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03-29-2013, 05:17 PM #1
The Project Rockstar 2013 class has been selected!
Project Rockstar 2013 - Pre-Training Weekly Journals
As with each year, the Rockstars are responsible for writing and sharing in detail about their progress as they go through the most intense and thorough life transformation program in the world.
The foundation for Project Rockstar is Game 3.0, which is built on the pillars of Game, Lifestyle and Fitness. Over the next 21 weeks, the Rockstars will be put through a complete life overhaul in all three of these areas.
It all starts with the Pre-Training program, which is the 12 weeks leading up to the official kickoff of the Project Rockstar 9-week summer. Over the course of the 12 week Pre-Training program, we are knocking out the "Fitness" component. The Fitness component for this year's Project Rockstar is sponsored by the sports nutrition and supplements brand, Sports Food. Sports Food has formulated a highly intense and highly rigorous workout, diet/nutrition and supplementation curriculum to get the Rockstars into the best shape of their lives. Find out more here: Fitness | Project Rockstar 2013
If you consistently want 10s, you have to be a 10, in all aspects. Game, Lifestyle, Fitness. The first segment of Project Rockstar takes Fitness head on.
We're having the Rockstars journal their journey to fitness with a journal entry each week for the 12 weeks. Follow along on this thread as they transform themselves physically into the masculine physiques of a true 10.
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03-29-2013, 09:56 PM #2
We've finally begun our march towards the kick-off of Rockstar!
Week 1 Entry
With week 1 in the books, itís time to reflect on my experience so far. It has definitely been interesting, and a bit different than what I sort of expected so far. Iím going to get into how fitness has previously played a role in my life, what the first week of this fitness program was like for me, what my goals are, and what were some of the unexpected challenges that I ran into. So far Iím really excited about this program and interested to see where it will take me
Iíve always been a pretty active person. I played just about every sport growing up besides hockey and soccer. So that, combined with my really good genetic metabolism has always kept me in great shape. I took a weight training class my senior year in high school, but it took another year for me to really get into lifting. The summer when I was 19 (Iím 27 now) I would hit the gym quite a bit with my buddies. I was looking good, but the weight training I was doing would leave me with terrible posture in the coming years. I basically just worked out the glamour muscles. Iíve been lifting on and off since then and has always maintained a solid physique, sometimes Iíd be super ripped and sometimes Iíd let myself go for a month or two. As far as eating healthy goes, it has pretty much been non-existent for me my entire life. I have incredible metabolism and can basically eat whatever I want without looking too out of shape. I ate lots of junk food growing up, lots of chips and sodas. My parents didnít exactly help the cause. I remember them feeding me a steady diet of spaghetti-oís, hot dogs, and bologna (yuck!). It wasnít like we couldnít afford good food either. Even when I moved to Vancouver last year, I was eating whole frozen pizzas to myself. Itís hard to shake off the college habits. I started to get a bit more conscious about it in the last year and cut out a ton of fast food, the neighborhood I live definitely helps since there isnít any. In mid-January of this year I started Tim Ferrisí 28-day body transformation based on his book the 4-hour body. I put on 16 pounds in the 28-days and looked and felt pretty ripped at the end of it. However, I had jumped from 16% body fat to 23% body fat. I didnít really notice how bad it had gotten until about 2 weeks after the program ended. I noticed lots of fat in my abdomen area, more than I had ever seen there in my entire life. Luckily, in the first week of this program, Iíve been able to shed quite a bit of that off.
The first week of the program for me had its ups and downs. There were times when I felt pretty hungry and sore. I had just been eating 3200+ calories a day and wasnít sure how my body would adjust. Surprisingly, it wasnít as bad as I thought it would be. Iím quite enjoying eating clean and healthy. There are about two-dozen little restaurants within 4 blocks of my house and I used to eat at them a lot. As far as the fitness aspect, there were some tough moments. Back in high school I had messed up my knee wrestling, ten years of it finally took its toll on me. The very first legs day my knee flared up and I was scared it was going to plague me the whole program. Luckily, the pain was gone within a few days. Iím definitely not used to doing this much cardio either. Iíve done cardio sporadically throughout the years, but never stuck with it. I could be in such good shape without it; I didnít feel like I needed it. After a few days of it, Iíve gotten adjusted though. Itís really not a big deal and I think is a big contributing factor in my large weight drop in the first week. Iíve dropped from 187 to 176.5 so far.
