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Boards => Journals => Topic started by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 01:03:46 PM



Title: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 01:03:46 PM
My goal is to step back onstage at the 2014 UKDFBA show on the 27th september,

my goals
1) I want to compete in my best shape with improved conditioning and muscle size all over

2) I want to get into bodybuilding condition, being happy, healthy and of coarse enjoying the process

I am in a great position this year to compete, i have been contracted as a fitness instructor and personal trainer in leamington spa, so finacially stable as i was a casual worker for 6 years with warwick district council before i finally landed the job that i wanted. I have a great bunch of mates, collegues and a very supportive girlfriend who also enjoys eating healthy and enjoys exercise.

my contest prep starts on april 12th so got a few months to get stronger and add some good muscle
my training has been consistant for a few months now and i feel very strong, and have a good base to build on,

i enjoy trainingh full body workouts 3 times per week and have tried different splits and upper/lower workouts but the full body workouts i get stronger quicker and enjoy most, i also like the old school basic feel to the workouts, on my off days i focus on recovery foam roll, stretch and maybe some moderate exercise of some sort too, walking,swimming, etc

i will be updating my log with monthly pictures from april, possibly before i want to be able to look back on my best year yet and see the changes, i write a log in a diary too, and as im on here every day following you guys, i thought ill get with keeping a log too.

i will update my training/diet/any changes, and general day to day thoughts on here also

hope you enjoy  :) -

ok, sundays offseason i relax my deit slightly- come april 12th no cheats/refeeds etc

i weigh 82kg and would like to be 78kg before i start my contest prep so loosing around 1/2lb per week up until then, this will be easy as since new year no alcohol, and strict diet 90% of the time, this may happen in the next few weeks and i will hold my weight there, 70kg im gonna be shredded i competed at 71kg before and was in good shape with new muscle and leaner 70kg should do it :)

i have 12-13 weeks to loose the 4kg pre contest prep

i will not be doing any cardiovascular exercise i will have 24 weeks to loose 6kg and diet along with hard training will do this for me, ill stay active on off days and focus on recovery

my diet is very simple and works well for me, i also feel great on it

supplements- protein blend/creatine mono/udo's oil (and for 24 weeks pre contest ill add bcaa)

1+ gallon water daily
post workout- protein/raisins/creatine

6am- eggs/oats/blueberries/honey/cinnamon (made into oatcakes) and creatine
10am- protein/fruit/nuts
2pm- meat or fish/potato/vegetables
6pm- protein/fruit/nuts
10pm- cottage cheese/salad/udo's oil

7-8 hours sleep per night suits me well

i dont weigh foods but i use cups to measure food, alot less tedious and still works, at the moment though off the top of my head i consume around 3000cals 150-180g protein 350g carbs  100g fat, and have lost 1/2-1lb per week since new year, perfect at the moment, weight loss is actually speeding up, and my diet have been fairly relaxed on a sunday. I usally have a black coffee pre workout and drink 2-3 green teas per day

training- progress every workout, sessions last around an hour after 5 min rowing warmup
5x5 = 2 warmup sets then 3 working sets 2-3 min between sets 3x10 1-2 min between sets

tue-
5X5 squats
5X5 bench
5X5 bb rows
3X10 donkey calf
3x10 laterals

thur-
5X5 deadlifts
5X5 military
5X5 pullups
3X10 situps
3X10 skullcrushers

sat-
5X5 front squat
5X5 dips
5X5 cable row
3X10 seated calf
3X10 curls

thats it pretty simple, is something isnt progressing ill change it

 8)



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 16, 2014, 01:08:20 PM
I'm in for following. Good luck with the goals Ben  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on January 16, 2014, 01:16:56 PM
Hey Ben,

Iíll be coming along for the ride. Are you planning some de-loading during the prep? I know that if I stick to a 5x5 approach for the duration it drains me out in the last few months.

Calories are nice and high for your weight  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 01:20:31 PM
a little update to the last couple of days

14.1.14

diet- spot on, starting to feel a little hungry in the evenings, after sundays fake nandos (whole cooked chicken with loads of hot sauce) :P was gonna have a glass of red or 2 with some cheese on sunday aswell but went into a food coma and resisted.

diet tuesday was spot on, not changing anything untill weight loss stops as im only looking too loose 4kg in 13 weeks or so- real slow and painless, and puts me in range on good contest condition come contest prep time.

got in 4+ litres water today
6am- 1 1/2 cups oats/3 eggs/ 1/2 cup blueberries/ 1tbsp honey/1 tsp cinnamon (oatcakes) 5g creatine
10am- 1 scoop protein/banana/apple/1/4 cup nuts
2pm- chicken breast/large potato/1lb mixed vegetables
4-5pm- train- 5pm- pwo- 1 scoop protein/1 cup raisins/5g creatine
6pm- 1 scoop protein/orange/pear/1/4 cup nuts
10pm- 1 cup cottage cheese/1 large salad (lettuce/cucumber/tomato/red onion)/ 1tbsp udo's oil

i alternate meats steak/chicken/tuna/turkey, everything else stays the same, may change fruit every now and again but stick to serving sizes, and also salad/vegetables may vary slightly, but this is the base

training- feeling good with training during 2013 pretty much had half the year off, was in a place i wasnt happy with my situation, so i changed it and im as happy as ever now, work,relationships etc all perfect  :)

feeling strong positive and great with training

5x5 squat 90kg 5, 120kg 5, 150kg 5,5,2 (all below parallel) after i got pinned on the 3rd set, reset and finished the set with a spot, next week get all 5's really attack these wanna be doing 5X5 with 160kg deep before i start contest prep, being 5,7 its easier for me to hit depth so make sure all below parallel

5X5 bench 70kg 5,100kg, 5 120kg, 5,5,4 spot on the last rep of last 2 sets, these were solid storng and taping the chest gently, these have come on loads over the last 6 months

5X5 bb rows 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 115kg 5,5,5 all felt great just get that aggressive sqyeeze on the last set, but nearly ready for 117.5kg, solid form on these, almost pendlay rows

3X10 donkey calf raises stack+25kg 10,10,8 i do a controlled double bounce on these feeling it deep within the calves, felt very strong aim for 10,10,10 before i progress

3X10 laterals 20kg, 10,10,10 used controlled but loose form on these, hit my delts very well stick with these until im completely happy with technique, very nearly there

all done in an hour after warming up, great workout  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 01:26:22 PM
welcome along toby - "WWMOD friend!"  ;D

hey keith, last tiem i competed as you know i trained max-ot nice and heavy and it held my tissue right until the end, i think 5x5 will do the same for me, and im looking to keep the cals high throughout and diet slowly, i think ill be fine, if i have to make any adjustments though i will  :) having said that, i had the scheduled 1 week off every 8 weeks during my last prep, so may do a "light week" at the 8 & 16 week points? ill see how i feel but love lifting heavy ( for me)

15.1.14- recovery day- diet was exactly the same, had a steak instead of chicken, took half an hour to foam roll and stretch, think this will help my recovery between the full body workouts and want to improve my flexibilty as iv neglected stretching somewhat in the past, plan is 3-4 per week progressive

today- diet is spot on as always, and ready to crush some heavy deadlifts come 4pm after my early shift, living the dream  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on January 16, 2014, 01:40:50 PM
Hey Ben  :)  Good to see you posting.  Diet and training looks good - very strong too!
I like the idea of Cup measuring, keeps it simplified.
70k aye? Another lightweight!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 01:49:26 PM
Hey matt, yeah much simpler than the scales crap lol, one green bean in, one green bean out, yeah bang on now! ::) i used to be mad for all that nonsense.

haha yeah another one  ;D were gonna take over the world!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on January 16, 2014, 04:20:54 PM
Great to hear your competing this year Ben I look forward to following your journal.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 05:40:35 PM
Thanks felix, I follow your journal and I'm impressed with your consistancy and dedication to the sport, welcome aboard :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 05:53:00 PM
Today diet was/is spot on, feeling great and feel I'm loosing bodyfat at a snails pace which is what I want for now, very busy at work with inductions, programmes and PT but really enjoying it, always leave work feeling I helped people which is what its all about

Training- just done on the way home (bus ****er)  ;D

1000m row warmup

5X5 deadlifts 100kg 5, 140kg 5, 170kg, 5,5,3 - focusing on keeping everything solid throughout, setting the bar down and keeping lower back solid, could have probably got 4-5 on last set but would have been ugly, loads left in these and have lifted 180 for 5 before no probs, but touch anbd go, focusing on form as I'm 24 and wanna be in this game for decades to come, I use no straps,belts,wraps or anything not even chalk anymore

5X5 military 50kg 5, 60kg 5, 75kg 5,5.5 1 more rep than last week,kept core nice and tight, soft knees but no leg drive, was powerful and felt this one well! 77.5kg next week

5X5 pullups bw-20kg 5, bw 5, bw+17.5kg 5,5,5 felt great and slightly stronger than last week, grest contraction on the lats apart from last 1-2 reps, gonna stay with this weight and squeeze every rep hard at the top before I move to 20kg

3X10 situps- 40kg, 10,10,10 felt great really controlled and good contraction, just last set abs cramped and had to rest for 5 seconds half way through set, next week last set as solid as first 2 before I move to 45kg (I do this with 2 plates on my chest)

3X10 tricep pushdowns 52.5kg 10,8,6 all to failure pretty much, was suposed to do skullcrushers but the bicep bragade were infront of the mirror hogging the benches, but need to get down there and crack on with skulls, as don't feel these are as good,

Overall great workout, job done, just make more of an effort with the accessory work at the end, arms are a little weak for me especially in front double bicep so need to hit them hard




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on January 16, 2014, 06:50:33 PM
No -nonsense training , strong too !

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 16, 2014, 07:14:23 PM
hi big fella. Will be following your journey. Look forward to seeing you on stage at the UKDFBA


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 08:08:40 PM
Hey turpin, thanks mate, I learn from the best  ;) thanks for your help recently mate, much appreciated

Hi scott, will be a good year! And following your journal, your strength is going through the roof! Some great gains to come for the next time on stage!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 16, 2014, 09:21:24 PM
Thats the plan mate. pretty dam strong yourself mate. Strong basic exercises, clean basic diet. What more is there to it? Not much  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2014, 10:35:57 PM
Feeling strong at the moment, yeah loving the basics, seems to be doing the trick so far  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 17, 2014, 03:50:20 PM
recovery day today, relaxed thismorning, on the late at work

diet has been spot on, no deviations

gonna do a good foam rolling/stretching session in an hour or so, ready for heavy front squats tomorrow  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 17, 2014, 05:12:27 PM
motivation of the day-

i often find motivation reading about the old school pre steroid era bodybuilders,

here is marvin eder he was a drug free bodybuilder at 190-200lb he could press over 300lb behind the neck, perform 50 reps with 300lb squats but most impressive of all could perform reps of one arm chinups and could dip with over 400lb around his waist!

he trained full body workouts 3 times per week

dips tomorrow  :D

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on January 17, 2014, 06:44:44 PM
Good motivation mate, however I'm sorry to bring it up, but I don't believe the 400lb dips to be completely true, something about guys hanging from his legs? I'm not sure how you would attach nearly 200kg to your waist to do those dips? Doesn't that kind of weight bend Olympic bars?



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 17, 2014, 06:55:34 PM
HATER!  ;D this is probably untrue as you say, but bench pressing 220kg chins with 100kg and dips with 160kg for reps, even if he was close to these, there crazy  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 17, 2014, 06:56:44 PM
im also going to add, i train at gozdecki's gym, once you see him train you belive anything is possible  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 18, 2014, 06:24:28 PM
Todays training went well, sometimes I find it hard to switch from chilled into training mode, especially If I havnt had work like today, but today by the end of warming up it was on!

1000m row warmup

5x5 front squat 70k 5, 90k 5, 120k 5,4,4 - 1 more rep than last week and found my grove better, smooth, just need to keep the lower back solid and these will improve quickly want to use 3 plates soon, these were very deep

5x5 dips +10k 5, +30k 5, +60k 5,5,5 1 more rep than last week and these were easy, probably had 8 reps in the first and 6 in the last set, 62.5kg next week, these were as deep as can be bicep touching forearm, found my grove with these

5x5 cable row 70k 5, 90k 5, 120k 5,5,5 heavier than last week, and no leg drive which I used abit of last week, great contraction

3x10 seated calf raises 85kg 10,10,10 good squeeze on these and pace was good but stick and get more stretch at the bottom

3x10 thick bar curl 40kg 10,10,9 too much swing by last set, build on these, much better than cable curls last week!

Diet spot on!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 18, 2014, 08:25:47 PM
You train at the Workout Mill? Oh I have a little bit of hate going on for you now lol


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on January 18, 2014, 08:44:37 PM

 That's a strong workout Ben !

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 18, 2014, 08:47:40 PM
Yeah I'm at the workout mill, right next to the council gym where I work, got some good equipment, you been there mate? Why is that lol?

Thanks turpin feeling strong at the moment, I had been out of training for a while so feeling good now


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 19, 2014, 01:16:00 PM
Weigh in today, 179.2lb (after looking at kg its a little heavier than I thought at 81kg)

A loss of 0.8lb this week, so a little fast,  going to up calories slightly by changing my low fat cottage cheese to full fat, should be right on track then

Which is fine want to loose another 5lb in 12 weeks left of the offseason which will have me around 78kg at the start of my 24 week diet and need to loose 6-8kg or 20-25lb

Sundays I relax the diet

6am- oatcakes as normal
11am- banana- cheese/crackers/chutney
1230- protein/apple

Taking my dad out for his birthday tonight gonna eat a fair bit buffet style, and probably a shake and udos before bed, maybe some more cheese in there

Back to it 6am in the morning


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 19, 2014, 01:19:28 PM
Motivation of the day

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g-jwWYX7Jlo

A friend introduced me to this,
I often listen to this clip when on the way to the gym, makes sense to me, and helps me get the "animal" fired up when I'm at the gym


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 20, 2014, 08:17:48 AM
after the weekend off work, its back to it thismorning, going to foam roll/stretch for half an hour today in preperation for tomorrows squats

back to the full diet today after yesterdays relaxed day  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 20, 2014, 08:39:42 AM
Successful buffet destruction or sensible picking


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 20, 2014, 09:15:38 AM
was carnage mate  :D had way too much, including big plate a chinese, big plate of curry, plate of mixed grill, plate of sushi, 2 plates of sweets and ice cream,  but being offseason, and hitting my weight loss goals no worries  ;D im guessing ill be the same weight after a week of dieting and hard training which leaves me 11 weeks to loose 5lb, may even still loose a little bit, you know how it is, 3-4 weeks into my 24 week contest prep you realise you should have had that food while u still could, well i did  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 20, 2014, 09:20:53 AM
Very true mate, very true. Being in early stages of prep, I wish I had had more carverys and deserts and and and lol



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 20, 2014, 09:33:04 AM
plenty of time for that later on mate, the satisfaction of hitting your goals is not only much better than what you would get from food, it will last forever!  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on January 20, 2014, 04:45:56 PM
I wish I had had more carverys and deserts and and and lol




Me to, oh wait a minute I did ;D
Following with interest Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 20, 2014, 04:47:05 PM
  ;D thanks rich


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: dan236 on January 21, 2014, 11:55:36 AM
Hey Ben, long time no speak! Good luck in your prep mate. I'm sure you'll be on stage bigger & better  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 03:45:01 PM
hey dan, its been too long! how are things? any plans to compete yourself?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 03:54:10 PM
todays session was a good one, small amount of progress all round

1000m row wamrup

diet has been spot on, definitly ate too much on sunday, will keep it moderate this week, feeling a little sluggish still

5X5 squats 90k 5, 120kg 5, 150kg 5,5,5 - got a small spot on the last rep of the last 2 sets overall 1-2 reps better that last week, next week i want all 5's deep smooth reps no spot atall

5X5 bench 70kg 5, 100kg 5, 120kg 5,5,4 same reps as last week but no spot on the last set, so slight progression

5X5 rows 70kg 5 90kg 5 115kg 5,5,5 slightly better than last week overall but gonna stick with it, until i feel a hard contraction on every rep, last set felt abit too heavy to squeeze the last 1-2 reps, nearly there

3X10 donkey calf raises stack+25kg 10,10,9 - 1 rep more than last week, this was heavy 1 min between sets

3X10 laterals X2 20kg 10,10,10 much more solid and controlled than last week, increase to 22.5kg next week

done in an hour after warming up  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on January 21, 2014, 05:07:39 PM
Strong benching Ben :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 05:20:56 PM
thanks chris, feeling strong at the moment  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 21, 2014, 05:58:26 PM
Agree with Chris, that is some mighty fine benching and in fact is good strong solid work all round mate. Good effort. Pre-prep-prep is going well!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 06:10:41 PM
thanks toby, so far so good, really enjoying it, bench used to be a weak point for me and even during my last prep maxed out on 97.5kg for 5 reps, so i recon 30kg stronger this time round, squats are up 20-30kg too and deadlifts 10-20kg (used to use a belt and straps, dont now)

really looking forward to see how i look when im dieted down abit  :D

im gonna do some pics this saturday and put them up, and every 4 weeks or so, should be interesting


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: dan236 on January 21, 2014, 06:18:41 PM
hey dan, its been too long! how are things? any plans to compete yourself?

Things are good mate. I'm thinking about it, but TBH im 50/50 at the moment, the problem I think I've got is that because when I next compete I'll be in the Heavies; just because of my height etc & I'm not sure if I've got the mass Id like to have in order to be competitive. I'm definitely going to go watch a few shows this year though!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 06:22:16 PM
yeah, always worth a shot though, just to keep that fire burning, as long as your beating YOU th\ats the main thing, thought about novices?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: dan236 on January 21, 2014, 06:25:44 PM
yeah, always worth a shot though, just to keep that fire burning, as long as your beating YOU th\ats the main thing, thought about novices?

Yeah, I have done TBF, I quite like how the Novices are split into 2 classes now rather than it being 1 massive free for all class lol!
TBH, my plan ATM is to lean down and see how I look and feel. I'd quite like to do Lee's show, I do think that's going to be the best federation about in a year or 2.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 06:29:45 PM
i agree, great show gresat prospects, for such a new show doing very well!

we may be stood on stage together then  :) what weight are you expecting to compete at, last year was under 77 and over 77kg but im sure will change slightly each year depending on who is up there


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: dan236 on January 21, 2014, 06:37:58 PM
Oh, I'll be well over 77kg mate when I did the Juniors I was averaging about 80-85kg (I think!?)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2014, 06:49:29 PM
yeah, you were very lean too, with added mass and muscle maturity over the last few years im sure youll do well as a heavyweight, no limits :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 22, 2014, 05:31:56 PM
recovery day today, not aching much atall from yesterday, recovery is spot on,

today
after 1000m row warmup
heavy stretching every major bodypart 30 seconds 3 sets, progressive

diet spot on, first set of pics saturday!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on January 22, 2014, 10:00:33 PM
Good going Ben, you going to post the pics up so we can all follow your progress.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 23, 2014, 12:06:49 AM
Certainly am mate, I want to be able to look back after the shows and see a productive year on paper, thinking every 4 weeks, not sure how to reduce photo size so I can post though, in the past they have been too large, may put on photobucket and post the link, either way be prepared for pasty, pale, fat ben ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on January 23, 2014, 10:53:27 AM
Certainly am mate, I want to be able to look back after the shows and see a productive year on paper, thinking every 4 weeks, not sure how to reduce photo size so I can post though, in the past they have been too large, may put on photobucket and post the link, either way be prepared for pasty, pale, fat ben ;D

Haha, good to see some progrssion pics mate.  Makes a journal more interesting I feel.  I normally just compress pics using microsoft


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 23, 2014, 03:57:59 PM
definitly, you guys are honest aswell, and if im not looking good before the show ill be told, sounds simple enough, ill do that then  8), damn no excuses now  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 23, 2014, 04:10:35 PM
todays session went well, progress all round on last week, about half the time i train, i train with my supervisor from work, rich is a big lad who has gained alot of strength and size over the past year, probably 30kg on squats and deadlifts, really impressive, we push each other well, and keep the workout pace not too slow, not too fast, today was one of those in the zone sessions

1000m row warmup-

5X5 deadlifts 100kg 5, 140kg 5, 170kg 5,5,4 - 1 rep more than last week, felt strong, nearly went for the last rep on the last set, but same as last week, didnt wanna do an ugly rep, next week all 5 nice and solid!

5X5 military press 50kg 5, 60kg 5, 77.5kg 5,5,5 - !!! too easy, found my groove with these, felt strong and strict, 80kg next week, and once i get 80kg 5,5,5 thats a big PB for me, its on!

5X5 pullups BW-20kg 5, BW 5 BW+20kg 5,5,5 - thought i would jump to 20kg today, i was feeling strong, gonna stick with it until i can feel a big contraction on all reps, i felt it, but not as much as id like, squeeeeze!

3X10 situps 40kg 10,10,10 slightly smoother than last week, although cramp started coming on the last set, 1 min between sets carried on till the end 45kg next week-

3X10 lying tricep extensions 42.5kg 10,10,7 1 min between sets tri's were smoked by the last set, need to get these stronger! was tempted to give close grip bench a go as rich was there to spot today, maybe when these stall

overall, pleased, but not satisfied!

i feel the stretching on my off days are really benefiting my ROM - and recovery, i usually do it at work, gonna keep it up  :)

diet is spot on, and after sundays "refeed" feeling a little hungry again, just right, looking a fair bit more solid, gonna be more controlled this sunday


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 04:39:58 PM
24.1.14- really chilled day, in terms of training, was a recovery day just ate perfectly to the plan, and relaxed, no day off for another 14 days of work, so made sure i just relaxed, i didnt even do my recovery stretching session, will do one tomorrow instead

25.1.14- was really fired up to train by the time i got to the gym, and went very well strong, and progression all round!

1000m row, felt good to go!

5X5 front squat 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 120kg 5,5,5- felt very low, strong and smooth, 2 reps better than last week, 122.5kg next week

5X5 dips BW+10kg 5, BW+30kg 5, BW+62.5kg 5,5,5 - these are fast becoming my favourite and aiming for 80kg on my work sets before the contest  BW+65kg next week

5X5 cable rows 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 120kg 5,5,5 very solid and good contraction this week, 125kg next week

3X10 seated calf raises 85kg 10,10,10 - 1 min rest, felt very good on these, better ROM than last week 90kg next week

3X10 thick bar curls 40kg 10,10,10 1 min rest, 1 rep better than last week, forearms were screaming at the end, due to the spinlocks not fitting, and weights slide abit, gonna go with the EZ curls instead of these next week 42.5kg, need some arms before the stage! - need to attack these like the lower body stuff!



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:01:41 PM
Pic 1

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:02:50 PM
Pic 2

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:04:09 PM
Pic 3

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:05:09 PM
Pic 4

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:06:28 PM
Pic 5

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:08:40 PM
- well overall a mixed review, I'm not happy atall with how I look, back looks good, everything else, crap, I have got A LOT of work to do to be the bodybuilder I want to be, its on!

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on January 25, 2014, 11:11:42 PM
Very strong lifting all round Ben dips are fantastic. Looking great in the photos very impressive lat spread.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on January 25, 2014, 11:21:00 PM

 Back is very impressive mate  ;)

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2014, 11:26:45 PM
Thanks guys, just need to bring everything to life over the next few months, bigger stronger leaner


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on January 26, 2014, 09:16:25 AM
Quads and lats definitely your strongest parts mate, much improved. Keep it up!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on January 26, 2014, 09:57:29 AM
Good work ben, we're our own harshest critics but try to look at the pics in context of it being January...great progress, and you've got your approach pretty much nailed so it'll just get better from here. All good I'd say!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 26, 2014, 10:14:01 AM
Thanks matt and nic, I guess I must be improved as I'm much stronger, I know when I loose another 5kg ill be looking much better, training as hard as I can within the routine, eating to the plan can only get better,   ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 26, 2014, 01:56:46 PM
looking good mate, pretty lean for this far out, fair play to you. Nice lat width and thickness, delts are good, abs and pins are very solid


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 26, 2014, 04:32:38 PM
thanks mate, i guess i dont want to be lean too early, i think the transformation will be good once i get lean and keep training heavy and hard  :)

weight is exactly the same as last wekk 179.2lb- even though iv uped my calories slightly and splurged a little too much last sunday- gonna stay with it and expect too loose a little next week

just did a half hour stretching session, recovery is key!

today been relaxed with my diet as the plan allows on sundays, incuded

normal breakfast-
chicken breast/salad/nandos sauce  :P
banana
handful of sweets
small piece of cheese
apple
chicken breast/salad/nandos sauce
natural yoghurt with honey
going to have protein/fruit soon
and then a small pizza later, so not as nuts as last week, but plenty enough too do the job  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 27, 2014, 03:35:18 PM
feel much better than last monday when i was still bloated from sundays binge, today i feel right on track again, focusing on recovery, stretching routine later on, and sticking to the eating plan, i want to be about 1kg leaner in 4 weeks and stronger all round when i take my next set of pictures.

i plan on sticking to ym workout routine for the next 10 weeks (for a total of 12) to evaluate the progress there, may do a lighter de-load week the week before i start my contest prep, then start a slightly different routine for then, or i may stick with what im currentyl doing if still progressing  :)



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 27, 2014, 03:47:31 PM
Hey Ben, I meant to comment on pictures before but when you posted I was out watching Mandela at the cinema and saw them via my phone while my mate was in the gents (Wetherspoons before hand).

Looking thick and back is wide which is most noticeable on the front lat spread, that looks a beautiful shot mate. Quads jump out at me as thick and muscled and detail under the fat ready to be shown. For someone not even in prep yet, pretty lean too. Good job mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 27, 2014, 04:08:46 PM
thanks toby, how was the film? gonna go see it at the weekend, me and becky watched lone survivor, great film, true story too!

thanks for your comments, this time last year i was a stone lighter and fatter, looked like i didnt even train, was ill all the time, in a relationship i wasnt happy with, no money, no contracted job, damn right depressed, so im very happy with everything at the moment, i guess i should be happy with my progression in my physique too, i just want more more more! i have an image in my head how iw ant to look onstage and if im like that, full and shredded im happy  :) ill do my best, my waist is 33" at the moment and goes down to 30, so im hoping my width will appear more extreme on contest day, and i feel my quads will be good when dieted down, of coarse months of posing practice will help too   :) (i will pose for half an hour every day for the last 8 weeks to try and perfect it)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 27, 2014, 08:34:20 PM
Motivation of the day- Reg park, a true old school pre steroid era power bodybuilder, from leeds- he won 3 mr universe titles 1951,1958,1965 and came 2nd a fair few times too!  he was huge for his era, and stupidly strong too, he trained full body workouts and upper/lower workouts and focused on heavy lifting to build his physique, could bench press 220kg and was arnie's idol and mentor



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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 27, 2014, 08:54:14 PM
Mandela is a good film, very informative and well put together although you get the feeling it is designed to make him St Nelson as it neglects to show accurately how I believe he really was pre-prison but then it was from his own book. Good exercise in the history of a pivotal time in South African history.


Glad to hear all is on a better keel now mate, I recall the 2013 journal. You sound a lot more positive now. Sometimes we need the bad to know what we really want and how we want it.  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 27, 2014, 09:13:36 PM
definitly go see that then! - what you say is too true! oh god its crazy what youll settle for!

2013 journal was a disaster lol!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 28, 2014, 02:57:10 PM
Ok todays session went bad or good whichever way you look at it lol,

Kinda forced myself into a split by accident, went to squat today, eithert the stretching I'm doing is effecting my recovery in a bad way, which I didn't think it would, or front squats on saturday are still effecting me, so...

After warming up - squats -150 4!! What! Less that last week, damn! Decided this isn't going to cut the mustard and to kill my legs! 140kg 6,5

Leg press 5 plates a side 15, 6 plates 12, 7 plates 10, 8 plates 8, oh crap I'm regretting it now, but kinda miss this feeling!

Leg ext and lying leg curl superset 75kg/60kg 10,8...9,7 ...8,6 ...7,6

Leg curl and calf press superset 75kg/7 plates a side 10,12...10,12...10,12...10,12

4 sets cable crunches 10 reps 40kg

Limp to work, and got me thinking about how to plan my training in the future, I love the idea of full body workouts, but think I'm gonna hit a cealing pretty quick, upper lower I really like, and good old split could be good too, either way, 100percent on the eating plan I'm sure results will come


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2014, 01:19:43 PM
today legs are in bits, not going to be able to hit them again tomorrow, may be able to deadlift ok though, really dont want to go back to the split train every 7 days stuff, i think training more frequently with less volume has its benefit, saying that most of the top guys do the 3-4 day split stuff, overthinking things at the moment, i have 3 options

1- full body- knock down the volume even more so 1-2 sets per bodypart

2- upper/lower, kinda liked it, felt the upper stuff needed longer and lengthier workouts

3- split- we have all done it, and to be honest gives good results, but probably not optimum, saying that, it has worked for me in the past and many others, when i spoke to ian duckett a while back, he reccomeneded his Power Bodybuilding split, it worked very well, i just felt recovered a few days before it was time to hit it again

this was the programme, what do you guys think-

fairly low volume, varying rep ranges,
progressive overload each workout- 5min row warmup- 2-3 min between sets

tue- chest/back
Chest:
X2 flat bench 4-6
X2 incline press 6-8
X2 dips 8-10
Back:
X2 deadlift 4-6
X2 barbell row 6-8
X2 pullups 8-10

Thur- legs/abs
Legs:
X2 squats 4-6
X2 leg press 6-8
X2 lying leg curls 8-10
X2 calf raise 8-10
X2 seated calf raise 10-12
abs:
X2 weighted crunch 8-10
X2 leg raise 10-12

Sat- Shoulders/Arms
Shoulders:
X2 military press 6-8
X2 lateral raises 8-10
X2 rear laterals 10-12
Arms:
X2 bb curl 6-8
X2 db curl 8-10
X2 lying extention 6-8
X2 pushdowns 8-10

may do the tuesday workout tomorrow, as i smashed legs yesterday, bottom line as long as im hitting each bodypart hard and progressive every week, getting the job done!

stretching today for recovery




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on January 29, 2014, 01:35:59 PM
Hi Ben I'm a bit like you at the mo, thinking of trying a different split, maybe a push pull style of training.
At the mo doing each bodypart once a wk.
The reason I'm thinking of changing is cos of two young natural guys down my gym, both carrying lots of muscle and are doing push pull split.
I think they are hitting each main muscle group 3 times a wk but not with loads of reps and sets each time.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2014, 02:42:54 PM
hi rich, i do like more frequent training, push pull something like this?

push- squats-dips-military-calves

pull- deads/rows/chins/abs

it makes more sense to hit everything 2-3 per week,  but recovery is always an issue,
have to reduce volume rigth back, theres something called HST Hypertrophy specific training, i like the look of it, low volume high intensity high frequency workouts,

example would be - mon- wed- fri

squats 2 warmup sets - 1 set to failure
deadlifts 2warmup sets 1 set to failure
bench press 2 warmup sets 1 set to failure
barbell rows 1 warmup sets 1 set to failure
standing press 1 warmup set 1 set to failure
chinups 1 warmup set- 1 set to failure
dips 1 warmup set 1 set to failure
calf raises 1 warmup set 1 set to failure
crunches 1 warmup set 1 set to failure

kinda high intesnity training but not over the top, focusing on progressive overload


you do 2 weeks of 5RM - 2 weeks of 10RM 2 weeks of 15RM then deload andd repeat with a little more weight

anyone heard of this or tried this sort of thing?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on January 29, 2014, 02:55:09 PM
Just can't imagine that 1set to failure is enough to stimulate new muscle growth?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2014, 03:09:17 PM
thats my dilema  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: frogface on January 29, 2014, 03:32:09 PM
very interestin gents. i know what you mean with that one set its not gonna feel right . but will it yield results?

i too am very used to training in the split routine doing each bod part once per week but for the best part of 12 months ive been doing upper/lower split hitting each bod part twice per week and have had some reasonable results i think (I'm 43 and have been training in excess of 20 years)

now starting to get itchy feet and wanting a change but do like the increased frequency. may go somewhere in between and hit everything every 5 days perhaps but need a routine
have done push pull legs many times but it does allow for more frequency if volume is adjusted
justin


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2014, 03:36:33 PM
Thanks for that justin, let us know how you get on with the new programme once your doing it


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: frogface on January 29, 2014, 03:43:58 PM
yeh sure im actually thinking of chest shoulder biceps . day off , back traps triceps, day off, legs abs, repeat or day off

i dont actually like training bis after back to be honest

justin


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: frogface on January 29, 2014, 03:52:26 PM
particularly like your back development ben . impresssive


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2014, 04:38:03 PM
That plan looks pretty solid! Thanks! I'm gonna do my beat to bring everything up this year


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on January 29, 2014, 04:43:56 PM
Only just spotted the pics Ben, looking good mate not carrying massive amounts of fat.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2014, 04:50:16 PM
Thanks rich, no, but unfortunatly not much muscle either, really need to take advantage on this next 10-11 weeks before I start slowly dieting


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 30, 2014, 12:01:35 PM
legs are still sore today, so going to continue with ian ducketts power bodybuilding split, heavy benching and deadlifts today  :)

watched 12 years a slave, a very well made film, very deep and powerful, i recommend it!


here is a quote from one of Ian Duckett's articles, i need to read this more often!

"Here is the secret you are all searching for out there on the net...
If you take this inĖtruly take it in and absorb it-you will never look back the rest of your training life.
The secret is no secret at all Ėits simple basic hard work on basic moves. The sooner you stop searching for an easy road or short cuts the quicker you can get on gaining some size"



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on January 30, 2014, 01:23:36 PM
Duckett is bang on and so so true and a lot of people should read it. There is no magic, there is only hard work and dedication.

That film is also on my list, glad to hear you recommend


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: thebull on January 30, 2014, 01:48:42 PM
......there is no secret?...... Next you will be telling me that Santa Claus does not exist and the money that went missing from my bedroom was not the tooth fairy!!!

The real secret you are looking for is PRE WORKOUT!!!!!

good to see you back on it ben


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 30, 2014, 02:20:51 PM
alright alright, might be a secret bully  ;)

good to see you back dude!

toby its a great film! also on the list is the wolf of wall street  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 30, 2014, 08:27:12 PM
Had a good chest and back session, got some good base strength to build on, feels good to get that crazy pump back, if I'm hitting each muscle once per week, I'm gonna be damn sure its a good session!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on January 31, 2014, 09:47:28 AM
today im doing a half hour swim test at work for my lifeguard qualification, dont really know why im doing it, they offered it for free so took it, guess it could help with overtime ??? and half hour stretching session, my chest and back are tight and sore today, havnt felt doms for an age it seems!

as of next week will be logging weights and progression again, 3 weeks till the next pics want to be bigger and leaner

diet has been spot on, and guessing iv lost half a pound or so this week, weigh in sunday  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 01, 2014, 08:00:13 AM
legs finally feeling ok to train again today, so will do them first and then upper stuff after, 2 days to recover after this, and vant do it to myself, shoulders/arms day.... wouldnt of thought so!

aim to day is really get some quality squats in sets of 8-10 will do the trick, lighter more quality, after keith mentioned to me about de-load weeks, im going to every 6 weeks or so have a de-load week, half the weight, go through the motions, reset my technique if its slipping, stretch loads, eat loads recover, going to do this in a few more weeks


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 01, 2014, 10:41:43 AM
Sounds like a sensible plan mate.  I'm always revisiting my form to keep it in check.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 01, 2014, 10:43:17 AM
yeah, its tempting just to keep blasting it, but do find myself at a sticking point pull back slightly and then build back up, your squats are doing great at the moment, really in the groove  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 02, 2014, 09:10:09 AM
this week i look slightly leaner and have lost a small amount of weight, training has been pretty good, but nothing on what next week is going to bring- today i will eat as usual but have a pizza tonight as a cheat meal, that will do me till next sunday, today may do some drills for intense cardio, and stretching heavy after

motivation of the day, - Ian duckett, a guy i have idolised for a fair few years, british and world champion, healthiest bodybuilder i know, super strong, always in great shape, and has boundles energy, i reccomend his new "3" book on amazon, a great read, and also his walk the talk series on youtube, great info and motivation, Ian eats all organic healthy foods, a dedicated family and successful buisness man. A great idol for anyone!

This is Ian in 2009 at the NPA yorkshire, GUEST POSING in this condition, he trained 3 days per week, no cardio, and ate extremely clean



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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 02, 2014, 05:19:16 PM
I agree Ian is a bloody legend


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 03, 2014, 10:33:25 AM
He definitly is mate

Yesterday was a relaxed day, early at work followed by relaxing with becky we watched world war Z, a good 28 days later type film, we had our pizza, i have found each week the temptation to splurge on my relaxed day less and less , and im becoming more "hungry" to kill each workout so thats what im going to do, after todays recovery and stretch day im back at it tomorrow on Ducketts power bodybuilding split, lifting some heavy iron, till i can no more, and feeding for recovery and growth, want PB's all round by the start of my prep! going to keep Ducketts "the secret" quote in mind if i fancy a change.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 04, 2014, 06:27:10 PM
Todays session was ok, a good base to build on over the next 10 weeks before prep starts! Although weights and numbers are down slightly, determined to smash all my pb's by april 12th!

Chest/back

Chest:
X2 bench 4-6 122.5kg 5,4 spot on last rep of both
X2 incline bench 6-8 100kg 5 spot, 90kg 6 use 90k next week
X2 dips 8-10 bw+42.5kg 8,6
Bsck:
X2 deadlifts 4-6 170kg 5,4
X2 bb row 6-8 110kg 7,6
X2 pullup 8-10 +10kg 9,7

Overall not too happy but looking to progress in jumps each week! I want 130k bench 6 reps 160k squat 6 reps 180k dead 6 reps


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on February 04, 2014, 09:30:31 PM
Solid session there and some great numbers.  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 04, 2014, 11:01:42 PM
Thanks chris  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on February 05, 2014, 09:32:59 AM
Totally agree, Ian is a great role model. I loved his original website with the blog etc.

Some very solid numbers there Ben, coming into your prime now mate.

I'd like to travel up to train with him at some point in the future.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 05, 2014, 09:49:28 AM
I agree, his old blog was great, he kinda does the same thing on twitter, I would too, you should do one of his fitness weekends, I havnt but heard there great motivation

today, a recovery day, foam rolling and stretching, enjoying the diet, im hovering around 178lb at the moment, 4 more lb to go in the next 9-10 weeks while i hit these PB's!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 05, 2014, 03:59:09 PM
motivation of the day

- big rich, I have the pleasure of training at gozdecki's gym and walking down the cobbled alley towards the workout mill you can hear this beast at work, yeaterday had a chat with rich, hes 4 weeks away from an indoor rowing competition, and killing each session as always! Swimming champion, multiple world pro bodybuilding champion, powerlifting champion, soon to be indoor rowing champion, a true pioneer and a top bloke too!

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 05, 2014, 10:10:48 PM
Training in that atmosphere with Rich must be awsome. A real gent, always greets you by name, polite and just an awesome bodybuilder


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 06, 2014, 07:59:06 AM
yeah a real buzz when Rich is in Scott, just a great place to train, cant not train hard with that atmosphere  :)



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 06, 2014, 06:11:28 PM
Great leg session today, good weights (for me) and intensity, again like tuesday will build over the next couple of months before taking a deload week and starting my contest prep,

X2 squats 150kg 5,4 - good depth, did these without shoes today, felt good! I deadlift without shoes too, on the 2nd set a little wider and felt more stable, so wider, below parallel build on this!

X2 leg press 320kg 9 340kg 8 - suprised how good these felt, the stretching on off days is paying off, feeling more flexible and hams touches calves on these, 350k next week

X2 lying leg curl #13 8,5 abit down on these build each week, only counts when I get a hard squeeze at the peak, did a couple of forced reps ontop of these too,

X2 calf press 320 11,9 good feel, controlled and did a double squeeze at the top calves were screaming

X2 seated calf 80kg 13, 90kg 8 felt heavy, control and squeeze these hard

X2 weighted crunch 45kg 12, 50kg 12 decline with 50kg next week, these were easier than I thought push for more!

X2 weighted leg raises 17.5kg 12,8 stick with these but probably strongest yet!

Good times :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 06, 2014, 07:25:33 PM
good work mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on February 06, 2014, 08:00:30 PM
Great looking session Ben. How long does it take to wrap that one up and what sort of warm up weights, exercise and reps did you do before the first working sets?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 06, 2014, 08:46:08 PM
Thanks guys, takes about an hour including warmups sometimes a little more, I always do 1000m row first up, takes 3-4mins, then much like max ot, 1st warmup on squats 10-12 reps 80kg 2nd 6 reps 110kg then 3rd 140kg 1-2 reps then into working sets, same for deads bench and military, then I don't usally but today for leg press I did a "acclimation" set 3 reps with 280kg don't usually do any other warmups for anything, feels real good, just a basic style I like to use


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on February 06, 2014, 08:47:55 PM
That is the exact warm up style I use and presumed you did and followed a MAX OT style one but wanted to check.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 06, 2014, 10:03:49 PM
Yeah does the job well, I used to train max-ot to the T, but realise I was being obsessive, the warmup protocol though is great for this style of training


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on February 06, 2014, 10:06:07 PM
I was the same mate, I remember how similar we approached it and I now go with the warm up and initial compound then mix it up and around a little after that. Good base though and a nice system to a certain point


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 07, 2014, 08:25:36 AM
It is great for building some solid mass, I do believe a variety of volume intensity and frequency is more beneficial, and their nutritional advice is obsessive too, a healthy blance is much better in my opinion


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 07, 2014, 05:36:01 PM
Today is a recovery day, foam roll and stretched well, legs are real tight, glad I'm seeing some benefits to this stretching, diet is well ingrained now, just 1 meal per week off the plan, is plenty, hungry before its time to eat, coming together very well, becky has told me her mum is cooking a lamb roast sunday and were invited, she's an awesome cook, that's my cheat meal sorted  :D

Other thoughts:
A lot of people feel they don't want to take the step into bodybuilding, although they eat well, train hard, but feel they will miss out socially, especially younger bodybuilders, I find a healthy balance is the key here (as it is with most things) if its going on nights out, drinking etc, I find going out once a month or so (or special occasions) and limiting to 2-3 drinks can stay on track with your goals and be happy with the balance (that's just me though) that is offseason only, after the contest this year I won't be saying no to all the social events, but I WILL stay in control, so basically 90 percent offseason and 100 percent contest, your mates will still be going on nights out year after year, the clubs never change, get your head down, achieve your goals and they will never know you left!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 08, 2014, 06:19:10 PM
Another solid session today, shoulders and arms, thought was gonna be easy, but because I'm not conditioned to these type of bodybbuilding workouts, found it pretty hard (as hard as shoulders/arms go) good session though and another 6 months of this shoulders and arms should improve!

1000m row

Military press- 50kg 10, 60kg 6, 70kg 3, 77.5kg 8,6 felt good and strong, soft knees, with no leg drive, 80kg next week (my bodyweight and a PB)
Laterals- X2 25kg 11,9 these were powering out to the sides, felt done after these
Seated rear laterals X2 27.5kg 10,10 these felt heavy but hit the rear delts well, build to 12 on these! Squeeze each rep! To target those delts

Barbell curls 60kg 6,6 fairly loose form but hit the biceps well, was going to use EZ bar but they  were being used

DB curls X2 22.5kg 10,8 geez was done after these! Up to 25kg next week

Lying tricep extentions 55kg 8,7 57.5kg next week, great stretch right behind the head, (head hanging off the end of the bench)

Pushdowns 40kg, 12, 45kg 8 usually use 52.5kg or so on these but used a lat pulldown machine, felt a lot harder, start on 45kg next week, lean into each rep slightly,

I find it important to work with your body and not against it, heavier weight while training isolation exercises, feels better, works better for me.

 

Chilling for the rest of the weekend, watching a film or 2 with becky, after working 14 days straight gonna relax now, sunday roast tomorrow, back at work early monday, enjoy your weekend! :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on February 08, 2014, 06:27:10 PM

 Strong presses , Im impressed.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: JF on February 08, 2014, 08:57:56 PM

 Strong presses , Im impressed.

  T.

Agreed. Same!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 08, 2014, 09:31:20 PM
Thanks guys, shoulders used to be a strong point but along with arms really neglected recently, a goal of mine is to one day military press 100kg for 8


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 09, 2014, 08:48:54 PM
Today I weighed in at 80.7kg I've lost 2kg in the last 5 weeks and want to loose another 1.8kg in the next 9 weeks so very gradual focusing on building strength and size but also putting me in a good position for contest prep, had a very relaxing day and had a few things off the diet as my plan allows every Sunday I have 8 more offseason Sundays then 24 weeks of no cheats, I could happily start my prep tomorrow but will keep get everything out of these last couple of months


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 10, 2014, 07:58:53 AM
today is a recovery day, stretching session at work thismorning, watched bad gandpa last night... so funny, but so wrong on many levels! haha!  :-X


Title: Re: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: bodyfitnessqueen on February 10, 2014, 08:12:32 AM
Awesome start to the new year will def be subbing this. 

Sent from my ST25i using Tapatalk 2


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 10, 2014, 08:44:00 AM
thanks BFQ  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2014, 04:10:58 PM
todays session went well, slight progression all round compared to last week, felt wiped out after this!

1000m row warmup-

X2 bench 4-6 122.5kg 6,4 (slight spot on both again) next week get them on my own
X2 incline 6-8 90kg 7,5
X2 dips 8-10 +42.5kg 9,7

X2 deadlift 4-6 170kg 6,5 use 172.5kg next week
X2 barbell row 6-8 110kg 8,8 - stick with next week contract lats hard at the top
X2 pullups 8-10 +10kg 9,8

feeling good but really need to squeeze lats on the rows and pullups, nearly there though, and back was feeling great after

all is good!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on February 11, 2014, 04:15:10 PM
Good going Ben, seem to be making constant progress witch should put you in old stead for the start of your diet.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2014, 04:27:20 PM
thanks rich, hopefully so, i can see a fairly obvious diference in the seperation of my quads, maybe just my mind playing tricks on me? but will do some pics a week on saturday, will see then


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on February 11, 2014, 04:33:42 PM
Always good to see update pics mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 11, 2014, 07:19:48 PM
very strong lifts mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2014, 08:26:48 PM
thanks mate, really pushing hard at the moment im happy with how things are going  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2014, 08:59:02 PM
motivation of the day-

I often find tons of motivation, reading about successful people in all fields, one person who i have alot of respect for is Bear Grylls, a true dogged man who truly believes he can conquer anything life throws at him, climbed everest at 23, was a member of the SAS, a multi millionaire buisnessman, raised millions of £ for charity, just to name a few.

iv recently read Bear's book "A survival guide for life" full of motivation- Bear writes about his failures in life and how they have spurred him on to reach new heights, many people dont know he failed SAS selection the first time round, and even knowing the 11 months of blood swear tears and pain he was having to put through AGAIN he went for it and passed!

He also broke his back in 3 places during a free fall parachute jump in the SAS and ended his career, but wouldnt let his deamons win, even though beign petrified he jumps out of plates frequently to show himself who's in control!

i find it very motivating when someones mind is so powerful they believe anythign is possible, its crazy how powerful the mind can be.

a must read!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 12, 2014, 06:07:08 PM
today is a recovery day, really feeling yesterdays session, stretched well and eating perfectly as usual, focus now geared towards tomorrows squats, I must get bigger and stronger and i realise that first set of hevay squats will set the pace for tomorrow!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 13, 2014, 04:03:48 PM
todays session went liek this

1000m row warmup-

X2 squats 150kg 5,3- 1 more on first and failed on the 6th, and less on the 2nd, wasnt satisfied with these, need to keep plugging away pushing hard!

X2 leg press 6-8 350kg 9,8 - these felt great heavy and deep, quads were screaming 360kg next week

X2 lying leg curls #13- 9,6

X2 calf press 330kg 11,8 - better feel on 2nd set, squeeze the hell out of these!

X2 seated calf 90kg 10,8 - 2nd set was better again, control each rep, focus on calves stretch/squeeze

X2 decline crunch 50kg 8,9 felt better 2nd set, these felt super heavy build upto 12

X2 leg raises 20kg 9,7 again build to 12 before progressing

so overall i guess a small progression but those squats! grrrr! really tempted to drop to 140 and go higher reps, next week is my last chance with 150 need to be confident going into these


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 13, 2014, 05:39:18 PM
my plan is to squeeze everything out of this routine for the next 7-8 weeks or so, have a deload week, and start my contest prep with a slightly different 3 day split, in this new routine i want to achive a few things

probably end up doing legs/push/pull - and focus on 5X5 for squat/bench/dead first in the workout, resting a good 2-3 min between sets
then, speed things up, probably 3 sets of 10 with only a minute or so in between, increasing the pace of the workout and also the volume (to around 6-9 sets for small and 9-12 sets for larger bodyparts) still training for around an hour, but more reps/sets and still lifting heavy at first, want that fitness to improve and keep that metabolism firing during my prep, this is the plan, but for now squeeze out everything from this plan! i want those lifts up 7.5-10kg in 2 months time


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 13, 2014, 09:07:10 PM
your doing this is a great way mate your setting your self up to be be in a strong position when real prep starts


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 13, 2014, 09:20:42 PM
i need it  ;D thanks for the encouragement mate, really enjoying training at the moment, and eating well, just makes me generally happier  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 14, 2014, 02:15:55 PM
Today iv got the day off, so has becky, so going to relax the diet a little today, I'm working sunday so will stick to the diet then, little switch, but works out better :) so the plan today, .... Eat some of the cake becky has made ;D watch a few films and cook us a meal later, after today got a 2 week stint at work, including a coarse all next week


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 14, 2014, 08:52:22 PM
Nice you get to spend today with your lady mate. Two week solid sounds a bit tough.

We also had today off together. Looking at cross trainers and office furniture lol. Had a nice time together though


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 14, 2014, 10:15:48 PM
That's what matters mate, quality time  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 15, 2014, 04:28:24 PM
had a great progressive shoulders/arms session today-

X2 military 6-8 80kg 7,6 - PB, had a spot on last rep on last set took forever! but glad to be repping 80kg for the firt time, i want 8 perfect reps next week!

X2 laterals 8-10 X2 25kg 12,10- felt my groove with these, just enough power and control, delts were fried, going fro 27.5kg next week, never used before but want atleast 8 clean reps on each set

X2 seated rear laterals 10-12 X2 27.5kg 12,12 - these finished off my shoulders! 30kg next week

X2 EZ curls 6-8 60kg 7,6- last rep on 2nd set took a while and leant back a fair bit, wasnt pretty, felt it good though!

X2 DB curls 8-10 X2 25kg 8,7 couldnt even hold the db's after this- biceps and forearms done!

X2 lying extensions 6-8 60kg 6,6 5k more than last week was pleased with these, very controled and felt strong

X2 pushdowns 8-10 50kg 8,6- build on these, felt strong and in the right place, but not as controlled as i wanted- push for more!

so every exercise, every set progress! job done!

no cheat meal tomorrow as relaxed yesterday, heavy flexibility session instead


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 17, 2014, 07:34:49 PM
Dieted through sunday as I relaxed on friday, this week on a lifeguard coarse at work, so if I improve my numbers from last week ill be happy +2-3hrs swimming each day, feeling good though and not thinking about diet training etc too much just doing it!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: JF on February 18, 2014, 05:14:48 PM
27.5kg Dumbbells on lateral Raise!!! Wowser!!!

I use 5kg Dumbbells.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 18, 2014, 07:27:08 PM
Probably nowhere near as strict as yours though mate, more power raises, but I feel the work well for the delts

Today really sucked, eat as well as I could, all to the plan but some meals a little later or earlier due to being on the coarse

3 hours of hard pool training then went to the gym, and although I tried to attack it hard just wasn't there! Also doing a lot of tows/carries in the water all day climbing in and out, diving etc my bicep tendons were throbbing, shoulder also feels achy and tender, not conditioned to anything apart from heavy lifting, makes me feel weak pathetic and pointless! So definitly thinking of approaching just the routine a little different, a little faster, higher reps, but not silly endurance, just kinda 1 min or so between sets, I know a lot of natural guys train that way and look excellent, I couldn't keep up with them atall!

Here's how it went

Chest:
Bench 122.5 5,3 on my own - +1 spot on each
Incline 90k 7,5 -
Machine press - 80kg 10,9,8,7 drop to 40kg 8 - 1 min in between these felt better, as stength wasn't there!

Back:
 Wide grip pullups BW 10,10,10,8 1 min rest
Cable rows  75kg 10,10,10,12 - 1 min rest
Rack deads 140kg 8,8,8,8 1 min rest

Calf raises- stack - 12,10,10,8 1 min rest

3 more days of pool training!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 20, 2014, 07:58:54 PM
Still battling throught he coarse eating perfectly and todays training was much better, had a read through ian ducketts books over the last few days and have come up with a full body programme that I should recover from, whilst working my fitness and strength hard

Went very well, was tough! And will be able to hit the big lifts more frequently
Did this with rich today, and we were both wiped out by the end of it, gonna build of the weights and reps but a good first session

Squats/deads/bench - 2 warmup sets first, everything else 1.
Just 1 work set, Aiming for 12 for everything if I don't get it, rest pause (12 deep breaths) until I get it, if I get it, slap some iron on next workout- progressive overload is key, solid technique and was blowing throughout!

Just work sets listed

Squats 130kg 9+3
Deadlifts 140kg 11+1
Bench 100kg 8+1+1+1+1
BB row 100kg 7+2+2+1
Standing press 60kg 12 - 62.5 next time
Chins +10kg 9+2+1
Dips +40kg 8+3
Donkey calf - stack 12 -  (15 for these from now on)
Situp 45kg - 12+3 (aim for 15 like calves)

Overall good considering 2.5hrs swimming today, looked like a box after, keep at it, bigger stronger!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 22, 2014, 08:00:12 PM
Finished the lifeguard coarse today thank god, feel pretty wiped out but ttraining today went pretty well considering- progression all round, was very hard!

5 min warmup-
1 min rest between sets
2 min rest between exercises
12 deep breaths between rest pauses
2 warmup sets for big 3
1 warmup set for everything else
1 hour total including warmup

Squats- 130kg - 10+2 (1 rep more)- all below parallel
Deadlifts 140kg 12 (1 rep more 142.5 next time)- touch and go
Bench 100kg - 9+2+1 (1 rep more)
Row 100kg 8+4 (1 rep more) - need to keep these stricter and squeeze, may do 90kg next week
Military 62.5- 12 (increase to 65kg)
Chins +10kg- 13 (4 more!- add 5kg)
Dips +40kg -10+2 (2 more)
Calf raise  stack 12+3 (standing not donkey)
Crunch  45kg - 15 (3 more 50kg next week)

Rows and calf raises need to tighten up that form stretch and squeeze, feel every rep deep!
 

This programme serves for a few things 1- stronger 2- bigger 3- fitness 4-frequent basic compound exercises

Weigh in- in the morning, done the monthly pics tonight will post soon


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 22, 2014, 08:41:37 PM
I think I'm probably 3lb or so lighter and abit leaner than the previous pictures 4 weeks ago, I just can't see my physique being as good as I want this year without adding some serious size all over, got 7 weeks of intense training before I even start dieting so plenty of time to improve, that's what I intend to do, slightly different positioning to the pics


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on February 22, 2014, 09:13:08 PM

 Look to be quite `complete` and balanced to my eye Ben. Back and legs in particular look good.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 22, 2014, 10:21:36 PM
Thanks mate, as long as I improve, I am happy :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 22, 2014, 10:29:47 PM
i agree, a good balance no massive weak points if I was going to be mega critical maybe a bit denser in the chest but not like I can talk  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 22, 2014, 10:30:50 PM
Looking good mate. Lat spread shots and rear double bi are good


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on February 22, 2014, 11:20:40 PM
Looking good mate very balanced physique, good sweep to your thighs and good thickness to your back.
As Scott says think the only weak point would be your chest and its not that weak its just your other parts are really good.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 23, 2014, 07:42:14 AM
Thanks guys, much appreciate the comments, I definitly strive for more thickness in my chest, I have a naturally non existant chest, so hoping years of heavy benching and dips will thicken it up, If I gain some good size overall and get silly shredded by september, goal has been achieved  :)

Weigh in today- 176.6lb so 2.6lb to loose in the next 7 weeks, have lost 6lb or so this year, havnt had to cut any calories yet, and don't think I will until april

- some poor maths on my behalf, in lb-

i compete at 70kg - 154lb
i should be a very lean 76kg -168lb offseason
im currently 80kg - 176lb
i was going to be 24lb above contest at 24 weeks out, (having to loose 1lb per week) , so start at 178lb, im lighter than that already, at 176lb but will stick to this diet plan on 2750-3000cals a day, no cardio and X3 basic workouts per week, i start my contest prep in 7 weeks if i am slightly lighter then i will have a head start on my goals which is great, and means i will have too loose on average less than 1lb per week  :) good stuff


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 24, 2014, 02:36:38 PM
Had a few off the diet plan bits yesterday, today just relaxing, I read Dr darden's new HIT book, pretty good, lots of into, I like to keep things simple, and by what his written the current plan is pretty much spot on, frequency and volume wise, will track my results over the next 7 weeks or so, I feel my recovery is bang on


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on February 24, 2014, 03:25:22 PM
Missed this on the weekend mate, back is a real strong feature mate, quad sweep is nice and lat spread is a nice shot showing a good balance. Chest may not be weak so much as seems to just be your softest area, there and the delts. Once that starts to thin out it will look a lot different I suspect.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 24, 2014, 04:33:30 PM
Thanks for the comments toby, abit of both I find, they look much more in balance once super lean, but my "push" muscles have always lagged behind, ill see how they respond to the higher frequency lower volume approach over the next 6 weeks or so


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 25, 2014, 06:34:16 PM
Todays workout was another good one, these HIT full body workouts are brutal, but really make sense to me, no doubt that they get the job done!

Today I progressed on some, and a step back on others, my goal of really feeling the rows and calves worked and much happier with them, will build on them too! I focused hard on keeping the reps controlled and getting a full ROM, will keep this consistant!

Squats 130kg- 11+1 (1 more and nearly all 12, but got stuck, lifted back up and got it, all very smooth and deep)
Deadlift 142.5kg 10+2 (loving these! Although they kill me)
Bench 100kg 9+1+1+1 (these wernt quite as good, but determined to get that 12 reps!)
Rows 90kg 12 (stick with these and keep nearly 90degrees squeeze lats)
Military 65kg 8+4 (make sure I lockout at the top)
Chins +15kg 8+1+1+2 (these really hurt! Great for my lagging arms tho!)
Dips +40kg 9+2+1 (down on last session! Push for more!)
Calf raise stack 13+3 ( progress, felt these a lot!)
Situp (had to use machine) 40kg 12+3

Overall a good session felt very hard, but need to progress across the board! Happy with the length of the workout and the intensity!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2014, 08:24:59 AM
everythign is on track with my goals this year, my diet has been to plan for 3 months or so now, and i have prbably dropped 6-7lb of bodyfat and recoverign greta from my workouts.

im loving my diet, i could do this year round and not be bored of it, (that was the plan when constructing it) i made the mistake last time i competed of making an unhealthy but very productive diet but only short term, and when trying to stay on it in the offseason was a killer!

this is still my current diet-
the only supplements i take - protein blend, creatine mono, udo's oil, BCAA (when dieting)

1+ gallon water
post workout- 1 scoop protein/1 cup raisins/5g creatine
2-3 green tea's daily
strong black coffee 45mins or so before workout
BCAA pre contest is 10g (powder) X3 daily in 1.5L water each (including during workout)
offseason sunday relax diet abit, 1-2 things that i fancy usually as evening meal, takeaway of some sort.
offseason if i go out which is pretty rare, i limit to 2 drinks, im not the best drunk, but this helps keep me social, important for a good life balance, often i go to social events and dont drink, isnt a problem.

5:55am- wake
6:00am- 3 eggs/1.5 cups oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine
10:00- 1 scoop protein/banana/apple/1/4 cup nuts
2:00pm- either tuna/chicken or steak/large potato/1lb mixed vegetables
6:00pm- 1 scoop protein/orange/pear/1/4 cup nuts
10:00pm- 1 cup cottage cheese/large mixed salad/1tbsp udo's oil

probably 150-170g protein 270-350g carbs 100g fat


i get around 7-8 hrs sleep per night, a good slot for me to stick too.
my calories are in the region of 2700-3000cals per day (upper end on training days)

i have made it so the only changes i will have to make going into contest prep is take out 1 cheat meal per week, and add in bcaa (30g daily whilst dieting slowly) so no shock to the system, but good first steps, after that i have plenty of cals to cut down slowly and shave off the fat, very simple plan lets how it goes  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on February 27, 2014, 12:53:37 PM
Look to be in a good place to start contest prep Ben.
Do you get hungry in between feeds?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2014, 01:39:43 PM
cheers Rich, i do but nothing abnormal for being in a small defecit, i have a big appetite and can eat a huge amoung of food

but with bcaa between meals come prep should help abit, i never get to the point of wakign up in the night or craving foods real bad, anything like that, usually just before my big meals im a little hungry


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on February 27, 2014, 01:50:17 PM
I normally go 3 hours max between feeds if it goes over that start to feel really light headed and shakey.
Probably cos am a greedy git.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Hardgraf on February 27, 2014, 02:02:15 PM
Good job mate. Great read


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2014, 02:52:49 PM
thanks mate  :)

yeah i used to do 2-3 hours between meals, but kinda get used to it after a while  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2014, 06:35:57 PM
Todays workout- my conditioning is getting slightly better, working with the higher reps, and able to give more intensity for longer, all good stuff! Progress all round today, focusing on strict technique I.e slower negatives and stretching/contracting each rep, was feeling sick by the end

Squats 130kg 12- all slightly below parallel (1 more, up to 132.5)
Deadlifts 142.5k 12- killing these (2 more, use 145kg)
Bench 100kg 9+1+1+1 (same but nearly 10, next time!)
Rows 90kg 12- better feel to these (use 92.5 next)
Military 65kg 9+3 (1 more, good powerful and controlled)
Chins +15kg 10+2 (keep these strict - 2 more)
Dips +40kg 10+2 (1 more, great form)
Calf raise - stack 14+4 (nearly there! Best feel in calves for ages)
Crunches +50kg 15 (stick until 20reps squeeze at top full ROM

Another brutal but good one, these are kiling rich to, both in the groove of this now!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on February 27, 2014, 08:37:29 PM
I normally go 3 hours max between feeds if it goes over that start to feel really light headed and shakey.
Probably cos am a greedy git.

  7 Hrs between meals is my norm , BUT eating high fat realises little fluctuation in blood sugar so there is little/no hunger between meals ( & it benefits me training in a fasted state too ).

   T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2014, 08:44:10 PM
Works very well for you too! I know a few people who do the same with good results


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 27, 2014, 09:22:06 PM
I normally go 3 hours max between feeds if it goes over that start to feel really light headed and shakey.
Probably cos am a greedy git.

Know that feeling. I could eat a massive plate of food and still want more. Get hungry both off and on prep. I generally drink loads on prep to stop the hunger


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2014, 10:30:57 PM
Definitly helps mate, I will be drinking loads of bcaa water so should addd some flavour and help too


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on February 28, 2014, 12:40:05 AM
Thing is for me I dont feel hungry as in belly rumbling more just a feeling of weakness.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Adam on February 28, 2014, 10:01:53 AM
Best of luck in your prep mate.  Out of interest what BCAA product do you / will you use ? thanks


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 28, 2014, 10:17:48 AM
I guess everyone is different rich, but what you do no doubt works!

Hi adam  thanks! I  will use myprotein IBCAA

Or bulk powders instant BCAA

I only order myprotein because for some reason bulkpowders is blocked at work
The product is very similar though, I will have 10g with  each of the 3, 1.5L water, and I have 1 or those bottles of water during training too, I diet very slow and won't be cutting calories too low or doing loads if any cardio, so I will add them as I will be in a calorie deficit for 6 months, so may help recovery and holding onto tissue


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on February 28, 2014, 04:34:16 PM
a very standard relaxed off day today, relaxed thismorning, working on the late, gonna do a good stretching on shift, these definitly help, didnt do any last week as i was so tired from all the swimming,

not getting much DOMS from these HIT workouts which is good, recovering better, and adapting to the frequency, just a little everywhere really


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 28, 2014, 05:40:07 PM
I found the hunger was pretty dramatic on prep. The flavoured bcaa that bulkpowders do is really nice.

Rich I get the weak and kind of light headed feeling


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 01, 2014, 05:27:01 PM
Gonna try the bulkpowders one too :)

Today's workout was good, and progressive, all apart from those bench presses! Got to hit 10 reps with 100kg next week, if not I may change to incline, but don't wanna make any changes until I've done 6 weeks straight

5min warmup
Squats 132.5kg 12 - 135kg next
Dead lifts 145kg 12- 147.5kg next (2sec rest after 10 reps to set grip)
Bench 100kg 8,2,1,1 (not happy, need 10 next week)
Rows 92.5 , 12 - 95 next (best these have felt)
Military 65kg 11,1 (2 more)
Chins BW+15kg- 11,1 (1 more)
Dips BW+40kg - 11,1 (1more)
Calf raise - stack 14+5 (need15)
Sit-ups 50kg- 17 (2 more) need to feel these more in the abs


My conditioning is definitely improving each session, don't feel as gassed after the squats and dead lifts 1 min between sets, 2 min max between exercises


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 02, 2014, 07:14:44 AM
Weigh in- 177lb so gained 0.4lb, diet has been flawless so probably due to all the swimming I did last week, and none this week, I want to loose 3lb in the next 6 weeks, should be fine without any adjustments, today I will relax, have a few things off the diet plan and go for a long walk with becky if the weather is nice again


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 03, 2014, 08:50:29 AM
nice chilled day yesterday, ready to hit another week, hard!

by the end of this week, i want to be slightly lighter mayeb half a lb or so will be fine for now, and i want my best and strongest HIT session yet each session, will be assessing the results after this 6 week block and after my growth week, start my prep with a slightly different routine, i really am enjoying the full body workouts though, not sure i could go back to a split where im not hitting either squats or deadlifts each session, so another option after the HIT have finished, is the HLM (heavy light medium) full body workouts, with different rep ranges and exercises on each day, and still recover from them. will make plans durign my growth week.



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on March 03, 2014, 11:56:34 AM
How are you finding the full body workouts, they look brutal.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 03, 2014, 12:51:19 PM
Hi chris, they take abit of getting used to, but love the concept, i used splits on and off for maybe 6 years before any full body workouts, i prefer them now, they leave you wiped out, and your body has to adjust in recovery, there great, and without squats and/or deadlifts workouts arnt the same, fitness is pushed harder, like the fact you do more basic exercises per week/month. I think most people are mislead thinking they are for beginners etc, there not!

have you ever trained full body Chris?



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on March 03, 2014, 01:45:24 PM
Well, it's quite surprising that you mention that most people perceive full body workouts to be 'beginner' workouts as quite true to this dogma I used the HST (hypertrophy specific training) programme 6 months into my training, but am yet to return to this style.

I do agree that full body workouts are tough, certainly when Mr Squat and deadlift make an appearance. I'm unlikely to incorporate them into training prior to the show but may play my hand in them this year for sure.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 03, 2014, 02:12:42 PM
HST is pretty similar to what im doing at the moment in terms of volume and frequency, also the strategic deconditioning (time off) i implement every 6 weeks or so, with a lighter week,

i think while your on a roll with what your doing, your right, no need to change, but if you get bored its always a good to shake things up


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: frogface on March 04, 2014, 08:07:41 AM
Ben how many days rest do you have between these workouts

Justin


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2014, 08:44:42 AM
Hi mate, 48-72 hours I do them tue-Thur-sat and every 6 weeks I will be backing off for a week when I return after the week off I may make some minor changes, I.e. Change the target reps maybe to 8 for a while and if something stagnates, I'll change it then I.e. Flat press for incline


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on March 04, 2014, 10:11:06 AM
Really solid stuff here Ben. Definitely ride it while it's going so well.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2014, 10:17:42 AM
Thanks Keith, definitely feel on track, it can only get better  :) gonna see what I can get out of the next 5 weeks, then see how progress is physique wise


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2014, 04:11:17 PM
todays session,

another good one, took me a while to come round after, was feeling just dead, and sick, gave it everything, mostly progressed with a couple of exercises took a step back, finished maybe 5min quicker than normal as Rich couldnt train today.

squats 135kg 12- solid set, all parallel or below, feel im in the groove with these, 137.5 next
deadlifts 150kg 10+2 , decided to add 5kg instead of 2.5 becaause why not, build to 12 on these
bench 100kg 10+2, grabbed a spotter who was slightly heavy handed with the last 1-2 but certainly better than last week
rows 95kg 12 -  stick with these last 1-2 didnt contract very well, these were tough though, and back was locked at just above 90 degrees, alot harder than the "heavy" version
military 65kg 12- but stick as last rep was abit push pressy
chins +15kg 10+2 - down abit on last session, but these felt great
dips +40kg 9+3 -  again, down but gave it everything, keep attackign these!
calf raise stack- 15+5, finally, got these will add 20kg to the stack and build from there next time
situps- +50kg 18, i was completely dead by these and these wernt great, 10, then the last 8 were 1 sec in between, didnt feel these that well, must dig deep for that last couple of minutes, feel every rep




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: frogface on March 04, 2014, 04:19:26 PM
ben do i assume you get warm and muscles and head read prior to these sets and then just do the one proper working set to failure

justin


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on March 04, 2014, 04:28:52 PM
Those are some really fine numbers mate, love the look of that session. On the warm up mentioned above. Being an old Max-OT'er, which is the warm up sets on the target muscle, what do you do differently to get everything ready to go?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2014, 04:57:06 PM
hi guys, thanks for your interest, keeps me motivated  :)

warmups i keep real simple, and looked like this, (1 min between sets of the same exercise and 2 min between exercises)

5 min either crosstrainer or rowing machine (if gozdecki isnt breaking it ;D)

today was,

squats- 12 reps 65kg - 6 reps 100kg -
deadlifts 12 reps 70kg - 8 reps 100kg-
bench 12 reps 60kg - 8 reps 70kg
(after the big 3 if your not warm your never going to be, but do 1 to get my head ready)
rows 8 reps 70kg
military 8 reps 50kg
chins BW-20kg 8 reps
dips BW+10kg 8 reps
calf raise 3/4 stack 10 reps
sit-ups BW 10 reps

pretty instinctive but basically a light set, and a moderate set, but not to fatigue


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on March 04, 2014, 05:13:15 PM
Don't shoot me, but what is the theory behind todays session with the higher set still being quite light and only moderate reps as you said.

Oh and do you train with Rich or when he is there? I bet he has smashed a few rowers lately!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2014, 05:45:31 PM
sorry mate do you mean the warmup proccess or higher set as in working set? if you mean warmup sets, i think if i was using a hevaier weight i.e. 6RM instead of 10-12RM i would warmup similar to max-ot, but i find 2 warmup sets is enough, without fatiguing, if i felt i wasnt warmed up i would do another, just instinctive really, or maybe increase the weight and lower the reps for the warmups, if i feel it didnt do the job

iv never trained with rich (gozdecki), he trains aroudn the same sort of time as me though, I may be misleading, I often train with a friend of mine called rich too  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on March 04, 2014, 05:48:26 PM
Ignore me, I have just realised that that warm up was 65kg x 12, 100kg x 6 then onto the working set of 135kg.

I was reading on my phone and not engaging brain. Pretend this conversation never happened  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2014, 05:49:49 PM
 ;D thats alright mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 05, 2014, 03:43:27 PM
pretty standard recovery day today, working a late so will have a good foam roll and stretch session later on, feeling yesterdays workout a little all over, will be good to go by midday tomorrow, i want more!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 06, 2014, 04:37:37 PM
really tried to attack todays session - trying to force the recovery and fell back on todays session abit, was dissapointed but going to push on, hitting as hard as i can every session, force my body to recover quicker and adapt bettter, if by 6 weeks i havnt forced my body to recover quicker, will do 1 of 3 things

1) Heavy-Light-Medium, recover
2) periodize the weights better, take a step back at the start of the week, and top out higher by the last session of the week
3) alternate 2 workouts, to hit body slightly different

but no changes for the entire 6 weeks, im determined to be able to train this hard all the time, no excuses! another 4 and abit weeks to go, got a feeling just need to push through it, and body will cope better eventually, dont increase weight too quickly, if i have to take a step back with weight to get a perfect 12 reps i will do!

todays session-

squats 140kg 8+1+3 - should have done 137.5 but felt brave, was too heavy though, all below parallel but last 4 were all "spotted", build on this!
deadlifts 150kg 8+1+1+2- this sucked, used a bar with no grip, need to use the other bar downstairs,
bench 100kg 10+2- OK, this was pretty strong, better than last week
rows 95kg 12- good but still not happy with the last 2 reps, need to be perfect before i progress!
military 65kg 12- nearly there, gonna stick with it though until im happy with that last rep
chins +15kg 10+2- same, but stick at it!
dips +40kg 10+2 - 1 more than last time, slow these down abit
calf raise stack+20kg 12+4- great feeling in my calves recently, must be doing some good
sit-ups +50kg - 15, all perfect full ROM and squeezing, much better feel!


determined to smash it saturday and have the best session yet, 137.5 on squats for 12, and 150 on deadlifts for 12 to set the pace!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on March 06, 2014, 04:57:44 PM
Good going Ben and good mind set.
Keep pushing forward mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 06, 2014, 05:14:22 PM
thanks bud will do!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 08, 2014, 06:32:07 PM
Today's session was mostly progression all round feeling everything is recovering just enough, but need to not rush the progression, don't do anything stupid like jump 5kg on exercises, next week I will make sure I only increase weight with 12 perfect reps only, and only add 2.5kg, going to take a small step back on dead lifts and squats, should improve quicker over time, focus on execution and progression not just progression

Squats 140kg 9,1,2 - wanted to smash this  was slightly better, but going for 137.5 on Tuesday 140 this time next week
Dead lifts 150kg 6,1,1 - too heavy 145kg Tuesday, keep it solid 150 this time next week
Bench 100kg 10,2 same but no spot and easier, getting there slowly but surely
Rows 95kg 12 best yet, good feel 97.5 Tuesday
Military 65kg 12 all good! 67.5 Tuesday
Chins + 15kg 12, just! 17.5 Tuesday
Dips + 40kg 11,2 cheeky extra, keep the tempo slow
Calf raise. Stack + 20kg 14,5 good progress, but keep slow, definitely feel these are helping my crap calves
Crunches + 50kg 16 , good keep at it till 20 perfect reps

Relaxing tomorrow, gonna have a off plan meal with Becky as I do every Sunday offseason, not long now till no more cheesy meaty carbs! Kinda excited!  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 09, 2014, 02:11:47 PM
Weigh in 176.6lb so about half lb down this week, another 4 weeks of full boar before 1 week growth week, on track too loose another 2lb or so before contest prep starts, Going to do some progress pics in another few weeks and from those I will plan my training for contest, although won't be too different from what I'm doing as this is kicking my arse nicely  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 09, 2014, 06:41:15 PM
Just booked 2 weeks all inclusive 5* mexico with myself becky and a couple we are friends with in november so something to look forward too after competing 8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2014, 05:24:36 PM
today just consisted of a good foam roll/stretch session, recovery is really tested with the frequent full body workouts, but doing everything i can to stay ontop of it, whilst dieting will be tested even more, so getting into the habbit of frequent recovery sessions now, add to that bcaa and no cheat meals whilst dieting, should do the trick  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2014, 05:42:41 PM
found this on the NPA website, myself competing as a junior next to a now multiple world champion, if only i had made the gains over the last 5 years that this guy has!

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on March 10, 2014, 06:51:45 PM
Is that picture Taunton overall mate?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2014, 07:40:47 PM
yes mate, taunton overall 2009  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on March 10, 2014, 08:44:36 PM
found this on the NPA website, myself competing as a junior next to a now multiple world champion, if only i had made the gains over the last 5 years that this guy has!

haha! a couple of young faces there!  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2014, 09:35:36 PM
 :D how your life has evolved since then mate!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 11, 2014, 04:57:43 PM
a good start to the training week today-
  

squats 137.5- 9+3 - all below parallel - i want 140 for 12 before the deload week
deadlifts 147.5 - 12 - felt great, 150 next time -watched that clip of jon harris deadlifting 140 for a stupid amount of reps as motivation on the way to the gym, paid off  :)- i want 160kg for 12 before the deload week
bench 100kg 10+2, slight spot on last rep, i want 100kg for 12 solid reps before the deload week
rows 97.5kg 12- felt good but will stick till there all picture perfect, i want 100kg for 12 before the deload week
military 67.5kg 9+3, lost balance on 10th rep, keep that core tight!, i want 70kg for 12 before deload
chins +17.5kg 9+3 i want 20kg for 12 before the deload
dips +40kg 11+2 - so close to that 12, didnt count it tho and did 2 more after a RP - i want 45kg for 12 before deload
calf raises stack+20kg 15+5- good, make sure i squeeze the hell out of each rep so they feel like there gonna burst every session, +40kg next time i want 15 reps with +60kg before deload
crunches +50kg 17 reps, make sure i dont take tension off the abs for the whole set, i want 20 solid reps before deload

a busy day with inductions/programmes/PT sessions, enjoying it all!  :D
  



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 11, 2014, 08:06:03 PM
nice pic mate and the training is going well


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 11, 2014, 08:27:32 PM
thanks scott, everything is going to plan  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 12, 2014, 01:16:07 PM
just some foam rolling/stretching today, lower back feeling the most tender, but all over a little, as usual, will be good to go again tomorrow  8)

often overlooked is the ability to listen to your body, almost sounds like a cliche these days, but its true, there are lots of "rules" when it comes to training plans, diets etc Its great that people can get a plan with a click of a button, alot of them idiot proof, and they work, but nothing works better than listening to your own body, even if it goes against the plan for a day or two. So my advice to people would be move forward at your own pace, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY to determine this.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 13, 2014, 03:48:40 PM
todays session was on my tod as my training partner was working the opposite shift to me, i have it my all, and was totally battered after, dripping, nausious, done in! need to man up! some exercises were up on tuesday, some were down, some were the same, overall, was abit quicker pace, but keep pushign forward as hard as i can, thats all i can do! not much of the offseason left

squats 137.5kg 9+4 (1 more after RP, took abit longer to get the bar ready for 2nd part as i failed on 10th)
deadlifts 150kg 9+3 (geez these were hard after hitting failure twice on squats, push on!)
bench 100kg 10+1+1 (was blowing still from the deads)
rows 97.5kg 12- not strict enough during the end, keep at it!
military 67.5kg 11+2 - felt good, not strict enough
chins +17.5kg 9+3 - first 9 were very slow, at this point i was dead!
dips +40kg 11+2 - damn! was sure i was getting 12
calf raise stack+40kg 12+4 - nice feel to these today, keep in the calves
crunches +50kg 18, with a few quick RP, felt sick, felt it in the abs though

need to fight for more and keep all reps slow and controlled, feel them more

going to do a few pics just before i start my "deload" week, just focusing on pushing hard, this is some of the hardest training i have done, and feel pretty sick before and after these, eating is spot on, hoping the pics will show this, a while to go yet.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 14, 2014, 12:17:18 PM
today back on ealies at work, foam roll/stretching session planned for this afternoon on my break, feeling recharged again, although a little achy in lower back from yesterday will be good to go for tomorrow, want my best session yet all round, im feeling confident  8)

diet hasnt changed atall from the end of december, its been totally solid, and im really enjoying eating healthily, feels ages since i last went out drinking etc, although not too long atall really, next alcoholic drink i will have will probably be on a beach in mexico  ;D 8 months away though!

the first change i will make to be in 3-4 weeks, will add in 30g BCAA daily, take out my weekly cheat meal and probably swap the large potato for a sweet potato, that should loose my first few lb straight away :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 15, 2014, 06:56:29 PM
Todays training was great, apart from the bench and dips that wernt there today, stronger on everything else though, I wonder why this is? Maybe its mental? Military presses are up every session though?

Squats 137.5kg- 10+3- in the groove with these!
Deadlifts 150kg- 12- these were quite fast, but felt great! 150 again next time, keeping tempo slower
Bench 100kg 9+2+1 - damn bench press!
Rows 97.5 - 12 - nearly there, last 1-2 were not strict
Military 67.5- 12 - stronger, 70k next time
Chins +17.5 10,2 - good tempo, last rep was very slow
Dips +40 10+2 - rubbish! I need to treat these like squats
Calf raises stack+40 13,4
Crunches +50kg 18+2 -strong, solid set

Tomorrow gonna relax, maybe go for a walk if the weather is nice again, and eat some pizza in the evening as my weekly cheat meal :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on March 15, 2014, 07:09:48 PM

 Very strong all round Ben.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 15, 2014, 07:38:27 PM
Thanks Turpin, liking this programme but as you say I'm not sure the strength gain will equal muscle gain, I hope so though, will see with the pics in a couple of weeks  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 16, 2014, 10:28:45 AM
Todays weigh in 175.6lb down a lb or so, abit more than usual, so I'm expecting to be about the same next week, only thing I'm not enjoying is my heavy pressing (apart from shoulders) isn't increasing, if they were, Everything would be going perfect, up to me to change that next week! Atleast 11 reps with 100k is the goal by the end of next week


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 18, 2014, 07:13:23 PM
Not sure what I was up with me tonight, couldn't deliver in the training session, ended up doing lighter more volume stuff, sucked, need to get my head in the game, tconvinced myself that I'm regressing from these low volume workouts look and feel weaker, maybe all in my head, need to sort it out, keep diet solid and get back to work Thursday


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 20, 2014, 06:05:19 PM
Frustrated with todays session, again! Although on paper makes total sense to me, my body is hating it, getting weaker slowly after the first couple of weeks on this, and also loosing muscularity and definition, not the way I'm wanting it to go, like the idea of full body workouts, because of the higher frequency and works well with training 3 times per week, I feel I need some heavy basics in there like the 5X5 squats/deads/bench and some quality faster higher volume stuff too, not sure how I'm going to put this together to allow progression though, part of me is saying scrap everything I know on frequency etc, and just do the good old push,pull,legs, although might not be "optimal" will slowly gain in the right direction, hmmmm open to ideas, and Turpin I know you said so  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 20, 2014, 07:46:21 PM
i coun't do full body and progress, my lower back could not take squats and deads in the same week let alone the same session.

