7 weeks and that's HUGE for a 37-year old guy with moderate genetic potential for building muscle (a "7 out of 10" on Dr. Darden's scale) ... especially considering the fact that Dr. Darden told me plainly that I had already realized about 90% of my potential.
These results would be a lot less meaningful to me if I was a young guy who had never worked out before and had excellent genetic potential for building muscle.
The results are in. After 90 days of Intensive Coaching, Charlie noted the following gains:
* 10 pounds of body weight, from 182 to 192
* 3/4 inch on his right upper arm
* 7/8 inch on his left upper arm
* 1-1/8 inches on his shoulders
* 1-1/4 inches on his chest
* 7/8 inch on his right thigh
* 1-1/8 inches on his left thigh
Look closely and you'll see the differences in his BEFORE and AFTER photos.
At a 192 pounds, Charlie's goal now is to weigh a solid 200 pounds by Christmas.
Right now, I'm alternating between an A & B routine, both of which are total body workouts of 9 - 10 exercises, which I finish in less than 25 minutes. I'm not currently trying to specialize on any particular body part, although I'm pretty focused on improving my heavier leg exercises such as squats, stiff-legged deadlifts and leg press.
I try to go to the gym every 3rd day (e.g., Mon, Thur, Sun). But, life interferes sometimes and I'll have to go on just 1 day rest as opposed to missing a workout. I'll never go back to the gym on back-to-back days, that's for sure!
With respect to gaining up to 200lbs: on the one hand, it seems simple. I just gained 10 lbs up to 192, so I only have 8 pounds to go. On the other hand, I'm almost 38 years old and I've already achieved a large percentage of my genetic potential. So, every pound from here on out is going to be a real struggle!
The major diet change I made was eating more carbs. Before going to see Dr. Darden, I was eating a very lean diet of protein and greens. Working more carbs into my diet allowed me to push my daily caloric intake to at least 3,500 and that's when I started seeing some results.
I found that when I was at home and had strict control over my diet, I could gain weight. But, when I was traveling on business or on vacation, I couldn't get the daily calories I needed to grow.
With respect to using a cadence when exercising -- I don't consciously do it because I'm so used to the proper pace now. But, when I was first learning HIT, I tried counting in my head and I had my partner time my exercises to ensure each lasted at least 30 seconds. I had to learn how to slow down. But, after doing those things for a few workouts, I didn't have to think about it anymore.
Basically, I try to move slowly enough to feel tension throughout the entire range of motion on every rep and to be able to make smooth transitions between lifting and lowering. I can't help but wince when I see guys (and girls) lifting weights explosively and then letting them drop ... mainly because I can remember when I used to lift like that as well.
After recently receiving what I considered to be surprising results from a physical fitness assessment, I checked in with Dr. Darden to let him know (once again) how much I appreciate his guidance. He asked me to share the results in this forum ...
Due to a recent move from Houston back to my home state of MS, I had to find a new gym. The best-equipped gym in town is part of the local hospital system, so they require new members to complete a fairly rigorous assessment (which is basically broken down into strength and aerobic fitness metrics).
After all my strength training, I wasn't surprised when I scored in the ideal range for things like biceps strength. But, I was surprised that -- even though I don't do any traditional "cardio" workouts like running, treadmill, etc. -- I topped out on the aerobic fitness metrics as well.
For example, my resting pulse rate was 56 and the guy basically apologized for asking me to do the stress test (riding a stationary bike) because it took so long for my heart rate to get into the "stress range."
With respect to the stellar aerobic fitness results, I attribute them to Dr. Darden's advice regarding closely monitoring how much time you spend in the gym. When I first started doing HIT, I was only tracking my progression related to weights and reps. Later, I started closely tracking my start & stop times as well.
When I first started tracking my start & stop times, my workouts typically lasted 30 minutes. Now, they last about 20 minutes primarily because the only rest I take is moving from one exercise to the next. I don't drink water, I don't chat, I don't jack around with my mp3 player ... I just lift weights.
Of course, my actual lifts are still slow and deliberate, but everything else about my workout is about speed (for example, going to the gym when it's less busy, setting up several exercises prior to starting, etc.)
The thing I like best about my brief workouts -- besides the high level of aerobic fitness I've achieved -- is the satisfaction I get after completing an entire total body HIT workout in less time than it takes other guys in the gym to work a single muscle group.
With respect to the weight gain, I actually got up to 200lbs for a while there but I found it as difficult to maintain as it was to achieve. I had to put a lot of effort into taking in enough "clean" calories to maintain that weight and it was especially difficult whenever I had to travel for work.
I know it sounds like a great problem to have to some people, but if I missed just a couple of days of eating 3,500+ calories, I'd lose 2 - 3 pounds.
And, yes, at 200lbs I felt like my body fat % had increased somewhat. I could still wear the same pants, but I was using a different hole in my belt! So, I've cut back on the calories and dropped back into a more manageable 190lb range.
But, I'm not giving up on my goal to gain lean muscle while keeping my body fat % in check just yet. I'm moving into a new job next month that will drastically reduce my business travel (which always wrecks my diet).
And, I'm about to start an online "lean eating" coaching program that I hope will teach me new strategies for more carefully planning my diet.