I honestly donít have a ton of goals for the program. Ideally, Iíd like to get down to 9%-11% body fat and be in the best shape of my life. Besides that, Iíd like to develop good workout and eating habits that just become a part of my life. I feel a lot better eating healthy. The program is definitely tough at times, but overall I feel fantastic. I hope I can pickup enough information along the way to share with any friends and family who are interested in fitness. And lastly, this is more of a long-term goal, but I hope I can buck the trend of diabetes in my family. Both my dad and his mom have it.
The biggest challenges Iíve had to face are more external. I travel a lot for work so it makes it difficult to eat clean and hit the gym with my schedule. The first challenge I had was packing food for my trip back to Minnesota this past weekend. This is pretty funny(and not smart on my part), but I packed a soft-side cooler with 3 salads and a bunch of ice and stuck the cooler in my checked luggage. Of course when I got to Minneapolis, some of the water had leaked out into my clothes. It was just a bit of spilt water, but still annoying. Then I wasnít sure where Iíd be able to workout without having to sign-up at a gym. Luckily, my old gym was offering a free seven-day pass. The most difficult part however, was not drinking at a wedding. Especially when all of the people at the wedding are the biggest group of drinkers you know. It was definitely my first time jumping around to ďShout!Ē sober. I donít know how many times I had to explain why I wasnít drinking. I just finally started telling people I donít need to drink because Iím already smart, funny and good-looking. Anyways, it all worked out and I still had a really fun time at the wedding without the liquid courage. Weíll see how the rest of the program unfolds, but I canít wait to see the end results.
03-29-2013, 10:14 PM #3
So, week 1. Because an injury to my wrist I havenít begun lifting weights like the others Ė next week I plan to start with light weights and supplementation. This week I just started with diet and cardio Ė 20 minutes of intense cardio per day. This has been roughly what I already do anyway.
The diet hasnít been too much different from what I normally do, which is ďlots of vegetables, lean meat, some beans for carbs.Ē Up until now my main concern has been limiting carbs. What was really interesting was tallying up this diet for the first time Ė apparently I actually eat too few carbs Ė 15% of my calories instead of the 40% it should be. This is definitely an issue, as I sometimes get lightheadedness and fatigue from what I previously thought might be insufficient carbs, and now Iím pretty sure. Guess I overcorrected. I make up for the calories in protein, and fat is right where it should be at 20%. Next week Iím going to rejigger everything with the introduction of supplements. Unfortunately Iíll have to replace some of the real food I eat with supplements in order to stay under the 2,200 calorie limit.
3 things have changed about my diet: 1) no exceptions. I used to gladly do a dessert or whatever every once in a while. Now Iím not only not doing these things, but Iím also looking for places to cut out calories, for example next week Iím going to cut the milk out of my coffee Ė little things like that. The result is that over the past few days Iíve felt noticeably lighter and trimmer, especially when I wake up. 2) No alcohol. I used to do 30+ drinks/week easy. A few months ago I gave myself a 7 drink/week limit and lost a decent amount of weight without even trying, and much to my surprise. This week is my first with 0 alcohol, and Iím expecting another weight drop just as a result of that. Iím guessing that these two factors are what led to my unexpected drops in weight and bodyfat this week. A week ago I measured at 17% bodyfat, and now Iím getting close to 13% pretty consistently. 3) Late afternoon snack. Before when I would get hungry I would eat some nuts and cheese or a banana or whatever else was around. Now Iím eating lean meat and fresh vegetables. I really enjoy this practice Ė I feel way better after eating whole food at this time of day rather than small unsatisfying snacks, even healthy ones like nuts that donít do much for me.