I use back and shoulders, chest and arm and then legs. Works well for me. I squat and deadlift on alternate weeks


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 20, 2014, 08:00:21 PM
Good old 3 day split, tried and tested, I find I can do both once in the week no problem, more than that and It obviously isn't working, saying that I'm not lifting your poundage,  its definitly a good shout scott :)

I like that split :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on March 20, 2014, 10:00:14 PM
I can / have / do squat and dead in the same week, but need to keep them as far apart as possible, and only do it for about 8 weeks, then the poundage and stresses gets a bit too much


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 20, 2014, 10:45:25 PM
Thanks Matt, I've done the same for most of my time training, will have a go doing it again, and when or if it feels too much swap for hacks or stiff leg dreads or sumit


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 22, 2014, 02:45:18 PM
Great session today to end the week, not my. Strongest but heading in the right direction!

Main lifts- after 5 min warmup
5X5 deadlift 100-5 140-5 150-5 160-5 165-5 use 165 next session
5X5 military 50-5 60-5 75- 5,5,5 use 77.5 next
5X5 chins bw- 5 +10 5 +25 5,5,5 use 27.5

Detail work
3X10 pek dek(no room for db flyes) 60k 10, 50k 9,8
3X15 calf raise stack- 15-12-9 build on these

Going to alternate workout A and B 3 times weekly

Workout B will be

5X5 squats
5X5 bench or dips
5X5 row

3X10 lying leg curl
3X15 ab work

Will change accessory work when needed, or fancy

3 weeks till I start official contest prep gonna build strength back up to PB level and should feel fuller and stronger! Let the diet get ridof the blubber,


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on March 22, 2014, 09:54:12 PM
Very strong lifting Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 22, 2014, 10:45:10 PM
Thanks Felix I think I'm much better suited to the heavier stuff


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 23, 2014, 10:18:26 AM
Weight is the same as last week, probably to do with feeling weak the and Thursday, that has changed now and expect after another week of hard and heavy training will come down a little, on track though,

Today's relaxed diet and typical of Sundays offseason

Gallon of water loads of green tea

6- oatcakes -creatine
10- banana-apple- nuts- protein
2- salmon-potato- mixed veg
6- pizza- breaded mushrooms- wedges
10- Greek style yoghurt- honey

A few crisps thrown in

Not gonna change my normal diet at all until I start prep then small changes only, looking forward to it


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 23, 2014, 06:52:57 PM
nice one mate, the simple workouts are often the most productive


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 23, 2014, 07:04:24 PM
Thanks buddy, I definitely agree, they are the most enjoyable too, can't wait to train Tuesday and get under some heavy squats, I have some catching up to do  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 24, 2014, 12:55:14 PM
motivation of the day- John Grimek a weightlifter and bodybuilder from the 40's, one of the original bodybuilders, he was never defeated and was the first Mr Universe in 1948

He trained 3 times per week with full body workouts, like most fo the guys from that era did.
As well as being super strong, Grimek had great flexibility and could perform full splits, and was a great acrobat, it has been reported Grimek could still squat 180kg for reps into his 60's!



[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 25, 2014, 05:00:43 PM
todays training was great, again not my strongest but really gave it everything, and left feeling i got the job done, another basic, no frills workout today

after a 5-10min warmup- 2-3 min between 5x5's

5X5 squat 80kg 5 120kg 5 145kg 5,5,3 - nearly got that 4th on the last set, all were below parallel, got some new trainers to train with, they have vibram soals, feel great!
5X5 bench 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 115kg 5,5,4- felt heavy, havnt done heavy bench for a while, will build these back up, but again not a million miles away
5x5 rows 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 115kg 5,5,5 felt very good, going to stick with it for another session or 2, and make sure i feel the contraction better, used just wider than shoulder width on the last set and felt much better in my lats
3X8 lying leg curl pin #12 8,8,5- squeeze these hard at the contraction, dont just power them up, 1-2 min between these
3X12 hanging leg raises, BW- 12,12,12 these were agony in a good way, feet to head height abs were cramping from these, add 2kg next time

all done in just under an hour  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on March 26, 2014, 01:43:59 PM
That's some big benching there mate!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on March 26, 2014, 01:57:29 PM
Good work Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 26, 2014, 04:09:20 PM
thanks matt and rich, this type of training suits me much better, enjoying it too  :)

today is just the usual recovery day stretching/foam rolling, ready for deadlifts/press/chin again tomorrow

gonna do pictures on the 11th as i start contest prep on the 12th


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on March 26, 2014, 04:15:19 PM
Looking forwards to seeing the progress pics as prep starts.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 26, 2014, 06:22:25 PM
me to mate, progress will be alot more obvious as the lb's start to drop quicker


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 27, 2014, 03:46:25 PM
another progression today

5-10min warmup- to get in the frame of mind, going through the workout in my head

5x5 deadlifts 100kg 5, 130kg 5, 165k 5,5,4 - focus on keeping that lumber solid and attack the set! good though, may do "touch and go" from next session, feel its easier to keep my back solid, and works my hams more? meh aslong as i get all 5's with this weight in solid form!
5X5 military press 50kg 5, 60kg 5, 80kg 5,5,5 was meant to do 77.5 but somethign was telling me to go with 80, slightly heavier than my bodyweight so pleased with these, although they felt very heavy, solid core is key here, 82.5 next, never used that before  8)
5X5 chins BW 5, +10 5,   +27.5 5, flew up so thought lets go! +30kg 5,5 felt great, arms were smoked! +32.5 next week, and want +40 before prep starts in 2.5 weeks, these are underhand hense alot stronger than my overhand, will get what i can out of these, then switch!
3X8 incline flye -alot faster pace here now 1 min or so 8,8,7- overstretched last set and couldnt do the 8th, next time easy!
3X12 calf raises - stack- 12,12,9 these hurt alot in a good way, sometimes struggle to control, but felt it good today!

all in just under an hour including warmup

no changes to diet atall since january, no need to over the next couple of weeks, looking alot fuller over the last week or so, this heavy lifting is doing me some good, enjoying it alot too!




overall feeling very positive, good times  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 27, 2014, 08:47:57 PM
nice and strong mate, very solid workouts and glad your feeling happier with your look


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 27, 2014, 08:51:43 PM
thanks buddy, all is looking up  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 29, 2014, 07:22:24 PM
Slight progress on Tuesdays session today,

5 min warmup
5x5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 145k 5,5,4 slight spot on last rep of last set but didn't fail like Tuesday
5x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 115k 5,5,5 felt stronger 117.5k Thursday
5x5 rows 70k 5, 90k 5, 115k 5,5,5 although back felt achy and pumped will continue with 115 and slow the movement down
3x8 lying leg curl pin 12    8,8,6 slightly better, make sure to squeeze hams
3x12 hanging leg raise 2k 12,12, 3k, 8 use 3k next time these are agony in a good way

2 days off the gym now recover and grow ready to hit deadlifts Tuesday,

Tomorrow's eating,

Oatcakes as normal and creatine
Shake fruit and nuts as normal
Beef stew with dumplings for lunch - made by Becky's mum she's a great cook
Shake fruit nuts as normal
Paella and Spanish bread for dinner
Organic yoghurt with honey before bed

Next week is my last relaxed day eating for 24 weeks, taking my mum out for a late Mother's Day meal and probs takeaway with Becky then it's on

Will see in the morning what I'm weighing in at although I feel stronger fuller and leaner


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 30, 2014, 11:02:09 AM
I'm half a lb heavier today but look leaner since I started training heavy again, 22lb over contest weight  i think I'll loose 1 more lb in the next 2 weeks before I start my prep, focusing on lifting as heavy as I can and want to hold my strength all the way


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on March 30, 2014, 02:50:10 PM
Interesting Ben I have always noticed when I train heavier I look leaner especially when dieting rather than when I did alot of higher rep stuff.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 30, 2014, 06:27:11 PM
Yeah, it's all I've ever really done so I'm guessing my body knows the demand isn't there when training lighter, some people though grow like weeds when doing more volume, strange


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on March 31, 2014, 04:46:31 PM
after 3 days off work, back at it today for a 12 day stint, start of contest prep round the corner, and feeling great, the last 3 months have prepared me for prep and also life after prep, just taking out the sunday cheat meals and replacing with my usual daily shedule seems very easy, after the show i know exactly what to do, to maintain a lean and strong physique too, the plan is to stay around 12 stone (1 stone heavier than contest) ill initially gain that in a couple of weeks, and being as strict as i am now, with the odd cheat and odd beer in the offseason will keep things in balance, im looking forward to every aspect of this.

training wise- things are going very well, have chopped and changed quite a few routines, not too see which one is "best" but to see which ones i enjoy most, i have learnt a fair bit about my body, recovery abilities etc, experimenting with higher frequency training, I enjoy all types of training aslong as i see 1) heavy weight being lifted with basic exercises 2) progressive overload 3) they leave me feeling smoked -

i really enjoy the basic A/B full body workout i am on now, basics no b.s, great for adding strength and size and can add a few isolations at the end for piece of mind, i also like a split in which i hit the big exercises with a heavy system 5x5 or something similar, and follow with other exercises for the same bodypart and maybe isolation exercises too, then rest for 7 days, science says its probably better to hit a muscle more frequently, but it all works, as long as you kill every session, i think you need to do extra work after the basic exercises to gain a quality to the physique, this can be incorperated into a full body type session, or it can implemented in a split, keeping the routine fresh is key

the X3 weekly stretching i am doing, is a basic idea i picked up from Ian Duckett, to help flexibility in training and remain injury free, aid recovery and keep subtle- its something new for me this year which i will be keeping in


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 01, 2014, 02:33:37 PM
todays session-

5-10min warmup

5x5 deadlift 100k 5, 130k 5, 165k 5,5,5 - progress, went with touch and go style, first set flew up, but tweeked my lower back slightly, pushed on anyway, didnt damage it, just was a mental barrier, but pushed through the best i could, need to keep those deadlifts solid, stick with this weight until im happy with every rep,

5x5 military press 50kg 5, 60kg 5, 82.5kg 5,5,4 - first set was very solid the last 2 felt very heavy and were a little too push pressy, but never used 82.5k so my body needs to get used to it! this is soon to be lightweight, focused on keeping core solid, back wasnt an issue atall

5x5 chins- bw 5, +10 5, +32.5 5,5,5 - kinda cant believe im using these weights for chins, although alot of you guys go heavier, this is very strong for me, and the reps feel in the groove pretty slow and solid reps, maybe these are the answer to growing the guns finally! alot stronger supinated than pronated

3X8- pek dek, the db's we needed and benches were all taken again, used pin #11 and got a good 8,8,8 squeezed and stretched the chest hard

3X12- standing calf raises- stack- 12,12,11 nearly going up on these, squeezed them hard and felt them alot by the 3rd set, legs went all wobbly and couldnt get the 12, next time though!


going to foam roll my back well later on, and tomorrow will foam roll and stretch, i wont let my back effect my squats on thursday!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 02, 2014, 04:25:59 PM
Today my back feels a little tender but after warming up well my squats will be great tomorrow

I have planned my workout routine for the start if my contest prep, not too different from what I'm doing currently,

3 full body workouts weekly as I have seen great gains from them, they are harder that the general split workouts, they will hype my metabolism, and produce great gains in strength and size over time,

I will keep the heavy basics in there, but vary the  exercises and loads across the week to aid in recovery as they push it too the max

The workouts after the initial heavy  3x5 work will be faster pace, and I expect to finish the workouts 10 mins or so quicker

I will add just a couple of extra isolation exercises to get that quality work in and aim for more balance especially in the upper body

Apart from that, I will stick with 3 main and 2 accessory exercises per workout, for the main heavy move 2 warmup and 3 working sets everything else 1 warmup  if needed and 3 work sets

I will start with this, from Tuesday 15th

After 5 min rowing

Tue
3x5 squat
3x8 military press
3x12 pullup

3x10 flye
3x15 standing calf raises

Thur
3x5 bench
3x8 rows
3x12 lunges

3x10 lateral raises
3x15 hanging leg raises

Sat
3x5 deadlift
3x8 front squat
3x12 dips

3x10 curls
3x15 seated calf raises

Will change exercises for another variation if it stagnates

But for now loving lifting purely heavy and will get the most out if the next 5 sessions before I start my prep, although I've Been thinking I should take a deload next week before I start 24 weeks of full on  prep training, but the workouts are going so well


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on April 02, 2014, 06:54:20 PM
Sounds really good mate, looking forward to seeing the final result  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 02, 2014, 07:14:42 PM
Thanks Keith, will be a long journey but should end great, I recently read dinosaur training, you mentioned it to me a while ago if I remember correctly, what an awesome book!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on April 03, 2014, 02:24:03 PM
Thanks Keith, will be a long journey but should end great, I recently read dinosaur training, you mentioned it to me a while ago if I remember correctly, what an awesome book!  8)
It's a must read for anyone into the "Iron". How about Beyond Brawn? I think that you'd really like it in ligh of your training style.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 03, 2014, 05:38:19 PM
I agree and I will be reccomending for anyone starting out, ill check that one out too, thanks mate  8)

Todays training- some better some worse, unfortunatly slightly down on squats, but hit it hard!

5 min ROW warmup - doing this from now on as it warms the lower back well, also did a few extra warmups before heavy squats
5X5 squat - bar 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 110k 5, 145k 5, parallell 145kg 4, deep! 145kg 4 deep, a spot on the 2nd set, needed to sink down the first set below parallel

5X5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 120k 5,4,4 - grest added 5kg instead of 2.5  as I knew this was within me, going to keep grinding this until 5,5,5 and PB :)

5X5 row 70k, 90k 5, 115k 5,5.5 nearly there felt it in my upper back very well,

3X8 lying ham curl #12 8,8,7 abit better from these,

3X12 hanging leg raise 3kg 12,10,9 - for an ab exercise these were tough!

About an hour done!, myself and walby (training partner) have decided to have a deload next week before I start my prep the following week, and I will end my offseason with a TGI's sunday night with a couple of beers and a meat feast  ;D also introduce becky to his gf before we go mexico later in the year after the show  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 05, 2014, 02:19:00 PM
Todays session was the last of this routine before next weeks deload and starting prep the following week- it went very well

5min row warmup (1250m)

3X5 trap bar deadlift (couldn't get on the usual bar cuz someone was benching in the rack, atleast it wasn't curls) 100kg 5, 140kg 5, 180kg 5, 185kg 5,4 -  really liked these although it was easiler than the lower down bar iv used in the past at my old gym

3X5 military 50k 5, 60k 5, 82.5k 5,5.5 abit more solid and stronger than tuesday at this weight

3X5 chins bw 5, +10 5, +35kg 5,5,4 felt heavy but solid and strong!

3X8 incline flye 27.5k 8,8 30k 8 - getting used to the flye movements and chest can really feel it!
 
4X12 standing calf raise stack 12, +60 10,8,8 did an extra set and heavier felt them hard!

All done in under an hour

Next weeks deload will be the new routine at 80percent or so just to lower me in, not going to failure on anything

Tomorrow is late mothers day meal for lunch then last cheat meal of TGI and a couple of beers too, ill limit to 3 max, on the diet whilst deloading then on the 12th add bcaa, swap the baked potato for sweet, and go low fat cottage cheese instead of standard no cheat meal, that should be enough for the first 2-3 weeks, no creatine during this next week


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 06, 2014, 07:18:42 AM
weight is the same thismorning, has been for 2-3 weeks now, 175.6lb- with the adjustments this week and no creatine im expecting 174-175lb next week for the start of my prep, then a drop the following week as no cheat meal meals, will see how it comes together


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 06, 2014, 11:20:06 AM
nice work mate, no faffing around just real hard work and consistancy


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 06, 2014, 11:31:46 AM
 thanks mate ;D enjoying it too!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 06, 2014, 01:34:03 PM
thats the key mate. We all love our training and eating for a purpose. Others see it as a chore, we see it as fun


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 07, 2014, 07:54:31 AM
we do indeed  8)

ok, ramblings from yesterday, was my last cheat day, so made it a social one, i had work until 2pm, so eat normal for the first half of the day, then few drinks since xmas, had a couple at lunch and a couple at dinner, was a great day, met up with family for a late mothers day meal, including my 88 year old grandad who is as old school as it gets, he was telling me how his brother (my great uncle), who lived into his 90's , cycled 80 miles on his 80th birthday and was as healthy and active as it comes. was a great opportunity to catch up and meet a few new people all good - food wise, breaded mushrooms, fish and chips in pub, followed by apple crumble and custard, couple of pints of guiness too   ;)

got back, did my cooking for today, preped my uniform etc ect

back out, this time to meet my training partner and supervisor (Walby) and his gf, (who is a PT client of mine, charlie) introduced to becky as we will all be going to mexico in november, all went textbook  ;) and went to TGI friday's had chicken strips to start, then a mixed grill followed by cheesecake, and 3 bud's too, was a nice evening and i was full as hell and ready for bed!


this year as im dieting for the show, im going to miss quite a few big events, birthdays, etc but will always make an effort, show my face, make a phonecall, take out for a coffee, go watch a film etc - bodybuilding is a lifestyle, not a reason to be "hardcore" and shut off from the world

sometimes this bodybuilding lark gets in the way of the "good times" but with a little planning, improvising and ofcourse hard work, you CAN be happy, social and stick to your plan  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 08, 2014, 04:56:39 PM
The first deload session of the week, was as expected, nothing to failure but wasnt stupidly easy

5 min row to start

Squat 60k 5 100k 5, 120k 5,5,5 - focusing on finding the groove and depth
Row 60k 8, 80k 8,8,8
Dip bw 12, +10 12,12,12

Curls 30k 10,10,10
Standing calf 3/4 stack 15,15,15

Started with 2-3 min rest for squats then 1-2 for rows and dips then 1 for curls and calf raises

Whole session was much faster ingeneral after the initial squats and was done in 50min including warmup, this is just right and will be a very tough session with 20k added to every lift next week

Can definitly feel the difference from no creatine, will be added back in on saturday, lots of stretching and foam rolling tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 10, 2014, 05:16:27 PM
2nd deload workout of the week, went in like it was going to be brutal, focused on technique

5min row warmup

3X5 deadlift 80k 5, 120k 5, 140k 5.5.5 all perfect touch and go will go with 160 next week in the same style

3X8 military 40k 8, 50k 8,8,8 will go with 70k next week

3x12 lunges 50k 12, 60k 12,12,12 these were nasty and my glutes and hams were cramping, these along with squats deads and front squats should do the trick! Use 70k next week

3X10 incline flye 20kg 10,10,10 use 25 next week

3X10 hanging leg raise BW 10,10,10 aim for 15's next week

All done in 50mins, got faster as the workout went on, spot on!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 10, 2014, 07:55:17 PM
nice mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 11, 2014, 11:56:38 AM
Thanks scott

Today my glues and hams are in bits, will be foam rolling and stretching later

A few thoughts have been going through my head over the last week or so, including not competing this year, I feel I need a good year or two off building strength and size before I can hang with some of he guys up there, I'm enjoying the structure and this is me from now on, I definitely want to get to 12 stone and stay there where it will be very lean, but on the other hand I have committed to it, I dunno

Another is, for a number of reasons, including saving money and also as I enjoy the simpleness, ditching my sups which I don't take much of anyway, instead of protein powder, drink milk, which I have no problem digesting etc, will save me 20-30 quid a month, maybe something to do in the offseason, as I am planning to start using BCAA and creatine again on Saturday, they cost an additional 50 quid a month too,

Another is I was enjoying my last A/B split a lot but felt I needed more volume and quality work to get that bodybuilding look, I the back of my mind I kinda know lifting heavy and building muscle and maintaining whilst dieting is e way to go, muscle is muscle you cannot shape, cut etc the diet will get rid of the body fat, and maybe even add in a few swim,power walk sessions per week for fitness to compensate for not lifting as fast and getting a sweat on?

I think I'm well and truly hooked on the old school and classic way of bodybuilding, health diet, basic hard heavy exercise, and being fit and active ontop oft hat too, just a few thoughts milling round at the moment, hmmmmm


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 11, 2014, 05:13:02 PM
after having a chat to a few close friends i have come up with the conculsion, train in a split fashion, diet down, do this show give it 100% and then resume the full body power bodybuilding stuff in the offseason, taking out bcaa,creatine,protein powder and goign with more food,milk etc then, going to use a split similar to the one i used at the start of the year, with more volume to get help that quality needed for the stage

tomorrow is the last of the deloads, then tuesday i start the split workout, nothing fancy just basics+isolation and weak point work, sticking to the nutrition plan and supplements, and the main plan in general


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 11, 2014, 07:36:38 PM
glad your competing mate. I want to see you up on that stage.

Power training is great and you know I love to lift heavy but that stage will call as and sometimes you just have to give into it ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 11, 2014, 08:17:13 PM
haha your right mate, bloody ego hey  ;D

been on my mind for so long now id beat myself up for not doing it this year!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 11, 2014, 08:20:01 PM
we are coming up for the weekend so you better blinking do it lol

Prep has it's time and place. Great to chase the dream but it's got to be right. This year seems right for you


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 11, 2014, 09:48:27 PM
Thanks scott, just a blip in my head, but got it all down now, its true, everything is spot on for me to hit it full pelt this year, and could be the last year I have it so "perfect" It feels right! Plenty of time after to lift heavy and hit new PB's


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on April 11, 2014, 09:58:54 PM
Get that thought of not competing out of your head, and keep it locked up!!

Tunnel vision, Ben, Tunnel vision!!!!!!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 12, 2014, 09:26:00 AM
Thanks Chris, it's gone, was just a what if moment but as excited as ever :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 12, 2014, 06:01:02 PM
Today was the last of my deload sessions, and added BCAA and creatine in, tastes good berry flavour, as Saturdays will be shoulders and arms day starting next week we gave them a freestyle pump low intensity session today, was fast paced, nowhere near failure

Will get Becky to do some pics later for the start of prep and every 4 weeks or so, she's gonna be sick of bodybuilding by show day  ;D


Diet is as follows day in day out no changes for the next couple of weeks have 21lb to loose in 24 weeks

1gallon water daily
30g BCAA daily (10g in 1.5l water x3 daily)- 1 during workout
Pre workout strong black coffee
2-3 green teas daily
Pwo - 1 scoop protein/1 cup raisins/5g creatine either 1 pm or 5pm

6am- 1 1/2 cup oats/3 large eggs/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey
10am - 1 scoop protein/banana/apple/1/4 cup nuts
2pm- steak or chicken breast or tuna/sweet potato/1lb mixed vegetables
6 pm- 1 scoop protein/ orange/pear/1/4 cup nuts
10pm-  1cup cottage cheese/large mixed salad/1tbsp udos oil

When I do start to shave cals down, will be easy at first with some oats at breakfast as easily 100g carbs every morning at the moment nice though  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 10:47:28 AM
Today I weighed in at 175.8lb the same as the last few weeks, but with intense training and no cheat meal I'm expecting to loose 1lb or so next week

Did some pics last night, I look the exact same as 4 weeks ago possibly fuller in the quads and waist slightly smaller

This will be the split for contest prep, wil involve heavy basics, a spectrum of loads, fast paced work after the initial heavy work, and working weak points hard, also hitting more volume and more angles I want improved muscle size all over and sickening conditioning

Very much based on Ian duckett old school workouts and his contest prep and diet methods, tried and tested by many

5 min rowing
Up to 3 min rest for 3x5 and up to 2 for the rest
Workouts done in an hour max including warmup
I'll aim for progression even as I diet
Will warmup for the 3x5 exercises


Tuesday- chest/back
3x5 bench
3x8 incline db
3x12 dips

3x5 deadlift
3x8 barbell row
3x12 pull-ups


Thursday- legs/abs

3x5 squats
3x8 leg press
3x12 stiff leg dreads

3x8 standing calf raise
3x12 seated calf raise

3x10 weighted crunch
3x15 hanging leg raises

Sat- shoulders/arms

3x5 military press
3x8 lateral raises
3x12 seated rear laterals

3x8 bb curl
3x12 db curl

3x8 lying extensions
3x12 overhead cable ext

Enough volume isolation and heavy basics  and time to get the job done, now let's DO IT


I wil resume the full body workouts aiming for big strength progression after the contest

Today will go out with Becky for a long walk and relax


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 12:06:06 PM
After being inspired by rich's transformation so far, iv decided to also do quatre turns every 4 weeks as progress pics, here are my start of diet pics I aim to increase size and get much leaner as the weeks tick by

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 12:07:22 PM
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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 12:08:39 PM
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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 12:09:27 PM
4

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 13, 2014, 01:26:29 PM
looking in great shape to start a prep mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on April 13, 2014, 01:41:31 PM
Looking in great condition mate.
How many wks out are you? What weight do you think you will hit the stage at mate?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 01:48:24 PM
Thanks guys 24 weeks out yesterday, I'm 12.8st  and will compete at 11st I suspect


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on April 13, 2014, 01:52:34 PM
Loads of time mate, how much did you weigh last time you competeded?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on April 13, 2014, 02:13:23 PM
Looking good mate, especially for 24 weeks out. You've got plenty of time to reach stage condition whilst retaining your mass.

That Lower back condition is, quite oddly, very good in comparison to your other body parts, contrary to the norm.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 02:21:06 PM
I was 70-71kg rich, but sinse then have lost and rebuilt any muscle I had, and feel I have a good base too build on over the next 24 weeks, aiming to be bigger and leaner than last time

Thanks chris I feel my back in general stays fairly lean, and I hold most of it waist down



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on April 13, 2014, 02:52:19 PM
What do you intend your stage weight to be?

I think that everyone holds their fat in different areas. I find most of my fat is stored in my legs. As soon as I diet my abs are on show which is not terribly helpful as face on i can appear leaner than I believe.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2014, 03:14:23 PM
I intend to be 11st, that is true, I think for me atleast glutes and hams will be the true test of leanness


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on April 13, 2014, 03:49:44 PM
What do you intend your stage weight to be?

I think that everyone holds their fat in different areas. I find most of my fat is stored in my legs. As soon as I diet my abs are on show which is not terribly helpful as face on i can appear leaner than I believe.
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Same for me.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 13, 2014, 04:53:08 PM
My abs come in about a month out from the show, mind you they are shallow. I get good back detail quite quick and my legs from the front are quick to look decent. I quite it as I can look in the mirror and know when I have a sea of veins on my abs the rest of me is in.

The more I learn about this crazy sport the more I learn we are all really different


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on April 13, 2014, 09:33:14 PM
Looking great in the photos Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 14, 2014, 07:22:20 AM
Thanks felix  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on April 14, 2014, 09:10:51 AM
 
  Great looking physique , and tightening up well .  You look to have a compact look that could hold similar appearance without `stringing` out even when taken to very low bodyfat levels.

 Good work , T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 14, 2014, 10:25:58 AM
Thanks mate, will be interesting when I'm a stone or so lighter how I look


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 15, 2014, 02:50:57 PM
first session of this split, went well in some ways, but much to improve on
not having done bodypart splits for a few months, i struggled with the muscle fatigue so strength was down, but will adapt and progress week on week
having said that, i gave it my all, and was intense, focused, a good pace, and heavy

1000m row warmup-

3X5 bench 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 120kg 5,5,3+1 - lots of strength to come from these!
3X8 incline db 42.5k 6, 40k 6, 40k 6+1- stick with 40's, build em up!
3X12 dips +20kg 12,11,7 -written off with these, build the endurance on these, chest was pumped!

3X5 deadlift 100kg 5, 130kg 5, 160kg 5,5,4- focus on back solid and power
3X8 bb row 100kg 8,6 90kg 8- stick with 90kg and work on technique
3X12 pullups BW 10,7,5- wow no strength at this point, will build to 12 on each set, used parallel grip, go with wider overhand next week

all done in an hour, heavy stuff rested more, the rest was quicker


i really enjoyed this session, felt bloody hard but got the job done, not very strong but lots of progression to come from this, will be focusing on consistancy with this routine, a big challenge for me will be to stick to this for ATLEAST 6 weeks before i change anything atall, get everything out of this one that i can before i change anything even small changes


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on April 15, 2014, 08:48:54 PM
Looking good mate. As Chris mentioned, lower back is really sharp already. Taunton first then what shows?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 16, 2014, 06:59:44 AM
Thanks Matt, just the ukdfba planned this year, just under 24 weeks away,I have been toying with the idea to do a show a couple of weeks before, not sure which yet


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 17, 2014, 03:17:57 PM
today, after some good foam rolling and stretching my lower back didnt feel too tight, a little achy but good to go,

squats for some reason, like my deadlifts felt harder, the warmups went well, deep and solid, then the 140 on squats (less than 2 weeks ago) felt even harder, but not that heavy, just powering them out was tough, very frustrating but will improve week on week, thats all i can do, i dotn understand why, but dont wanna get sciencey just push 100% physically and mentally

5 min row- felt good to go

5X5 squats 80kg 5, 110kg 5, 140kg 4+1, 5, 3- focus on keeping lower back solid, and powering from just below parallel, head and chest up, dont shift weight onto toes at the bottom, that equals getting pinned and pissed off
3X8 leg press 320kg 8,8,8 - these were all deep to hit the quads fully but not rounding back, bloody hard, 330kg next week
3X12 lying leg curl #10- 12,10,9 felt deep in the already achy hams, probably a good idea i did these instead of stiff leg deads, as back wouldnt recover for heavy deads on tues- squats and deads once per week is plenty to get the job done!

3X8  toe presses - stack- 8,8,8 - stack+5kg next
3X12 seated calf raises 70kg 12,12,12 75kg next-

3X weighted crunches 12,12,10- get all 12's next week
3X hanging leg raises BW - 12,12,12 get all 13's next week-

done in an hour after warmup, speed up after squats slightly more

im in the mindset after last week off heavy weights, my body was just getting acclimated to heavy weight again and next week will be bit more progress! saying that both workouts this week so far have been very intense and feeling completely spent by the end


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 18, 2014, 07:03:02 PM
Very relaxed day today out enjoying the last of the weather with Becky, no problems taking food to eat out, all pretty easy on the diet front at the moment I know I need to be consistent and execute the plan, a small addition from tomorrow Im Gonna add low salt seasoning to my meat for my 2pm meal, in an effort not to be so lazy at flavouring my food  ;D enjoying it all  :) standard foam rolling and stretching today


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 19, 2014, 08:47:08 PM
Due to working strange hours today I had to train at work, ok being shoulders/arms day the only compromise was seated db press instead of standing military as didn't want to have to clean the bar first, the db's only go to 35s but was a solid workout

5 min row warmup
3x10 Seated db - 20's 5, 27.5's 5, 35's 10,9,6 use 80k 5x5 military next week
3x8 laterals 25's 8,8,8 to loose stick and stricken felt it well though
3x12 seated rear laterals 25's 12,10,10 rear deltas on fire

3x8 bb curl 50k 8,8,6 not used to arm work they were fried
3x12 seated db curl 12.5's 10, 10's 12,12 omg 10kg curls haha felt very heavy too! Use 12.5 next week

3x8 lying extension 50k 8,8,8 use 52.5k next week
3x12 overhead rope extension 25kg 12,12,12 27.5k next week

Felt strange doing the bodybuilder type stuff but a few months of those with progress and I'm sure I'll see it in my arms and shoulders

Done and dusted in just under an hour

Had to space my meals slightly different today to fit training in abit later but planned it and worked well 2 days of recovery stretching and foam rolling, I'm fairly happy with the first week of prep, next week I want big improvements especially in squats and deadlifts


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 20, 2014, 10:01:01 AM
Lost just under 1lb this week so 175lb or 79.3kg 21lb to go so from tomorrow I'm taking out 1/4 cup oats from breakfast should keep it coming off for the next couple of weeks  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 21, 2014, 11:05:03 AM
feel ready for tomorrow, my recovery has improved dramatically, after adding in creatine and bcaa, cutting out sundays cheat meal/s and also switching back to a split, (not so many squats/deadlifts per week) i think that was the right move, but at a miniumum i would think atleast one squat and one deadlift session per week is optimal for me, although i feel abit small and weak, i feel fresh and healthy, and sure to feel strong once i see those numbers improving each week, i will fill out a little as i get leaner, today is another good foam roll and stretch session

a few tips on reocvery that have worked for me

- sleep, for me around 7-8 hours per night is enough to feel well and recover, last time i dieted, i dont know why but i would stick to my sleep slot and even if i was shattered i wouldnt allow myself to sleep until it was time, .... stupid i know, now i have my slot between 10:30ish and 6am and if i feel i need an extra hour after breakfast i may go back to bed for an hour if on a late, the demands of recovery can change too

- nutrition- something many bodybuilders miss, the important of vitamins/minerals/antioxidants through a healthy balanced diet plentiful if fruit and veg, i have around 11-12 servings of fruit & veg every day, i feel great and ehalthy on this

- green tea- another of Ian duckett's articles i picked this up from, and have 2-3 cups a day, helps massively very high inantioxidants

-organic- something i will be doing in the future when funds allow, is eating all organic, or as close to as i can, its scary how different some food tastes when it hasnt got any/many pestisides or other crap in, i would start with meat and animal products and go from there whatever funds allow

-stress, a big one i used to neglect, everyone needs time out away from the stresses of life, much like training, you need a mental break from it all or you will not enjoy it, and this is a LONG process, take a break when you feel you need, listen to your body and take recovery as serious as you do your training


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on April 21, 2014, 12:47:02 PM
Stress is one that many / most overlook and it is so important as you said for those reasons and others. We need to enjoy training and "the life" as we devote so much to it and not just an hour at the gym a few times per week. Constantly being nutritionally aware, ensuring sleep patterns are good, well hydrated, prepping food, discussing it on forums  8) etc can be taxing so enjoyment is vital


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 21, 2014, 02:14:23 PM
definitly mate, balance is key, for every gut wrenching workout there should be a relaxed fun chilled period too, another i forgot too add are the foam rolling/stretching sessions, for every workout, i do one of those too  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 22, 2014, 03:06:09 PM
today was another solid workout looks nothing here, but felt extremely intense, gave it my all, not too happy with the numbers and lack of strength and endurance at this stage, but pushing to my limits every set and very much in the zone before hand!



a slight progression on most but maybe a step back on a couple too, not sure why i just gave it my all

5 min rowing warmup-

3X5 bench 70kg 5, 90kg 5, 120kg 5,5,4+1
3X8 inc db press 40kg 7+1,6,5+1
3X12 dips +20 12,12,8 - so fatigued at this point just tried to rep everything out

3X5 deadlift 100kg 5, 130kg 5, 160kg 5,5,5- stick with it until better reps on the last couple of last set
3X8 bb row 92.5kg 8,90kg 8,7- focusing on pulling to the waist and squeezing back, felt weak but hit the back well
3X12 pullups BW 12,8,6 again fatigues to the max nothing left

progress each session is a must for me to hit my goals this year

trained alone so 5 mins or so quicker than last week an hour including warmup


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 22, 2014, 08:44:18 PM
NICE MATE, solid workouts keeping that hard earned muscle


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 23, 2014, 10:33:14 AM
thanks buddy, im pushing with everything i have, if i carry on training like this i cant not make progress, in strength and size, will see after 6 weeks of this routine if i want to make any changes  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 24, 2014, 05:36:18 PM
Today was ace, gaining good momentum and I dunno weather its the bcaa or the fact I'm back onto a split routine but my recovery is great from last weeks legs session felt, fuller stronger and more energized

5min row warmup

3X5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,5,4+1 - not only was I feeling strong but these were as deep as ever way below parallel taping the safety bars keeping lower back solid, just the last set was abit uneasy on the lower back- mainly the last rep, but keep progressing like I am and ill be growing right up until show day!- all 5's solid and strong next week

3X8 leg press 280kg 3 (warmup) 330kg 8,8 340kg 8, again deep reps and felt like I was gonna explode legs were jellified after these! Start with 340 next week

3X12 lying leg curl #10 12,11,10 great feel and good progress

3X8 toe presses - stack+5 8,8,8 just! +10 next week deep ache in calves after these, almost a double squeeze at the top

3X12 seated calf 75k 12,12,12 - 80k next week and focus on pushing strong and stretching deep

3X12 weighted situp - 50k 12,12,12 - better but last set did a rp so stick

3x13 hanging leg raises 13,13,13 - abs are still pumped an hour later! Aim for 14's next week

All in just over an hour, feel leaner already and enjoying this as much as I have EVER!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on April 24, 2014, 05:51:19 PM
All looks to be going great Ben, some good squats there mate.
Keep it up.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 24, 2014, 07:31:40 PM
Thanks mate,  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 25, 2014, 07:40:16 AM
today feeling nicely toasted in the legs, will foam roll and stretch, this evening i have to be back at work for staff traning which includes an hour of pool work, tomorrow shoulders/arms in the afternoon after work  8)

i have noticed a small change in body composition this week, im sure i will have lost 1lb or so come sunday morning, although i feel strong and fuller, i do feel leaner too! got loads of carbs to play with still  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 26, 2014, 05:56:57 PM
Shoulders and arms today

Just packed in the gym and was no way going to get in my scheduled exercises, so had to improvise, my shoulders and arms were pumped and knackered but not happy with the exercises I had to stick to, felt very nitty gritty and although did some heavy pressing everything else was curl this raise that extend etc etc not my cup of tea but gave it a good battering

5 min rowing warmup

5x5 seated military press 60kg 5, 70kg 5, 90kg 5,4,3+1 pb here, felt good and strong, good reps too almost touching collar bones

Now everything else was 1 min max between sets if that
5 sets lateral raise machine 8-12 reps drop each set and finish with a triple drop
5 sets preacher curl machine 8-12 reps last set was triple drop
5 sets push downs 8-12 reps last set was triple drop
5 sets reverse pek dek 8-12 reps last was triple drop

Done in 50 mins lots of fatigue and failure hit throughout hopefully will be able to do my planned workout next week as I'll be training earlier

Still enjoying my diet. Abit hungry before I eat but enjoying it


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 27, 2014, 08:10:31 AM
weigh in today 175.4lb- so up 0.4lb? even though nothing has changed apart from TAKEN 1/4 cup of oats, but i look and feel leaner and also without beign to graphic  ;D pretty bloated before weigh in thismorning, will weigh in tomorrrow morning and if i its around the same ill take another 1/4 cup oats in the morning, if its down, keep things going, still have 22 weeks and 21.4lb to loose, feeling and looking ok at this stage though  :)

today after work will be going over to my aunty's for my grandads 88th birthday party, a bbq under the gazeebo, although im taking some bbq food for them, ill be eating my tuna/sweet pot/veg just before i go, and just drink water, i need to bee 100% strict for entire 6 months no cheats no refeeds nothing, if i wanna be as lean as i see in my minds eye.

monday- will be mine and becky's year together so taking the day off work, cooking her a nice meal and depending on what she wants to do, may go out for the day, or just chill no plans, foam roll and stretch first thing after breakfast, then back to bed for a lie in!  :D again sticking to the diet throughout, i may put my dinner on a plate instead of tupperwear... i hope she realises how lucky she is  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 28, 2014, 03:57:11 PM
Last night I read THAT GUY a short book written by Ian duckett, a very motivating and moving book, written from his past and recent experiences, even though he is currently faced with extremely hard times Ian remains positive and is always looking to help others in there own problems in life, what a guy, this is one of those books you will look back on during hard times yourself


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on April 29, 2014, 07:41:41 PM
Today's chest/back workout was good, bench was down abit everything else was as good or better, feeling fitter as the weeks tick by, and lower back is feeling solid and strong

5 min rowing warmup

3x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 120k 5,4,3
3x8 incline db x2 40k 8,6,5+1
3x12 dips +20 12,12,9

3x5 deadlift 100k 5, 130k 5, 160k 5,5,5
3x8 bb row 90k 8,8,7 felt these whole back was achy and pumped
3x12 pull-ups BW 12,9,7 written off

Done in an hour small progression

Deadlifts felt better but last set was still uneasy on lower back so will stick with 160k for abit longer


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 01, 2014, 05:35:10 PM
Today was legs and abs, and after heavy squats went with the flow and had a very solid session

5-10min rowing warmup

3X5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,5,3+1 hit bars on 4th rep and wobbled, if I'm gonna tap the pins its great I'm going way below parallel but don't loose balance you idiot!! Wanted some squatting hell so instead of leg press...

3X8 squats 120kg 8,8,8 last 2 sets were positive failure, was crippled!

3X12 lying leg curl #10 12,12,11 supersetted 3X10 leg ext 80k 10,10,10

4X15 donkey calf raises stack 15,15,12+3,10+5 supersetted hanging leg raises 15,15,12,12

Done in an hour inc warmup gonna feel it tomorrow!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 03, 2014, 04:42:44 PM
Been feeling ill the last couple of days nothing too serious but just wanted to get in today for shoulders and arms lift heavy and hard without doing any fluffy exercises and get the job done

10 min warmup of xtrainer

8 sets of military press 40k ,10 50k 5, 60k 5, 80k 5,5,5 70k 5,4 60k 7,7,6
5 sets high pulls controlled but from knees to chin elbows high 60k 8,8,8,8,8
5 sets ez curl 50k 8,8,7,6,6
5 sets ez extension 50k 7,6,5,5,5


A solid workout happy with it will stick with 5 working sets of military next week

Next week will stick with this bodypart split and will be as follows keeping a good pace to the workout 2 min max between sets
More sets on the basics not including warmup sets and less fluff


Tue chest/back
5x8 bench 90k
5x8 weighted dips 40k

5x8 barbell row 90k.             Usually smoked after deads so will do these fresh
5x8 weighted pull-ups 10kg

Thur legs/abs

5x8 squats 130k
5x8 deadlifts 140k
5x15 donkey calf raise - stack

5x15 hanging leg raises- bodyweight

Sat shoulders/arms

5x8 military press 65k - strict
5x8 high pulls 62.5kg - controlling negative

5x8 ez extension 50k
5x8 ez curl.         50k




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 03, 2014, 05:01:50 PM
nice workout mate. Like the positive failure on squats. Did you have to ditch the bar and get soemone to help lift it on the pins for the next set?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 03, 2014, 05:07:56 PM
Thanks bud yeah sometimes I just about finish the rep, sometimes rich my training partner spots me sometimes I strip the bar down and lift it myself or if rich is there we lift it back to the top but Thursday a couple of times had to ditch the bar


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 03, 2014, 05:45:04 PM
awsome mate. Thats squatting, bet you were sore as hell


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on May 03, 2014, 07:46:43 PM

 Training on full `power` there Ben ... reads well.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 03, 2014, 08:01:15 PM
My quads were sore before I left the gym haha

That's Turpin, I tried the high pull after seeing your video of the KB version, great exercise I'll be doing instead of lateral and rear raises


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 04, 2014, 09:48:33 AM
Weigh in today 173.2lb so lost 2lb in the last 2 weeks

21 weeks to go and 19.2lb to loose I'm aiming to be ready 1-2 weeks early and up food slightly into the show not sure how I will react but hopefully stay lean and fill out

Adding multivitamin/mineral as of next week


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 04, 2014, 04:27:47 PM
all seems on plan mate, only take a few week of 2lb lost and you will be a head of the game


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 04, 2014, 06:26:10 PM
Thanks mate, I'm happy with how things are going, my diet has never been cleaner, as strict, as health and as enjoyable but my training isn't quite where I need it to be although I'm battering the big exercises week in week out, I feel I need more from it, was a lot more structured last time I dieted  I have learnt a lot since then, like when I was doing the HIT training was the hardest training ever, but couldn't recover, and now I'm recovering I want to push it more  ;D I dunno, suppose I can't go far wrong as long as I hit the basics every session as hard as I can


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 06, 2014, 03:19:05 PM
ok- today went with what i believe in, heavy basics and quality work in there too, full body- i know im chopping and changing but its part of the process for me, very happy with todays session hard, heavy and a good pace throughout- the regular stretching im doing has helped my ROM with squats and no squats are parallel or above, just squatting below, feels great  :)

5 min rowing warmup

3x5 squats 80kg 5, 110kg 5, 140kg 5,4,4 - pinned on the 5th rep of 2nd work set- remember to look up, chest up, power up!
3X8 bb rows 60kg 8, 90kg 8,8,8 a much better feel with these recently, nice and solid, 92.5 next week
3X12 dips BW 12, +20 12,12,10- only recently started with the higher rep stuff too, but improving in this rep range  :)

3X10 thick bar curls 40kg 10,10,9 - last few reps of last set were loose, but building upto 3X10 solid will do the trick with these!
3X15 donkey calf raises - stack- 15,15,15- stick, last set needs to be as solid as first 2,

very happy with this!- with another 61 sessions until im on stage, if there all as good as today intensity and execution wise, i will stand on stage with big improvements and be happy with the complete package i have achieved

done in 55mins including warmup- spot on!

i wrote a routine a few weeks back that was whole body with different exercises and loads across my 3 weekly sessions, i will be doing the same idea this week, i cant justify doing shoulders/arms day for too long,  all good so far  :) - feels alot better doign something that makes sense to me

foam roll and stetch tomorrow as usual, now im seeing benefits i dont mind doing this atall, not a chore anymore

here is the rest of the week laid out, liking the heavy basics+quality work too, heavy-light-medium loads and exercise variation, i may change round some of the isolation and keep the basics how they are, but only when i feel i need to

thur-

3X5 deadlift
3X8 military
3X12 leg ext

3X10 inc flye
3X15 hanging leg raises

Sat-

3X5 bench
3X8 leg press
3X12 pullups

3X10 high pull
3X15 lying leg curl

diet wise, its been exactly how it should day in day out, nothing changed, just added a multivitamin as of today, with breakfast and before bed meals, dont feel any bad hunger, but dont ever feel full either, perfect for now, and looking leaner than a few weeks ago im sure, 20 week out pics this weekend


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 08, 2014, 04:54:08 PM
yesterday did an hour pool training for work, only have to do this once per month so not too bad, was pretty tired after though!, foam roll and stretched well as usual

today- had a great workout, was back power- push strength and leg hypertrophy + accesory so went like this

5min rowing warmup

3X5 deadlift 100kg 5, 130kg 5, 160kg 5,5,5- felt great, but gonna stick with it still as still not happy with the last couple of reps of the last set, could lift a fair bit more but that lower back seems to be lagging a little
3X8 military press 50kg 8, 70kg 8,8,8- felt it all over , set 2-3 were too push pressy, so will stick with that weight
3X12 leg extensions 40 12, 75 12,12,9 - build on these over the next few weeks not used to leg hypertrophy work but will compliment squats and leg presses/curls well! - lower quads were on fire!

3X10 incline flye X2 25kg 10,10,10- nearly failure here, 27.5's next week
3X15 hanging leg raises BW 15,15,15- last few reps were knees up not leg raises, so stick with bodyweight

found this very tough- done in 55mins including warmup

saturday will be power push- strength leg and hypertrophy pull + assesory, although these kill me, looking forward to it already!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 10, 2014, 02:51:27 PM
really likeing some of these journals, keeping me motivated  8)

today ended a great week of training, excited to build on this base next week, all round hard work and exactly what i need to reach my goals, felt really wiped out during and for a few hours after each session this week, although i was enjoying the split, the saturdays "shoulders/arms" day didnt feel like it was cutting it for me, now this is hitting it hard every session- a slight change on thursday though will swap leg extensions for leg press, as will be a better "hypertrophy leg" exercise and make that workout even harder- makes sense to me  :D

today went as follows

5 min row warmup

3X5 bench 70 5, 90 5, 110 5,5,4- better execution but lighter weight, rib cage was high, hips down- good stuff!
3X8 front squat 60k 8, 100k 8,6,6- love this movement and excited to keep it as a staple, loads to build on here, remember rib cage high!
3X12 pullups BW 5, BW 12,10,8 - focused on leaning back squeezing and stretching my lats, felt much better this way

3X10 high pulls 60kg 10, 50kg 10,10 - use 55kg next week - delts were so pumped, thanks to turpin for introducing this move to me! i lowered the weight as last couple of reps with 60 wasnt controlling the negative vert well, felt much better with 50, these will cap my crappy shoulders for sure!
3X15 lying leg curl #10 15,13,9- great end to the session!

all done in 50-55mins including warmup was drenched after!

weigh in tomorrow and 20 weeks out pics  :)

where do you guys buy your trunks from? anywhere i should avoid? cant remember where i got mine from before?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 11, 2014, 12:26:49 PM
Weigh in today 172.8lb so a loss on half a lb or so 20 weeks out and 19lb or so to go, (approx)
From today have taken 1/4 cup of oats from my breakfast, so diet is as followes

- 1+ gallon water daily
- 2-3 green teas daily and strong black coffee pre workout
- 1 scoop protein/1 cup raisins/5g creatine
- 30g BCAA daily

6- 1 cup oats/3eggs/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
10- 1 scoop protein/1 banana/1 apple/1/4 cup nuts
2- steak or tuna or chicken/1 sweet potato/1lb vegetables
6- 1 scoop protein/1 pear/1 orange/ 1/4 cup nuts
10- 1 cup cottage cheese/1 large mixed salad/1tbsp udos oil/multivit

Day in day out -  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on May 11, 2014, 12:48:08 PM
Looking good Ben, legs are looking a lot sharper mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 11, 2014, 01:14:36 PM
Thanks rich, my main goal is to not change my training and build on it strength wise as I'm happy with it at the moment, whilst getting leaner I should look better then, I can see a small change in my hamstrings in he last 4 weeks which I'm happy about


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 11, 2014, 01:43:16 PM
good stuff mate the changes are really happening


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 11, 2014, 02:20:58 PM
thanks mate, slowly but surely  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on May 11, 2014, 05:47:20 PM
Looking great Ben , keep up the good work.

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 11, 2014, 06:21:15 PM
thanks mate  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 11, 2014, 06:41:01 PM
im gonna put some pressure on myself with weekly goals, my nutrition is spot on, and 100% consistant, great, but although im training hard, i have changed my training up too much as of late, as recently posted i am very happy with my current plan, every session if hit with enough intensity is brutal, and makes sense to me to hit the muscles more frequently with different loads and exercises, im happy to continue without change, every 6 weeks i will make small changes to the "accessory exercises" so these are my goals for the next week

1) dont make any changes to the training plan, just build on it every session, higher and higher, only small changes every 6 weeks, changing the routine too often has been a big downfall, no more

2) this week i want 5,5,5 on the squat with 140, i know i have this in me, be in the groove after warming up and im there and dont use being lighter as an exuse to be weaker! use it or lose it!

3) with the deadlift i want 5,5,5 with 160 like last week but every rep being solid to earn the progression in weight for the following week

4) bench press 110kg 5,5,5 in perfect solid form, no high hips, rib cage high, hit that bloody chest!

5) 1lb loss next week

6) have the best week of training in my prep so far

obviously i look on improving all round, every set every exercise but these are the big 3!
less than 20 weeks!



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on May 11, 2014, 08:34:16 PM
Looking great in the photos Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 11, 2014, 08:39:41 PM
Cheers Felix, and yourself, some added back thickness there


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on May 11, 2014, 08:59:25 PM
Great place to be at 20 weeks out, Ben.

I'm looking forward to seeing your physique as the fat drops off.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 12, 2014, 08:02:22 AM
Thanks Chris, being fairly lean to start with hopefully I can still maintain or build strength. That is my goal anyway


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 13, 2014, 02:51:24 PM
training was great today, smashed the first goal of the week, and was much stronger than last week, enjoying training as much as ever - heres how it went

5min crosstrain warmup (rower was taken)

3X5 squats 80kg 5, 110k 5, 140kg 5,5,5-all deep reps, last set was as strong as the first, 142.5 next week, stay in the groove with these!
3X8 bb row 62.5 8, 92.5 8,8,8- all great reps to lower abs, squeezing back, and no leg drive, 95 next week
3X12 dips BW 12 +20 12,12,11- couldnt lock out the last rep, next week ill own it!- progress though!

3X10 thick bar curls 40kg 10,10,10- 42.5 next week, this will be in for another 5 weeks- lots of progress to come here
3X15 donkey calf raises - stack 15,15,15- stick with this again, last set was not as solid as the first, gave it my all though and calves had a deep ache for a while after

all done again in 55min including warming up, my best session in a long while and will build on this each session, getting it done  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 15, 2014, 05:24:39 PM
Well what a workout that was! I couldn't do normal deads cos gozdecki was squatting,  inspirational, he was doing 4 plates 10X10 AFTER a load of volume including 5 plate squats! I ended up spotting him between sets of trap bar deadlifts I wrote off my legs with those so did abit more volume of those instead of regular deads+leg press and feeling it already!

Here's how mine went- and just went with it

5 min rowing warmup

Trap bar dead 100- 10 140 - 8 - 180 8- 200! 1- 140 15 - 12 legs and back were done
Military/push press on some- 60- 12, 10, 70 9,8, 60, 13
Chest iso - 50k 10,9,7
Decline situps 20,20,20

Job done, regular deads when I can, very rare I have to use trap bar but was worth it!

Bodypower tomorrow,
Looking forward to saturdays training!

Got to say wise words from the champ today - do what you enjoy, don't nail yourself down with a plan, just do you


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on May 15, 2014, 08:12:42 PM
Ah, I would have just told him to shove off ;)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on May 15, 2014, 08:13:45 PM
Are you training at body power ben?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 15, 2014, 08:22:42 PM
Haha was crazy just watching him,  :o  not training there, just going to mill around how about yourself Nic?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on May 15, 2014, 10:06:19 PM
Yes, both (milling around and training). Might see you!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 16, 2014, 06:55:30 AM
Awesome Nic, will come and say hi if I see you about


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 17, 2014, 11:37:17 AM
had a greta day at the bodypower yesterday, went pretty early and stayed a few hours, loads to see, watched the prejudging of the IFBB show, great standard, never seen IFBB guys and girls before, very impressed by the wheelchair class!

didnt do any challenges this year, was going to do the pullup/dip challenge and got 25/45 last year, but ill leave it until next year to try again, wanted to be fresh for training later today  ;D

all in all a good day  :)

last workout of the week later today gonna smash it! and weigh in tomorrow morning



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 17, 2014, 07:39:31 PM
Ended the week with a cracker today didn't quite get the progression I got on Tuesday but a step forward nonetheless

5 min row

3x5 bench 70 5, 90 5, 110 5,5,4 so nearly there better control throughout need that last 5 though so close
3x8 front squat 60 8, 100 8,8,6 better, keep chest and elbows high
3x12 pull-ups bw5, bw 12,10,8 great feel on first set but others were killers not happy till 12,12,12

3x10 high pull 55, 10,9,8 great feel and bloody hard for a shoulder exercise, embrace that negative, shoulders fried!
3x15 lying leg curl #10 15,13,9 nearly a rep extra on 2nd and 3rd next week I will get them

Push higher next week, looking forward to regular dead lifts gonna go for 162.5 for 3x5 well within my grasp, 19 weeks to go weigh in tomorrow, feeling good and strong!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 18, 2014, 07:04:56 AM
weigh in today 172.2lb so lost 0.6lb, but have a feeling iv lost a little more, so will stick with my food how it is, and assess again next week, 19 weeks and aiming to loose 18lb or so  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 20, 2014, 11:08:26 AM
had a greta day yesterday at alton towers, lots of walking around in the sun, feel ready to attack this week of training, looking farward to some heavy squats, rows and dips later with some bicep/calf work too, looking for good progress all round


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 20, 2014, 05:19:31 PM
Great session to kick off the week, consistancy with a plan is a lot more valuable that I ever thought, repetition seems to be the mother of skill and really growing in technique and confidence from week to week

5min row warmup - was ready!

3X5 squats 82.5 5, 112.5 5, 142.5 5,5,5 - walby (training partner) said they were only just below parallel on set 2 so set 3 went deeper and really fell into my groove, really pushed my hips forward on the concentric and felt great, keep that in mind next week! 145 next week too

3X8 rows 62.5 8, 95 8,8,8 - walby said my chest rose abit on the last set, but felt great so 97.5 ,ext week and focus on keeping almost parallel and continue to feel every rep

3X12 dips BW 12, +20 12,12,13 a lot stronger than last week +22.5 next week

3X10 thick bar curls 42.5 10,10,10 last set was almost rest-pause was tough, 45 next week

3X15 donkey calf - stack 15,15,15 great feel, barely getting down the stairs after, +10 to stack next week

55mins including warmup, seems to be consistant!

Good stretch and foam roll tomorrow, groin on right side seems to be tight, enjoying this and looking slightly tighter! Happy days!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 22, 2014, 06:45:36 PM
Today's session was good, but not quite where I wanted it to be,

5min row warmup

3x5 deads 102.5 5, 132.5 5, 162.5 5,5,4 first set grip was an issue, not sure why second and third found some chalk, it helped but last set was smoked, want them all next week, will get some chalk to
3x8 military 50 8, 70 8,8,8 still not quite there  a little push pressy to move up in weight so stick with it
3x12 leg press normal leg press taken, so used the hack squat leg press and will continue too as never see anyone on it, did 3 sets and had to find he weight as I went along will use 235 next week for 3x12 did just less than that today this machine is in lb felt deep in my quads though,will build on this sure to add some size as it's bloody painful
3x10 incline flye 27.5 10,10,9
3x15 hanging leg raise 15,15,15 add 3kg to feet next week

Overall with the leg press and the crap first set of deadlifts was a moderate session, sure to progress in a big way next week I guess they can't all be amazing


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 22, 2014, 07:19:43 PM
not every session can be a belter mate.

Just keep trucking on through


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 22, 2014, 07:22:45 PM
Thanks mate, will do  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 24, 2014, 04:57:14 PM
Today's session went well progression on most

5min row warmup

3x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5 felt strong and no problem 112.5k next week
3x8 front squat 60k 8, 100k 8,7,7
3x12 pull-up -40k 12, BW 12,10,8+1 not happy but will keep giving my all

3x10 high pull 55k 10,10,9 great and swear these are building my delts
3x15 lying leg curl #10 15,13,10 building each week

4 more weeks and I'll change my accessory exercises that will be enough to keep things fresh in the offseason I'll have a deload week then change but not during prep, keeping the basic template the same it's working well


Done in an hour inc warmup
Keep doing what I'm doing for progress every workout

Weigh in tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 25, 2014, 09:33:35 AM
18 weeks to go and 171.4lb so just under 1lb lost in a week,

Will halve the sweet potato from today that should keep things ticking along for another 1-2 weeks

18 weeks and around 17.5lb to loose, that's a guess and sometimes thinking can't be more than a stone, but looking for shredded not ripped

Got loads to play with, diet is looking like this

1+ gallon water daily
Post workout- 1 scoop protein/1cup raisins/5g creatine (either 1 or 5pm)
Strong coffee pre workout
2-3 green teas daily
30g bcaa daily

6 -1 cup oats/3eggs/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
10 -1 scoop protein/banana/apple/1/4 cup nuts
2 -1 steak or chicken breast or tin tuna/1/2 sweet potato/1lb vegetables
6- 1 scoop protein/orange/pear/1/4 cup nuts
10- 1 cup cottage cheese/large salad/1tbsp udos oil/multivit

Next to go will be some fruit later in the day, I could reduce my Pwo raisins too as I have over 100g carbs then, so next cut  in a week or 2 will be orange+1/4 cup raisins Pwo, simples


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 27, 2014, 03:39:07 PM
kicked off the week with a good one today, things are moving forward, feeling good!

5 min rowing warmup

3X5 squat 85 5, 115 5, 145 5,5,4- nearly got that last rep, next week! all below parallel
3X8 bb row 67.5 8, 97.5 8,8,8- first 2 sets felt great! last one was abit loose on the last 2-3 reps so stick
3X12 dips  BW 12, +25 12,12,12- last few reps on last set were not quite strict but will go for 27.5 next week

3X10 thick bar curl 45k 10,10,9- completely failed last set, 3 more weeks until i change these up i want 50k for 3X10
3X15 donkey calf raises stack+10kg 15,15,10+5- calves trashed after these, again 3 weeks left on these want +25k 3X15

dont in an hour including warmup

definitly training in a few different rep ranges is doing good, i was so used to training in the 4-6 rep range, but the 12's are coming along well!

keep doing what im doing with my end goal in my minds eye and ill get there!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on May 27, 2014, 03:53:30 PM
Going nicely mate.

On the diet, I notice that after the 2pm meal it is pretty light in weight, real food and texture

Is there a reason for that and how do you find it as I would be crying out for something more substantial than a shake, fruit, salad and cottage cheese


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 27, 2014, 04:53:24 PM
yeah its pretty light, but the fruit and nuts at 6 arnt too bad, i make sure the salad before bed is huge, keeps me feeling iv eaten a good meal, im talking 1/2 lettuce, 1/2 cucumber 2 tomatoes, with a cup of cottage cheese and oil, isnt too bad, low calories though

but the bulk of my "foods" are around breakfast and training

still getting in around 2500cals daily a little more on training days, little less on off days  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 29, 2014, 04:02:21 PM
a good session today, overestimated the deadlifts as was feeling strong, ended up doing more

5-10min warmup on x trainer

3X5 deadlift 100k 5, 130k 5, 170k 3,3,1 drop 160k 1, 140k 7, sumo 140k 5,5 150k 4, - never done sumo before will be swapping it for conventional either next week or in 3 weeks- felt back arch much better at the bottom, what are your opinions on this lift? compared to conventional?

3X8 military 50k 8, 70k 8,8 72.5k 8- much better than last week start with 72.5 next week

3X12 leg press 140 12, 235 12,12,12- these were horrible, quite a few pauses, but got them done, 255 next week

3X10 incline flye 27.5's 10,10,10 30's next week

3X15 hanging leg raises +3k 15,12,12 abs were in a world of pain, job done

moving up slowly but surely, need to get into a groove with deadlifts undecided weather to push on with conventional which seem to have stagnated, and dont feel right at the bottom position, or build on the sumo's i do this for a heavy BACK move this day



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on May 30, 2014, 05:37:38 PM
I've converted to sumos and find them a lot better. However, I do these for my hamstrings. I seldom feel doms on my back from doing them.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 30, 2014, 07:25:39 PM
Thanks Chris, maybe a mix up will get them moving again


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 31, 2014, 02:18:52 PM
17 weeks to go and looking in good offseason shape, lean, healthy and probably just over a stone of fat to come off,

nutrition has been great, and enjoying it, and really enjoying my current training too, saying that todays session stopped me dead in my tracks, just wasnt recovered from thursdays blast, lower back, traps, quads, hams, chest all in bits, and not ready to be hit again, i like being different, but maybe i should follow suite, learn from my mistakes instead of trying to ignore them, and just stick with a basic old 3 day split, work that into the ground, i know i can recover from them, but have felt in the past im wasting my time unless i hit some sort of squat/deadlift every session, front squats today were a no-no, lower back needed that recovery,

i ended up having a (fairly) good shoulders/arms workout with some calves added in, basically what i felt i could without impacting recovery more, not ideal to be switching things up while im focused and in prep for the contest, but maybe its needed? not how i planned things atall but here it is

5min warmup

3X5 seated bb press 55k 5, 65k 5, 85k 4, 80k 5,4 - although wernt aching like the rest of me, were fatigued from the start!
3X8 high pull 60kg 8,8,8- just
3X12 rope face pull 40kg 12,12,12

6X6 curl 40kg- this was weak
6X6 pushdown 50kg - so was this!
5X15 toe presses 240kg -

better than nothing.... just!, not great at freestyling workouts  :-\


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 31, 2014, 05:26:18 PM
I fin the 3 way split is perfect for me. Not to much so i'm not recovered but not enough so I feel lazy.

I was doing a 4 day a week last year near the ukdfba and to be honest I was not enjoying it. Felt it was counter productive.

I like to get the fat off with diet and cardio while keeping my weight sessions as geared to gaining or maintaining muscle as possible


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 31, 2014, 06:38:23 PM
exactly my thoughts mate, my experience and thinking recovery im always geared twards hitting the powerlifts hard and heavy each week, with the other stuff in there, that wont change, but thinking...

tue- legs including heavy squats

thur- push uncluding heavy bench

sat- pull including heavy deads

just train hard heavy and progressive as i would offseason and let the diet continue to lean me out, as long as i can recover and progress im a happy chappy


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on May 31, 2014, 07:00:31 PM
  Really enjoying your training journal mate .
  Training as intensely as you do you've got to listen to your own bio-feedback Ben lest you keep digging a hole into your recovery.  Some folk ( when using HIT techniques )  tend to think any increase however slight from their previous workout is `progress` which is never necessarily so  , strength increases ( `real` strength & muscular increase / adaptation ) is a slow process that takes many repeat / performances until that performance has been `adapted` to and there is a realisation of easier effort .  Most increases on a workout to workout basis is simply due to increased effort borne from enthusiasm for progress itself and not adaptation. This can / does realise the trainee digging a deeper hole in their recovery workout to workout until their previous efforts cannot be repeated and regression ensues.  
  I would have thought when on a caloric deficit a maintenance level of effort would have been more productive as the stressor is now two-fold on the trainee , Diet and training.

  Keep up the good work.

  T.

      


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on May 31, 2014, 07:54:58 PM
Thanks turpin makes total sense, and your right about the workout to workout progression. So if strength/muscle adaptation takes so long (which it does for us especially natural guys) it probably makes sense to look at things in the big picture and progress slower with a plan geared towards recovery like a split (which I know I recover well from) instead of trying to force gains session by session, if I continuw to gain strength slowly on a split great! But it seems whenever I gain any progress on the full body workouts, after 3-4 weeks I'm not recovering like I used to-

I have continued to make very slow progress but no degresses in strength with a split, I was kinda trying to make that process faster with full body, the moral of the story is, you can't beat mother nature, and have to work with her!

After every 6 week block with the new split ill change up anything that isn't progressing to keep moving forward (although I know it takes many more than 6 weeks to make real strength gains) but after many 6 week blocks I'm sure progress will be seen

Although my aim is to keep building muscle whilst in a deficit I do understand maintanance is probably more realistic, but if I can do more reps/weight I should recover fine if training everything once weekly- wouldn't eat my recovery like doing the full body's, think there great for beginners, or anyone who can recover from them, just guess if I train as hard as I can, I can't!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on May 31, 2014, 08:56:27 PM
As a recovery point I find I can't deadlift and squat in the same week.My lower back does not recover


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 01, 2014, 09:07:55 AM
170.4lb this morning so 1lb drop in the last week the aim is to be 12st in the offseason, so 2-3lb lighter than I am now and would be in good shape, I'll do the 4 week pics next week at 16 weeks out

Thanks scott I seem to be ok doing them once per week, be best to split them up too, so this is the plan, focusing on strength size and condition, focusing on the power-lifts still, in the offseason I'll take a deload every 6 weeks and make some changes for variety but keep the big 3 in there

No reason I shouldn't make consistent progress on this plan


5 min rowing warmup
2 min max between sets, rest just enough no more
Only warmup for the big 3 then go time
Only make changes every 6 weeks after a deload
No deload during prep

Tue- squat day
3x5 squats
3x8 leg press
3x12 lying leg curl

3x10 standing calf raises
3x15 seated calf raises

3x20 hanging leg raises


Thur- bench day
3x5 bench press
3x8 incline db press
3x12 flyes

3x8 military press
3x12 high pull

3x8 lying tricep ext
3x12 rope overhead ext

Sat-deadlift day
3x5 deadlift
3x8 bb row
3x12 pullups

3x8 bb curl
3x12 seated db curl

3x20 cable crunches



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 01, 2014, 04:26:16 PM
having spoken with turpin, he has given me a few ideas, and looking at the above routine i dont want to make the routien harder to stick to that it has to so will probably only do 3 or so exercises per day so i wont need much equipment and look at cycling my loads for the big lifts and also cycling assistance exercises, abit more basic this way,


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 03, 2014, 04:02:25 PM
great session with the new split, goal for each session it to hit the powerlifts hard with 5X5 then assist with the bodybuilding type exercises, best of both worlds and found it bloody hard! but looks nothing here!

squat day!
1000m row warmup

5X5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,5,4,3,3 - all below parallel , doing 5 work sets for the powerlifts from now on instead of 3, getting the quality work in, and build on it week in week out, no reason i cant recover from this  :D upto 3 min between sets for the big 3

4X10 leg press 280k 10,10,1010 - 1 min or so between sets, was drenched from this point on! 285k next week
4X10 lying leg curls #11 10,9,6 #10 8 - use #10 next week, overestimated how fatigued i would be here
4X15 donkey calf raise - stack- 15,15,13,12- could not walk after!
4X15 hanging leg raises BW 15,15,15,15- stick with these and perfect the form

55mins including warmup

not used to the fast paced volume stuff but felt great after the heavy squats!
these sessions are sure to speed that metabolism too!

happy with this!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 05, 2014, 09:44:53 AM
legs have been in bits the last couple of days, they get pretty much a full weeks rest though, hamstrings will be hit with some heavy deadlifts on saturday though  :) mainly just quads and glutes with a little hamstring soreness, so works well!

cant wait to do the benching and other "push" exercises later, gonna be heavy fast and intense!

going to put up 16 week out pics this weekend, and depending on my weight, decide what to do diet-wise

i could still take some carbs from my  morning,post workout, and also reduce my fruit down in the day, not sure if should just keep it the same for a few weeks as im fairly lean and getting leaner, i do want to be ready a few weeks early thoug and eat up, will go by how i look and weigh though :)

so far this prep has been alot mentally and physically easier than before, im doing no cardio, not as much weight training, and eating a much more varied diet, yet im getting great results, and im stronger and eating more than this stage last time  :) i do regret having loads of time (years) off training atall, but im guessing you live and learn, cant wait to be eating a solid base diet, living balanced training hard for years to come after this contest too, enjoying every aspect and seem to be alot more focussed at work, and happier in general


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 05, 2014, 05:08:49 PM
Todays session was as expected, fairly strong on the bench and not used to the fast reppy work for the push muscles but body will adapt week on week, went well, weights well down but just focusing on strength and power with the powerlifts past that its hitting the muscles hard, and feeling it deep in the targeted area! Job done!


55mins including warmup so a good pace throughout

1000m row warmup
5X5 bench 70 5, 90 5, 110 5,5,4,4,4 2-3min rest
1 min rest from here
4X10 incline db 30k -10,9,8,7
4X10 military 50k 10,10,10,10- stick and sticken!
4X10 high pull 50k 10,10,10,10- stick - last set stricker
4X10 dips +20 10,10,8,6

Definitly shows iv been hiding behind heavy weight and long rest or full body stuff, so fatigued and so light the weights I'm using! But will build on them! Good reality check though! A shock to the system!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on June 06, 2014, 08:08:41 AM
Plenty of solid training under your belt. Sounds like your head is down the and the day in day out work is getting done! Good work  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 06, 2014, 08:33:47 AM
thanks keith, really happy with how things are going, and above all feel great, im pretty much at a weight now where i want to be offseason a stone or so over contest weight, the only thing that hasnt been perfect yet is the cosnistancy of a training plan, but have learnt alot, i have pretty much come full circle though, but killing every workout, and enjoying it

today will be a good stretch and foam roll, focusign on recovery,  my chest.shoulders/triceps and are stiff, achy, DOMS'ed up, looking forward to lots of deadlifts and back/biceps tomorrow

also may make a small change to my diet, get rid of tuna and swap for a salmon fillet, just because its slightly healthier, tastes abit better, and has more healthy fats, probably from next week  :)


later today i am going to my mums 50th birthday meal, not looking forward to sitting there while they all indulge but thats the plan  :) apart of me is saying, dont be selfish, and apart is saying stick to your guns, dont have to be eating to be social


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 06, 2014, 10:02:32 PM
16 weeks to go, feeling a little leaner than 4 weeks ago, so that's good, not happy with muscle fullness, saying that after training look very lean, and full, will look good on stage I'm sure, if I keep giving everything

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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
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Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on June 06, 2014, 10:11:08 PM
Looking really good Ben, can see big change.
Keep up good work mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on June 06, 2014, 10:17:35 PM
 Looking awesome mate , fantastic genetics.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: James on June 06, 2014, 10:52:58 PM
Legs Ben!! Looking awesome, let's see if I make it to the stage this time.
Hope your well
James C


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on June 06, 2014, 11:41:19 PM
Looking great Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 07, 2014, 07:13:48 AM
thanks rich, turpin,james and felix, happy with the changes, although small, i am 16 weeks out so dont want to be ready too early, aim to be about ready in about 13 weeks, leaving me to eat up slightly for the last 3 weeks

keeping any mass i have is imperitive as i get leaner, i dont have much, but can potentially look alot bigger than i am if i keep it and get peeled for the show, so focusing on getting lots of quality heavy work in, with enough "accessory" too

today is deadlift day and i want a perfect 5X5 with 160 for an increase next week
after i will do just 2 exercises, to fully stimulate my back and biceps
5X10 barbell rows, going to keep them super strict with 80k and no more than 2 mins between sets squeezing my back
then finish with 5X15 chins- this will finish my back and biceps

get me to that gym!



how are you james? prep going ok? thanks mate, will be good to see you make your debut  :)

last night wasnt too bad, sat in a nice pub garden with an ice water in the sun while my family tucked into the biggest stacked burgers iv ever seen  :o enjoyed catching up with everyone though,  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on June 07, 2014, 08:27:52 AM
very nice mate, pretty lean and means you can keep coming in slow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 07, 2014, 08:58:11 AM
thanks scott, yeah nice and slowly, not even hungry yet  :)

i even aim to BUILD over the coming weeks, im sure i can- i have no idea how much i have left to loose, my aim was 11st from the start, and im around 12st 1-2lb so around 15lb or so in 16 weeks, may be a little less, but will see as i get leaner how much i have to loose


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on June 07, 2014, 09:56:55 AM
You look awesome for 16 weeks out mate!!



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 07, 2014, 10:23:31 AM
thanks chris, seems to be working well, hope your preps going well, not long now mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: James on June 07, 2014, 11:31:29 AM
Yeah I'm 2weeks in now losing it nice and slow! No where near as lean you!! :)
Need to meet get together soon mate!
How much you weighing ATM?
James C


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 07, 2014, 11:45:21 AM
thats good definitly mate, need a catch up! weighing around 12.2 at the mo  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 07, 2014, 05:52:30 PM
Due to the gym being packed today's training didn't go to plan, but.... Was a great session, got the job done, and kinda turned into an all body blast starting with....


Trap bar deadlifts 105k 5, 135k 5, 185k 5, 187.5k 5,5- liking these!
Incline db press 35's 10,10,9
Close grip pullups 12,12,10

Lying leg curl 50k 15,13, 35k 15
Seated laterals 10k 15,15,15

Was even a struggle to get them done, but the trap bar deads I'm pleased with, tempted to keep on them as they seem to be building and as I do them for a back movement, hits my back well

Weigh in tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on June 07, 2014, 10:18:03 PM
Due to the gym being packed today's training didn't go to plan, but.... Was a great session, got the job done, and kinda turned into an all body blast starting with....


Trap bar deadlifts 105k 5, 135k 5, 185k 5, 187.5k 5,5- liking these!
Incline db press 35's 10,10,9
Close grip pullups 12,12,10

Lying leg curl 50k 15,13, 35k 15
Seated laterals 10k 15,15,15

Was even a struggle to get them done, but the trap bar deads I'm pleased with, tempted to keep on them as they seem to be building and as I do them for a back movement, hits my back well

Weigh in tomorrow

   I love the trap bar deadlifts. It seems a `complete` exercise to me , hitting quads and all rear chain musculature.  My traps and mid/low back are always nicely tender the day after  ;)

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 08, 2014, 06:59:07 AM
Yep I like them for the same reasons, feels a lot more solid with arms to the sides, and yep my back is pretty tender thismorning  ;D

Weight today was 168.8lb so lost 1.5lb apparently? A little quicker than I want, but will keep the diet the same if its under 168lb next week will add in a small amount of kcals again, added in salmon from today instead of tuna, so a slight increase there - strange how weight loss is speeding up without any extra changes? is itthe slightly faster weight trainingthis week? or perhaps just a fluctuation? who knows, will be nice to add food back though im only half a sweet potato and full fat instead of low fat cottage cheese away from my offseason diet  ;D

16 weeks and 14-15lbish till im around the 11st i am aiming for to be shredded

turpin highlighted the importance of progressing only when physically ready, from training max-ot before, if you get 6 reps you add weight, even if the 2nd set is only 4 or whatever, i will now only be adding weight when the last set is solid across all reps

goals for next weeks training-

3X5 squats with 145k
3X5 deadlift with 162.5k- or if i use trap bar 3X5 with 190k
3x5 bench with 112.5k- keeping rib cage up and hips on that bench


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on June 08, 2014, 08:10:50 PM
Glad to see everything is going well Ben I notice you have put quite abit more weight down for your the trap bar deadlift 3 X 5 with 190kg and with the deadlift 3 X 5 with 162.5kg I was just wondering is the trap bar easier to do I have never used one myself allow they have one in the gym.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 08, 2014, 08:37:05 PM
Hi Felix, I find it a lot more comfortable and I'm a lot stronger with it, should give it a try, just feels a lot more solid


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on June 08, 2014, 08:44:22 PM
Thats very interesting to hear Ben I will have to give it a try sometime.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 10, 2014, 05:11:25 PM
I think since your regular deads are going really well ride them out until you top out, then keep the progression going with a trap bar change? Just an idea  :)

Ok todays session was up there today, although felt a little low energy beforehard, went in feeling confident and ready today! The benefit of training just 3 days per week,

5min row warmup

3X5 squats 85k 5, 115k 5, 145k 5,5,5 all very deep reps and felt very strong, stretching between sets definitly helps here, and goal #1 of the week ticked off- 147.5 next week as the last set was perfect form and maybe even another rep in the tank
3X8 bb row 67.5 8, 97.5 8,8,8- very solid back felt fired up, all perfect 100k next week
3X12 dips BW 12, +27.5 12,12,8

3X10 thick bar curl 45k 10,10, 7+2+1
3X15 donkey calf stack+10k 15,15,10+5

Done in an hour including warmup- after taking squats a little slower there was a good pace throughout- job done!

-diet- the same day in day out, inly change is a salmon fillet instead of tuna, just for the better quality protein, taste, and healthy fats, be interesting how my weight progresess come sunday if iv lost near a lb again I'm gonna add back in the half sweet potato, metabolism seems to be on fire, as I get stronger I get hungrier too, all going well and to plan!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 11, 2014, 03:16:30 PM
feeling great today, barely aching atall from yesterday, recovery seems to be on point, the usual foam roll/stretch today and the same good food, im ready to hit them deadlifts tomorrow, going to start doing squats/deadlifts barefoot again, i have been using vibrams which feel great but not gonna shed out that kinda money for a new pair, so barefoot it is  :) goal #2 for the week is firmly in my head ready to be ticked off  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 12, 2014, 05:21:28 PM
Got to the gym ready to smash it today, and did just that

5min row warmup (asif I wasn't warm already today!)

3X5 deadlifts 102.5k 5, 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5,5 - 2nd goal of the week ticked off, but will stick with it and ingrain this weight in me until its almost routine and easy! Used chalk and barefoot felt great!
3X8 military 52.5 8, 72.5 8,8,8 all solid reps but will stick and slow the press down

3X12 leg press 160 12, 280 12,12,12. Absolute agony quads toast, 285 next week and constant tension,

3X10 incline db press 35k's 10,10,10 no problem 37.5 next week

3X15 hanging leg raise 3k 15,15,15 last set was abit pausy so stick until ingrained earn the move up

Done in an hour inc w/up - all coming together, feeling great, and at around 12st this is the condition and weight I want to maintain offseason a nice everyday look, and feel healthy and strong!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 13, 2014, 05:28:06 PM
feeling the deadlifts from yesterday, needed alot of foam rolling and stretching today, will be good for the front squats tomorrow though, cant believe iv been "dieting" 9 weeks already, its flying by, a nice weekend planned, training tomorrow first thing, sunday going to the beach with my dad for fathers day, (north wales) he has a licence to fly small 2-4 seater planes so my stepmom, dad, becky and i are gonna fly over to wales for the day, looking forward to it  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 02:08:49 PM
Ended the week with another solid one, great week overall

1000m row warmup

3x5 bench 72.5k 5, 92.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,4 so close to all 5's gave it my all, that will run through my head and fire me up for next week

3x8 front squat 60k 5, 100k, 6+2, 8,8 best yet although first set lost the bar on the 7th rep, last 2 sets felt a lot better, I'm learning and will improve these as the weeks go by, all 8's should be no problem next week

3x12 pull-up -40k 12, BW 12,12,10 pulled closer to my face and felt great noted for next week

3x10 high pull 55k 10,10,10 great but tidy up the last 2 reps of set 3 before I increase
3x15 lying leg curl #10 15,13,10 felt ok, but no better than last time, build on this


Done in 55mins. Weigh in tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on June 14, 2014, 05:10:53 PM
very nice work my man


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 05:29:31 PM
Thank you bud, all coming together nicely, and even did a couple of vanity shots in the gym today with pump/lighting, very happy with my offseason look, may post later


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on June 14, 2014, 06:02:53 PM

 All sounds very positive Ben , keep the momentum going mate.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 09:11:08 PM
Thanks. Mate very happy with how things are going currently,

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 09:15:40 PM
Upper looks much better with a pump and good lighting, lower looks crap haha, will practice posing everyday for 8 weeks leading upto the show hams/calves/glutes will be a lot leaner by then too

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on June 14, 2014, 09:16:06 PM
 Looking great mate .... ;)

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 09:17:04 PM
Thanks mate along long way to go

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 09:18:24 PM
4

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on June 14, 2014, 09:20:48 PM
Rear shots are incredible Ben .. seriously .

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on June 14, 2014, 09:30:23 PM
Dat back....


