Hi guys, hope we’re all enjoying the awesome weather in the UK! Everyone else overseas, I hope the sun is shining for you guys too!
Normally each week I try to do a fitness/excess focus piece explaining the key benefits of that exercise or fitness advice. This week is a little different, I’m actually documenting the start of a six-week bulk phase.
Bulk – Strength – Whatever you want to call it
I managed to get my body fat % down to 19.5%, I’m just coming up to ten months postpartum and I’m actually in better shape now than I was pre-pregnancy. With that being said I am still currently under 8 Stone, I’m not a huge fan. I was always comfortable with my body weight over 8 Stone. So this is the goal, in six weeks I want to increase my muscle mass, my weight and my overall strength.
Easy right? …No, so much no.
As I’m wanting to increase my overall body weight I need to ensure I am eating in a calorie surplus – broken down, I need to eat more calories than I burn day-to-day. I calculated my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (a post with more info on that can be found here), and this brought my calorie goal around 2200 to GAIN weight.
So hows the super calorie goal working out
With every nutrition plan it’s trial and error, you have no idea how your body is going to react to a set amount of protein, carbs and fats. I personally found my body works better with Carbohydrates, if I drop them down too low in a cut phase I can’t function and my body just stalls. I’ve trailed this calorie goal for two weeks and I was still losing weight, yes I was eating over 2000 calories a day and losing weight – Thank You metabolism! I’ve now increased my calorie goal to 2500 a day, you’d think it was fun eating so much but it’s really not. Trying to fit so many meals and snacks in with a chaotic schedule is pretty much a headache, not to mention extra cost at the supermarket.
First week on the amended calorie goal and I gained just over 1lb, so the calorie goal is a winner! My workout days are going to be a challenge, on a good day I can easily burn 500 calories. This means my overall calorie consumption will need to be 3000 calories, on those days my protein goal is well over 200g and unless I eat chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner I do struggle to hit that goal!
I’m still finalising a more structured meal plan, currently I’m being pretty flexible and not stressing about hitting every macro. I like to concentrate on one aspect of my plan at a time, this week my main focus is my new training plan. Once I’ve run through that this week and I’m happy with the exercises I’ve planned I will crack down on the nutrition. So four days to eat my body weight in doughnuts before I have to crack down on less nutritional foods.
Six week strength programme – planning the workouts
You all basically know by now I go to the gym three times a week at the crack of dawn so I’m home for my little boy waking up. I’m currently typing this at 00:40am, my alarms set for 6am – why do I do this! Anyway, as I was taking part in a weight loss challenge my workouts were based on muscle hypertrophy – endurance, getting back into the exercise routine and some lengthy LISS cardio.
I’ve altered up my set and rep range to really focus on the strength aspect, I’ll be working on a rep range of 6-8 and a set range of 3-4. I’m not throwing in any fancy new training methods, or volume training. I’m finding my one set maximum with each exercises and using that as my base weight. If I can do a seated cable row at 25kg for 6 reps, those last 2 reps being a challenge – that’s my base. That’s the lowest weight I will use on that exercise, obviously if I’m fatigued or do pick up a random injury then I would decrease the weight.
Form over weight EVERY time – No one cares what weight you lift
(Unless you’re a competing power lifter…obvs). Seriously, do not compromise your form because Tanya on instagram can squat more than you. Tanya don’t care, instagram don’t care, the bar doesn’t care. Look after yourself and your body, if you get an injury you will totally understand.
I’m sticking to three training sessions, heavily focused on the resistance training. I always do a 10minute cardio warm up, just to get the blood pumping round the body and to my muscles. Ensuring the muscles are warm before resistance training is another good way to avoid injury, also try to incorporate a cardiovascular exercise that benefits the area you are training. When I’m doing a shoulders and back workout I’ll use the rower as it’s a perfect full body warm up, if I’m more focused on legs I’ll use the bike. Cross trainer is also a good option if you’re doing a full body workout – so is the rower. I just like to mix up the cardiovascular machines so I don’t get bored and my body doesn’t get used to what I do day in day out.
Years ago I used to break down and pair a session to two areas of the body. Since December I took a more ‘full body’ every workout kinda vibe. Well, now we’re going to play with the big boys I thought it was time to throw it back old school and split it down. I’ve split it this way as this works for me, it might not work for everyone. Getting into a training routine is trial and error, just like with your nutrition. You have to see what your body responds to best.
I don’t have set days to train, I just train three times per week. Workout one I’ve combined chest and back, workout two arms and legs and finally workout three shoulders and legs. I still wanted to train legs twice a week as they are such a big muscle group, working them ensures a good calorie burn. I’m also working on those booty gains so if the extra carbs could just wing down there that would be great!
I’ve paired my workout sessions like this so I can get some good supersets in to really fatigue the muscle groups I’m working on. Classic one – pull ups straight into tricep dips with no rest. I also like to do a lat pull down straight into push ups. I’m super focused on having a balanced training plan and balanced muscle groups when training. I’ve focused a lot on my lower body since December as after having my little boy I was carrying extra weight around my hips, and I wanted to ensure I was strengthening my core and also getting some strength back after sitting for so many months.
Starting Block, hows it looking
As this is only a six-week plan I’ve decided to just do my measurements at the start and at the end, I will weigh myself every sunday morning as soon as I wake up though.
My current weight stats are;
As you can see above I have my check in dates already planned, and I might do my measurements after four weeks just to see how things are ticking along. By doing this it means I can make minor adjustments for the final two weeks to get the most out of this six-week plan.
I am going to do a vlog each week on the youtube channel to let you know how I’m getting on with the nutrition and training, I’ll also keep doing my mini-workout mash-up videos on instagram to give you an idea of the exercises I’m doing.
Week one has gone alright, I still have one workout to fit in tomorrow. After being poorly I’ve struggled to get back into my early morning routine, hoping after this weekend I’ll be back on track. With this random nice weather I’ve also not hit my target calorie goal, it’s been so nice and when it’s warm I just lose my appetite. Back on track with that thankfully, and got my tea planned (something I’ve not done for three days). I’ll also include a few days meal logs so you can see the weird and wonderful food combinations I have!
I’ll leave that all there, don’t want to drop an information bomb and bamboozle you all! Product review will be up and live on Wednesday, I’ll then get my weekly progress post and blog ready and up for next weekend!
Hope you’re all having a great weekend – Peace xo