Measuring my weight and bodyfat has been an interesting experience. Iíve tracked stuff like sleep before and it was very revealing, but I havenít done weight and bodyfat before. Itís really interesting to see how much they fluctuate every day and to start seeing what appears to be an encouraging downward trend. Itís definitely motivating Ė when the first thing you think about every morning is measuring your fitness, it gets you into the mode of focusing on fitness throughout the day. I want to see those numbers get better every day.
Tracking food so carefully is kind of a pain but clearly it produces results. I wonder if I will maintain the rigor I need to do this after the program is over. If nothing else I hope that after Iím done tracking every little thing I will just have a better ongoing sense of what a properly balanced diet looks like, rather than doing things like accidentally cutting out too many carbs.
One challenge is the initial setup. Rearranging my calendar to make everything fit, and setting up the supplements etc is a process. Iíve done this for other things though and am looking forward to just getting the routine locked and executing without needing to think about it too much. One thing that is going to get in my way is the constant travel I do. Ex. Iím traveling for a weeklong work conference next week and Iím going to have to cut out of 14-hour days to get in my workouts etc. The travel alone will take a whole day door to door, and Iím going to have to figure out how to wedge in workouts in on crazy days like that.
All of the working out and tracking of stuff and writing is definitely a big time commitment. I find myself holing up a bit to deal with this plus work. Especially now that Iím not drinking I think my social habits are about to change. Iíve been staying social doing lots of dinners with friends this week but havenít figured out what Iím going to do about weekends yet. Finding the right balance with this much going on is going to be an interesting challenge and I donít have a clear idea of the solution in my head yet.
Not drinking has surprisingly not been an issue. Obviously I have just as much fun at small things like dinners with friends or even bigger things that are still intimate like barbeques. Iím getting used to telling people Iím not drinking without inviting a bigger conversation, and Iím getting better at quickly cutting off peer pressure decisively rather than going through the regular bs back and forth of pressure-excuses-pressurce-excuses etc. Fuck that. I do feel mission-driven by my goals right now and Iím really not willing to take shit about that.
Iím really looking forward to working out again. I havenít been lifting weights for months now, and Iíve been really antsy about it. That said, I have to remind myself constantly to be extremely careful to not compromise the healing of my injury. Iím ridiculously competitive and always default to ďtoo much too fastĒ. I have to take serious serious care not to mess up my wrist any worse, so thatís going to be the big focus next week along with getting into the right rhythm of working out and supplements.
03-30-2013, 06:40 AM #4Ali A Guest
Starting the 12 week programme has been exciting. I was initially convinced that I was going to be in the losers group because I have always been skinny so my first day consisted of me eating a lot of foods Ė including carbsÖonly to find out later that I was in the loser group due to my high body fat. Since then I have had to tweak my diet and am trying to focus on just eating protein and vegetables.
I have always been pretty skinny. Throughout university I was teased about it a lot. Unfortunately, I couldn't see how skinny I was and the fact that I was out drinking every night and eating very little the next day before I was out drinking again only made me lose more weight. Coming out of university I hit the gym hard and ate a lot. I eventually gained a stone and felt more confident in myself. Since then my gym routine tailored off and has been inconsistent but I am excited to have a programme to follow to help me get back on track. The most previous workout I have been on was to do upper body exercises twice a week. It consisted of one exercise per muscle group and 6 sets of 6 reps and by the end of the entire session I would be pretty tired - although I had very little strain in my muscles. The 12 week programme has also proved to be very different. The first week has been pretty up and down with the first few days being a somewhat shock to my body. Every muscle was sore and every time I would toss and turn in the middle of the night, I would find myself waking up from the discomfort - this was especially true with my legs! The next few days after my ab workout were the worst. My mid section was in so much strain and pain I was actually scared to stand up because that was when I would feel the stretch Ė I even held myself from going to the toilet for about 4 hours. Eventually I had to get up otherwise I would have ended up ruining the sofa!