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 14, 2014, 10:06:12 PM
I'm happy as my back training hasn't progressed like everything else has, but muscles have still grown over the years


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on June 15, 2014, 06:09:19 AM
Looking really good Ben, like T and Chris say, that back is a really strong body part for you. Good up the good work mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 15, 2014, 08:09:24 AM
Thanks rich, I'll keep training as hard as possible and eating as clean too,

Today weight is 168.2lb so lost 1 stone since January and have 1 stone to loose in the next 15 weeks

Will take out the other half sweet potato from my 2pm meal so just meat and veggies here now, but will still have a decent amount of carbs for breakfast, post workout and the fruit I snack on with nuts and shakes between meals so around 250g carbs and 2500 cals on average daily

Current diet is-

1+ gallon water daily
Pwo- 1 scoop protein/1cup raisins/5g creatine
Pre - strong black coffee
2-3 green tea daily
30g BCAA daily spread across he day including during workout

6 am - 1 cup oats/3eggs/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit

10am- 1 scoop protein/banana/apple/1/4 cup nuts

2pm- chicken breast or steak or salmon fillet/1lb mixed vegetables

6pm- 1 scoop protein/ pear/orange/1/4 cup nuts

10pm- 1 cup cottage cheese/large mixed salad/1 tbsp udos oil/multivit


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on June 16, 2014, 10:54:41 PM
Looking excellent Ben your back looks incredible.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 17, 2014, 08:04:44 AM
Thanks Felix, feeling good and enjoying the process, also doing my best to bring up other areas too  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on June 17, 2014, 08:35:10 AM
Not sure how but I missed the pictures on the weekend and I always check in here. But as has been said already and I want to lend my voice to, that back is a great feature. No weak spots there, almost the perfect back IMO.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 17, 2014, 09:08:40 AM
Thanks Toby, my back has always been a stronger area, after 2009 I stopped using weight belt and wrist straps and my back grew more, never done anything more than deads bb rows pullups for any length of time,

When I trained max ot my back grew like a weed from...

X2 deadlifts
X2 bb row
X2 pullups

Now I do

3x8 bb row , Tuesday
3x5 deadlifts, thursday
3x12 pullups , Saturday

But like anything in bodybuilding the illusion of a tiny waist and low body fat makes all the difference, if I can bring everything up as well I will get a lot closer to my goal if becoming a wnbf pro


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on June 17, 2014, 09:38:38 AM
Funnily enough I was chatting with the gym owner this morning about belts and the removal of them and I said that I do not feel I could go without as I get bad lower back issues, always have done which now feels like an excuse and I should take it off. Ditto straps. Do you squat with a belt?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 17, 2014, 10:31:49 AM
I felt the exact same, and hid behind it, I didn't just want to look strong I wanted to be strong, I didn't want to rely on it so I dropped it, and yes weights went down, I had to build back up, this time with a stronger core, and I feel on a bodybuilding side it's something less to worry about, a stronger core, and a more balanced physique, if you have a weak core and everything else continues to get stronger, for me that meant eventually I would be unbalanced and probably injured  I used to use for squats too, but in 2009 I ditched both belt and straps for good, since ditching straps I had the same benefits in terms of grip and feel there are no weak links now


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 17, 2014, 03:08:28 PM
kicked off the week with a great session today, good progress all round, and was exactly as i planned it, gave everything and feeling great after

5min rowing warmup-

3X5 squats 87.5 5, 117.5 5, 147.5 5,5,4- feel really in the groove, the stretching helps these loads, deep solid reps, next week all 5's
3X8 bb row 70k 8, 100k 8,8,8 - great contraction, just last 1-2 reps of set 2 & 3 not perfect yet, very solid though, stick
3X12 dips BW 12, +27.5 12,12,10 - 2 more reps than last week, felt strong, i want +40 for 3X12 before contest!

3X10 thick bar curl 45k 10,10,10 - got them all this week, but that last set not as solid as the first so keep killing this weight until it is
3X15 donkey calf raises stack + 10kg 15,15,12+3 felt better than last week, 2 more reps than last week

a great tip Turpin told me, about progression, and will only increase when the first and last set are as solid as each other, not just hitting the reps but INGRAINING that weight in myself, sure to progress better overtime and when im physically nad mentally ready, since then my technique has been better, more focused and more positive with every step up

overall feel very positive, and we all know this process is easy when were happy and positive and feeling strong, what seperates the pack is how you deal with the tough times, the struggles, the pain when things get tough, THAT is when the real work is done and the placing get higher, im ready for it!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on June 18, 2014, 08:40:44 AM
Agree with everyone else mate. Pics are cracking. Your dead right. It's all good when your strong and happy but executing the plan when it's tough is the real test


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 18, 2014, 09:05:32 AM
Thanks scott, nowhere near satisfied I'm still looking for a crazy transformation in 14 weeks time, I agree, and keeping a positive mindset and having fun is so important

Today will be foam rolling and stretching, already looking forward to dead lifts tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on June 19, 2014, 02:26:15 PM
I love your simple approach to training, Ben. I bet you enjoy a great work/gym/life balance because of it


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on June 19, 2014, 02:29:39 PM
I love your simple approach to training, Ben. I bet you enjoy a great work/gym/life balance because of it

Agree totally. Benefit of a studious approach for a prolonged amount of time.

Lessons to learn in this journal, one of my favourite ones


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 19, 2014, 03:05:48 PM
thanks guys, great too see people read my blabber  ;D

i do really enjoy life, way beyond just training, but this lifestyle is so rewarding and definitly agree with Ian duckett when he told me "to train hard as it spills over into life" - it really does, everything else steps up, and your standard improves, its a great feeling of progression even if it seems small and insignificant to some people will effect everything else in life indirectly, which is one of the main reasons i would never use any drugs to get where i want to go, that will spill over into life too, my outlook is like this... imagine dedicating yourself to climbing up a mountain and halfway up you get offered a helicopter to the top, you take it, you achieve your goal but the feeling of hard work and self acomplishment and the life lessons learnt were hindered, yes it was hard work and not many people could do it, but you cant get to the top and say "im here because of sheer natural raw will and determination" I on the other hand want to climb to the top, falling down along the way, taking much much longer and when i get to the top have a carry over into life that is uncomparable to any other route :)..... theres some more blabble for you  :D


ok so todays training- gave it my all, most was a step up, deadlifts though although gave my all were a little down

5 min rowing warmup- felt ready and fired up!

3X5 deadlift 102.5 5, 132.5 5, 162.5 5,3+2,3+2 first set was great, then as if another 10k was added was a struggle
3X8 military 52.5 8, 72.5 8,8,8- much better than last week, but going to ingrain this weight in me again next week
3X12 leg press 160k 12, 280k 12,12,12- better than last week with constant tension but again next week as last few reps were shallow, could barely feel my legs they were so pumped, and screaming in pain, body is adapting well to higher rep stuff well

3X10 incline db press X2 37.5 10,10,7- a step up and soon to be 3X10
3X15 hanging leg raises +3k 15,15,15 - constant tension, still that last set not quite perfect yet

about an hour +warmup, wiped out, and feel my body is soaking up the food at the moment


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on June 19, 2014, 03:10:43 PM
I love your simple approach to training, Ben. I bet you enjoy a great work/gym/life balance because of it

Agreed! Calm, balanced, focused - you seem to work hard when you're working hard, but also not stress about any of it the rest of the time (if that makes sense).


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 19, 2014, 03:33:57 PM
i did my fair share of worrying when things wernt in my control last time i prepped, and it was one of the main things that put me off, and effected other people, another reason why i idolize Ian duckett so much, such a positive effectious type of person who works hard like an animal in the gym and a complete gent the rest of the time, i strive to be like that and i can see a big improvement in how it effects the people around me, in page 1 of this journal i made it a goal to enjoy this process, and after reading anthony robbins - awaken the giant within- i realise you can absolutely choose your attitude dependign on your thought process, i decide as soon as i park my bum on that rowing machine to start warming up i give my workout everything i have inside of me and aim to tank through my workouts like my life depends on them, i realise this thought process even more when dieting, do you ever convince yourself your "low energy" or "hungry" "deprived" drag around work ..... then get distracted with something funny, motivating or postive and completely change how you feel, ... why not choose your attitude to be positive and radiate energy all the time (apart from when its time to tear that iron apart)  ;) - this is what i aim to do

thanks for reading too nic  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 20, 2014, 10:05:36 AM
Today going to do some foam rolling and stretching, also an hour pool training at work, one thought running through my head in terms of training is ... Deadlifts, love them, but there not progressing, will attack them next week again, if they still feel not right, may switch to sumo for a while as they feel much more solid in the lower back and stronger too, because I've never done them fresh or with true intensity, I can see me gaining a lot of strength with them, not sure if the switch would take away from back development though as I do them for my heavy back move, I'm sure the sumo deads are a big back move too though, watching a lot if youtube vids and makes me wanna go get crazy strong at them, being shorter with shorter arms I feel my lower back isn't as stable with conventional, and they haven't progressed in ages, will see hoe next weeks conventional go though  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 21, 2014, 02:55:15 PM
another solid session today, although a couple of exercises felt harder, and even down a rep or 2, some progression too, and also trained alone so workout was finished in 50-55min so 5-10min quicker than last week


5min row warmup

3X5 bench 72.5 5, 92.5 5, 112.5 5,5,4- same reps as last week but felt much better, very solid and strong drive on every rep, focused on a tight arch in my back, chest high and a little wider than shoulder width grip, hit the chest better
3X8 front squats 60k 8, 100k 8,8,8 - finally got there, focusing on sitting straight down instead of back like a back squat, felt in the groove and best yet although still weak its improving, will stick and ingrain this next week before a step up
3X12 pullups -40k 12 BW 12,12,9- 1 rep down on last week, but felt great nonetheless, im expecting 11 next week on the last set not sure why it was down, possibly the pace?

3X10 high pull 55k 10,10,10 again same reps but last set was not perfect, again the higher pace was kicking my arse
3X15 lying leg curl #9 15,15,11 - lighter than last week but building up the reps and felt these alot after!


nutrition- added in some more salad to my last meal of the day, so a pepper and some red onion, nothing too exciting but more volume of salad (which is now huge) just before bed, but adding very little calories, and some new tastes too  :) the simple things haha!

weigh in tomorrow, im guessing iv lost around a lb or so, regardless will stick with nutriton as it is for another week, feeling fairly lean for 14 weeks out, although i wanna be ready 2-3 weeks out, im in a good place so not gonna be cutting food out quickly


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 22, 2014, 06:27:05 AM
Weigh in exactly 168lb (12 stone) the weight I aim to be after contest for a pretty lean but strong offseason

 14 weeks to go and 14lb to loose, although I'm sure I've lost a little this week, I am eating a slightly larger meal before bed now with extra veg in my salad,

So this is the plan for the next few weeks, weigh in Again next week, if not under 167lb take a piece of fruit from both 10 am and 6 pm so 1 serving instead of 2 at both, this should take me down another 2lb or so before cutting anything else

Training goals for this week

3x5 squat 147.5 - was 1 rep away last Tuesday, Iv got this
3x5 deadlift 162.5- this is light for me, and used this weight years ago, just bloody lift it!
3x5 bench 112.5- 1 rep away on this too  finish the week on a high

Apart from the powerlifts I want some progression in everything else, and training should be under 1 hr including warmup which puts it at a good pace all round

Time is ticking


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on June 22, 2014, 09:37:05 AM
Do you think you'll find it hard to stay at 12 stone in your offseason. I'm sure it's easily sustainable but I've always taken a more relaxed approach in the offseason and typically blown up a bit heavier. I find the trade off for 'watching what I'm eating' more closely against eating less rigidly so as to appease my other half usually finds it favour with the latter haha.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 22, 2014, 10:00:56 AM
Haha I know what you mean, well I'm putting high priority of staying in decent shape year round, as a fitness instructor and personal trainer I need to set an example, and will help me for future shows, if I stick to just a relaxed Sunday which may be 1-2 cheat meals and the odd beer on the weekend too I should be fine at 12st Becky is really good and we enjoy that Sunday lunch or dinner out as a treat and she doesn't mind atall my eating habits, to be honest it's been the same since we met, so she doesn't know any different  ;D but she understands why I do it, and she can see it keeps me happy and on track with my goals,

I already have a plan for after contest, will just be the Sunday after show day eat what I want, then from. Monday back on it, I enjoy my nutrition anyway it's varied and healthy and could do it for the future no problem, then Sundays I relax abit again etc, I'll start back on my offseason diet which is only a sweet potato and full fat cottage cheese instead of diet , away from what I'm doing now

That's the plan  ;D

I also have a holiday 6 weeks after contest in Mexico 5* all inclusive! For 2 weeks So don't wanna be too fat for the beach  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: csaunders on June 22, 2014, 09:10:22 PM
That holiday sounds fantastic. I note that you make reference to enjoying ian ducketts books. What do you think of the '3' programme. I have not read it by the way


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 23, 2014, 07:25:07 AM
The 3 programme is great, and has everything you need it's basically just an easy way to structure any programme using the number 3, because he likes to train clients and himself in a circuit fashion a lot of the time I cannot do this at my gym, I just take the basic ideas and apply them to my workout, 3 full body workouts, 3 sets each 3 workouts per week, I have a growth or deload week every 6 weeks, unless contest prep, but the biggest thing I picked up from Ian was the nutrition side of the game, eating healthily,  but still optimum, the positive mindset and the basic long term approach he takes, focusing on health and vitality, it's completely changed he way I approach my goals, my mindset, my values on health have even changed and taken priority, just a lot happier and healthier approach all round


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 24, 2014, 02:04:44 PM
went in today feeling good to go, squats were extra tough and although gave my all, wasnt as good as last week, tapped the pins too hard on the first set and sent off balance, one of those and gave the rest of the session my all, and even upped weight on a couple of things as i was not happy- it paid off, and will make sure next weeks squats will be the best yet!

5 min row warmup

3X5 squats 87.5 5, 117.5 5, 147.5 3+2 (re racked and got the other 2) 4,4
3X8 bb row 70k 8, 100k 8,8 102.5k 8- felt great and on form, start with 102.5 next week
3X12 dips BW 12, +30k 12,12,9 - heavier than last week, stick with this and build to 12 last set

3X10 thick bar curls 45k 10,10,10 nice and solid and earnt that 47.5 next week
3X15 donkey calf raises stack+25k 15,15,13 (15k more than last week, felt heavy but will stick and build)

1 hr 5 mins- trained with rich (walby) so took a little longer than i wanted, was dripping throughout though  :-X

overall pros and cons to today, will continue to think and act positively towards my goals, give everything and add to that furnace inside for thursdays DEADLIFTS :)

the plan for thursday is to deadlift with a narrower stance, iv done this before and felt more power from the floor, grip is narrower slightly too, and feel "compact" and stronger, im in the mindset this will start the "groove" of the deadlifts that i had years ago but have been plugging away with for a while now, cant wait


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 26, 2014, 06:51:26 PM
Today paid off very happy and excited just a small change to my deadlifts and was way better than last week, narrow stance arms straight down to the bar  felt a lot more solid and strong

5 min row warmup

3x5 deadlift 102.5k 5, 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5,5 will stick and keep that core ever tighter throughout, great power and feel throughout, just need to maintain that neutral spine mainly in my upper back, but walby said looked perfect form
3x8 military 52.5k 8, 72.5k 8,8,8 slightly better than last week but not quite a strict military on the last set, getting better though, great feel on here
3x12 leg press 160k 12, 280k 12,12,12 nailed it today constant tension, agony but very happy 285k next week

3x10 incline bench 80k 10,8,6 no space to db press today so had to use bb pretty done in by here but hit it hard
3x15 hanging leg raises 3k 15,15,15 best form yet constant tension and up to 4k next week

Done in an hour including warmup perfect pace   feeling positive  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on June 26, 2014, 07:21:44 PM
Nicely done mate. I have reads in the morning and this has motivated me to give them a damn good bashing!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 26, 2014, 09:24:33 PM
Thanks mate, hit it hard, if one exercise is gonna make you grow tomorrow it's that one no reason why you can't be hitting pb's still


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 28, 2014, 05:20:22 PM
A great end to another productive week, feeling like I'm making good progress, mentally and physically - I may not have lost much weight atall this week, but my strength has been great (for me) and my motivation is way up there too, 13 weeks to go, and a good friend of mine and all round bodybuilding expert has agreed to take a look at me next week to see how I'm doing (much appreicated) I can feel the fire burning hotter inside, even though I'm trying to keep my cool and glide into the show, the anxt within is building each week

5 min rowing warmup- ready to rock!

3X5 bench 72.5k 5, 92.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,4 same reps but went for the 5th and nearly there, so close, next week without a doubt
3X8 front squat 62.5k 8, 102.5k 8,8,8 decided to go abit heavier and paid off, will do 1 more week with this even though I got them all, want to engrain this!
3X12 pullups -40k 12, BW 12,12,9 - same as last week, went abit wider felt in lats more

3X10 high pull 55k 10,10,10 slightly better than last week but still gonna keep at 55
3X15 lying leg curl #9 15,15,11 again- went for 12 and nearly there- keep at it

Done in 50-55min as trained alone, felt amazing after this one

Weigh in, in the morning, now suprised if its around the same as last week, if so Ill stick to the plan-


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on June 29, 2014, 07:49:56 AM
as expected exactly 12st (168lb) still thismorning, i feel and look slightly leaner though, still... will continue with the plan

- taking 1 peice of fruit from both 10am & 6pm meals

so food is this day in day out

1+ gallon water daily- have no problems hitting this i drink more and have done everyday since xmas
pwo- 1 scoop protein/1 cup raisins/5g creatine
30g bcaa daily spread through the day, in my water, including intra workout
2-3 green tea's daily- habbit now and can help sociable meetups when "meeting up for a coffee" or "popping round for a cuppa" i opt for green tea
strong black coffee pre workout- only time i drink it, and when i do, its go time!
no cravings, cheat meals, refeeds, lack of motivation- just EXECUTE the plan (sorry toby stole that one from jeff  ;D )

6am- 1 cup oats/3 eggs/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit

10am- 1 scoop protein/1 banana/1/4 cup nuts

2pm- chicken breast or steak or salmon fillet/1lb mixed vegetables

6pm- 1 scoop protein/1 apple/1/4 cup nuts

10pm- 1 cup cottage cheese/huge salad/1tbsp udo's oil/multivit

carbs are lower now on off days maybe 175g, and 275gish on workout days (because the added pwo)


not too much more to cut from  here, could cut up to half a cup of oats and upto half a cup raisins post workout, the plan is to be void of all bodyfat in 10 weeks time and then start adding this all back in over 3 weeks stoping the weight loss and filling out while maintaining my weight and looking even leaner, basically back to what i was eating maybe 4-6 weeks ago but just before showtime  8)

today will be foam rolling and stretching everything well, no "growth" or deload weeks during prep so all go and the body can start to ache and niggles come and go, part of the game, but a huge focus this year has been RECOVERY never will i neglect this important part of the process again, it goes much deeper than sleep, training has to be working with recovery nutrition, recovery sessions, being active, healthy, positive, stress free- a hard part of the jigsaw to balance but im getting there  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 01, 2014, 05:21:38 PM
A great start to the week, really focused from the start of the warmup, just 1 hour is the difference between success and failure, a good progression from last week throughout, and already focused on what I need to do next tuesday to better this one

5min rowing warmup- going through some solid and strong squats in my head

3X5 squats 87.5 5, 117.5 5, 147.5 5,4,5 - so nearly there got pinned on 2nd set, I know I can do this next week, run through that checklist as I approach the set, chest up, back solid, head straight elbows forward, deep breath, deep squat! Explode from the hole!

3X8 bb row 72.5 8, 102.5 8,8,8 all great reps will stick and ingrain for another week, squeezing my back hard at the top feeling it deep in my upper back

3X12 dips BW 12, +30 12,12,10 - 1 more than last week, step forward each week

3X10 thick bar curl 47.5 10,10,7 - new weight soon to be heavier!

3X15 donkey calf stack+25k. 15,15,15 - 2 more reps than last week, stick until all reps are smooth and perfect

1 hour and 5 mins including warmup - trained with walby, pushed all the way, want to shave a couple of mins off next week 1 hour including warmup is spot on!

Mantalk: getting back into fishing -  as I'm an old man at heart, reading,relaxing in the sun, fishing, guess the next step is gardening   :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on July 01, 2014, 05:53:23 PM
Nicely done there mate. I feel inspired reading the squats to really drill the form and explode properly next time.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 01, 2014, 06:53:26 PM
Thanks mate, it's all in your head with lifts like squats, but if you feel confident your hitting then dead on all you have to do is push as hard as you can, get the technicalities out the way first haha


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 04, 2014, 08:53:43 AM
Another cracking day yesterday, training was slightly better than last week, although marginally

5min stair master warmup, the rower has gone!

3x5 deadlift 102.5k, 5, 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5,5 a little better, last set still not yet perfect keep at it, thinking about putting the weight down between reps like I used to I stead of constant tension, what do you guys think, just tap down, set back again and drive up like a DEADlift

3x8 military 52.5k 72.5k 8,8,8 stick with this too, too push pressy at the end still

3x12 leg press 160k 12, 285k 12,12,12 stick get reps even deeper and don't be a wuss constant tension even on the last agonising set! Head needs to be screwed on big style here

3x10 incline db press 37.5k 10, 10, 7 nearly 8 it's mine next week

3x15 hanging leg raises 4k 15,15,15 very tough, work to constant tension with these

Done in an hour  including warmup so perfect pace throughout

Went over to a friends house for a good catchup and he took a look at me and gave me some great feedback, very kind of him and his wife to give up their evening for a strange guy to come over and talk bodybuilding haha a great couple and feel very lucky to be friends



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 04, 2014, 06:21:33 PM
Deads for me are all about control. If you tapping down fast then thats not right. If it's controlled it's all good.

Nice when people help you out. Sometimes that look over is all you need just to put your mind at rest


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 04, 2014, 06:42:09 PM
thanks scott, I usually lower the weight under control, and just lightly tap the floor, keeping tension, but may just treat each rep like an individual and set the bar between reps  :)

certainly does help bigtime mate, 


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 04, 2014, 08:23:56 PM
Thats what I missed on my prep for Yorks last year. I had no one looking at me but me. My first two shows I was seen by a chap month on month and then week on week and I got super lean. Definatly see the value in having an educated eye or a prep coach


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on July 05, 2014, 12:40:09 AM
Ben I have found the deadlift has got easier for me since I have treated ever rep as a deadlift of the floor rather than the gentle touch and go I used to do I just seem to get more speed of the floor now which makes the lift easier for me.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 05, 2014, 01:46:58 PM
It certainly shows this is far from a 1 man sport mate, helps bigtime

Thanks felix I will give it a go, I may have a dabble with powerlifting next offseason so probably a great time to start from dead stops

Today not sure wether its because its 12 weeks out or because the gym was blazing some heavy rock but today was awesome!

5-10min cross trainer warmup

3X5 bench 72.5k 5, 92.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,5 about time! And no problem! 115k next week!
3X8 front squat 65k 8, 105k 8,6,6 - build to 8's
3X12 pullups -40k 12, BW 12,12,10 - all 12's in sight!

3X10 high pull 55k 10,10 57.5k 10 - use 57.5 for all felt the best these have so far!
3X15 lying leg curl #9 15,15,12 - progress!

All done in 55mins too, perfect pace!

Progress pics to come later, from the gym after training, 12 weeks out, abit rushed so not great but they'll do!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on July 05, 2014, 02:13:47 PM

 I prefer to start each rep in the deadlift from the `deadstart` re-setting after each rep. Touch n go reps will ( more often than not ) realise the hips becoming higher on the initial pull with each successive rep , thus putting the second pull ( from the knee ) increasingly out of position and the finish harder. For similar reasons I don't perform more than 3-5 reps on the deadlift proper .

  T. 


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 05, 2014, 03:01:38 PM
Thanks T, makes sense and exactly what's happening, I'm looking forward to getting all my reps perfectly with dead stop between reps next week  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 05, 2014, 07:23:09 PM
Did some pics at the gym but the files are too large to post, looking lean. Uptop, great for 12 weeks out, a lot of leaning out for the lower half, I aim to loose another 4-6kg over the next 9-10 weeks before increasing my calories over 2-3 weeks to maintanance, I ideally would have started. Leaner, which will be my plan next time only loosing 6kg or so in 24 weeks can be done with no cardio and a small deficit no problem, I have only 1-2 more cuts I can make for my diet before I will need to introduce cardio (in the form of hiit rowing) if needs be, will see how I weigh in tomorrow morning


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 06, 2014, 09:10:17 AM
166.8lb this morning, lost just over 1lb, will keep everything the same and see how it goes next week, would be great too loose another lb next too without any cuts etc, going to aim on staying active, eat perfectly and train as hard as possible and see where that takes me, will only do cardio if I can progress no more without it, the moral of the story is to start dieting lean and if I started at 1 stone over contest weight (which I plan to do next time) I probably wouldn't have to dip cals lower than what I'm eating now, but will have to go lower this time round, with another 10-12lb to go, another cut from my oats first thing, and less raisins post workout will probably see me another few lb, not yet though.... After that will add in hiit, I'm guessing may have to from 7ish weeks out, then hit my target condition 2-3 weeks out,

Anyway, overall it's been a very solid week and as always aiming for more next week

Goals:
1- hit 3x5 with 147.5k on squats tuesday
2- hit 3x5 deadlifts 162.5k with a dead-stop each rep with PERFECT form thursday
3- hit 3x5 with 115k bench saturday
4- be generally more active, make sure I lead a healthy lifestyle aswell as training and eating, not scheduled cardio but spend time outside in the fresh air more, walking, relaxing
5- be as solid as I have been with nutrition day in day out, 100% nothing less, don't stress, enjoy the ride, and progress is all areas


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 08, 2014, 03:33:03 PM
today was a good step forward from last weeks same workout, i didnt achieve my first goal of getting all 5's with the squat, although i know this is well within me, i pushed on with everything i had, i have to attack every set as if its the last i will ever do, outwork myself week in week out, theres a time and a place for digging deep, dogged hard hard work, and the gym is that place! dont lose out on that opportunity!

5min x train warmup

3X5 squats- 87.5k 5, 117.5k 5, 147.5k 5,4,5- same as last week, failed on last rep of set 2- at parallel coming back up, no way am i failing next week!
3X8 bb row 72.5k 8, 102.5k 8,8,8- all felt great and strong- 105k next week, keeping as solid as today!
3X12 dips BW 12, +30k 12,12,12- 2 reps more than last week, will use 32.5k next week

3X10 thick bar curl 47.5k 10,10,10 - 3 reps more than last week! last set wasnt as good as first so stick
3X15 donkey calf raise stack+25k 15,15,15- better than last week, get 16's next week! build this upto 20's!

done in an hour including warmup so perfect pace- good sweat on but feeling strong too!

confident going into deadlifts thursday- will attack the sets touch down between reps, keeping them ALL solid


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 10, 2014, 09:56:05 AM
the progress is coming slow and steady, head down, work hard, earn it!- progress on every exercise today   :D

5 min row warmup (rower has returned)

3X5 deadlift - 102.5k 5, 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5,5- tried slight rest between reps, didnt feel ay better? not sure why so worked the usual way, focusing on keeping that posture, slightly better than last week, but will keep ingraining this weight in me! same next week, even more solid!

3X8 military 52.5k 8, 72.5k - 8,8,8 -  BETTER! confident, core tight, 75k next week, own that weight too!

3X12 leg press 165k 12, 285k 12,12,12- much deeper, knees to nipples as walby kept telling me  ;D - bloody hard work, and going for 290k next week! constant tension and legs were ready to explode

3X10 incline db press 37.5k's 10,10,8- 1 more than last week, nearly a 9 aswell, next week its mine!

3X15 hanging leg raise +4k 15,15,15- tough but abit more tidy than last week, sticking though until first and last are as solid as each other!

1 hr including warmup- got this consistant now, great pace!


today my work gym is on strike (council gym)- so had to train abit earlier at 8am today, great time to train, if i could i would train at 8 (after iv digested breakfast) every session!   but i am here at work on my tod blitzing the gym, cracking on with things i cant do when people are here, so just me, no customers, no uniform, blazing some heavy rock, chill city!  ;) 8) enjoy your day people!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 12, 2014, 02:45:38 PM
a great end to the week, and 11 weeks out feeling on track- been active this week, busy and enjoying life!
sad i know but went fishing yesterday and probably walked 7-8 miles (along the canal) nice in the sun, those people on the barges are really living the dream, what a chilled life!  ;D

right training today- a good progression, and some new weights being used today, i know already what i need to do to step it up a notch next week, looking forward to it!

5 min row warmup- hot in the gym, sweat on!

3X5 bench 75k 5, 95k 5, 115k 5,4,3- new weight, and will smash this next week!
3X8 front squat 65k 8, 105k 8,7,7- 2 more reps than last week, felt very good and deep reps
3X12 pullups -35k 12, BW 12,12,10- 2nd set felt better than last week, but reps the same, next week atleast 11 on set 3

3X10 high pull 57.5k 10,10,9 new weight, all 10's next week!
3X15 lying leg curl #9- 15,15,13- 1 more than last week... just- 14 on set 3 next week!

55mins inclusing warmup- trained alone, was head down cracking on as always

weigh in tomorrow morning, expect around a lb loss but if not i know what to do!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 13, 2014, 09:10:06 AM
165.8lb this morning so lost exactly 1lb, will not change anything for next week, I'm guessing I'll compete around 11st 4lb so another 9lb or so to go - next week the aim as always is to progress every workout, stay active, eat perfectly, and should be 165lb or so his time next week  :)

Goals- squats, these are all mine Tuesday 3x5 with 147.5k I know I have it in me
           Deadlifts 3x5 with 162.5 keeping lumber solid
          Bench at least 5,4,4 with 115k

Progress on all else too, working everyday next week, so very active, just keep stepping forward, and keep enjoying the journey  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 15, 2014, 02:07:42 PM
everything seemed great, first session of the week, goals set, felt motivated, recovered and ready to attack the squats, i hate to admit it, but something got the better of me today, not sure what, but whatever it is, if i am to become the person i aim to be, i need to overcome it!- it has to be mental, as i know i could have lifted better today, im going to see the positive from today, and realise the potential to be everything i want this year is up to ME and me only, no outside influences can effect that, only my own mental toughness

5 min row warmup-

3X5 squats 87.5k 5, 120k 5, 147.5k 4,4,3- 3 reps less than last week, man up, sort it out!, technically i need to power hard out the hole and not let myself lean forward atall, pushing through my heels, chest high, lungs full of air, not slowing until at the top- iv got this

3X8 bb row 75k 8, 105k 8,8,7- a new weight and will own this next week, the last set only 7 and not as good as the first 2 either,

3X12 dips  BW 12, +32.5k 12,12,9- new weight and will buidl to 12 on these, drive with everything i have inside

3X10 thick bar curls 47.5k 10,10,10 better than last week! keep that balance between power and control, use 50k next week, smash it

3X16 donkey calf raises - stack+25k 16,16,16- the last set wasnt as perfect as the first 2, almost rest pause for the last 3-4 reps, will go for 3X16 again next week, pefect, constant tension stretch fully and squeeze, will build these upto 20 before contest, and that will be the strongest they have been

1 hr 5 mins, not quick enough should shave atleast 5 mins off this

a few negative thoughts, but nothing stopping me hitting all my squats next week, and feeling on top form again, first though deadlifts thursday, crush em!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 15, 2014, 07:26:39 PM
good to see you still rocking and rolling mate. Its all positive and we all have off days to some degree


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 15, 2014, 08:00:16 PM
thanks mate, will keep pushing on  :) flying by


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on July 15, 2014, 08:31:24 PM
I have the same squat problem as I mentioned before and just cannot seem to find a way out of it. Too much weigh distribution on the toes, chest falling, ragged ascent. If you solve it, let me know!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on July 16, 2014, 12:59:38 PM
Squats are a very mentally taxing exercise, mate - certainly need to be in the groove, and focing it never seems to work.  Sometimes if the 1st rep  feels off, the rest tends to follow.
I'm sure next week will be back ON IT!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 16, 2014, 05:40:01 PM
Thanks guys, I'm sure I'll be owning it next week, been good lately so just an off day I'm sure,

A little update, being chatting to the guy that's helping my prep, and will be shifting things around abit so I'm eating more food, a few more carbs, and go a little steadier as progress is coming quick, so now it's 3 good meals and 3 snacks, same stuff really, but a breaks, ...lunch and dinner will be same stuff as I was having at 2pm and 3 snacks instead of 2, Pwo ontop of that, will feel I'm eating more food as before , pre bed will be just a snack now instead of a big meal, and will have that bigger meal in the evening, all good stuff, I'm around 11st 12lb with just over 10 weeks to go, I recon I need to loose 8lb so be in good nick, but will do some 8 week out pics in 2 weeks on Saturday, probably weighing around 11st 10lb with 6lb or so to go,

So as of now, more food, slightly more carbs and calories  will slow weight loss down abit, staying really active though and right on track  :)

Also trunks and tan through, song chosen, from 8 weeks will practice the posing daily


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on July 17, 2014, 12:01:09 AM
Sounds like everything going well Ben I think its a good idea to keep your cals and carbs as high as you can on a diet it keeps strenght and energy alot better than very low cal low carb diets do.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 17, 2014, 06:46:18 AM
thats true felix, and i can feel the difference already eating abit more frequently, makes a big difference mentally too, im lucky i have a good friend who has a keen eye (the keenest!) on bodybuilding and can advice me in these things, he has asked that i possibly take the rest of the week as a deload and it souded a great idea, ... i can feel the fire burning hotter today though, mad what a little extra food will do for the body and the mind!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on July 17, 2014, 02:25:33 PM
What is your approx split for pro/cho/fats with the adjustments mate?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 17, 2014, 06:28:25 PM
Hi mate, the same as before around 20p 50c 30f  :)

Today felt great and really feel there's no need for a deload so went for it

5 min row warmup
3x5 deadlift 110k, 5. 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5 165k 5, great stick with 165 next week
3x8 military 55k, 8, 75k 8,8,7 solid reps hit the shoulders well, not strict though
3x12 leg press 170k 12, 290k 12,12,8+2+2 stick until last set constant tension, these were agony

3x10 incline db 37.5k, 10,10,6 the only thing that wasn't a step up, kill these next time
3x15 hanging leg raises +4k 15,15,15 last set not as good as first so stick


Turning into a great week, looking forward to killin Saturday and feeling on top form for my best week next week

Done in 55 mins inc warmup
Needless to say dripping after, ready to eat recover grow and smash saturday


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on July 18, 2014, 08:19:37 AM
Love the positivity of the attitude mate. Impressive military pressing there too I note, ditto the reps at that weight on incline db press.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 18, 2014, 08:50:23 AM
thanks mate, i do have my days like anyone else, but must say never been happier generally, iv been alot stronger with the incline db's before, i worked upto sets of 6-8 with 48k last year but at around 75k now i was probably 7k heavier then, no excuses though i want to be 3X10 with 40's before contest  8)

i definitly find reading motivational books, helps the mindset massively, at the start of the year i made it a goal of mine to start reading books, imbarrased to say before this year i had NEVER read a book from front to back, could never get me reading as a kid and all through school/college i winged it because i wouldnt revise, i had told myself im no good at it, and coudlnt take the words in, after each page i couldnt remember what i had read, ... so i gave away my ps3 and bought some books, since i have felt alot more positive, and when for whatever reason i dont, half an hour of chilled reading can help change the mind for the better,

i read arnies biog, pretty good, took me ages to get through!
iv read all of Ian ducketts books, huge motivation that will ingrain in me for the future too
Bear Gryll's " a survival guide for life" - easy reading and the guy is increadible!
"awaken the giant within" by tony robbins- great for relighting new and existing goals
og mandino "17 rules to live by"- priceless book will reread this regularly
just finished another book "the art of racing in the rain" great book! first novel iv read
and just started "fearless" a book about SEAL team 6's Adam Brown, who gave his life on the line of battle- very humbling!



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 19, 2014, 05:23:53 PM
Today was another good session, and feel very much on track mentally and physically for 10 weeks out, a few head games creeping in, all I can do is tackle each set and execute my plan to the best of my ability, I feel the increase of food has given me more energy and my body is working even more to build muscle and loose body fat I'm sure I'll see a big decrease in weight tomorrow morning as I have less food just before bed and more in the day, but seeing some small changes in my lower body, perhaps, more quad, more rear definition,

Anyway, today's session was a great one  good progression on the bench, everything else though was a match of last week, am fired up for next week to be my best week yet, back on form with squats strong and solid on Tuesday, with my best session yet

5 min rowing warmup

3x5 bench press 75k, 5, 90k 5, 115k 5,5,4 last rep was a real struggle and not great hips rose, but better than last week, but not as good as next!
3x8 front squats 65k , 105 8,8,6 same reps as last week overall, remember chest high, elbows high, sit on heels
3x12 pullups -35k 12, BW 12,12,10 these last 2 reps are my nemesis, but with next weeks mega week, these are mine!
3x10 high pull 57.5k 10,10,9+1 next week all 10 think power
3x15 lying leg curl #9 15,15,13 same again, i know what I have to do

Done in an hour, weigh in tomorrow

Really motivated by Chris Saunders write up, that is what competing is all about, that is what I want and I'm willing to work harder than ever for it


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on July 19, 2014, 05:40:00 PM
Great attitude mate - better than last week, but not as good as next!

You have a lot of strength in the chest / delt area as I noted earlier in the week. 115kg is a great lift for 5 reps and sets is solid work for the BW


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 19, 2014, 08:16:18 PM
Thanks bud, is strange I feel iv improved most in the presses, strength and technique, but they lack the most in development, but are improving slowly but surely, will do some crazy workouts once the offseason starts and I change things up, gonna go for some high volume madness


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 20, 2014, 08:23:17 AM
as expected lost around 1.5lb from last weeks weigh in, but a big chunk of that i suspect will be the fact i no longer have a large salad before bed, and have it at dinner time instead, so 164.2lb the scales read thismorning, which is 74.5kg and in the day i can add upto a kg to that, but usually no more, so guessing i have around 3-4kg (8lb or so) i am on track to loose probably 6-7lb in the next 7 weeks and with 3 weeks to slowly eat up to maintanance will loose 1-2lb in that period,

no changes made to diet, will see what the scales say next week at 9 weeks out  :) with the best week of training yet, a jam packed week of work, being very active and busy, looking forward to it!

on the cardio front, im on track to need NONE, and by adding food in i am probably eating on average around 2400-2500cals daily, reduced my post workout carbs from 100g (didnt need that much) to about half that and also more in the day im guessing around 160g protein, 230g carbs 100g fats daily and truth be told, i feel leaner, stronger, fuller already and the weight is still coming off, im seeing things in my legs that iv never seen before, by no means ripped yet, but i can see some faint glute seperation, veins in quads and calves iv never seen, in 6 weeks time ill be shaving all bodyhair for 4 weeks out pics and i have a feeling legs will look loads better  :)

the goals for next week are simple, execute my plan 100% to my ability, have the best week of training ever, with everything i have inside me, performance wise improving on everything even if its by a rep, dont look past the set im doing

also i have just finished a 6 week phase of training without changing anything, i would usually have a deload week here, reducing weights to around 75% and focusing on technique, swap round the accessory exercises or variations of exercises, then hit another 6 week phase, but in prep i will just tank it out, still have progress in me all round, so pushing on  :) next deload will be the week after contest, the plan is to take the sunday after contest day off from any diet and just relax, (i will take my girlfriend out for a slightly late birthday meal in the evening too) then the following week will be on my full base offseason diet, and a deload week in training, i take out bcaa as i will only take these during pre contest and relax the diet on sundays slightly (1-2 random meals) - then its 5 weeks until mexico, so have a clear aim of gaining no more than 1 stone over contest weight and staying there until its time to diet again, im guessing ill compete around 71kg so no more than 78kg offseason- i have a strong, quite lean look and feel at this weight (i was 82-83kg in january this year) and in that 5 weeks will just do some crazy workouts before 2 weeks off on holiday (may do abit there, but its holiday)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 22, 2014, 07:46:08 AM
after 2 days of recovery as i always have each week, im ready to kill this week, make it the best yet, diet is bang on, and feel as good as ever, loving the changes iv made, a little more food, but body is working as hard as ever, i needed it! loving the fact i now have a breakfast/lunch/dinner/and snacks in between works much better for life, and feeling great on it

this is the base diet- around 2500cals daily- keeping with the healthy theme, for long term, in the offseason i will add in carbs in the form of sweet potato with lunch/brown rice with dinner/and some granola before bed- bumping up the carbs a fair bit each day, also relaxing the diet on sundays in the offseason only, will take out BCAA, and there you have it, but for now...

1+ gallon water daily
30g BCAA daily during prep
2-3 green teas daily
strong black coffee pre workout
post workout- 1 scoop protein/5 snackajacks/5g creatine
sundays offseason relax diet (1-2 meals)

6- 3 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit/5g creatine
9- 1 scoop protein/banana/1/4 cup nuts
12- chicken or steak/1lb mixed vegetables
3- 1 scoop protein/apple/1/4 cup nuts
6- salmon or sardines/large mixed salad
9- 1 cup greek yoghurt/multivit

so very similar but feels even healthier, good amount of food for 9 1/2 weeks out, good variety, if i need to cut anything out in the next few weeks will go with maybe a little oats for breakfast, and maybe some of the fruit, but things are ticking along nicely

3:30pm..... squats! to be continued!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 22, 2014, 05:34:36 PM
The only way to start the best week of prep is with the best and strongest session yet!

5min row warmup

3X5 squats 87.5k 5, 117.5k 5, 147.5k 5,5,5 all solid, parallel or below, stick with these for next week, ingrain this weight and form in me, went through my checklist going under the bar- heels down- elbows down- chest up- head straight- core tight- deep- power!

3X8 bb rows 75k 8, 105k 8,8,8 felt very solid and strong, powering through but controlled, focused on that back squeezing! Stick again and after next week getting these again, increase!

3X12 dips BW 12, +32.5k 12,12,10 - 1 more than last week, my goal is +40k 3X12 by contest, slowly but surely!

3X10 thick bar curls 50k - 10,10,9+1 solid reps!, nice to use 20 a side! Own that last set, all 10, arms were screaming after these!

3X16 donkey calf raise stack+25k 16,16,16 better! Go for 3X17 next week!

Done in 1 hour including warmup,
Doing what needs to be done! Don't wanna let lee down next time I see him, crush every set!

Today was topped off by being collored by a certain mr gozdecki, asking how I looked, and after doing a few poses, he told me I look unreal and he think 1kg max to go!! Funilly enough I looked very good (better than usual) glutes coming through, quads seperated, back deep and thick, felt great, will keep killing each set, each rep and eating on point and things can only get better!



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 22, 2014, 07:22:51 PM
nice work mate, doesn't get much better than that


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 22, 2014, 07:33:00 PM
Thanks scott another great day overall  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 24, 2014, 05:36:10 PM
2/3 of my best week of training down,

5min row warmup

3X5 deadlifts 110k 5, 135k 5, 165k 5,5,5 - felt very much in the groove and probably had 6 in the last set! 167.5 next week- just goes to show all in my head!

3X8 military 55k 8, 75k 8,8,8 - 1 more rep than last week but stick until not push pressy atall, as there's a little too much "power" there, although shoulders were done!

3X12 leg press 170k 12, 290k 12,12,12 - after nearly 2 months of these, my legs are responding well, and muscle endurance is building week on week, last set was killer and much better than last week! 295k next week

3X10 incline db press 37.5k 10,10,9 - 3 reps more than last week, and best yet on these, want more!

3X15 hanging leg raises +4kg 15,15,15 perfect! Up to +5k next week

1 hour overall including warmup so perfect pace, feeling on top form for me at the moment

Enjoying relaxing on off days too, after saturdays session have the weekend off with becky going to enjoy the weather, thinking of giving kayaking a bash it will be funny watching me going round in circles if nothing else!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 25, 2014, 04:37:30 PM
really relaxed today, with a walk in the sun before work, having to do an hour of pool drills tonight for staff training, and ready to hit my last workout of this week tomorrow after lunch,

i thought id get down my plan from this point over in terms of contest prep and after-

8 weeks out (1 week tomorrow) will do some pics, thinking i have 3-3.5k to go, maybe less? - will see, but from 8 weeks out, posing practice starts daily, will send off my membership/entry form, i already have my music burnt to cd, and tan/trunks, - my posing practice will consist of rounds of posing, holding for 10seconds each, and practicing my routine too, probably around 15mins every evening

4 weeks out- off goes the bodyhair, and 4 weeks out photos, should be almost there by this point, with 1-1.5k to go is my target,

3 weeks- with less than 1kg to go i will up my food, adding in some carbs, to slow weight loss right down to next to nothing and feel as full and strong as i ever have, feeling confident, going into the show

the week of the show- will train as usual tuesday. Thursday will go into the gym and just hit upper body with a fast paced, highish volume workout - and as always stay active, and relax away from the gym, still stretching/foam rolling on off days (this will be consistant in offseason too)- my food apart from the increase in carbs over the last 3 weeks (gradually each week) will stay the same, the day of the show ill just sip water and snack on oatcakes (which i make for breakfast) throughout the day, simple

then sunday after the show- relax enjoy some food, take becky out for a (late) birthday meal and couple of drinks after watching the pro show, then monday back on it, full offseason diet (same as contest with a fair few more carbs in) take out bcaa (i only take during contest dieting) and relax the diet on sundays for 1-2 meals- gain some SIZE and set new goals- also this week will be a deload week, before hitting it hard again the following week, and having a deload week every 6 weeks

but for now- alot of work to do, completely focused on september 27th- will be a great day  :)



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 26, 2014, 09:06:08 AM
very good mate. Your executing a very good plan that yielding great results. Nothing to do but keep doing it.

I persoanlly feel that prep has become over complicated. In the past I have tried some more complicated things like carb ups and carb cycling. Neither worked. Also been better just getting as ready as I can and then eating as normal on show day


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 26, 2014, 09:23:32 AM
I feel the same mate, the show is won or lost months before the show  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 26, 2014, 05:15:20 PM
Last workout of the week, gave it my all  felt full of energy and couldn't wait to get underway, felt strong, but my bench was down on last week, no idea why, felt very heavy, but all solid and perfect reps, my head was there too maybe just one of them, anyway everything else was good progress

5min row warmup

3x5 bench 75k 5, 90k 5, 115k 5,4,3+1 abit peed off but gave my all, and will continue to do so, was confident on all 5's today
3x8 front squat 65k 8, 105k 8,8,8, great, 2 more than last week, focus on keeping posture while in the hole, forcing knees wide over my feet and keeping that bar back behind front delts, loving these, tough exercise but very rewarding, would love 140k for reps and will get there up to 107.5 next week
3x12 pullups -35k 12, BW 12,12,10+2 feeling slightly easier each week, just 1 sec rest between last 2 reps, so close to getting these now, back feels great during and after these
3x10 high pull 60k 10,10,8+2 was gonna use 57.5k but felt fired up, 60k felt better than expected and hit the shoulder region well, stick with it until all solid reps on last set-again 1 sec rest between last 2 reps
3x15 lying leg curl #9 15,15,14 1 more rep than last week, these are slowly building, keep doing what I'm doing

55 mins including warmup, sweat on!


The last couple of weeks iv added a new stretch that seems to have increased my mobility further in squats and deadlifts, in a deep squat position, using elbows to push knees out stretching the adductors keeping back straight and head high, easier to keep posture during deep squats and deadlifts I do these for 3 round of 30 seconds during my foam rolling and stretching session on off training days

It's been the best week yet, have only felt sluggish a couple of times usually late evening which ill take, although I feel leaner and fuller I have stayed active, I don't think I  lost any weight this week, I'm probably on average 75kg walking around less in the morning and slightly more at times too, with 9 weeks to go, as previously posted in the next 6 weeks should loose around 2.5kg and the last 3 weeks no more than 1kg with increased carbs

Anyway weigh in tomorrow, will see where I'm at, hope your all enjoying the weekend


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on July 26, 2014, 08:04:58 PM

 My bench press always suffers at lower bodyweight Ben , not so my squat and/or deadlift .  You only have a few weeks left dig deep and just `get it done`.  ;)

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 26, 2014, 10:18:07 PM
Thanks mate, I remember as I dieted last time did loose pressing strength but gonna push it higher if u can, thanks mate will do


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 27, 2014, 09:33:09 AM
Weigh in thismorning- as expected I'm exactly the same as last week, although stronger than even lb for lb, and hitting it harder than ever, so 74.5kg thismorning,  and averaging 75kg hydrated etc, having 9 weeks to go, ill keep things exactly the same for next week, although its likely I won't loose much atall, keep training as hard as ever, be active and eat on point, ill expect too loose a tiny amount but will see what lee thinks, and how he feels I differ from 12 to 8 weeks out.

In reality I can see I have abit more too loose but not a lot, I'm thinking with 8 weeks to go and I should have 3kg to loose, so will just trim down some oats from the morning , (1/4 cup) and toghurt before bed will be protein and udos , with 3 weeks to go 73kg will be ideal! I do want to weigh in at 72kg is the aim and should fit into the lightweight novces on the day

Goals for next week-

Every training session a step up from this week in some way,
Attack 150kg on squats- a new weight I KNOW I can own
167.5k on deadlifts- same deal as squats no problem!
115k on bench- get atleast a rep more overall than this week

And everything else for that matter a step up! All meals in and on time, active everyday, with foam rolling and stretching on off days- very repetitive haha but guess that's a good thing


Will do pics at 8 weeks out in a weeks time


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 29, 2014, 03:16:45 PM
a mix of emotions at the moment, in trademark 8-9 weeks out style, head games, but then shortly followed by massive high's -

today- and all weekend really been playing with the idea of switching up the training for the last 9 weeks of prep, as the last 9 out of 10 weeks have been on the same routine, kinda feel after last weeks strong week iv pretty much topped out on everything and may be time to switch things up for freshness more than anything,

with this going into todays session- the first few sets of squats were below par, not what i NEED so ended up battering out a pretty good "legs" session, been a while since i killed off legs, and enjoyed it, although feel i need to nail down a routine for the remainder of the prep- lots of squats cant be a bad thing though? or can it?

5 min rowing warmup-

squats- 90kg 5, 120kg 5, 150kg 4,3 - 140kg 5,5,5 - all 2-3 min rest
 then with 1 min between
squats 100kg- 10,10,10,10,10
lying leg curl #10- 10,10,10,7+1,7+1

donkey calf raises #20, 20 #15 20,20 #12 20,20
supersetted
decline crunches BW 20,20,20,20,20

done in an hour- mixed feelings  :-\


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on July 29, 2014, 06:05:30 PM
That leg session has DOMS written all over it!  :o


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 29, 2014, 06:17:15 PM
ouch ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 29, 2014, 06:17:32 PM
been a good few months since i had any DOMS so will be nice, to be honest i can feel it coming on already  ;D first time in ages iv felt i can just go balls to walls and not worrying about hitting the squats/deadlifts in 2 days time- so will take it as a positive- spoke with lee and he also thinks it will be a good idea to continue with a split until offseason when im eating more food and recovering better, then i can continue with the full body workouts-

so for now- ill continue with this, still focusing on heavy powerlifts and assisting them with fast paced quality "bodybuilder" work


tue- chest/back
3X5 bench
3X8 incline db
3X12 dips

3X5 deadlift
3X8 bb row
3X12 pullups



thur- legs/abs
3X5 squats
3X8 leg press
3X12 lying leg curl

3X8 calf raise
3x12 seated calf raise

3X20 hanging leg raises

sat- shoulders/arms

3X5 military
3X8 laterals
3x12 rear laterals

3X8 bb curl
3X12 db curl

3X8 lying tri ext
3X12 pushdowns

will warmup with 5 min rowing as usual
2-3 min between the squats/deads/bench/military - after 2 warmup sets
everything else 1-2 min max between sets, so everything is done in an hour

will mean all the basics are covered, but my weak chest/shoulders/arms/calves are in a position to progress with more stimulation





Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 30, 2014, 04:58:28 PM
legs in bits today, so went for a walk before work to try and loosen them up, followed with my usual foam roling and stretching, seems to have done the trick, also had a think before i jump into a new workout routine, how i can make it more beneficial for ME and have edited the above post split slightly, the focos on the same principles basics heavy and hard work, but in a way that everything can improve with an emphasis on my weak bodyparts, will do "tuesdays" session tomorrow and continue the plan as outlines on saturday- kinda the same though


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on July 30, 2014, 09:17:52 PM
it looks really good mate. Your better off playing it safe at this point and making sure it's an injury free run in


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 30, 2014, 10:01:15 PM
Yeah I'll play it safe but make sure every bodypart gets a heavy battering each week, feel lost without a routine haha


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on July 31, 2014, 02:23:53 PM
went all basic and old school today, the goal- hit heavy bench press and then batter the "push" muscles with lots of quality work

5 min row warmup-

5X5 bench press 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,4,3,3 - build on this right upto the show
5X10 military press 60kg- 10,10,10,10,8 - got a little push pressy during the end
5X15 dips BW 15,15,15,15,15- tough the last 1-2 sets, +5kg next week

after heavy bench was 60-90sec between sets good pace going!
doesnt get much more basic than that 45-50min including warmup

felt very hard on those muscles targeted and a feel in them i havnt felt for a long while, will stick with the theme of basic heavy hard work and do deads/rows/chins on saturday - i do like the power-bodybuilding approach- but as long as the basics are there im happy!

weight has settled the last 1-2 weeks and this weekend at 8 weeks out will make small cuts to go from lean to shredded over the coming weeks

the goal for saturday- heavy,hard work on basic exercises!- no fluff!

5X5 deadlift 160kg
5X10 bb row 90kg
5X15 chins- see how i get with these but confident i wont need any curls after!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 02, 2014, 02:26:00 PM
after going to see lee yesterday, he confirmed i had leaned up a little since the 12 week mark, and im on track, i had told him how i was feeling a little lost with my programme at the moment, although workouts are going great, its in the back of my mind, everything is only getting hit once, which is probably suffice especially for 8 weeks out, but i could increase the frequency with a rotation hittign everything every 5 days or so instead of 7, great idea and will use that idea if i feel i can push abit harder, after this "powerbuilding" routine has kicked in, after hanging with lee and amy, i was pumped up for todays workout to push on further

todays aim- hit those deadlifts strong and hard then blitz my back bodybuilder volume style leaving the gym feeling pumped and getting the best of both worlds

5 min rowing warmup
5X5 deadlift (2-3min) 100kg 5, 130kg 5, 160kg 5,5,5,5,5 - really in the groove here, 162.5kg next week
10 sets of chins- neutral shoulder width (60-90s)- BW 10,10,10,10,10,8,6,6,6,6
5 sets low pulley rows 60kg 12,12,12,12,12

1hr inc w/up

was going to finish with some curls but couldnt!  

8 weeks to go, my last meal will change as of tomorrow, to a scoop of protein with udos instead of the full fat greek yoghurt (until offseason and switch back)


weigh-in tomorrow morning, not expecting to have lost any weight, maybe 1/2lb max but will see, as of today posing practice daily- will get in the habbit of going through all quatre turns and mandatory's holdign 10secs each X2 - should eb abit easier on stage that way- also 1-2 routine practices, this shouldnt take too long 15mins or so


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 02, 2014, 06:02:36 PM
nice work mate. All looking very good to be your best


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 02, 2014, 08:48:54 PM
I'll keep pushing for that outcome mate and fingers crossed will be my best come showtime


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 03, 2014, 12:06:26 PM
thats all you can do. Is it flavoured bcaa you use?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 03, 2014, 02:32:21 PM
yeah i use myproteins, but i prefer the bulkpowders, just my computer at work doesnt let me go onto bulkpowders, its ok though berry flavour.

today weighed in at 74.2kg thats 0.3k less than last week, so as expected dropped a little, which is great, guessing i will weigh in 8 weeks time around the 72k mark, but will go by the mirror, and keep pushing on hard-

i have settled on the idea of powerbuilding as its pretty much how i instinctivly feel i should train, it has everything that works for me, the heavy basic powerlifts, basic hard work on exercises, and the fast stuff after too for that bodybuilding look-

i will keep to my 3 days and pound them hard, if i FEEL i need to increase frequency i will do, going back as long as i can remember iv always done squats/deads/bench each week, and usually on seperate days, the rest of the stuff changes all the time, so im not going to hold myself to a certain system, im going to keep the same theme throughout, and mix it up as i feel after the powerlifts, pre plan before the session, this isnt a wimp out excuse this is to hit it even harder, keep it fresh and intense,

so this is next weeks powerbuild routine set out-

Tue- Squat day
5X5 squats - 142.5k (up 2.5k from last week) (2-3min)
4X10 leg press- 300kg (60-90s)
4X10 lying leg curl #10 (60-90s)
4X15 donkey calf raises - stack+25kg (60-90s) (been on these a while will keep attacking them)
4X15 hanging leg raises - +4kg  (60-90s)

Thur- Bench day
5X5 bench press 110kg (2-3min) - aiming to beat my 5,5,4,3,3 from last week
4X10 high incline press 70kg (60-90s) - never done these but gonna enjoy the shoulder/upper chest feel!
4X10 high pull 50kg (60-90s)
4X10 weighted dips +20k (60-90s)
4X10 lying tricep extension 45kg (60-90s) - havnt done any direct tricep work for a while

Sat- deadlift day
5X5 deadlift 162.5kg (2-3min) - 2.5k up here, these have come on loads in form and weight!
4X10 bb row- 90kg (60-90s)
4X10 pullups- BW - (60-90s) (after rows this time, will go for wider overhard grip)
4X10 thick bar curls-45kg(60-90s) (didnt do any direct bicep last week, this will finish off the arms nicely)
4X15 cable crunches - 50kg (60-90s) (havnt dont these in ages, will be hurtign after for sure!)


i will swap and change as i feel AFTER the powerlift 5x5- the reason behind this routine is to 1) keep strength and therefore muscle as i diet and after the contest too, always looking for increasing my basic strength 2) keep my mind fresh and try new things, keeping it as intense as possible, workign fast, not getting bored) - i will track everything i do in my log as always, and refer backw hen i dig out an exercise i perhaps havnt done in a while

nutrition is 100% as always, not deviated atall- this is the foundation - heavy, hard work on basic exercises, clean healthy eating, rest and recover... its working  :)




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on August 03, 2014, 02:37:08 PM
I like how meticulous you are with the plans mate. Pulling some nice numbers in the training, how are the squats feeling now?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 03, 2014, 03:01:07 PM
i know, i widn myself up soemtimes, although iv been doing this long enough to know there is no "best" just got to remember, hit the basics as hard as i can and cant go wrong-

i feel i have my squats down now, the same as my deadlifts, just practicing them week in week out changing small things have helped loads, i really feel the benefits of my stertching 3-4 days per week have helped mobility in both lifts - squats are deep and solid even in the bottom position, i never used to push my elbows forward and elevate chest high throughout the lfit, this has helped alot too- with deadlifting it just clicked when i went to a narrow stance, with arms straight down, again chest high, and they feel as strong as ever- benching strength has suffered a little but still feeling strong and solid , drawing the shoudlers back here has been key

they can only get stronger as i move into the offseason from october- and the plan is to only gain 1 stone over contest weight, im sure with a clean and healthy diet full of carbs ill see even better gains in the big lifts  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 04, 2014, 07:16:41 PM
feeling ready for tomorrows squat day, feeling DOMS much more with this split routine, my delts have been aching from the Deadlift day, maybe all the chins?

diet is as follows, wont be dropping cals any further, this will carry me for the next 5 weeks loosing around 2kg or so, before slowly eating upto maintanance (adding more carbs) the remainding 3 weeks getting that last bit of leanness and fullness too!

breakfast-  3 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
mid morning- 1 scoop protein/banana/1/4 cup nuts
lunch-     chicken or steak/1lb mixed vegetables
mid afternoon- 1 scoop protein/apple/1/4 cup nuts
dinner- salmon or sardines/1 large mixed salad
before bed-  1 scoop protein/1tbsp udo's oil/multivit

pre- strong black coffee
post- 1 scoop protein/5 snackajack rice cakes/5g creatine
2-3 green tea's daily
4+ litres water daily
30g BCAA throughout the day


started posing practice today, harder than i thought! i will be doing it 3 times per week with my foam rolling/stretching sessions, usually a brisk walk round the fields next to my house to warmup then get back, will do 2 rounds of every pose for 10 seconds each, and 2 rounds of the routine followed by foam rolling/stretching takes an hour or so total, want lee to see a big difference in appearance next time i see him, he said im around 80% there so 90% in a months time will be great! for the final runup to the show, will probably be 1-2kg lighter and better at posing to boot! 

after being in a calorie defecit since january, i feel intune with my body know when im pushing the calories too low, too high or just right, i feel right on track at the moment, and getting more excited as the weeks pass!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 05, 2014, 03:12:38 PM
great session to kick off the week, squat day- hard and heavy! (for me)  ;D

5 min row warmup

5X5 squats- 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5, 142.5k 5,5,5,4,4 - all deep reps, felt good and on top form, keep pushing for more! 3min or so between these- then it was on 60-90s between everything after
4X10 leg press 300kg 10,10,10,10- last set was to failure, not all constant tension, these finished off quads!
4X10 lying leg curl #10- 10,10,10,8+1
4X15 donkey calf raises stack+25kg 15,15,15,15- last 2 sets wernt as good as first 2, but calves felt it!
4X15 hanging leg raises +4kg 15,15,15,15- great feel, this finished the workout well and truly!

done in 1 hour including warmup- spot on pace- trained with walby- he said it was the hardest for a long while- my legs have a deep ache already

would be a mistake to go any lower in calories, i can see im pretty deflated at the moment, and my body is soaking up any carbs i take in, but not to worry, will keep that strength up, train head on, and 3 weeks out will be nearly there and ready to eat up, its how i look on the day that counts, but will put up with looking abit small/weak for now- will put some pics up in abit 8 weeks out- and looking fairly lean, small, but on track with the plan!  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on August 05, 2014, 03:14:40 PM
You got me on the squats today, I only went with the 140 to get proper form and depth.

Nice session mate, sounds like it is all going smoothly to plan, soon be able to eat up as you say and tighten that skin and fill everything out.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 05, 2014, 03:20:16 PM
thanks bud, i did read your session before i went in, and got me hyped  :D this time last year i remember using 160kg for sets of 5-6 (about 10kg heavier bodyweight than i am now though) - and were parallel sometimes above, since going below, my mobility has improved, feel stronger throughout and definitly seen more growth in the legs, its good aswell, powerlifting depth just incase u wanna dabble in that too  :) -  i did have to lower the weight a good 20-25kg though


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on August 05, 2014, 03:28:32 PM
I actually thought of you on the reps or rather what you said. Elbows forward, chest up, drive and thinking that on each rep helped a lot and enabled me to get down fully and then out of the hole without the dreaded chest falling / good morning esq squat


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 05, 2014, 03:31:54 PM
i do exactly the same, and also treat it as 1 rep 5 times, another habbit thats helped me is taking in a big breath of air, keep it in, even in the bottom position then drive wuth all those points in mind, lettign air out at the top, and starting again, glad there coming on better mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 05, 2014, 07:32:51 PM
good work on the workout mate looks tasty.

I agree on squats, one rep, reset, next rep. To many rush through


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 05, 2014, 07:35:07 PM
thanks mate, really enjoying these workouts, definitly, maybe if its a lighter volume workout 10X10 or something, just get them done, but heavier low rep stuff, cant rush  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 06, 2014, 12:18:21 PM
Looking and feeling pretty flat, but ignoring the mind games as I know the last 3 weeks adding in more carbs will make all the difference and fill me out, need to get rid of the last few lb's of fat first! Need to be nearly there in 4.5 weeks!

Here a couple of 8 week out pics, need to keep those hammies tight!! - posing practice is getting better though, 3 per week will do the job

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 06, 2014, 12:19:25 PM
Another

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on August 06, 2014, 12:41:18 PM
Looking very sharp Ben but may I suggest something on the back shot as that is the only one I am super confident with.

The leg that is back is too far back and so it is stretched and the ham flattens out. Bring the leg forward and bend the knee a bit, almost sit down into it and push through the floor with a little twist in the foot to pop the ham out. I would also bring the elbows down a touch to open out and show the traps more


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 06, 2014, 12:59:27 PM
thanks toby, sounds very familiar to what lee has told me too, ill keep that in mind when practicing too, i can "feel" when i hit it right, and as you suggest feels right


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on August 06, 2014, 01:16:20 PM
Looking Awesome Ben ,  rear shot in particular ( but don't over reach with your flexed leg ) . 
All that hard work is certainly paying dividends  ;)

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 06, 2014, 01:27:28 PM
thanks mate, will get that sorted for the next 4 weeks out pics :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Damo NY on August 06, 2014, 03:32:41 PM
Looking good Ben.

It's going to be a good battle between you and one of my guys in the Novices, and I'm sure a few others  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 06, 2014, 03:50:34 PM
thanks mate, yeah knowing the standard of some of these guys, like marcus, is definitly adding to my training intensity  ;D im gonna do all i can to be my best on the day and with THAT achieved ill be a happy man regardless of placings  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on August 07, 2014, 12:00:31 AM
Looking excellent Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 07, 2014, 06:43:56 AM
thanks mate  :) - staff training yesterday 1 hour in the pool, took it out of me, so much harder to swim at a lighter bodyweight, just sink! - todays goal is to beat last weeks bench press numbers, then take the intensity through the roof for the rest of the "bench day" work- sticking to the diet plan is no problems, no cravings or anything, but i am looking forward to eating lots of clean food after the contest, adding in loads of carbs, and relaxing abit more, will be a great balance, not long now! really only 3-4 weeks before i add in some food! better crack on!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 07, 2014, 04:58:41 PM
Really enjoyed todays "push" workout, intensity and fire was there,

5min row warmup- couldn't train without this now, gets me ready mentally

5X5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,  5,  4+1, 3+1. ,3

Got my head down after the heavy stuff, wanted to stick to the basics and kill em! 60-90sec max!

5X10 military 60k 10,10,10,10,10 - same as last week, some push pressing going on in the latter sets/reps, shoulders were fried though!
5X15 dips +10k 15,15,15,13,12
Wanted more - BW 12,12,12,12,11

50-55mins all in, felt great! Heavy, hard, basic - will stick with this theme for deadlifts on saturday!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 07, 2014, 08:07:10 PM
Your in a great position mate and staying nice and strong. This shows going to be epic


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 07, 2014, 08:35:31 PM
Thanks scott, it's coming together nicely, really enjoying every aspect, unlike before was all for the show, going for health, strength and fitness aswell as the show I'm looking forward to the offseason too, gonna be stronger than ever, the shows gonna be a great weekend, can't wait to compete and spectate  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 09, 2014, 04:00:03 PM
Todays session went well, I wasn't as strong as I thought I would be, you know when u go in, thinking your gonna hit PB's but the weights don't move! Yeah one of them,
But turned out productive and stuck to the basics

5min row warmup-

5X5 deadlift 102.5 5, 132.5 5, 162.5- 5,5,5,4,4 - will smash this next week

12 sets of chins - BW 10,10,10,8,8,8,7,7,7,6,6,6 - whole back/arms/shoulders were smashed, made sure I controlled the negative 3-4 seconds and squeezed back hard at the top -

4X12 face pulls 40k 12,12,12,12 - these were almost pointless, really tough but after all the chins, was done! - planned to do some thick bar curls- no chance! Next week I plan to start with some heavy rows (after beating this weeks deadlifts of coarse) then do chins till I cannot chin any more!

1 hour including warmup-  weigh in tomorrow I'm guessing iv lost half a lbish- will see


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 10, 2014, 06:16:48 AM
Scales this morning saying 74.2k exactly the same, although felt it was a tough week, fighting the carbs at times, and feel I'm looking marginally tighter, will keep everything the same for the 6 week out mark next week and won't be surprised if my weight fluctuates down then, if it doesn't I'll have a few weeks to bring it in,maybe with HIIT on my off days


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 12, 2014, 10:14:04 AM
feeling great at the moment at 6.5weeks out, not sure if thats a good thing haha, felt harder at 12-16 weeks out, i feel im approaching my best shape, feel strong, recovery is there, eating enough food, stress free, iv lost getting on for 10kg since christmas, and im stronger lb for lb - ill keep killing every workout, and training in this mannor, although a few observations over the last few months-

- the "light" rep work that i thought would bring an extra dimention to my physique just seems to be giving me abit of a sweat on, heavy training keeps the strength, mass and fullness better for me, ill learn from this and as for now the positive of using the higher rep volume stuff AFTER the heavy work is hyping my metabolism if nothign else.

- i havnt lost any size/fullness or detail in any musclegroups when iv taken out isolation work such as curls or tricep extensions, laterals etc, as long as the basics are there, theyll grow with everything else

- my offseason plan after the contest and for my next contest prep for that matter, will be going with my instinct, old school heavy hard work on basic exercises, pushing for huge strength and size, full body workouts, X3 weekly to get the best bang from each workout, some sprint work for metabolic conditioning, lots of clean healthy food, all varieties, of course controlling the amount, and an active healthly lifestyle, beyond that, its just fluff!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 12, 2014, 05:33:43 PM
What a belter!

5min rowing warmup- knew from here it was gonna be a world of PAIN

5X5 squat 80k 5, 120k 5, 142.5k 5,5,4 140k 3,3 - getting weaker are ya? Let's turn this around!

10X5 squat 120k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5
Supersetted with 1 min rest after
10X5 lying leg curl #12 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5.

Last 3-4 sets were disgusting

3X15 donkey calf raise stack 15,15,15
Supersetted- no rest
Decline situps BW 20,20,20

1 hour I was done! Can't wait for thursday to get in there again!
Not long now!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 14, 2014, 06:34:48 PM
Another great session with lots of heavy hard work on the basics

5min rowing warmup
5x5 bench 2-3min rest 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,3+1,3 - 1 more than last week  :D
10x5 military 60-90s rest-  4-0-1-0 tempo 60k , got them all  last 2 sets were failure though!
10x5 dips 60-90s rest- 4-0-1-0 tempo +20k, got them all just, last set hit failure

Lots of volume again, loving focusing more on the basics.  25 heavy sets (for me) The slow tempo was very tough but a great session for it, job done in 1 hour after rowing




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 16, 2014, 01:42:56 PM
Great session to end the week, giving 100 percent- as the head games are creeping in big time, getting softer, losing muscle, overdieted, not lean enough, etc etc- all I can do is push on as hard as I can and be happy that iv givin it my all

5min row warmup-

5X5 deadlift 2-3min rest, 102.5 5, 132.5 5, 162.5 5,5,5,4,4 - same as last week, need to build it! Use it or loose it,

10X5 low pulley row 90kg 4-0-1-0 tempo, 60-90s rest got them all, lats 2-3 sets were failure
10X5 chins BW 60-90s rest- got them all, only half were super slow negatives, other 5 sets just controlled - back and arms were done

1 hour 10mins including warmup

My bodyweight seems to be static, weigh in - in. The morning


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 17, 2014, 08:06:18 AM
Weigh in- ecactly the same 74.2k - 6 weeks to go, went to see lee. Yesterday he says I'm looking slightly better than a couple of weeks ago, yet my weight hasn't dropped in 3-4 weeks now, will keep doing what I'm doing and assess how things are in 2 weeks at 4 weeks out, the main goal is to keep strength and intensity high in the gym, keep executing my nutrition plan, posing practice and recover on days off, and 4 weeks out will see how I look, making any changes then, I was originally going to eat up 3 weeks or so before the show, I'm thinking now how long do I really need to add in carbs and see a fullness and tighter look? Iv never done it, but if a week is enough I.e. Last week before the show eat some more carbs lunch and dinner, will see, not going to do anything drastic anyway,

I realise I havnt got much muscle, that will come with years of heavy training, with more muscle I will look leaner and more muscular, for now I'm going to do all I can to get in my best shape, keep on keeping on  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 17, 2014, 11:12:19 AM
if your looking better thats all you can do mate. Just keep ticking along


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 17, 2014, 11:43:54 AM
Thanks mate although I'm a worrier, I'm enjoying the experience, I'm also looking forward to a healthy and strong productive offseason

The plan is to eat a wholesome healthy diet, back to basics lots of good food, and train like a man, heavy hard basic knock the crap out of you workouts

Diet based on eggs,milk,meat/fish,fruit/veg,whole grains,nuts, 1-2 good off plan but healthy meals over the weekend, no getting drunk, no spending loads of money on supplements, no half arsing the offseason, get big and strong, fit and healthy active, balanced lifestyle


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 18, 2014, 10:08:39 AM
as always reading about past champions motivates me to pull my socks up, heres an article on Bruce Randall, he won the 1959 mr universe afer loosing some 200lb, increadible!

i love reading about physical culture in the 40's 50's 60's, it defines what bodybuilding is about for me, its about not only being huge and as strong as an ox, but for most, being fit and healthy too

http://muscleandbrawn.com/mr-universe-bodybuilder-bruce-randall/



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 19, 2014, 03:27:10 PM
another brutal and basic start to my training week- lazer like focus throughout

5min rowing warmup- ready!

5X5 squat- 80k 5, 120k 5, 140k 5,5,5,5,5- 2-3 min rest felt very solid good depth and strong (for me)  ;)
heavy stuff out the way- time to go- 60-90s between all sets from here!
10X10 squats (why not  ;D) 100kg - 10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10 - last 3 were miserable!
10X10 lying leg curls #8 10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10

4X12 donkey calf raises- stack 12,12,12,12 - real slow focusing on squeeze and stretch
supersetted
4X12 decline situp - +10kg 12,12,12,12- as above slow controlled and painful!

more volume than usual took 1hr and 15 including warmup - last 2 sets of 5x5 were failure and very close on the last 1-2 of both 10X10's too!

every squat was parallel or below, gonna be in a world of pain tomorrow, so will go for a brisk walk and stretch well as i always do on my recovery days-

diet is as solid as always, not deviated atall since i started dieting at the start of april, every meal, every litre of water, supplements, training sessions on point- dont ask me why but i got into the habbit of just eating my meals as you do when dieting "on the go", and decided to warm my lunch through, for for my first hot meal in 18 weeks! the steak tastes like a nice juicy burger and the chicken like a roast dinner, simple things!  ;D

diet is still-

4+ litres water daily
30g bcaa daily (in water)
2-3 green teas daily
pre- strong black coffee
post- 1 scoop protein/5 snackajacks/5g creatine

breakfast- oatcakes (3 eggs/1cup oats/1tbsp honey/1/2 cup blueberries) 5g creatine/multivit
mid morning- 1 scoop protein/1 banana/1/4 cup mixed nuts
lunch- steak or chicken/1lb mixed vegetables
mid afternoon- 1 scoop protein/1 apple/1/4 cup mixed nuts
dinner- salmon or sardines/large mixed salad
before bed- 1 scoop protein/1tbsp udo's/multivit

simples!  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 19, 2014, 08:41:13 PM
love your approach mate, really do.

I am persoanlly finding my current approach so very easy to follow it's unreal.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 19, 2014, 08:59:06 PM
its great isnt it, more of a lifestyle than a "diet" or regime, then it snowballs, you enjoy it, you are more passionate about it, you work harder, you see better results - i know that there are tough times ahead with me moving in with becky next year, gonna be working alot more, spending alot more, and this approach will always be realistic in consistancy,  a great foundation that keeps building


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on August 20, 2014, 12:54:22 PM
How are the legs now, mate? Those squats look brutal!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on August 20, 2014, 01:08:39 PM
Jesus mate, good squat session then a 10x10? That is crazy! That will be a whole world of pain


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 20, 2014, 02:33:46 PM
thanks for popping by guys the sessions have all been brutal like that one as of late, legs are pretty toast today, brisk walking and stretching is helping alot, so hungry and tired today though!

not long now i wanna give it everything i have

unfortunatly due to a change of circumstances i have to train earlier on saturday and wont be training with Nic  :( was looking forward to the mashup, but guess these things happen

tomorrow will be - 5X5 bench
 then 10 sets of 5 military pressing
 10 sets of 10 dips 

high volume is keeping it intense recently


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 21, 2014, 04:25:11 PM
todays- "Push" workout-

5min row- warmup

5X5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,4,3,3 - 1 rep down on last week although gave 100%

10X5 military 65kg 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5, - a little push pressy on some, and controlled negative well 60-90s rest

10X12 dips +10-15k (weighted vest) 12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12 (last 2-3 sets very hard)
supersetted (60s between supersets)
10X12 laterals x2 10kg 12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12 (after last set struggled to lift the vest over my head)

all done in 70mins including warmup

although im really enjoying pushing the volume through the roof, lots of reps/sets and keeping it basic, i am aware of the importance of the heavy stuff, with just over 5 weeks till the contest i think its a good idea to be doing more, burning more cals, doing what i can to hold onto the muscle but keeping that strength and muscle with the heavy stuff is whats most impiortant i feel-

i can see a big difference in my conditioning too- heavy and fast leg workouts build cardiovascular fitness, without a doubt, not half as "gased" during training even if it is fast paced- all good stuff



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: thebull on August 21, 2014, 09:05:58 PM
Good work Ben it's edging closer! You got your tan trunks Nd tune sorted?!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 22, 2014, 06:39:44 AM
its going to fly by before i know it, mate - all sorted tan/trunks/music all good to go  :) how about yourself mate?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 22, 2014, 08:43:33 AM
Are you going with dream tan mate?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 22, 2014, 08:49:24 AM
yeah abit nervous really, as its either gonna be walby (training partner) or becky, who put it on, haha how hard can it be!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 22, 2014, 01:31:18 PM
Ask Chris Saunders about application of dream tan his looked the best I have seen dream tan.
I shall be around as well mate so your not alone ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 22, 2014, 01:34:34 PM
chris looked fantastic from the pics thats iv seen, will be great to have a catchup mate  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on August 22, 2014, 01:58:49 PM
35 sets in 70 mins? That is quick work mate with I guess 60 - 90 second breaks?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 22, 2014, 02:16:55 PM
yeah and supersets at the end, seems to be giving me a "fuller" look, its not long term though what im doing at the moment, and after the contest im sure ill settle into 3 days of heavy big 3 (5X5 as i am now) and then 3-4 sets 2-3 exercises per bodypart 60-90s (bodybuilder style) and reguarly rotating the bodybuilder stuff, different angles, etc


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 23, 2014, 02:22:09 PM
not sure what to think of today, abit dissatisfied, need to keep that heavy weight coming in, probably lower that voluem down a touch next week

had to train pretty early, but enjoyed it

5min row warmup

5X5 deadlift- 102.5k 5, 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5,5,4,4- same as last week AGAIN! gonna keep pushing on i wanna build strength upto the show!

chins BW- 8,8,8,8,8,7,6,6,6,6
supersetted (60-90s rest after supersets)
pulldowns 60kg - 10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10,10

3X cable rows 75k 10,8,8 - grip and arms were smashed at this point

3X8 pullover 50k 8,8,8
supersetted
3X8 curls 30k 8,8,8

75mins inc w/up

as you can see, baby weights, which im not too happy about, but did get a decent amount of volume and back/biceps/forearms were worked very hard, will reign in the volume just a little to make room for more intensity and weight being used, stick with the big 3 5X5 as that is what i see as my foundation, then go for the "quality" rep work, with 2-3 exercises per bodypart 3-4 sets 8-12 reps 60-90s rest, and as i have been mix it up but still keep it pretty basic-

so next weeks "Pull" workout could look like this- using abit more weight
5X5 deadlift- need to get atleast another rep here!
4X10 chins
4X10 rows
4X10 curls
4X10 face pulls ss cable crunches


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 24, 2014, 12:08:08 PM
Same weight again, have been for weeks now, a reduction of cals would see my weight come down, I only think 1kg is needed to be in my top shape, 5 weeks to go, so still no reductions


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 25, 2014, 01:34:21 PM
really needing the recovery days/sessions in between the workouts recently, my own fault for putting the volume through the roof, not looking any different over the last few weeks i dont think, priority is to lift heavy and keep any muscle i have with less than 5 weeks to go, will keep pushing on, and giving training everything-

training will be basic as always this week- a little less volume and higher intensity- but enough pace to feel iv burnt a decent amount of calories throughout-

dont want to change anything drastic now, but cant wait to get back to basics after the show, been a great year learnt alot and feel after the show regardless of placings i will have progressed in many ways- been a great prep, and been fortunate to have some great help too, and im already raring to eat lots of good clean food, get big and strong - basic, and live for the strength and health lifestyle- love this lifestyle, and works great with work/life/family etc wont be worrying about the "fluff" 


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 26, 2014, 02:44:26 PM
Squat day-

the aim as in my previous post is to hit the basics hard as always and work in the quality "bodybuilder" work after for that look, im finding that balance between too much volume and not enough, and today was very close to a very good session, but my squatting strength was down on last week, which put a downer on things, ill put it down to doing way to many sets recently, so build on what i did today, regardless it felt great, heavy and strong, and was pumped and gassed after the bodybuilder work-

5 min row- warmup

5X5 squat(3min)- 80k 5, 120k 5, 140k 5,5,5,3,3- with better recovery this week ill smash this next week, no problem!
60-90s rest from here
4X10 squat- 110k 10,10,10,10-very hard, good feel! 112.5k next week
4X10 lying leg curl #10- 10,10,9,7- build on this over the next month
4X12 donkey calf - stack- 12,12,12,12- good ROM and felt every rep, +5k next week
4X15 cable crunch- stack (45k) 15,15,15,15- just! these were failure last set,

perfect pace! 1 hour including warmup, a good hit, but will recover from it, sometimes its nice to smash the hell out of the muscle, but will always suffer strength, intensity and recovery wise- so finding that balance is key! will stick with this theme  

really fighting the carbs as of late, finding it very tough, each day at a time 4.5 weeks to go! - interesting as i havnt reduced calories for over a month! - keep on keeping on!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 26, 2014, 06:31:47 PM
the leaner you get the harder it gets mate. At three weeks out i always have a mental break down. Keep digging deep and you will be a force mate, no doubt


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 26, 2014, 06:54:31 PM
thanks mate, will keep plugging away  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 28, 2014, 05:07:12 PM
Not sure what to think of todays workout, much like tuesday- numbers VERY low, after the initial heavy 5X5 but felt the muscles working well, and a great feel and pace to the workout

Maybe I shouldn't worry about "wasting away" keep doing what I'm doing, and hitting the powerlifts heavy and hard first, and not worry about using big weights after them, and just supporting them with the accessory stuff, going for feel, pump and a decent amount of volume, it "feels" right but the worrier in me is telling me - lift heavy or waste away

5min row warmup

5X5 bench press 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,3,3,3 - just missed rep 4 on set 3- (3min rest)
Then 60-90s between sets and very suprised how weak I actually am!
4X10 incline press 70k 10, -too heavy!!! 60k 9,8,8 - WOW!
4X10 behind neck press 40k! 8,8,8,8 - great feel in shoulders but comin 40k!!!
4X10 upright row 40k 12,12,12,12- 45k next week
4X10 dips +20k 10,10,7,7

1 hour including warmup and above all pushed on hard and enjoyed it!

