INTRO TO THE TRAINING PLAN
PHASE 1 RECAP

Weight Lost: 4.2 pounds (8.2 pounds total)
Workouts Logged: 17 (30 total)

We hit a roadblock to start this phase. Right after completing my second to last workout of the first phase, I got sick. It was the first time I’ve been actual sick in a long time. I called out of work for a day for the first time in three years. I chalked it up to allergies in the beginning, but I was just out of it for close to two weeks.

I didn’t get my last lift of Phase 1 in and wouldn’t touch a weight for 11 days. This was one of those “make or break” moments. I’ll be honest, if this happened in the winter time, the whole program probably gets rearranged because the focus and intensity isn’t there.

Fortunately, I let some time pass to get better and got back on the wagon. The weight went up during my time away, but I weighed 199.6 pounds the morning of my first workout, which is just under two pounds of what I closed Phase 1 at.

For Phase 2, I went slightly off course and am doing the Chest Specialization phase Christian Thibaudeau has on T-Nation. One of the main goals of this program is body composition and chest has always been my weakest area. I wanted to get this phase in now before going deeper into the program.

The way Christian has the phase laid out is with three chest workouts: one focusing on thickness/heavy weight, one on width and one on the upper portion. Then there is a low volume lower body day and a low volume upper body day where you hit back, shoulders, traps and arms.

Because of my schedule, I made some modifications to it. I kept the Heavy Chest Day as is, but added in a shoulder exercise or two. I also kept the Chest Width Day and occasionally did arm work after if I was up for it. For the third chest day, I made it a back/chest day at the gym and was mostly machine based. I also had a lower body day. This was just easier for me to stick with.

PROGRESS/RESULTS

This phase didn’t have a good start at all. But, once I was able to get back on the wagon and start training again, the confidence came back. This was important because, two weeks later, things really took off during spring break.

The combination of being off for the week, baseball returning and the weather getting nicer made it feel like summer. I woke up every day looking to attack the day the same way I do over the summer. The recovery was on point, the diet was good and the intensity was there for every training session.

Spring break lasted 10 days and I got nine workouts in. This included two days where I couldn’t train because I was with family. I got back to the things that made me successful by adding in Prowler work and cardio. I also did two “two-a-days”.

I know they say it isn’t ideal to train all the time, and it’s not something I do all year round, but I just feel better when I train. I go by how I feel to. If I honestly am shot and have no energy, I won’t train. But I felt that fire again. Training became mandatory for me, and I mean that in a good way. It was on my to-do list. The two-a-days came before the days where I saw family.

On the days where I had to train, but wasn’t feeling optimal, I just walked in and said let’s see what we can do. I did the bar test after I stretched. When I’m benching, I see how 135 pounds feels in my hand and that determines how the workout will go. Does it feel heavier in my hands? The same? Lighter? Is the knurling killing my hands or is it the same as always? Usually, once I started lifting, everything worked out and I felt great afterwards.

For my weight, I ended Phase 1 at 197.8 and dropped to 193.6 on April 28, which is the morning after I completed Phase 2. There isn’t much to report with the weights I lifted because this phase is just about targeting the chest in a variety of ways. My top set of trap bar deadlifts jumped up to 360 pounds for seven reps. I did this on the second-to-last week and didn’t include the deadlifts in my last week of the phase.

I’m feeling good right now and hoping to make a real big push physique wise and strength wise as we are getting closer to the first checkpoint.