While I do not have a set weight in mind, I do know that I want to gain as much lean mass as possible over the 12 weeks - although my priority right now is to lose the body fat first. I have always been insecure about my skinny arms (especially my forearms) so would love to get to a point where they are at a good size and can be shown off in a t-shirt. Ultimately however, I would like even growth and definition over my entire body as opposed to just having big arms or a big chest Ė fortunately, the Sports Food training seems to be just that. I also want to get to a point where my physique is visibly in shape under clothing Ė for example you can tell by a persons frame that they work out, whether that be from their pumped up chest, traps or wide shoulder etc. While it is still early in the training, I feel the biggest obstacle is training along Ė meaning I need to make sure I pump myself up to get to the gym and before each set.
While I have the training programme to follow to help me achieve my desired physique, my main concern is coming from the diet I need to follow strictly and how my current timetable is not allowing for it. I wake up and have a protein shake or 2 eggs in the morning before heading off to work. I then aim to eat a tin of tuna as an early morning snack but find myself going to emergency client meetings or being in meetings all day till past 6 PM. The end result is that my Ďearly morning snackí turns out to be the only meal I have for another 5 or so hours and so I end up getting home and trying to over compensate by having more protein shakes and tuna etc. in the space of such a short time Ė which I think is likely to do little help as it is not spread out over the course of the day and does not allow even protein distribution to my muscles. My initial way around this is to up my protein shakes in the day where possible. As we rarely have Ďset lunch breaksí and I get short random breaks every now and then, it could be helpful to take this time to consume my protein shakes as opposed to worrying about trying to fix myself a full, balances meal. This however, is something I need to experiment with over the next week or so.
At the end of the first week, just from looking in the mirror I am seeing a small but obvious change. I believe this is mainly from the post gym pump that I have from working out every day. Nonetheless it is motivating to keep my going and is helping me to get into the mentality of feeling that I am growing from every workout. Additionally, I am also trying to get myself into the mindset that every time I feel strain in my body in the days after my workout, it means that I have put in enough effort for my muscles to breakdown and repair at a stronger level.
It has been an interesting and pretty hectic first week and I think my goal for the next week is learning how to effectively get my muscles the protein they need over the course of the day as opposed to not getting a lot of protein in the afternoon and trying to over compensate in the evening by stuffing my face with tuna and shakes!
03-30-2013, 10:41 AM #5
First Iíve gotta say thank you to Vici and Sterling and Venture for putting this program together. I hope to be forever grateful. Started working out 40 minutes of cardio per day, 1 hour of lifting, a week ago. And a strict diet. First few days were no problem, started off on a 1300 calorie/day diet after eating badly for the past few weeks before the start date. Since then my intake has been climbing up to 2000 calories/day, my goal. Iím determined not to exceed 2000 calories/day.
After accepting this 84 day challenge, Iíve told everyone I meet socially about it. Some looked at me awkwardly at first, as I was out, not ordering drinks or food out at restaurants, but after the first few times you explain what youíre doing to girls and guys, they understand and some even approve. But, with all due respect, fuck the ones who donít. Iím not on this earth to please them, but to please myself. And improving myself is the best way to do that. It takes courageous truth to admit a weakness (previous lack of fitness), and even more to change bad habits.
I set goals at the beginning after looking up body fat %ís and body types, and I initially set a goal of 10-12%. After talking to some guys with more fitness experience, I upped my goal to 7% body fat by June 1st. After the 1st week, I think Iím on my way there. Thatís pretty ripped, as long as I keep building muscle.