Is this wasting away, too long dieting time! Should I increase carbs slightly telling my body I'm out the defecit? Should I just solider on and accept I'm not gonna be strong when lean?

Ill keep everything the same as next tues luckily I'm seeing lee, but I admit I'm as worried as iv been so far- apart from that, all going well, diet is perfect, energy is acceptable yet I can tel my body is working very hard


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on August 28, 2014, 05:24:19 PM
Hi Ben, try not to let the numbers play on your mind to much mate.
I think a drop in strength is always going to happen when your constantly calorie dificeint.
Keep pressing forward mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on August 28, 2014, 05:41:29 PM
With 4 weeks to go Ben , find that maintenance level of resistance that doesn't realise failure. 100k x 5x5 on the bench looks about right for ya presently , 150k x 5x5 on deadlifts ,  125k x 5x5 on squat , and then just lighten up everything else for 3 sets of 10. 

keep in there pal , T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on August 28, 2014, 06:22:31 PM
At this point mate, just do what you can do. I never let it worry me. I would say that as long as you push your not losing muscle. Mind games hey!!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 28, 2014, 07:38:16 PM
Thanks guys, I'm definitely going to keep pushing on hard regardless, need to be smart and not grind myself into a state I can't recover from, although it's tempting to do a load more volume as strength isn't there,but maintaining strength as Turpin has suggested seems the logical thing to


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 30, 2014, 12:07:50 PM
I have a quiet hour at work, so thought i would put on paper a little about this year, what iv learnt and what i would change etc- (blabble basically)

- its been a grest year and a great prep overall, iv had soem great advice and help that i will never take for granted and has made the experience even better. I set out with a goal that is almost achieved, iv enjoyed it, and i feel im a better person due to the discipline, and hard work iv put in (thought id get that out the way first)

- what iv learnt- to keep things simple and work as hard as possible, - there is no substitute!

- supplements (even the basics) are good, but with intelegent planning, there not needed i.e. a long diet without loosing weight quickly, lots of good wholefood- again there is no substitute- after prep has finished ill save my money and stick to good nutrition alone to get the job done- MRP's, etc are great, but instead of faffing around with powders, timings, mixing etc, ill be buying only good food and eating it, meat/fish/fruit/veg/whoelgrains/nuts/eggs/dairy- basics

- nutrition in general- im very happy in how iv treated my nutrition, not alot will be changing here, just simplify even more with more food and no supplements, and being offseason soon, ill be adding 1-2 relaxed meals over the weekend, but still good food, roast dinner, home cooked food etc - lots of clean water - its what i enjoy!

cardio- isnt needed, i think EVERYBODY should do enough general exercise IN LIFE to cover general health and fitness, i.e. frequent walking, cycling, swimming, frequent stretching for health and fitness, i wouldnt call that cardio and i dont schedule it like training. - outside of that training, should be specific to your goal, doing cardio for the sake of cardio doesnt work (for me)

training- here iv made the biggest mistakes this prep, i thought that going lighter on some exercises and doing more volume would bring an extra dimention to my physique, and maybe it works for others, for me, what builds the muscle will keep it, and maximum development should be the goal within training weather offseason or dieting, let the amount of calories dictate how lean you get, keep training basic, hard and heavy, and be consistant, only the fact iv kept the basics heavy has held onto mass, and iv realised some definiton whislt dieting, but, next time i prep, will not change anything, apart from slowly skim calories over the coarse of 6 months, training will be hard heavy and basic, right upto the next contest



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 30, 2014, 04:44:06 PM
Today's training was great, my mind firmly set on my goal and trained in the way I enjoy and thrive from, the conclusion, I left the gym feeling I got the job done, and didn't waste a minute, all hard heavy basic with a few accessory for weak points, this is Thursday workout, next sat will be front squats heavy, tue back squats and Thur deads, gonna do 2 accessory after each to target weak points, but focus on the 3 basics in each workout, trained this way to gain the size and looking forward to pushing big numbers after the contest

3x15 clean,squat,press 20k warmup

5x5 deadlift 100k 5,  130k, 5, 160k 5,5,5 just 3 hard work sets
5x5 press 40k 5, 50k 5, 70k 5,5,5 much better strict and solid
5x5 chins bw 5,5 +20k 5,5,5 great feel, best these have felt in months

incline db press 35's 12,10
Curl 50k 10,8
Seated calf 65k 15,15

1 hour all in, rest enough between sets but good pace, maybe upto 3 min for deads, 2ish for press, chin, and 1-2 for the rest

Weigh in, tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on August 31, 2014, 10:24:28 AM
weight thismorning 73.8kg- so down a little, although i feel and look tighter over the last 4-5 weeks iv only lost around 1-2lb

4 weeks to go, the aim to weigh in around 73kg - we will see, feel very refreshed with training, doing what i know and love, and not doing the run of the mill "fluff", the aim after contest is to stay within 1 stone of contest weight, (around 80k max) ill still be healthy and fairly lean at that weight, and my calories will be pretty high there too, excited to hit PB's and get nice and strong at the basics

diet is still the same, havnt changed anything atall  :)

after the contest the diet will be very similar- as follows- will use semi-skim milk for 6 weeks up intil my holiday, then after full fat, as to not gain weight too quickly,

3-4 litres water daily - found to be enough and a healthy amount
pre - strong black coffee- if i train after breakfast, will have this with breakfast
post- milk/dried fruit
1-2 more relaxed meals over the weekend during the offseason


breakfast- eggs/oats/berries/honey - dont this every morning this year, love this breakfast
mid AM- milk/fruit- mix up the fruit
lunch- meat/potato/mixed vegetables (i always grill my meat, just mix it up to whatever i fancy, mix up the veggies too)
mid PM- milk/fruit- mix up the fruit
dinner- fish/brown rice/mixed salad (mix up the type of fish, and salad)
before bed- milk/mixed nuts

thats it- will be dieting next time on the above too, with full fat milk and all those carbs too equals around 3250cals, high fats, high carbs, and plenty of protein- without the lunch/dinner carbs and using skim milk about 2250cals with lower fats, still enough protein and carbs too - this way of eating will be alot cheaper for me, and just as effective and easy to implement, but have enough protein powders,bcaa,creatine,multivits,udo's oil to last the remainding 4 weeks  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 02, 2014, 05:15:13 PM
Loved todays training- although the numbers wernt the best, I left feeling I did what I can, and didn't waste my time, I have been reading a lot of the bill starr articles, they read well and make total sense to me

General warmup- 3X15 empty bar - clean-squat-press

5X5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,4,4 - great depth, head on for an extra rep next week
5X5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,4,3 - again, in the groove and can push 1 more rep here
5X5 row 70k 5, 90k 5, 115k 5,5,5 - nice and strong- pretty solid, stick for next week

3X10 laterals 22.5k 10,10,10
3X15 donkey calf - stack- 15,15,12+3 - stick till all 15's

1hr and 10mins had to wait for equipment a little bit so can knock 10mins off next week, but great session- getting back into the groove of the heavy basics as I should be!



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on September 02, 2014, 09:07:12 PM
Still impressive weigh ts there mate. When I dieted last year I made sure I did as best as I could with my heavy first movement, and then repped the rest out. As I know you mentioned it earlier.

Do you normally drink much milk? I noticed you were planning on going back to the full fat stuff. Is that something Ian Duckett advocates?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 02, 2014, 09:34:24 PM
That's mate, I do much better with the full body strength and recovery wise, the reply stuff is great for the pump and burning some extra cals, but always feel weak after, I haven't during the contest prep but loads of it in the offseason, will drink it's. A staple between meals and before bed after the show, Ian I dot. Think drinks much milk, but does include a fair bit of dairy

Went to see lee  and Amy this evening the happy wit how things are going, and so aM I, always come away feeling confident and buzzing, roll on Thursdays session,  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on September 02, 2014, 10:44:19 PM
Glad to hear everythings going well Ben. I am a big fan of milk I can never really understand the bad reputatation it gets I often hear people saying they do not drink milk as it makes them fat I think alot of this is more bro-science rather than anything else I can remember I guy telling me when I was drinking milk when I was preping for a show that it would make me fat when I asked him did I look fat he says very little and then says well Arnold says milk is for babies, yea a great reason for not taking it.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 03, 2014, 08:50:39 AM
Thanks Felix I agree completely, if I stayed very lean, I would use milk to diet aswell as offseason with no bad effects atall, but having too much fat to lose I needed to go lower cals so pro shakes are doing the job, after contest and next contest prep though, full fat milk all the way, if I have to use semi skimmed or skimmed that's what I'll do, not a popular choice to diet on, but works for me just as well as protein shakes as well as there's enough deficit

For the same reason I'm gonna add on HIIT after my workouts to keep that metabolism reving and get that last bit of condition for the last 3 weeks or so, not ideal, but neither was being too fat to start with or going abit low on the cals, but you do what you have to in the given situation, next time I'm sure if I stay within a stone of contest weight I will be able to peak without any cardio and drink lots of milk all the way to the show  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on September 04, 2014, 12:51:08 PM
Tweaks are inevitable mate, just need to get the job done  :)
Do you feel like you are on track still?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 04, 2014, 01:06:54 PM
yeah its apart of the game i guess, i like to plan ahead, but not always feasible, i feel on track, i know im pretty self criticle but everything feels right at this stage


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 04, 2014, 07:26:41 PM
if Lee and Amy say your nearly ready then your nearly ready.

How are you doing your hiit? Intervals etc. I do high intensity cardio and it's a killer


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 04, 2014, 07:40:24 PM
Today's session was great, In fact the best for a while, right up there

5min general warmup, was fired up for it

5x5 deadlifts 105k. 5, 135k 5, 165k 5,5,4 - stronger than last time, took note, bar was under the chest and not too close to the body, felt solid and powerful, love it when these things click into place, building even more confidence for next time too

5x5 press 40k 5, 50k 5, 70k 5,5,5 even more solid than last week, almost rest on clavicles powerful solid core and no momentum 72.5k next week

5x5 chins -30k 5, BW 5, +21.25k 5,5,5 heavier than last week but just as solid, good lean away and contraction if the upper back +25k next week

3x10 incline db press 35k's 10,10,8  great form and feel in the chest, get them all next week dig deeper find those reps (60-90s between accessory sets, 2-3 for big lifts)

3x15 cable crunch 45.5k 15,15,16 - great control, all 16s next week

15min HIIT rowing - 40s recovery : 20s sprint - these were brutal, but 9 more of these sessions before the contest will take me to the next level

1 hour including warmup and strength training, perfect pace, then HIIT and 5 min cool down (needed it!) very pleased with this session

After the show as part of my lifestyle I'll be cycling 20-25min to and from work, so won't need these HIIT sessions, cycling + loads of good clean food + heavy strength training! good things will be happening next offseason I get excited just thinking about it ... Stronger + bigger + fitter + healthier = happier!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 04, 2014, 07:44:46 PM
Hey mate, yeah I'm very lucky to have their input, they seem to be happy with how things are going and lifts me a lot to hear it from them, I must be working harder than I think lol, sprints in the rowing machine 20:40, killer but in a psycho way I loved it haha


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 04, 2014, 07:51:11 PM
sounds hardcore. I do the stepper, up a level each minute until I feel like dying then back down to go back up again. Interested to see how it goes on prep in 2016


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 04, 2014, 07:59:14 PM
That sounds torture too! Yeah I agree


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 05, 2014, 01:29:06 PM
As suspected feeling pretty beat up today from the heavy lifting + HIIT energy is a tad lower, but feels like the right move to bring it on contest day 3 weeks tomorrow! Weeks have just been flying by! Really getting excited now!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 06, 2014, 03:56:58 PM
Session wasn't as solid as I was expecting, felt pretty zapped but after the legs went pretty well

5min row warmup

7x5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 130k 5,5,5,5,5 was planning to hit front squats, but after warming up with them, they didn't feel right, not sure what it was, so decided to do back squats with more volume less weight

5x5 cable row 70k 5, 90k 5, 120k 5,5,5 felt very heavy but good

5x5 dips BW 5, +20k 5, +50k 5, +55k 5,5

Accessory work
Underhand chins +20k 8,7
Lying leg curl #11 8,8
Seated calf 80k 12,12

15min HIIT xtrainer - level  10 -40s / level 20 20s - bloody hard

5 min cool down

1hr 20mins all In

Definite decrease in energy since Thursday,

The plan is to keep hitting the heavy basics as good and heavy as possible, accessory work where needed most for me, and killing the intervals too, diet is the same, no changes there

Weigh in tomorrow morning


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 07, 2014, 10:31:35 AM
73.8k thismorning, same as last week, i predict ill weigh in at around 73.5k on the day in just under 3 weeks time

all going well, definitly biting now, finding it hard, but knowing only 3 weeks left is making it more of a sprint during every workout- im gonna stick to the basics, lifting as heavy as possible, and hitting those HIIT sessions, cals wont be lowered anymore

still this-

4+ litres water daily
pre- strong black coffee
post- 1 scoop pro/5 snackajacks/5g creatine
30g BCAA throughout the day in water
2-3 green teas daily

6- 3 eggs/cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/vit/creatine
9- 1 scoop pro shake/banana/1/4 cup nuts
12- chicken or steak/1lb mixed vegetables
3-1 scoop pro shake/apple/1/4 cup nuts
6- salmon or sardines/large mixed salad
9- 1 scoop pro shake/1tbsp udos/vit

cant wait to add some carbs in now- not long


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 07, 2014, 05:18:19 PM
Hi Ben
Sounds like your feeling how you should and looking how you should. On training days is the post workout in addition to your normal food laid out ?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 09, 2014, 03:44:53 PM
started the workout week with a good, solid, basic and heavy workout- was pretty pleased with today, a little higher volume but using submaximal weights (although still heavy for me,) and this worked in my favour as the workload was actually higher, and will still be able to hit it hard on thursdays session too, all positive!

5 min warmup-

squats- 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,4,4,4,4 - felt a good amount of work, will be squatting again saturday, in the groove today!
bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 100k 6,5,5,4,4 - again felt solid and strong every rep, a decent amount of work
row 70k 5, 90k 5, 115k 5, 110k 6,6,6- a good feel in my back, mind-muscle connection as good as ever

accessory work
lying ham curl #11- 8,8,8
decline situps- BW 20,20,20

15 min HIIT X trainer- killer, lungs burning, heart rate upto 175bpm at points, which is about 90% of my max heart rate

few minutes cooldown

because of the slightly higher volume my total gym time including warmup/HIIT/cooldown was 1.5 hrs, will be a little less come thursday

i seem to have fallen into a routine that i have done in the past, a full body A/B workout, focusing on the heavy basics, enjoy this type of training, and if i keep progressing with it, why not stick with it? i really overthink/over anilyse everything, until i get to the gym then i just work hard on the basics, looking forward to crushing some deadlifts/pressing/chinning with some extra work (dips/calf work) and HIIT thursday - 7 more workouts to go till the big day!  :-X  



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 09, 2014, 09:55:38 PM
looking forward to the day mate. HIIT is a killer but unlike long cardio it's not boring


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 09, 2014, 10:01:31 PM
Me to gonna be a cracker, I enjoy it, definitely is testing though


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 11, 2014, 03:19:56 PM
another great session today, training hasnt been as productive as it is right now, maybe because i can see the finishline? maybe because im doing more of what i enjoy? who knows but all going well

firstly WOW! - isnt it crazy what a head game this can be, literally on alternate days, feels like i can barely walk without having to tell myself to MAN UP!, negative thoughts creep in, and its a fight to keep the dark clouds away haha

then- a good session, or a small amount of carbs post workout, and you feel AMAZING full of energy, life is great, everything is going well- will see what tomorrow brings! haha, it seems to be the last 3-4 hours of the day, usually when busy at work, and working in a busy gym, but got to count your blessings and realise im living life on my terms, in an enjoyable job (most of the time) and living the lifestyle that i want to, prep wouldnt be the same without the ups and downs, will make the big day even more meaningful  :)

todays session-

5 min warmup- X train- (been using this for a general warmup, works great)
(2-3 min rest)
5X5 deadlift- 100k 5, 130k 5, 160k 5,5,5,5,5 - happy with these, stick at this and keep them all strong!
4X6 press - 40k 6, 50k 6, 70k 6,6,6,6 - stick with these too, last 1-2 reps of set 3&4 used a little push
4X6 chins- BW-30k 6, BW 6, BW+25k 6,6,6,5- supinated, felt heavy but solid, bar to lower chest, full hang

accessory- (1-2 mins for this stuff)
3X8 dips +40k 8,8,8- +1.25k next time
3X12 standing calf raise- stack - 12,12,12- stick with these, last few reps of set 3 were wobbly, havnt done these for a while, and calves were screaming

15min HIIT- X trainer - as hard as ever, heart rate in high 170's looked like i was going to die so must be doing me some good  ;D

all done in 1 1/2 hours, very pleased with this session, 6 sessions to go :o


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on September 11, 2014, 04:24:06 PM
firstly WOW! - isnt it crazy what a head game this can be, literally on alternate days, feels like i can barely walk without having to tell myself to MAN UP!, negative thoughts creep in, and its a fight to keep the dark clouds away haha

then- a good session, or a small amount of carbs post workout, and you feel AMAZING full of energy, life is great, everything is going well- will see what tomorrow brings! haha, it seems to be the last 3-4 hours of the day, usually when busy at work, and working in a busy gym, but got to count your blessings and realise im living life on my terms, in an enjoyable job (most of the time) and living the lifestyle that i want to, prep wouldnt be the same without the ups and downs, will make the big day even more meaningful  :)


Looks a good session Ben and you're enjoying it!

And yes to the above! Except for me I'm fine until about 3pm then energy just goes, until maybe 7pm when I rally again (99% of the time anyway). Hence I have to get my work done before then, and either train at about 3 (and just MTFU) or do admin and other work tasks which don't involve, you know, spelling and grammar and creativity ;) Funny how it affects people differently.

See you soon!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 11, 2014, 04:29:27 PM
i agree, and days i dont train, energy goes alot quicker,

haha i can relate to trying to use your brain during the "slog" period, i must look like a complete caveman at times with clients,  ;D

not long now mate, see you soon!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on September 11, 2014, 05:15:55 PM
Hitting that 'diet wall' feels like the deepest darkest self induced depression that you could unleash on yourself. I remember this from my early contests and wanted to kill myself from 14:00 onwards, then just like Nic I'd recover after evening cardio and then go again, day after day. Try and get as much sleep as you can and avoid stress in an attempt to fully recover after each days brutal sessions, this is one of the biggest tests now, so embrace it and man up  ;)

I found that posing practice in private helped me regain mental composer as you could "see" why you were going through the daily torture.

The very best of luck mate, can't wait to see the final result.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 11, 2014, 05:26:23 PM
thanks mate, great to hear its because im on the right track that the dark place comes round, i do some posing practice whe home alone, and although exsausting it does reset my mood,, be great to have a natter on the day  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 11, 2014, 08:23:33 PM
Hitting that 'diet wall' feels like the deepest darkest self induced depression that you could unleash on yourself. I remember this from my early contests and wanted to kill myself from 14:00 onwards, then just like Nic I'd recover after evening cardio and then go again, day after day. Try and get as much sleep as you can and avoid stress in an attempt to fully recover after each days brutal sessions, this is one of the biggest tests now, so embrace it and man up  ;)

I found that posing practice in private helped me regain mental composer as you could "see" why you were going through the daily torture.

The very best of luck mate, can't wait to see the final result.

I echo Keith. I seemed to rally round for training and cardio. work was fine as I was not thinking about feeling poo. Evenings were spent very quite as I was mentally dead. Great aint it ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 12, 2014, 08:23:40 AM
It's a strange lifestyle of self inflicted pain haha, I haven't got a day off work until show day, so should stay busy, I think that's key too, even during quiet times


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 13, 2014, 10:11:33 AM
works quite handy in that it keep your structured.I find weekends harder as there are different demands on our time


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 13, 2014, 03:02:28 PM
i had way to much time on my hands last time i competed, and drove myself crazy overthinking the process

ended this week with another good one, just 5 more sessions to go, and will be going over to see Lee and Amy with becky next friday, for a catchup and advices  ;D

5min X train warmup

squats- 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,4,4 120k 8,6,6 - decent amount of weight+volume - not my strongest but felt it!
bench- 65k 5, 85k 5, 105k 5,5,4,4 - 90k 8,6 - again, a couple of back off sets for that quality and feel after heavy stuff
cable row- 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 6,6,6,6 90k 10,10 - back felt great and strong

lying leg curl #11 - 8,8,8 - good squeeze, will stick with this though, just right weight+form
decline sit-ups +25k 12,12,12 - done quickly, last set was very tough, job done

15 min HIIT- had to use the bike as X-trainers taken, but gave it my all and felt as hard as ever, heart rate upto 176 at times,
level 10- 40s (recover) - level 18 20's (sprint) X15-

5 min cooldown, legs were cramping, looked like death but felt i did the job!

90mins all in - weigh in in the morning, not expecting to loose much if any


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on September 13, 2014, 04:19:16 PM
Sounds like you have everything in hand Ben .... now just keep strong mentally , no negativity ;)

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 13, 2014, 04:31:09 PM
thanks mate, not long now, dont have time to be negative  ;D will you be at the show?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on September 13, 2014, 04:47:02 PM
I would love to get there to watch Ben ... we`ll see.

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 13, 2014, 04:48:22 PM
would be great to see you there,  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 14, 2014, 09:28:46 AM
73.6kg this morning so as expected lost 1/2lb or so , the HIIT seems to be creating a slight deficit, which is great feeling how I should this last few weeks and body is telling me the end is near, looking forward to the next couple of weeks, very busy and will make it productive too all training and HIIT crushed all meals on point, and enjoy the day in under 2 weeks

This time in 2 weeks this journey will be over and I will be setting my sights on new goals, foot still firmly on the gas


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: thebull on September 15, 2014, 08:08:12 AM
Less than two weeks pal sounds like you are pushing hard. That's a solid weight to come in at and if you look improved on your early pictures believe you will do well. Last entries I presume will be in today or tomorrow. Wonder if lee hit 3 figures?!

You got your routine etc sorted?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 15, 2014, 09:14:18 AM
Thanks bully, last push now, I'll find out Friday, must be close to 3 figures, routine is sorted pm need to get in a few more posing sessions before the day, as still abit rusty on some, but will get there  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Damo NY on September 15, 2014, 12:13:28 PM
Not long now Ben. Final push over the next 12 days.

I've heard you're looking very good  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 15, 2014, 12:47:58 PM
Thanks Damo , excited yet pushing all out for the big day, will see how lee and Amy feel I look this Friday, hopefully there will be an improvement over the last 3 weeks or so, be good to have a chat on the day, hope all is good with your prep and your clients too  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 16, 2014, 10:13:17 AM
Had to train first thing today, as have a packed out day, and a great start to the day with a very solid session

10mins warmup x train (took a little longer than usual)

5X5 deadlift 105k 5, 135k 5, 165k 5,5,5 - great focus, intensity and power!
5X5 press 45k 5, 55k 5, 75k 5,5,5 - nice and solid, clean reps
5X5 chins BW 5, +5k 5, +30k 5,5,5 - heavy but got em!

All the big lifts today were at my limit, last set was very hard, won't be going any heavier until the last set is as good as the first

3X8 dips +45k 8,8,6 - loving these as always
3X12 calf raise- stack - 12,12,12 - felt these better than last time! Gonna make sure the last set is textbook before I add weight

15min HIIT bike - L10 40s (recovery) : L16 20s (sprint) X15 - brutal as always

5 min cooldown- wiped out! - 4 more to go!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on September 16, 2014, 12:14:36 PM
No changes now mate, keep to sensible lifting after a decent warm up. Make sure you concentrate and rack the bars and plates safely.
Stay strong  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 16, 2014, 12:28:49 PM
Thanks Keith, yep safety first, plenty of rest, no rushing, no PB's just keep pushing on  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on September 16, 2014, 12:38:40 PM
Thanks Keith, yep safety first, plenty of rest, no rushing, no PB's just keep pushing on  :)
"Like"  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on September 17, 2014, 12:57:36 PM
Still sounds like a hard session , mate!
Blimey - only 4 more to go.  Where has the time gone!
Catch you at the show bud  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 17, 2014, 08:59:30 PM
Still feeling strong for training, just dead the other times lol, I know it's flown, but going slow now ha! Thanks mate catch you there!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Trow on September 17, 2014, 09:45:26 PM
Just looking through your journal, good effort and good luck in the show! Is it the UKDFBA show your doing?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 18, 2014, 06:58:41 AM
thankyou, its been a long prep, but iv learnt loads, and reinforced things i had doubts on during prep too, productive  :)

yeah the UKDFBA ill be in the novices, you coming along?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Trow on September 18, 2014, 11:29:02 AM
Pleased to hear the prep has gone well, I notice you've done plenty of HIIT!

I wanted to get to one of the feds finals this year, and atm the UKDFBAs is looking more accessible but not yet sure I can fit in.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 18, 2014, 11:46:04 AM
yeah well the forst 20 weeks of prep did no cardio atall, by contest day will be 10 total HIIT sessions, if i have to do cardio its HIIT all the way, will be a great show (and weekend) if you can make it, come and say hello  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 18, 2014, 05:16:09 PM
Today, went in wanting to lift some decent weight and volume but not being stupid and risking losing form and getting injured, got the job done

5min X train warmup

Squat- 80k 5, 110k 5, 130k 6,6,6,6 100k 10,10,10
Bench 60k 6, 80k 6, 100k 6,5,5,4 70k 8,8,8
Cable row 70k 6, 90k 6, 110k 6,6,6,6 95k 10,10,10

Lying leg curl #11 8,8,8 (spotted gozdecki between a set, he was finishing his workout with squats and got 10 easy reps with 200k)
Decline situp BW 20,20,20

15min HIIT bike - L10 40s (recovery) L16 20s (sprint) X15
5 min cooldown
Done in 90min

Feeling great after breakfast and post workout (carbs) can't wait to feel like that again all the time, not long now! Pushing on!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 19, 2014, 08:21:23 PM
looks really solid for a week out mate. Nice to see it all come to fruition on stage in a week


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2014, 08:44:14 PM
Feels great mate, training how I enjoy and it's working well, feeling good for a week out, working hard though,

Just been to see lee and Amy, those guys are awesome, came away full of confidence and excitement for the week ahead, 1 week out, let's do this!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2014, 07:16:09 AM
went through my final week with Lee, going to be nothing drastic atall, but going to go with the plan to eat a little more from monday, to stop the deficit and maximise any muscularity i have, along with a few other minor adjustments, but nothing crazy, training will be maintanance but still heavy next week, and today will see my 8th and final cardio session of the prep

thismorning weigh in - 1 week out 73.5kg - will most likely weigh in at 74kg - around 2-4kg heavier than originally planned, but thats a good thing i guess  :) - started this journal at 82kg - and wont be going above 80kg in the offseason which will see me stay in half decent shape, posing practice everyday this week, working everyday until next saturday too, it will fly by!





Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on September 20, 2014, 08:13:49 AM
Nice one ben! Have a greats final week :) looking forward to meeting you backstage matey


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2014, 08:37:14 AM
and you Nic, all that hard work is gonna pay off for you im sure, will be great to put a face to a name, and meet the newly crowned PRO!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on September 20, 2014, 12:45:54 PM
Aw... ha... bless you and thanks.. here's hoping eh! Either way and whatever the outcome of the day it'll be great to meet! Make sure you come and say hi, I am notoriously bad at faces and names (great combo I know) so don't rely on me knowing who you are! :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2014, 12:50:34 PM
haha i will, ill have enough time to watch your class too  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on September 20, 2014, 05:48:29 PM
Ace!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2014, 06:00:38 PM
Today was the last all out session of my contest prep, and was a cracker too! Will drop weights 5-10k next week and go on feel, no more cardio either, but gotta say I have loved and missed the HIIT in a crazy kinda way

5min x train warmup

5x5 deadlift 105k 5, 135k 5, 165k, 5,5,5 no dramas, felt strong once warm
5x5 press 45k 5, 55k 5, 75k 5,5,5 about the same on these, my max at the moment
5x5 chins BW 5, BW+5k 5, BW+30k 5, BW+32.5k 5,5 - surprised myself here

3x8 dips +42.5k 8,8,7 -1 extra rep
3x12 standing calf raise - stack 12,12,12 calves were screaming, felt heavier than usual, got the job done though

15 min HIIT bike l10 40s recovery :l16 20s sprint x15 heart rate was up to 176 - HARD

5min cool down, legs were numb all done in under 90min


I beat last workout by a rep or 2 here and there which was great, I'm happy with that!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on September 21, 2014, 05:55:56 PM

 Good stuff Ben , all the hard work done now ;)

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 21, 2014, 06:23:39 PM
thanks mate, its been a long prep nearly there now   ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 22, 2014, 08:25:01 AM
EXIT PLAN-

since i have a long week at work this week, (quiet morning) and have my "peak week" laid out and in progress, ill take some tiem to lay out my exit plan, im the type of person who needs a plan, even if those plans change due to circumstances,

ok- so i dont want to make the same mistake twice and blow up to 2-3 stone over contest weight before i know it, my goals on page 1 still apply, and i want to be healthy, and in decent shape year round, heres the plan

1- The day after contest ill just relax, no diet, no training, even at 5 days out, i dont have an urge to go crazy with food, i DO want to add in a decent amount of CLEAN food, so i feel full of energy, and healthy, kinda like i felt upto about 8-10 weeks ago haha! but i will eat what i want the day after the contest, take the girlfriend out just generally kick back

2- deload week, - the week after the contest i begin training mon-wed-fri instead of tue-thur-fri, to free up the weekends, and generally works better with the overtime at work, so the week after the show, ill train mon-wed-fri- at 75% weights and just go through the motions, nothing tough atall, but re-align the movements although there all doing pretty good still, just give my body a break from the heavy stuff -

3- offseason nutrition- ill jump right in, from monday eating a clean healthy and full offseason diet- which is basically the same as pre contest but will have some added carbs with lunch & dinner (potato & brown rice) - also ill relax 1-2 meals over the weekends, which wont be crazy, maybe like 1-2 drinks on a sat night or a home cooked meal, and roast dinner sunday, just normal for 1-2 meals really, but not goign over the top

4- goal setting- important to set goals as always, i already know my goals post contest, but will be thinking alot more about them as my goals for this season are still in persuit- but i know i want to maintain 1 stone above contest weight, where i look full and strong and in half decent shape, about 80kg for me is good - i will outline future competitive goals/training goals after the show- i know my training will revolve around full body heavy workouts, with a focus on my weak points with some assistance work, but basics as always

so thats pretty much it, the transition into offseason- i like to have a plan so it doesnt need any guesswork, and so i can focus on the goal in hand and not past it, this saturday  :)



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SuperSi on September 22, 2014, 12:16:26 PM
All the best for the last week, Ben. As T said, the hard work is done!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 22, 2014, 12:55:55 PM
thanks Si, all going to plan, looking forward to the weekend  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 23, 2014, 04:39:03 PM
Peak week going to plan, feeling a slight increase in energy so far, with a slight increase in carbs, nice to know things will only get better, my mood/energy is on the up, training today was moderate, just getting the weights lifted and feeling every rep

5 min X-train warmup

5X5 squat 80k 5, 110k 5, 130k 5,5,5 - full depth, all solid and a fair bit in the tank
5X5 bench 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5,5,5 - 1-2 reps left in the tank by the last set
5X5 row 65k 5, 85k 5, 105k 5,5,5 - great squeeze in the back, core tight

3X8 lying leg curl #10 8,8,8 - held contraction, good stretch for the hams too
3X20 decline situps- BW 20,20,20 - just to get a deep feel in the abs, nothing more

1 hour including warmup- sticking to the plan, staying stressfree and enjoying it all



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on September 23, 2014, 10:15:54 PM
Peak week going to plan, feeling a slight increase in energy so far, with a slight increase in carbs, nice to know things will only get better, my mood/energy is on the up, training today was moderate, just getting the weights lifted and feeling every rep

5 min X-train warmup

5X5 squat 80k 5, 110k 5, 130k 5,5,5 - full depth, all solid and a fair bit in the tank
5X5 bench 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5,5,5 - 1-2 reps left in the tank by the last set
5X5 row 65k 5, 85k 5, 105k 5,5,5 - great squeeze in the back, core tight

3X8 lying leg curl #10 8,8,8 - held contraction, good stretch for the hams too
3X20 decline situps- BW 20,20,20 - just to get a deep feel in the abs, nothing more

1 hour including warmup- sticking to the plan, staying stressfree and enjoying it all



  Solid stuff Ben ... nearly there pal.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SuperplexSteve on September 24, 2014, 12:39:39 AM
Good luck for this weekend.  Your post-contest strategy looks sensible and I guess having a clear plan will beat those post competition blues.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 24, 2014, 08:09:34 AM
Thanks guys, yeah I know having a plan will help me stay in shape after the show although I will be able to relax as much as I need to


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 25, 2014, 04:23:28 PM
Last session of the contest prep, much like tuesday, a deload kind of workout, focusing on feel, with a lighter weight

5 min Xtrain warmup-

5X5 deadlift 100 5, 130 5, 155 5,5,5 - feeling strong with some more carbs in me! Exciting times ahead!
5X5 military 40k 5, 50k 5, 70 k 5,5,5
5X5 chins bw 5,5 +20k 5,5,5

3X8 dips +35k 8,8,8
3X12 calf raise stack-20k 12,12,12

Not challenging, and already raring to hit the gym hard, after next weeks tester week of a new programme will be a great start to my offseason,

But for now, excited for the weekend, iv learnt a huge amount this prep, it goes way deeper than training and nutrition, you find out your personal strengths and weaknesses and that has a massive carryover into life- things we never understand until we take that plunge, and each prep is a different journey- I can honestly say, regardless of the weekends outcome I have never been happier, more motivated and driven as I am right now I'm excited for the. Future as much as I'm enjoying the present- good times!





Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Jaymero on September 25, 2014, 05:51:32 PM
It's fantastic to hear you're feeling so great coming in to the competition this weekend mate!
I wish you all the best and look forward to watching you up on that stage!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on September 25, 2014, 05:55:35 PM
Glad to hear everythings going so well Ben good luck for the weekend I am sure you will look excellent on stage.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 25, 2014, 07:23:41 PM
Thank you both, i hope the judges agree  ;D gonna be a great weekend


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SuperSi on September 26, 2014, 03:45:47 PM
Good luck for the show, Ben!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 26, 2014, 03:53:27 PM
thanks Si,  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 28, 2014, 08:25:57 PM
Well, where do I start, what a fantastic weekend, great to be onstage again after so long, loved every minute from being onstage, to meeting you guys, thank you to everyone who helped make this weekend so special, the whole weekend was just a class act run by lee and everyone involved in the ukdfba , never been as inspired as I am right now, well done to every competitor and everyone involved in this weekend you should be proud of what you've accomplished I will leave the big write up to lee as I'm not great at that sort of thing, but by far the best bodybuilding show around in terms of atmosphere, standard, support, sportsmanship - still sinking in, that iv won a uk title, can't get the smile off my face, was great to compete on the international stage today too, catching up with many from here over the weekend, some for the first time but feels iv known for ages, big rich giving a great deal if support advice and motivation all weekend, thankyou rich and Toby for tanning and doing a great job, great to meet nic,  bully,Damo ,matt and simon, also catching up with scott, great job all weekend ,
In terms of competing, felt great on Saturday of coarse just amazed with the win, wasn't as sharp today due too lots of food trough out the day, but came 5th out of 7 in the inbf international middleweight class, great to be onstage with some amazing bodybuilders, great experience and know what I need to aim for for next time in 2016

Had some good food this evening, back to the normal clean food routine tomorrow and a light, deload week of training next week will outline over the next week my goals and the plan to achieve them, thanks again to everyone who made the weekend the best ever I shall cherish the memories



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rossdog on September 28, 2014, 08:50:29 PM
a physique out of the top drawer, posed impeccably, really well done mate, got everything u deserved! congrats pleasure to watch ur routine


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on September 28, 2014, 08:50:51 PM
Congratulations mate! Good seeing you again.
Great back development shown on stage, strongest in the class  :)

Enjoy the food - you have earned it!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Toby on September 28, 2014, 08:52:04 PM
Awesome work buddy. Looked great up there with some serious thick muscle that stood out as soon as you stepped on stage. Tremendous quads and some serious back shots as we already knew. Whilst on my hands and knees in front of you, I was struck by how solid the quads felt whilst tanning.

Bravo. Top fella, hope we can catch up at some natural meets mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on September 28, 2014, 09:25:52 PM
Well done Ben, you have worked hard all year and got the outcome you deserve.
Looking forward to seeing some pics.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Glen Danbury on September 28, 2014, 09:35:17 PM
well done. top result


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Damo NY on September 28, 2014, 10:15:16 PM
Well done mate. Beast of a physique!

Good to finally meet you.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Trow on September 28, 2014, 10:51:48 PM
well done mate! Look forward to seeing some pics and a write up of the show.


Title: Re:
Post by: K_Dogs on September 28, 2014, 10:57:18 PM
Absolutely fantastic news, can't wait to see the pics. Really pleased for you mate.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on September 28, 2014, 10:57:43 PM
Well done Ben fantastic result I look forward to seeing the photos.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on September 28, 2014, 11:06:19 PM
Great to meet you Ben and I'm so pleased I actually got to see you in stage today as I didn't see you at all yesterday other than once you'd got off stage. You looked phenomenal today, hope you could hear me cheering! Congrats on a very successful weekend. Enjoy off season!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2014, 07:17:36 AM
thanks rossi, great to meet you, am looking forward to seeing your next persuit onstage! keep killin it! -very impressed by your size, will be great to see you down the mill one day and see how its done!

hey matt, great to finally meet you properly, been a huge motivation over the last few years, a true testiment that hard work and consistancy is what natural bodybuilding is all about, still cant believe for such a light guy the thickness of your physique, cant wait to see the shredder back onstage! the bantamweight class (as all of them) are getting more competitive so im sure your fire is burning a little stronger after this weekend, definite potential WNBF pro - not sure if that would be a goal of yours, but you have that in you for sure!

Hi, Mr Hines, thanks again for applying the tan at such short notice, i knew you would do a sterling job  ;D years of muscle maturity and heavy lifting and i think good things will happen with my physique, thanks for the kind words, great to pick your brains, genuine top bloke! be great to get to any meets in the future, will look forward to them, if all feels right will be great to see you compete soon too, your best shape is always just a few weeks away before life takes over, but the next time you set out for your goals could well be the one that shocks us all, im sure of it!

Hey Rich, thankyou very much, im excited to see the pics too, Fivos does a great job with the pics, and he is very professional too, even giving me pointers on my posing , - be great to see what will no doubt be your best shape in your upcoming show, keep working mate youve got this!

Hey Glen, thankyou, and thanks also for your help with regards to programming, will no doubt help me in my offseason this next year

Hey Damo, great meeting you yesterday, amazing guest posing display, very polished routine, and great condition so far, im sure Jon agreed, this year is gonna be your year! your guys were in top condition too, big respect to you, and good luck in your new chosen career, youve earnt it! hopefully with the new job you wont need as much cardio either ;D

thanks Trow, yeah Lee always relays the days events very well, and what a mind blowing weekend it was too!

thanks Keith- im still grining like a big kid sat here at work, look very strange and sparkly still with the last of the tan still not coming off haha, theres only so much scrubbing you can do with a full belly - but great to have your support over the years, great to see your still training hard and heavy too!

Felix thankyou buddy, i may take after you and try my hand in some powerlifting this offseason? but again always impressed by your consistancy to the lifestyle and hard work many cannot hack

Thanks Nic great to meet you too, you looked great up there and must have been close between you and 2nd, keep pushing for the worlds, from what i remember you have improved loads over the last year, and look to have gained some good muscle, a little tighter condition (in perfect time for the worlds) and vualla! the new WNBF Pro is....  ;)   , i could year you, thankyou very much for rooting for me, was great to have great support both satuday and sunday, i learnt alot over the weekend, and know if im competing both days not too eat so much on the first haha, although may have enhanced my fullness and pump backstage on saturday i was probably 10% worse sunday due to bloat, but will see in the pics im sure, be great to catch up at meets/shows, keep pushing to the finishline, this is your year!




OK, offseason starts today, some nice food yesterday and felt full and bloated etc, but going tos tick to the plan, this is now the time to start gaining some muscle! today the clean diet starts again and is as follows- this may change slightly from week to week, to suit me, but always healthy, clean, and set towards my goals

4 litres water daily
pre- strong black coffee
post- whey/raisins/creatine
1-2 unplanned meals over the weekends

breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/creatine/multivit- love this breakfast, it works for me, its staying!
mid morning- 1 scoop protein/1 peice fruit/1/4 cup mixed nuts
lunch- chicken or steak or turkey/large potato/1lb mixed vegetables
mid afternoon- 1 scoop protein/1 peice fruit/1/4 cup mixed nuts
dinner- salmon or sardines or mackeral/1 cup brown rice/large mixed salad
before bed- 2 cups natural yoghurt/multivit

a very basic diet- lots of protein, carbs, healthy fats, variety and balance, will mix all the meats/fish/fruit/veggies etc as i please, and the weekend treats wont be limited although we enjoy basic food anyway, pub grub etc - wont say no to going for a couple with the lads once a month either, all about balance -


a huge influence on me over the weekend and this last year infact is Rich Gozdecki, how can anyone in his presence not be inspired and motivated by this man, yes i know i will never be half the man mountain he is, but not only his physique but his mindset is what seperates this man from the rest- makes me feel i overthink the process way too much, and need to apply that energy into working harder, i worry wether im optimizing my gaind and constantly chop and change what im doing - now looking at the top guys in the WNBF they all work heavy and hard, lots of volume and years of graft, so thats what i need to do to get closer to the level i want to be at, one day i want to be a WNBF pro, i realised this week that my strong areas are a result of heavy basic lifts but my weaker areas need bringing up and addressing, with isolation work and specific work, so thats what needs to be done- Rich gave me some great advice, i must do what i ENJOY and give that 100% - im not going to look any further into the process than that, and ill constantly ask myself those 2 questions- am i enjoying it? am i giving 100%? the the answer is yes for both of those then im doing all i can do

going to stick with my 3 days per week, and a way i ENJOY  training- i know if i get stronger at the basics no matter what split/routine/style of training i use, ill gain muscle size, i also know that lots of quality hard reps/sets/volume has helped me gain size over the last 18 months, so ill combine the two in a basic legs/push/pull routine, i did this for a month or so during prep, loved it! i will have to ignore the voices in my head saying "but protein synthesis lasts only for 48 hours, full body routines built the greats of yesteryear, yada yada yada" - but i know if im adding 20-30kg to my big 3 lifts and can hit good volume for everything else ill gain a good amount of muscle over the next 2 years-

ok- i have 6 weeks until i go to mexico for 2 weeks, so will get this rolling TODAY- with a deload week this week, to set this routine in place then 5 weeks of hitting it for a great start to my offseason- i weighted in at 74kg on saturday and dont wanna be above 78kg by holiday, and not above 80kg atall leaving me 1 stone to loose next contest prep (being much leaner than this time round)

powerbuilding for strength & size

5 min warmup as always
2-3 mins between 5x5 getting as strong as possible
1-2 min max between everything else getting a pump/volume work/sweat on!
(this stuff i will change up reguarly, maybe every 4 weeks or so 3-4 sets 8-12 reps)
total workout duration will be 1 hour or less
i wont be planning cardio but will reguarly cycle/swim/walk/stretching aswell as part of my lifestyle

Mon- Legs/Abs                             Wed-Chest/Shoulders/Triceps                Friday-Back/Biceps/Abs
5X5 squats                                   5X5 bench press                                  5X5 deadlift
4X10 leg press                             4X10 incline dumbell                             4X10 barbell row
4X10 lying leg curl                        4X10 military press                               4X10 pullups
4X12 standing calf raise                4X10 upright row                                  4X10 barbell curls
4X15 hanging leg raise                 4X10 weighted dips                               4X15 cable crunches

going to use 75% weights today, may add or take away or chop and change a few things for the small muscle groups, try a few new things, etc but always keep the basic big 3 in there as the foundation

my immediate goals are in the strength department, i want to be hitting 5X5 with 150kg squat/120kg bench/180kg deadlift before new year! - and hitting 160k/130/190 before i start dieting again, all below 80kg bodyweight-

in terms of competition- 2016 U75kg UKDFBA is my next goal


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: thebull on September 29, 2014, 12:28:23 PM
Ben you looked fantastic pal! So thick onstage and in great condition. You were the most complete in the class you won. Didn't get to catch you on Sunday as I was gonna give you the rest of my dream tan but sounds like you did a great job!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2014, 12:36:06 PM
thanks mate, appreciate the nice words, sorry i only caught you going on/back/off stage - i didnt get to see you onstage but backstage couldn'y believe the size youve gained, legs looks like tree trunks mate! must still be squatting and deadlfiting silly weights!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SuperSi on September 29, 2014, 03:37:29 PM
Congratulations on your win, Ben! From all the comments (and obviously your placings) it sounds like you were in fantastic shape - looking forward to seeing the pics!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: thebull on September 29, 2014, 04:38:29 PM
thanks mate, appreciate the nice words, sorry i only caught you going on/back/off stage - i didnt get to see you onstage but backstage couldn'y believe the size youve gained, legs looks like tree trunks mate! must still be squatting and deadlfiting silly weights!

Cheers pal. Was good to be able to stop and talk for a change. Squats and deadlifts consistently are definitely the key- though I need to get some lats and delts like yours- will have a read back over your journal to see what you are doing for them!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2014, 04:39:21 PM
Hi simon, thanks buddy, I can't wait to see the pics, im buzzing from an increadible weekend



Today- first day of the offseason- diet as normal, nice to have some added carbs with lunch and dinner though!

First deload session of the week-

5 min Xtrain- warmup- sweating out the food already  ;D

5X5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 120k 5,5,5,5,5
4X10 leg press 220k 10,10,10,10
4X10 lying leg curl #9 10,10,10,10
4X12 standing calf raise 3/4 stack - 12,12,12,12
4X15 hanging leg raises BW 15,15,15,15

Good pace 53mins including warmup will take abit longer next week with heavier weights 1 hour should be spot on, nice pump/sweat on but more for recovery


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: thebull on September 29, 2014, 05:21:19 PM
Big and basic. This seems to be a theme for you mate, more volume with less exercises?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2014, 08:28:09 PM
Yeah I have oversimplified things before but I wanna get a good hit with the basics and cover all areas with the accessory work too, if I feel after a few months certain areas need more attention ill switch the emphasis of the accessory work to suit but always keep plugging away at the big heavy stuff to start  :) if squats and deads have worked for you then they will work for me too  ;D

Diet today- 4+ litres water
Breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/creatine/multivit
Mid morning- 1 scoop protein blend/banana/1/4 cup nuts
Lunch- chicken breast/large potato/1lb mixed vegetables
Pre- strong coffee
Train- just water, stopped using BCAA
Post- 1 scoop whey/1/2 cup raisins/creatine
Mid afternoon- 1 scoop protein blend/apple/1/4 cup mixed nuts
Dinner- salmon fillet/1 cup brown rice/large mixed salad
Before bed will be- 2 cups natural yoghurt/multivit



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on September 30, 2014, 06:31:24 PM
Awesome work ethic all the way through Ben. I'll be tapping you for advice from now on  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 30, 2014, 08:14:17 PM
thanks keith, i can be abit obsessive at times, but the hard work definitly pays off  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 30, 2014, 08:40:47 PM
Ben great to see you at the weekend. You looked fantastic and in the overall I went to the back to see you all. Great shape and mass. You back lat spread is a show stopper. Great condition as well. Complete package


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on September 30, 2014, 08:49:15 PM
thanks mate, great to have a good catchup, and big respect for working hard all weekend, hope you had a chilled one on monday, i was very happy with how i looked and already fired up to making big improvements for next time, hopefully will meet up at the training meets  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 01, 2014, 03:38:20 PM
2nd deload session of the week, wasnt really a deload, i feel fresh and good to go, so hit it pretty hard  :)

5 min X train warmup- good to go!

Chest:
5X5 bench 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5,5,5,5,5 - 102.5k next week
3x8 incline db 35k 8,8,8 - stick, go for 9's next week
3x12 flyes- 17.5k 12,12,12 - havnt done these for ages, chest was on fire for a change!

Shoulders:
3x8 military press 60k 8,8,8 - shoulders were pretty smoked by now, but felt decent
3x12 upright row 40k 12 45k 12,12 - did the job nicely- 45k for all 3 sets next week

Triceps:
3X8 dips +30k 8, +35k 8,8 - 35k for all 3 sets next week
3X12 pushdowns 40k 12,12,12 - 42.5k next week i havnt done direct tricep for around 6 months  :o - i could tell!

benching was 2-3 min rest, everything else was 1-2 - great pace, great blend of power+bodybuilding and 1 hour including warmup, 18 months of those sessions should do the trick for next time  :)

a few more exercises for variety than planned, but worked out better, and thoroughly enjoyed the pain


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 03, 2014, 03:08:51 PM
Thismorning had a great last session of the week, really enjoying the higher volume, exercise variety and "power-bodybuilding" approach, feels I'm doing all I can to make the improvements needed, and a great start to the offseason

Today, like wednesday wasn't really a deload session, as I'm feeling great with more clean food in me, recovering well, and have no pressure to get leaner

5 min X train warmup
Back:
5X5 deadlift 100k 5, 130k 5, 160k 5,5,5,5,5 - 162.5 next week
3X8 bb row 100k 8,8 - loose form- 90k 8, strict - 92.5k next week
3X10 pullups BW 10,10,8 - not used to the fatigue, but will adapt
Rear delts:
3X12 face pulls - 35k 12,12,12 - use 40k next week
Biceps:
3X8 bb curl 50k 8,6,6 - loose form but felt spot on
3X12 seated db curl 10k 12,12,12 - lightweight but again felt great
Abs:
3X15 cable crunches - 45k 15,15,15

All good 1 hour 10mins including warmup

Will adapt to the higher volume, isolation work and fatigue over the coming weeks and will see good things happen, all while improving the powerlifts too

The offseason weekends as planned will see 1-2 "cheat" meals - tomorrow ill be going to becky's mums cafe (opened during my prep) - for lunch to sample her home made lasangne and a slice of cake! Before work - sunday will have an off plan meal too, nothing to crazy, really enjoying my normal "diet" meals with more carbs in, feeling good, and weight is rising slowly, probably 1-2kg above contest weight initially with the higher carb intake, but doubt ill reach my upper offseason limit of 6kg above before xmas, so slowly does it, and will stay fairly lean that way- sticking to the plan


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on October 03, 2014, 03:11:42 PM
Please have coffee & walnut cake if she does one. Do it for me!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 03, 2014, 04:12:14 PM
Haha if I get hooked it's your fault  :P


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 03, 2014, 08:38:27 PM
mmmmmmmmm cake. Your pics from Fiv must be cracking mate. Seen a few of your class and you look great


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 09:14:03 AM
I'm very happy with the pics mate, some show glute/ham seperation very well which I didn't have before, back looks very good, better than expected and even the side shots I'm fairly happy with- but most of all I'm happy with the weaknesses they showcase, gives a very clear picture of what needs to be done- chest/shoulders/arms/ and overall mass and detail will be improved greatly for my next outing, ill be 74-75k again when I next compete but leaner, progression is key-

Thismorning 75.7kg - should gain 1lb per week or so from here, but all going well, no post contest blues! Cracking year!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 04, 2014, 09:39:49 AM
It's great buying thepics as you can see how your improving and get an idea on condition.

You back lat spread is insane mate. Lats look like they insirt at your waist ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 11:54:27 AM
Got to admit it is shocking looking at some of the pics, lat spread and back double bi, fivos shot some perfect photos, very happy with the improvements and have been bitten by the bug once again,  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on October 04, 2014, 12:08:49 PM
Where are your piccies, Ben?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on October 04, 2014, 12:50:03 PM
Yeah come on Ben been waiting to see pics


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 03:29:31 PM
im not great at computers but will try

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 03:33:55 PM
side chest

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 03:37:04 PM
3

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rossdog on October 04, 2014, 03:40:15 PM
really nice physique. look great in them pics mate


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 04:13:17 PM
thanks rossi, i am happy with how they look, fivos does a great job

edit: - the verdict- i couldnt decide wether to have victoria sponge or coffee and walnut cake, .... so i had abit of both  ;D dangerous to say the least! - thinking i may just stick to 1 big cheat meal weekly instead of a few things over the weekend, especially until i no longer feel so excited about food!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Turpin on October 04, 2014, 05:03:18 PM
Awesome looking physique and look much thicker than your actual weight Ben... well done ( very impressive )

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 04, 2014, 05:38:42 PM
thanks mate  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Rich mc on October 04, 2014, 06:53:21 PM
Like the guys say Ben look really good, thick sold muscle mate.
Great work :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SuperplexSteve on October 04, 2014, 10:37:05 PM
Spectacular back photo Ben, great symmetry and conditioning.  I agree, Fivos does a fantastic job.

What's next on the horizon for you?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 05, 2014, 09:43:19 AM
Thanks guys, next for me is to compete again in 2016 UKDFBA U75kg class, with a lot more muscle and next level conditioning that makes this year look like a warmup - until then, is to gain no more than 1 stone over contest weight, so no more than 80kg, gain a lot of strength and kill every training session, building as much muscle as possible, live the lifestyle stay healthy and enjoy a balanced life outside of bodybuilding too, while still achieving my goals

I will be as of next week sticking with 1 cheat meal weekly, will make it social and that will do me


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on October 05, 2014, 07:28:32 PM
Looking fantastic in the photos Ben excellent shape and condition well done.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 05, 2014, 07:49:24 PM
thanks felix, feels great when a plan comes together, cant wait till next time  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 06, 2014, 02:53:23 PM
today kicked off the week with legs/abs - was the first full bore session for a couple of weeks, and did the job nicely! heavy weight + good amount of volume

5 min X train - warmup

10X3 squats (2-3m rest) - 80k 3, 100k 3, 120k 3, 140k 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3 - last 2 sets were tough but got em  142.5k next week

5X10 leg press 280kg 10,10,10,10,10
supersetted (60-90s between superset) - last 2 sets legs were giving up
5X10 lying leg curl 50kg 10,10,10,8,8

5X12 donkey calf raise- stack 12,12,12,12,12
supersetted (60-90s between superset) - again last 2 sets were almost failure
5X15 hanging leg raise- BW 15,15,15,15,15

1 hour after warming up- killer-

worked out that im averaging (with weekend refeed) about 3,000kcals daily- with around 200g protein 300g carbs - 110g fat

note to self after the weekend- 1 cheat/refeed meal weekly at most now, - digestion doesnt like lots of random bits that its not used to, so 1 decent meal probably saturday night, will keep weight under control too


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 08, 2014, 06:19:22 PM
Today was another surprisingly strong session, loving the 10x3 I can see some great strength and size coming from these sessions, gonna be a great offseason

5 min Xtrain warmup

10x3 bench 60k 3, 80k 3, 100k 3, 110k 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3 - 112.5k next week (2-3m rest)

5x10 military 60k 10,10,10,10,10 (60-90s rest, a little push pressy)
5x10 upright row 40k 10,10,10,10,10 (60-90s, heavier next week, delts were smashed)
5x10 dips +25k 10,10,10,8,6 (60-90s build up to all 10's)

Done in 1 hour after warmup

Then decided to add more for isolation

3x12 fly 40k super setted 3x12 push down 42.5k (60s rest)

Done, will keep the 10x3 as a staple for the powerlifts, can see good things happening with them, finding the sweet spot between variation and volume with he bodybuilding stuff, but making sure I get the job done, will probably end up doing a couple more exercises but only 3-4 sets each to hit more variety including weak areas


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Maveric Matt on October 09, 2014, 12:48:57 PM
That 10 x 3 looks brutal mate! Good numbers shifed there


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 09, 2014, 01:18:02 PM
feels good to "grease the groove" and accumilate, instead of the HIT type of training i used to do, volume definitly has played a big role in my training as of late, i enjoy it more and its harder!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Simon Stevens on October 09, 2014, 01:37:18 PM
Nice Work this year mate! Good meeting you at the UKDFBA.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 09, 2014, 01:44:55 PM
hey Si, thanks for popping in! great to meet you too bud! you looked fantastic!, and have given me a great amount of motivation going into my offseason! any further plans for this year Si?


- my rest days, im making sure i contribute towards recovery, - today as i do most "off" days i used the foam roller and stretched well, and making sure i dont get lazy, and stay active, as tomorrow ill be crushing 10 sets of deadlifts, cant wait   ;D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 15, 2014, 12:24:55 PM
Been real busy as of late, so probably gonna start a new journal in the new year, but still eating to plan, loads of good clean food, basic hard training, even some intense cardio in there as recovery allows, am logging my workouts as always, loving this lifestyle, looking forward to some god strength/size gains, but got loads on in life (all good, and exciting) - so gonna keep working hard towards my goals got a nice holiday to look forward to in a few weeks, and will get onto a new journal possibly new year  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on October 15, 2014, 12:29:47 PM

- my rest days, im making sure i contribute towards recovery... making sure i dont get lazy...
  :D the thought of you being "lazy" is LOL! As if!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Damo NY on October 15, 2014, 12:51:15 PM
Solid work Ben.

Next time we're over at the Kemp's we'll have to arrange a training session  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 15, 2014, 02:31:52 PM
 ;D i know Nic, just not being in contest prep makes me feel lazy  ;D

that would be awesome mate! I better get practicing my sumo deadlift then  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 30, 2014, 12:40:26 PM
thought id give a quick update and throw a couple of questions out there too!

so things are moving nicely since the show 4 1/2  weeks ago,  sitting around 78kg so 4kg or so over contest weight, although i feel i look ... heavier! haha - had a few splurges on some good food, had some good social and catchup meals, which were great. settled after 2 weeks or so after the show into relaxing over the weekend, but not going nuts, if i have a takeaway or something similar that will do.

training has been fantastic, gaining strength back nicely, and intense, energy filled sessions, really enjoying it, and no burn out atall  :)

still 3 times per week with weights, and 2-3 HIIT sessions added in too, have been doing a legs/push/pull routine, but things may need to change, which leads me to the question-

due to a change in circumstances, and to save some money (tight git) will be cycling to and from work most the time, totalling around 60 miles per week - what changes would you guys & girls make if you were doing the same and still wanting to build muscle & strength as always...

i was thinking of the following...

- no need for the HIIT as the 20-25min hard cycles will cover my general health & cardiovascular fitness - so will drop these


- my instinct is telling me to focus on whats worked in the past to maintain and build muscle, which is to lift HEAVY, full body workouts 3 times per week, probably based around the 5X5 with 1-2 accessory 3X10 exercises for weaker bodyparts - having alot of "cardio" in my lifestyle i do feel the need to lift heavy, to hold onto and build tissue, also the full body workouts mean i recover better, and im not crippled from a weeks worth of leg volume in 1 hit


- i will no doubt struggle to maintain my weight at my offseason weight of 78-80kg so am prepared need to increase my cals a fair bit daily, have landed on the following as my base plan

4+ litres water daily
pre workout- strong black coffee
post workout- 1 scoop whey/1/2 cup dried fruit/5g creatine
weekends - enjoy a big cheat meal or 1-2 smaller things

breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivitamin
mid morning- 2 pieces fruit/1/2 cup nuts
lunch- meat or fish/potato or rice/vegetables or salad
mid afternoon- 2 pieces fruit/1/2 cup nuts
dinner- meat or fish/potato or rice/vegetables or salad
before bed- 2 cups natural yoghurt

decent amount of protein but not obsessive with loads of shakes and supplements, just a few basics, loads of ACTUAL FOOD, decent amount of carbs and loads of healthy fats too, healthy, variety and balanced -



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on October 30, 2014, 01:12:26 PM
Hey mate, assuming the cycle is mildly strenuous I'd be tempted to have a small post workout style meal/shake after your cycle to work.
Either food or supplement form, maybe something like 20g protein & 20g carbs, plus could also be a good time to get your Creatine in when it's not a training day.

Lifting hard and heavy has served you extremely well this far, so I can't see any reason to go away from your 5x5 and 3x10 training.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on October 30, 2014, 01:34:21 PM
How long/far will you be biking for? Is it twice a day, Mon-Fri?


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 30, 2014, 01:40:12 PM
thanks keith, thats a good idea, i was thinking of having my "mid morning" snack first thing and then breakfast when i get to work, but that idea sounds good! yeah will get back to some heavy lifting i do miss it! i still do 5X5 squat/dead/bench but my overhead/chinning/dip strength has weakened

hey Nic, it will be about 6-7 miles each way around 4 times per week, out of 6 days work - will be pretty sparadic, and for the forseable future, also there will be days where i cycle to the gym (6-7miles, then train, onto work, then cycle 6-7 miles home , takes me around 20-25mins to cycle 1 way


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on October 30, 2014, 02:21:36 PM
well that's not too far but just bear in mind (common sense really) that outdoor cardio can be unpredictable, not like gym cardio, so a cold/windy day will take it out of you much more than a lovely day with a tailwind. Plan nutrition accordingly :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 30, 2014, 02:33:26 PM
Hi Ben. I think Keith's idea a good one. or add in some nuts and fruit to snack on.

The bike will keep you nice healthy so no need for hiit. Training wise. You can't go wrong with the basics and being strong with some additional fluff


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on October 30, 2014, 03:24:55 PM
Next time you step on stage you're going to have the legs of Sir Christopher of Hoy! ;)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 30, 2014, 06:36:16 PM
Thanks guys and girls, helping me solidify my plan, am kinda looking forward to it, and the money saved!

Will go for it tomorrow and see how I feel, will most likely start journaling again too, quite enjoy the post workout updates  :D



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on October 31, 2014, 07:12:59 PM
So the cycling wasn't too bad, legs were burning though, but didn't effect my strength during today's train

Food

4litres water
Loads of green tea

Breakfast - 4 eggs, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1tbsp honey, 5g creatine, multivit
Mid am - banana, apple, 1/2 cup nuts
Lunch - turkey steak, sweet potato, 1lb mixed veg
Mid pm - pear, orange, 1/2 cup nuts
Pre- strong black coffee
Post- whey, 1/2 cup raisins,5g creatine
Dinner - salmon fillet, 1 cup brown rice, large mixed salad
Before bed - will be 2 cups natural yoghurt

Training
5min x train warmup
Deadlifts 110k 5, 140k 5, 170k 5,5,5 felt good and strong dispite the cycling
Press 40k 5, 50k 5, 72.5k 5,5,5 did these with split stance, felt strict but solid
Pullup BW 5, +10k 5, +20k 5,5,5

Calf raise 150k 10,10,10
Db curl 40k 10,10,10
Decline sit-up +25k 12,12,12

Just over an hour felt good to be back on the old faithful basics with only nesassary fluff

Resting over the weekend with cycling and foam roll, stretching, and a good cheat meal tomorrow night


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 03, 2014, 05:46:45 PM
A pretty solid weekend in terms of eating, with a few bits here and there, cycled on sat and did HIIT on sunday, love the "rush" you get from a hard workout most days, becoming abit addictive ha! No doubt when I'm cycling to work all the time the 3 weight training sessions will be more than enough!

So onto this week- last week of training before I fly to mexico for 2 weeks, I doubt there will be much if any training out there, unless you count bicep curling tequila or burritos?

Today- strength coming back slowly, bodyweight gain slowing but as high as I wanna go!

5min general warmup

5X5 squat 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,5,5 - very easy add 2.5k
5X5 bench 80k 5, 92.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,4- get these friday!
5X5 bb row 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5 - stick until I feel in my back more (not done these for a while
3X10 lying leg curl 50k 10,10,10 add 5k - go for 3X8
3X15 decline situp +25k 15,15,15 - use 40k and go for 3X10

Just over an hour, gonna do 20min HIIT tomorrow, diet is tight but lots of good food, weight is about 79kg, good stuff!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 05, 2014, 06:21:01 PM
Today I went with the flow and had a great session- thought my head would be elsewhere being in holiday mode, but turned out a belter! The aim- lift heavy for whole body

5 min x train warmup

5X5 trap bar deadlift 110k 5, 150k 5, 190k 5,5,5 PB- (was trap bar though)
5X5 military press 45k 5, 55k 5, 75k 5,5,5 - strict -normal stance
5X5 chins BW 5, +10k 5, +25k 5,5,5 - supinated-
3X20 calf raise 100k - ouch!
3X20 decline situp + 5k

1 hour


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 25, 2014, 12:51:09 PM
Had an amazing holiday, 2 weeks in mexico, was class, very chilled and some memories becky and I will never forget, enjoyed PLENTY of food and drink, arrived back yesterday morning and back to the grind today- training will be as always basic and heavy, and will be training 3 days per week (m-w-f) full body 5X5 style, always enjoy this style of training, will be squatting 3 times per week with a heavy-light-medium style -100% monday  80% wednesday and 90% on friday - all the other exercises will be 100% - this should keep me recovering and progressing - the programme will be big on the basics and my goals this coming year are as follows-

maintain a solid 80kg (im a little above this at the moment, after a few weeks of eating clean ill be back down to 80kg)
whilst building strength and size

PB's for everything before xmas 2015
5X5 160kg squat
5X5 190kg deadlift
5X5 130kg bench
5X5 90kg  press
5X5 130kg barbell row
5X5 +40kg chins
5X5 +70kg dips

wont be doing any extra conditioning as ill be cycling around 50 miles per week, should keep me in shape

diet will be very basic and healthy - will tweek portion sizes to adjust weight, but should be good on this amount to maintain 80kg

base diet-

4+ litres water daily
pre- strong black coffee
post- 1 scoop whey/1/2 cup dried fruit
offseason- 1 cheat meal weekly (usually sat night)

breakfast- 3 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey
mid morning- 2 peices fruit/1/2 cup nuts
lunch- meat or fish/1 potato or 1 cup of rice/1lb mixed veg or large mixed salad
mid afternoon- same as mid morning
dinner- same as lunch
before bed- 2 cups natural yoghurt

not using any supplements apart from a scoop of whey on training days post workout, spending my money on good food instead
going to mix up the meat/fruit etc as i want, but will even out over time, and timings will all be within an hour or so daily- did a quick total of the macros

average daily- around 3000kcals

looking forward to a good first session tomorrow




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Damo NY on November 25, 2014, 04:16:20 PM
Some solid lifts and targets there mate. Glad you enjoyed your holiday.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben howard on November 25, 2014, 08:32:07 PM
yeah im around 20kg behind those at the moment, but have lifted around 10k less before, just checked out some pics today and caught up with the worlds results, looked like you were in your best shape and from the pics I have you winning your class, well done on your outing, and im glad the fire is burning as strong as ever, keep on pushing mate




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 25, 2014, 08:47:14 PM
welcome back mate, glad you had a nice break


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 26, 2014, 08:32:33 AM
thanks scott, abit of a shock back to reality, from 2 weeks soaking up the sun and swimming with turtles in the sea, to cycling to work at 6am in this weather  ;D , but looing forward to making improvements, im sure by the time i hit my strength goals i will see a difference in my physique, hope your well, and will catch up on your journal  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on November 26, 2014, 08:44:13 AM
Welcome back Ben, I'm going to use you as inspiration to get out on my road bike at weekends. Hate that it's too dark on week days.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 26, 2014, 08:47:24 AM
hey Nic, i hear the worlds went very well for you again, such a shame there wasnt a few more competitors, but you must be happy with your showing? i was tempted to buy a road bike to shave some time off the journey, if i can pick one up cheap i may get one for the warmer months (less grip) - gotta say although its a ballache, its alot more fun than the run of the mill cardio  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on November 26, 2014, 10:17:17 AM
Cheers Ben, yes very happy thank you, now fully focused on a productive off season to be even better next time round :)

I much prefer riding a roadie on the...er...road. Just feels so much more fun, if a bit dicey when it's wet or slippy. And yes totally agree, "proper" cardio is just so much more fun than gym cardio. Goes by in a flash. I always see something amazing out on my bike - wildlife, or something funny. Right that's it, I'm biking this weekend (unless tipping it down).


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 26, 2014, 07:51:49 PM
I'm sure you'll improve even further just keep pushing on, what it's all about


Today was the first day back, light squat day, medium fri, heavy mon

5min warmup
5x5 light squats. 80k 5, 110k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5
5x5 military 45k 5, 55k 5, 72.5k 5,5,5,3,3 very strict so not worried weights are down will build
5x5 deadlift 100k 5, 130k 5, 160k 5,5,5,5,5 add 2.5k next week, these were as easy as doing them first great stuff

no fluff exercises, gonna hit those PB's then see if I need em

today's food

5am 3 eggs/1cup oats/ 1/2 cup blueberries/ 1tbsp honey
6am 6mile cycle
6:30 banana
8am apple/ 1/2 cup nuts
11am steak/potato/veggies
2pm pear/orange/ 1/2 cup nuts
3pm pre- strong black coffee
3:30-4:30train
4:30 Pwo- whey/ 1/2 cup raisins
5pm - 6 mile cycle
6pm - salmon/1 cup brown rice/large salad
9pm 2 cups natural yoghurt

Good stuff


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 28, 2014, 04:30:32 PM
good end to the first week of training, feel much better already with the clean eating kicking in, weigh in tomorrow morning, guessing around the 82kg mark  ??? will be ahppy with 80k or below as an offseason weight, will take until new year or so to get there

training today- medium squat day

5min warmup- x train

5X5 squat 90% - 80k 5, 110k 5, 125k 5,5,5,5,5 - all solid and ass to heels, will go for 135-140 on monday for the heavy day
5X5 dips +10k 5, +30k 5, +50k 5,5,5,5,5 - havnt gone heavy on these for AGES, felt pretty easy +52.5k next week
5X5 chins BW 5, +10k 5, +25k 5,5 +20k 5,5,5 - 25k was a little heavy, 20k was ok though, +22.5k next week

1 hour including warmup- good pace

big rich is looking pretty lean being so far out from the shows, he's gonna be doing some damage next year for sure!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on November 30, 2014, 08:02:10 PM
saturday weigh in 81.8kg- as expected need to loose 2kg after my holiday, and to be in decent offseason shape, my cheat meal last night was very light, so looking to loose 1-2lb in the coming week, did a HIIT session for 15mins on the upright bike today as i wont be cycling for a week or so (while on lates) may do one thursday aswell to keep the cardiovascular in check

looking forward to a great week of training and eating, busy with work and life in general, good times!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 01, 2014, 04:17:26 PM
todays session-

heavy squat day

5min xtrain warmup
5X5 squat 80k 5, 110k 5, 140k 5,5,5,5,5 - squats havnt felt this easy for about a year, probably had 7-8 reps on the last set, +2.5k next week
5X5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,4 - missed the last rep, next week!
5X5 rows 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 - got them all nice and solid but will stick until i feel it in my lats more

just over 1 hour total

no fluff added on the end, plan is to hit those PB's then drop down to 3X5 after warmups, then it will be time to add a couple of accessory exercises after the big 3

diet is spot on, same day in day out with a little variety in meat/fruit to keep it fresh
will do a HIIT session thursday and saturday, have the staff night out in birmingham sat night, should be interesting!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 03, 2014, 04:48:04 PM
yesterday- fancied a HIIT session, felt great, will most likely do one tomorrow and saturday too, the weeks i cycle i wont do any HIIT, i used the X-trainer and alternated level 20 & 28 for 40s recovery:20s sprint X15- was tough! (i have my post workout whey & raisins after HIIT too)

diet is feeling very easy, lots of good food 3000-3200ish cals daily, strength increasing nicely

todays session - (light squat day)

5X5 squats 80k 5, 110k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 - almost an extended warmup, i can see the benefit of the light and medium days already, super deep and consistant with every rep - a good warmup for deadlifts too
5X5 press 42.5k 5, 52.5k 5, 72.5k 5,5,5,4,3 - 1 rep more than last week, all super strict, building these up slowly
5X5 deadlift 102.5k 5, 132.5k 5, 162.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - much like last week, felt strong throughout, +2.5kg next week

1 hour exactly, trained alone, good pace



Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 05, 2014, 11:28:29 PM
Yesterday did 20min hiit on the upright bike was tough but not as hard as the xtrainer, will do another 15min hiit tomorrow and take Sunday off


Today's session was a good progression from last Friday, it's been a good week and I'm guessing I lost close to 2lb too with the solid eating

Medium squat day
5min x train warmup
5x5 squat 80k 5, 110k 5, 125k 5,5,5,5,5 - good confidence boost for Mondays 142.5k
5x5 dips +12.5k 5, +32.5k 5, +52.5k 5,5,5,5,5    55k next week
5x5 chins BW 5, +10k 5, +22.5k 5,5,5,5,5 last set was Ropey stick with it

1 hour 5mins




Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 09, 2014, 07:20:59 PM
ended up resting on saturday and enjoyed a good xmas night out in bham with the lads at work, great night, been a long while since i had a heavy night, sunday was a write off! but felt good to go monday, back at it - saturdays weigh in was 81.6k so lost half a lb or so, will hit 80kg in a few weeks though im sure, no rush though!

monday- heavy squat day
5X5 squats 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5, 142.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - all good reps, but want 1 more week at this weight until i add more
5X5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,4- same as previous week, i blame the night out, will be fresher next week!
5X5 rows 70k 5, 90k 5 , 110k 5,5,5,5,5- felt a little better than previous week, but will stick again

took an hour and 5mins inc warmup- got a whol;e year to add some strength & size so not gonna risk injury adding weight too fast and loosing technique - really enjoyng this routine, and have read a fair few of Bill Starr's articles as of late, all good stuff


today- 20 min HIIT -  X trainer    L15 40s:L25 20s - was tough especially the second half! 

strength is moving forward rapidly. enjoying a fairly relaxed month with the night out, my birthday coming up this weekend, and xmas of coarse, although nutrition is 90% on point, not worryign about an extra cheat meal here or there, weight probably wont move until january, and then as most will see, a new focus on the year ahead with 1 cheat meal weekly and will see myself gettign a little leaner once more for a strong but lean offseason  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on December 10, 2014, 09:42:15 AM
Very nice workouts hiit sounded savage


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 10, 2014, 02:52:34 PM
really enjoying the frequent squats, need a good offseason like yourself mate, HIIT is brutal, but love it! dont really get a big sweat on with the heavy lifting, so they make up for it  ;)

cycling to work thur/fri/sat so no more HIIt this week

todays session- light day

5min warmup- did a few empty barbell complexes, did the job

5X5 squats 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - good technique work- always imagine this is my max weight and it flies up, good confidence builder
5X5 press 42.5k 5, 52.5k 5, 72.5k 5,5,5,5,4 - 2 reps more than last week, still not feeling these as much as before, but progress is coming and every set feels more "solid" than the last
5X5 deadlift 105k 5, 135k 5, 165k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt alot heavier than 162.5? will stick with this until they fly up too

1 hour total, pretty consistant

got 2 meals out planned this week, friday night and sunday lunchtime, no worries, come january though this will be a no-no


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: K_Dogs on December 10, 2014, 06:45:49 PM
Some real solid heavy work being put in there mate, really good to read  8)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 12, 2014, 07:56:48 PM
Thanks bud, feel like I'm hitting my stride this offseason

Today's session went well with slight progress on last week

Medium day

5mins Xtrain warmup
5x5 squat 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5, 127.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt very light good to go Monday  8)
5x5 dips +15k 5, +35k 5, +55k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt very solid 57.5k next week
5x5 chins BW 5, +10k 5, +22.5k 5,5,5,5,5 last 2 sets a grind so stick with it again

55mins - trained alone


Ended up not cycling yesterday and having a rest , feel much better for it, cycling tomorrow and resting Sunday before a long week ahead, these workouts are taking it out of me, but working fantastic - so 2 conditioning sessions this week was enough. I find 3 maximum, going on recovery

Cheat meal tonight meal out with some old mates, and a cheat Sunday , birthday meal probably a stacked burger  :P safe to say my weight will be static until January and the random meals out stop, saying that I'm looking a little leaner and getting stronger, so happy with that


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 15, 2014, 09:08:35 PM
After an enjoyable weekend with a few meals  off plan and drinks i was eager to start this week with a bang

Slight change In my base meal plan-
As of today slightly less carbs around 3000kcal total

Breakfast - 3 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit
Mid morning - banana/1/2 cup nuts
Lunch - steak or chicken/ potato/1lb vegetables
Mid afternoon - apple/1/2 cup nuts
Dinner- fish/1 cup brown rice/large salad
Before bed - 2 cups yoghurt

4+ litres water
Pre strong black coffee
Pwo 1 scoop whey/1/2 cup raisins
1 cheat meal weekly (2-3 at the moment)

This week I'll be cycling to and from work 3 times, so no extra conditioning work needed

Today - heavy squats
5 min Xtrain warmup needed in this weather
5x5 squat 82.5k 5, 112.5. 5, 142.5k 5,5,5,5,5 felt a lot better than last week but want another week on them before I add more as I don't wanna stall, slowly does it, think quality
5x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,4 same as last week but failed on 5, felt lighter this week
5x5 rows 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 MUCH better than last week good squeeze but like squats gonna be smart and make these easy before I jump up, confidence is important

1 hour all in, consistent with this, spot on

Although training is going excellent the 80% diet is holding progress in condition back, come January will be ready to rock and be my best yet


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on December 15, 2014, 11:18:08 PM
Sorry if I've missed this Ben but what are your comp plans?

And how's the cycling commute going? I've totally failed to get out on my bike but in my defense I've been poorly and don't fancy the idea of a nice fast road bike ride with current lung capacity!


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Glen Danbury on December 15, 2014, 11:26:55 PM
solid sensible lifting :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 16, 2014, 09:05:40 AM
Hey Nic, unsure at the moment, most likely no bodybuilding in 2015, I have a little one on the way due at the end of april  :) (had to cancel our session that time due to early midwife appointments  ;) ) - if my strength progresses as fast as i think it will, maybe powerlfiting? i see there will be a UKDFBA meet. But - my goals are (commencing after new year)

1) to loose around 2-3kg and stay below 80kg where i feel im in good offseason shape and within a stone of contest weight
2) to keep gaining strength all round, and to hit new PB +10kg on everything this year , size will come with this im sure
3) stay healthy, active and balanced within life - i want to be progressing and executing a solid plan AND giving my girlfriend and little one all the support they need, doing whatever i have to - being busy wont be an excuse to be less than the best i can possibly be.....

4) UKDFBA U75kg champ 2016  ;)

cycling is going well thanks, I really only need to cycle when on earlies so one week is 3-4 times, the next week is none - so the weeks i dont cycle i do 15-20min HIIT on the X-trainer (2-3 p/week) to keep the conditioning work in. I find it hasnt impacted my strength atall, and although i leave my house at 6- thermals are keeping me warm, + saving alot more money for the crazy year ahead  :)

how about yourself Nic? still unsure?

thanks Glen, getting alot of motivation from your journal, great lifting and great pics too! them calves! :o


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on December 16, 2014, 01:07:03 PM
Hey Nic, unsure at the moment, most likely no bodybuilding in 2015, I have a little one on the way due at the end of april  :) (had to cancel our session that time due to early midwife appointments  ;) )
Ohhhh! Ah well I finally forgive you, then ;) Tee hee. That's awesome news! Congrats!


how about yourself Nic? still unsure?


Yes - not so much unsure as not pressuring myself into thinking about it (or much!) either way yet. I'm really enjoying the challenge of having no immediate challenge! :D That's not to say I won't compete in 2015 - just that I really don't know yet, and that that in itself is a-ok with me just now.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 16, 2014, 03:21:11 PM
thats the way forward Nic just relax and the fire will start burning when its time  :)


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Glen Danbury on December 16, 2014, 03:28:12 PM
congratulations.

competing with a little one can be done but for most people I woupd say enjoy the first year of their life without the pressure of competition


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: Nic on December 16, 2014, 04:17:38 PM
thats the way forward Nic just relax and the fire will start burning when its time  :)

I agree :) No need to create any dramas, just relax and enjoy training and life and all! :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 16, 2014, 04:31:00 PM
Thanks Nic and glen, I agree I do need a good clean offseason for a good 18 months anyway  :D


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: felix on December 17, 2014, 12:39:56 AM
Congratulations Ben. I think you would really enjoy powerlifting and the way you train is well suited to it already.


Title: Re: Ben's 2014 journal
Post by: ben-howard on December 17, 2014, 08:29:01 AM
thanks felix  :)  - yeah im very easily motivated lol! i much prefer the old school heavy type of workouts, i think if i did well in a powerlifting meet i would be hooked, will see how things go over the next few months


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on December 17, 2014, 04:36:33 PM
Like the new title :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 17, 2014, 08:25:26 PM
Haha not very creative but will do for another  couple of years  ;D

Today was light squat day, went very well

5 min Xtrain blast sweat on!

5x5 squat 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,5,5,5,5- good technique work
5x5 press 42.5k 5, 52.5k 5, 72.5k 5,5,5,5,5 got them all finally but will have 1 more week with 72.5k
5x5 deadlifts 105k 5, 135k 5, 165k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt much easier than last week  +2.5k

1 hour and 5mins , very happy with the small progress each session considering I'm in Xmas mode and not giving diet 100%



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on December 17, 2014, 08:57:50 PM
many congrats on your great news mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 17, 2014, 10:11:23 PM
Thanks buddy very excited  :) 8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 19, 2014, 04:23:27 PM
today was Medium squat day-


eating has been ok, but not perfect by any means - looking forward to a good 12 week almost contest prep clean stint of training & eating, from the new year, only difference will be a cheat meal weekly with Becky.

5 Min Xtrain warmup

5X5 squats 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5, 127.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - full depth, easy, ready to smash it monday!
5X5 dips +20k 5, +37.5k 5, +57.5k 5,5,4,4,4 - not happy with these, i was sure i had more in me, ill put the lack of power down to my less than perfect eating habbits at the moment, will stick with this weight though and build to all 5's
5X5 chins- BW 5, +10k 5, +22.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - noticably stronger than last week, will stick again next week and slow the reps down

1 hour in total

obviously xmas next week, training may have to be at work (council gym) will simulate my workouts as best i can, if i get a good week of training in next week will be happy with that, regardless of progress, looking like monday will train at the mill like usual, then will have to train at work wed (xmas eve) and sat - definitly a few bad meals and drinks on the cards for the next week - 2 weeks, not to worry though, the calm before the storm  ;D 8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 22, 2014, 01:11:40 PM
a very "festive" weekend  ;D last one! gonna enjoy xmas day and thats me done, back to it!

today took it pretty easy, but was a half decent session, the rest of the week will be moderate too, crazy how the recovery is shot when nutriton isnt on point

5min warmup- x trainer

5X5 squats - 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 140k 5,5,5,5,5 - decent, but wasnt gonna hit my top form today
5X5 incline bb - 60k 5, 70k 5, 90k 5,5,5,5 92.5k 5
5X5 pulldown - 65k 5, 85k 5, 105k 5,5,5,5,5

not bad for what will be a deload week- wanna be fresh for the start of new year gonna give myself 12 weeks to get in good shape and lift some decent weights too, looking forward to it


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on December 22, 2014, 01:43:29 PM
Good training of late, mate! Looks like you are really motivated.
Best wishes with the little one, too.  It's hard work but the little things that make it worth it  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 22, 2014, 02:47:12 PM
thanks buddy, although iv been enjoying myself abit too much as of late  ;D i am feeling motivated, training has still been very good, and will get better as the new year progresses with the clean eating too... Will be amazing im sure, and yeah im expecting it to be very tough too, how did you find dieting/competing with the little one? did anything change?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 24, 2014, 11:30:56 AM
Had a half decent session today at work, have been thinking a lot lately about he progress I need to make over the next year or so to realised goal of being u75k UK champ, I have a heck of a lot of work to do and need to make "Alan Mackesque" progress, I need to gear my nutrition and training moreso towards bodybuilding and body composition instead of strength

Thinking I need more volume more body part specific and isolation exercises, a 3 day split will most likely fit the bill  , nutrition won't change much just a little more protein and less carbs, possibly go with 3 meals and 3 shakes like I used to back in the day was simple and effective- saying that i have enough time to see if smashing the big lifts and eating loads of "normal" food will work in the same way, 12 weeks of that wont do me any harm i guess


Thanks to all who read my log, and have voted for me as journal of the year too, merry Christmas everyone  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 27, 2014, 02:30:16 PM
hope everyone had a great xmas with lots of quality time food drink etc, i certainly did!  :D


today i trained at work again, as work hours are all over the place at the moment, thinking more about how im going to lay things out for the forseeable future, definitly need to do some bodybuilder type work, but want the benefits of the higher frequency .... so makes sense to go with upper/lower - gave it a good go today and loved the feel, still heavy basics but enough fluff in there too!

todays upper - (just a play to see how it felt)

4X10 incline db X2 35k 10,10,10,10
4X10 pullups BW 10,10,10,9
4X10 standing db press X2 25k 10,8,8,8
4X10 bent over row 80k 10,10,10,10
3X10 close grip bench 80k 10,10,8
3X10 curl 40k 10,10,10

will train lower tomorrow, in the same fashion, then take monday-tuesday off, will plan a upper/lower routine to train 3 times per week alternating using heavy 5x5's for the big lifts, then 3-4 sets of 8-12 for the rest for that day, if anyone has any suggestions on how to lay it out, let me know  :) also making soem changes to the eating plan, using more MRP for ease, (3 meals + 3 MRP's) looking forward to the change


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on December 29, 2014, 10:25:34 AM
thanks buddy, although iv been enjoying myself abit too much as of late  ;D i am feeling motivated, training has still been very good, and will get better as the new year progresses with the clean eating too... Will be amazing im sure, and yeah im expecting it to be very tough too, how did you find dieting/competing with the little one? did anything change?

No massive change to be honest, mate.  A diet is a diet to me, but I suppose I was so focussed then (and was dieting in the early stages of his life etc) it wasn't too much of a problem.  Just preparing it when I had time - and a lot of eating on the go!

RE the bodybuilder type work and frequency, i had the same thoughts a while ago and tweaked my training too


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 29, 2014, 02:35:45 PM
yeah, im expecting the same mate, i really want to make good progress over the next year or so, just will be prepared to be more flexible, its good that like yourself training just 3 days per week, minimal cardio and a basic eating plan doesnt disrupt family life, its just a healthy lifestyle  8)

i often half commit to the change in pace with training but dont like the fact im alot weaker with the reppy stuff, but looking at the top wnbf pro's they ALL do it, so must be done in addition to the heavy lifting


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 31, 2014, 06:55:49 PM
Thanks to all who voted for my journal , great to know you guys enjoy reading my blabber, been a great year and thanks to everyone who's helped me push through this last year, here's to next year! Hope everyone enjoys tonight and makes next year THEIR year!  8)



This week has been a little different ...
Let walby decide what we train and he wanted to go for back/chest , legs/abs , shoulders/arms

So far.....

Monday

Incline db press 40k 12,12, 45k 8,8
Flat db press 40k 10,10,9,8

Pullups BW 10,10,10,8
Bent over row 80k 10,10,10,10

Kinda easy session deadlifts in here too next week

Today- after work only had an hour till gym closed so....

Squats 120k 6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6
Super setted
Lying leg curl 55k 6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6

Calf press 200k 20,20,20,20 (Turpin suggested high reps.... I hate you  ;))
Supersetted
Decline sit-up BW 20,20,20,20

45mins done!

Shoulders/arms Friday , can't wait

I took a pre workout for both sessions and although the sessions felt great, takes me hours to feel chilled again haha so sticking with the coffee

Diet has been pretty good 90% to plan, soon to be 100% I. Ready to smash this year  8)

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 02, 2015, 06:49:11 PM
First session of the new year went pretty well

Fairly easy being shoulders/arms

Seated db press 20k 12, 25k 10, 30k 8, 37.5k 6,6,6,6 - pretty easy last set was tough
Laterals 20k 12,12,12
Seated bent over laterals 20k 12,12,12

Db curls 25k 6,6,6
Preacher curls 30k 12,12,9

Dips +40k 9,9,9
Push downs 45k 12,12 42.5k 12

An hour all in, Wally's choice of exercises felt great but not my thing lol suggested next week to alternate upper/lower as we both agreed could do some chest/back work today, nice to have at least some shoulder/arm isolation in there though

Diet last few days has been spot on, will have my weekly cheat meal every weekend this week is a nice curry out with a few mates, diet is as follows

4l water daily
Pre - strong black coffee
Post- whey/1/2 cup raisins/5g creatine
Weekend - 1 cheat meal

Breakfast - 3 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivitamin
Mid morning - banana/1/2 cup mixed nuts
Lunch- chicken or steak/sweet potato/1lb mixed vegetables
Mid afternoon- apple/1/2 cup mixed nuts
Dinner - salmon or tuna/1 cup brown rice/large mixed salad
Before bed - 2 cups natural yoghurt/multivitamin

Nice and easy , around 3000kcal daily. With only 1 cheat per week weight should drop (around 82-83k) to around 80k which I'll be happy with as an offseason weight strong and fairly lean at this weight


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Rossdog on January 03, 2015, 01:36:38 PM
nice journal pal, really detailed n some cracking workouts, your gonna do sick next year. keep smashing it.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 03, 2015, 02:22:41 PM
Thanks pal, gotta hook up for a session next time your down here. Show me how it's done  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 05, 2015, 06:25:44 PM
Today had a great upper body session- Walby led the way again, and although looks nothing on paper we were both feeling it, gonna give the upper/lower 3 days per week a bash, good blend of volume/intensity/frequency we both enjoyed it!

5min Xtrain warmup
Incline db press 20k 15, 30k 10, 40k 6, 47.5k 10(PB  ;D) 8,6 - no spot, touching shoulders
Hammer strength press 80k 10,9,8 - chest done - I don't need much!
Pull downs 60k 15, 75k 8 95k 10,8,7 - strict and squeeze
Low pulley row 90k 10,10,10 - back was done
1 arm shoulder press 20k 10,10,10
Cable curls 30k 10,10,10
Cable push down 50k 10,10,10

Will go a little less volume as higher intensity 3-6 sets per muscle group should be spot on for hitting every 4-5 days as long as there hard enough! Gonna also use more free weight exercises, I know it makes sense  ;)


Other news- big rich is looking huge, strong and lean, lots of sets of  reppy inclines withthe 60's today, looked nothing for him, definitely a mental help with him spurring me on! (Hence the PB)

Diet spot on to plan  excited, motivated and looking forward to smashing legs on weds
Gonna give stiff legged deads a good running haven't done them for a while!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 07, 2015, 06:48:22 PM
Lower body day, tried a few new things, paid off!

Squats 20k 20, 60k, 15, 80k 10, 100k 6, 120k 4, 140k 6,6,6 - warmup here instead of the cross trainer, squats felt a lot better mobility for it
Hack squats 100k 10,10,10 - felt good but prefer to do more sets of basic squats

Stiff legged deadlifts 80k 8, 120k 8, 140k 8,6,6 - haven't done this for about 5 years, and used straps! Haven't used those for about 6 years, hams felt great for it. Ruined! And could go a fair bit heavier too
Lying leg curl 50k 10,10,8

Donkey calf raise just 100k 20,20,20,20 - so light but high reps calves were in agony
Hanging leg raises - 20,20,15,15 - abs haven't felt so smashed for months

Took just over an hour

Really liking the upper/lower so far. Need to settle on a routine though, knowing me will be basics for more sets, staying fairly heavier no more than 8 reps for most


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 09, 2015, 03:51:40 PM
Today i had a great session to round out the week of training-

Upper -

incline db press 15kg 20, 22.5kg 12, 35kg 8, 42.5kg 4, 50kg 6,6,6,5 - VERY happy and excited with these, iv never done 1 rep with the 50's flat or incline so as i say a big PB and milestone for me, no spot needed, touch the chest every time, solid reps, felt great! my goal is 4X6 on wednesay next week  8)

cable row- 65k 8, 85k 6, 105k 6,6,6,6 - very slow and strict focusing on squeezing my whole upper back, great thing about these, is it gives the posterior chain a rest compared to a bent over row  :) - after squats/deads on lower day a lower back rest is welcome

1 arm standing db press 30k 8,8,8 - loving these, bracing my free arm and tapping my shoulder with the dumbell, shoulders feel worked to the max after just a few sets- very strict style, superset each arm then 1.5-2 mins rest between sets

pullups BW - 8,8,8 - pre fatigued so reps were low for using just BW - but pullups have NEVER felt better, lats are still numb 2 hours later- lift chest high to the bar, squeezing lats hard, lean back almost a sternum chin, and a slow 3 or so second negative

EZ lying extension- 40kg 10,10,10 - not done these for ages, tri's and forearms worked very hard, for the low amount of weight and volume- may do dips instead next week- see how i feel
EZ curls 40kg 10,10,10- again for the amount of volume and weight biceps and forearms were well and truly done!

2mins or so for the "heavier" stuff then from shoulder press around 1.5mins rest - done in 1hr 10mins  :)

getting back into the habbit or stretching well on my days off the gym- just 20min or so makes a big difference in recovery and ROM

the weekend off, and back to it monday for a good leg session- loving the upper/lower and falling nicely into a routine that works for me, nutriton is clean and basic, busy and on the go all the time, determined to have my best year yet  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Turpin on January 09, 2015, 04:08:15 PM

  That's some great lifting there Ben , very impressive mate.

   T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 09, 2015, 04:42:41 PM
thanks mate, feeling very positive with training at the moment  :) - any chance youll make an appearance at the natural meet in march?  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Turpin on January 09, 2015, 06:43:20 PM
thanks mate, feeling very positive with training at the moment  :) - any chance youll make an appearance at the natural meet in march?  8)

   I would love to attend and meet with you guys but Im scheduled at work that day Ben.

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 09, 2015, 06:53:46 PM
damn, thats a shame bud, always next time mate  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 10, 2015, 02:41:00 PM
seems all good mate and very solid lifts


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 10, 2015, 06:57:24 PM
Cheers scott, finally feels offseason is underway , weight today is 82.6kg - without any diet changes see what I am this time next week  tonight I'm going out for my weekly cheat meal, stacked burger I think, then back to it in the morning


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 12, 2015, 06:38:59 PM
Good cheat meal Saturday night, was stuffed after, back to it Sunday morning, liking the simplicity of my diet, barely have to think about it

Today I had a great lower body workout, a little progress, which will be my aim for every workout just a rep or so more or slightly more weight. Slowly does it

5min x train warmup- soaked through of the way to the gym so needed to dry off abit

4x6 squats 80k 6, 110k 6, 140k 6,6,6,6 - all reps solid and powerful 142.5k Friday
4x6 stiff leg deads 85k 6, 115k 6, 145k 6,6,6,6- straps on, 147.5k Friday- a lot weaker than regular deads but feel it hits the Hammies and lower back more
4x10 leg press 300k 10,10,10,10 stick and slow the reps down, constant tension
3x12 calf press 250k 12,12,10- went heavier today, these hurt, stick with 250k
3x12 weighted crunch 40k 12,12,12- nice and squeezy did the job abs were smoked

1 hr 5mins - planned to do lunges instead of leg press but lower back was gone after squats+deads, sticking with the leg press! did the job well






Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Tez on January 12, 2015, 08:07:09 PM
Hi mate. Good read, stealing that leg session for tomorrow  ;D may regret that like!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 14, 2015, 08:24:17 AM
Hey tez, hope it went well,  not a huge amount of volume but works great every 4-5 days

If anyone is following rich gozdecki on Facebook check out his latest video of his back training this week, deadlifts 220kg 21 reps  :-X


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 14, 2015, 03:28:16 PM
Today had a great and progressive "Upper" session-

5 min Xtrain warmup
4X6 incline db press 25k 12, 35k 6, 42.5k 4, 50k 6,6,6,6 - 1 rep more than last session  :) - stick with it until the last set is as solid as the first
4X6 cable row 65k 10, 85k 6, 105k 6,6,6,6- same reps but more controlled, again stick with it, until all reps are felt perfectly
3X10 standing 1 arm db press 30k 9,9,9- 3 reps more in total, build to 10's before increasing weight- loving this exercise!
3X10 pullups - BW 9,8,8- again almost sternum chins- 1 rep more, spot on- very slow and controlled
3X10 dips- +30k 10,10,7- ran out of steam on the last, but felt great as already full of blood (better than lying extensions)
3X10 curls - 40kg 9,9,9- arms not as trashed at this point, (ovbiously adapting) 3 reps more than last session

nice and steady for the heavy stuff and faster after the rows, 1hour 10mins in total,

have added in 2 scoops of whey per day (with snacks) and taken 1/2 cup of mixed nuts out, makes more sense to me, protein is a little higher and fats a little lower around 180-200p 300-350c 100f total- 2800-3000kcals ish  8)

- 4 litres water daily
-pre strong black coffee
- post- 1 scoop whey/1/2 cup raisins/5g creatine
- sat night offseason- cheat meal

6- 3 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
9- 1 scoop whey/banana/1/4 cup nuts
12- chicken or steak/1 sweet potato/1lb mixed vegetbales
3- 1 scoop whey/apple/1/4 cup nuts
6- salmon or tuna/1 sweet potato/large mixes salad
9- 2 cups natural yoghurt/multivit


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 16, 2015, 05:18:09 PM
all looks extreemly sensible mate diet wise, nice training sessions


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2015, 10:24:01 PM
Thanks mate, I'm looking forward to the rewards of a good offseason like yourself, feel in the swing of it, since new year,

Today was LOWER day, made some minor progression

5min x train warmup

4x6 squats 20k 20, 80k 6, 110k 6, 140k 6,6,6 142.5k 6 - slowly increasing these keeping form
4x6 stiff leg dead 85k 6, 115k 6, 145k 6,6,6,6 - made sure last set was perfect +2.5k on Wednesday
3x10 leg press 300k 10,10,10 - knees to chest, constant tension +5k Wednesday
3x10 lying leg curl 50k 10,8,6 - surprised how fatigues hams were, use 45k Wednesday

3x12 calf press 250k 12,12,12 much easier than Monday +5k Wednesday
3x12 crunches 40k 12, 36k 12, 32k 12 - gonna stick with 32k and focus on feel

1 hr 10mins all in, good pace

Cycling has stopped as iv just bought a new set of wheels, probably the least cool ride ever but so cheap to run , honda pcx 125 , cycling occasionally in the summer will be the norm

Weigh in tomorrow + weekly cheat meal! pizza! garlic bread! Cheesecake!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 17, 2015, 09:17:18 AM
81.6k this morning, so lost 1kg in the last week, regardless of last weekends huge. Cheat meal, that's good news and means I won't have to drop cals atall for me to fall under 80kg this offseason and be in decent nick 8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 19, 2015, 04:17:43 PM
spent the weekend cleaning the new flat and moving stuff in, all stress free as becky's dad own's it, and gave up the keys at xmas to move in feb 1st, the last and only stress free move i think!
getting used to riding the bike, feels good not having to bus/cycle everywhere, but can be abit ropey as i have zero experience and with this weather gotta be extra careful, dont wanna injure myself-

on that note, training partner walby has badly done his back in, he has tweaked it a few times on the last 18 months, but this time hes out of action for a while, he did it 2 weeks ago and still cant even sit down without agony, the chiro said 2 sessions per week for 12 weeks and only very light general fitness work  :( will be training alone until hes back to full health, hope he makes a full recovery and gets his back sorted once and for all- also co-incidently, today when re-racking the dumbells i felt a tweak in my lower right lumbar, almost ontop of the glute, dammit! nothing serious though and didnt hinder the rest of my upper session, - im gonna learn from this and make sure i do 2 things ... 1) get strict on my foam rolling/stretching sessions again - 3 times per week for atleast 20mins - helped masively during my prep to stay injury free and feel subtle for training ... 2) make sure every rep is performed perfectly, and never rush warming up

todays session-

5 min Xtrain warmup-

4X6 incline db press 15k 15, 25k 12, 32.5k 8, 42.5k 4, 50kg 4,  >:( 6,6,6,4  :) (then tweaked lower back putting away)  ::)
4X6 seated row 65k 8, 85k 6, 105k 6,6,6,6- these are getting tighter, slower, very controlled and i like it, stick with it!
3X10 1 arm db press 30k 10,9,9 - good progress, feeling stronger
3X10 pullups - BW 9,9,8- 1 more rep, progress slowly but surely - great feel on these, whole back,shoulders,arms
3X10 dips +30k 10,10,8 - small progression, on track
3X10 EZ curls 40k 10,9,9- good step up, keep hitting it

1 hour 10mins-  as usual

not sure what happened on the first set of db presses? my head was there, i was warm and fresh good to go, just failed, but had a word with myself and convinced myself it was just a head game iv done this before now just bloody lift the weight, and I did, because of my crap first set, i did a 5th to make up for it, maybe it was because i had no spot, maybe it was technique but im sure as hell not failing on friday!

gonna do foam roll/stretch session today and tomorrow before Lower session on wednesday-


some good reading on the journals old and new, love this time of year, everyone getting their A game on, great to see  8)

getting lots of motivation following jeff alberts's youtube video blog's, Like Ian duckett, a great healthy balanced view on this lifestyle, and just shows what years of getting it done can do!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2015, 06:24:34 PM
Getting back into the foam rolling and stretching has already improved mobility and confidence in my training, today was lower body and fancied some front squats, would love to be able to rep out 140k kinda an aim in the back of my head, I like the fact hey hit he quads hard, improve posture and less stress on the spine than he heavy back squats, although form was great and tight throughout not very strong on them

5min Xtrain warmup

4x6 front squat 20k 15, 40k 10, 60k 8, 80k 6, 100k 6, 105k 6,6,6
4x6 stiff legged deads 60k 10, 80k 8, 100k 6, 120k 4, 150k 6,6 145k 6,6 - no back problem atall  :D
3x10leg ext 70k 10,10,10 - felt like 100k on the other machine
3x10 leg curl 45k 10,10,10

5x12 calf press (20s rest) 280k 12, 240k 12, 200k 12, 160k 12, 120k 12
Weighted sit-up 32k 15,12 - abs were cramping really bad had to skip the last 2 sets, went super slow and constant tension abs are in bits

1 hour 10 mins, getting me thinking about doing some front squats for a few months hmmm,


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 23, 2015, 06:50:00 PM
Pretty busy in the gym today so had to go with something different but had a decent upper session

5min Xtrain warmup

Dips BW 12, +20k 8, +40k 5, +50k 6,6,6 +40k 6,6,6
Seated row 60k 10, 80k 6, 100k 6,6,6,6,6,6 last 2 sets tough, felt good and strict
Military 60k 10,8,7,6
Chins BW 10,10,7,6

1 hour done,

I think I could get a great upper session with just dips and chins and presses if the volume and weight was there 3 of my favourite exercises, + squats and deads for lower and were onto something

One of my favourite full body workouts from a few years ago went like this

5x5 trap bar deadlifts
5x5 dips
5x5 chins

Gained a fair bit if strength and size from those 3


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Turpin on January 23, 2015, 07:22:29 PM
Yep , last summer I performed complexes of 3 exercises ( one being:  OHP / Chin / Dip for upper body ) along with skipping/rope jumps for conditioning and felt great within myself in terms of strength , conditioning & vitality .

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 24, 2015, 08:07:17 AM
definitly, for next year i do need to add a decent amount of size and thickness, moreso in my chest/shoulders/arms - these 3 will play a big part in that,

81.3kg thismorning so lost 0.3kg, and since xmas looking and feeling better in terms of strength/fullness/condition, want to loose another 1 1/2 kg  before april so loads of time and most likely no reductions in calories needed

resting up the weekend gonna foam roll & stretch well - cheat meal tonight , dad's bday so buffet style meal (cosmo) - wont go as nuts as last time i went there  ;D but will have my fill  ;)

next weeks focus will be on - front squats/stiff legged deadlift/dips/chins/press - all with a decent amount of volume with a few others thrown in for good measure- have a good weekend  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 26, 2015, 05:55:33 PM
Weekend was pretty busy, a good feed up on Saturday at a buffet, and back to the grind today, was gonna front squat again, but already missing them back squats, here's how it went

5 min Xtrain warmup

5x5 squat 82.5k 5, 112.5k 5, 142.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt great last set was tough, stick with his weight
4x12 leg press 300kg 12,12,12,12 - fast pace from here, these haven't felt as strong for a while, constant tension and deep reps
4x12 lying leg curl 40kg 12,12,12,12 - legs were trashed, not used to higher rep stuff

4x12 donkey calf - stack 12,12,12,12 - calves still hurting now
4x15 hanging leg raises 15,15,15,15 - job done

1 hour and was happy with that one, do fancy some heavy deadlifts, so that's the plan for Friday, all push muscles on Wednesday too, heavy bench before reppy inclines, it's been a while


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on January 26, 2015, 06:35:02 PM
SOLID as always Ben! :D

Have you seen the new book by Brooks Kubik, Dinosaur training secrets - on Kindle? It does go over a lot of the old stuff, but it's worth a read for £6.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 26, 2015, 07:32:18 PM
Thanks Keith , can't complain , all going well  8)

I haven't read it, thinking of buying it and the new nutrition book, love reading his blog too


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 28, 2015, 07:43:51 PM
Was gonna plan doing a "push" on.y workout but once I got going decided to give a whole upper body hit to try and beat my previous numbers and also to allow hitting legs again on Friday, I improved on some but didn't on others, not sure why but heavy inclines are feeling heavier

4x6 incline db press 17.5k 20, 27.5k 12, 35k 8, 42.5k 4, 50k 6,6,5+1,4+2 - keep hitting these until easy 4x6
4x6 cable row, 65k 10, 85k 6, 105k 6,6,6,6 - felt better using the v bar, stick with it until last set like the first
3x10 1 arm db press 30k 10,10,9 - these feel better each week
3x10 pull-ups BW 9,9,7+2 - last set felt like I hit a wall
3x10 dips +30k 10,10,8 - real slow and controlled
3x10 curls 35k 10,10,10 - should have used 40k

1 hour 5mins- glad I stuck with this routine


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 30, 2015, 03:36:35 PM
went in to train legs today, this is how it went

- squats- 20kg 20, 60kg 10, 82.5kg 8, 112.5kg 6, 142.5kg -4th rep, pop, lower back pulled real bad at the bottom of the rep and crashed down onto the safety bars, cant even do a bodyweight squat, feels pretty much what i did 2 weeks ago while putting dumbell's back, but ALOT worse, suposed to be moving into the flat tomorrow morning, see how it is tomorrow   :-\ -

may have to re-think how i go at this, heavy low rep squats are messing me up, form was spot on, and smooth, posture was great and warmup up really well, may have to think about front squatting instead or something? who knows


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on January 30, 2015, 05:11:02 PM
Hey mate, really sorry to hear about the injury. You may have read elsewhere that I'm recovering from a fairly severe lower back injury, although mine came from deads.
A possible explanations is when you experience a split second where you loose core support and then an already tight muscle, ligament or tendon is stretched or pulled further than it can tolerate whilst your under full load. Having any kind of imbalance will exaggerate things, so if your back is pulled more on one side than the other then you might want to check your mobility (bilaterally). Ice might help initially, but that advice has recently come under fire. The two things that I can advise are to take anti-inflammatory medication if it hurts an unreasonable amount and keep the back in a position that eases the pain. A time will come when you need to mobilise and work on recovery, but not now, you must rest and let your body do it's job or repair, which will almost certainly involve some heavy inflammation and pain, but that's just it's way of further protecting the area.
In general if the pain if better in the morning's after sleeping lying flat then it's more likely to be muscular, however if it doesn't improve over night (1st night is probably exempt) then it could be disc related. Physio is probably useless at the moment, so do your best bet is to rest it. The flat move is unfortunate, but if you can't lift anything then you need to consider a backup plan.
Keep your chin up, I was in bits, but it does ease of pretty quickly. Personally I couldn't walk normally for about 7 days, but it really depends on the nature of the injury.
Good luck Ben, hope it isn't a bad one and you recover soon.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 30, 2015, 05:35:26 PM
thanks keith a massive help, ill take your advice and see how it is in the morning, and how bad it feels- glad you overcame your injury mate and things are going abit better now  :) - bloody heavy squats and deads hey!  ::)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 30, 2015, 07:32:35 PM
sorry to hear about the injury mate. Try and look after it as best you can. Movings not ideal but after that you can rest up.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 30, 2015, 08:31:54 PM
thanks mate,  yeah will do, luckily most of the stuff is in, just a few last bits tomorrow, but will do my best to rest it, will have to have a think once its healed on what to do training-wise


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: felix on January 31, 2015, 05:30:33 PM
Sorry to hear about your back Ben I hope it feels a lot better soon.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 31, 2015, 05:48:49 PM
Thanks felix I'm hoping so, all apart of the game though

Last night fell asleep fine then got up in the night to pee, couldn't stand up and when I tried I passed out, not sure if it was the pain or the nerves but luckily didn't do any more damage when I hit the floor that was about 2am poor Becky being heavily pregnant shouldn't have to be looking after me , woke up dreading how it would be, but feel pretty good, some paracetamol and I feel better than yesterday for sure hopefully the recovery will keep this pace

Weight today 81.2kg so in the next 3 months wanna loose 2kgish

Diet is staying on track cheat meal tonight In our new place, will do what I can training wise within my capabilities


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Badger on January 31, 2015, 07:06:18 PM
Hope you heal up soon and might be worth seeing you GP just in case.

Good luck with the move, moving house is a right pain in the arse.. But worth it for the right place.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Trow on January 31, 2015, 10:48:39 PM
Sorry to hear about the back injury Ben, my advice, get to your GP asap, better to be safe than sorry, especially with back injuries and when weight lifting is your major hobby!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on January 31, 2015, 10:56:03 PM
Get it sorted sooner rather than later Ben!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on January 31, 2015, 10:57:46 PM
Echo above Ben. Sort it out and see someone sooner than later. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery buddy


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Turpin on January 31, 2015, 11:33:31 PM

 Hope you are back to yerself soon mate .  Remember there are other exercises that can/will give you what you want without the risk ;)

  T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 01, 2015, 04:04:46 PM
thanks guys, im feeling much better today, cant believe how quickly this is healing, from not being able to stand saturday morning, and passing out  ??? to barely feeling any pain atall today  ;D guess im just lucky! i can even foam roll the area without pain, the area just feels a little weak and unstable sometimes, if you asked me friday night/sat morning i would have said 8-12 weeks until i can do anything on it, but i recon i could do some dairly light work even now,  but not gonna be stupid heres what ill do....

in my upper days ill keep them the same, may go in and do what i can tomorrow for upper day, possibly incline bar instead of dumbells so i dont have to move the weights around, if cable rows aggravate my back ill do them supported, and everything else should be fine, lower days will be abit more conservative to start with, and although not squatting feels like a sin, i do believe front squats will be safer on my back long term and possibly as good if not better for building some quaddage?- and easier to get depth and keep the natural arc in the lower back... stick with the rest of the workout as it is, foam roll and stretch on off days from the gym and always warmup well aerobically and with the  movements im doing - thats the plan  :)



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: p0stscript on February 01, 2015, 04:31:32 PM
good news


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 02, 2015, 10:14:32 AM
Excellent news mate.

Front squats have been my weapon of choice for a while, just make sure you stay super tight at the bottom and be prepared to sacrifice a lot of kilo's on the bar compared to back squats.

Also, try to keep in mind that a injury (even when managed well), can take around 6 weeks to recover, so just keep a little extra in the tank for a while.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 02, 2015, 05:53:25 PM
Thanks guys, great to know there working for you too mate,  I'll up my recovery sessions and always be focused on that back whilst in "the hole" not gonna make that mistake again, do you find fronts as good for bodybuilding purposes even though the weights are less?

I'm one lucky man! If you told me on Saturday AM I would be able to train in the next month I would have said not a chance, someone must be looking down on me because it seems my back is recovering double each day, and today I was able to train upper body with 90% intensity with no pain atall, great stuff

Here's how it went

5min barbell complexes to Warmup and test my back, very slight weakness but workable

4x6 Incline press 50k 10, 70k 8, 80k 6, 90k 6,6,6,6 - a fairly Steep incline so was weaker than db press but felt great for the chest, may stick with these even if back feels good for db's

4x6 cable row 65k 10, 85k 6, 105k 6,6,6 110k 6, gonna go with 110k Friday

3x10 1 arm db press 30k 10,9,9 good slow reps
3x10 pull-ups BW 9,9,9 - again slow squeeze reps
3x10 dips +30k 10,10,8
3x10 hammer curls x2 20k 10,10,10 - strict

1 hour all in and counting my blessing to be able to do this today, new foam roller in the post a small harder one to use at home on off days -

Wednesday front squats - my goal this year, 4x6 140kg - lets do this!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 03, 2015, 01:53:02 PM
Wednesday front squats - my goal this year, 4x6 140kg - lets do this!

 :o :o


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 03, 2015, 03:48:24 PM
Wednesday front squats - my goal this year, 4x6 140kg - lets do this!

 :o :o

Big boyz weights!

Back squats have just given me a big booty, so I'm hoping that front squats will do the business on the quads. Also found that barbell hacks and Bulgarian split squats (dumbbell's) are useful.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 04, 2015, 06:27:35 PM
VERY happy with todays session, no records broken, and 90% there, but thankfull of that after fridays injury, training & nutrition isnt just a hobby its really a good foundation and without it, i would be pretty miserable!

todays session-

5-10 min- barbell complex warmup- squat/deadlift/clean/press

main lifts:
5X5 front squats 65kg 5, 85kg 5, 105kg 5,5,5,5,5 - back was fine, felt solid at the bottom position and with 140kg in mind these felt easy
5X5 stiff legged deadlift 85kg 5, 115kg 5, 145kg 5,5,5,5,5- no problems atall, back was tight throughout and a good stretch at the bottom, real controlled and loads in the tank!

Assistance work:
3X10 lying leg curl 50kg 10,8,8- tough after deadlifts!
3X12 donkey calf raises - stack- 12,12,12- gonna stick with this weight increasing the reps as overload
3X15 hanging leg raises - BW 15,15,15- these always kill my abs, gard work, controlling negative and knees to elbows

1 hour 10 mins- took a little longer to warmup for confidence- dips+chins for 5X5 friday with 1 arm db press,cable rows and flyes for assistance work

liked the 5X5 has been a little while since i did them, im gonna do 5X5 on 2 exercises for the day (upper or lower) and 3 assistance exercises after, may mix the assistance up as and when but keep the 5X5 constant for a decent amount of time so my 140kg front squat goal is now 5X5 instead of 4X6- like the idea of bulgarian split squats after fronts and stiff legged deads as assistance higher reps, any tips on how to do them.



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: felix on February 04, 2015, 10:22:00 PM
Glad to hear your back is recovering well Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 05, 2015, 03:58:26 PM
thanks Felix im very fortunate, lessons learnt too!  ;D

bonus session today- will plan to do 2 HIIT sessions weekly for health more than anything, i treat these like a weights session with PWO nutrition and a strong coffee before- get some tunes blasting in my ears and off i go!

5 min warmup- Xtrain

15 min HIIT Xtrain - 40s level 20 (recovery)//20s level 28 (sprint) X15min- hard! 272kcals burnt heart rate in high 170's
5 min cooldown
foam roll and stretches for whole body - 20mins (these will become a staple 3-4 times weekly for health and injury prevention)

so 1 week ill do HIIT tue/sat and the other thur/sat (day after legs but always have sundays off- so wont impact leg training)
aslong as the extra gym sessions dont effect my personal life i.e. with becky and when the little one comes along, these are regarded as "bonus" sessions- so not gonna stress if i have to move them/do them after weights or even have to miss the odd one

tomorrow the plan is...
5X5 incline press (need that upper chest development)
5X5 cable rows
3X10 1 arm db press
3X10 chin-ups
3X10 dips

(was gonna do dips/chins for 5X5 but assessing my weaknesses this will be more effective)



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 06, 2015, 03:28:03 PM
A great upper session today, not as strong as I thought but hit it hard and will keep building each session, a rep here or there or added weight, it's what it's all about

5min x train warmup

5x5 incline bench 60k 5, 80k 5, 95k 5,5,5,4,4- sure I had 5x5 in me, the higher incline is a lot harder but will do me some good too, be nice to get 100k 5x5 for a PB- not long!

5x5 cable row 70k 5,  90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5 115k 5 - last set was a little loose with the new weight - will do 115k next week and keep them reps as strict as I can - 125k 5x5 will be a PB

3x10 1 arm db press 30k 10,10,9 first set is feeling real easy
3x10 chins +10k 10,9,6- gonna stick with 10k and build, biceps were fried
3x10 dips +30k 10,10,9 - progress, finished upper body well

1 hour 5mins which is about 2-3min between 5x5 an 60-90s between 3x10

Tomorrow is weigh in, HIIT and cheat meal which will be a big steak, wedges, greens and chocolate cheesecake!

Loving the upper/lower split been doing it since new year and will continue feels I can go all out but not too long between sessions either, happy with the exercises today no need to change atall


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 07, 2015, 03:47:45 PM
81kg thismorning so weight still creeping down, only 1-1.5kg to lose until im at my offseason maintanance weight- i was aiming to do this in the next 10-11 weeks so will let the weight creep down very slowly, getting loads of food in too and seeing myself getting leaner all going well

HIIT today- new cardio refurb at work so did Xtrain level 30- 40s (recovery) // level 40- 20s (sprint) X15- burnt 225kcals and felt harder than the old machines- even though kcal reading was lower, so will work with this

20-30mins foam rolling and stretching too, and im done for this week, maybe some more foam rolling tomorrow if i have time at work, and back to it monday for lower session

enjoy your weekend/cheat meals  8)



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 09, 2015, 04:08:31 PM
back to it today, my new foam roller (the grid) arrived and is much better than the soft rollers at work, so will be using it especially lower body/hips/lower back- not the most fun part of this whole process but definitly helps recovery/injury prevention/mobility etc

today had a great Lower body session to kick off the week, hit all my goals for today and progresed on everything with ease!

5 min Xtrain warmup

5X5 front squat- 27.5kg 5, 47.5kg 5, 67.5kg 5, 87.5kg 5, 107.5kg 5,5,5,5,5- felt easier than last session's 105kg and had loads left in the tank 110kg on friday- moving in the right direction- 140kg by the end of the year- no problem!

5X5 stiff legged deadlift- 87.5kg 5, 117.5kg 5, 147.5kg 5,5,5,5,5- no problems here, tight core throughout like the front squats- 150kg on friday

3X10 bulgarian split squat - X2 20kg - 10,10,10- these are no joke, never done these before, they hurt! great finisher and my new favourite leg accessory exercise- X2 22.5kg friday- kidna hard to balance a little, but once you start repping all went well

3X13 donkey calf raise- stack- 13,13,13- tough last set - aim for 3X14 friday

3X16 hanging leg raises- 16,16,16- again, last set was horrible- aim for 3X17 friday

1 hour after warming up

not going to lower my kcals atall even if it takes 2-3 months to loose this last 2-3lb - no rush  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 09, 2015, 05:05:28 PM
I hassled Shredder into buying "The grid", had mine for a couple of years and it's still in perfect condition, great bit of kit.

Bulgarian's are simply disgusting, I got up to 10 x 35kg per hand and absolutely dreaded doing them.

Your front squats are massive, what grip are you using?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 09, 2015, 05:44:16 PM
massive?!? have you seen turpins log??  ;D

i use the bodybuilding style grip, mobility in my wrists is miles off doing the olympic style grip, thats real strong on the split squats mate!

really like the grid miles betetr than any other roller iv used


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 10, 2015, 03:34:16 PM
HIIT today- same setup as saturday, 232kcals so a good improvement and was tough! - lots of stretching and foam rolling after!

saturdays HIIT this week will be on thursday as to free up my day with the mrs- feel in the groove currently, 1 meal per week away from contest prep


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2015, 05:48:59 PM
Smashed last sessions upper body session today

5min xtrain warmup

5x5 incline bench 20k 20, 60k 5, 80k 5, 95k 5,5,5,5,5 - 2 reps more than last time, up to 97.5k
5x5 cable row 75k 5, 95k 5, 115k 5,5,5,5,5 - last rep of set 4&5 a little loose, happy with this being a new weight but stick for another session or 2- all other reps super strict

3x10 1 arm db press 30k 10,10,10 - 1 more rep than last time, last set was failure so stick with it
3x10 chins +10k 10,8,8 - 1 extra rep, keep these improving each session
3x10 dips +30k 10,10,10 - 1 more rep here too, very slow deep reps, +32.5k next time

Whole session took an hour including the warmup, good pace! The HIIT definitely helps the recovery between sets

Focused on super strict form throughout 2-3s negatives and feeling every rep, never been as strict with my form, love these sessions! Diet is perfect, can't complain atall


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 11, 2015, 05:52:21 PM
Focused on super strict form throughout 2-3s negatives and feeling every rep, never been as strict with my form, love these sessions! Diet is perfect, can't complain atall

I think that a little injury can do wonders for this, makes you take a step back and re-focus.
Sounds like you're back in a good place  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 12, 2015, 05:07:22 PM
i agree keith, forced me to rethink how i perform each movement and benefiting from it already, made me realise also how important my health is! keeping your foundation while life is busy, keeps you grounded and keeps you grafting, alot more to this than competing, saying that, cant wait to get back onstage  :)

today did 15mins HIIT xtrainer as usual - 240kcals so a good increase from tuesdays session- did level 40 all the way through and just took it real easy for 40s then sprint for 20s - found it bloody hard, lots of stretching and foam rolling after and im looking forward to lower body tomorrow!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 12, 2015, 05:37:00 PM
I have the grid roller as well and they are great. Not sure how you roll for 20 minutes i manage about 10 before the pain becomes to much.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 13, 2015, 06:50:20 PM
I know what you mean mate, absolute torture!

Today I ended the week with a great and progressive lower body session
Progressed on everything and although was a tough session I have a fair bit more in the tank on all exercises, so full steam ahead!

5min xtrain warmup

5x5 front squat 20k 10, 40k 8, 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 - all with a tight core in the hole and feeling as comfortable as 100k did a few weeks ago, 112.5k next session

5x5 stiff legged deads, 90k 5, 120k 5, 150k 5,5,5,5,5 - last set or 2 was pretty tough but all perfect, 152.5k next session, note that posture was better when I was leading with chin high

3x10 Bulgarian split squat x2 22.5k 10,10,10 - as painful as these are with a deep stretch constant tension and after the heavy stuff I can see me using some decent weight in not so long, 25k db's next session

3x14 donkey calf raises - stack - 14,14,14- these feeling strong go for 15's next session

3x17 hanging leg raises BW- 17,17,17 - abs get smashed by these, aim for 18's next session

Wrapped up in an hour after warming up, from split squats onwards was a fat pace, best week of training since prep, weigh in tomorrow and a good chill at home with the mrs, and of coarse a supersize meal tommorow night, enjoy your weekend! And spoil her/him rotten!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 24, 2015, 04:02:36 PM
last week of training was great, hit my best numbers with my upper/lower workout, its been 6 weeks now on this split and time for a change, going back to the old faithful full body 5X5 for a while, still hitting the basics hard and heavy, looking to add weight to the bar

last weekend saw probably my last night out for a long while as the little one will is due in just over 8 weeks - turned into abit of a weekend of eating bad, but not bothered as only have around 2kg to lose in the next 8 weeks or so, full steam ahead-

after reading brooks kubik's new book "knife fork and muscle" im gonna go back to basics with both my training and eating, for a number of reasons

1) as an experiment, can I build strength and muscle and get lean all while eating like the pre steroid era guys did, just good old food and lots of it- and training danmed hard just 3 times weekly

2) will be easy to maintain with "life" in general

3) its old school! and pretty hardcore!  ;D

so here is my plan for the next 8 weeks-

goals- 1) lose 1-2kg to maintain a fairly lean 80kg
          2) stick to my new way of eating
          3) build strength and size all over

the diet-
4L water daily
saturday evening refeed- usually a big steak/wedges/veg/1-2 desserts- a good 2-3000kcals and always a social one! this will be the only difference between pre contest and offseason- so will be healthy and lean with it
post workout- 1 scoop whey isolate/3 banana's (i either train at 9-10am or 3-4pm)

breakfast- 5-7am-  4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit

lunch-  11am-1pm- 1/2 roast chicken/baked potato/extra large mixed salad

dinner- 5-7pm- 3/4lb beef or 2 salmon fillets/1 cup rice/1lb mixed vegetables

training will be what i was doing pre contest with the full body 5X5 workouts- with 1-2 accessory exercises

examples -

5X5 squats                                   5X5 deadlift                           5X5 front squat
5X5 bench                                    5X5 military press                  5X5 incline press
5X5 row                      OR             5X5 chins                    OR      5X5 power clean  
 
3X10 lying leg curl                        3X10 dips                              3X10 thick bar curl
3X20 donkey calf raise                  3X20 hanging leg raises          3X20 seated calf raise

all basic stuff,

yesterday i tried back squatting again for the first time since i buggered by back up a few weeks ago- it went very well

5 min barbell complex warmup

5X5 squat - 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 140k 5,5,5,5,5- very easy! like 3 reps left in the tank last set!?
5X5 bench - 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5, 105k 5,5,5,5- not bad- but been a while since i have doen flat bench
5X5 row- 65k 5, 75k 5, 105k 5,5,5,5,5 - nice and easy- again been a while since i barbell rowed

3X10 lying leg curl #10 10,10,10- last set was tough
3X16 donkey calf raises- stack- 16,16,16 - working these upto 20+ reps

1 hour 15mins-

good to be back on the old school stuff, and the diet is very enjoyable too! around 3000kcals average each day  :) - but each meal is HUGE


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 24, 2015, 06:16:18 PM
Like it a lot  ;D My kind of training and dieting. Shame the book isn't on Kindle.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 24, 2015, 06:39:01 PM
thought you would mate  ;D - makes sense to me, i believe i could get alot bigger and leaner on it, so why not haha, yeah i did think that, i do prefer reading a book, but was alot more expensive!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 25, 2015, 01:09:06 PM
Today's session was another strong one for me, I now train around 3 hours after eating and it doesn't effects strength atall, if anything I feel stronger with a bigger gap, here's how it went

3x20 KB swing warmup - 20k - stretching between sets

5x5 trap bar deadlift - 60k 10, 100k 5, 140k 5, 160k 5, 190k 5,5,5 - was supposed to do conventional deads but a youn lad was squatting in the rack and he was squatting 260k for triples! Very impressive! But was happy with the trap deads and they felt easy!

5x5 military press 60k 5, 65k 5, 75k 5,5,5- perfect reps , super strict , as strong as Iv been on these for a long time with this form

5x5 chins - BW , 5, +10k 5, +20k 5,5,5 - slow negatives back and arms feeling it +2.5k next time

3x10 dips +35k 10,10,10 - good progress, +2.5k next time
3x12 standing calf raise 150k 12,10,10- build on these! They hurt!

1 hour after the warmups an I was done

Today's eating

7am - breakfast - 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit
9am- pre- strong black coffee
10-11am- train
11am- Pwo- 1 scoop whey/3 bananas
1pm- lunch- 2 salmon fillets/1 sweet potato/1 apple/1lb mixed veg/1 cup yoghurt
7pm- dinner- 2 chicken breasts/2 sweet potato/1 large mixed salad/handful mixed nuts/multivit

Job done!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2015, 01:09:59 PM
Today I shocked myself with a strong session for me, felt good going In so decided to push the weights abit

3x20 KB swing warmup - light stretching in between

Today's big 3-
5x5 front squat 40k 5, 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5,5,5- these felt great and strong still a fair bot left in the tank! Approaching my PB on these

5x5 incline bench - 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5,5,5- again for some reason these felt easy last rep was tough

5x5 power clean- 60k 5, 65k 5, 85k 3,3,3- havnt done these in years and they felt too heavy for 5's but may be due to the trap bar deads and my lower back/traps vein written off- felt great to do these again though

Fluff:
3x12 decline sit-up +40k 12,12,12 - last set was very tough and had to RP last 5 reps
3x10 thick bar curl 40k 10, 45k 10,10

1 hour after warming up - nice end to the week- training in this style I always feel strong ad enjoy the challenge of heavier weights

Havnt taken creatine for a week or so now, no weight loss or loss of strength?

Today's eating-

6:30- breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit

9am- strong black coffee
9:30-10:40 - train
10:45pwo - 1 scoop whey/3 bananas

1pm lunch- 1/2 roast chicken/2 sweet potato/extra large salad/multivit

7pm dinner- 10-12oz beef/1 cup rice/1lb mixed veggies/multivit

Simples- tomorrow will weigh in expecting to be 82k ish- after last weekend, an tomorrow night big refeed standard steak, wedges, mushy peas, 2 desserts - back on it Sunday morning - have a good weekend!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 27, 2015, 02:13:30 PM
very stong through the whole session and the week mate. Cheat is very big Rich like ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2015, 02:31:59 PM
Feeling good and strong this week , looking to beat it next week also, yeah gotta hit a big cheat meal it is offseason after all  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on February 27, 2015, 02:54:18 PM
Nice week in the bank buddy. Love the 5x5 squats earlier in the week and some fronts too, that and your back thickness is what I really would love to have so am keeping a close eye on what you do for those.

Your Saturday refeed said a good 2000-3000 cals, do you mean over the day or in that one cheat meal?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 27, 2015, 09:51:49 PM
Thanks mate, the heavy work definitely help my quads and back more than heavy arm/chest work helps , the Saturday evening meal hits a good 3000kcal, since moving into the new place Becky loves cooking lol, tomorrow we have ..... Large steak with a bowl of chilli wedges, bowl of mushy peas, grilled veg, soup and bread starter, and dessert, she has made an apple crumble we will have with custard, a toblerone cheesecake that I can't wait to try and Nutella and banana cake  ;D - some reason though a hue refeed just helps snowball things for the next week so all good


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on February 28, 2015, 12:12:36 AM
I have a screenshot of that cheesecake recipe on my phone, bourbon biscuits on the base? My daughter has promised to make it for my refeed soon  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 28, 2015, 10:33:24 AM
That's the one! Haha ill let you know how it goes down!

81.7kg this morning - not surprised and have 8 weeks to shift 2kg


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 02, 2015, 12:24:34 PM
After a relaxing weekend, started the week with another surprisingly strong workout, can see this next few months being the best ever! Not sure if it's the new way of eating or just debunking and going back to basics, but the weights feel like warmup sets! Gonna run with it

3x20 KB swing 20k - warmup with stretching in between

Today's big 3:
5x5 squat 80k 5, 120k 5, 142.5k 5,5,5 - I recon I could get 8-9 last set +2.5k
5x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5 - 2 reps left in the tank +2.5k
5x5 row 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,6 - too much rest as someone was joining in, gonna stick with 110k and feel these more
Today's fluff:
3x10 lying leg curl 50k 10,10,10 - never felt as easy- +5k
3x12 standing calf raise 150k 12,11,11 - 2 extra reps- keep moving forward

1 hour 5mins after warmup, a little slow, was busy in the squat racks

Today's food-

6:30 - breakfast - 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit
9:00 - strong black coffee
9:30-10:45 - train
10:45- Pwo - 1 scoop whey/3 bananas
12:30- lunch- 1/2 chicken/1 cup rice/huge salad
7pm- dinner- 10-12oz beef/1 large potato/1lb mixed vegetables

Yesterday was the same with no coffee or Pwo

Boring Ramblings- Aldi are selling whole chickens for £2.70 - stocked up, and 700g diced beef for £4.50 also stocked up! - shopping at Aldi is saving me £40-50 per month, Yeah buddy!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 04, 2015, 07:55:30 PM
Training is really gaining momentum, aiming for PB's across the board within 6 weeks or so

Diet has been the same as above and will continue to follow that plan for the forseable future

Today's training:

Warmup- 3x20 KB swing 20k - stretching between sets

Today's big 3:
5x5 deadlift 60k 10, 100k 5, 140k 5, 170k 5,5,5 - felt great, first time Iv done regular deads this year, as strong as ever and within 5k off PB standard, +2.5k

5x5 press 50k 5, 60k 5, 75k 5,5,5 - easier than last week +2.5k

5x5 chins - wide overhand - BW 5, +10k 5, +20k 5,5,5 - reps easy but gonna stick until I feel a deep contraction in my lats every rep

Today's beach work:
3x10 dips +40k 10,10,8 - real happy with these!- build to 3x10
3x12 decline sit-up +40k 12,12,12 - as hard as last week, stick!

1 hour 5mins after warming up
1-2 extra warmup sets is knocking the workouts just over the hour mark
Used straps when I was doing stif legged deads, don't use them now, chalk for regular deads

Looking forward to pushing those front squats higher on Friday!

Really rating the 3 meal a day approach, goes against what Iv always believed but it's working better than ever! So simple too!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on March 05, 2015, 02:08:26 PM
SOLID as always Ben  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on March 05, 2015, 02:12:06 PM
Ben how does your front squat weight relate to your back squat weight? I'm trying to work out if what I front squat is good/bad/neither.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on March 05, 2015, 02:16:28 PM
Ben how does your front squat weight relate to your back squat weight? I'm trying to work out if what I front squat is good/bad/neither.
Hey Nic, the ďexpertsĒ say that your front squat should be about 85% of your full depth back squat.
Ben how does that match your numbers?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on March 05, 2015, 02:58:01 PM
*gets abacus out*

Hm I back squat 100 (but am sure I can go up from that) and front squat 70 (3 reps). Sounds like both need to go up - front squat to match the expert prediction ;) and back squat just cos!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 05, 2015, 02:58:05 PM
thanks mate, all going to plan  8)

hey nic, my front squat is exactly 85% of my back squat - must be doing something right  ;D

-today did a fair bit of foam rolling/stretching in prep for tomorrows front squats


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 06, 2015, 06:12:10 PM
Today's session was good but wanted more from it, next week this will be better for sure!

3x20 KB warmup 20k 20,20,20 - stretching and I felt ready

5x5 front squat 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5, 122.5k 5,5,4 - first an last set felt heavy, 2nd felt good and strong, gonna smash these next week!

5x5 incline bench 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5,5 102.5k 5 - use 102.5 for all

5x5 cleans 60k 5, 65k 5, 85k 4,4,4 - nice progress , 5's next week

3x12 seated calf 80k 12,12,12 - last set very hard, stick next week
3x10 thick bar curl 50k 10,10,8 - hard! Build to 3x10

1 hour 5mins after warmup again
Weigh in tomorrow, I recon Iv lost half a kg

Usual refeed meal tomorrow evening gonna go hard, make sure I feel full and metabolism keeps firing!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on March 06, 2015, 08:01:13 PM
Nice work :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 07, 2015, 07:55:19 PM
Thanks nic, I'm happy with this offseason so far,

Today I weighed in lighter than expected 80.5kg so just over a kg lost, will keep everything te same next week and see how much comes off, aslong as strength continues to climb I won't worry about losing weight too quick as getting stronger + lighter is the perfect situation of losin body fat and gaining muscle, off to eat a bog refeed now, enjoy your weekend


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 09, 2015, 05:49:22 PM
Well my refeed continued into Sunday as Becky decided to make all sorts of anti bodybuilding goodies, i.e scones with jam as cream, so felt extra strong in the gym today

Decided to go abit more volumey on the big stuff and a little less on the fluffy stuff, had a good session and may continue with a heavy-light-medium style , but pretty much the same anyway

5x5 squats 20k 20, 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 142.5k 5,5,5,5, 145k 5 - felt good and solid, 145k for all next week, felt better doing 5 work sets

5x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,4- can't complain last set felt heavy

5x5 rows 65k 5, 85k 5, 105k 5,5,5,5,5 - feeling these in my upper back much more after the last couple of weeks getting back to them, 107.5k next week

3x12 standing calf raise 150k 12,12,12 - good progress keep building reps up

1 hour after warming up
Lots of stretching tomorrow ready for deads on Wednesday


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on March 09, 2015, 09:46:46 PM
Do you mean scornes with jam and cream rather than "as cream"? If yes, which went on first, the jam or cream? Important question that causes a big divide in my neck of the woods with Shredder, the heathen from Devon always going for cream first and jam on top but us Cornish know the proper way with our jam being laid down first before chucking proper clotted cream over it.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2015, 10:10:57 AM
your right toby, scones with jam first (just a light layer) then a big dollop of cream on top (clotted)  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on March 10, 2015, 10:53:52 AM
your right toby, scones with jam first (just a light layer) then a big dollop of cream on top (clotted)  ;)

I 'think' thats how i'd have one (its been a while..!)  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2015, 10:57:58 AM
you know it makes sense  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: p0stscript on March 10, 2015, 11:46:48 AM
of course it's jam first then cream, what is the world coming to.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on March 10, 2015, 12:22:45 PM
Its those bloody Devon boys, they just do not understand and Shredder is letting his whole county down (but upholding a correct national method) by having the jam then cream.

[attachment deleted by admin]


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on March 10, 2015, 01:39:11 PM
Well I am technically half cornish anyway. :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 10, 2015, 02:23:39 PM
I go jam first and them cream


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on March 10, 2015, 02:27:16 PM
Good man Galts!

Uhm, sorry Ben. Not quite the training feedback you sought today lol


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 10, 2015, 02:37:02 PM
only so I can pile more cream on!!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2015, 04:48:23 PM
Haha it's ok Toby this is far more important , that jam on cream pic just looks wrong!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 11, 2015, 05:52:56 PM
Today had a great session, good weights used and approaching PB on the deadlift

- light squat day

5x5 squats- 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5,5,5,5,5- good technique work

5x5 press 50k 5, 60k 5, 70k 5,5,5,5,5- gonna stick for a while last set felt tough

5x5 deadlift 100k 5, 140k 5, 170k 5,5,5,5,5 - last set was very tough, but feeling strong on these gonna stick with it until set 4-5 is as solid a 1-3

3x12 dips +30k 12,12,8 - new stimulus with higher reps was pooped, build to 3x12

Diet has been abit lazy this week, need to keep it toght especially during the week, no excuses

1 hour after warming up today- foam roll and stretching for Fridays tomorrow


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 13, 2015, 06:26:49 PM
Another good end to the week with today's session

Medium squat day-

5x5 squat- 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 130k 5,5,5,5,5 - nice and easy but hit them like they were heavy, good confidence build for Mondays 145k

5x5 incline bench - 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5,5,5,5,5- yes! Nice milestone hit, and a PB for me, last set was tough, but all reps controlled and tap upper chest, bench was at lowest incline

5x5 power cleans - 60k 5,5, 80k 5,5,5,5,5- last 1-2 sets we're very tough, arms and grip were gone but felt great

3x12 chins 12,12,12 (just) - last set was just there , want these with confidence next week-

incline bench and cleans +2.5k next week!

Loving being back on the 5x5 heavy-light-medium programme, my favourite way to train!

Weigh in tomorrow not surprised if havnt lost or even a small gain a I was a little sloppy on the diet earlier in the week, tomorrow's cheat meal will be 2 meals - breakfast as normal then a pub lunch for an wary Mother's Day, then a balti for dinner with beckys family , gonna eat a decent amount but probably won't equal the usual amount of food, will enjoy thoroughly though


Saturday morning weigh in - 81kg as expected, keeping it clean and to point next week should lose a pound or so, also wanna get a little closer to some PB's
Enjoy your weekend!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 15, 2015, 03:37:24 PM
so 81kg on saturday morning - not gonna let the diet slip this week, and will expect to have lost a 1/2 kg by saturday

saturdays refeed-

breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivit (usual)

lunch- 1/2 camerbet- 1/2 baguette - large steak- rack of ribs- plate of chips- apple and cinnamon crumble and custard -chocolate bar- 3 pints guiness (mothers day meal out)

dinner- special balti-1/2 naan-1/2 rice- 2 popadum- ice cream- 3 more pints guiness ( becky's mums mothers day meal out)



and back to it today!, next weeks refeed will be back to the usual -steak-wedges-crumble-cheesecake etc  8) but first to improve on last weeks training  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: felix on March 15, 2015, 04:09:50 PM
Very strong lifting Ben I see your deadlifting is coming on great.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 15, 2015, 05:07:03 PM
thanks felix, yeah around 5kg off PB, and 10kg off my goal of 5X5 with 180kg, a nice milestone i should have lifted years ago really? my aim is to lift 5-10kg more on every lift for 5X5 than i have before then start dieting for next years contests, so aiming to hit them around april next year, between 10-20kg needed for most lifts, will be interesting to see how my body has responded by then



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 16, 2015, 08:49:16 PM
Started the week today with a progressive and strong workout - tho programme was/is te most productive for me, an very enjoyable too!

Heavy squat day-

5x5 squats 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 145k 5,5,5,5,5 - had another 2 reps easy on the last set, excited to hit a 5x5 PB at 150kg soon - 147.5k next week

5x5 bench 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 - 1 more rep than last week and felt easy, 112.5k next week

5x5 barbell row 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 - was gonna go with 107.5k but felt strong, glad I went with this, all reps felt solid with a good contraction, always takes a few weeks to get back into the groove and really feel the upper back working, but I'm back there now 112.5k next week

3x12 standing calf raises 150k 12,12,12 - good solid reps, gonna build up the reps

1 hour 10mins all in, diet on point, feel strong and healthy on it



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 18, 2015, 01:09:58 PM
I achieved what i set out to do with today's session - same weights, got all my reps, but the last 1-2 sets feeling slightly lighter than last week, and a couple more reps added too

Today was light squat day-

5x5 squat 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5,5,5,5,5 - focusing on keepig tension in "the hole" , light day squats are all about confidence building, visualisation and technique work, job done

5x5 standing press 40k 5, 60k 5, 70k 5,5,5,5,5 - as above last set feeling lighter than last week +2.5kg next week, 5x5 with 80k will be a PB for me, not long now!

5x5 deadlift 100k 5, 140k 5, 170k 5,5,5,5,5 - these feeling heavy again but happier with the last set, should still stick with this weight for one more week before I add weight, using my experience here, the old me would slap on more!

3x12 dips +30k 12,12,10, a nice 2 rep progression, keep building them up!

1 hour 10mins, very happy with how things are going and although a little paranoid that the 3 meal thing wouldn't be working, gotta say doesn't make a damned bit of difference! Feel strong full and healthy, eating lots of good food and training is moving forward, goal was to prove that keeping it simple works and it is, looking fairly lean yet full, with a few months of strength gain and consistency I'm sure I'll look better still, I'm enjoying this!, motivated and excited!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on March 18, 2015, 04:40:37 PM
I frequently pop in here for some motivation. Strong reps and confidence in your words.
Keep it going mate  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 20, 2015, 07:31:36 PM
Thanks mate, I find your log very motivating too, very consistent and strong for your weight! Never realised you were in the marines either! That's awesome mate! Big respect! Must be where your work ethic comes from!

Today had a great session, felt a breeze and first training session back with Walby after he buggered his back! He hasn't lost strength atall!

Today was medium squat day

5x5 squats 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 130k 5,5,5,5,5 - man these felt light! Looking forward to squatting heavy Monday!

5x5 incline bench 62.5k 5, 82.5k 5, 102.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - real tidy strong reps, and a PB for me too! 105k next week

5x5 cleans 60k 5, 62.5k 5, 82.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - nice feeling as always, these are tough, 85k next week for a 5x5 PB - goal is 100k 5x5 by dieting time in just over a year

3x12 seated calf 80k 12,12,12 - last set hard! Feeling these already!
3x12 chins BW - 12,12,12 - last set a little easier than last week not quite as good as 2nd set though

1 hour 15mins - cps the extra Iso exercise- gonna be doing 2 Iso exercises after each session to keep those weak points moving up with the big stuff, after all i am a bodybuilder

Diet has been perfecto all week, as it should be - only change from tomorrow adding an extra egg with breakfast, I recon Iv lost half a lb this week even though Saturday I ate a lot! Maybe 6-7000kcals

Here's how it is day in day out

4l water
Strong black coffee pre workout
Pwo- 1 scoop whey/3 bananas
Sat night big refeed

5-7am breakfast- 5eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/multivitamin

11am-1pm - lunch- half roast chicken/1 cup rice/large mixed salad

5-7pm- dinner - large beef steak/baked potato/1lb mixed vegetables/multivitamin


Tomorrow planning to get to the natural meet for an extra session and social nothin serious maybe arms/abs - but more for a social, see you there!

Tomorrow weigh in and big refeed in the evening, we have usual steak, wedges, mushy peas, corn on the cob, apple crumble with custard, choc brownies with ice cream,(all home made) 2-3 Guinness, few bits to eat with a film, then back to it sun morning, the more the better sat night refeed!




Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 23, 2015, 01:52:41 PM
Had a good weekend weighed in at 80.6kg last week so lost around 1lb - ate too much over the weekend but hey it is the offseason, a lot of social with friends and family and unfortunately couldn't get away to the meet, pretty gutted but I should make more time for family and friends , can't have it all, but had a great weekend

Back to it today if I come in at 80.5kg or under on Saturday I'm happy all whilst lifting heavier or more than last week

Today started well!

Heavy squat day

5x5 squats 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 147.5kg 5,5,5,5,5 - Great! A little slow between sets as Walby needed to stretch the lower back and mine was feeling tight but all sets and reps feeling strong , need more foam rolling and stretching on the cards next weekend, 150kg 5x5 next week!

5x5 bench 72.5k 5, 92.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt easier than 110k last week, 120k 5x5 will be a PB , 115k next week

5x5 rows 72.5k 5, 92.5k 5, 112.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - good but gonna stick with 112.5 for next week- need to feel them more

3x calf raises 150k 13,13,13 - good , keep building the reps to 20+
3x12 thick bar curl 40k 12,12,12 - last set tough - 42.5k next week

1 hour 25mins - about 10mins too long, pick up the pace during squats and between exercises


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 24, 2015, 09:54:11 AM
Off season is about having a life mate. What cut of steak do you buy?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 24, 2015, 03:26:46 PM
agreed  ;) - whatevers going, never fillet, but usually ribeye/rump/sirloin  :D cant beat a good quality steak!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 25, 2015, 10:05:36 AM
I must admit I have thought about just using whey and some vits and buying a whole rump each month from Booker. Might do me more good than any supps could


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 25, 2015, 01:34:47 PM
I would mate, aslong as you have the basics in, give it a trail for a month or so?

So Iv been reading ian duckett's blog on his website, and really like his current template, very similar to what I was doing for a period during prep, I am one to chop and change too often and like the way he does the same while keeping the basics tracke and consistent- so had a chat with Walby and here's what we're gonna do -

Mon- 5x5 squat (as I have been) track the weights and add weight where possible - this doesn't change, then after - whatever leg & ab work I want, any exercises, sets/reps/drops etc - just kill it! Aim is to support squats and push them up week in week out then go nuts!

Wed - 5x5 bench - then chest/arms work as I want, again this can change week to week aslong as I kill it and keep that bench press moving up

Fri- 5x5 deadlift - then back/shoulder work - smashing it up, hitting good weights and volume as with all the sessions - centering around progressing that deadlift

- excited about this template gonna enjoy te strength and size gains from it- and back the sessions up with good recovery and of coarse eating - recently been eating just 3-4 per day feel good and strong but no difference to te more frequent eating, both wok and I'm gonna opt to eat more often

A typical day looking like this

4l water daily
Pre - strong black coffee
Pwo -1 scoop whey/1 cup raisins/5g creatine
Saturday evening meal- cheat meal (offseason only)

6am- 4 eggs-1 cup oats-1/2 cup blueberries- 1tbsp honey-5g creatine-multivitamin
9am- 1/2 cup mixed nuts- banana
12pm- 1/2 chicken- large mixed salad
3pm- 1/2 cup mixed nuts- apple
6pm- beef or salmon fillet- mixed vegetables
9pm- 2 cups yoghurt- multivitamin

Basic-healthy and similar to what Iv been doing for years

Today went like this-
Chest:
5x5 bench - 20k 20, 40k 10, 60k 8, 75k 5, 95k 5, 115k 5,5,5,5,5- considering I benched on moday very pleased with this and felt strong! 5k off a PB- 117.5k next week!
4x8 incline db 42.5k 8, 40k 8,7,7 - hard!
4x12 flyes - 40k 12,12,12,12 - not had a pump like that in years! Felt good!

Arms:
4x8 ez curls 50k 8,8,8,8- last set or 2 felt heavy!
4x8 dips +40k 8,7 +30k 8,7 - fatigue kicked in big time!
4x12 preacher machine ..... 15kg  :-[ 12,12,12,12
Supersetted
4x12 push downs 42.5k 12,12,12,12

1 hour after warming up- although I could only use baby weights by the end , great strength in the bench which is what matters and great feel and intensity for the rest of the workout, bring on deads Friday!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 25, 2015, 02:31:51 PM
I like the workout mate very good balance.

I think once I have used what I have supps wise it will probably be down to . Protein, glutamine and vits. I get olive oil and nuts for my fats an then just use the spare cash to get steak lol


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 25, 2015, 04:37:52 PM
Yeah really enjoyed it, did the job well!

That's what I would do mate - whey/vits/creatine is all I use - glutamine I used for years, but wasn't worth it for me, same as BCAA - both good but not worth the amount I was spending


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on March 25, 2015, 06:05:43 PM
Good strong training Ben. Good benching there in particular. Good to see you working on chest so hard as I know you feel it needs to be picked up a bit. Re: supps. I use none. Seriously. I was starting to feel we over estimate their worth and so I have nothing, not even whey. But I have been feeling a little sore lately so will start them all again next week for a couple months and find out if there is any difference and if we do overestimate them


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on March 25, 2015, 06:26:01 PM
Cut my powders down to protein (Peptopro), glucose and creatine. Still take a few vits though. You nail your food Ben, so I guess you're a prime candidate for using very few supps.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: tony_b on March 25, 2015, 06:28:10 PM
Udo's oil and PhD pharma HT are the only supps I use - I class Udo's as food, and I use the PhD so I've got something to mix my Udo's into!!

That stuff is like crack though... just bought 4 tubs of it  ;D ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 25, 2015, 07:46:31 PM
I think your right Toby, I don't believe their essential atall, I think adding them back in one by one would be good, they help but not like sleep,food,hard training does, thanks my benching is coming back to full strength, surprising how dieting takes a while to recover from!

Hey Keith - sounds spot on to me, you know me , basic is best, for me I spend so much on food like £250-300 per month, that keeps me healthy happy and progressing , but would be a crime to spend more

I have used loads of Udos too mate, great product , if it was cheaper I would use it on my salads, so many benefits, but the price does put me off- phd is a great company , their shakes taste amazing! Good choice of sups!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 26, 2015, 03:07:01 PM
fully DOMsed up today in chest & arms, feels good and cant wait to really push the next month or so ... weight+volume+intensity - before a weeks deload (whenever the little one arrives) - goal is for 5X5 deadlifts tomorrow with 172.5kg which will match my 5X5 PB at 3kg lighter  :D

todays eating- (typical recovery day)

started drinking loads of green tea again, why not... good habbit to get into
4L water today

5:45am- breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivitamin
9am-snack- 1/2 cup mixed nuts/banana
12pm- 1/2 roast chicken/XL mixed salad
3pm- snack- 1/2 cup mixed nuts/apple
6pm-  beef/1lb mixed vegetables
9pm- 2 cups natural yoghurt/multivitamin

i did a good foam roll/stretching session to aid recovery and loosen up for tomorrows deadlift+back/shoulder session - will foam roll again just before i leave for the gym-


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 27, 2015, 08:30:56 PM
Today concluded a fresh week of training, today's session was great and havnt felt as worked in my back/shoulders for months

Back:
5x5 deadlifts 60k 12, 80k 10, 100k 6, 120k 5, 140k 5, 172.5k 5,5,5,5,3 - these felt bloomin heavy today , but havnt lifted this weight in over a year , stick with it and crush every rep next week

4x8 pull-ups - BW 8,8,8,8 - slow controlled , nice!
4x12 cable rows 75k 12,12,12,12 - back was smashed
Shoulders:
4x8 military 60k 8,8,8,8 - last set was failure
4x12 upright row 50k 12,12,12,12 - last 2 sets had to rest-pause last few reps

All done in 1 hour 10mins

Very motivated and happy with this week, want my 5x5 to go up next week all round and really smash the rest of the session after - keep diet on point and keep enjoying it all




Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 28, 2015, 10:57:16 AM
80.6kg again this morning , with eating too much last weekend and an addition of snacks this week - happy with that, so goin to stick to one big meal tonight as my refeed, going for a homemade steak and cheddar pie-mash-veg&gravy with a homemade soup starter and big slice of cake for dessert, which is probably 3-4000 kcals less than last weekend, so I expect to be under 80.5k this time next week

Does feel much better eati frequently , training is hard and very enjoyable , recovery is tested more so will without fail foam roll/stretch 3 times per week (including today) - (back/hams/shoulders are written off today)

May do some progress pics in a few weeks

Enjoy your weekend


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on March 30, 2015, 05:23:26 PM
Great relaxing weekend , nice controlled refeed, will be reigning the Cheat in to - a 3 coarse meal instead of an eat till stuffed, that will be enough to get that little bit leaner during the offseason, not silly lean but a good healthy everyday look- a stone or so over contest weight, about 1kg off that now

Did a good foam roll and stretching session Sunday in prep for today's squats, my back was and is still sore from the deadlifts and higher volume workouts, tomorrow will do the same to keep that recovery rolling

Feeling full of energy and healthy on eating more frequently, works very well for me

Here's today's session- a killer- killed me off! Heavy + higher volume

Squat day

5x5 squats 40k 15, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 150k 5,5,5,5,5 - last 2 sets were tough so will stick- all deep below parallel, and solid reps! Very happy with these

5x10 leg press 280kg , 10,10,10,10,10 - very deep ,controlled and constant tension, knees to chest, high wife foot placing quads were fried! 290k next time

5x10 lying leg curl 45kg 10,10,10,10,10 - hams finished off and all reps strong

5x12 donkey calf - stack 12,12,12,12,12 - last set was a little rushed - thighs and lower back were so smashed at this point so did donkey instead of standing

5x12 cable crunch 50k 12,12,12,12,12 - abs hit very hard Christ u was done after these! Looked like death and felt it too, last 2 sets very hard to complete

1 hour after warmup sets, one of those sessions today, I'm gonna grow from that one! Big respect to Rossi and co who would class this as a light and low volume session u animals!
I'll get there!

Cannot wait for Wednesday gonna go for 5 exercises 5 sets each chest and arms! They need growing!




Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 01, 2015, 05:50:47 PM
Today was chest&arms - a great humbling session for the "easy" workout of the week- felt harder than last week and intensity was high!

5x5 bench press 20k, 20, 60k 10, 80k 6, 100k 5, 117.5k 5,5,5,5,4 - although last set was a failure felt happy with these and will attack again for 5x5 next week!

Then it was go time

5x10 incline db press 35k 10,9 30k 10,9,8 - wow humbling how these felt with the light weights, I feel strong in the 3-6 rep range, anything more kicks my ass, so need to progress a lot in the higher volume work! Will add size for sure!

5x10 flyes 45k 10,10,10,10,9 - fully pumped and chest was done!

Arms:
5x10 ez curl 45k 10,10 40k 10,10,10 - wow great feel, after just 5 sets!
5x10 ez extension 40k 10,10,10,10,9

1 hour after warmups - good pace ! Spot on!

Although I am a lot weaker with the higher reps I know this is what's really gonna make the big difference next time I'm onstage - heavy basics first for strength and that base but the kick the shit out of it volume work is gonna make change!

Diet is bang on, no problem atall, healthy, good amount of food, looking a little leaner and fuller too, loving the whole process, looking forward to PB's and looking my best ever too! Hard work pays off!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 03, 2015, 02:54:04 PM
Today ended the best week of training since deep into contest prep! hard, heavy, intense, perfect nutrition, how it should be every week!

had to train after breakfast first thing today due to bank hol opening times, should be fine to train after work monday-

5 min X train warmup- 10mins foam rolling loosening up for deadlifts

Back:
5X5 deadlift 60k 12, 80k 10, 100k 5, 120k 5, 140k 5, - 172.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - 1 rep more than last week and felt slightly stronger, although set 4&5 are still to my max, so stick with it, until 4th and 5th sets are as easy as 1-2-3 were today!

5X10 Pullups - BW - 8,8,8,8,6- building the reps each week on these until 5X10- i could do more reps, but focusing on feeling the lats squeeze and stretch every rep, nice and slow, these will grow my back - no doubt

5X10 cable rows- 80k 10,10,10,10,10- last set was tough but all reps perfect and strict so 85k next time- back was smashed

Shoulders:
5X10 military press 60kg 8,8,8,8,8- felt noticably lighter than last week, due to improved muscle endurance no doubt, happy with these will build reps to 5X10 before i increase weight (had to clean the first rep as the racks were busy today- kept all reps strict though)

5X10 upright row- 50k 10,10,10,10,10- felt harder than last week due to fatigue kicking in with the higher volume- will stick with this weight until the last 2 sets are as solid as the first 3

1 hour 5 mins after warming up-

muscle endurance and strength are gaining quick- enjoying these sessions more than i ever have- there leaving no stone unturned

weigh in tomorrow, i look noticably leaner and fuller with the higher frequency of meals and more calories, + higher volume over the last couple of weeks-  and i recon iv lost a little weight too- gonna be fairly close to my 80kg offseason goal now-

saturday evening- cheat meal will be - chicken&bacon pasta bake & garlic bread +apple crumble & custard + cheese&biscuits
going for a 3 coarse meal sat evenings instead of meal + snacking all night - will foam roll and stretch on sunday ready for mondays squats - doing this 3 times weekly is helping my recovery and confidence for the heavy stuff  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 04, 2015, 01:04:22 PM
Surprised to e 81kg this morning, 1lb heavier than last week, as I look leaner , maybe as I added creatine back in last week? - only changes to diet are, instead of my half roast chicken for lunch I will have a late chicken breast instead, now I'm eating more frequently , no need for the huge serving, will probably lose a little weight next week because of it, goals as usual for next week, I want progress all round especially on 5x5 and to stick to the usual meal plan, almost doesn't feel like a plan as I enjoy the food I eat , not hungry either, love the offseason!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 06, 2015, 05:28:23 PM
Today was another successful legs & abs workout , beat last weeks numbers and a definite increase in strength and muscular endurance- foam rolling an stretching needs to be frequent to keep these heavy squats and deadlifts moving up, recovery is vital

Have been thinking about possibly using a weight belt for squats/deadlifts as I approach PB weights? Hmmmm

5x5 squats 60k 12, 80k 8, 100k 5, 120k 5, 150k 5,5,5,5,5 - felt slightly more solid ad stronger than last week all good reps but don't want to rush now I'm in a groove so 150k again next week the goal being the last set having 1-2 reps easily in te bag to earn the increase

5x10 leg press 290k 10,10,10,10,10 - heavier yet easier than last week! 300k next week , love the feel when these are done! - back was really right after squats - add a warmup set for these, but all reps deep and shy of lockout

5x10 lying leg curl 50kg 10,10,10,10,10 - big progress from last week, 55kg next week

5x15 donkey calf raise - stack - 15,15,15,14,14 - nowhere near as smoke t this point compared to last week hence the big progress, keep them coming!

5x12 cable crunch 50kg - 12,12,12,12,12 - last few sets noticeably easier - 52.5k next week

1 hour 5 mins after warmups - happy with the pace

This weeks cheat meal will be Friday night at TGI - so will weigh in Friday morning too

Love this time of year, everyone knuckling down for the stage, a real buzz at the mill today


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 08, 2015, 11:35:34 AM
Feeling abit run down and rough the last day or so, hopefully wot get worse as it's managable

Today hit chest & arms - was a good solid session but te bench felt heavy and was slightly down on last week, but everything else was a clear progression, can't complain really

5min general warmup - needed this as was training earlier today

Chest:
5x5 bench press 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 117.5k 5,5,5,4,3 - nearly a 5 on set 4 , will beat this next week

5x10 incline db 32.5k 10,10,10,9,7 - good progress - suppose to use te 30's but felt a lot lighter than last week- all my hypertrophy work is flying up as it's a new stimulus

5x10 pek flye 45k 10,10,10,10,10 - felt stronger than last week with an extra rep 50k next week

Arms:

5x10 ez curl 42.5k 10,10,10,10,10 - slight progress - 45k next week
5x10 ez lying extension 40k 10,10,10,10,10 - 1 more rep than last week 42.5k next week

1 hour after warming up, good pace after the bench press

Just the bench was slightly off , but gave it my all and will continue to do so! Deads on Friday! Followed by Walby's bday TGI's


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on April 08, 2015, 12:34:39 PM
Whoa! where did all that volume come from?!
Good numbers there mate, the 5 sets of 10 sounds tough


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 08, 2015, 12:54:27 PM
Just works and makes sense haha, I noticed you had upped your volume too, a lot more fun and challenging too, does catch up with you quickly first set or two are always easy then it kicks in!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 10, 2015, 01:00:42 PM
Today's train didn't go too well, went in to deadlift as usual and felt really heavy and back still felt fatigued, I'm thinking I need a deload week or even a week off , have had a week off since October , and havnt had a deload week since mid November, but was gonna wait until the little one arrives, will see how I feel Monday but going light on deadlifts should mean I squat better Monday

Diet has been a little slack as Iv eaten abit more whilst feeling rough but that's begin me now and all spot on,

Frustrating how my recovery is taking a bashing, thinking is it cos of the cold? Or higher volume? Or just need a deload? But recovered much better squatting more frequently and doing less isolation work -

Weighing around the 81kg mark, looking leanish but would like to loose another kg or so


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on April 10, 2015, 01:20:09 PM
Funnily enough I was thinking about a deload week today myself as I am terrible at taking time off from the gym. I cannot recall the last scheduled one but think I did have one due to injury at some point but cannot remember (age related memory loss  8) ).

I also had a strange one on the deads today. Just one of those days perhaps, hard to get into your groove


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on April 10, 2015, 01:25:56 PM
Just works and makes sense haha, I noticed you had upped your volume too, a lot more fun and challenging too, does catch up with you quickly first set or two are always easy then it kicks in!

Haha - yep, it's the new 'thang! As experienced trainers, I felt something new was required.

Re fatigue/recovery - I do think the volume stuff catches up with you, and it makes sense i suppose.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on April 10, 2015, 02:21:50 PM
These days, when I see a few of the signs I take break.
  • Becoming unwell
  • Fatigue setting in earlier
  • Lack of motivation
  • Over thinking workouts and worrying about training
  • Lack of core stability
  • Not had a full rest of over 8 weeks
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weights regressing


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 10, 2015, 04:18:12 PM
I always say if you bodys telling you you need a rest, take one. As long as your not being a big pansy and wimping out, which none of us do then I think it's sensible.  If I have a couple of weeks of just crap workouts i'm scaling right back my workouts and not hitting failure at all


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 10, 2015, 06:09:06 PM
Thanks guys I will have a think and will probably scale back an work upto heavier lifts will see how I feel Monday

In glad it's normal and you guys sometimes feel the same


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 13, 2015, 04:55:37 PM
After not dead lifting Friday felt good to go for squats today, diet was ..... Plentiful over the weekend with a few extra bits but nothing crazy but Sunday morning back on it and weight floating around 81kg-82kg but slowly coming down and still looking to lose 1-2kg slowly but surely

Today's session -

3min blast on xtrainer

Warmup- squats 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5
Supersetted
Warmup- lying leg curl  30k 10, 35k 5, 45k 5, 55k 5

Go time-

10x5 squats 140k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5- all deep and powerful reps- hard!
Supersetted (2min between super sets).    - last 3 sets killer!
10x5 lying leg curl 60k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5- strong and squeezy- hams fried!

5x12 calf press 200k 12,12,12,12,12 - these were strict and painful!
5x12 cable crunches 52.5kg 12,12,12,12,12 - happy with this progress-

Was written off! 1 hour after the warmups - sweaty! Looked like death

Todays eating

-5:30am - 5 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit

- 11:30am- 1/2 chicken/1 cup rice/huge salad

- 2pm pre workout - grenade -  :o (was feeling bro)  ;D
Too much for little me, blew my head off - stick with coffee haha

- 4pm- post workout - 1 scoop whey/2 bananas/5g creatine

- 5pm - large salmon fillet/baked potato/1lb mixed veg

-10pm - 2 cups yoghurt/handful nuts/apple/multivit












Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 15, 2015, 11:26:06 AM
Another result producing workout this morning

3min blast on xtrainer to break a sweat

Warmup-

Incline db press 27.5k 10, 35k 6
Supersetted
Cable row 65k 10, 85k 6

Ready to go....