Gotta say Iím a little impatient with results now that theyíve started to see some. I started at 17.4% body fat, 6í4, 205 lbs. Iíve seen a 1% body fat drop in the first week, and definitely feel better and walk taller, and every night Iím actually looking forward to waking up and taking measurements and even working out. But as I look at the figures on the tracker I want it to be 11 weeks in the future not because I hate the hard work just because I like accomplishments and seeing results. Diet hasnít been horribly tough on me Ė food actually tastes better when eaten in less variety and less artificial foods (noticed baby carrots are actually a little sweet), and I like the regimen. Iíve been mainly on a diet of chicken, protein, lean steak, and lots of veggies, in addition to Sports Food supplements, and protein powder and carb powder (Vitargo). I have 2 intermittent injuries, a torn medial meniscus, and on the other leg occasionally I get Achilles tendonitis, so Iíve been mixing up the cardio before and after lifting from bike to running to climbing to incline jogging/walking to elliptical to avoid problems. Iíll do 10 minutes of one then 10 minutes of another just to keep it interesting. Iíd love to sprint intermittently but its just not good for my joints and usually gets me in trouble. The lifting is intense, definitely moreso than p90x, which Iíve done before.
Other results Iíve seen are running up stairs no problem. I figure in another week or two, Iíll be in the best shape of my life (never was in shape during my 20ís), at 34. Felt a little more confident naked with the women I was with too this week, as I have a little less gut than I had a week ago, and maybe even a little more swag.
I have no idea why Iíve gained a pound over the past week Ė by counting calories, I should have lost 2.6 pounds (9000 calorie deficit) but at least its lean muscle (went from 17.4% body fat to 16.4%). Iíve been counting every calorie. Iíve never been so dedicated about anything in life, especially fitness and diet, which I always put on the back burner (put educational and financial success goals 1st). I think it may have been wise to put educational and financial success first, but it certainly wasnít wise to put fitness and diet so far on the back burner. In any case, according to my graph, Iím on track to reach my goal of 7-9% body fat by June 3. Towards the end I may need to cut calories a little more but at <2000/day I feel pretty good now. I think one area of improvement is sleep Ė I really need to start getting 8 hours of sleep consistently. Iím convinced it helps with muscle growth and cerebral replenishment. Another area is cutting down on sugar free red-bull. Prior to the program I had 3-4 a day, now Iím down to 1-2.
Surprisingly, not drinking has been relatively easy for me. The two nights I went out, just had sugar free red bulls or diet cokes, or water. Drunk people havenít been that annoying to me, though Iíve certainly seen sober people get annoyed by drunk people sometimes easily. I used to smoke cigarettes some when I went out, but I switched to Blu cigarettes and it helps cravings and having something to hold. I recommend the 100íse-cig as they last longer. Iím using low-nicotine cherry but will switch to no-nicotine cartridges soon.
Since Iíve been working out in the mornings and working from noon to 11pm, Iíve definitely had more energy to get things done (errands and things Iíve been meaning to do like my taxes). Its helped organize my life, even if it does take nearly 2 hours a day to do the fitness and diet portion.
Cooking the meals has actually been fun Ė did it with a chick over the weekend and even went shopping with her Ė I hadnít been grocery shopping in several years (housekeeper picks up stuff usually so I can focus on working extra hours in the evening). Prices sure have gone up in the past few years (inflation from money printing the Federal Reserve does)! Got some fresh thin-sliced turkey that is delicious along with fresh veggies. Putting Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper on the veggies makes them better, and there are some really good simple healthy recipes for chicken breasts out there.
It helps knowing ~10 other guys are doing this program with me, and Iím looking forward to seeing their trackers if possible just to compare notes and what not. Gotta admit my competitive nature today made me want to be the best/biggest/most cut when I was working out today Ė during the last few reps of many sets today all I could think about was beating Alex at getting cut. Its less intense perhaps than Kris Gethinís rather morbid idea of telling yourself your family member is going to die if you donít finish this rep, but I figure whatever works to get the results I want.
03-30-2013, 03:31 PM #6
The first week of the program has been completedÖAnd my body and I are yearning to have some more!