10x5 incline db press 45k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5 - last set had another rep in me
Supersetted(2 min rest between supersets)
10x5 cable row 110k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5 - last 2 sets failure

Accessory work:
Triset-
Military press 50k 10,10,10
Chins BW - 10,10,10
Dips +20k 10,10,10

-1 min between trisets- last set fully fatigued
29 sets in 1 hour including warmups - happy with the weight, volume and intensity

Today's food

7am- 5 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
9am- pre- strong black coffee
10:30- post - 1 scoop whey/2bananas/5g creatine
12pm - 1/2 chicken/1 cup rice/large mixed salad
5pm- 9oz steak/large potato/1lb mixed veg
10pm- 1 cup cottage cheese/handful nuts/apple/multivit

A good day! - looking forward to Fridays session!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on April 15, 2015, 12:34:50 PM
VERY impressive mate.  those 10 sets look a killer.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on April 15, 2015, 01:01:13 PM
Makes me feel like I should be doing more on my main lifts although I get tired just reading this every week lol


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 15, 2015, 01:09:39 PM
good work mate. Lots of quality sets


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 15, 2015, 05:18:59 PM
thanks guys, they are killer but very satisfying as you have it all, heavy weight, volume, and pace too - you know me, like the basics  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 18, 2015, 03:55:35 PM
had a decent session friday- as everythign got hit with highish volume over the 2 workouts i did a full body session with accessory work, with medium volume+weights-

-this weeks cheat meal was last night, - myself and walby are planning to hit the Heavy-Light-Medium full body stuff hard soon, next week we will, but soon will be taking a week off when the little one arrives- the week following that will most likely be reserved too, then a good 8-12 weeks of HLM building that strength up - the heavy lifting+accessory work of coarse building muscle too- looking forward to it-

diet is the same as listed above with the 4-5 larger meals daily and all good stuff- weight is staying the same, around the 81kg mark -so next weeks cheat meal will be a little more reserved see if that brings it down slightly- saying that only 1-2kg over what i want to be


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 20, 2015, 03:58:46 PM
priority this week apart from training all out, is to keep that diet strict until my next cheat meal. shouldnt be a problem - but have occasionly said "meh its the offseason" - no more- 1 cheat meal weekly as planned- next cheat meal should be saturday evening, but will wait until tuesday, and take becky out (if the little one hasnt arrived) - for our "anniversary" - weigh in sat AM as usual, i wonder what the scales will say this week ill be happy with 81kgish-

this week, walby and I decided to hit upper/lower sessions alternated, as we both enjoy them and they fit the bill for our goals, really need to stay on a given routine for atleast a couple of months- a bad habbit im in, to switch things round alot- not good, but will be great once the consistancy is there-

enjoyed todays lower body session- harder than i thought!

5min xtrain warmup-
5X5 squat- 20k 20, 60k 10, 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 150k 5,5,5,5,5- these felt lighter than last time i did them, all tight & solid reps just below parallel- had another rep or 2 on the last set- so 152.5kg come friday  :D getting there

5X5 stiff leg deads- 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 150k 5,5,5,5,5- as with squats- a good rep or 2 left on the last set- focused on a good stretch under tension and getting a full ROM- will feel these alot tomorrow- 152.5kg next week

3X10 bulgarain split squat- X2 25kg - 10,10,10- legs finished by the last set- suprisingly tough!- X2 27.5kg friday
3X15 calf raises- 140kg- 15,12,12- felt these deep- aim to build to 3X15 until i increase weight
3X15 cable crunch- 52.5kg - 15,15,15- last set tough!

1 hour after warmups - was wiped out!

todays eating- (typical day)

4+ litres water

breakfast- 5 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
lunch- 1/2 chicken/1 cup rice/large mixed salad
pre workout- strong black coffee
post workout- 1 scoop whey/2 bananas/5g creatine
dinner- 8-10oz beef/large potato/1lb miced vegetables
before bed- 2 cups natural yoghurt/handful mixed nuts/multivit

feel great on this, middle of the road approach- 4-5 meals daily feels almost normal, but still putting away a decent amount of food  :D

although a 1-2 week break is due (when the little one arrives) - i am really focused on this offseason getting bigger and stronger- and looking forward to showcasing my hard work at next years UKDFBA- the fire is still burning strong  8)  


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 22, 2015, 01:39:16 PM
Had an amazing couple of days, Becky went into labour yesterday and Isla was born last night , Becky did amazing and seemed so chilled out, and all happened very quickly, I was home by 1:30am and couldn't visit until 10am this morning , was/am buzzing so much I couldn't sleep, so up at 6 , breakfast and coffee as usual , sort a few bits and get in for a cheeky upper session before visiting hours, only had 40mins so here's what I did

Warmup-
Hammer strength chest press - 60k 15, 70k 10, 80k 6
Supersetted
Hammer strength pull down - 60k 15, 70k 10, 80k 6

- go time
HS chest press 100k 6,6,6,6,6,6- drop- 40k 15
Supersetted
HS pull down 105k 6,6,6,6,6,6- drop 60k - 12

Triset-
Shoulder press machine- 65k 10,8,8- drop- 35k 7
Cable curl - 40k 8,8,8 - drop 20k - 20
Push down - 45k 9,9,8 - drop 25k - 20

Very quick very pumped - now to get back and enjoy more quality time

Taking a week/10 day off training to recover and enjoy this amazing time,

LiFE IS GOOD  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on April 22, 2015, 02:01:22 PM
Oh, congrats! What a lovely name too.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on April 22, 2015, 02:22:24 PM
Congratulations mate!

In a strange way your life has just become. Having children is an incredible journey.
No matter how much people talk to you about parenthood, you just wont understand until you experience it for yourself.

This time is precious now, so don't worry if training takes a back seat for a while.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Damo NY on April 22, 2015, 04:44:47 PM
Congrats to you both  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on April 22, 2015, 05:02:27 PM
massive congrats mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Badger on April 22, 2015, 09:24:41 PM
Congrats mate, lovely news  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on April 30, 2015, 07:42:41 PM
Thank you all, all is going great, loving every minute spent with Isla and Becky and will be back to the training/diet/work next week, enjoyed this week away from strict routine but raring to get back to it, as I need routine as much as the little one  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on May 08, 2015, 09:55:24 AM
I must have missed this - Awsome news mate, Congrsatulations! Welcome to the club  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on May 10, 2015, 09:14:35 AM
thanks matt  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: felix on May 11, 2015, 08:41:03 PM
Congratulations Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on May 14, 2015, 06:51:17 AM
thankyou felix, really enjoying my time with Isla and Becky,  training and nutrition is on top form, and finally i realise iv been overthinking this whole thing for MANY years, just DO IT! dont overthink because some things are way more important  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Jester on May 17, 2015, 02:06:39 PM
thankyou felix, really enjoying my time with Isla and Becky,  training and nutrition is on top form, and finally i realise iv been overthinking this whole thing for MANY years, just DO IT! dont overthink because some things are way more important  ;D

Your wisdom has humbled me of late fella.  The greatest student is one who becomes the teacher ;-)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on May 17, 2015, 07:58:53 PM
 8) I learn from the best buddy!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 09, 2015, 05:15:26 PM
Hi all! decided to bring the journal back upto speed,

over the last few months life has been hectic yet ever rewarding, isla now 5 months old, and doing great, such a great feeling watching her grow daily, i look forward to each and everyday, and enjoy our time as a family, cant beat it

we have moved house twice in the last 8 months and look to move into our "forever home" at the end of october, we have taken a few risks and steps back to make this leap forward, and move into a family home, and cannot wait  :)

training and nutriton has been as consistant as ever, i had been mentally ready to miss workouts, meals etc if need be and make any changes nessasary for my family but havnt needed to change anything! i train with weights 3 times per week, and find this is achievable with a little planning without any sacrifice, (one of the main reasons i started training 3 times per week years ago) i have at times had to train as early as 6am, or as late as 9-10pm, but the sessions are never missed

so for 12 weeks i constsantly followed an upper/lower programme 3 times per week, which i found fantastic and lovedevery session, i recovered just in time for the next session and made great progress topping out on a few PB's-

5 sets of 5 162.5kg squat- all powerlifting depth
200kg deadlift- (easily)
5 sets of 5 165kg romanian deadlift
50kg dumbell press 10 reps
28 stritct bodyweight pullups -

just to name a few-

but the last few weeks have gone back to a split workout, focusing on weak points for next years show, and strength in the powerlifts which i always enjoy, hitting some decent volume too, kind of power-bodybuilding- and loving it!

here are the last few sessions-

4/9/15- deadlift day

10X3 deadlifts 160kg- 2-3mins rest - easy, just getting back into conventional deads after 12 weeks of Romanian deadlifts

5X10 military press 50kg - 60-90s rest, last set was tough stick with it
5X10 pullups - got 8 on last 3 sets with bodyweight- build to 5X10
5X10 upright row 40kg - all reps but stick with it one more week

1 hour 5 mins

7/9/15- squat day

10X6 squats 140kg - all sets and reps easy, last set had 2-3 reps left, will go for 145kg for 10X5 next time

5X10 lying leg curl 45kg - last set was tough
5X10 standing calf raise 120kg - calves were screaming, tried to keep reps slow and squeezy
5X10 cable crunches- 62.5kg- felt heavy last 2 sets but got them all

1 hour 10mins including warmups

9/9/15- bench day

10X5 bench press 100kg- easy - 102.5kg next week, keeping these slow and strict

5X10 incline flye 20kg db's - last set was tough but will go with 22.5k next week
5X10 thick bar curl 40kg - last set was loose, stick with it until as strict as first
5X10 dips - +20kg - all reps but last set was failure, stick with it

1 hour including warmups

diet has changed a little, more fats, less carbs, just to see what happens with body comp, strength is still increasing slowly, energy is high, i have a decent amount of carbs for breakfast and post workout, and keeping things real basic, seems to have no negative effect in energy, muscle, bodyfat etc, - for example today i eat breakfast at 7:30 and didnt train till 12pm- after coffee, i had plenty of carbs still in my system and was strong today, as before i would "need" to eat 1-2 hours before

a typical days eating-

breakfast- 5 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivitamin
lunch- 1/2 roast chicken/extra large mixed salad
dinner- 1lb steak/1lb mixed vegetables
before bed- large tub greek yoghurt

-4L water daily
- Post workout- 1 scoop whey/2 bananas/5g creatine
-strong black coffee pre workout
- i relax diet weekends usually saturday night "cheat meal" but nothing too crazy

im guessing macros are on average- 180g protein/200g carbs/150g fat

if my weekend eating is pretty good, i tend to loose a small amount of weight each week, with a month of fairly reserved cheat meals i could get to my goal of 80kg walking round weight

cardio- i have been doing the odd session of HIIT 1-2 times per week recently but generally i am alot more active on a daily basis, so only do it if i feel the need for extra activity for health

my bodyweight is floating around 81-82kg daily and i competed at 74kg last year, i want to lean up a little and walk around at 80kg, a stone over contest weight whilst getting stronger all over


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 11, 2015, 07:09:02 PM
10-9-15 - 15mins HIIT - xtrainer , really tough, 213kcals burnt


11-9-15- deadlift day

10x5 deadlifts 160k , 2-3min rest, used chalk, got all reps last few sets were hard, 20 extra reps than last week  ;D , was gonna go with 10x4 but was feeling strong!

5x10 military press 50k, 60-90s rest ,got them all, felt deep in the delts
5x10 pullups BW - 10,10,8,8,8
5x10 upright row 40k 10,10,10,10,10

Back and shoulders done! 1 hour 10mins


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on September 11, 2015, 08:19:29 PM
Strong stuff Ben! Glad family life is all well.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 12, 2015, 01:59:33 PM
Thanks nic the family are doing great, hope your well


Today I was 80.6kg thismorning, if I can get my morning weight to 78-79kg I'll be walking round under 1 stone over contest weight and I'll be happy, although happy with my shape for offseason , looking leaner since upping my training volume , adding 1-2 HIIT sessions per week and lowering carbs/increasing fat intake

Training today - 15 min HIIT x-trainer, 209kcals burnt , decent session and great week of training

Gonna have a "cheat" meal tonight , nothing too crazy, couple of pork chops, wedges, veg, and a few bits to eat while watching a film with the mrs



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on September 12, 2015, 02:35:41 PM
Wow, what a difference a year makes. Life sounds fantastic, a forever home is the dream, good luck with that one.  ;D

Not shy of the calories buddy, good work. If you can maintain and even trim a little at that, prep will be a cinch! Were you always higher cals or was that something you worked to increase with Lee?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: felix on September 12, 2015, 02:53:26 PM
Very strong lifting Ben glad to here life is going very well for you.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 13, 2015, 09:49:28 AM
Thanks guys, Lee had always told me i should put some more good food away, especially in the offseason, and stop being in diet mode all the time, so thought i would give 18 months of proper portions and food a go before i start dieting again, gotta say i do enjoy, definitly helping me add strength and size steadily- feel healthy, and easy to follow

saying that kcals arnt super high, as i dont wanna get pointlessly fat, id say around 3000kcals on average

if i cut out the cheat meal i recon my weight would drop steadily to 78-79kg, as you say that would be a great place to be and i would be able to keep kcals high during next prep

looking forward to squats tomorrow going for 10 sets of 5 with 145kg to kick off the week

 


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on September 14, 2015, 10:23:37 AM
Mate! Training and life sounds absolutely solid. I'm really happy for you  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Dan94 on September 14, 2015, 11:18:40 AM
In for this Ben :) Albeit a bit late :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 14, 2015, 01:32:53 PM
keep training solid mate and more quality food in you will only mean that your improving. Your happy personal life will probably help with this as well.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 14, 2015, 05:56:43 PM
Thanks gents all going very well at the moment


Today lower back was still abit achey from Fridays 10 sets of deadlifts but that didn't stop me smashing my squat volume PB today

Today's session

Warm-up - squat - bar- 15 reps, 60k 10 reps, 100k 5 reps
Supersetted
Lying leg curl.     20k 15 reps 30k 10 reps, 40k 5 reps

Go time

Squats - 20 sets 5 reps 140kg
Supersetted.           
Lying leg curl 20 sets 5 reps 50k. - 2min between super sets

Standing Calf raises 4 sets 20 reps 100k
Supersetted
Hanging leg raises 4 sets 20 reps BW - 1 min between super sets

1 hour 20mins, all sets and reps smashed




Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on September 14, 2015, 06:21:07 PM
20 sets of 5? You're a wrong un! (although I kinda fancy that with the supersets too, hmmm)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 14, 2015, 06:40:08 PM
Was decent never hit 100 reps in a session with 140k before and session flowed well, go for it mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on September 14, 2015, 07:07:11 PM
I can do sets of 5 on 140 without too much difficulty but not 20 of them. If I did it, it would a lighter version!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 15, 2015, 09:30:31 AM
yeah ok mate, im gonna be atthe UKDFBA weekend if you fancy a sunday leg session like this one? i know your doing a monster arm session on the saturday 


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on September 15, 2015, 12:55:09 PM
20 sets of 5? You're a wrong un! (although I kinda fancy that with the supersets too, hmmm)

Holy Fu#k!  :o


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on September 15, 2015, 01:22:19 PM
yeah ok mate, im gonna be atthe UKDFBA weekend if you fancy a sunday leg session like this one? i know your doing a monster arm session on the saturday 

I will not be able to hold a cup at the show without pouring it down my top!

I could do the Sunday, that sounds like a nice plan mate  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 15, 2015, 01:32:37 PM
20 sets of 5 jesus christ i can't even imagine the doms


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Badger on September 15, 2015, 04:01:12 PM
Very strong training Ben..you have a lot of momentum mate !


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 15, 2015, 06:23:01 PM
Sounds good Toby, both gonna be super motivated after the Saturday show, so we will come up with something special  8)

DOMS is surprisingly mild today, could have gone heavier on leg curls hams are barely aching atall, all good for some deads Friday  ;D

Feel super motivated for next year momentum is building nicely



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 16, 2015, 04:41:30 PM
Today was my bro day, chest and arms

Warmup

Incline db press 25k's 10, 35k's 8, 40k's 5

Then it was on...

10 sets of 5, 47.5k's , all reps hit, 1-2 reps in the tank on the last set, attacking them 50's next session
2 min between sets

10 sets of 5 dips +40k , got them all, last set had 1 rep left but felt fully worked
Supersetted
10 sets of 5 curls 50kg , nice and strict, slow negatives last set was hard to keep tight form
2 mins between super sets

3 sets of 20 decline situps to finish

All done in exactly 1 hour

Feeling good, gaining momentum! , although looking back over my workouts I haven't had a deload week since Isla was born, 21 weeks ago, and that week wasn't really a deload I hit it hard! (due to only being able to visit during visiting hours) So gonna possibly have a deload next week with a decrease in volume and intensity , im also out on Friday night , which is rare, maybe get a good night out every 3 months or so, so gonna enjoy that and probably a relaxed eating plan Saturday too, then back to normal Sunday

Anyway looking forward to deadlifts on Friday morning, gonna take a pre workout which is rare for me usually coffee but fancy a kick up the arse



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 17, 2015, 01:17:51 PM
very strong mate. Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 18, 2015, 11:03:27 AM
Thanks Scott will be great to catch up and can't wait to see you at your best I'm sure you will look fantastic! Hard work pays off!



Today ended a great week of offseason training , yesterday I did a good job of my HIIT session, 217kcals burnt in my usual 15mins session which is as intense as it's been, my conditioning is improving and enjoying 1-2 HIIT sessions weekly

Today was deadlift day and improved on everything today from last weeks session

Deadlifts - warmup 60k 10, 100k 6, 140k 5

Then 10 sets of 5 , first 5 sets with 160k, last 5 sets with 165kg and felt better than last week, used liquid chalk, no mopping after today's session

Then...

10 sets of 5 pull-ups +10kg
Supersetted
10 sets of 5 1 arm db press 32.5k

Both had 2-3 reps on last set so will go heavier next week

Finished with 3 sets of cable crunches 52.5k 20,15,15
All done in 1 hour 10mins

Was 80.3kg thismorning so getting leaner slowly



Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 21, 2015, 09:37:05 PM
Went out Friday night, decent but not what it used to be lol, getting old!! Ate what I wanted on Saturday and Sunday wasn't perfect but feel surprisingly good , didn't go mad, but ate a decent amount of food and lots of meat to aid that recovery,  the heavy higher volume workouts are paying off ... Back to the grind today

Was gonna go with a deload. Week but thought I'd put the extra kcals to good use  ;D

Squat warmup - 20k 15, 60k 10, 100k 5, 130k 5

10 sets of 5 150kg - 2-3min rest - happy with these, 50 quality reps with 150kg- last set had 2 reps in the tank

10 sets of 5 lying leg curl 60kg - last set was failure
Supersetted
10 sets of 6 standing calf raises 150kg - last 2 sets failure - 90s between super sets

3 sets of 20 hanging leg raises - 1 min rest

All done in 1 hour 10mins

Food on point today , expect to look in my best offseason shape by the weekend and I predict a small drop in weight

Looking forward to Wednesdays session , should be strong!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 23, 2015, 04:46:07 PM
Today's session was progress all round, feeling harder but still got so e in the tank

Warmup - bench 65k 10, 85k 5

Bench press 10 sets of 5 105k 2-3min rest - last set had 1 rep in the tank

Dips BW+42.5kg 10 sets of 5
Supersetted -
Curls 52.5kg 10 sets of 5 - 2 min between super sets

3 sets of 20 decline sit-up - 1 min rest

1 hour 10mins total

All going well


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 25, 2015, 09:00:42 PM
Today the high volume caught up with me, obviously the first exercise to suffer... The hardest to recover from, deadlifts, not too fussed as im due a deload and change up

Today went like this

Deadlift 65k 12, 105k 6, 145k 5, 165k 5,5,5,5,5,5 - then fatigue kicked in and technique was subpar to stopped there

Pullups BW 10,10,10,8,8
Supersetted - 1 min breaks
Military 60kg 10,10,8,8,8

Seated row 75kg 10,10,10,10
Supersetted - 1 min rest
Laterals 17.5k 10,10,10,10

Face pulls 40kg 10,10,10,10,10

1 hour and abit freestyle but had a decent session, so next week will be a step back before hitting it hard again gonna go with 5x5 for the powerlifts and lots of variety for all other moves , not even gonna track anything apart from powerlifts the rest will be a mix up each week focusing on intensity, and volume feeling the muscles working hard!

Gonna add 3 foam rolling and stretching sessions on days off, and lowering protein/fats slightly to increase carbs , adding a couple of snacks , should see so e good results, let's see


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2015, 03:32:07 PM
deload week going well, had a good chat with walby, and we have both decided to goback to what i have done the vast majority of this year, alternating upper/lower sessions, as i progressed really well, and recovered well from them, feel so much better already adding in some carbs, lowering fats/protein slightly and lowering volume too, just feels right, and was getting abit stressed, sleep was suffering and just felt generally run down, obviously im not a very high volume guy, body was fighting it

anyway, yesterdays deload lower session- went fairly hard, but lowish volume and didnt kill myself

squat warmup- 60k 12, 80k 8, 100k 6, 120k 5,
4 sets squats - 140kg 12,10,10,10- 2 min rest between sets
4 sets lying leg curl - 60kg 8,6,6,6- 1 min rest
3X10 calf raises 130kg
3X10 cable crunches 62.5kg

that was it, done in 55 mins-

already feeling pretty recovered and ready to start hitting it full on again, must be due to the food+sleep too!

today i did 20min HIIT - 285kcals burnt and a brutal session- usual xtrainer

my upper session will be-

4X6 bench/incline bench
4X6 cable/barbell row
3X10 military/1 arm db press
3X10 pullups
3X10 dips
3X10 curls

lower will be-

4X6 squats
4X6 rdl's
3X10 lying leg curl
3X10 calf raise
3X10 cable crunch

and food is as follows

breakfast- 5 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
lunch- 1/2 chicken/1 cup rice/large mixed salad
dinner- 16oz steak or 2 salmon fillets/sweet potato/1lb mixed vegetables
before bed- large tub greek yoghurt

pwo- 1 scoop whey/2 bananas/5g creatine, pre- strong black coffee, lots of water, 1 big cheat meal weekly (sat night usually)

feel great on this diet- strong, full and healthy!

current goals are still to gain strength each session, get a little leaner, be consistant with 2 HIIT sessions weekly, be consistant with my good eating with an odd cheat meal, and keep making progress for next years show

deload week may end up a deload half week, feeling good to go!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 30, 2015, 02:28:04 PM
upper deload session today, and really needed it, although i feel pretty stres free, body is feeling run down, and a moderate intensity session was welcomed today

4X6 bench press 100kg 6,6,6,6
4X6 barbell row 100kg 6,6,6,6
3X10 overhead press 60kg 10,9,8
3X10 pullups - BW 10,10,8
3X10 dips +25kg 10,10,10
3X10 curls 40kg 8,8,8

took my time today, 1 hour 5mins

all pretty easy, but felt heavier than it should have, friday will also be a toned down session, then should feel fresh and strong, on monday to start hitting it harder, although will begin this cycle of training a peg down to gain momentum

I have learnt a valuable lesson, and although its pretty hardcore to smash high volume heavy workouts, show off etc, I personally dont recover very well from it, and to be honest dont grow any quicker than a moderate volume, steady progressive overload approach- longevity is key for me, i want to be doing this for many years to come, and you cant rush this, so i need to train smarter, with more focus on quality  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Turpin on September 30, 2015, 04:04:27 PM
I was wondering when that volume would catch up with you Ben . I preferred not to post my thoughts during your experiment but 10 sets at high load would sooner or later be detrimental , for most it would have been sooner .... all credit to your resilience .

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 30, 2015, 05:46:30 PM
haha thanks mate, i like to sometimes think i can train like gozdecki/miller etc, then 2 weeks down the line im a broken man  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 01, 2015, 08:58:28 AM
I'm the same mate. High volume is fun if you have time but it's hell and I just end up lifting lighter and my recovery is just not there on it. Couple of working sets do me fine


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on October 01, 2015, 12:48:25 PM
I think a bit of volume has it's place, but not for everything.  Certainly more draining.  The 20x5 on the squats still gives me a cold sweat!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 02, 2015, 08:46:59 PM
I agree completely, but sometimes I get carried away ... Like I did today, wanted a PB and got a few

Squats - warmup 60k 12, 100k 8, 120k 5

21 sets of 5 with 140kg , 1 set more than previous killer session,

Did all that in 55mins

Then

Lying leg curls 60kg 10 sets of 5
Supersetted
Standing calf raises 10 sets of 6

3x12 cable crunch 62.5kg

All done in 1 hour 20mins, pace was class, even after the squats

I know it's probably stupid and I agree completely with you guys it's probably not optimal but I loved it, great fun and felt amazing! even with a cold!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 03, 2015, 04:38:31 PM
Some slight leg doms today, not as bad as Mondays session though!? Crazy as I did 42 reps with 140kg Monday and 105kg yesterday , can't get any cardio in this weekend but going for a long walk both today and Sunday with Becky and Isla, tonight's cheat meal is a curry a beer or 2 whilst watching the rugby

Weight floating around 81kg , has been for ages, quite happy with it but ideally 78-80kg would be great! Can't complain though

So excited for the UKDFBA next weekend , almost feels like I'm competing, motivated to the max!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 05, 2015, 09:05:40 AM
that squatting is nuts mate. Looking forward to the weekend and catching up


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 05, 2015, 02:53:12 PM
will be a cracking weekend, will be great to catch up scott, im sure youll do yourself proud! if you need anything over the weekend let me know!


todays Upper session was decent , wanted volume+heavy weights, as really enjoy this style at the moment, had a busy morning with isla and becky and had exactly an hour at the gym, so went like this...

warmup- incline bench 60k, 8,  80k 6, supersetted pulldowns 70k , 8,  90k 6

incline bench 90kg - 6,6,6,6,6,6- 6th set was tough, but had another rep in me
supersetted
Pulldowns- 115kg- 6,6,6,6,6,6- last set was a little loose with form but slow negative- good feel!

seated db press 32.5kg db's- 8,8,8,6
supersetted
seated cable row 115kg- 8,8,8,6

pushdowns 52.5kg 8,8,8,8
supersetted
upright row 45kg 8,8,8,8 - wide grip slow, hitting delts hard!

preacher curl 25kg 8,8,8,8- always find these hard! dispite the light weight
supersetted
flye- 50kg 8,8,8,8- focused on stretch and squeeze

36 sets done in 1 hour- good session

wednesdays session will be squats +Stiff legged deads +calf raise +cable crunch a basic one but always tough! , leaving fridays session for another upper body hit! - abit freestyle but working hard


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 07, 2015, 07:12:32 PM
A good lower session abit heavier weights used with a more reserved volume approach, my normal kinda session, dropped 10k off my best and will build up over a few months hopefully PB's all round by Xmas

4x6 squat 150k 8,7,6,6 - going for 155k next week 2-3min rest
4x6 Romanian deadlift 150k - 8,7,6,6 -155k next week 2-3min rest

3x10 lying leg curl 45k 10,10,10 - 1-2min rest - hard after heavy work- stick with 45k
3x10 standing calf 130k 10,10,10 - 1-2 min rest- very slow and strict, stick with 130k
3x10 cable crunch 62.5k 10,10,19 1-2 min rest

1 hour done and dusted

Focusing on building weights slowly and keeping volume moderate, all whilst keeping form tight! This training plan has done me very well this year and I'm sure will continue to do the business

Gonna do my usual upper session Friday focusing on the same goals


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 09, 2015, 01:38:15 PM
Yesterday did 20mins HIIT , usual xtrainer , max resistance , got 281kcals which is just short of my best effort, got the job done though!

Today only had 50mins to hit upper body but with a few supersets did a decent job

4x6 incline bench 95k 6,6,6,5 - felt heavy but will build to 4x6 over the next month or so
4x6 barbell row 105k 6,6,6,6 - good feel to these , a favourite of mine, +2.5k

4x8 standing press 60k 8,8,8,8
Supersetted
4x8 pull-ups BW 8,8,8,8

4x8 preacher curl 30k 8,8,8,8
Supersetted
4x8 push down 42.5k 8,8,8,8

50mins done! A real focus on slow strict reps and felt it!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on October 11, 2015, 11:01:56 PM
Lovely to see you at the weekend Ben :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Jon on October 12, 2015, 12:17:33 AM
Same here, was great talking with you Ben. :)

Nic we keep missing each other!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 12, 2015, 08:55:44 AM
thanks Nic good to see you too! any plans to compete next year?

great to see you and pick your brains Jon, a fountain of knowledge! be great to see you back onstage! sounds like you still have that fire burning!

was gutted i couldnt get awat on sunday to watch the international/pro show and help out, Isla was teething all saturday night and couldnt leave becky with her all day again, but so glad i got to help out and watch on saturday, the standard for the UKDFBA is now higher than alot of Pro shows across the board, so many atheletes that would do very well at the worlds,

was great catching up with some familiar faces, and feel so motivated to make big changes for next year

a few highlights for me were, Dom Rae, this kid has what it takes to go all the way, if he keeps smashing it like he has been, cant imagine how he will be in 10 years time!, scary!

bantams was a crazy standard, Scott hugely improved from his last outing! bigger, harder, great posing, if he can make progress like that from each offseason, he will be very hard to beat soon!

matt vs dean, was a tough call, iv never seen a bantam with such thick detailed mass , when matt hit his most muscular, was a real "WTF" moment for me, if he matches his lower half consition and size wise, nobody i mean nobody will touch him!, but dean was outstanding and had it all today, not the most muscle but definitly the hardest all over, great posing, and detail from the back was unmatched, so so impressive! -

marcus beales looking great too with a 3rd place finish, very impressed with his improvements in mass!

watching Damo take his 3rd UKDFBA lightweight title was great, very high quality physique and will be competing in this class next year, i have ALOT of work to do!

the heavyweights was really a battle of the titans, what a standard! well worthy of a pro stage,
had no idea of Will Rooke's accident and journey back to the stage, really moved me! what an amazing guy!

 adrian grey, ... well what can i say, just watched as everyone in the assembly's jaw hit the floor, i very rarely am so speechless when a bodybuilder walks out, first time i saw richard gozdecki in 2012 and saturday when adrian grey walked out , this guy has it all, he turned pro saturday, won the pro international on sunday, lets see if he can get the hatrick!  8)

well done to lee, amy and everyone involved in the UKDFBA , what a great show and community we have! long may it continue and go get em at the worlds!






Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on October 12, 2015, 09:22:10 AM
Hey Ben. Nice to see you Saturday, albeit very briefly - your beard threw me to begin with! And sorry I didn't get chance to chat more - but of a whirlwind day for me.
Thanks for the kind words and feedback too  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on October 12, 2015, 09:55:58 AM
hahaha same as Matt. Walked in door with a "hi mate" along with a question to Nicola of, "Very familiar face, but not sure who." which she said something like, "Uhm, Ben Howard with a beard, are you serious?"

Hahaha, I literally did not recognise you when we walked in at the start of the day!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on October 12, 2015, 01:23:41 PM
thanks Nic good to see you too! any plans to compete next year?


Not at the mo mate but never say never :) Will probably make a decision after Christmas but will only compete if 1) I feel I've made progress and 2) my mind is in the right place to diet harder than ever (because I'd need to be leaner than ever!)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on October 12, 2015, 02:46:19 PM
Same here, was great talking with you Ben. :)

Nic we keep missing each other!

I know Jon! I saw you but you were always busy and there wasn't a good time. Are you at any other shows this year?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 12, 2015, 06:36:59 PM
Sounds like a plan nic and a good outlook, the standard is getting higher each year, so we all have to give 100% or nothing

Haha Toby and matt iv had this a lot, I didn't think I looked that different until I look at old pics , thought with a little one I'm gonna go bald soon so may aswell make the most of it  ;)

Ok so been thinking a lot over the weekend, for me to realise my goals in bodybuilding things have to change, after having a long chat with mr harris and generally thinking about my journey and goals I'm gonna go back to basics, cut back on volume and increase intensity, I also need to hit my "show" muscles harder and look at bringing them up whilst increasing overall mass, I only train 3 days per week and an upper/lower split is great but means my upper sessions lack variety and direct work for certain muscles, I.e. Shoulders/arms don't get much work and really need bringing up

So here is the plan moving forward, back to basics,

Training- gonna be a 3 day split , prioritising chest/shoulders/arms, whilst still hitting back and legs hard
Gonna stick with the approach that has worked so well for me , offseason and precontest, one I learnt from Ian duckett and now so many other natural bodybuilders, train hard/eat clean and let nature do the rest! Keeping it basic and let the intensity do the work with enough work to hit everything and see progress all over

Monday- chest/back
3x6 bench
3x9 incline db
3x12 db flye

3x6 deadlift
3x9 pullup
3x12 barbell row

Wednesday- legs/abs
3x6 squats
3x9 leg press
3x9 leg curl
3x12 stiff leg deads

3x9 standing calf raise
3x12 seated calf raise

3x20 hanging leg raises


Friday- shoulders/arms
3x6 military
3x9 laterals
3x12 bent over laterals

3x9 bb curl
3x12 seated db curl

3x9 lying ez extension
3x12 overhead rope extension

This split will allow me to hit everything with enough intensity and volume to make the required progress, cardio will take a back seat and I will generally get more active I.e walking instead of planned cardio, works with life better and really does the same thing!

Recovery sessions are back in 3 days per week on off days foam rolling and stretching, recovery needs to be on point!

I on average sleep 7 or so hours per night and that does me well, if the little one plays ball that is
I plan on having a deload week every 6 weeks or so I should need it with the higher intensity, and change things round slightly after the deload to keep it fresh


Nutrition won't change much but will be tighter 1 cheat meal weekly and even that will be a decent and fairly clean meal 2-3 drinks maximum no binging on food or drink, don't need it!

A typical days eating will have a few snacks added and be very clean and healthy,

Breakfast- eggs/oats/blueberries/honey/creatine/multivit
Snack- fruit/nuts
Lunch- chicken/rice/salad
Snack- fruit/nuts
Dinner- steak or salmon/sweet potato/vegetables
Before bed- Greek yoghurt

Pre workout- strong coffee, no more pre workouts
Post- whey/creatine/rice cakes
Lots of green tea daily
Lots of water daily
1 cheat meal weekly, that is the only difference between contest prep I should be living clean year round it's what I enjoy and the chest meal gives enough balance offseason

The aim is to live the healthy and active life I want to , and keep improving moving towards my goals ,no coasting, and no sacrifice

I want to get closer to my contest weight loosing 2-3kg of body fat before I start my prep at 20 weeks out, I wanna have 10lb to lose in 20 weeks retaining strength and size and getting silly shredded next year! Let's do this!

Ok today's chest/back session

Chest:
3x6 bench 110kg 6,6,6 - +2.5kg - these were strong last set was hard
3x9 incline db 35k db's 9,9,9 - last rep was a grinder - use 37.5k , and build back up in reps
3x12 db flyes 20kg db's 12,12,12 - use 22.5k and build up

Back:
3x6 deadlift 160kg 6,6,6 - grip needs building back up - +2.5k
3x9 pullups BW - 9,9,9- stick as last set was RP
3x12 barbell row 80kg 12,12,12 - these will hurt tomorrow

1 hour including 3 warm ups for bench and 3 for deadlifts - great workout and did what it needed to, no doubt feel these tomorrow

Not used to the fatigue of bodypart training so weights will build quickly , looking forward to looking back in 6 months before I start my prep and seeing all these weights increased and new tissue to boot


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Turpin on October 12, 2015, 07:23:58 PM
Nice work Ben  ;)

T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on October 13, 2015, 11:57:24 AM
Loving the focus Ben! The fire has been lit!

(PS I'm always so grateful when anyone actually recognises me off-season haha!)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 13, 2015, 01:40:26 PM
Thanks T,

Nic the fire has certainly been lit, haha, i recognise everyone, and got alot of strange looks as i said hello to them this weekend  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on October 13, 2015, 02:45:22 PM
Great updates Ben, I get motivated just reading them  :o  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Jon on October 13, 2015, 02:50:09 PM
Sounds like you're really fired up with your training after last weekend Ben!

Quote
I know Jon! I saw you but you were always busy and there wasn't a good time. Are you at any other shows this year?

Will be at the NPA MWC and finals Nic. I know I'm always dashing about but if you'll be at any of these shows then come over and grab me when I'm not at the judges table and we'll have a catch-up. :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Nic on October 13, 2015, 05:14:11 PM
I'm going to NPA Finals - I'll definitely grab you during a quieter moment :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: Toby on October 13, 2015, 06:01:29 PM
So after our volume conversation.....you are not doing volume? Lol damn!

Nice and simple workouts, I love the look of them and the simplicity. As for the diet, seems straight forward, curious though on the calorie count/split there.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 13, 2015, 06:37:26 PM
I love high volume work but does wipe me out, if I could recover I would do hundreds of squats, deads, presses each week , but a more moderate volume approach helps me progress in strength too

It's around 160g protein 270g carbs 130g fat


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 10, 2015, 10:03:45 AM
Hi Ben just caught up with your journal. Ive been is a little bubble since the UKDFBA and Jan starting her new job.

Thank you for the kind comments, I'm still quite new to competing having done my first show in 2010 so I hope I can still improve with  good two years off season.

Nice to see the training and food are going well and it was great to see you on the Sunday although we didn't get much time to chat.

Simple diet, simple food quite simple equals results


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 10, 2015, 11:19:57 AM
will be good to catch up again soon, got a huge amount of motivation from your transformation this year, makes me wanna change things back to basics once again  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the UKDFBA U75kg 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 10, 2015, 12:57:53 PM
the guru knows the way mate. Just following his advise


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 08, 2015, 10:06:54 PM
ok, last month or so has been mega busy, but time to get this bad boy back up and running...

in the process of cleaning up/decorating/moving into our new home in coventry , (should be in in 1-2 weeks) , and work is as busy as ever at the gym, with new classes and GP referal clients keeping me busy

Isla is now nearly 8 months old and already learning how to flutter her eyelashes at her daddy, and gets away with murder!

but my training for next year is going perfect with no sessions missed, no meals missed and enjoying everyday, cannot complain one bit!

have been consistant the last 4 weeks on a very basic plan iv used a few times before, couldnt be simpler but walk away from every session KNOWING im one step closer to becoming a WNBF pro, each set is another step towards that ultimate goal

so here it is... kinda powerlifting/bodybuilding split- with a nice bit of progression and variation in there too

Monday- squat day... 5X5 squats (consistantly) + quad/ham/calf/ab bodybuilding work (this can vary from each session)
Wednesday- Bench day 5X5 bench press + chest/bicep/tricep bodybuilding work
Friday- Deadlift day 5X5 deadlift  + back/shoulder bodybuilding style

no cardio, as im so busy in everyday life, workouts are so pacey that fitness hasnt suffered one bit, infact feel as good as ever! and recovering quicker too, i am sitting around 81-82kg currently and as lean as iv been this offseason, i do want to slowly drop weight as the months go by to a solid 78kg before dieting for 16 weeks to next years show, having to lose only 10lb or so and coming in super shredded with added muscle, so will lose the 3-4kg or so in the next 6 months or so just by keeping super strict and only allowing my 1 cheat meal weekly, not going overboard with that either, and tapering my carbs down slightly, will do the trick

base diet has been consistant and enjoying it!  will be my pre contest diet too, worked last time, will work again


breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit
mid am- banana 1/2 cup nuts
lunch- chicken breast/1 cup rice/large mixed salad
mid pm- apple 1/2 cup nuts
dinner- 8oz steak or salmon/large sweet potato/1lb mixed veg
before bed- 1 cup greek yoghurt/1/2 cup granola

roughly 3,000 kcals, around 170g p   300g c   130g f

and as always

4+ litres water daily
lots of green tea to help recovery
pre workout strong black coffee
post workout a scoop of whey with 5 snackajacks, 5g creatine
1 cheat meal weekly offseason

and 3 days per week on off days i spend 30mins foam rolling/stretching to keep them squats & deadlifts smooth and tight  ;)



ok last couple of sessions...

4/12/15- Deadlift day

(2-3m rest)
5X5 deadlift 170k 5, 180k 5,5,3,3-  used straps and felt much better, just not hardcore though! need to get some chalk!

60-90s rest from here...

Neutral Pullups- BW 12,12,12,10,8,8 - hard with the little rest!
cable row 90k 10,10,10,10
1 arm db row 40k 12,10,10

standing press 60kg 12,12,10
laterals 15kg 15,15,15
bent over laterals 15kg 15,15,15

55mins after warmup, love mixing up the bodybuilding stuff, keeps it fresh and intense! saying that i usually do basic moves, no hiding behind fancy exercises


7.12.15- squat day  (foam roll and stretch over the weekend in prep for todays squats)

5X5 squats 152.5kg 5,5,5,5,5- easy, well below parallel and felt silky smooth! 160kg in this fashion very soon

5X10 leg press 280kg 10,10,10,10,10 - slow and constant tension
supersetted (90s rest)
5X10 lying leg curl 50k 10,10, 45k 10,10,10  - was smashed after the last set

5X12 calf press 220kg 12,12,12,12,12- last set failure!
supersetted (60s rest)
5X15 hanging leg raises 15,15,15,15,15- felt like my stomach was ripping off!

after warmup up on squats was 45-50mins, good pace!


really liked that session and will go for some supersets tomorrow after some heavy benching!







Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on December 08, 2015, 10:45:38 PM
Loving the new title :D :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on December 08, 2015, 10:48:18 PM
I really like the look of your training. I'd love to train with you sometime. Next time you make it to a meet, shotgun on partnering up with you please :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on December 09, 2015, 09:48:04 AM
Love the title mate. Be great to see you on stage next year. Well i'd imagine i will see you backstage before hand as I hope to be doing backstage duties


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on December 09, 2015, 01:36:10 PM
Just noticed the new journal title! Good stuff mate.  Has it come around already, you getting ready to compete again? Man, time flies.
Glad Isla is doing well.  Be interesting to see how you get on with your prep with her in tow.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 09, 2015, 05:44:42 PM
I'll hold you to that nic! Very impressed with your deadlifting, must get a session in!

I hope so Scott you did a cracking job last year! I'm sure we will cross paths a few times next year!

Yeah Matt that time again , not full on contest mode until 16 weeks out but only 1 cheat meal away from that now, do need to get a little leaner before hit in the prep though! Yeah in some ways I'm sure it will be easier being busier and puts things in perspective, I know I get only 3 hours per week for "me" so gonna make me count! If you have any tips mate im all ears!  ;D

Today's session was bench day (and Chest/arms)

5x5 bench press 112.5k 5,5,5,5,5 - all perfect clean reps although felt heavy!

5 sets incline db press 30k 12,10,10,10,10
Supersetted 90s rest
5 sets ez curls 40k 10,10,10,8,8

5 sets db flye 20k 10,10,10,10,10
Supersetted 60s rest
5 sets pushdowns 40k 12,12,12,12,10

50mins jn total including 3 warmups for bench

A good session overall and focusing on bringing up my weak points (chest&arms)



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on December 09, 2015, 06:45:57 PM
I'll hold you to that nic! Very impressed with your deadlifting, must get a session in!

thanks! I should add that I am a little chunk at the mo which makes my DL numbers slightly less impressive.

Let me know when you're up for training. You train at The Mill correct? I was there at the weekend.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on December 09, 2015, 06:54:00 PM
Look forward to following this mate.. Keep up the top work!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 09, 2015, 08:00:50 PM
Yeah still training at the mill, I don't care how offseason you are 3 plates is awesome! Could do whenever really we will sort out something soon! If your gonna come over here though gonna have to be an extra crazy session no sensible volume shiz  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 10, 2015, 10:54:23 AM
today just some foam rolling and stretching, not feeling as achy as i was expecting, arms im particular feel pretty fresh, i recon could do another chest/arms session in 3-4 days full bore  ???

takes alot longer for lower body to recover, need to address this issue if im to maximise my chest/arms progress for next year! any suggestions?

i have done an upper/lower split with more volume on the upper days, worked pretty well, but done for most of this year, works fine but needed a new stimulus for a few weeks atleast-

anyways deadlifting tomorrow, cant wait!  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 10, 2015, 03:05:23 PM
well decided to blast my arms as there crap and need to grow, and not aching from yesterday!!  :-\

bonus session-

X4 close grip bench 100kg 8,7,6,6
supersetted  (2 min rest)
X4 barbell curl 50kg 8,8,7,6

X4 incline db curl 12.5kg 12,10,10,10
supersetted (1 min rest)
X4 rope pushdowns 35kg 12,12,10,10

X3 close grip chins BW 12,12,12
supersetted (30s rest)
X3 dips BW 20,20,20

40mins done!


Start my contest prep on 29th may 16 weeks out from the heart of England and 20 weeks from the uk finals

right deadlifts tomorrow  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 11, 2015, 07:09:29 PM
Good deadlift, back & shoulders workout , as basic as it gets

Goal today was to get good reps with 180k deadlifts without straps, just chalk

Here's how it went...

5 sets 180k deadlift 3,3,3,3,3 140k, 10 - (2-3m rest)
A PB will be 5x5 strap and beltless with 180k - that's the goal!

10 sets standing press 60k 8,8,8,8,8,8,8,8,6+2,6+2
Supersetted - (90s rest between)
10 sets wide grip pull-ups BW - 8,8,8,8,8,8,8,8,8,8

4x12 face pulls 40k 12,12,12,12- 60s rest

30 sets- 1 hour, great end to the week!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on December 11, 2015, 07:21:37 PM
That's an awesome session. Good work pal.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: felix on December 12, 2015, 09:41:50 PM
Very strong deadlifting Ben.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 13, 2015, 06:45:42 PM
Thanks guys nice to be able to control 180 easily, need to build up them reps now!

Weekend has been hectic moving house (for the 3rd time this year!) but this time it's perminant, the last 3 weeks been stripping it down and decorating, carpets on tomorrow, decorator in to plaster and paint then we're done! Should be in for Wednesday what a relief!

Anyway weigh in sat morning, 81.6kg , feeling strong at this weight but need to lean up 3-4kg before I start the diet next year, no reason why I can't in plenty of time

Cheat meal sat night- spag bol, garlic mushrooms, followed by a good go at a cheeseboard and a chocolate bar
Didn't feel stupidly full , just did the job!

Right birthday squats tomorrow morning, training with my boss for the first (and last) time, payback time! :P ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 14, 2015, 02:09:15 PM
Had a fantastic morning with Becky and Isla , no better feeling that waking up with my family, spoilt rotten with presents, Isla loved the wrapping paper!

Then after the usual breakfast and a birthday treat double grenade it was go time...

Turned out Walby and murph (my boss) turned up at the gym and I wanted to have a birthday to remember, so this was on the cards - 26 today so ....

26 sets of 5 reps squats 140kg
Supersetted (2-3min rest)
26 sets of 5 reps lying leg curl 50kg

Took 75mins! - Walby used 100k and murph 80k

Then...

10 sets of 10 calf press 200kg
Supersetted (30s rest)
10 sets of 10 hanging leg raises BW

90mins after warming up- one of the if not THE most demanding workouts Iv ever done

Job done!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on December 14, 2015, 02:28:30 PM
Happy Birthday mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on December 14, 2015, 03:04:35 PM
Happy birthday you nutter!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on December 14, 2015, 04:09:35 PM
That's a mega impressive session!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on December 14, 2015, 04:32:15 PM
I am 40 but not doing 40 sets unless they are sets of 1  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on December 14, 2015, 04:32:35 PM
Shit, I forgot, I am actually 41  :'(


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Badger on December 14, 2015, 05:37:15 PM
Enjoy!

Nice way to celebrate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on December 14, 2015, 05:57:14 PM
Yeah I doubt I'll be using that approach to a birthday workout these days! ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: felix on December 15, 2015, 01:20:40 AM
Happy Birthday Ben I hope you had a great day.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 15, 2015, 09:57:37 AM
Thankyou all , was a good session and great day overall, ended up going to the house and putting some of the finishing touches down, should be ready to stay there from tomorrow! Mega excited!

Today legs are pretty tight and achy and will spend my lunch break foam rolling and stretching in the gym where I work

Tomorrow chest & arms, and after my heavy 5x5 bench gonna superset chest with arms , last week I wasn't satisfied so gonna go heavy and keep it basic as always


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 17, 2015, 09:31:04 AM
Long day yesterday with an early shift and moving the last couple of loads out, managed to eat spot on and get a good session in though, our kitchen is being done the next 2 days, so may have to adopt abit of an IIFYM approach for the rest of the week, no dramas! Got today's food set out as normal though

Yesterday's session was much better than Last week with a little more volume

Bench press 5x5 112.5kg - 5,5,5,5,5- felt stronger than last week!

4x10 incline db press 35k 10,10,10,10
Supersetted (90s rest)
4x10 thick bar curls 40kg 10,10,10,10

4x10 close grip bench press 60kg 10,10,10,9
Supersetted (90s rest)
4x10 flye 40k 12,10,10,10

4x10 preacher curl #4 - 10,10,10,10
Supersetted (60s rest)
4x10 pushdowns - 40kg - 12,10,10,10

55mins - felt very full upper body, good session
Legs are still battered , gonna give then another good foam roll and stretch session today, deadlifts tomorrow!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 18, 2015, 09:14:26 PM
Today due to having no kitchen currently had to freestyle my nutrition, went ok , felt like a student again  ;D

Breakfast- 1 cup granola with milk/1 scoop whey/5g creatine/vitamin
Lunch- 2 roast chicken salad sandwiches
Pre workout- grenade- meh it's Christmas!
Post workout- 1 scoop whey/5 snackajacks/5g creatine
1 hour later- 1 scoop whey/banana/apple
Dinner- roast chicken/1 pack rice/broccoli
Before bed- 1 cup Greek yoghurt/1/2 cup granola/handful of mixed nuts

Approx - 200p 375c 80f

Today's workout- deadlift day & back/shoulders

Had to use the trap bar today as someone was using the barbell

8x3 trap deadlift - 185kg - 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3
last 2-3 sets we're hard - 2-3m rest

4x10 standing press 60kg - 10,10,10,10
Supersetted - 90s rest
4x10 wide grip pull-ups BW - 10,10,10,10

3x15 lateral raises 17.5kg - 15,15,15 - delts fully pumped
Supersetted - 90s rest
3x15 hammer row 100kg 15,15,10+5

4x15 reverse pek dek 30kg 15,15,15,15 - 60s rest

1 hour after warmup sets

Decent session would have preferred to deadlift regular
Xmas night out tomorrow night and next week will be a deload with 2 workouts, a lower and upper session before smashing it again the following week


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Tannhauser on December 18, 2015, 10:40:31 PM
4x10 thick bar curls 40kg 10,10,10,10

I did a few of these today (with less weight than you). I was expecting a big forearm pump - instead of which, it felt like my biceps were exploding. What a great exercise!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 18, 2015, 11:12:24 PM
I know what you mean, really smashes the biceps , I too expected them to be heavier on the forearms, wish the gym had a 7fter so we could do thick bar rack work too!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Tannhauser on December 18, 2015, 11:52:55 PM
I use those Fat Gripz things on an olympic bar. They were expensive but they have lasted really well and they are very solid.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on December 19, 2015, 12:44:15 AM
I have the fat gripz, but they don't compare to a a dirty old thick bar, absolutely love them. Crazy bump in the bi's. Give the body drag curls ago with the thick bar, that's going to be awesome.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 19, 2015, 09:03:38 AM
That's a good shout about the fat gripz, and drag curls never done them before, I'll have a read up and try em next week


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Tannhauser on December 20, 2015, 11:59:59 PM
I am going to have to try those drag curls too. Thanks Ben. I also like the Fat Gripz for hammer curls, reverse curls and neutral grip pull-ups. All of those fry my forearms.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 21, 2015, 05:55:39 PM
May have to get a pair!

Saturday staff night out, was pretty messy, but a great laugh, yesterday couldn't stomaching food and the food I did eat was pretty crap, much better today though although abit freestyle

Did a deload lower session -

4x6 squat 140k 6,6,6,6
4x6 Romanian deadlift 140k 6,6,6,6
3x8 lying leg curl 50k 8,8,8
3x8 calf raise 150kg 8,8,8
3x8 decline sit-up - 50k - 8,8,8

1 hour 10mins including 8 total warmup sets

Good easy session, not hitting lower body till next Monday,  will do a similar style upper session Wednesday again with reduced weights

Really enjoy the upper/lower workouts and will be sure to implement them into next years prep



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on December 22, 2015, 09:43:33 AM
nice workout mate. If you can 't have a good night out for your birthday and Christmas when can you ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 22, 2015, 11:14:09 AM
haha exactly dont know how people can do this every week! i bumped into the workout mill night out in town and got messy very quickly from there  ;D was only with them for half an hour or so! animals!

really enjoyed yesterdays lower workout and tempted to carry the upper/lower on after christmas, ill see what i fancy - but gonna hit PB's all round by the start of my contest prep-


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 23, 2015, 09:13:36 PM
Deload upper today, although went at it pretty hard, as felt good, and havin Friday off the gym back on Monday for a lower session- today went well

4x6 incline bench 100kg 6,6,6,6 - the best these have felt! 2-3min rest and recon on the frat set could have gotten 8-9
4x6 barbell row - 110kg 6,6,6,6 - all locked back and strict , last 2 sets we're max
3x8 standing press 65kg 8,8 67.5kg, 8
3x8 pull-ups BW+10kg 8,8,8 - very tough- too many mince pies!
3x8 dips +40kg 8,8,8 - easy
3x8 barbell curls 40kg 8,8,8

Took our time today 1 hour 15mins, will use the same weights next time and look to add 10-15k to each by prep time

Diet is still a little loose but nothing crazy next week or so will relax but be sensible and back to the usual clean meals come next week


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on December 24, 2015, 09:40:43 AM
Incline bench is really strong mate. Have a great Christmas


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 24, 2015, 10:46:40 AM
Thanks mate due to weighing around 83kg at the moment I think lol, and you mate have a great one! You've earned your feast!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 08, 2016, 05:00:08 PM
Had a great Xmas and new year hope you all did too! Nobody should be in contest shape this time of year! If you are your doing Xmas wrong!  ;)

Diet has been on point , relaxed over Xmas an had my fill ready for his year,

Typical day is still

Breakfast- 4 eggs/1 cup pays/1/2 cup blueberries/tbsp honey/ 5g creatine/multivit
Mid am - banana/ 1/2 cup nuts
Lunch- chicken breast/1 cup rice/ large mixed salad
Mid pm- apple/ 1/2 cup nuts
Dinner - steak or salmon/ large sweet pot/1lb vegetables
Before bed- 1 cup Greek yoghurt/3/4 cup granola

Still strong coffee pre workout
4l water daily+ loads of green tea
1 cheat meal weekly
Post workout - 1 scoop whey/5 snackajacks/5g creatine

Weight is 82-83kg and still need to be leaner before contest prep, the goal is 78kg by may 1st
Slow and steady

Last week of workouts

Monday - legs
5x5 squats 150k 5,5,5,5,5 - 2-3m rest

5x10 leg press  280k 10,10,10,10,10
Supersetted
5x10 lying leg curl 50k 10,10,10,10,8 - 90s rest

5x20 standing calf raises 100k 20,20,20,20,20 - last 2 sets ROM suffered
Supersetted
5x20 - crunches BW - 1 min rest

1 hour 5 mins


Wed- chest & arms
5x5 bench 120k 5,5,5,3  - 110k. 7

5x10 incline db 32.5k 10,10,10,10,10 - too light meant to use 37.5k
Supersetted
5x10 thick bar curl 40k 10,10,10,10,10 - loose form- 90s rest

4x10 close grip bench 60k 10,10,10,10- very strict , paused
Supersetted
4x10 pek flye 40kg 10,10,10,10 - 90s rest

3x12 preacher curl - #4 - 12,12,10
Supersetted
3x12 pushdowns - 42.5k 12,12,12 - 60s rest

1 hour


Friday - back & shoulders
5x5 deadlift 180k 3,3 - 160k 5,5,5 - didn't feel in the groove 2-3m rest

4x6 seated db press 42k 6,6 - 38k 6,6
Supersetted
4x12 pull-ups 12,12,12,10 - 90-120s rest

3x8 bb row 90k 8,8,8
Supersetted
3x8 laterals 22k 8,8,8 - 90s rest

3x12 neutral pull-ups BW - 12,10,10
Supersetted
3x12 seated rear laterals 18k - 12,12,12 - 90s rest

1 hour 15mins - trained with a colleague at a different gym , and ok session but deads felt abit off with a rubbish bar , next week will lower volume slightly to around 20 sets per workout - straight sets and work with a good pace after the power lifts aiming for 1 hour sessions


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 08, 2016, 06:15:53 PM
nice workouts mate. 3 times  a week allows a nice balance to life. It also means your ready to rock for each session. Simple and consistent, a fitness trend that never fails.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on January 11, 2016, 01:42:17 PM
It could catch on!  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 11, 2016, 02:13:00 PM
it's not sexy enough mate, never in Flex. Never going to be popular ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 11, 2016, 06:07:44 PM
Your right mate great for a balanced lifestyle works with consistency as would any programme but nt jazzy enough and definitely not hardcore!

Today's leg session - a little less volume as usual

Few minute cycle warmup

3x5 squat 155k 5,5,5 - used a belt to see how it felt, felt stronger in te bottom position but weight felt just as heavy , could get used to it though?

3x15 hack squats 100k-  15,15,15 - last set was a killer to finish, got there though
3x8 Lying leg curl #11 - 8,8,8
3x12 1 leg curl 45k - 12,12,12

6x20 leg press calf raise - 160k
Supersetted (with 1min rest)
6x20 crunches

1 hour 5mins

Not sure about today, squats went well and legs did feel like jelly just not quite feeling this one


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 12, 2016, 10:17:41 AM
Yep balanced, allows flexability if you have something on and allows you to recover and be ready for each session. Like you my food, supps and training are very basic. No need to over complicate a very basic process.

The odd off session happens mate, just regroup for the next.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 12, 2016, 10:51:35 AM
yeah never go into a workout feeling off, always good to go

yesterdays session was fairly tough and definitly felt it in the targetted muscles, just not my cup of tea due to all the fluff, you know me, boring and basic all the way, more squats, more deadlifts and im happy

big rich was telling me yesterday there is gonna be a charity powerlifting comp at his gym i think the 4th April i may do, its a few weeks before i start dieting and planning to be under 80kg by then, the results are gonna be based on bodyweight, but being for a good cause if im feeling good and healthy around then ill go for it,

not sure what my 1 rep maxes are? but i know i can squat 160k for 6-8 reps, deadlift 180kg for 6-8, and bench 120kg for 6-8 at 80kg - will be good fun!


may even give the training side a good bit of thought, more heavy basics? just enough fluff for my bodybuilding goals -  we all know what abit of powerlifting can do for the physique


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on January 12, 2016, 10:53:29 AM
Nice hack squatting there mate! We do a 4th set with less weight (80k) for 20 reps - that is pure 'orrible!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 12, 2016, 12:20:09 PM
there much like the non-lockout sick inducing leg presses too, after the heavy squats they write me off  :-X


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 12, 2016, 02:27:11 PM
20 reps on any any of the big three is just not fun but can be great for growth


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 13, 2016, 08:34:14 PM
Yeah certainly is a killer!

Today's session went much better - chest and arms worked fully and left the session knowing I'll be better because of it

3-5 mins - bike warmup

Chest:
3x5 bench press 122.5kg - 5,5,4
3x8 incline db press x2 42.5kg - 8,6,6
3x12 db flye - x2 25kg - 12,10,10

Biceps:
3x8 bb curl 50kg - 8,8,8
3x12 seated db curls - x2 10kg - 12,12,12

Triceps:
3x8 close grip bench - 80kg 8,6,6
3x12 pushdowns - 42.5kg - 12,12,12

1 hour exactly, good pace on throughout, but enough rest to give each set 100%

Been foam rolling  and stretching x3 weekly - 30mins each, recovery is up there and weights are on the up!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 15, 2016, 08:21:35 PM
Today wrapped up a great week of training, very heppy with the way things are going for this years comps, very close to PB's on all the powerlifts and feeling healthy and balanced too

Today was back, shoulders and abs

5min bike warmup- needed this, freezing in the gym today!

3x5 deadlift - 170k 5,5,5 - all fast and strong, used liquid chalk from BP great stuff!
3x8 barbell row 100k - 8,8,8 - last set was hard first 2 felt light!
3x12 pull-ups - BW - 12,10,8 fatigue kicked in , happy though will build on these

3x5 standing press 72.5k- 5,5,5 - very strict and stron for me
3x8 lateral raises - x2 22.5k - 8, x2 25k 8,8 - suprised with how controlled they were
3x12 seated bent over laterals- x2 22.5k 12, x2 20k 12,12

3x25 decline sit-ups - BW - 25,20+5,15+5+5

1 hour 10 from start of the warmup, good pace, every set worked very hard

Will move up in weight with standing press I'm 10k off a PB on squats, deadlifts, standing press and 5k off a PB in the bench press , will hit them all before the start of contest prep


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 16, 2016, 10:46:02 AM
Saturday AM weigh in - 82kg so a steady loss of Xmas chub , well on target to hitting 78kg by may 1st don't wanna lose any quicker than this though

Tonight's cheat meal , bangers and mash, wish apple crumble and custard after, happy days


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 18, 2016, 09:58:25 AM
Nice workouts mate. Always good to go into a pre feeling strong and up for the battle.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Turpin on January 18, 2016, 10:34:47 AM
Strong / solid lifting all round Ben.

T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 18, 2016, 05:56:19 PM
thanks guys, things are coming together nicely, and as always enjoying the progress even if it is very slow

last weeks leg session didnt feel "enough" - so today kept with the same volume and format and upped the intensity with some better exercise choices and pushed as hard as ever

today- Legs/Abs

bike warmup- 5-10mins

quads:
3X5 squats - 160kg 5,5,5- used a belt again and felt great, real deep and strong reps, as good as 160 has ever felt, iv never done a rep with 165k or above, was tempted to see if i had 180 in me but will be reserved and ride this wave as its a good one!
3X15 leg press- 280kg - 15,15,15- these hurt ALOT last set sent my head spinning, quads were fried- harder than the hacks last week
hams:
3X8 lying leg curl 55kg- 8,8,8- easier than last week, will add 2.5k next week
3X12 stiff leg deads- 120kg- 12,12,12- much better and harder than another leg curl variation, constant tension, and no straps- hard!
calves:
3X8 standing calf raises 150kg 8,8,8- thighs so pumped took until the 2nd set to feel my calves atall- +2.5k next week
3X12 seated calf raises 70kg- 12,12,12- last set was to failure +2.5k next week
abs:
3X25 hanging leg raises- BW 25,20,15- cramping by the last set

1 hour 10mins including the long warmup- a good pace, much happier with this session and will build on these numbers, squats are exciting me

* also gonna give belted deadlifts a go on friday which im ecited about, not used a belt for deads since 2010! - if it goes well i will be investing in a new belt as i have a £15 crap jobby- looking at thestrengthshop, not sure which size to go for though? and lever vs buckle? any suggestions?  ???


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 21, 2016, 08:17:28 AM
decent session yesterday, back to back shifts and little one up alot of the night meaning sleep is suffering and felt it going into this one.

knew i just had to take it 1 set at a time, and if i could improve just 1 rep im winning, but glad i felt like this today and not on monday with heavy squats

chest/arms:

5min bike to get some blood moving

3X5 bench press 122.5kg- 5,5,4- all good reps but the same as last week
3X8 incline db press x2 42.5kg 8,8,6- 1 rep more than last week, felt as heavy though
3X12 db flye X2 25kg- 12,12,11 - 3 more reps than last week, never been a fan of iso exercises like this but definitly helps work the chest hard after the pressing

3X8 bb curls 52.5kg- 8,8,8- these arnt textbook strict and i feel them MORE in the biceps, but i control both positive and negative, and move naturally through the movement, works well for some iso exercises to do this
3X12 seated db curls 10kg- 12,12,12- super strict, burn and pump in the bi's was crazy even with the 10kg's i supernate and pronate my wrists fully on each movement

3X8 close grip bench 70kg- 12,10,8- went too light as was working in with someone, will use 75-80kg next week
3X12 pushdowns- 52.5kg 10, 55kg 6,6- went heavier as cgpb was too light, but next week will use 45k for sets of 12

1 hour 10 with all the warmups etc, works out from my first work set to my last is 50-55mins

have been enjoying the jump in intensity with the slight drop in volume, belted deadlifts friday, excited!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 22, 2016, 10:04:00 AM
Very strong as always mate, can't wait to see you on stage this year. What qualifier would you do?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 22, 2016, 10:32:06 AM
Thanks Scott feeling good at this stage , want abit more stegth before I start prep, PB's on te big 3 would be nice, gonna do the leamington one as it's local and only 4 weeks to the finals so can hit my best and then. Push on to improve some, don't like the idea of coming in 90% though, I was 74kg last time in decent shape but I recon with some added size and coming in at 73k should bench improved, so gonna aim for 74k at the qualifier


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 22, 2016, 02:14:42 PM
Qualifiers certainly add a bit of extra spice to the thought process as will people not being able to use dream tan. I think dream tan application is an art. To much and you look really greasy. I'm looking forward to it all especially that finals venue, epic.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 22, 2016, 08:19:24 PM
Yeah I agree Iv never use anything other than dream tan, so will be interesting to see how a spray compares
The finals venue looks great mate, perfect really for a contest of this size , gonna e a big one!

Today's session was lacking something but on paper looked ok

Back, shoulders & abs

5min bike warmup

3x5 deadlifts 180k 5, 170k 5, 160k 5 - used a belt and 140 felt stupidly light, 180 though felt awkward , posture was crap and the power wasn't there, so lowered both sets , works out the same as last week, will go for 172.5k next week with a belt and chalk again
3x8 bb rows 100k - felt much better than last week, and controlled every rep, 102.5k next
3x12 pull-ups BW - 12,10,8 - same as last week fatigue kicked in hard!

3x5 standing press 75k 5,5,5 - getting closer to a PB - 77.5k next week - every rep was strict
3x8 lateral raises 25k - 8,8,8 - gonna stick until the negative is slower
3x12 rear laterals 20k 12,12,12 - felt the rear delts a lot, weight was just right

3x20 decline sit-up - BW 20,20,20

1 hour 15 - abit longer than usual

So a mixed bag, progress on some but deads didn't start the session well, this amount of volume feels spot on, need to speed the session up a little and also thinking about 15min HIIT after each session, would e good for overall health and fitness aswell as burning more kcals, so may need to knock the workig sets down to 2 each, this would up the weights a little and intensity too can't be a bad thing


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 23, 2016, 11:52:32 AM
Weigh in today, 82kg again, so I'm eating my maintenance at te moment which is good to know around 3500kcals, hoping I can loose 4kg as I trim another 500kcals or so over the next few months and still build strength

Will start by trimming from my last meal 1/2 cup granola instead of 3/4 cup, that should get thins moving slowly again

Tonight is my weekly cheat and a good curry is on the cards for my dad's bday night out, will foam roll and stretch well tomorrow ready for mondays squats which are very close to a PB


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Glen Danbury on January 23, 2016, 02:12:49 PM
missed using dream tan when BNBF banned its use. spray tans are a pain. get them right and they look great but getting them right is never easy


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 23, 2016, 04:15:20 PM
Yeah I know what you mean seen some better than dream tan and some horrible messy ones too, luckily for me I have the advantage of seeing what everyone is using at the other qualifiers and getting some ideas, do like the idea of getting it done professionally on the day, hope it comes off easy haha, don't wanna be at work half tanned


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 25, 2016, 07:29:47 PM
Today's leg session was tough and again a step up from last week

3-5min bike warmup

3x5 squats 162.5kg 5,5,5 - these felt great again and as strong as ever, 165k 3x5 will be a PB!
3x15 leg press 285kg - 15,15,15 - constant tension these hurt a lot!

3x8 lying leg curls 57.5k 8,8,8
3x12 stiff legged deads 125k 12,12,12 - felt great on hams but finished me off

3x20 calf press 140kg 20,20,20 - painful!
3x20 hanging leg raises BW - 20,20,20
3x8 seated calf raises 75k - 8,8,8


1 hour 10mins, a little more than I like, intensity drops for me around te hour mark, still dabbling with the idea of cutting work sets to 2 and adding 10-15mins HIIT should be around 1 hour then

Eating wasn't great yesterday had breakfast and dinner as usual and a roast for lunch, back to it today though, off days are rare but they happen


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on January 26, 2016, 02:36:36 PM
very strong mate. On the tan front I used Liquid sun rayz as a pretty heavy base before my lightish coast of dream tan. I think 3 coats would provide a really good stage colour, with a bit of glaze on top as it's very matt


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on January 29, 2016, 09:28:48 PM
Sounds like a plan Scott I'll try it out at the qualifier and see how it looks on me


- stalled with my lifts this week as expected on a split with linear progression, always stall around week 4 or 5 if I'm pushing hard

Looking at brain whitacre's new website and reading how he has simplified his approach with better results, mirrors my thoughts on training and nutrition, very similar to how I prepped for my last show which is great to know, Iv read a fair bit on DUP (daily undulating periodisation) over the last year or so, it's getting very popular and so it should , makes a lot of sense and the results speak for themselves

So from Monday going to run a DUP programme , which will be 3 days full body basic lifts and undulating both the rep ranges and the exercises (I don't see people undulate the exercises much) not sure why but makes sense too me for bodybuilding & strength aslong as the exercises are basic and similar in movement

So here's what Iv come up with, may tweak as it progresses

The idea is having a power,strength and hypertrophy rep range and a leg,push,pull in each session, I'll also have 2 accessory exercises after the main stuff to ring up weak points for the stage

I'll be able to lift higher volume and loads across a week, which is always a positive if recovery is there
I was toying with the idea of having just 2 HIIT sessions weekly also and seeing Brian did this I'll be implementing them too,

I'll also be simplifying my diet back to what I did the majority of last year- 4-5 meals daily and being flexible as long as I hit my macros

So the training plan

- deload every 4 weeks or so
3 warmups for 6x3
2 warmups for 5x5
1 warmup for 4x8


Monday-
6x3 squat
5x5 barbell row
4x8 incline bench

3x10 curls
3x10 standing calf raises

Tuesday- 15-20min HIIT

Wednesday-
6x3 deadlift
5x5 overhead press
4x8 leg press

3x10 dips
3x10 cable crunches

Thursday- recovery session (foam rolling/stretching 30-45mins)

Friday-
6x3 bench press
5x5 front squat
4x8 pull-ups

3x10 lying leg curls
3x10 seated calf raises

Saturday- 15-20min HIIT

Sunday- Recovery session - foam rolling and stretching

Diet will be starting at around 3000 kcals in the aim to get leaner
175g pro 325g carbs 110g fat- on average

Breakfast- 5 eggs/1 cup oats/1/2 cup blueberries/1tbsp honey/5g creatine/multivit

Lunch- 1.5 chicken breast/1 cup rice/1 apple/1/4 cup mixed nuts/large mixed salad

Dinner - 10oz steak or 2 salmon fillets/2 sweet potatoes/1lb mixed vegetables

Before bed- 1 cup Greek yoghurt/3/4 cup granola/multivit

Post workout- 1 scoop whey/2 bananas/5g creatine
4litres water daily
Pre- strong black coffee
Hit macros for daily total if i stray off plan, no "cheat" meals (occasions)
but aiming to stick to this plan 90% + as its nice and balanced

excited to see new gains with this plan!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 01, 2016, 05:44:24 PM
First day of the DUP programme went well stayed away from failure on all sets and set up for a strong next session

6x3 squats 162.5k 3,3,3,3,3,3 - upto 3m rest, belted, had at least 2-3 in tank on last set
5x5 barbell row 110kg 5,5,5,5,5 - up to 2m rest all controlled and strong, grip was suffering though
4x8 incline bench 80kg 8,8,8,7 last set stopped at 7 asfailure was close 90s rest maximum

3x10 curls 40kg 10,10,10 -1m rest
3x10 standing calf raises 130kg 10,10,10- 1m rest

Hard not to hit failure and stop short but volume is the beauty of this programme
Nutrition spot on today 4-6 hours between meals not a problem

Will only stray from the diet plan to stay social etc maybe a couple meals per week but keeping them similar to my meals will keep things in check


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 01, 2016, 07:34:13 PM
Hey mate, I agree with the rotation of exercises and have been following something similar. I originally tried a DUP variation about a year ago, but I didn't grasp the concept properly and kept training too close to failure.

I now rotate upper lower over 3 days. So one week I hit lower twice and then next week upper twice. I rotate reps of 5's, 8's and 10's.
So on the week that I hit lower once I just use the 8 reps, but on the weeks that I hit it twice I use 5's and 10's.
Not sure that makes sense, but basically it goes Low - High - Mid reps. Low and high tend to be the same exercise, then the mid varies.

I'm actually looking to simplify and limit the exercise choices further. Brutal and basic seems to be best, yet the addition of higher reps in the basic movements seem to be effective.

I seriously freestyle the accessory stuff and pick what I feel is needed on the day.

P.S I didn't know that Brian had a new site, I'll be heading over there shortly.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 01, 2016, 09:04:30 PM
I used a 3 day upper lower for a lot of last year and had my best strength gains to date, I think breaking those sessions into different rep ranges is a great idea , a good balance of volume intensity and frequency works really well, your definitely right brutal basic exercises are best


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 02, 2016, 01:39:28 PM
We must be having some sort of 'Bro-sync as the DUP thing has been on my mind for a while now.  I even emailed Brian on the subject.  What you have come up with looks interesting, Ben (possible theft alert!).  A friend of mine (well, ex training partner) who is now heavily into PL commented recently on his progression following a percentage / undulating program. 
Like you said, Keith - whenever I have half heartedly tried it in the past, I struggled too much with 'holding back' on the reduced phases.
I need to find some time and sort something out.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 02, 2016, 02:03:09 PM
haha "bro-sync"  ;D yeah iv read alot about it in the past and lots of natural pro's use those sort of workouts, i love the full body workouts anyway and when i saw brian uses this approach i was sold!

the way i think of it- although its sub maximal work, the volume and weights i can push in this style make it well worth it, for example this is this weeks lower body work combined

6 sets of 3 squats 162.5kg
5 sets of 5 front squats 110kg
4 sets of 8 hack squats 120kg
6 sets of 3 deadlifts 170kg
3 sets of lying leg curls 50kg
3 sets of standing calf raises 130kg
3 sets of seated calf raises 70kg

it will feel like nothing across 3 sessions, but put that in 1 workout and well, bad times  ;D

more volume + more weights lifted = good times  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 03, 2016, 09:14:09 PM
Yesterday - 20min HIIT - stationary bike L10- 90s (recover) L20 -30s (sprint) X10 - 231kcals burnt, was hard but look to improve on this during Saturdays session

Today-
Bike warmup - 3-5mins

6x3 deadlift 170kg - 3,3,3,3,3,3 - all reps easy but not quite in the groove like I am squats, still getting used to these belted
5x5 standing press - 70kg 5,5,5,5,5 - very strict and promising want that 80k 5x5 PB
4x8 hack squat - 120kg 8,8,8,8 - last set was tough! Quads felt great though

3x10 dips +30k 10,10,10 - first set very easy , last set it kicked in
3x12 cable crunches +52.5kg - 12,12,12

1 hour 10mins - feeling strong all round, deads need to be tight from the start, there good though

- tomorrow- 45mins recovery session - foam rolling/stretching

No need to stray from my base diet this week, no occasions, but feels great that instead of waiting for a Cheat meal I can just be flexible and hit my Macros and not stray from the plan! If an occasion arises Recipe for success! - saying that I'm enjoyingy usual base diet foods a good array of food, not boring atall and feeling a little leaner already!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 03, 2016, 10:21:45 PM
Not read any journals since December and just catching up, had a little inner sigh to myself to see you diet trim for leaning is a number I would consider a fast bulk!!  :'( ;D 8)

Strong lifting buddy, squats sound like they are being nailed


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 04, 2016, 10:37:36 AM
great workouts mate, simple and effective. Much like the food, simple and effective. Having a chat today with some lads at the gym about how much over complication is present in the industry both in workouts and in food. This is leading to a lot of people going no where and falling out of love with both fitness and good honest grub


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 04, 2016, 10:52:40 AM
i know tobes, im lucky when it comes to calories, i can put away a fair few! they are going well, my favourite of the 3 lifts and they used to be crap every session, in fact for a couple of YEARS i was stuck n 120-130kg and anything more i folded, one day it just clicked, it will for you too!

i agree Scott, i have been that guy overcomplicating things in the past and loking back now it was ridiculous! i.e. pulling over in my driving TEST to eat my chicken and veggies because it was "time" to eat ... what a plonker!  ;D (i passed)  ;)

today i will have a flexible meal, just because i fancy it! before bed my typical meal is 1 cup greek yoghurt/1 cup granola , tonight it will be 3 sausages, 2 slices of bread, 1 squirt of tommy k (aka sausage butty)  ;) - same macros, same calories, same GAINS!

 


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on February 04, 2016, 12:41:50 PM
Hey Ben, do you still train at the Mill? I'm up there Sat morning.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 04, 2016, 12:57:57 PM
Hey Nic yeah still at the mill, im working saturday morning  :'( sorry mate - i swear were destined never to train together!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on February 04, 2016, 01:04:01 PM
Ah that's a shame! Although I'm up there for a powerlifting-style session with Rich, who's also doing the comp in a few weeks. I'd love to train with you some time though so let's try to make it happen one of these days/years :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 04, 2016, 01:34:48 PM
before bed my typical meal is 1 cup greek yoghurt/1 cup granola , tonight it will be 3 sausages, 2 slices of bread, 1 squirt of tommy k (aka sausage butty)  ;) - same macros, same calories, same GAINS!

 

You will sleep like a Lion after that lot - and wake up with a mouth like Ghandi's Flip-Flop!

I managed to do a bit more reading on the DUP training style yesterday - looking at your design, do you think that allows enough undulation when the exercises vary?
I'm keen to give it a go, my only other concern is how long 6 sets of squats would take as I'm always against the clock  :-\


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 04, 2016, 02:06:03 PM
have a good session Nic, he's having a good week of training, told me yesterday how his lifts are on he up again, he squatted 290k on monday  ;D think his deads are getting up and above the 320k mark, good luck! ;D - heres the plan, ask rich if you can sample his new pre workout ... watch rich hit 7-8 plates a side with ease... deadlift a big PB - job done!

Matt- i most likely will, haha, - im no expert, i know if i change the exercises too, i keep progressing all round, but if i was doing just powerlifting, i would squat/dead/bench more and wouldnt do the variations as much- also if i was training 4-5 days like alot of people on DUP i would do more also, but with the 3 days it works for me- i think it allows me to hit volume a little higher and recover better with variation too, they didnt call it DUP but iv read alot of articles that did this very same concep in the 40's & 50's way before the science was involved- but its come full circle and back in, good to see  :)

how long have you got from start to finish? my sessions take 1hour 10-15mins- with few minutes of cycling - 3 warmup sets for 6X3. 2 warmups for 5X5 and 1 warmup for 4X8- also i take around 3 min rest for 6X3 2 mins for 5X5 and 90s or so for 4X8

you could always lower the volume slightly- or reduce rest times?




Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 04, 2016, 02:11:56 PM
Max-OT. In and out in 50 mins inc warm up. Done. Hench.  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on February 04, 2016, 02:23:49 PM
have a good session Nic, he's having a good week of training, told me yesterday how his lifts are on he up again, he squatted 290k on monday  ;D think his deads are getting up and above the 320k mark, good luck! ;D - heres the plan, ask rich if you can sample his new pre workout ... watch rich hit 7-8 plates a side with ease... deadlift a big PB - job done!

Haha, will do! I've deadlifted with him (recently - PL style) but not squatted. Needless to say there will be a lot unloading and reloading of the bar, but he invited me up so I have accepted with thanks!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 05, 2016, 10:57:39 AM
have a good session Nic, he's having a good week of training, told me yesterday how his lifts are on he up again, he squatted 290k on monday  ;D think his deads are getting up and above the 320k mark, good luck! ;D - heres the plan, ask rich if you can sample his new pre workout ... watch rich hit 7-8 plates a side with ease... deadlift a big PB - job done!

Matt- i most likely will, haha, - im no expert, i know if i change the exercises too, i keep progressing all round, but if i was doing just powerlifting, i would squat/dead/bench more and wouldnt do the variations as much- also if i was training 4-5 days like alot of people on DUP i would do more also, but with the 3 days it works for me- i think it allows me to hit volume a little higher and recover better with variation too, they didnt call it DUP but iv read alot of articles that did this very same concep in the 40's & 50's way before the science was involved- but its come full circle and back in, good to see  :)

how long have you got from start to finish? my sessions take 1hour 10-15mins- with few minutes of cycling - 3 warmup sets for 6X3. 2 warmups for 5X5 and 1 warmup for 4X8- also i take around 3 min rest for 6X3 2 mins for 5X5 and 90s or so for 4X8

you could always lower the volume slightly- or reduce rest times?




I think you are probably right mate.  No reason you cant make it suit you opposed to following it to the letter.  I'm not fussed about PL anyway!
I've got about the same time as you - about 70 minutes including warming up etc


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 05, 2016, 11:08:11 AM
Plenty of time mate, and there is no letter to follow I just picked rep ranges but for DUP to work really it's so flexible here's an example if you wanna still work 3 days and do slightly lower volume here is with the powerlifts multiple times but like me don't see why you couldn't vary the exercises

Mon-
5x5 squat
4x8 deadlift
3x12 bench

Wed-
5x5 deadlift
4x8 bench
3x12 squat

Fri-
5x5 bench press
4x8 squat
3x12 deadlift

Then 2 or so accessory exercises after


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 05, 2016, 08:08:47 PM
Today i had a good session , felt strong!

5min bike warmup

6x3 bench press 120k 3,3,3,3,3,3
5x5 front squat 110kg 5,5,5,5,5
4x8 pull-ups +7.5k 8,8,8,7

3x10 lying leg curl 50kg 10,10,10
3x10 seated calf raise 75kg 10,10,10

1 hour 12mins , spot on with all the warming up

Bench press felt stupidly light had 5-6 reps on the last set, very happy with these and should build a lot before plateauing
Front squats were very light too, but ironically pulled my lower back on set #4 , had around 10 reps in me and pulled my back doing 5 reps! All felt solid too! Nearly didn't dote 5th set but I did just went real slow and felt fine, just hurt after
Pull-ups felt heavy - will weigh in tomorrow and see where I'm at
And the accessory stuff was spot on fast paced and did the job nicely

Back is still hurting but hey ho HIIT tomorrow and recovery session Sunday should be good for squats on Monday!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 06, 2016, 04:51:57 PM
Weigh in thismorning at 81.9kg, which surprised me , looking a little leaner and fuller than a couple of weeks ago, but I'll take that after a great week of of training and eating, not gonna change any food I'll keep at this amount for another week or 2

My back really seized up last night, hard to even get out of bed , worried me a little but after a few hours of work really eased up and even managed 10mins foam rolling today and feeling 50% better, even managed to smash my previous HIIT session with no pain so can't be to serious

20mins bike - HIIT - 90s recovery L10 / 30s sprint L20 X10 -235kcals

Tomorrow will be a good 45mins recovery session before stepping it up for week 2 of this awesome programme


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 08, 2016, 10:27:01 PM
First session of the week went very well, Saturday morning I was expecting to do leg extensions today and spend weeks if not months building my squats back, but after a couple of days recovering stretching and being busy at work, my back is only tight in the mornings, I went in today and smashed last weeks squats with ease! With no pain! And plenty left in the tank!

5min bike warmup- was raring to go!

6x3 squats - 165kg 3,3,3,3,3,3 - easier than last weeks 162.5k!
5x5 pendlay rows 100kg 5,5,5,5,5- very strict - spot on!
4x8 incline bench 80k- 8,8,8,8 - last set was failure

3x10 ez curls 42.5kg 10,10,10 - last set grinder
3x10 standing calf raises 135kg 10,10,10 - I recon the bike intervals are helping my calf raises, need them too!

1 hour 15mins - spot on!

Bring on the HIIT tomorrow!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 09, 2016, 09:57:11 AM
good news that the back is feeling better, nice work in the whole workout


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 09, 2016, 01:46:04 PM
Loving the look of that most recent session mate, no messing and nice and compact. Load it up, do the sets, put it back, move on.

How many weeks out are you and what is expected show weight?  (I do not know I read this a few pages ago but clearly forgotten!)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 09, 2016, 06:11:41 PM
Yeah I was very surprised it healed so quick , but looking back I do heal quick , my last back injury didn't last longer than a week or 2, I'm lucky I suppose, but am relieved

Thanks tobes I'm around 30 weeks out at present, sitting at around 81.5-82kg , last show weight was 74kg I recon in the 18 month offseason Iv added around 1kg of muscle at a guess , I wanna do the qualifier at 74kg again bigger and leaner, and the finals at a shredded 73kg, that's the aim but obviously will assess as I go, I'm gonna be giving atleast a stone away in the u80kg class so need to be shredded to stand a chance

I'm wanting to loose 2-3kg in the next 2-3 months to start my 20-24 week contest prep at a lean, strong and healthy 79-80kg

Today was HIIT day and felt strong going into the session, I really enjoy the challenge of HIIT , as hard as it is, love the pain in a sadistic kinda way!

Did the stationary bike L10 90s (recovery) L20 30s (sprint) X10 for a total of 20mins- best session yet 243kcals very tough session

Gonna swap Thursdays recovery session for Saturdays HIIT this week to free up the weekend with Becky and Isla I will have done 14 early shifts on the trot and they deserve some family time, will be shot by Friday night as 5 hard sessions in a row with all the work, but a chilled weekend with 2 recovery sessions will gear me up for next week


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 10, 2016, 07:23:39 PM
Today's training goal was to improve on every exercise

10min walk warmup (to the gym)

6x3 deadlift 172.5k 3,3,3,3,3,3 - felt strong and had 3 or so left in the tank on set 6
5x5 standing press 72.5k - 5,5,5,5,5 - last set very hard
4x8 hack squat 125kg 8,8,8,8 - hard work but more in the tank

3x10 dips +32.5k 10,10,10 first set wry easy last set very hard with 1min rest
3x10 decline sit-up 45kg 10,10,10 - cable was in use , again last set very tough

1hr 15mins

Everything was heavier than last week, deads feeling more powerful, getting there!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 11, 2016, 10:03:11 AM
great work mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2016, 11:27:36 AM
thanks mate, slowly getting there  :)

today was HIIT day, decided to step up the intensity a notch, and found it really tough, feel great after though - but glad i havnt got another HIIT till tuesday, should be ready to go again by then  :)

20min HIIT-
Stationary bike L11 90s (recovery) // L22 30s (sprint) X10 -252kcals burnt - legs still blown up

really find it helpful to blast some music when doing HIIT, disturbed is usally my weapon of choice!
last weights session of the week tomorrow, looking forward to pushing everything up on last week  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 11, 2016, 11:30:42 AM
I hate HIIT with more passion than I could ever describe, it is brutal but one of those things that you dread, consider skipping but always do it then doing it passes quite quickly and after you feel great to have it out the way and think, "It was not THAT bad". Repeat.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 11, 2016, 11:51:01 AM
HIIT is horrible. I find I can get the best bang for my buck on the x trainer. I tried the bike and my quads pump up so much I can't go fast and the stepper is ok but i'm holding on for grim death.

Music is essential, old Ministry of sound albums do it for me and the feeling that if I don't do hiit then it's steady state and thats boring as hell


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2016, 12:25:21 PM
yeah i used to hate it years ago when i was doing 5 MAX-OT cardio sessions weekly, i actually really enjoy hitting my 20min HIIT sessions, there brutal, that feeling of reaching close to your suposed maximum heart rate is painful, but rewarding

yeah the xtrainer burns more kcals in the same time, but find it harder to recover from, the bike however has that nice balance between intensity and recovery, twice per week does the job for me

and yeah haha ***k doing steady state!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 11, 2016, 01:32:57 PM
How quickly can you change the levels on your bike? That's the main problem doing HITT on certain bits of kit, by the time you get it to the right level you have used half your time up! (not always a bad thing come to think of it haha)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 11, 2016, 01:59:45 PM
Ah well I am on five MAX-OT cardios per week currently and much prefer it to HIIT to be honest. I go in hard but I can maintain that better than the balls to the walls HIIT sprints. You youngsters are all short bursts and done, I often hear girls saying that  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 11, 2016, 02:09:53 PM
the one i use takes 3-4 seconds to change you just hold down the resistance and it kicks in, i see people doing hiit on a high incline on the treadmill, that takes forever to kick into speed, but i put the resistance up for the last 5s or so leading upto the sprint then its head down and as fast as possible

haha definitly a sprint not a marathon  ;D  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on February 11, 2016, 02:28:56 PM
Matt you've got your bike on a turbo, right? Just click up through the gears, very quick.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 11, 2016, 03:29:19 PM
Ah well I am on five MAX-OT cardios per week currently and much prefer it to HIIT to be honest. I go in hard but I can maintain that better than the balls to the walls HIIT sprints. You youngsters are all short bursts and done, I often hear girls saying that  ;D

How do you do the max ot cardio? I thought it was intervals?

I did wonder what you and Jan were talking about!!! Alas it's true  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 12, 2016, 09:56:11 AM
Max-OT there is no rest, you can use the interval setting, but its literally 100% from the first second to the last, its miserable  ;D great feeling hitting new PB's though!  :)

HIIT on the turbo trainer sounds like a good idea, also trying to think of ways to do it if at home, needs to be farely low skill so you can really beast the intensity- kettlebell complexes sound good, but between my full body workouts would probably write me off


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 12, 2016, 10:02:42 AM
god that sounds awfull. Hiits bad enough, my lungs were burning on Thursday


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 12, 2016, 10:21:28 AM
Yeah as Ben said on the max-ot cardio.

Example on bike RPM's/speed and settings for pure steady state, MAX-OT and HIIT.

For all I go on the same resistance setting.

On HIT my steady segments would be 33kph and sprints I try to get to 58kph and stay over 55.

MAX-OT I will hit 43-44kph and hold it all the way. Out of breath within a minute then power through

Steady state is about 37kph for half an hour.
 
So you can see, MAX-OT is not a full sprint but it sits at a good pace compared, about 78% sprint.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 12, 2016, 10:51:02 AM
Matt you've got your bike on a turbo, right? Just click up through the gears, very quick.


Yep, that's what I do - just drop it down to the small chain ring.  Whenever I've done it electronically the machines seem to take too long


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on February 12, 2016, 10:53:15 AM
Yeah as Ben said on the max-ot cardio.

Example on bike RPM's/speed and settings for pure steady state, MAX-OT and HIIT.

For all I go on the same resistance setting.

On HIT my steady segments would be 33kph and sprints I try to get to 58kph and stay over 55.

MAX-OT I will hit 43-44kph and hold it all the way. Out of breath within a minute then power through

Steady state is about 37kph for half an hour.
 
So you can see, MAX-OT is not a full sprint but it sits at a good pace compared, about 78% sprint.

So how long does the MAX-OT take? Sounds tough to maintain


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 12, 2016, 11:08:31 AM
16-20 mins and it is hard but for whatever reason, I can hit a hard pace and maintain it even though it is very taxing.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 12, 2016, 11:14:14 AM
the best way to get into it, is do a session at a fairlu high intensity for 16mins, nothing too crazy, record the distance or kcals and beat next time, within 1-2 months youll be killin each session, works very well to maintain muscle and keep the fire burning as does HIIT


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on February 12, 2016, 01:53:11 PM
MAX-OT Cardio and I are very old friends.

8 minutes in, eyes closed, sweat dripping down face and mental calculations running wild. Can I beat my previous, will the next hill climb gain back the missing 2 kcal's. Then you pull up your shirt from your stomach to wipe your face (and secretly hope someone sees your abs and oblique's are ripped to sh!t)  ;D

Personally I prefer a cross trainer as the quad fatigue holds me back on the recumbent or regular bike.

MAX-OT weights in the morning followed by MAX-OT Cardio in the evening, the crazy things we do to get in contest shape. Admittedly it was the only time that I truly got lean.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 12, 2016, 02:52:32 PM
hahaha I know that one only too well. You become a math wizard on MAX-OT cardio. Working out distances and calories per minute, then per 20 second chunk, the recalculating to catch up or to see how far ahead you are at each interval.

Ahhh, my world


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 12, 2016, 02:54:22 PM
haha fond memories of that game, the more blood pools in the legs the harder the maths gets!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on February 12, 2016, 03:15:59 PM
I've tried it before and I found it to horrible to continue with, although HIIT is horrific I find it mentally doable.

I'm also not a fan of the bike for any kind of intense cardio as my quads just pump to stupid levels.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on February 12, 2016, 05:09:03 PM
This journal conversation fired me up for cardio. This week I have been hitting 11.62km covered in my 16 minutes on Monday and inching it up slowly to be at 11.73km yesterday. Today I nailed 12.24km !! Neigh on 5% faster and more intense all the way as i was hitting consistent pace.

Anyway, we seem to have diverted away from your training Ben!!!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on February 12, 2016, 10:05:31 PM
16-20 mins and it is hard but for whatever reason, I can hit a hard pace and maintain it even though it is very taxing.

Bit like a CP20 test on a bike then (critical power test for cyclists, to assess functional threshold power).


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on February 13, 2016, 10:52:56 AM
That's great progress. Tobes always a great feeling when hitting new heights , haha my training is abit tedious after a couple of weeks of logging it's the same old lol, basic, heavy, hard , progressive


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2016, 05:37:58 AM
Wow! What an amazing day! One I shall never forget!

A huge thank you, to everyone on here who has contributed, inspired and motivated me, on this forum 11 years ago I discovered natural bodybuilding and what can be attained with hard work, patients and determination, but most of all I discovered a family and community which supports each other during times of need and times of achievement! A family with a deep respect and understanding for what we love to do!  Long live that family!

So yesterday to my utter amazement I was crowned the UKDFBA heart of England middleweight and overall champion - (& won best presentation too!)

Huge thank you to everyone who made that day so special, a fantasicly run show and great to see the friendly and familiar faces of Scott (awesome job backstage as always mate) & Jan, you guys rock! Rich walker, Alan Mack, damo, Jon, mark and all the judges who it's great and humbling to talk to as looking up to Jon Harris and mark oakes as idols from day 1 , studying there training,nutrition and trying to emulate them is how this all began! - mr argall who btw is looking lean and strong as hell watch out for him next year! Tony Barnes always a great laugh, James Thomas a great guy who made a killer comeback this year, Pete Bullard huge improvements and should be proud! Will rooke forever huge respect for you big guy, Keith and monbeef great to finally meet you both , both looking awesome and always improving - and many more who it was great to share the day with!

A huge thank you to the amazing lee and Amy who without there dedication and hard work (and oh my do they graft!) we wouldn't have this amazing association- a couple I now consider family and who I have the upmost respect for, 2 of the most genuine, selfless people you will ever meet, and deserve nothing but happiness together, thank you for all you do!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Glen Danbury on September 19, 2016, 05:41:09 AM
Congratulations. Well done


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2016, 06:08:07 AM
So after my name being called overall winner, and sharing the stage with everyone who mean the world to me it was time to head home and celebrate what had just happened

So last night we arrived home just a short 20min drive from the assembly, tan off,  Isla still wide awake! we all sat together and tucked into a Chinese that Becky's mum had kindly brought round, followed by the usual stuff us guys crave after a long prep, a mega refeed than I can only guess hit 4-5000kcals - job done!

Lying in bed at midnight with a belly full of food, reflecting on what I consider my biggest personal achievement and pinnacle of my natural bodybuilding journey I knew I would sleep well tonight!......



4:30am I woke , wide awake, still reflecting over an amazing day before, still with the biggest Cheshire Cat grin across my face but hungrier than ever to start the next chapter on my natural bodybuilding journey

4 weeks- butterworth hall - tighter, fuller, stronger! LETS DO IT!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Badger on September 19, 2016, 07:04:45 AM
Is there anything better than having your name called at the end having done what you set out AND a belly full of food  ;D

Fantastic work Ben, tip of the hat to you mate :) looking forward to seeing you at the finals


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperplexSteve on September 19, 2016, 08:59:51 AM
Well done Ben, you looked fantastic up there.  Right from the start, you immediately stood out.  It's always nice to set out on a path and achieve your goal.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: thebull on September 19, 2016, 09:05:18 AM
Ben you looked insane, think we've got a few pics of you from the day so will send em on when I upload them. Great job though pal you've always had bags of potential and yesterday just improved you are now top class!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on September 19, 2016, 09:09:43 AM
Legend. Saw some pics from rich of you and u looked insane mate!!! Well done! Can't wait to c u at the British !! Love it when hard work pays off!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on September 19, 2016, 09:24:19 AM
Once I saw the pic Rich posted, I knew it was lights out for the rest of the field. I think WhatsApp was literally ablaze with that picture being shared on the community along with words like "JESUS F***ING CHRIST", I know I sent it to several people lol!

Huge huge congratulations buddy. Could not be more impressed. I am so gutted I missed it but it was my sons first ever competitive game of football and I could not miss that. And you beat Sam Watt who is a big unit, which goes to show that bigger is not better, better is better.

Push on now, nail it, pro card could be there as you are clearly the best overall winner of the year, now to see who else turns up as previous champions and automatic qualifiers. Good luck. See you there


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2016, 12:22:31 PM
Thanks glen I'm ecstatic with how it went

Your right davey no better feeling  ;D see you there mate be great to meet you in person

Thanks Steve next time come and say hi be great to have a natter, your right mate and your well on your path!

That would be awesome pete, and thankyou! Seems an age ago watching you with the junior British! How you've come on since then! Great job buddy!

Thanks Rossi, yeah that pic did shock me too haha those mill lights! Will have a good natter in coventry mate , you keep smashing it and making the improvements you have mate and you'll be unstoppable! The next rich G!

Toby that means a hell of a lot thankyou! I did ask Matt where you were and he filled me in, mate you did the right thing and putting your family first is a priority, but will see you at the finals and have a good catch up there, you more than anyone I wanna see back on that stage, I think sometimes I want it more than you haha

Edging sam is well just unbelievable I think I'm still in shock really as I said backstage what a privilege it would be to share the stage with him one day, then I won my class and got to do just that! He's a great guy and although I was a blubbering mess I got to have a few words with him after, humble as anything and a real gent

...

Right today as I said buzzing wide awake really early could not sleep atall, 4-5 hours is all I could muster just too excited! - couldn't wait to get back to it this morning just a few hours after stepping offstage, here's how it went

5:30am- breakfast- 5 eggs- 1/2 cup oats- 1 cup berries- 1tbsp honey- 1tsp cinnamon- 5g creatine- multivit- coffee

8:00am- pre - coffee

8:45-10:10 - training!

Warmup- agile 8 + 10 box jumps
5/3/1- squat - 60k 5, 80k 5, 100k 5, 110k 5, 125k 5, 140k -10 reps - 2-3m between sets, legs were full of glycogen haha but sore! From the posing - Happy with 10 reps on the 5+ set though and a few left in the tank too, belt was 2 notches tighter than last week haha expect it to be back by next Monday though!

5x10 incline DB press x2 35k 10,10,10,10,10 - 1-2m rest - sore from yesterday chest triceps and shoulders! I expect these to be easier next week though, last set was hard!
5x10 1 arm DB row 47.5kg 10,10,10,10,10 - again, back was sore and tight but felt strong and hit the back well! Good squeeze and control 1-2 min rest
3x12 donkey calf raise - stack- 12,12,12 1 min rest last set killer, cramping between sets but stretches and got through them
3x12 thick bar curls - 40k 12,12,12 - 1 min rest last set was loose arms just knackered ,again should be abit fresher next week!

Conditioning- X10 Xtrainer sprints- L10 90s recovery//L20 30s sprint- 368kcals - a lot of the refeed coming out during this haha!
1 hour 23mins from start of the warmup to end of the conditioning!

Really bloated and achy but got through and a good session to kick start this new chapter!

11am- post workout- 2 scoops whey- 3 pieces fruit- 5g creatine 

3ish- lunch will be - chicken breast-XL salad-small avocado-

8ish - dinner- will be - 2 small salmon fillets-XL serving vegetables-1tbsp olive oil-multivit

Then that's day 1 in the bag  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on September 19, 2016, 12:36:09 PM
A very well done for yesterday, mate! I missed you at the end to say in person, but I can appreciate you had a lot going on! clear winner in the middles, and a great battle with Sam at the end.
You're keen hitting the gym that soon!  A belly full of food always helps I suppose  :D  What are your current macro's this time around?

Next time can you let me know in advance - beard / no beard - very confusing!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Monbeef on September 19, 2016, 01:31:04 PM
Well done Ben an amazing showing mate and inspiring not only as to the best condition I've ever seen in person but in showing that the enormous beasts can be beaten by true quality and hard work. As someone who will always be heavyweight it was daunting yesterday looking at Sam and big Clifton etc posing and thinking how will I ever match that? But you showed that application and perfection can overcome huge for the sake of huge.

Well done bud, great to finally meet in the flesh!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2016, 03:30:35 PM
Thanks Matt haha you never know with the beard I couldn't compete with one but maybe as a helper/spectator  ;D yeah thought id put the food to good use haha but enjoy my training feel a void without it! Offseason I'm usually 3000kcals protein around 160-190g fats around 100g and carbs make up the rest, and sit between 79-80kg on that if I stick to it haha, so when dieting I keep protein in that range fats naturally come down abit but never lower than 80-90g , and carbs get as low as they need to , last few weeks around 150g per day so around 2100kcals ish, and weighted in at 74.5kg after a couple of meals now I'm on around 2300kcals (carbs around 190-200g) and see how my body reacts after the refeed and training intensity increased etc , really I think if I come in at 73kg I'll be as good as I can be with the muscle I have

Thanks James a true gent and great to meet you finally! Your a monster of a man with a great structure and loved the routine too! Be great to see you up there again!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Jon on September 19, 2016, 06:10:44 PM
Amazing performance Ben, you looked much improved and better than ever with fine posing to boot. Congrats on the well-deserved victories! Very much looking forward to seeing what you deliver in 4 weeks time...  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperSi on September 19, 2016, 06:12:21 PM
Massive congrats on the overall win, Ben! You'll clearly be a leading contender at the finals.  :)

weighted in at 74.5kg after a couple of meals now I'm on around 2300kcals (carbs around 190-200g) and see how my body reacts after the refeed and training intensity increased etc , really I think if I come in at 73kg I'll be as good as I can be with the muscle I have

Just an observation, and I will caveat massively with a) I was at the show but unfortunately had to leave before your class, and b) there's always room for improvement.

Given you won the overall and beat a field who most people are describing as British level (including Sam Watt who is huge!), you must have been pretty damn peeled. Do you think you need to lose another 1.5kg or 2% of your bodyweight? Feel free to tell me to pi*s off (you clearly know what you're doing!), but it sounds like you could risk eating into muscle when you're already incredibly lean?



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2016, 08:44:07 PM
Thankyou jon , much appreciated and thankyou for your feedback and insight , means a lot coming from the champ himself!

Hi Si, I know what your saying and it's a balancing act I feel I have a fair bit to tighten up to look how I want to, but don't wanna sacrifice fullness, I'll play it fairly slowly and not do anything different, if I start to look stringy I'll start adding back in again, but you may be right 73kg is just a number and may not be the right move, if my strength starts to plummet or I feel like death I know Iv taken things too far but luckily have a great guy keeping an eye on me who won't allow me to get to that point without giving me the right advices


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 19, 2016, 08:46:24 PM
A pic from my mates phone , can't  wait to see the official pics

[attachment expired]


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Damo NY on September 19, 2016, 09:38:26 PM
Well done Ben. Outstanding improvements made since your last competitive outing!

Very impressive thickness and conditioning. All the best for the finals  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Turpin on September 19, 2016, 10:06:53 PM
Super physique , massive congrats mate  ;)

T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: felix on September 20, 2016, 12:02:03 AM
Well done Ben excellent result massive achievement, looing fantastic in the photo.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2016, 05:48:26 AM
Thanks damo, one day I wish to emulate yourself and earn that wnbf pro card! One day!

Thanks T, and thankyou for introducing me to wendler! A massive influence on my training and nutrition , really helped keep things simple and balanced during prep, all whilst training the way I enjoy and making progress! , hopefully one day we will see you up there doing the bizz , would be quality

Thanks felix, was an amazing day and one I'll never forget!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on September 20, 2016, 08:58:42 AM
Ben, whilst that is a good picture, you were far far better than that in real life. I called it that you'd take the overall and to be beat someone like Sam should give others some idea of just how good you were.
I think that you we're particularly strong from the back, your glutes and lower back were very strong and your lower lats were shredded, I really hope that the official pictures capture the detail.
You deserve your success mate. Massive congratulations!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperSi on September 20, 2016, 09:19:06 AM
Hi Si, I know what your saying and it's a balancing act I feel I have a fair bit to tighten up to look how I want to, but don't wanna sacrifice fullness, I'll play it fairly slowly and not do anything different, if I start to look stringy I'll start adding back in again, but you may be right 73kg is just a number and may not be the right move, if my strength starts to plummet or I feel like death I know Iv taken things too far but luckily have a great guy keeping an eye on me who won't allow me to get to that point without giving me the right advices

Fair play, mate, you clearly know what you're doing. All the best for the next 4 weeks prep.  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 20, 2016, 09:37:05 AM
Ben a great privilege to be able to share the moment with you on Sunday. Just to echo what I said. You looked outstanding. Your really proved that quality can always outshine just quantity. You looked great and really took your condition to that next level.

I know your prep guy will get you in the right direction. You can but listen to his advice and execute the plan as you know it's golden.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2016, 12:21:36 PM
Thanks Keith, I was a mess when my name was announced haha! Then Isla started being all cute and a daddy's girl, set me off lol! - i can't wait to see the official pics now!

Scott was a pleasure to share the moment with you, you kept me in check on Sunday I started to worry abit at times, your right, he is a true friend and gives nothing but top advice


So today is a recovery day, feeling next to no bloat now after Sunday and confident I'll be grafting again energy wise in the next day or 2

A typical recovery days food and today's is ...

4L water minimum as usual
Drink 0kcal drinks only as usual - (black coffee , green/herbal/fruit teas etc)

Breakfast- lunch- dinner same as training day
Then before bed natural yoghurt-fruit and peanut butter , works out the same kcals
As a training day

I make sure I have a balanced meal 3-5 times daily (usually 4) - with pro-carbs-fat-fruit or veg , eat more or less to gain or lose bodyfat, vary the foods , eat what you enjoy day in an day out , very simple

I make sure I stay active on recovery days getting out in the fresh air for a walk at some point weather it's taking Isla out on her trike haha or down the park, through the uni or whenever just aids recovery keeps me active and nice after a long day at work

Wendler has had a big impact on my approach love his no BS attitude and keeping things simple too, very easy to keep things rolling, no major extremes just hard work and basics on an intellegant plan

I also do the agile 8 everyday without fail, on off days too , again aids recovery and mobility really well
The same with posing practice, during prep everyday even if it's a round of compulsories and the routine




Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on September 20, 2016, 12:40:25 PM
Fascinatingly simple approach. Do you incorporate any refeeds / cheats or just slow and steady all the way? What was the peak bodyweight and how did it pan our re: reducing/cutting? Did you just hit prep from the peak and dial it in or slowly bring it down a touch first? Oh and how much cardio?

Win an overall and you have to face a full Q&A as we all want the secret pill haha


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2016, 05:32:28 PM
Haha fire away mate, it is a very simple process I don't like making things harder or more complicated just because , saying that the science does point towards what I like to do, fewer bigger meals than the typical 6-7 , full body or higher frequency training, progressive overload on basic compounds, hiit over steady state etc, I've done the whole bro thing before and it's wasted energy in my mind and much prefer a more "boring" old school approach

I prefer a longer gentler prep 20-24 weeks , and aim not to get heavier than a stone over in the offseason

No cheats or refeeds during prep, I'd prefer more kcals daily and just enjoy it more, For example   2500kcals 7 days per week instead of 2250 6 days plus 1 day of 4000kcals , but in the last 5 months I have had a few cheats and I did beat myself up for them, so I know for next time to drop cal seven slower

The peak body weight was around 83kg but that was too heavy for my liking , that was with extra cheats, alcohol and generally not eating how I normally would , this offseason will see me stay in the 79-80k range as my contest weight is 73-74kg

Yeah just cut out the Saturday night cheat in exchange for a clean meal (still sat down with the mrs or friends/family as we do every week) and that's now a fillet steak, and mountain if veg with olive oil , still look forward to it but it's just a high quality tastier version if what I usually have, but offseason it's whatever, usually a nice meal out somewhere

Reducing kcal basically when weight loss slows , trim away at carb sources which I had with every meal to what it us now

Cardio as always 3 days after weights 20min HIIT

You can sum the whole thing up- again wendler is a huge influence

Weights - X3 per week - heavy basic compound , progressive, some assistance work for weak points
Conditioning - X3 per week - usually 20min HIIT done anyway just hit it hard
Food- eat a healthy balanced meal X3-5 daily - pro-carb-fat-fruit or veg - eat more carbs to gain, less to lose
Supplements - basics- multivitamin- whey protein - creatine
Recovery - aim for 7hrs sleep per night, agile 8 daily , active recovery 30-60mins on off days
Contest prep- stay lean in offseason- give 5-6 months - lose weight slowly - posing practice daily

Day in day out and your covered


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on September 20, 2016, 06:25:51 PM
Simplicity to the max and logical all the way. It is mainly as I had assumed from little bits I had heard and read on other statuses, my own included. I like the look of the diet and it is not hugely dissimilar to what I have been going with lately although mine has been hitting the numbers and timed for ease of life.

You do keep it quite tight and 79-80kg would be a great look considering you were shredded at 75kg, your 79kg could look like some we see on stage performing quite decently!

Lots to soak in and think about for me personally as I have always found your journal, attitude and style being one I can closely relate to (along with Keiths too), except I have drifted up to 10kg over with some recent holidays and mini breaks  :'(  8)

I did not know though that you were being influenced by Wendler. Be fascinated to see more of how that pans out.

And thanks mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 20, 2016, 06:33:46 PM
it works very well for me and means I can keep making progress no matter how busy life gets

Funny you say that as even now at work today, my manager asked what I got upto at the weekend and I said I competed in a bodybuilding show hense the tan still in places , he laughed and thought I was joking hehe at 79kg I feel I look more of a bodybuilder as I can't even fill a medium shirt out at the moment lol!

I follow those principles 99% of the time but I too will relax more on holidays, straight after a show, Xmas ect too that's life

Yeah wendlers approach speaks volumes to me


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: fhwill on September 21, 2016, 02:16:06 PM
Blimey! You're so thick  :o  :o (In the nicest possible way!)  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 21, 2016, 08:28:15 PM
Haha thanks flick... I think  ;D

Today was another great day still fuelled from the weekends high!

Eating bang on point- feeling hungrier by the day , spot on though - not long to the biggest show in the uk!

Today had another great session
Warmup- agile 8 + 10 box jumps
3x5 squat (light day)70k 5, 90k 5, 105k 5, 112.5k 5, 132.5k 5, 145k 5
(Nice and easy 2m rest between, treated myself to a belt from strength shop , really happy with it!)

5/3/1 bench 60k 5, 70k 5, 80k 5, 90k 5, 100k 5, 110k 8, 2-3mrest happy with that felt very strict too

5x10 pull-ups BW 60-90s rest 10,10,10,10,14

3x12 lying leg curl #9 12,12,12  - 1m rest
3x12 weighted sit-up 8k 12,10 7k 13 (weight behind head,inch harder) 1m rest

Conditioning- X10 xtrainer sprints l10 90s recovery- L20 30s sprint - 382kcals
1 hour 25mins all in

Recovery day tomorrow, agile 8 , long walk after work , posing practice in the evening


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 22, 2016, 09:14:46 AM
nice stuff Ben, keep rocking and it will soon be here.

What multi are you using?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on September 22, 2016, 09:48:37 AM
Great to see the journal up and running again.
Is your training plan Wendler's full body template?
It's something I'm considering myself as I want to target legs more frequently and also aim to increase weight on the bar as I return to a calorie surplus.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 22, 2016, 10:20:16 AM
It will soon come round quick mate, still the bulkpowders AM/PM - great product and one of the few supplements I use and recommend

Hey Keith, I base my training on wendler/starr/ripptoe basically training for strength and let the muscle come with strength gains with a decent volume and good food, I use 5/3/1 a lot but because I like the + sets, but I generally prefer 5x5 (for more volume) I prefer to squat X3 per week using a heavy-light-medium type method , if doing so + sets arnt  recommended as your handling a lot of volume as it is, but yeah I base each workout on a squat- a press - a pull - and some accessory work for weak points (strength wise and aesthetically)

Next week I won't be doing any 5/3/1 , and will do 5x5 80% 1rm squat Monday, 70% Wednesday and 75% Friday - squatting with volume frequently is key in my opinion, wendlers full body template is great when looking for pure strength and size in the offseason a good move!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 22, 2016, 01:30:41 PM
Getting up on that stage will be some occasion mate.

I'm the same the AM/PM covers everything including the same as zma. I just add a joint support supp and some bcaa in my training drink, oherwise the same as you, whey and creatine. Nothing else is really needed.

I still don't know how you get that oatcake down you for breakfast.



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 22, 2016, 02:10:36 PM
yeah great products mate, iv used pre workouts before too, but find a coffee does the same thing and doesn't give me a crash after

haha I don't have them anymore, I go with eggs+oats+berries+honey+cinnamon mixed well with water, leave that overnight and blast it in the morning for a nice hot breakfast, i love it haha , so much more filling than the oatcakes  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on September 22, 2016, 03:44:53 PM
Do you put the eggs in the night before and how long do you cook it all for?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 22, 2016, 05:44:35 PM
Yeah mix it all together let it soak then blast in the microwave for 8 or so mins, maybe one of those things that people think is disgusting but I love it , I don't like eggs but can eat them this way

Today feeling pretty achy, suprised really and got me thinking, will stick with the wendler full body template instead of hitting lighter weights with more volume 5x5, may be a mistake!, it's worked this far so may aswell, it's got enough volume for growth and love the + sets , really intense! When in the offseason it's my personal favourite way to train to pack on size and strength

Here's the template outlined for anyone interested
I warmup using the agile 8 with some box jumps before squatting at the start of every session
And finish with 20min of conditioning usually HIIT on bike or xtrainer but sometimes hill sprints or prowler
I also add 2 accessory exercises after the squat-push and pull for the day to address weak points but could skip over them or change up completely


Monday-
5/3/1 squat
5x10 incline DB press
5x10 1 arm DB row

Wednesday-
3x5 squat (deload - 65%-75%-85% - no PR)
5/3/1 bench press
5x10 chins

Friday-
3x5 squat (same as Wednesday)
5/3/1 press
5/3/1 deadlift




Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on September 22, 2016, 09:56:24 PM
Absolutely love that layout. I just spent the last 3 days reading up and had decided to give the Full body Wendler a try and now knowing it's exactly what you've used to incredible success makes me even more confident.
Back to brutal basics is where its at!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperplexSteve on September 22, 2016, 11:35:39 PM
I enjoyed the 5/3/1 programme back in 2012 when my focus was purely about building strength.  I hit some PRs with it.  I would definitely consider trying it again once off-season arrives.  I love the simplicity of it but the limiting factor is when the gym is packed, I found it difficult to find small enough weight plates required to increase the total load by an appropriate increment.  My gym needs more 1.25kgs and 2.5kgs.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 23, 2016, 05:42:22 AM
It works great as you have the progression built into it , most programmes don't , its all about hitting PR's , I prefer full body as I train 3 times per week, if someone wanted X4 per week his upper/lower programme is great too, but for me this one + accessory+ conditioning has it all, I know if I can add 20k to m squat and deadlift, 10k to my press and 15k to my bench between competing I'll look feel and be bigger and stronger!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on September 23, 2016, 10:15:50 AM
3 sessions per week is the sweet spot in my eyes and as I'm returning to my home gym no buggers will be able to curl in my rack or take my .5kg discs  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 23, 2016, 10:50:33 AM
I agree 100% 3 times a week is perfect for me. I do the odd four day if I go to gym while Jans at her class but I never go to mad on that fourth workout.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on September 23, 2016, 08:15:19 PM
Hey Ben - some stage footage of you in this video someone's put on youtube - from about 3:30 in...

https://youtu.be/megGL1EP8E4


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on September 23, 2016, 08:35:30 PM
And this one too https://youtu.be/eTPMck7yaU4


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Turpin on September 23, 2016, 10:01:10 PM
After watching the videos that's One of the most complete natural physiques I have seen . Massive well done Ben ;)

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 24, 2016, 07:49:43 AM
Thanks nic! Those videos really capture some grey footage, the guy who's blog it is was a true gent and I was sure he would win the class, I am shocked in how lean my back and glutes look in the right light though! Can't wait to see the pics

Thanks T! A huge complement coming from you, I can't wait to get up there again! Still think you would shock yourself too  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 24, 2016, 08:13:45 AM
Yesterday concluded a fantastic week of training, really enjoyed it, but feel inclined to hit more volume and truly give everything upto the biggest show of my life in just 3 weeks

Sayin that , I'm now grafting energy wise and right on track at 73.9kg  thismorning , matching lightest weight before the heart of England ,my body obviously used that 7000kcal day lat Sunday!

Yesterday's session
Warmup - agile 8+box jumps
3x5 squat (deload) 70k 5, 90k 5, 100k 5, 110k, 130k 5, 150k 5 (easy)
On the last Prung of my belt with a medium belt!
5/3/1 press- 30k 5, 40k 5, 45k 5, 50k 5, 60k 5, 70k - 7 reps - these feeling heavy recently
5/3/1 deadlift 80k 5, 100k 5, 120k 5, 130k 5, 150k 5, 170k - 8 reps - happy they were solid

3x12 dips + 30k 12,12,11
3x12 face pulls 30k 12,12,12

X10 bike sprints l10 90s recovery//L16 30s sprint

Will work on recovering hard over the weekend, walking, foam rolling, mobility/stretching

and may well hit some more volume and intensity next week with 5x5 on the big lifts, fancy 5x5 heavy squats on Monday, also craving some high reps , training never strays from heavy basics so won't change too much regardless


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: tony_b on September 24, 2016, 04:22:42 PM
Well well well Mr Howard - was I impressed with you last weekend!!! Looked absolutely mint, hats off to you :D

All the best for the finals, you'll be a tough one to beat, from the looks of it, you're pushing hard, top stuff


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 24, 2016, 07:34:46 PM
Thankyou so much mate means a lot, you we're increadibly lean and carrying good muscle , especially considering your injury mate! I was pretty nervous sorry I was abit shy on words lining up, be great to see you at the finals



Today was a rest day, food on point, went for a long walk with the family, practiced posing and did some foam rolling-stretching-mobility work for half an hour , same again tomorrow then gonna enjoy a great week of training!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperSi on September 24, 2016, 08:02:56 PM
Wow, just watched the video: you look superb, Ben! Everything's there and your condition was awesome. The lad in 2nd looked really good also.

Game on for the finals!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 24, 2016, 08:09:22 PM
Definitly game on mate, gonna be a great show , gonna give it my all! What did you out in them AM/PM vits!?  ;D.  - thank you pal , if your there will be great to meet you in person


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperSi on September 24, 2016, 08:13:54 PM
Definitly game on mate, gonna be a great show , gonna give it my all! What did you out in them AM/PM vits!?  ;D.  - thank you pal , if your there will be great to meet you in person

Ha ha, of the hundreds of products I've formulated over the last decade or so, the AM/PM is the one I'm most pleased with. :)

Definitely, be really good to meet you.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: tony_b on September 25, 2016, 10:57:27 AM
Thankyou so much mate means a lot, you we're increadibly lean and carrying good muscle , especially considering your injury mate! I was pretty nervous sorry I was abit shy on words lining up, be great to see you at the finals

Cheers bud - part of me would like to think I could have had a bit more success this year if I hadn't been such a retard with that knife - but then I look again at the guys who beat me and think maybe not!!! Drawing board time ;)

No worries on shyness mate, everyone has their own way of dealing with pre stage, I'm just a jibber jabberer  :P

Yeah will be less focussed on Charlene & I at finals, so will try to chat to more folk properly


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2016, 11:50:50 AM
Will look forward to a natter with you both at the show,

Just over 2 weeks now!

Weight has come down 0.5kg or so since the HOE , feeling slightly leaner but don't think there's a huge amount left to come off, quite contious of dieting too hard , don't wanna go down that route,

Since the HOE and realising that in reality I'm a fair bit ahead of what I thought on this journey , Iv been following my own instinct more and feeling more confident with the help of lee in my own way of doing things

This will be a huge change and valuable lesson for me taking things to a whole new level for next season, instead of being motivated and inspired by others and copying them, I will be motivated and inspired and apply that to my own style

This has started already evident in my nutrition and training, not following what other people do but doing what I feel works for me best and what I enjoy most

My training as always has been based on 5x5 powerlifting with bodybuilding work and conditioning work, the diet has been as basic and healthy as ever, both very easy to apply and work within my family/work and general lifestyle

I enjoy every meal and feel there's a benefit to all I do, working on recovery on off days, lots of walking, foam rolling, mobility and stretching is keeping me recovering and feeling healthy

Last couple of workouts based on what I call power-bodybuilding , it's how I naturally train when not following someone else's plan and works great for me

Monday- squat day
5min bike warmup
5x5 squats - 70k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5, 130k 5, 150k 5, 145k 5,5,5,5 - strength dropped but 145 feels real good

3x10 leg press 290kg 10,10,10 1m rest
3x10 stiff leg deads 110k 10,10,10 (gonna start using straps for all pulls apart from 5x5 deads)
3x20 calf press Supersetted 3x20 cable crunch
15min HIIT - bike sprints

A little more volume next week

Yesterday's bench day
5min warmup bike
5x5 bench 70k 5, 80k 5, 90k 5, 110k 5,5,5,5,5 - all perfect reps
3x flat db press 42.5k 8,8,8
3x hammer press 80k 11,10,8
3X db flye 20k 15,12,12

3x db curl 20k 12,10,9
3x preacher 12,12,12

3x hammer dip 170k 12,11,10
3x pushdown 40k 12,12,12

15 min HIIT bike sprints

1 hour 25mins - felt a great and productive session and feeling it today! Loving the variety within the base programme!

Nutrition is very similar but again going on what I feels best for me , will outline next time

I generally do after 5x5 powerlifts around 2-3 exercises per body part typical bodybuilder style 3 sets 8-12 60-90s rest, these can change each week but gene really similar and hit all areas, always leave the gym feeling the job has been done no stones unturned!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 29, 2016, 01:29:20 PM
Glad all is going well mate. In all honesty I couldn't see a huge a mount to come off you at the HOE, maybe a tiny bit of the pins but nothing really. Your overall win showed this mate.

With you on doing it your way in both nutrition and lifting. My foods plans not the norm but I like it and it works.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again in a couple of weeks. I hope I get to have a chat to people as I feel it could be a busy day.

Food wise are there any supermarkets or places to eat. We are coming up on the Saturday and i'm slightly worried about no food for the Sunday.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 29, 2016, 08:18:36 PM
Definitely agree mate

Don't worry bud, loads about, there's 3-4 restaurants In the venue itself and a cafe that serves good stuff, there's a university supermarket about 50 yards from the venue and a 24 hour tesco and an aldi about 3min drive - 10-15min walk from the venue , a shopping centre called cannon park within 10mins of the venue if you need anything mate you know where I am , where are you staying?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on September 30, 2016, 01:29:22 PM
Thanks mate that sounds ideal. As long as me and the little lady can pick up some kind of healthy food to eat.

Thanks mate i'm sure it will be fine. We are staying in the village in Coventry Jan booked it around March and got it really cheap.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 30, 2016, 05:11:34 PM
Ah cool rally nice there mate, and 5min walk 2 min drive you have a big sainsburys , frankie and bennys , KFC, McDonalds, dominos, the wing wah (Chinese and Indian buffet but does good stuff too! Highly recommend) and a Costco! The village will go above and beyond for you too, they also do good food , but if you need anything I'm 2mins down the road, welcome anytime , don't hesitate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on September 30, 2016, 06:54:40 PM
If I was Scott I'd be living off the dominos 👍


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Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on September 30, 2016, 07:15:41 PM
You know it makes sense haha! A wicked steak house down the road for you too mate! 10mins away you've got hickery smokehouse! And one called miller and carter 10-15mins away, both book up quick


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 01, 2016, 05:25:00 PM
Thanks for the help Ben. We will get soem foods for the day. I'm looking forward to the days and staying a nice hotel!!

Pizza has always been off my list, not a fan of any kind of cheese. Everything else sounds very good.

Can't wait for it now. Hopefully get to see your routine this time. jan said is was very good and very Gozdeki esque


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 01, 2016, 08:15:23 PM
Haha a huge compliment mate, big rich is an inspiration, always liked me harris style of posing too!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Badger on October 15, 2016, 09:46:52 PM
All the best for tomorrow Ben, your conditioning is something I am very much looking forward to seeing. Enjoy!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 16, 2016, 07:14:44 AM
Thanks dave , didn't get much sleep last night! But hope I don't disappoint!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Turpin on October 16, 2016, 09:31:16 AM
All the best for today Ben .

T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 16, 2016, 10:03:55 AM
Thankyou T  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: thebull on October 17, 2016, 03:37:54 PM
Not bad mate... not bad at all!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 17, 2016, 03:40:31 PM
Thanks mate! Great to have a chat yesterday albeit short, looking great up there mate! Keep on making them strides mate! Huge progress!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SuperSi on October 17, 2016, 04:52:13 PM
Congratulations, mate. Absolutely fantastic!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Badger on October 17, 2016, 05:22:16 PM
Excellent showing Ben, a very balanced and heavily muscled physique in top condition!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Glen Danbury on October 17, 2016, 05:32:13 PM
well done Ben. great result


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Toby on October 17, 2016, 10:21:58 PM
Was always yours mate, from the second you walked out.

Huge congratulations Champ


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Jon on October 17, 2016, 11:35:29 PM
Awesome result Ben. What a year you've had so far - I'm sure the success will continue too!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: felix on October 18, 2016, 12:28:00 AM
Well done Ben excellent result.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 18, 2016, 08:35:55 AM
Thankyou all, still can't really believe what a great year Iv had! I want to do abit of a write up of the last few days and future plans but don't know where to start haha , still all sinking in


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on October 18, 2016, 12:41:39 PM
Awesome result, bud.  Congratulations.  I'm sure there's more to this year when you get to  L.A  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on October 18, 2016, 01:00:37 PM
Congrats mate mega impressive performance at the weekend. Inspirational stuff' well done. X


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Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Rossdog on October 18, 2016, 01:00:38 PM
Congrats mate mega impressive performance at the weekend. Inspirational stuff' well done. X


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Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 18, 2016, 02:06:37 PM
Thankyou both, still can't quite believe how this year has gone!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 18, 2016, 05:30:26 PM
Hi mate I know I said it to at the weekendal but massive well done. You deserve  every success


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 18, 2016, 06:15:30 PM
Thankyou mate, means a lot bud! And thanks for keeping me in check throughout the day, one day I'll just relax on show day and realise the hard work has been done  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: thebull on October 19, 2016, 08:23:03 AM
Your back shots are lights out now mate, always has been good but now world class- do you think regular deads have added that depth to your posterior chain?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 19, 2016, 08:36:09 AM
appreciate that mate, deadlifts definitely have played a massive roll in development, although not my strongest exercise, iv definitely been one to chop and change training methods over the years but back training has been very consistent, basically a decade of heavy deadlifts, rows and chins.

Iv always liked to train deadlifts heavy, usually 5X5 and conventional, rows and chins I generally train more "bodybuilding" style with 3-5 sets of 6-15 reps

either one exercise 3 days per week (mon- row, wed- dead, fri- chin, in a full body fashion has worked well) or all 3 once per week (typical split) - but both work the same really in the end as long as there moving up  :) -

take a look at Rich gozdecki's posterior chain development since he started regular consistent deadlifting I think in 2010-11, his hams and back just exploded after 1 season of powerlifting!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on October 19, 2016, 10:26:05 AM
I'm so pleased for you Ben, it's such a massive achievement which like you mention hasn't come overnight, it's been a long solid consistent process. Seeing you at the HoE was such an eye opener so what the brutal basics can achieve.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 19, 2016, 10:42:01 AM
thanks Keith means a lot, and you are right about the basics, each season I compete the process gets simpler, but the effort put forward is greater. I'm realising, once the basics are in place it just doesn't need much thought at all, just hard work.

That has been my mind-set since the HOE, and really I have just enjoyed the peace of mind of doing what I enjoy, training & nutrition wise.

3 strength + 3 HIIT sessions weekly - hitting a heavy powerlift + bodybuilding work each session
3 healthy balanced meals + 3 snacks daily - with enough protein + fats, & carbs as needed

this is doing the trick currently, very easy to execute


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: thebull on October 19, 2016, 06:00:24 PM
Is this the Ian duckett 3 regime?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on October 19, 2016, 06:52:46 PM
Hi Ben - I'll add my congrats to the pile! Delighted for you :)

One question (and I only ask this kind of thing because you have such a complete physique and it's hard to find fault with it).... what do you see as your weak points, and what do you want to work on most?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 19, 2016, 08:02:35 PM
Not the 3 programme mate just a basic 3 day split and 3 meals + 3 shakes/snacks just to keep things simple

I keep things a lot more flexible these days instead of pinning down to a programme but these things stay constant just really for ease of application

Get nic thankyou very much and unfortunately I only got to see you for a second as needed to sort the nipper out, you looked fantastic and owned that stage a true champion

I kinda see everything as a weak point , my back needs thickness and depth from the side shots my quads especially year drops need hammering, hamstring sweep from the side, calves are poor, chest shoulders and arms need thickening up a fair bit until I'm satisfied

So I really train everything as if it's a weak point and nothing gets a maintenance workout, I feel as I build more tissue I will balance out over time, but if I had to pick a particular weak point probably arms and chest


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Nic on October 19, 2016, 08:16:47 PM
Thanks Ben :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: Turpin on October 19, 2016, 10:14:03 PM
Super achievement Ben , and from the pics Ive seen very well deserved.

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 20, 2016, 05:29:28 AM
Thankyou mate, it's been an increadible year  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 23, 2016, 08:52:38 PM
Looking forward to seeing some more shots from the show mat cant belive it's been a week.

The world's will be an amazing experience. One you very much deserve to be a part of.

I've taken some bits from your mental approach  this year. Keep it simple, keep it  a lifestyle  and get on with it


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 23, 2016, 09:33:00 PM
Hi mate will pop some up when I get them through,

Thankyou mate, I feel honoured to be part of team UK, something Iv been dreaming of for years! And meet thought would be a reality this year! Giving the last 4 weeks of prep my all and enjoying the process

Just to give a rundown of how things are looking leading upto the worlds if anyone's interested...

After the UK show last week, I had Monday off the diet and eat loads, went out to a great American style restaurant with Becky and Isla and eat what I wanted for the day, Tuesday morning back to work, I know it will take another week or so to be matching my best and by 2 weeks out will be new ground for me, so a good step back and run up was the plan and working spot on, with great intensity in the gym and energy

My diet is around 200g protein 180g carbs 90g fat daily and training as always 3 days per week with powerlifting, bodybuilding work, intense cardio and stretching each session

Diet looks like this, healthy, basic and productive , feel great and recovering well, it's getting the job done!

1 gallon water daily
Pre workout- strong coffee
Supps- protein powder-creatine-multivit
Sat night I add a sweet pot to dinner as a clean weekly refeed meal
Low kcal drinks and seasonings as desired


Break- eggs-oats-berries-honey
Snack- protein-apple
Lunch- chicken-avocado-salad
Snack (or Pwo) - protein-banana(s)
Dinner- steak or salmon- vegetables
Before bed- cottage cheese-nuts

If I am on track and hitting new heights of conditioning at 2-3 weeks out on around 2300kcals with my strength still up I know I'll be my best at the worlds! That's the plan!

Mon- squats with legs/abs/HIIT/stretching
Wed- bench with chest/arms/HIIT/stretching
Fri- deadlift with beck/shoulders/HIIT/stretching

I'm staying active on off days walking lots and that's helping recovery

I weighed 74.5kg at the HOE , 73.9kg at the UK finals and plan on weighing 73kg in a months time at the worlds in my best ever shape whilst on slightly higher cals (had to go as low as 2150 at times) and staying as strong as I am now

Motivation is obviously through the roof and each day is counting

I'm in the process of making an exit plan for after the worlds, an important strategy for me and allows me to focus solely on getting the current job done, and not thinking what to do after! As I already know that's sorted



Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on October 23, 2016, 10:31:42 PM
Ben, we're VERY interested in your updates mate.

At 73kg I'm sure that you'll look your very best.

Nice work on planning the exit strategy.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 24, 2016, 01:39:03 PM
Your plan is always very solid mate, no fluff and executed to perfection.

Still doing the hiit on the spin bike?

Not sure if you bought the video of the day or someone recorded your routine but Jan did if you needed it.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 24, 2016, 05:38:55 PM
Still doing HIIT on the bike or xtrainer whichever I fancy , killing it every time usually 15mins as low as 12 as high as 20

My mate Walby filmed the routine thanks though mate, Iv had some good feedback on it, but I aim to practice it daily upto the worlds


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: thebull on October 24, 2016, 06:41:55 PM
Ben the guys I follow on social media and YouTube you would literally tear apart on stage and they have thousands of followers-  time to go viral!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the Butterworth Hall 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 24, 2016, 07:33:04 PM
Haha I'm so behind with the times, if and when I earn a WNBF pro card, I will treat myself to a social media account , maybe instagram!

Today's efforts-

Was due to do 5x5 squats with 147.5kg which felt great last week (Tuesday after BIG refeed day) I felt full of energy today, but the first set wasn't great I got my 5 reps but the last one was a grinder, so frustrating as Iv got 12-15 reps with this weight in the offseason

So decided To turn this into a positive and I wasn't going to be out worked today

5min warmup (bike)

Squats- 60k 15, 80k 10, 110k 5, 130k 5, 147.5k 5 .... 140k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5
Each set Supersetted with a heavy set of leg curls

Then...
4x15-20 leg press 200kg
Supersetted
4x15-20 seated leg curl 65k

4x15 calf press 200kg - slow and squeezy! Ouch!
Supersetted
4x15-20 hanging leg raises BW

16min HIIT 90s recovery/30s sprint X8 - Xtrainer max resistance
15min foam rolling & stretching

Long and high volume session for me but needed to be done

Diet feeling really good but gonna take out some breakfast oats at the weekend if I'm not happy with progress, things are gonna hurt then , but I'm ready!

Gonna do a bonus session this week as Becky and Isla are out tomorrow evening

So tomorrow - chest/biceps/HIIT (plan is to do 10 sets of bench with 100k to start)
     Wednesday -  off- long walk-stretching-foam rolling
     Thursday- back/calves/abs/HIIT (10 sets of deads, lots of chins/rows and more calves/abs)
     Friday- shoulders/triceps/HIIT (10 sets of military to kick off the session)
     Sat & sun to recover- walks,stretching,foam rolling

No stones unturned , almost not satisfied as the diet isn't biting like it did months ago! May change at anytime though haha, if my strength stays up and weight comes down and I hit my goals weekly that's all I can ask for!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 25, 2016, 06:08:54 PM
Another great day ticked off on the road to LA

Managed to get out for a walk on my lunch break, staying active is really helping my recovery & always feel better for it

Then it was - chest/biceps

5min warmup Xtrainer
Bench- bar 20, 40k 15, 60k 12, 80k 8, 100k 3, warm and ready
117.5k 3, 115k 3, 112.5k 3,3,3,3,3,3,3 -2min rest between sets

Incline db press 35k 10,10,10,9 - 1min rest
Db flye 22.5k 10,10 20k 10,10 - 1min rest

Db curls 20k 10,10,10,10 - 1min rest- first set easy, last set failure!
Preacher #4 10,10,10,10 - 1 min rest

Done in 1 hour...
Then HIIT - 15mins Xtrainer l10 45s (recovery) L20 15s sprint X15 - 317kcals (a good hard session for me)
Finished with 15mins stretching for a total of 90mins

Loving the many sets of powerlifts for low reps, feel this will keep strength, size and fullness so gonna run with this, also builds confidence before the reppy, fast paced bodybuilding work, Iv done this before in the offseason and enjoyed it immensely, feel im suited to this style of training well, and also a lot of the top natty guys do a lot of volume on the powerlifts so that spurs me on

Seen rich G today in the gym squatting HEAVY and HARD, he's working like his life depends on it which is great to see!

Tomorrow is a recovery day, I'll get out for a walk in the fresh air at some point, also gonna do some foam rolling/stretching in preparation for deadlifts on Thursday! Looking forward to smashing 10 heavy sets of 3-5 reps, need to keep every ounce of muscle for the worlds!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 27, 2016, 05:57:25 PM
Today was one of those days, just keep your head down and get through it days!

Deadlift strength is down, energy levels are down but looking sharper from last week pretty sure I'm in my best shape right now

Had to make up for lack of strength with volume and intensity

5min warmup xtrainer

Deadlifts - bar 20, 60k 12, 100k 8, 130k 5, 150k 3, 170k - just not feeling right after the first rep I was folding and felt way off, belt is on the last notch and not tight enough, core strength is down and just didn't feel safe

So did 160kg 10 sets of 3 - 2m rest - again a weight I can usually do 15+ reps with and got 18 reps just 3 months ago, this though was testing !

Wide grip pull-ups - BW - 10 sets - 12,12,10,10,10,10,8,8,8,8 - 60s rest- this may well be my best chinning yet, felt good!
Hammer strength row 100kg 12,12,12,10,10 - 60s rest- whole back smoked!

Donkey calf - stack 15,15,15
Supersetted
Decline sit-up +5k (behind head) - 15,15,15

1 hour 25mins job done

Then 15min HIIT same as Tuesday was tough! Got 318kcals again too!

15min stretching thisevening and looking forward to shoulders/triceps tomorrow lots of military pressing is on the cards



Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Turpin on October 27, 2016, 09:46:08 PM
FWIW Ben , whenever I dropped weight and wanted to continue deadlifting HEAVY I would always place/drape a towel in the front of my belt for cushioning ( seriously ) . You will be amazed at the leverage it provides in the absence of bodyfat.  Simply fold a towel and put it on your midriff and pull yer belt tight over it.
 
T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 28, 2016, 05:30:38 AM
Thats a great top T thankyou, I'll give that a go next time!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 28, 2016, 05:55:43 PM
Ended the week of training with a decent session, not my thing usually isolating body parts but has been enjoyable and intense too!

5min xtrainer blast to get blood moving

Military press - bar 20, 30k 12, 40k 8, 50k 5, 60k 3-
65k 6,6,6,5,5,5,5,5,5,5 - 2m rest

Laterals 17.5k - 12,12,12,12 - 60s
Bent over laterals 20k - 12,12,12,12 - 60s
Shoulders fully worked

4x12 dips +25kg 12,12,12,12 -60s - last 2 sets RP
4x12 pushdowns 42.5kg 12,12,12,12 - 60s - last 2 sets RP

1 hour 5 mins

Then 15mins HIIT - Xtrainer same as last 2 sessions and 318kcals yet again! Was done after!

Weekend to recover will foam roll/stretch on my break at work and go for a walk both days after work with Becky and Isla to recharge and recover ready for next week! 3 weeks to go!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: thebull on October 29, 2016, 08:44:47 AM
Can see how you get your thickness mate that's some great sessions- loved the last ones with the dips and super strong on the shoulder isolation moves. Great to see you have belief you can get that pro card as we are all behind you. You can count me in as A follower pal!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 29, 2016, 09:07:30 AM
thanks pal, enjoying the sessions, although not usually my cup of tea, I prefer simpler, more basic sessions and have a plan similar to yours for after the show, a basic upper/lower 3 day per week routine focusing on strength overall and weak points - I have a quiet morning at work, so probably will lay out "the plan" for after LA if anyone is interested lol

loving the journal, very well thought out and reads well!

I have to go into this show knowing im at my best and believe in myself, its such a great opportunity so need to make the most of it!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on October 29, 2016, 09:17:46 AM
I'd be interested in your post-LA off season plan for sure! I always struggle to settle on a plan after a comp season. End up spending more time umming and ahhing than I would just going to the gym and getting started ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 29, 2016, 10:59:37 AM
yeah I was the same Nic! and that's why I like to get cracking straight away, keeps me from gaining too much blubber too! as I can gain very quickly after a contest-  

ok well... here's the woffle!

first and foremost, the current goal is making the most of everyday in the lead up to LA, stand onstage my very best and whatever the outcome be sure I gave 100% towards my goal of one day becoming a WNBF pro!

ill enjoy myself whatever the outcome knowing I gave everything I had, ill enjoy food and make memories with great company both in LA and back home, I wont go over 1 stone above contest weight, which is looking like 79-80kg offseason weight, where im happiest, healthiest and strongest lb for lb

I will compete again whatever the outcome in 2018, in 18 months offseason I made some pretty good progress with loads going on in life, with the birth of Isla, moving house 3 times, finally getting settled, having a couple of lower back injuries, and generally being a little too relaxed for my liking too,  

this time, I plan on making much more progress in the same period of time, for the 2018 season- ill be a lot bigger and leaner than this year! and I still plan to shock myself at the worlds!

Training- will be simplified and what works for me, 3 days of hard graft per week, focusing on gaining strength on a few select basic exercises that will enhance my overall size and bring my weak points up to scratch- ill alternate upper/lower sessions 3 (and occasionally if the time is right, 4) times per week , to take advantage of a slightly higher frequency of training, (every 3-5 days per bodypart) which has worked well for me in the past when done with enough volume and intensity (full body training tends to tip that over the top for me, not enough volume or localised muscle damage/exercise selection, but works well for periods of time)

my main areas to improve are- chest, shoulder, arm, hamstring, calf thickness, and of coarse as always hit the back and quads and always look for improvements- so the 2 days will be as follows, and plan to slowly progress in strength and hit PB on all these exercises this coming offseason - these exercises have been selected to enhance MY physique and they work and feel well for me.
really im looking to OPTIMISE MY APPROACH whilst taking what iv learnt works for me and my lifestyle and push the bar higher!

upper -
4X6 incline bench (im a good 20kg weaker than flat but will focus on bring my incline strength up should do the bizz)
4X6 pendlay row (a good solid back movement that will keep improving thickness in my back when hit hard!)
3X10 standing press (I find the stronger this movement is, the better my shoulders are... period)
3X10 pull-ups - (hitting quality form and weight here will only enhance my v taper, not to mention rear delts too)
3X10 dips (my triceps have improved in the last couple of years, 90% of tricep work has been just working hard on dips)
3X10 barbell curl (I know if I hit new weights here, my arm thickness will improve, along with dips im gonna keep chipping away)

Lower-
4X6 squat (squats suit me well, and have worked great for the last decade, here's to another decade of progress!)
4X6 sumo deadlift (will hit the back/hams well! feels natural, & will recover better than standard deads every lower session)
3X10 leg press (iv finally realised the importance of this exercise, to take lower back out, my quads are gonna grow from these)
3X10 leg curl (to totally work the hams, a strong movement for me, and will be important to make the required progress)
3X10 standing calf raise (simply if I can add 20kg to this in 18 months they will be bigger and better next time)
3X10 weighted sit-up- (with a weight BEHIND the head, they smash my abs, I want to keep them strong and thick)

will use a belt for squats/deads, and straps for all back/dead movements, im totally focused on bodybuilding now and know if I hit the muscles better they will respond better! im not a power lifter and my grip strength limits me especially on overhand deadlifts

each session will start with warming up for the first exercises (5 or so sets) and be done in an hour so with a good pace
ill finish every session with 15mins of hard conditioning, usually bike sprints do the trick well! and 10-15 mins of stretching to keep that mobility in check! each session will be 1 hour of weights but done and dusted in 90mins all included - 3 days per week will be enough and push my recovery hard as will all be hard basics and little fluff

off days ill just stay active as always, walking lots & stretching if needed too - to enhance recovery and health in general

nutrition- will be just as basic 4-5 meals per day, that I enjoy very similar to what im doing now without faffing with as many snacks etc, a good balance for me and my lifestyle, I wont change what im doing now so close to the worlds, but I find 3 meals per day too little, and 6-7 unnecessary, so this works well with training, recovery, and life!

ill have 1 gallon water daily as I always do, keeps me healthy
ill allow low kcal drinks, seasonings, condiments to keep me enjoying the good foods, and keep things exciting
pre workout- I like bulk powders pre workout for a caffeine/BCAA kick
meals will be spaced every 4-6 hours for flexibility, making sure I eat when I get up, a pre workout meal 2-3 hours before, a post workout meal soon after training and eating before bed too
meals will be balanced and healthy with pro-carb-fat-fruit/veg
ill allow a weekly cheat meal,usually with the family
supplements- basics- bulkpowders- whey-creatine-multivitamin-pre workout

a typical day will be... (I usually stick with the same foods as I enjoy them, have good variety daily, and keeps things simple and easy)

meal 1- breakfast- eggs-oats-berries-honey-creatine-multivitamin
meal 2- lunch- chicken-rice-avocado-salad
          - pre workout-(on training days) or just a strong coffee if eaten close to training
meal 3- post workout (on training days) - whey-banana's-creatine
meal 4- dinner- steak or salmon-sweet potato-vegetables
meal 5- before bed- yoghurt-apple-peanut butter-multivitamin

I can stick to this without the feeling of dieting or restricting, I really enjoy the foods and feel great on it, but if I wanna be flexible I can be, just rare through ease of prep etc - very similar to what I followed most the offseason

amounts will be tracked but not weighed, and the offseason will be around 160-180g protein 275-325g carbs and 90g fats to keep me lean but strong and gaining strength/size

contest prep next time will be 20 weeks, being in a leaner starting point wont add more cardio or anything, just cut the weekly cheat meal and trim carbs down until shredded over the prep

simple  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on October 29, 2016, 12:21:18 PM
Amazing info, cheers Ben. When you're a Pro you'll have to delete that post and then sell it as a PDF ;) hehehe

Really like the approach and attitude :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on October 29, 2016, 04:34:51 PM
solid plan as ever mate. Great balance between working towards the goals in the sport and the work that needs to be done to support the family.

Looks like 2018 will see a lot of forum members hitting the stage


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 30, 2016, 08:17:14 AM
haha thanks Nic!  :D

always the plan Scott, got to get that balance right or its all pointless, I really don't see the need to train more than 3-4 days per week, its just about making that time efficient , and making the time outside the gym productive yet efficient too, after all I believe I have atleast another 30 years in this sport  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: DDG on October 30, 2016, 11:29:58 AM
Congratulations on your recent win, Ben.

The training looks simple and very much along similar lines to me, actually, notwithstanding frequency.

Keep on!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: thebull on October 30, 2016, 08:46:10 PM
Nice basic approach and I love that you hit he fundamentals- just keep getting stronger!interesting you keep the conditioning work in and actually makes a lot of sense as if you are in a caloric surplus you will be gaining weight regardless!

Also love that reflection "I'm a bodybuilder". Was discussing this with someone and actually whilst it's good to be focussed on powerlifting too it can take you away from the hypertrophy ranges you fundamentally need.

Great post


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on October 30, 2016, 09:01:10 PM
Thank you dean all about keeping it simple

I know what you mean pete sometimes away from contest prep I get to caught up on other stuff like not doing anything but powerlifts now I'm gonna get on stage in LA and have to somehow hide my crap arms and calves! Doh! Well this is the last season they get tacked on, there getting a lot if focus from now on basic but consistent ... I am a bodybuilder and I'm proud  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 09, 2016, 02:28:21 PM
How are you getting on mate it's getting pretty close now.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 09, 2016, 09:45:48 PM
Hi mate things are going really well, week 28 of dieting and it's really the sprint finish, weight
Just under 73 1/2 kg so as light as Iv been, working as hard as I can to lift heavy and work hard each session, nutrition is on point with a clean moderate refeed at weekends to try and keep things moving, 1 week till we fly out, still work to do, but close now!

Today's typical training day...

Chest/arms
5min warmup - xtrainer - 5min blast

5x5 bench - 20k 20, 60k 12, 70k 10, 80k 5, 95k 5, 110k 5,5,5,4,4 - 2-3m rest
4x10 incline db 35k 10,10,10,9 - 1-2m rest
4x10 dips +20k 10,10,10,8
4x10 barbell curl 40k 10,10,10,10
4x10 close grip bench 65k 10,10,10,9

15min HIIT Xtrainer - brutal as always
10min stretching to finish, felt good after!

90mins all in

Really focusing on control, perfect reps and feeling each set deep in the muscle hense the lighter weights but better feel, makes each set more focused and intense , means for have to do as much to get the job done and will build on these weights with this form into the offseason 4 sets completely destroyed my biceps fully worked, if I swing them up , ever heavier, I need 8-9 sets, note taken!

Diet - day in day out
1 gallon water daily
Add teas, herbs/spices etc for flavour each day
Am & pre - strong coffee
Clean Weekly refeed of +50-100g carbs sat or Sunday

Break- eggs-oats-berries-honey-creatine-multivit
Mid am- protein-apple
Lunch- chicken-salad-oil-multivit
Mid pm- protein-banana (or Pwo- protein-dextrose-banana-creatine)
Dinner- steak or salmon-veg-multivit
Before bed- protein-peanut butter

Macros around 200p 175c 75f- won't get any lower , weight is still slowly dropping with a week to lose 1 more pound! I'm happy with how things are!
Supps- all bulkpowders - protein blend-creatine-multivit-omega oil-PB-dextrose

Off days, long walks + stretching for recovery , posing practice every morning

Simples!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: thebull on November 10, 2016, 12:29:36 AM
Hi ben great detail- how do do you find only 50-100g refeed? That's only 2-400cals? Do you find you are starving or generally not that hungry and getting by ok on what you've got?


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 10, 2016, 06:47:20 AM
Hi mate, at this stage my body sucks that up and I feel full and strong for about a day haha , having some oats and a potato feels like a big refeed at this point lol! It's just what's working and keeping me on track but I could have lower and higher days , or less protein more carb or whatever but suits me ok,

Rarely during the whole prep am I hungry atall, cos the kcals drop so gradually (7months now) I hve a lot of salad/veg with lunch & dinner which helps alot, I'm talking 1/2kg veg and always cook up my breakfast in water for bulk, drink lots of teas in between meals etc and graze throughout the day in a typical bodybuilder fashion I get abit hungry before main meals
But know it's nt long to go

Iv done the IIFYM type thig and had bigger meals that works great too, I wouldn't say any better or that smaller meals is better, I think more than 6 or so meals is abit pointless , less than 3 I would struggle!

I do find my energy is better grazing or atleast having snacks between 3 bigger meals as I do, no crashes, and digestion is better also, I like to eat very similar if not the same day in day out with a lot of variety daily but not much from day to day, body utilises the food much better that way

73.3kg thismorning- looking to be no lighter than 73kg in a weeks time before we fly out, so sticking to the plan , right on track!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 10, 2016, 02:37:23 PM
Great to hear it's all bang on track mate, knowing you I had no doubt it wouldn't be.

I'm with you on the controlling weight. It sure hits the muscle a lot better.


How are you finding the taste of the Bulkpowders omega oil? I wasn't to keen as it had hemp oil in it which I don't really like.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 10, 2016, 04:27:12 PM
Thanks bud, tbh everything tastes amazing at the moment my taste buds are pretty bland but enjoy it, doesn't taste too strong and put it on my salad


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 15, 2016, 07:52:45 AM
Well it's nearly time! By Saturday that will be 29 weeks dieting for the worlds, my weight is between 73-73.2kg first thing in the morning, and I'm in my best shape ever, I'm sure I won't reflect on what an amazing year this has been until on the plane back after LA,

I also have our first family holiday to look forward to a week after eating back, with Becky and Isla in Tenerife for a week, followed by time off work for bday,Xmas,new year! So things are great I'm a very lucky guy!

Training for the worlds is nearly at an end with no more leg training or HIIT , gonna rest them up and should get marginally tighter for it by the weekend

My last leg session last week was same as always basic! 5x5 squats with 145kg followed by volume work leg press,leg curl, calf raise and weighted sit-up 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps each

Yesterday was strange to go in, train chest and arms on a Monday! No HIIT and leave

Here's how it went
5-10 min bike warmup

10x5 bench press 100kg, 2-3m rest - only last 2 sets we're tough
3x10 incline bench 70k 10,9,8 (1-2m rest)
3x10 hammer press 70k 10,10,9
3x10 pek dek 45k - 10,10,10

3x10 bb curl 40k 10,10,10
3x10 preacher curl 25k 10,10,9

3x10 close grip bench 60k 10,10,10
3x10 pushdowns 42.5k 10,10,10

3x12 cable crunch 52.5k 12,10,9

90mins - will be using less volume and only the basics come next week (the start of the offseason) really focusing on packing on strength and size , so thought id bid farewell to some of the. Fluffy exercises I like to push the volume up with,

Although I like the upper/lower offseason template I always seem to fall on this power/bodybuilding type split, works well for me and feels great too! So most likely go with this! Also nutrition has been good and consistent on this plan very happy to add some carbs + weekly cheat meal, and that be my offseason plan , funny how things work out

Anyway- rest day today, back & shoulders tomorrow then when in LA a decent upper body tickle on Friday then show time Saturday!

Can't frigging wait!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: felix on November 17, 2016, 12:13:49 AM
Good luck for the Worlds Ben I am sure you will look excellent on stage.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 18, 2016, 12:04:59 PM
Thanks felix, gonna give it my all!



Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 18, 2016, 02:16:26 PM
Lst reply sent from LA.

Go team16


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SuperSi on November 18, 2016, 06:23:46 PM
All the best for the Worlds, Ben. You've had a phenomenal season!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 18, 2016, 07:28:35 PM
Thankyou Simon it's been a fantastic year!

Just weighed in 73.5kg - 1lb lighter than the UK finals


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 19, 2016, 02:54:14 PM
Well this is it contest day! Slept about 3 hours in total and woke up nervous but excited , tho place and this opportunity really is out of this world! Not gonna hit me till it's over!

220 in the inbf/wnbf worlds this year gonna be a busy but fantastic day! All the team are looking mega and a great atmosphere is buzzing around our camp!

Let's do this!



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Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: K_Dogs on November 19, 2016, 05:09:10 PM
Wishing you the best of luck Ben. You look awesome!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Turpin on November 19, 2016, 06:02:47 PM
Wow ! ... good luck Ben , looking terrific mate.

T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on November 19, 2016, 08:22:14 PM
Go get 'em mate!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 20, 2016, 12:54:13 PM
Well what a day! Can't quite believe it but today I achieved a goal I set a decade ago as I won the lightweight world title and came 2nd in the overall earning my WNBF PRO card! What an amazing experience and a dream come true!

It's 3:30am here and only just got back from left the venue at midnight, going to in and out burger with the team , celeb ting back at the hotel and getting my tan off , up again in a couple hours for the team breakfast then off to muscle beach for the first training session as a PRO

I'll leave a write up of the trip and results for lee as will do a much better job

Thanks to everyone on here for your support over the years! Been a member on Here for 10 years and can't thank you guys enough for the support and motivation! I truly am the happiest man alive!

Right gonna get 2 hours then have some pre muscle beach workout waffles! Think I'm training with big gordie, stuart mculluck and rich walker , 3 of the nicest guys you'll ever meet but once in the gym ANIMALS! Love it!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: DDG on November 20, 2016, 01:59:16 PM
Well what a day! Can't quite believe it but today I achieved a goal I set a decade ago as I won the lightweight world title and came 2nd in the overall eating my WNBF PRO card! What an amazing experience and a dream come true!

It's 3:30am here and only just got back from left the venue at midnight, going to in and out burger with the team , celeb ting back at the hotel and getting my tan off , up again in a couple hours for the team breakfast then off to muscle beach for the first training session as a PRO

I'll leave a write up of the trip and results for lee as will do a much better job

Thanks to everyone on here for your support over the years! Been a member on Here for 10 years and can't thank you guys enough for the support and motivation! I truly am the happiest man alive!

Right gonna get 2 hours then have some pre muscle beach workout waffles! Think I'm training with big gordie, stuart mculluck and rich walker , 3 of the nicest guys you'll ever meet but once in the gym ANIMALS! Love it!

Congratulations Ben. 8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on November 20, 2016, 04:26:43 PM
So delighted for you Ben  ;D Well done on an amazing year and the perfect ending to it. Hope you really enjoy the rest of your trip now  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 20, 2016, 04:51:55 PM
Well done mate. Really happy for you. Great team to be part of


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Rossdog on November 20, 2016, 05:26:14 PM
Congrats Ben absolutely bossed it unreal season very motivating!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SuperplexSteve on November 20, 2016, 06:20:39 PM
Well done Ben, what a fantastic achievement.  It's results like this that really motivate me to drag myself to the gym.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Turpin on November 20, 2016, 06:25:53 PM
Awesome mate , massive congratulations  ;)

T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Badger on November 20, 2016, 07:27:29 PM
Well done Ben, finishing the job in style!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on November 20, 2016, 08:40:47 PM
Ben, I do have one piece of bad news I'm afraid. You realise you're now going to have to up your social media presence ;) WNBF Pros can't hide forever! Brian Whitacre has a blog, you need to be on at least one platform... :D

We will give you a short grace period, of course :P


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: felix on November 21, 2016, 12:19:27 AM
Well done Ben fantastic result.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 21, 2016, 07:20:28 AM
Thanks all! Had a great day with the team today exploring Venice beach and eating everything and anything , including an amazing burger at the firehouse on Venice beach, waffles for breakfast at the hotel, and team UK pizza and Chinese tonight!

Over the moon to say that world champion bantamweight stuart has just been offered his pro card too! Since he won the pinnicle of his weight class last night and he's a great guy and worthy pro!

Tomorrow training with stuart and gordie as we didn't today (muscle beach was closed) and was too bloated!  ;D - gonna have a good session with them tomorrow

On the flight home I'll devise an offseason plan and gonna get a FB account going , it's about time


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Damo NY on November 21, 2016, 08:22:52 AM
Well done Ben! Great to see you and Stu in particular bring back World Titles and Pro cards.

Enjoy some food and see you on a Pro stage next year! 😎


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 21, 2016, 09:42:07 AM
Thanks damo! As you know mate an amazing feeling and still on cloud 9 although in shattered haha

Yeah ticked all my craving boxes today , gonna eat well but flexible for the next few days while travelling and spending some time off work with family, then from Thursday it's offseason time! I'll post up the plan when it's in place, gonna step things up! Not gonna be too different from what I do, but gonna need to step things up if I'm gonna make the improvements I need to

Be great to see you on stage next year mate! I'll be taking next year off for sure but making the pro debut in 18


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on November 21, 2016, 10:23:57 AM

Over the moon to say that world champion bantamweight stuart has just been offered his pro card too! Since he won the pinnicle of his weight class last night and he's a great guy and worthy pro!


Oh - this is fantastic news! Well done Stu!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 21, 2016, 10:49:30 AM
Yeah with X2 UK and a world title it's well deserved! He looked phenomenal and must have been close between us in the overall, he was painfully shredded from head to toe with dense muscle all over, think we weighs around 67-68kg , a great guy who Iv enjoyed today with immensely , loved seeing everyone really kick back today away from bodybuilding ,and a side of the athletes rarely seen! Stu in particular did well to keep up with me and sam watt's Venice beach food bar crawl haha , Iv never seen a guy under 11 stone eat a double burger so quick with so little effort! Very impressive indeed!





Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SuperSi on November 21, 2016, 11:11:22 AM
Well done, Ben! What a fantastic achievement! Enjoy the rest of your trip and a well deserved rest. :)

p.s. The below ended up being pretty accurate.  ;)

Heaps of muscle! And strong as an ox!

Thanks, champ, appreciated.

I would say it'd be great to share a stage with you one day, but I've a feeling you'll be competing at the Pro level before long. :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: MJB on November 21, 2016, 07:01:41 PM
Big Congrats Ben. Awesome & richly deserved result! Be proud of yourself! :)
Re: training - if you can you should go and train at Gold's Gym Venice which should only be 10 mins or so from Muscle Beach and a much better experience. Muscle Beach is much smaller than Id imagined when I was there in September, but Gold's - other than the Day pass rate of $25 was seriously impressive and chances are you'll almost certainly run into a few familiar faces. In the hour or so I was there I saw Robbie Robinson, Charles Glass, Shawn Rhoden, Sergio Oliva Jnr and Orville Burke! Happy days!  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 22, 2016, 09:48:14 PM
Thanks guys, you called that one Si! I was wrong haha (thankfully)

Yes mick golds was great, 50 cent was having a session , they must have some big names using it daily!
I didn't train as I was stuffed from the firehouse where I had the nicest bacon cheeseburger iv ever had!

So arrived back home today, great to see Becky and Isla and have a nice beef stew with dumplings and home made bread upon arrival! Something I wanted for weeks if not months during prep

Here are a few pics Amy took from the show



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Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 22, 2016, 09:50:35 PM
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Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 22, 2016, 09:51:35 PM
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Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 22, 2016, 09:53:51 PM
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Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Monbeef on November 22, 2016, 10:17:26 PM
Amazing news, buddy!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Jon on November 23, 2016, 03:41:40 AM
A very worthy winner, congrats on getting your pro card Ben!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: stuartmc92 on November 23, 2016, 07:34:43 AM
It was great spending time with you in the states Ben. Frankly you detroyed your lineup and could have won the overall with no arguements. What a future you have in the sport. It was a absolute pleasure to have joined the pro ranks at the same time as you. Great guy humble and down to earth. Hope to catch up soon for some training.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 23, 2016, 09:26:52 AM
Thank you Guys, a goal I remember announcing on this website a a decade ago after seeing yourself Jon becoming the best in the world! Still have that fire and motivation 10 years later, made a huge impact on me!

Stuart , spending time with you was one of the highlights of the trip for me, a truly great guy on stage and off, seeing you become a pro I will never forget and had to hold back the emotion, a true champion mate, and had me in stitches throughout the trip.

Will Definitly have to meet. For a train, catchup, feast! Enjoy your success mate and this new journey has only just begun!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 23, 2016, 09:38:39 AM
Great pics by Mrs Kemp, really captured you well.

It must have been a great time in LA. There were a lot of people in the team that I know would have been great to hang out with.

I've taken a few bits from your prep and approach this year mate so thanks for putting the journal up and keeping it updated.

Can't beat a good casserole and dumplings. We had the same Sunday night


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 23, 2016, 10:27:49 AM
Your right mate, so many great people to share the experience with!

The prep has been very simple, I'm not gonna change too much for the offseason, but aim on executing the plan better, more consistently and just enjoying it!

Yesterday arrived back at home 4pm and had 2 hours before Isla and Becky we're back, with the casserole and dumplings bubbling away in the slow cooker and I was falling asleep stood up, decided to head to the gym before they get back to keep myself awake

An easy leg session to lower myself back in
5x5 squat 130k - 2-3m rest
4x10 leg press 260k 1-2m
4x10 leg curl 65k 1-2m
4x10 calf press 50k 1-2m
4x10 sit-up +5k 1-2m
3x12 hammer curl 17.5k 1-2m
10min HIIT - xtrainer

Really focusing on perfect execution and hitting the muscles

1 hour 5mins-
Just blowing out the cobwebs this week and going on holiday a week on Friday, kinda setting out the offseason
Like the idea I got from matt, 3 day split but each session has weak point work (just 1 exercise)

So for me may be like....

Mon- legs/abs (& a bicep exercise)
Wed- chest/arms (& a calf exercise)
Fri- back/shoulders (& a chest exercise)

Sat on the plane on the way back from LA yesterday, wrote out my goals/plans for the future, will bore you all with it when I post it up maybe later today


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: fhwill on November 23, 2016, 10:55:42 AM
A very belated congratulations!  ;D Well deserved  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 23, 2016, 12:52:35 PM
Thanks!  ;D I'm over the moon!  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Maveric Matt on November 23, 2016, 01:50:34 PM
Great news mate.  I wasn't able to follow much of the live feed but saw some pictures on FB.  LA looked amazing!
Interested to hear your future plans :) 
Shame you couldn't compete the following day in the pro class like we did last year


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on November 23, 2016, 02:04:48 PM


Sat on the plane on the way back from LA yesterday, wrote out my goals/plans for the future, will bore you all with it when I post it up maybe later today

 8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 23, 2016, 04:03:57 PM
Thanks matt,

Would hve been nice but wouldn't be comfortable on a pro stage for a while until I make a lot more progress

Nic I was gonna ask you what would work best for the type of updates I do? Love your blog and that style, I need a FB really aswell, lol I'm in the Stone Age still!



Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on November 23, 2016, 04:31:35 PM
I'd say the "best" social media is the type you enjoy using, can use, and will use. Bit like training and diet really. The perfect diet is the one you can stick to :)

I'm not an expert but I guess your options are:

a blog site (like mine you mention) - you'd need to set this up, you then publish posts on it and promote the link via other social media. Tricky if you don't have existing social media platforms.

Facebook page (not personal account) - you'd need a personal account as admin but could either a) use Becky's for this or b) set yourself up a FB profile and just never use it other than for accessing your FB page. A page has "likes" rather than "friends". For example, Damian has a FB page for himself as a WNBF Athlete. I guess most of your friends/fans/followers are there already, so easy to "find" them and tell them you are  there :D

Twitter - you can't say a great deal on this, not great for creating a relationship IMO

Insta - great way to give video and image based content, you can then add text content in the description. You can also record snippets of your day in video form in the "stories" bit (this disappears after 24 hours, whereas your main Instagram content goes on your account and stays there)

If I were you I'd probably just do a FB page but it really depends on what you will find easiest and least overwhelming.



Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 23, 2016, 06:30:41 PM
That's really helpful nic , will probably go with FB then, and make it more of an athletes page


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Nic on November 23, 2016, 06:37:18 PM
Nice one :) I would - you can really do anything with an FB page these days (text/blog post style updates, video, images etc). The one single downside to FB is that some people aren't on it, and that obviously it could at any time implode/disappear/stop being free. But the same could be said for anything really!

Let us know when you've done it and we'll all be your first "likes" :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 23, 2016, 07:47:42 PM
Thanks nic! Yeah that's true, looking really just to do something similar to this, keep in touch with people and maybe start PTing again, with blog style posts videos free Q and A's all that jazz



Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 24, 2016, 08:41:45 PM
Back to normality with a great relaxing day with the family yesterday , lots of food and quality time, doesn't get any better

But felt great to get my first real day of the offseason behind me today , back to work and have a week before we go On holiday so like to get a good feel of te offseason for when I get back

Today was nice to eat a normal clean offseason diet and a good training session

5min warmup - Xtrainer
5x5 bench press 107.5kg 5,5,5,5,5- up to 110k (2-3m rest)
3x10 incline db press 35k 10,10,10 - up to 37.5k (1-2m rest)
3x10 dips +20k - 10,10,10 +5k
3x10 curls 40k 10,10,9
3x10 close grip bench 65k 10,10,10 +2.5k
15min HIIT xtrainer - 320kcals
15 min stretching

90mins all in

Really gonna focus on hitting the muscle and keeping it strict and intense, getting the most out of a limited number of exercises , reps and sets, building the strength each week

My current offseason base diet -
1 gallon water daily
1 cheat meal weekly offseason
pre workout - strong coffee

Break- eggs-oats-berries-honey-creatine-multivit-coffee
Mid am- protein- apple
Lunch- chicken-brown rice-salad-omega oil-multivit
Mid pm- protein-banana OR Pwo- protein-banana-dextrose-creatine
Dinner- steak or salmon-baked potato-vegetables-multivit
Before bed- yoghurt-peanut butter

Kcals set around - 190g protein 300g carbs 80g fat


My goals for the future as written on the plane journey back from the worlds

1. Stay within 1 stone on contest weight (79kg max)

2. Be consistent on my offseason training + nutrition base plans, not chopping and changing like I used to, nor binge eating/drinking atall, but allowing a Flexible approach when social/holidays/celebrations come round, whilst still consistently making progress towards my goals

3. Hit PB on all 3 powerlifts before 2018 contest prep begins - aiming for - 5x5 180k squat, 140k bench, 200k deadlift

4. Begin my 2018 contest prep bigger, stronger, leaner , fitter and healthier than in 2016

5. Compete in the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International placing top 3 in by far my best ever shape (I know this is ambitious but I truly believe I'm gonna make that much progress in the next 2 years!)

Physique wise I really need to add a lot of mass all over, whilst bringing up my calves , arms and chest , so gonna stick with a traditional 3 day split hitting those body parts with a limited number of exercise and volume and really focus on quality, intensity and progressive overload, works well for me an the reason there lacking is due to lack of quality with the basics, so adding a decet amount of strength on those Should see them progress well

Will post up the rest of my offseason plan and thoughts moving forward tomorrow for anyone interested


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: Turpin on November 25, 2016, 05:03:42 PM

 Keep on doing as you are doing ( & have done ) , keeping it simple and progressive.

 T.


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 25, 2016, 08:56:10 PM
Thanks T , I agree, and have alot more faith in my approach after this season, and to be honest I know I could make a lot more progress in the next 18 months than the last, with consistency, and as you say keeping it simple, really set for sticking with a few basic exercises and drilling them home until I next step onstage , my training has never been so strict, really feeling the muscles work and keeping poise and tension during the exercise even when hitting failure the last rep looks as clean as the first, this is gonna be key to progress

Today was back/shoulders

5min xtrainer warmup
5x5 deadlift 20k 20, 60k 15, 80k 10, 110k 5, 140k 5, 160k 5,5,5,5,5 - 2-3m rest - nice to get back to these and this was the right weight to begin with, all reps strong and crisp I'll be deadlifting 200kg for 5x5 by April 2018 at no more than 79kg - slowly does it

3x10 pull-ups BW - 10,10,9 - (1-2m) - very slow controlled reps , Holding at the top , way more effective than banging out sets of 15 speedy reps! Aim is to build to 3x10
With +20k

3x10 DB row 40k- 10,,10,10 - nealt on a bench, piston like reps slow negative , these finished my upper back off nicely! Use 42.5kg next week - I want them 60's!

3x10 standing press 60kg 10,10,8 - after back these always feel good, in my mind I'm focused on a perfectly strict 3x10 with 80kg - I'll keep plugging away

3x10 wide upright row - 45kg - 10,10,10- last set hit failure, these are agony on the delts when done strict, a great movement kinda like a compound lateral - I wanna use 60k in the same fashion

15min HIIT - same as yesterday but got 321kcals- was brutal, heart rate up to 186bpm!
15min stretching to finish

1 hour 40mins - a little longer between sets as I was training with a mate, he found the slow deliberate 3x10 work a struggle and was surprised how hard it was with lighter weights

Gonna repeat the 3 day cycle on sun-tue-thur - as we fly to Tenerife Friday
Making sure I'm getting 10k steps in daily to stay active especially after eating so much recently




Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 27, 2016, 09:09:49 PM
Strength (and body weight) increasing rapidly , today's session was fuelled by last nights XL cheat meal with friends , stacked burger after all sorts of starters followed by 4 crispy creams!  :o then cookies and flapjacks with a couple pints of Guinness , yes I need to enjoy and celebrate but this could end badly haha

I haven't even got rid of my water retention from the flight that's sitting in my ankles I need a week or so of complete clean eating , with our holiday on Friday not sure it's gonna happen!

Today was legs/abs

5 min bike warmup
5x5 squats bar 20, 60k 15, 80k 10, 100k 5, 120k 5, 140kg - 5,5,5,5,5 - these felt very smooth for a change! Look forward to pushing towards that 180k 5x5 after my holiday -2-3m rest
3x10 leg press 290kg 12, 310k 10, 320k 10 - 1-2m rest - excited to give these a whole offseason, I can see my quads blowing up with these, today they were very slow,deep and controlled and quads were on fire even with only 3x10 -job done
3x10 seated leg curl 80k 10,10,10 - great contraction and slow negative -felt much better than lying curls
3x10 standing calf raise 130kg 10,10,10 - + 40k to these and my calves will be bigger,just gonna plug away
3x10 decline sit-up - +5k 12,10,10 - use 7k - my poor bloated abs  ;D
20 min HIIT bike - killer!
10min stretching


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 29, 2016, 02:35:34 PM
Theres this guy on Instagram. Looks like you. I'm sur it's not though lol


 ;D ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 29, 2016, 10:22:04 PM
Can't be me mate , I don't have big hamster cheeks like that, not a week after winning a world title!  ;D :-X

Training has been abit freestyle last few days , as has the diet , hard to fight off the temptation to just relax completely with the holiday coming up this Friday

Saying that Iv eaten good food, just with bits on top , there's still a structure there, I guess I should just relax and kick back for a while

And training is only getting better with it, stronger each session and did a couple of bonus sessions since coming back a week ago , most likely not gonna train during my week away, my last complete week off must have been 18 months ago?? Maybe longer!?

Yesterday's session - chest/arms
A basic one
5x bench press 100k 10,8,6,6,6 - 100k feels more productive than 110-120 , tempted to build volume not kg
3x incline db 36kg 10,10,9
3x decline bench 75kg 12,10,10
3x curl 30k 12,12,12 - very strict made just 30k hard!
3x dips body weight - 20,20,20 - last set was a killer
x8 bike sprints - 90s recovery / 30s sprint - love and hate these

Today - back/shoulders
5min bike warmup

5x wide pull-ups BW 12,10,10,8,7 - all slow and held contraction at top
3x cable row 80k 10.10,10
3x neutral pull down 70k 10,10,10
3x low row 80k 10,10,10

3x seated military press 65k 10,10,10
3x laterals 17.5k 10,10,10
3x seated rear laterals 22.5k 12,12,12

X8 bike sprints HIIT

No deadlifts back wasn't recovered from Sundays squats so deads after squats Thursday for my last session for 7-10 days

Enjoyed the volume and intensity definitely need some of that in my plan just not too much I rake away from the basics - all good stuff though - rest tomorrow legs Thursday! Tenerife Friday!


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on November 30, 2016, 10:10:10 AM
certainly no harm in treating yourself mate. Winning your pro card should be celebrated.

Have a fantastic holiday with your lovely family


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on November 30, 2016, 11:42:22 AM
Thanks pal gonna be a great holiday and you know what! your right! (heads to the cupboard for another box of mince pies)  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to LA! - 2016
Post by: ben-howard on December 13, 2016, 03:52:53 PM
Been a little lazy on the journal front, Iv started an Instagram ben_howard_wnbf_pro , but will get back to frequent updates on here too for anyone interested


Title: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on March 08, 2017, 10:26:50 AM
Hey Nic, thought id reply to your post on here as its been a while haha!

things are good, took me ages to really settle down into the offseason after a long prep and im ALOT heavier than I want to be, although surprisingly not as fat at 87kg as I thought I would be! and nice and strong too, my goal though is to settle down to about 79-80kg by the first UKDFBA show of the year, and depending how I feel at that time, set a plan to compete next year, although got to admit tempted to get up there this year.

how are you? many plans for this year?

   


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on March 08, 2017, 11:12:58 AM
hey buddy. Good to see you are still alive, although a few insta clicks here and there lets us know you are ok.

87kg is a bit higher than an ordinary off season for you isn't it? How does it feel though, benefiting from it or feel it is excessive?



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: fhwill on March 08, 2017, 12:26:44 PM
Welcome back!  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Maveric Matt on March 08, 2017, 01:35:27 PM
Just spotted the new journal title!  ;) 8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on March 08, 2017, 07:09:37 PM
Thanks! Yeah 87kg is very soft for me, Iv been back on the weekly cheat meal instead of daily for about 3 weeks now so weights is dropping and guess will be down a stone or so by June, training and recovery are Definitly up there so there is some benefit but lb for lb guess I'm weaker haha

Today's session went as follows

Chest/arms
3x5 bench press 120kg 6, 122.5k 5, 125k 5
3x incline bench 80k 10,10,8 drop 60k 8
3x hammer chest press 60k 12,10,10 drop 40k 12
3x flye 50k 12,10,10 drop 40k 10

3x db curl 25k 8,7,6
3x preacher 30k 12,12,10 drop 20k 15

3x dip machine 200k 15,11,10 drop 160k 12
3x pushdowns 45k 15,15,15 drop 30k 15

15mins HIIT xtrainer


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Nic on March 08, 2017, 09:29:54 PM
Hi Ben  :) Great to hear from you again.

So 2018 for you? What's 87kg in relation to stage weight? (I have no idea what anyone ever weighs LOL).

I'm the same - lots heavier/fatter than I intended to be and probably should be but I just don't or can't bring myself to care enough! I might chip away over the next few months so I'm at a 'happier' weight for my 40th, but saying that I am perfectly happy as I am so...  :P

Glad your training is all going well. Family good too?

I've been training pretty consistently since comp, mojo has been up and down but I haven't had any big chunks of time off. Still getting it done. I did a PL block of training, and a local PL comp. I'm now doing a Concept2 rowing challenge (but still lifting too). Just fun to have different goals.

Keep doing your thing!  ;D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on March 08, 2017, 09:43:00 PM
Sounds like things are going great Nic , always stuck into a challenge! Gotta do something to celebrate the big 40 when it comes around!

Family are great , isla is nearly 2! Next month and she's becoming a right handful which is hard work but great to see haha, got ourselves a little jack Russell too and loving being out and about a lot more, although she doesn't like wind or rain so bails out on the walks too often!

I'm Definitly in for 2018, offseason is going really well and growing but my stage weight is 73kg and I'm 87kg at the moment but it's coming down pretty quick possibly sub 86 now, but don't feel too bad, abit bloaty but similar to my last offseason around 83kg


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 09, 2017, 07:11:04 PM
nice to see you back mate.

Not doing full body anymore? More of a push, pull, legs?

Isla is dead cute mate.

I fin that if I'm not on prep I struggle with any kind of leanness. On prep it's game on and I'm totally focused


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on March 09, 2017, 09:12:41 PM
Not done full bodies for a little while mate, really enjoying mixing Things up with more volume after the powerlifts, keeping things fresh, after the main lift its random , heavy, volume , reppy and painful but good fun

Monday - heavy squats + legs/abs
Wednesday- heavy bench + chest/arms
Friday- heavy deads + back/shoulders

Isla is a beast haha, it's crazy how a toddler can boss you about!

Yeah I'm very much the same mentally in the offseason I'm kids content if I'm not obese and smashing the training as I know I can diet when I'm ready, saying that I wanna be in a place where I'm lean year round and happier thAt way, we will get there


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on March 10, 2017, 08:09:08 PM
Today's session ended the best week of training of this offseason

5x5 deadlift 185kg - 5,5,5,5,5 - felt strong with atleast 2 reps left in the tank , I want 200k 5x5 before dieting again

3x10 db rows 50kg 10,10,10 - nice and strict but will build to 12's
3x10 pull-ups bw - 10,10,9 - hard after rows and being fat haha
3x10 1 arm hammer row - 70k 10,10,10

3x10 seated db press 35k - 10,10,8
3x10 laterals 20k 12,12,11
3x10 rear laterals 22.5k 12,12,11

15mins xtrainer HIIT - heart rate was upto high 180's , NICE!

With a long warmup this took 1 hour 40 including HIIT - a little on the long side , I prefer under 90mins, toying with the idea of either

- not doing any HIIT , as I'm walking the dog and very active everyday

- or doing HIIT on off days, as I do like the challenge and health benefits

, Definitly like doig abit more volume and variety and I'm gaining size quicker than ever for it

Weight is 85kg today so not as bad as I though, nice refeed tomorrow and keep things rolling!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on March 19, 2017, 12:03:57 PM
lost 1kg this week and sitting at 84kg, well on my way to my 79kg goal,  by the first UKDFBA show of the year, after that day, ill be setting my next goal, either to maintain weight and build strength and muscle for 2018 or if everything is steady go for it for a 20 week prep to the UKDFBA Pro International

this week of training was great, I kept with the higher volume of work AND kept in the HIIT, but to keep the sessions down to under 90mins (all the time I have) I had to go 1min max between sets after the initial heavy strength work, i had to drop the weights used considerably but in reality it made the sessions very intense and a great feel in the targeted muscles, i also got my fix of "heavy work" before the fun began. win win

Monday- Legs/Abs

5x5 squat 165kg (3m rest) 5,5,5,5,5 - then cos why not 180kg 1, 185kg 1 - these felt a lot easier than anticipated, i think 180kg 5x5 will be in the bag this year -

leg press 320kg 12,10,10
leg ext - 55kg 12,11,9
stiff leg dead - 130kg 11,10,9
lying leg curl 45kg 10,10,10
standing calf 150kg 12,10,8
seated calf 70kg 10,10,10
hanging leg raises BW 20,20,15

15 min HIIT - X trainer- 260kcals-
90mins

Wednesday- Chest/Arms

5X5 bench press 120kg 5,5,5,5,4 - 3m rest -

incline db press X2 35kg 10,10,9
flyes X2  20kg 12,10,10
dips BW - 12,12,12 - very wide and slow
bb curls 40kg 12,10,10
db curls  X2 17.5kg 10,10,10
close grip bench 65kg 12,10,10
pushdowns 40kg 12,10,10

15 min HIIT - Xtrainer - 262kcals
85mins

big ego check having to take the weights right down to get the volume in, but feel im growing with the volume and keeping the powerlifts heavy, I guess ill adapt anyway and build strength at this workout pace


Friday- Back/Shoulders/Abs

5X5 deadlifts 182.5kg 5,5,5,5,5 - no straps but used a belt

pullups bw - 10,10,10
DB row 42.5kg - 12,10,10
hammer low row- 90kg 11,10,10
seated bb press - 70kg 10,8,7
laterals - X2 17.5kg 15,12,12
rear laterals X2 17.5kg 15,15,15
cable crunches 52.5kg - 20,15,15

15 min HIIT Xtrainer- 260kcals
95mins

 





Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: SuperSi on March 21, 2017, 05:47:34 PM
Looking strong, Ben. Really good numbers on all the big 3.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: SCOTTGALTON on March 25, 2017, 02:04:36 PM
very strong mate and some great work being put in.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the first show already.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on April 05, 2017, 05:30:55 PM
Thanks guys, although I'm not happy with the higher body fat , training is going nicely!

The last 2 weeks trained with slightly less volume and upped the weights and intensity and feeling much better for it, never been a high volume guy for a long period of time

Enjoying my current split focusing on abit more frequency for weak body parts

Mon- legs/abs (extra biceps)
Wed- chest/shoulders/triceps
Fri- back/biceps (extra calves)

Same old powerlift to kick off the session with 5x5 bench and deads are paused to keep tht form tight
Then 3x8 for all other "bodybuilding" work



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Adam on April 05, 2017, 06:08:10 PM
Looks a solid split . Would be good to see a typical push and pull session to see how much volume you are putting into each


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on April 06, 2017, 01:17:52 PM
yeah sure, pretty low volume and unimpressive compared to most, but always been a low volume trainer and its worked well, I generally use a slow rep tempo, and focus on maximum intensity each set, with as much weight I can use with solid form. Saying that, this is more volume than iv ever used in the past consistently and its working well, any more than this though and intensity/form plummets and injuries occur easily

This is my current setup-

Mon- Legs/Abs (biceps)
5X5 squat (3m rest)
3X8-12 hack squat (1-2m rest)
3X8-12 seated leg curl
3X8-12 standing calf raise
3X8-12 weighted sit-up
3X8-12 db curls

Wed- Chest/shoulders/triceps
5X5 bench press
3X8-12 incline db press
3X8-12 db flye
3X8-12 seated db press
3X8-12 laterals
3X8-12 lying EZ extension

Fri- Back/biceps (calves)
5X5 deadlift
3X8-12 pullups
3X8-12 db row
3X8-12 rear delt flye
3X8-12 ez curls
3X8-12 seated calf raise

this split and exercise choice is based on me and my weak points

I take a good 15mins to warmup, an hour or so for the weights and I also finish each session with 15min HIIT so generally 90mins or so


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 17, 2018, 06:47:59 PM
So fast forward a year......

Things have been great the last year Iíve pushed for progress as planned, very little has changed with diet and training , weights are up and prep is in its 2nd week for the 2018 WNBf Pro International

Began at 82.5kg , nearly 2 weeks in 81.7kg , 22 weeks out

This week of training so far!

Monday- legs/abs
Squats - warmups - 60k 15, 100k 10, 140k 6, 160k 3
Work sets -
180kg 4, 170k 6, 160k 8, 140k 10
Leg press 400kg 8,8,6 drop 320k 8, 240k 8, 160k 8 - ouch!
Leg extension - stack (80kg?) 15,12,10
Sldl 170k 6, 160k 8, 150k 10
Leg curl 82.5kg 8,8,8 drop 60k 8, drop 40k 8
Standing calf 160k 8, 150k 10, 140k 12, drop 120k 8, drop 80k 10
Hanging leg raises 20,15,15,15
15min wattbike HIIT - (45s/15s) - 230kcals

Wed- chest-shoulders-triceps
Bench - warmups 60k 10, 80k 8, 100k 5, 120k 2
Work sets 140k 4, 120k 9, 100k 11, 80k 14
Incline db press 42.5kg 10,9,7
Cable flye 25k - 12,12,11
Seated db press 37.5kg 9,8,7
Laterals 25kg 12,11,11
Dips +40k 11,9,8
Pushdowns 50kg 11, 45kg 11, 40kg 12
15min hiit wattbike - 232kcals

Back/biceps tomorrow!

5-6 meals per day at the moment, protein 180g fats 80g 320g carbs currently




Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: K_Dogs on May 17, 2018, 07:37:17 PM
I always appreciate your work out design, get the basics done with the 5x5 then let the momentum carry you through the accessories.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on May 17, 2018, 08:31:03 PM
So fast forward a year......

Things have been great the last year Iíve pushed for progress as planned, very little has changed with diet and training , weights are up and prep is in its 2nd week for the 2018 WNBf Pro International

Began at 82.5kg , nearly 2 weeks in 81.7kg , 22 weeks out

This week of training so far!

Monday- legs/abs
Squats - warmups - 60k 15, 100k 10, 140k 6, 160k 3
Work sets -
180kg 4, 170k 6, 160k 8, 140k 10
Leg press 400kg 8,8,6 drop 320k 8, 240k 8, 160k 8 - ouch!
Leg extension - stack (80kg?) 15,12,10
Sldl 170k 6, 160k 8, 150k 10
Leg curl 82.5kg 8,8,8 drop 60k 8, drop 40k 8
Standing calf 160k 8, 150k 10, 140k 12, drop 120k 8, drop 80k 10
Hanging leg raises 20,15,15,15
15min wattbike HIIT - (45s/15s) - 230kcals

Wed- chest-shoulders-triceps
Bench - warmups 60k 10, 80k 8, 100k 5, 120k 2
Work sets 140k 4, 120k 9, 100k 11, 80k 14
Incline db press 42.5kg 10,9,7
Cable flye 25k - 12,12,11
Seated db press 37.5kg 9,8,7
Laterals 25kg 12,11,11
Dips +40k 11,9,8
Pushdowns 50kg 11, 45kg 11, 40kg 12
15min hiit wattbike - 232kcals

Back/biceps tomorrow!

5-6 meals per day at the moment, protein 180g fats 80g 320g carbs currently




Hey buddy! Good to see you here. Will be watching with interest. Your cals and macros are very similar to mine, except I am 30g less fat


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 18, 2018, 10:31:28 AM
Thanks guys,

The macros are a little higher actually forgot to include post workout carbs

And fats a little lower too, including my pwo shake - 175p 355c 60f daily at the moment

Cardio as usual is just HIIT no more than 3 times per week 15mins each, walking the dog and generally staying active, mobility work on off days is still in, helping the squats and deads stay safe and starting to see this prep unfold already, back & biceps later starting with deads  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 18, 2018, 06:15:51 PM
Today was back/biceps

Deadlift - warmups 100k 10, 140k 8, 180k 4, 200k 2
Work sets - 210k 6, 190k 9, 170k 11
Neutral pull-ups +25kg 10,9,8,7
Db rows 60kg 10,9,9,8
v pulldown 90k 12,11,10
Face pulls 30kg 15,15,15
Db curl 25kg 8,8,7 drop 20k 6, drop 50k 6
Ez curl 45kg 12,11,9

15min HIIT - wattbike (pro) l1 45s / l5 15s X15 - 242kcals

Hard session - have been toying with the idea of abit Of a change, been running this split forever and itís great but having to keep upping volume to get a response, I was fairly low volume earlier this year but felt recovered too soon, so may start alternating upper/lower again but with more volume than Iíve used in the past, still X3 per week so each muscle every 4-5 days, done this before and worked well, this time round will be with more volume and intensity as I feel more accustomed to that, the higher carbs and lower fats definitely helping recovery too!

This could make things more flexible as expecting another little one at the end of August! Really exciting , On an upper/lower of I had to I could train with no rest between sessions or if needs be a few days with enough stimulation just alternate the 2 sessions

Another reason I eat 5 times a day now as opposed to 6-7 like I have done in the past, makes things very consistent


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: K_Dogs on May 18, 2018, 07:10:19 PM
Congratulations Ben, two is, let's say, a different ball game, but amazing at the same time.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: DDG on May 19, 2018, 10:34:04 AM
Congratulations Ben. I'd consider myself an 'old' hand these days having worked through the hardest years of having two boisterous boys. Keith's right two is a different ball game and the split you've suggested moving to might fit in better with other demands and recovery. Regardless, I hope you have a great summer and good to see you back posting. 😎


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on May 19, 2018, 11:36:28 AM
Completely missed the line about another little un on the way. Congratulations buddy, great news. I am definitely an old hand too and fid that I increase my gym time, to get a break lol!  :D


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 19, 2018, 04:40:42 PM
Thanks chaps, were very excited and compared to our first things seem very chilled out, being settled and good to go , does help knowing what to expect but yeah definitely going to be a challenge!

Iíll be capping my weight sessions at X3 per week (to be honest wouldnít train more than 4 even if I could)

I weigh myself once per week (Saturday AM) - 81.2kg thismorning so pace is spot on, no need to reduce kcals,

May be an idea to make an changes sooner rather than later to get in the habit before the diet kicks in,
Will outline my upper/lower split & diet changes in the next post


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Maveric Matt on May 21, 2018, 12:35:24 PM
Congratulations, buddy!  Looking forward to seeing you (and the family!) at the International  :)
Would you do a warm up show?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 21, 2018, 08:21:43 PM
Thanks Matt, be good to finally nail you down for a natter haha, always flying round the shows.

No warmups for me this year, if my local (mr Coventry) show was 1-2 weeks away I would but a while before that I think.

So ended up ďjust trainingĒ today after a long day at work, I needed the therapy so didnít fancy just tapping legs ready to hit them again Friday, so will persevere with the 3 day split , enjoy it more that way!
Leads to better intensity and turned out a good session

Legs/abs

Squats - 170kg 5,5,5,5,5- last 1-2 sets really tough not ready for 172.5kg yet
(On the last notch on my belt though for the first time since 2016, things must be moving well)

Leg press - 440kg 6, 400kg 8, 360kg 10,10,8 320kg 12, 280kg 15, 240kg 16
Seated leg curl - 82.5kg - 10,9,8,8,7 , 72.5kg 12
Calf press - 240kg 10,9,8 200kg 11, 160kg 14, 120kg 16
Hanging leg raises BW- 20,15,15,15
15min HIIT- wattbike pro - l1 45s (recovery) / l5 15s (sprint) X15 - 234kcals

1 hour 50mins - more volume than I usually go, but felt the need for it

Will get a good walk in tomorrow after work and as usual on my break at work a 10-15min mobility routine.

Thinking of putting together a 3 day split in which I tickle weaker body parts a 2nd time in the week, but also prioritising the heavy basics like I enjoy to

Maybe something along the lines of -

Mon- quads/hams/calves (+1 bicep exercise)

Wed- chest/shoulders/triceps (+1 calf exercise)

Fri- back/biceps/abs (+1 chest exercise)



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 23, 2018, 06:37:25 PM
A good ďpushĒ session today -

5min rowing warmup (need to get this on every time, really helps!)

Bench press - 140kg 4, 130kg 5, 120kg 7, 110kg 10
Incline db press 50kg 7, 46kg 8, 42kg 9
Flat flyes 30kg 9, 26kg 11 (didnít agree with shoulders)
Seated db press 38kg 5, 36kg 6, 34kg 7, 32kg 7, 30kg 7
Laterals 28kg 10, 26kg 10,9 22kg 15,14
Close grip bench 90kg 7, 80kg 10, 70kg 10, 60kg 10
Pushdowns 40kg 10,10,10 drop 35k 5, drop 30kg 5, drop 25kg 5
15min HIIT wattbike - 236kcals today

Another long session approaching 2 hours, not my usual gonna focus on abit more intensity, abit less volume, cappingsessions around the 90min mark with warmup & HIIT feels best for me , but you know with prep can get carried away!

Back/biceps on Friday - looking forward to it- thinking heavy deadlifts, lots of chins, rows curls and face pulls to finish

Iíve ordered John Hansenís new book ďdiary of a natural bodybuilderĒ will Let you guys know what itís like



Not happy that the shoulder pressing suffers dyer chest but on a 3 day split guess canít have it all , maybe train heat with arms and back with shoulders next week? Will see


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: SuperSi on May 24, 2018, 12:25:11 PM
Congratulations on your imminent arrival, Ben.  :)

Fantastic pressing strength; especially at our body weight and you must be pretty lean with your belt on the last notch.

All the best with your prep.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Adam on May 24, 2018, 08:19:26 PM
Good to see your journal is up and running on here again . All the best with your prep

You say shoulder strength struggles after your chest work.  Didnt you go to a more 'bro' style split a short while back doing shoulders and tricep together ?
Can you not go back to this format or are you restricted to a 3 day split ?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 25, 2018, 07:04:21 PM
Thanks si, were all very excited , we havenít found out what weíre having so gonna be a nice surprise!

Not sure about lean just yet but waist is definitely coming in fast with the absence of regular cheat meals, coming up to the 1 stone over contest weight mark in the next week or 2

Thanks Adam! Yeah thatís right had a stint of about 3 months of training 4 days per week and really enjoyed it, i reverted back to 3 days due to expecting another little one recovery also being pushed too, also that voice telling me stick to what you know.

For me I feel 3-4 days per week is the sweet spot for intensity & recovery
Saying that my shoulders are getting leaner and really happy with progress in fullness from last season, so focusing on the side and rear delts to is paying of even if my pressing strength is down a little

Today was back/biceps - again a high volume session but hard and intense!

5min row warmup
Deadlift - 200kg 7, 190kg 8, 180kg 9
Neutral wide pull-up - +40kg 4, +30kg 6, +20kg 8, +10kg 10, BW 12
Seated cable row 120kg 6, 100kg 8, 90kg 10, 80kg 12
Lat pulldown 90kg 8, 80kg 10, 70kg 12, 60kg 15
Seated rear laterals 30kg 8, 26kg 12, 22kg 16
Barbell curls 50kg 6, 45kg 8, 40kg 8, 35kg 10, 30kg 12
Seated db curls 14kg 10, 12kg 12, 10kg 15

15 min HIIT - wattbike - 242kcals today, completely wiped out after all that

Pushing on 2 hours again today, next week will be 90mins max

Next week Iíll be lowering the volume a fair bit aiming for a progression in load and intensity, same split and basic exercises though


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on May 28, 2018, 07:13:22 PM
Had a good and pretty relaxing weekend, got lots of walking and mobility work in too, which is why I was surprised to feel pretty beat up in the lower back by the end of my warmups today

Squats - last warmup set was 160k for 3, and knew my lower back was still smashed up from Friday (the higher volume has caught up with me) so today had to go lighter with more volume and take note, less volume as planned moving forward

Legs-
Stuck with 160k for my heaviest sets to keep lower back in check
Squats - 160kg 5,5,5,5,5 140kg 10,10,8 100kg 18,15
Seated leg curl - 82.5kg 10,9,8 72.5kg 12,12
Calf press 200kg 10,10,9 160kg 15,14
15min HIIT - wattbike - 237kcals

God the job done although had to auto regulate the session , no point messing up my back

Read John Hansen a new book - very good, informative and old school is anyone is getting abit lost and needs grounding again, a no b.s book about how to get big and lean

Weight 80.7kg , nearly 2kg down and 6 or 7 to go


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: thebull on June 14, 2018, 09:04:53 AM
Looking like you had a good offseason mate and very strong! Congrats on the second littlen


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 15, 2018, 08:39:17 PM
Thanks Pete, really excited pal! Yeah definitely felt he most productive offseason yet, not 1 session missed, lots of food, not overly fat to begin prep and a fair bit stronger on basic lifts

Prep is going well, 6 weeks in, 18 weeks out
Body weight under 80kg now, 79.7kg last weigh in

Training has been simplified as I said I would,
Upper/lower X3 per week , heavy basics as always

Last 2 sessions-

Wednesday 13th June - upper

4x6 bench press 120kg - 6,6,6,5 - slow and controlled, heavy though!
4x6 barbell row 120kg 6,6,6,6 - these are feeling great, strict & great squeeze
3x10 standing press 60kg 10,10,9
3x10 pullups +10kg 10,9,8
3x10 dips +10kg 10,9,9
3x10 db curls 20kg 10,10,10 - last set was hard! Arms exploding
3x10 db laterals 20kg 10,10,10 - never felt better, was using 28kg with loose form, now 20kg dead strict no body movement and delts are loving it

1 hour 25mins

Today - lower & HIIT
4x6 squat 160kg 6,6,6,6 - felt much better than Monday, night and day! Changed technique slightly
4x6 deadlift 182.5kg 6,6,6,6 - after squats happy with that, again better as looking down helping posture
3x10 leg press 360kg - 10,10,10 - last set failure , slow and controlled, bloody hard!
3x10 leg curl 80kg 10,10,8
3x10 calf press 200kg 10,10,10 - pause at stretch, slow negative, big squeeze
3x10 hanging leg raises - 10kg 10,10,10 - this writes abs off like no other
15min HIIT - wattbike (pro) L1 45s (recovery) L5 15s (sprint) X15- 9.4KM

1 hour 40

Iíll keep rolling these , thriving from the higher frequency for me every 4-5 days for body parts is perfect for my recovery and volume/intensity


diet going great and every meal I enjoy , 5 meals + pwo shake on training days , current macros 180p 335c 60f - and losing around 0.5-1lb per week with about 13-14lb to go I recon , that would see me at the same weight as the UK finals in 2016

Seeing new detail every few days, midsection and back coming in nicely


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 19, 2018, 08:09:54 AM
Now weighing in at 79.1kg , 18 & 22 weeks out and about 5kg over stage weight, very surprised in how lean Iím getting with carbs still 300-350g per day - keeping strength too!

Monday 18th June -
Great fest session of the week- decided to try and lower volume slightly and hit more intensity, really enjoyed the session!

Upper -
Chest:
bench press - 4 warmups - 130kg 5, 120kg 7, 110kg 9
Incline db press - 50kg 6, 46kg 9
Dips - + 60kg 8, +40kg 11
Back:
Barbell rows - 2 warmups - 130kg 5, 120kg 8, 110kg 10
Pullups - +20kg 10, +10kg 12
Shoulders:
Standing press - 1 warmup - 75kg 6, 70kg 8, 65kg 9
Lateral raises - 22kg 12, 20kg 14
Biceps:
DB curls - 26kg 8, 22kg 10, 18kg 13
Triceps:
Lying tricep extension - 50kg 8, 45kg 9, 40kg 11

1 hour 28mins, felt great all the way through-
Lower + HIIT on Wednesday


Funny , iv been walking a lot more the last year since getting a dog and the need for my mobility work has gone right down, I guess walking is ďmobilityĒ and a few miles per day is keeping me healthy , also just 1-2 HIIT sessions per week which is helpin recover further


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on June 19, 2018, 01:20:50 PM
very surprised in how lean Iím getting with carbs still 300-350g per day - keeping strength too!

Why are you surprised mate? Overall calorie balance is primary after all. The more I understand, the more simple I see it to be. Hit our calorie and protein target and the rest is pretty much from wherever and we will lean out. Use more cals than we are consuming, have enough protein to promote protein synthesis and prevent muscle being cannibalized and jobs a good un


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 20, 2018, 08:25:36 PM
It is mate, and kcals are a fair bit higher than last time overall, not that carbs are ďfat holdingĒ or anything haha

Good lower session today, same style as Mondays upper, was tough!

Squat - 4 warmups
170kg 6, 160kg 8, 150kg 10
Deadlift - 2 warmups
200kg 5, 190kg 7, 180kg 9
Leg press - 405kg 9, 365kg 14
Leg curl - 82.5kg 12,10
Leg extension - 102.5kg 12, 82.5kg 15
Calf press - 240kg - 12, 200kg 14, 160kg 16
Hanging leg raises - +10kg 12, +5kg 15, BW - 20
15min HIIT - Xtrainer l10/l20 45s/15s X15

Squats and deads are a brutal combo but feel great for deadlifts , although slightly weaker

Upper again Friday - confident in these sessions , and enjoying them!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on June 20, 2018, 08:55:54 PM
Carbs FTW!  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 25, 2018, 10:13:06 AM
Definitely mate, Lee always told me i was abit to restrictive on the carbs, he was right (as usual)

A funny old week... (if your eating, donít read)

So Wednesday before and during my session felt real discomfort in my bowel like there was a mass there
Couldnít sit down and pain was getting worse by the hour, went doctors and they said could be an abscess growing and need to get it sorted ASAP (great!) gave me some strong antibiotics and painkillers and said if itís not better by Friday go A&E  and theyíll have to operate...

Well Friday came round and it was worse hard to sleep, walk, couldnít sit atall , time to get this sorted Saturday morning (I stupidly kept going to work .... on a motorbike Thursday and Friday  :-X) - also had a fever all day the body was fighting and could barely keep my head up, I couldnít train no way!

Ok Saturday morning went A and E they took one look and booked me in for an op (general) but had to be Sunday morning as they were packed -

Although the abscess was very much present the fever had calmed down
So thought Iíd sneak in an upper session so I can stay in top of the prep (at this point didnít know if I could recover from the op intkme to keep prepping for the UK pro international in 17 weeks time) so didnít hold back...

Saturday 23rd June - upper (Fridays session)

3 warmups
Bench 120kg 5,5 110kg 6,6 100kg 8 (getting on and off the bench was... interesting)
1 warmup set
Barbell row 105kg 8,8,8,8 100kg 10 - super strict trying not to use lower body atall, really locked in
1 warmup set
Standing B.B. press - 65kg 8,8 60kg 10,8 - couldnít tense glutes so felt abit unsteady but got t done
Pullups - +20kg 8,6 +10kg 10,8 - last felt fired up and really slow and controlled
Dips +50kg 8,8 +40kg 10,10 - focusing on perfect form full rom stretching and squeezing chest and triís
Db curls x2 20kg 10,10,10,10 - these fully pumped my arms!
Lateral raises x2 20kg 10,10,10,10 - focusing on strict form locked in only arms moving, harder than swinging the 26-28kg dbís like Iím used to

1 hour 45mins , took my time when needed making sure not to aggravate the area

Strength was definitely down due to the fever but keeping nutrition on point helped bigtime and a semi productive session!

So went in yesterday morning had to fast from Saturday evening and didnít eat until I came round from the general at 3:30, packed a meal of whey-oats-blueberries-creatine-multivitamin  and managed to get discharged by 8pm which wasnít bad as they forgot to feed me dinner

Got home and Had salmon-brown rice-veg-multivit for my 2nd meal then watched the game that I missed whilst  being under

Last meal at midnight my usual pre bed casein-oats-blueberries-multivitamin

So back to my usual regiment today, got an open wound that needs to be packed daily for 1-2 weeks which wasnít pleasant thismorning but got them to pack it extra tight as gonna waddle to the gym later to hit a lower session, not going to be able to squat or deadlift heavy but may manage smith hack squats, Romanian Deadlifts and hopefully leg press,curl,extension,calf raises and hanging leg raises , and will find a mine k can do HIIT on for the next few sessions even if itís standing at the upper body cycle, but will try the xtrainer first - gonna put an extra tight dressing over the open wound, should keep it all in  ;D wish me luck!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 25, 2018, 07:21:21 PM
Today managed a light lower session + HIIT

Pretty happy with todayís session considering less than 24hrs after being under , felt decent but will implement heavy squats/deadlift when I can hopefully in the next 1-2 weeks starting reserved  and building over a few sessions to good loads

Today - lower & HIIT

Seated leg press 200kg 4x20
Smith RDL 120kg 4x10
Leg extension 100k 4x15
Seated leg curl 95kg 4x10
Standing calf raise 150kg 4x12
Hanging leg raises 6kg 4x12
15min HIIT Xtrainer - l16 45s/15s X15 - 232kcals (heart rate upto mid 180ís)

1 hour 45mins

Nutrition on point - not at work this week so activity may be slightly down plus need to rest abit more, if not under 79kg Saturday morning will chip put 25g rice from my lunch to keep things moving






Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on June 25, 2018, 10:21:27 PM
I admire the tenacity and desire to not be put off your stride mate but I do wonder whether a little R&R may be wiser - the old one step back to take two steps forward?

I stubbed my toe once, and took a week off  ;)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: SuperSi on June 26, 2018, 09:27:38 AM
Hope you're recovering well, buddy!

As Toby said, incredibly tenacity to just crack on and keep getting the sessions in! I'm sure you will be cautious, but time is on your side comp wise to allow for some recovery if needed. :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 26, 2018, 08:14:58 PM
Thanks guys yes maybe cos I was concerned for a minute that things may be over this year I wanted to make sure Iím ok, definitely not gonna be trying any heavy squats/deads in the next week or 2

Today met with Lee and Amy, was great to catch up and managed to get an upper session with Lee too!

Lee pushed me but made sure I wasnít overdoing things 2 days after the op spotting and passing weights to eleviate any pain

Upper-
4 warmup sets
Flat DB press - 55kg 8,6, 52.5kg 6,5, 50kg 6
Pullups- +20kg 8,6 +15kg 7, +10kg 9
Seated hammer press 120k 8, 100k 9,8 80kg 9 drop 40k 7
Seated hammer row 120k 10,10,10,9 drop 80k 8, drop 40k 12
Dips +40k 12,10,10 drop +20k 7, drop BW 12
Ez curls 40k 9,8,8 drop 30k 8
Laterals 17.5k 12,12
Db flyes 20k 12,12
Pushdowns 40k 12,12

90mins

Rest day tomorrow




Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 28, 2018, 10:28:23 AM
Rest day yesterday, back on lower & HIIT today , inching the intensity up as appropriate,
Had to get the session in before my appointment to pack the wound so a 6:30 session

Was happy with it considering, all sets a fair way from failure and focused on working the directed muscle

Lower -
3 warmups
Deadlifts - 160kg 6,6,6,6,6 140kg 8 - all easy sets no belt or real intensity but very happy and should be deadlifting usual weights within a couple weeks with plenty of time to the show
Squat machine -
2 warmup sets
200kg 8,8,6,6,6 (not a fan of these but did the trick and loaded quads well
Seated leg curl 96kg - 10,10,10
Leg extension - 101kg - 10,10,10
Standing calf raise - 150kg 10,10,10,10
Hanging leg raises - 6kg 12,10,10,10

15min x-trainer l14/18 45s/15s X15 - 239kcals - a little up on intensity and keep keep creeping up

1 hour 30mins

Starting to get rid of the painkillers and feeling positive!

Diet is and has beer unchanged still only 400kcal daily below my offseason base diet and currently is ...

Meal 1 - 1 scoop whey-100g oats- 1 banana - 5g creatine - multivitamin
Meal 2- 3 eggs - 50g oats- 1 apple
Meal 3- 150g chicken- 100g rice - large salad - multivit
Meal 4- 150g steak or salmon - 200g sweet potato- 500g veg - multivit
Meal 5- 1 scoop casein - 50g oats- 100g blueberries

Pwo (training days) - 1 scoop whey-50g dextrose-5g creatine

4l water daily, no cheats during prep , refeed once weekly where I add 100g sweet potato to meal 4, 50g pats to meal 2 and 5 (which is my offseason base diet)

Offseason macros (and Sunday during prep)
185p 415c 67f - 3000kcal ish

Currently -
175p 335c 59f - 2600kcal Ish


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on June 30, 2018, 09:00:12 AM
A very good upper session to finish the week yesterday, considering the current limitations a productive week of training, with slightly higher frequency to compensate for any reduction in intensity

Iíd say less than a week after the op upper training is at 90% lower 80% and HIIT can be by hard on the xtrainer (no bike)

Upper - 29-6-18

4 warmups
Flat db press 55kg 7,6,6,5,5
1 warmup
T bar row - 90kg 8,8,8,8 80kg 10
Standing press 60kg 10,8,8,8
Pullups - BW - 12,10,10,10
Dips +45kg 10,9,8,8
Db curls 20kg 10,9,8,8
Lateral raises 20kg 12,11,10
Pushdowns 40kg 12,11,10

1 hour 30mins


Thismorning weight- 78.5kg - so a loss of 0.6kg in the last 2 weeks, consistent loss of any week &
Roughly 4.5kg to lose in 16 weeks - not going to lower food this week, so keeping the same but activity will be up on this last week now Iím a little more mobile so will keep momentum going!  :)

Training will be X4 next week again as lower sessions wonít be quite 100% but will hit abit more volume and make sure he muscles get stimulated well


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 02, 2018, 12:25:50 PM
Well rested over the weekend with some quality family time, was ready to test out the big lifts today...

Lower - 2-7-18

Squat - 3 warmup sets and it was evident these felt better than I thought, really had to slow down the movement but a full ROM was comfortable and could explode fairly well from the bottom of the movement, went beltless and slightly higher rep than I usually go, will increase the weights and drop the reps as the sessions progress, I prefer the 5-6 rep range for powerlifts

140kg 8,8,8,8 - felt hard especially beltless, but very happy to be back squatting

Deadlift - 1 warmup
160kg 8,8,8,8 - again beltless, controlling the negative , feeling great!
Leg press - 1 warmup
300kg 12,12,12 - quads were on fire after these! Much lighter than I usually go but Piston like reps picture perfect full ROM and constant tension, was hobbling around after!
Seated Leg curls 96kg 12,12,12 - really get on with this machine (hammer strength) feel every inch of the rep in the hams
Standing calf raise 145k 12,12,12
Hanging leg raises 8kg 12,12,12

15min HIIT - Xtrainer - l14/18 - 45s/15s X15 - 241kcals - a little more progress on this, heart rate getting up to the low 180ís and getting the job done, actually enjoy the challenge

This week will be X4 sessions and next week back down to X3 as intensity and volume per session will be up there again! And will be squatting and deadloftig every lower day, benching and barbell rowing every upper day heavy, then of coarse all the other stuff! - still getting the wound packed daily but hoping by the end of the week will be just healing a cut and get done with that chapter! No more pain relief needed to and feeling healthy and positive!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 03, 2018, 11:42:14 AM
Another great upper session thismorning, definitely back to mon-wed-fri next week and look to push on heavy and hard

3.7.18 - upper

4 warmups
Bench - 120kg 5, 110kg 7,6,6 - 120 feeling much heavier than a couple weeks ago
1 warmup
Barbell row - 110kg 8,6,6,6 - all strict and felt a good contraction, hard after deads yesterday
Standing press - 65kg 10,8,7
Pullups +15kg 10,8,8 - great feel in the late after rows
Dips +50kg 10,9,8 - loving these at the moment with lighter body weight
Barbell curls 40kg 10,10,10
Lateral raises 20kg 12,12,12
Supersetted
Pushdowns 40kg 12,12,12

1 hour 35mins - very pleased with thismornings sessions, usually a little weaker when training early but went well

The plan is due to higher frequency this week, heavy hack squat & RDL being the focus Thursday, Friday will be heavy dumbbell bench and T bar rows with all the other stuff in there too

Much more active this week, feel better for it! Canít beat dog walks early morning this time of year!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 05, 2018, 02:40:17 PM
Great 2nd lower session of the week this morning 6:30am
- a little more reserved (higher rep, supported movements) than Mondayís session

This is the last of the X4 per week sessions so back to what I enjoy best from Monday - X3 per week, heavy basics only fluff thatís needed (calves,arms,side delts etc)

Lower - 5-7-18

3 warmups
Squat machine - 200kg - 12,8,8,8 - quads felt great, a mixture between a squat and leg press, if frequency was consistently X2 per week per body part this would stay in
1 warmup
Romanian deadlift - 140kg 8,8,8,8 - comfortable, paused the last few reps on each set
Leg extension - 110kg 12,11,10 - was always against these but feel theyíve helped my lower quads this year
Seated Leg curls - 103kg 12,10,10
Standing calf raise - 155kg 12, 165kg 10, 175kg 8 - last year or 2 really slowed these down and focus on calves and feel better than ever
Hanging leg raises - 10kg 12,12,12

15min HIIT - Xtrainer - l14/18 - 245kcals - really like the feel of sprinting in these , may sick with them instead of the bike, also remember last prep doing HIIt on the bike after a session legs would ďrun outĒ and cramp before the end of the HIIT, doesnít happen with a whole body move like xtrainer


Done in 90mins

Food the same as last few weeks, been more active this week, will see what the scales say on the weekend, do feel a fair bit leaner and yesterday felt fatigued through the day, starting to kick in a little now, about right at 15/19 weeks out.

Going out for a ďcurryĒ with family on Sunday, gonna have  tandoori salmon, boiled rice and side salad, to simulate my usual meal but looking forward to it regardless , definitely finding the higher carb lower fat approach much better for cravings, hunger/food focus, hoping to come in fuller with abit more size too with as good condition, definitely look better at this weight than before too, keep working!






Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 06, 2018, 01:59:58 PM
Great final session for the week

Upper - 6-7-18

4 warmups
Flat db press -X2 55kg - 7,7,6,6 - really like the feel of these (Jordan dumbbells)
Tempted to stick with these instead of barbell bench - feeling it in the chest more
1 warmup
1 arm DB row - 60kg 8,8,8,8 - rested one arm and leg on a bench , kept theee slow and deliberate, a nice change from barbell rows
Standing press 65kg 10,8,8 - much prefer these tonseated atthe moment, sometimes too much of a faff setting up a seated press
Pullups +15kg 10,9,8
Dips +50kg 10,10,9 - pretty sure thatís a PB - last prep I remember dips got weaker, this time getting stronger (as a body weight exercise should during prep)
Barbell curls 45kg 10,10,9
Lateral raises 20kg 12,12,12
Pushdowns - 45kg 10,10,10

1 hour 37mins - and that wraps up the week of training for me

Next week will be even more active than this week (which has been pretty hectic) , training lower Monday and Friday & upper Wednesday, HIIT on lower days as always , and look to hit maximum weights and keep the overload rolling

I have found doing a lot more walking daily has kept the need for mobility work down to a minimum, moving in general is a much better option for me , havnt foam rolled for weeks and feeling healthy.

Going to squat and deadlift beltless Monday a little heavier than last session & Friday add in the belt and increase further




Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 07, 2018, 02:54:07 PM
Weighed in at 77.7kg thismorning, thatís a drop of 0.8kg in a week and 4kg over previous contest shape with 15 weeks to go, if things donít slow down the next week or 2 Iíll have to ADD food in, body is thriving off the higher carb lower fat approach, Iíd be happy to lose no more than 1-2lb in the next 3 or so weeks and still be in a great place for the final 12 weeks, donít want to be ready too early and hold that state for to long, will see how the body reacts to 3 sessions next week.



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 20, 2018, 08:48:08 PM
9-7-18 - lower
Last session beltless before pushing up again!

Squat - 4x8 145kg 8,8,8,8 - felt tough but not lost strength
Deadlift - 170kg 7,6,6,6 - again tough beltless but felt great to go heavier
Leg press - 340kg 12,12,12 - constant tension slow tempo
Leg curl - 110kg 10,9,8 - hammer strength hence the extra weight
Leg extension - 110kg 11,10,9
Standing calf - 185kg 8, 175kg 11, 165kg 14
Hanging leg raises bw 11,10,10
15min HIIT - Xtrainer - l14/18 - hardest session yet!


11-7-18 - upper
Bench press - 110kg 8,7,6.6
Barbell row 110kg 8,7,7,6
Standing press 65kg 10,9,8
Pullups +15kg 10,9,7
Dips +50k - 10,10,9
Barbell curl 45kg 10,10,9
Lateral raises 22k 10,10,10
Pushdowns 45k 10,10,10

13-7-18 - lower (back to belt-usual gym and usual intensity!)

Squat 150kg 8,8,8,8 - last set was death but every rep slow and controlled
Deadlifts - 180kg 6,6,6,6 - momentum building
Leg press - 360kg 10,10,9
Leg curls 82.5kg - 10,9,8
Leg extension - 102.5kg - 12,9,8
Calf press 220kg 12,10,9
Hanging leg raises 10k 11,10,10
15min HIIT xtrainer - level 15 45s/ level 25 15s (balls to the wall) - dead!

14-7-18 - 14 weeks out - 77.4kg , good loss in-line with the pace I want
All boxes ticked daily

Nutrition on point
Training done
Posing practiced
Walking the dog daily
Keeping high energy even when itís graft






Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 20, 2018, 09:11:55 PM
16-7-18

Upper -
Bench press - 110kg 8,8,7,6
Barbell row - 110kg 8,8,8,8 - great progress and felt smooth!
Standing press - 65kg 10,10,8
Pullups +15kg 10,9,8
Dips +50kg 10,10,8
Barbell curls 45kg - 10,10,9
Laterals 22kg 19,10,10 - felt heavy today! Fighting to keep strict and stay on the delts
Pushdowns 45kg 10,10,10

18-7-18 - really wanted to get after it today and now able to train the way I enjoy, a little lower volume and higher intensity , chasing progressive overload with a top and back off sets all to failure, with the 2nd little one due in 5 weeks and soon only gonna be able to train at 4:30am gonna need to be efficient with my workouts and get rid of any junk volume, love this type of workout though, nowhere to hide , canít hide behind a tone of volume or machine work to make it ďfeelĒ hard , focusing on the hard stuff

Lower -
Squat - 160kg 8, 150kg 10, 140kg 13
Deadlift - 180kg 8, 170kg 9, 160kg 12
Leg press - 400kg 10, 360kg 13, 320kg 16
Leg curl - 82.5kg 10, 75kg 14, 67.5kg 16
Calf press - 240kg - 12, 220kg 13, 200kg 13
Hanging leg raises - 10k 12, 8k 13, 6kg 16
15min HIIt - Xtrainer - slightly up on the last HIIT session - love it! Heart rate peaked at 186bpm!

Intensity across rep ranges and different exercises, job done

Now back to higher intensity lower volume will only go for stength to strength , smashing the log book each session!

20-7-18
Upper - as Wednesday time to make every rep count , today felt great! And after 12 early shifts in a row was Buzzing during todayís session! Took real pride in execution today and made every rep count felt every rep staying on the muscle

Bench press - 120kg 7, 110kg 9, 100kg 12
Barbell row - 120kg 8, 110kg 10, 100kg 13
Standing press - 80kg 4, 70kg 8, 60kg 11
Pullups +20kg 10, +10kg 12, BW 15
Dips +60kg 9, +40kg 12, +20kg 17
Db curls 26kg 7, 24kh 8, 22kg 10
Laterals - 24kg 10, 20kg 13
Pushdowns - 50kg 10, 45kg 12, 40kg 15

Felt awesome pump was crazy too , done in 90mins May need to shave volume down a little more during the early sessions, maybe supersetting some of the isolation stuff, laterals and pushdowns arnt the be all end all either way

13 weeks out tomorrow!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 21, 2018, 08:38:56 AM
Weighed in thismorning at 77.8kg, strangely up a little and the same as a couple weeks ago, I could almost predict my body has now adapted to the kcals Iím currently on, energy has been a little higher last couple of days and felt stronger in the gym & fuller which is great. (Although food, training and activity have remained the same)

Tomorrow I have a couple of free hours, going to train lower (& HIIT) to make it the 4th session of the week, most weeks are 3 days with the occasional 4th day of time permits, but I continue to cycle through upper & lower so recovery is great, taking 25g (of the 100g) rice out of my lunch to keep the slow loss moving from today and aiming to be around the 77kg mark next week at the 12 (&16) weeks out mark with about 1kg to lose per month to hit top condition. Coming together nicely, although the hardest graft is yet to come, Iím ready for it! Treating this prep like my final prep, with big changes in my life this year (all positive) I donít want to leave any stone unturned in my family,work & personal goals. All or nothing!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 22, 2018, 04:33:50 PM
A great lower & HIIT session to end the week today

Similar to wednesdays session but different machines after the squats/deads

Squats - 160kg 8, 150kg 11, 140kg 14
Deadlift - 180kg 8, 170kg 10, 160kg 12 - marginal progress on both - priority
Leg press - 9pps - 11, 8 pps - 13, 7pps - 17 - not used this 45 leg press for a while, like it!
Lying leg curl 60kg 10, 50kg 12, 40kg 16
Standing calf - 150kg 10, 140kg 12, 130kg 15
Hanging leg raises - 10k 12, 7.5k 14, 5kg 16
15min HIIT Xtrainer - L10/20 45s/15s X15 - 292kcals - looking to build on this

1 hour 40mins

Canít beat training at the workout mill , iv never prepped for a show and not trained there, itís home for me, been here 10 years with odd times having to train elsewhere but rich g being a great guy with a family of his own, realises my time restraints has allowed me to train whenever I like , so with Becky 35 weeks pregnant and Isla being a hyperactive 3 year old , 6am starts at work , back at the mill at 4:30am for upper it is! No excuses!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 23, 2018, 08:11:51 AM
First early session thismorning , was expecting strength to be down a fair bit being first thing, and having had an intense lower session yeaterday afternoon, but happy with the numbers and even a slight progression on some, needed an extra warmup set here or there, but by 4:30am I was firing on all cilinders

Upper - 23-7-18

Bench - 110kg 8,8,7,6
Barbell row - 110kg 8,8,8,8 - strict and strong contraction
Standing press - 65kg - 10,8,7 (need to get this set up better, tense glutes not lower back)
Pullups +15kg 10,10,9 - felt strong on these!
Dips +50kg 10,10,9 - after these chest and triceps were FULL
Db curls - 20kg 10,10,10 - rich has invested in some nice primal strength dumbbells love them!
Laterals - 20kg 12,12,12 - great control, delts on fire

That was done! With a few more warmups than usual 1 hour 32mins

Just the usual dog walking tomorrow then itís lower + HIIT again Wednesday  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Maveric Matt on July 23, 2018, 09:48:02 AM
Nice work mate.  High carb, low fat does seem the best way to go (for most people).  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: AllanD on July 23, 2018, 01:05:46 PM
Hi Ben!

Thanks for your infos. Awesome!

Wow....15 Min HIIT after your workout is very hard.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 25, 2018, 07:44:53 PM
Yes Matt - body seems to cope better aslong as fats are adequate , more room for carbs. = more energy & more strength  8)

15min HIIt as a finisher works very well!


Back in for another good lower session today at the Mill

- squats - 160kg 8,7,6,6
- deadlifts 180kg 8,8,6,6
- leg press 360kg 12,10,10
- lying leg curl 55kg 12,11,9
- standing calf raise 150kg 12,10,9
- hanging leg raise - 10kg 12,11,10
15min HIIt - l12/20 45s/15s X15 - 323kcals

1 hour 40mins

Really back in the groove with squats/deads after the op, still going doctors every day which is a ball ache- should be sorted in a week or so thank god!

Never thought Iíd recover from squats and deads every lower session heavy but I am , keeping form solid and working in the 6-8 two range for those helps, and always 3-5 days before hitting them again, my deadlifts are stronger after squats than when fresh last prep, happy with that!

Big rich G training legs at the same time as me today, guy works hard! More volume in his warmups than my entire session, guy looks freaky! Huge as always! Just shows that even with injuries etc natty muscle stays!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 27, 2018, 05:24:05 PM
Upper - 27.7.18

- a good session to end the week and a very slight improvement on Mondays session
Very happy with my approach to this prep, the frequency, intensity and volume doing the trick and at 12 weeks out in a good position with upper body looking very lean and lower body getting there, a lot more work to go but the first 12 weeks has been very productive regardless of a few challenges

Bench press - 110kg 8,8,7,6
Barbell row - 112.5kg 8,8,8,8
Standing press- 65kg 10,9,7
Pullups +15kg 10,10,9
Dips +50kg - 10,10,9
Ez curls 45kg 10,10,10
Laterals 20kg 12,12,12
Pushdowns 52.5kg 10,10,9

1 hour 35mins

Weekend off training as usual, family time with a couple of dog walks - recovery is key!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on July 30, 2018, 08:05:09 PM
So weighed in at 77.2kg on the weekend , pace is spot on and consistency day in and day out is paying off, making the process efficient, effective and predictable

Lower & HIIT - 30.7.18

Not gonna lie, even after a weekend of relaxing and only dog walking for exercise I felt like I hit a wall today, wasnít expecting it and work was a drag! Was fully expecting to have to fight through todayís session to even match my usual numbers, but surprised as my last warmup set everything clicked into place and started firing - was able to progress on last weeks lower & reminded myself not to worry about how Iím ďfeelingĒ just do the work and there is always more to give!

Squat 4x6-8 160kg 8,7,7,6
Deadlift 4x6-8 180kg 8,8,7,6
Leg press 3x8-10 360kg - 12,11,10
Lying leg curl 3x8-10 55kg 12,11,10
Standing calf raise - 3x8-10 150kg 12,10,10
Hanging leg raise 3x8-10 10kg - 12,12,10

15min HIIT - Xtrainer - l15/20 45s/15s X15 - 364kcals - really smashed this today, heart rate was High, approaching 190BPM during the last few sprints - love the challenge - X2 of these this week

Duration - 1 hour 43mins total of 6 warmups throughout

2 lowers this week and I fully intend to smash this again come Friday, progressive overload right until the end!

Damo has started a Vlog on his YouTube channel, showing his journey to the stage this year, recommend anyone wanting to see first hand how itís done - a must watch! (Damian lees tailored fitness)

Long dog walk tomorrow and posing practice (every off day), needs work!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 01, 2018, 08:51:22 PM
Had a great discussion with AJ Morris yesterday, talking everything natural bodybuilding, heís put it on his YouTube channel as a podcast, A great guy with a huge future in the sport and industry! Really enjoy his work, well worth checking out for anyone who hasnít already.

Upper - 1.8.18

Bench 110kg - 8,8,7,6
Barbell row 112.5kg - 8,8,8,8 - locked these in better today
Standing press 65kg - 10,9,8
Pullups +15kg 10,10,9
Dips +50kg 10,10,9
Ez curls 45kg 12,10,10
Laterals x2 20kg - 12,12,12
Pushdowns - 52.5kg 12,10,10

1 hour 33mins

A good session, matching my numbers across the board with a couple of small progressive exercises later in the session, a great feel though and connected with every muscle well

As always , nutrition like clockwork , energy low at times but just cracking on, staying active at work and home, ticking the days off getting it done!

Rest day tomorrow, posing practice, dog walk, recover ready to crush lower & HIIT on Friday!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on August 01, 2018, 09:37:49 PM
I have saved the podcast to listen to in the next few days while out walking the dog


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 04, 2018, 07:56:34 AM
I do the same with podcasts mate while walking the dog  :)

Today marks the 11 week out mark, weighing 76.8kg , no huge changes week to week but there adding up nicely.

3.8.18 - lower & HIIT

Squats - 160kg 8,7,7,7
Deadlift - 180kg - 8,8,7,7
Leg press - 360kg - 360kg - 12,12,10
Lying leg curls 55kg - 12,11,10
Standing calf raise - 150kg 12,11,10
Hanging leg raises - 10kg 12,12,12

15min HIIT- Xtrainer - l15/20 45s/15s X15 - 369kcals - brutal

1 hour 37mins


Very happy with todayís session, small progressions on Mondays session, looking back at my log from last prep in 2016, Iím stronger deadlifting after heavy squatting this year than I was fresh last time! At this weight last prep I was squatting 155kg  for 5-6 reps per set, now Iím squatting 160kg for 7-8 reps per set and I was deadlifting 170kg for 5-6 reps (fresh) now Iím deadlifting 180kg for 7-8 reps per set after the squats. This is across most lifts too and I have a good feeling Iíll look fuller and even harder when Iím shape in a few months time.

Mentally feeling good most the time , real busy with family life & work, definitely helps! Probably 2-3 days per week is a struggle with fatigue, we all know it... a real slog to even walk around, or people noticing you look ďdownĒ at work but you feel ok just quiet and working hard haha. I expect by the 8 week out mark this will be most days. Ready for it though!



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Rich mc on August 04, 2018, 12:26:39 PM
Hi Ben, just wanted to ask is the upper/lower split just for prep?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 04, 2018, 02:22:31 PM
Hi rich, no, itís a great split for packing on that size in the offseason too, for me itís about nailing those basic lifts as often as possible and with a typical split, for me itís too much focus on the minor stuff , I canít be satisfied squatting/deadlifting/press and rowing less in place of more isolation work, I find the isolations I do is enough for me. If I trained 4-5-6 times per week I would probably use a legs-push-pull split and do a little more isolation.

Iv used full body/split/upper lower workouts over the years and this is the approach that works best for me, in this phase of my ďcareerĒ


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Rich mc on August 04, 2018, 03:25:57 PM
Cool thanks for that Ben, think Iím going to give this a try on a 4 on 1 off split as I have recently increased my leg training frequency and they seem to be responding really well so hoping I can carry this over to my upper body.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 04, 2018, 06:19:57 PM
Yes Iíve found this too over the years rich, regarding higher frequencies , if I trained that frequently I would either have 2 different upper/lower workouts and cycle through them or cycle a 3 day split like legs-push-pull 5-6 days per week , both would work great


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: AllanD on August 09, 2018, 05:45:53 PM
Hi Ben!

How often do you do HIIT per week?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 11, 2018, 05:45:59 PM
Hi mate, I do HIIT 1-2 per week, and use it to keep Fitness levels high, more so than daily calorie burning, as it takes a lot out of you, I would suggest 1-3 sessions per week depending on goals and current condition  :)

WEEKLY UPDATE -


Overall a tough week of prep with a training day at work Monday which turned out to be very physical setting up new classes at the chain of gyms I work for, we practically exercised for hours and felt done in after a 5am Upper session.

Equally each day Is fatiguing now, I know this is right at 10 weeks out things hurt abit which is fine, 1 day at a time

Mon 6th aug- upper

4x6-8 bench 110kg 8,7,7,7
4x6-8 barbell row 112.5k 8,8,8,8
3x8-10 standing press 65k 10,9,7
3x8-10 pullups +15k 10,10,8
3x8-10 dips +50k 10,10,9
3x10-12 ez curl 45k 12,11,11
3x10-12 laterals 20k 12,12,12
3x10-12 skullcrushers 45k 10,9,7

A good solid session holding strength nicely as fatigue builds and weight drops

Wed 8th aug- lower +HIIT

4x6-8 squat 160k 8,8,7,7
4x6-8 deadlift 180k 8,8,7,7
3x8-10 leg press 360k - 12,11,11
3x8-10 Seated leg curl 82.5k 9,9,8
3x8-10 leg extensions 102.5k 12,10,9
3x10-12 calf press 200k 12,11,11
3x10-12 hanging leg raises 10k 12,12,12

15min HIIT Xtrainer level 15 45s / level 25 15s X15 - brutal!

Happy with this session was feeling tired today but once I was warm all started firing and got through it! Fatigue was high Thursday but kept activity high as I do every off day

Fri 10th - upper

Bench 120k 7, 100k 12
Barbell row 120k 7, 100k 15
Incline bench 100k 7, 80k 12
Pulups +20k 13, BW 23
Seated press 80k 8, 60k 12
V pulldown 125k 7, 115k 10
Dips +60k 9, +40k 14
Db curls 25k 9, 20k 12
Laterals 25k 12, 20k 17
Hammer curls 25k 10, 20k 13
Pushdowns - 52.5k 15,10

Got to train with an old friend and training partner today so not my usual session but enjoyed the intensity and challenge

The weekend will consist of dog walks and family time - baby #2 could arrive any day now!

Weighed in thismorning at 76.9kg so weight stalled and from today taking 25g rice and 50g sweet potato daily (30g carbs), I know I may have to get aggressive with diet to bring it in 10 week on the pro stage - then so be it!

Current macros from today 175p 285c 56f

Usual Sunday refeed tomorrow of 185p 415c 67f - then itís time to dig a little

Looking forward to bringing the condition fullly in now and seeing progress from the last 2 years of heavy training - sitting 7lb above previous top condition so 0.5-1lb per week to come off


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on August 12, 2018, 09:39:29 AM
Hey mate, what is the reason for the refeed?

I ask as I look at your numbers for each day and they are still a decent amount of food going in at 2350kcals so I cannot imagine you are depleted and there being any physiological need to have a higher day and I do not believe there is any research showing that one day of higher eating has any benefit except possibly mentally.


The refeed day puts you up to 3000kcals on that day and actually makes the average of the week 2450kcals. I guess it is preference and hitting the same weekly numbers for the same result but if you took the refeed out, it negates any need for reducing the daily rice and sweet potato, makes the diet seem less aggressive potentially. I do know most like the 6 low days to give the refeed day though, just more I think about it, I feel sustainability and adherence may be best served by not building up any hunger through simply whacking the refeed on every other day for a higher every single day intake.





Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 12, 2018, 03:21:07 PM
Hi pal good question,

Serves a couple of purposes.

1) mentally - Iím not a fan of cheat meals but this serves the same purpose for me with no negative effect on cravings/bodyweight spike etc that a binge may trigger.

2) physically, Iím definitly Stronger the day or 2 after the refeed, feel refreshed and helps retain strength. Iím definitly stronger and holding strength this prep, and put myself in a good position early on, so digging a real hole isnít really needed (yet)
Although my kcals are just under 2450 that is very low for me and definitly feel flat, fatigued and depleted by the end of the week.

Think the take home message is just do what works for you at that given time, thereís a lot of ďresearchĒsurrounding refeeds/cheat meals/ high carb days, I guess what I do is counted as a high carb day.

Last prep I had a ďrefeedĒ MEAL and served the same purpose but I feel this is better mentally spreading the refeed across all the meals

Iím open minded though and if I need to cut kcals later on and feel the only place is the refeed day, then so be it, but so far lost 6kg with 3kg left to go so If it ainít broke I wonít fix it



Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Toby on August 12, 2018, 06:30:23 PM
I get you mate, I think it is definitely more a high carb day than an actual refeed day and if it is giving an enhanced energy and performance in subsequent days, that is a real tangible benefit.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 13, 2018, 07:32:21 AM
Yes mate, something to stop me having any thoughts on cheat meals too, not only from a physical but more importantly a mental standpoint , as a huge goal For me this year is to transition into a healthy offseason straight away with no purge/binge cycle. Feel very much in control and healthy this way  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 18, 2018, 06:45:55 PM
Weekly update - currently sitting at 76.3kg and 2-3kg from my best shape at 9 & 13 weeks out

This week has been tough physically , definitly feel depleted and legs feeling empty. Constantly flat and sleep isnít great but mentally feel great! Just content with doing the work and looking forward to everything that this years going to bring, 1 week until the due date could be any day now! Looking forward to spending 2 weeks off work with the family and our new arrival!

Really nailed the fundamentals this week in the gym although kept that volume down a little and focused on intensity and execution!

Monday 13th aug - lower & HIIT
Squats - 170kg - 6, 160kg 8, 150kg 10, 140kg 13
Deadlift - 190kg 6, 180k 8, 170k 9, 160kg 12
Leg press - 360kg - 12,12,12
Lying leg curl 50kg 12,11,10
Donkey calf - 215kg 15,12,12
Hanging leg raise 5kg 15,12,12
15min HIIT xtrainer - l15/20 - 45s/15s X15 370kcals

This session was typical for the volume I tend to use


Wednesday 15th aug - upper

Went with a top set and down set for more variety today! Loved it!

Bench press - 120kg 6, 105kg 11
Barbell row - 120kg 8, 105kg 12
Incline db press - 47.5kg 9, 42.5kg 10
Seated barbell press - 80kg 8, 65kg 12
Pullups - +25kg 9, +10kg 12
Dips +65kg 7. , +45kg 11
High hammer row - 150kg 10, 130kg 12
Lateral raises - 27.5kg 10, 22.5kg 15
Barbell curl - 50kg 8, 40kg
Pushdowns - 57.5kg 10, 52.5kg 12
Hammer curl- 25kg 9, 20kg 12


Friday 17th August - lower & HIIT

Went with the top set and down set style for today and it was tough but very focused!

Squat 165kg 8, 145kg 14
Deadlift - 185kg 9, 165kg 11
Hack squat - 150kg 8, 130kg 11
Lying leg curl - 60kg 9, 50kg 12
Leg extension - 85kg 8, 70kg 12
Standing calf - 170kg 8, 150kg 10
Hanging leg raises - 12.5kg - 9, 7.5kg - 15
Seated calf - 80kg 9, 70kg 14
Cable crunch - 57.5kg 10, 52.5kg 14
15min HIIT xtrainer same settings as Monday but hit 374kcals

A great week of training, and exciting to see the weight progression from last time I was 76kg , more volume per session, more weight and intensity, more food and more consistency and in a better place mentally, keeping this momentum going as long as possible!

Physique wise apart from living in eternal flatness strength is up and muscle is there , upper is nearly on and glutes are coming through well, well on track! 9 weeks!












Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 26, 2018, 02:46:12 PM
Weekly update

What a week!

Our boy (Joshua) arrived on Friday morning weighing 8lb 10, was a great labour and Becky did fantastic! Have some great family time to look forward to, off work for 2 weeks  :)

Prep is rolling on with 8 weeks to go until the UK Show, in a good place and wonít have to kill myself to get in shape with only around 2-3kg to lose.


Training this week-

Upper 20.8.18
Bench press 120kg 6, 105kg 9
Barbell row 120kg 8, 105kg 12
Incline db press 50k 8, 42.5k 10
Pullups +27.5k 8, +12.5k 12
Seated B.B. press 80k 8, 65k 12
Seated hammer high row 160k 9, 140k 12
Dips +65k 7, +45k 11
Db curls 25k 9, 20k 12
Laterals 27.5k 9, 22.5k 12
Hammer curls 25k 10, 20k 14
Skullcrushers 50k 9, 45k 11

Lower - 21.8.18
Squat 170k 5, 150k 10
Deadlift 190k 5, 170k 11
Hack squat 140k 8, 120k 12
Lying leg curl 65k 8, 50k 12
Leg extension 80k 9, 70k 12
Standing calf 170k 7, 150k 11
Cable crunch 57.5k 13, 52.5kg 17
Seated calf 80k 11, 70kg 15
Hanging leg raises +10k 12, + 5k 15
15min HIIT - Xtrainer l15/20 45s/15s X15 - 392kcals

23.8.18 - upper
Bench 125kg 5, 105kg 10
Barbell row 125kg 8, 105kg 12
Incline db 50kg 8, 42.5kg 11
Pullups +30k 7, +15kg 12
Seated B.B. press 85kg 6, 70kg 9
Db row - 65kg 8, 55kg 12
Dips +65kg 7, +45kg 11
Ez curls 50kg 8, 45kg 12
Laterals 27.5kg 9, 22.5kg 12
Hammer curls 27.5kg 8, 22.5kg 12
Skullcrushers 50kg 9, 45kg 11

26.8.18 - lower
Squat - 170kg 6, 150kg 11
Deadlift 190kg 7, 170kg 10
Leg press 400kg 8, 360kg 11
Lying leg curl 65kg 8, 50kg 12
Leg extension 80kg 10, 70kg 13
Calf press 300kg 9, 260kg 11
Hanging leg raise 12.5k 9, 7.5kg 13
Donkey calf - 225kg 10, 200kg 15
Weighted sit-up +10kg 10, +5kg 12
No HIIT as 4 sessions this week , back to 3 from tomorrow morning


Nutrition - same kcals around the 2400 mark daily
Now Iím a little busier I may have to rethink a couple of things regarding meal timing etc now all sessions will be 4:30am - may spread things out a little with 3 meals and 3 snacks, also an element of wanting to emulate my previous prep and just nail it! Stuck in my ways!

Current weight hovering around the 76kg mark ,Hams & glutes are starting to come in although blury


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Maveric Matt on August 27, 2018, 09:43:42 AM
Congratulations, buddy!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on August 28, 2018, 02:43:13 PM
Thanks Matt! Hope your little guy is doing good  :)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on September 02, 2018, 03:46:40 PM
Had an amazing week off work with the family and our new arrival Joshua is doing great sleeping and eating a lot as newborns do!

Also popped the question to Becky yesterday on her birthday and we went ring shopping and spend another great day the 4 of us, real precious memories being made!

Not effecting the family atall with prep just getting it done weighing 75.3kg so lost 2lb in the last 2 weeks and feeling sharper getting fairly close now! Iím guessing around 5lb so 73kg to be completely peeled all over

3 great sessions this last week and food still at the 2400kcal mark

Monday- upper 27.8.18
4x6-8 incline db press 50kg 8,7,7,6
4x6-8 seated cable row 110kg 8,8,8,8
4x6-8 seated B.B. press 72.5kg 8,8,7,7
3x8-10 pullups +15kg 10,9,9
3x8-10 dips +50kg 10,10,8
3x8-10 db curls 22.5kg 10,9,8
3x8-10 pushdowns 45kg 12,12,10
3x8-10 laterals 20kg 12,12,12

Wednesday- lower & HIIT 29.8.18
4x6-8 squats 160kg 8,7,7,7
4x6-8 deadlift 180kg 8,8,7,7
3x8-10 hack squat 125kg 10,10,10
3x8-10 lying leg curl 50kg 10,10,10
3x8-10 calf press 140kg 12,12,12
3x8-10 hanging leg raises 10k 12,10,10
15min HIIT xtrainer

Friday - upper 31.8.18
4x6-8 bench press 110kg 8,7,7,6
4x6-8 barbell row 112.5kg 8,8,8,8
4x6-8 seated B.B. press 72.5kg 8,8,8,7
3x8-10 pullups +15kg 10,10,9
3x8-10 dips +50kg 10,10,8
3x8-10 ez curls 45kg 10,10,10
3x8-10 ez skullcrushers 45kg 10,10,8
3x8-10 ez upright row 45kg 12,10,10

Another productive week ticked off


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on September 09, 2018, 06:28:27 PM
Another great week off work - back to it tomorrow, amazing time with family, done loads and made some great memories.


Prep going well - 1 week until guest posing, 6 weeks until UK International, 10 until Worlds
Bodyweight down to 74.9kg - thinking somewhere around 4lb to come off in 6 weeks but sitting at 73kg for a few weeks between the 2 shows ill naturally tighten up and look slightly better come the worlds, but the plan of coarse is to be my best at the UK show.

Will have a good idea of How much weight I have to lose but really not a huge amount now

Training this week fit in 4 sessions

Mon 3.9.18 lower & HIIT
4x6 squat 165kg 6,6 160kg 6,6
4x6 deadlift 185kg 6,6,6,6
3x8 hack squat - 135kg - 8,8,8 (tough machine!)
3x8 lying leg curl 55kg 8,8,8
3x8 calf raises - 150kg 8,8,8
3x8 cable crunch 55kg - 8,8,8
15min HIIT Xtrainer level 10 45s / level 25 15s X15

Great session, enjoying the 6-8 rep range with impeccable form, really suits my strengths and the way I train

Weds 5.9.18 - upper
4x6 bench press- 112.5kg 6,6 110kg 6,6
4x6 barbell row - 115kg 6,6,6,7
4x6 seated Barbell press 80kg 6,6,6,6
3x8 pullups +20kg 8,8,7
3x8 dips +55kg 8,8,8
3x8 curls 50kg 8,8,8
3x8 skullcrushers 50kg 8,8,7
3x8 upright row 55kg 8,8,9

Felt a good pump all over and good weight moved at this stage

Repeated Mondays session on Friday and wednesdays session today with a very slight progression on both including the HIIT which I havnt done more than 2 sessions per week all prep and I think that has attributed to maintaining abit more muscle and strength and not get too depleted

The goal for the next week is another 4 sessions (mon-wed-Thur-sat) as time allows before my early shifts now I have that option to train, week after though will be just 3 sessions.
Looking to shave another pound or so this coming week before the guest spot

Still having a mild refeed/higher carb day on a Sunday, (typical offseason day of diet) which I only consume an extra 350kcals than I do right now




Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Dan94 on September 10, 2018, 02:08:32 PM
Hi Ben

Been seeing a lot of great pics of you on your Instagram lately, see you've got a log over on AJ's members site too now?


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on September 11, 2018, 08:45:21 AM
Hi pal! Thanks! Yeah the idea being I document my prep and People can ask questions and hopefully get something back from it


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Dan94 on September 11, 2018, 09:46:03 AM
Sounds good mate. I still need to sign up to his members site tbh!


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: felix on September 12, 2018, 10:47:32 PM
Congratulations Ben on the birth of your son, great to see your preps are going well you are as strong as an ox, good luck with the rest of your preps I am sure you will look fantastic on stage.


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on September 13, 2018, 07:25:30 AM
Thankyou felix! Heís doing great and definitly has my appetite!
Not long now 5.5 weeks until showtime and gonna bring my best , hope your well mate


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: Jon on September 17, 2018, 08:37:13 PM
Hope your little boy is doing great Ben, that's amazing news and becoming a parent changes your life!

Congrats also on the superb guest spot yesterday at the UKDFBA Heart of England. Very impressed with the improvements you've made in size, and conditioning at 5 weeks out was equally good too. Best of luck with the final big push.  8)


Title: Re: Ben's road to the 2018 UKDFBA Pro International
Post by: ben-howard on September 18, 2018, 05:37:15 AM
Hope your little boy is doing great Ben, that's amazing news and becoming a parent changes your life!

Congrats also on the superb guest spot yesterday at the UKDFBA Heart of England. Very impressed with the improvements you've made in size, and conditioning at 5 weeks out was equally good too. Best of luck with the final big push.  8)

Thanks Jon , Joshua is doing fantastic and growing like a weed!

Thankyou again Jon was a great day and thoroughly enjoyed it!