Hereís to tell you a bit more about me: Iím kind of a gym rat, Iíve been training regularly since Iím 20, first as a hobby then more seriously when I entered college in 2007. In late 2009 I took part in an amateur physique competition and I was in the best shape of my life, at 180 pounds with a body fat percentage below 10%. Then I began to work in a company, I had less time during the week to work out and I slowly went out of shape. The most difficult thing for me is that I travel regularly for my work, sometimes Iím more than one month abroad, with no gym or no healthy food within reach. Hence, during these 3 last years my physical fitness suffered ups and downs.
I began the program weighing 175 pounds, with a bodyfat of 20,5%. Iíve noticed that when you donít measure these kinds of statistics for a long time, or donít take any photo of your progress, itís very easy to let yourself go without noticing. Actually it has been quite a shock for me to discover the amount of body fat I was carrying. Before measuring it I expected it to be around 16%.
Iíve never done such a demanding program before. This program has challenged me on its three components: Weight training, cardio and diet.
What I always did before when training, also to prepare for my competition, is having strictly defined bulking phases and cutting phases. I was eating many calories during the bulking phase and doing intense workouts, and during the cutting phase as I was reducing the calories on my diet I was also reducing the intensity of my workouts and adding cardio. I never did any cardio during bulking phases, and even on cutting phase I was never doing it the same day of a workout. What is new for me on this program is that we are basically trying to do both at once: cutting while trying to increase or at least keep our lean muscle mass.
Iím training in a small yet well-equipped gym, near my house. The workouts have been pretty intense, Iíve reached muscle failure on almost every set which is very unusual for me. But it is very varied, rep ranges and exercises change from one week to another so boredom is totally absent.
I do my first 20 minutes of cardio every day at 12:00, before my lunch break. I run in the woods near my office, in H.I.I.T. style: It means that I alternate sprints and steady running, I found it to be very effective as opposed to keeping the same rhythm all along, itís also a good way to save muscle tissue. I do the second cardio session just after my workout in the evening, Iím usually depleted of energy by this moment so I really have to gather my forces to do it. For this one I either use exercise bikes or elliptic bikes, also in H.I.I.T. style
I donít think Iíve ever followed that closely my diet. Iím counting my calories to be below 2200 calories a day, and Iím eating 6 meals a day to keep my metabolism firing up. For breakfast Iíll usually have half a cup of oats and 4 egg whites. Then during the day Iíll be eating 4 tupperwares at work (my female colleagues have complimented me all week about the healthy food I make, one told me she wish her boyfriend could cook like me, ahah ).
In the tupperwares youíll find each time a complex carb (chosen between quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato), a vegetable or fibrous carb (mostly broccoli, I ate like one and a half a day during last week, I also make grilled peppers in the oven, theyíre very tasty) and a source of lean protein (mostly chicken or tuna).
My macronutrient ratio is more than 50% protein, which allows to preserve the muscle tissue. I havenít had any cheat meals since the beginning.
Iíve actually been accustomed to eat a lot of steamed vegetables since Iím a kid (Thanks, mom) so I didnít find the diet difficult to follow so far. But I notice that Iím very hungry when I go sleeping. Iíve also been accustomed to have more fat in my diet (in the form of peanut butter, olive oil, coconut oil) so for me itís strange to cut all these, and I wake up every morning with a crave for peanut butter.
On the supplements side, I take 5g of creatine and glutamine with a multivitamin pill, first time in the morning. I have a protein shake, again with creatine and glutamine after my workouts.
The tracker is a great tool and I wish I had one like that before. Itís been one week and I can definitely notice to the naked eye that Iíve lost some some fat tissue, around the waist and lower back (I store fat mostly in my lower back). My vascularity is also more visible.
The tracker shows me that my weight has remained constant, while my amount of body fat has slightly diminished, so I can definitely conclude that I shed some fat while gaining muscle. It feels great because thatís exactly my goal so I plan to continue in this direction. My weight has strangely increased by 2 pounds the day after I began to train, I think it could be due to water retention in the muscles caused by creatine supplementation. Anyway I tend not to take into account those day-to-day fluctuations, I think what is more indicative of your progress are the changes observed at 1 week interval. These are the numbers you want to look at to know if youíre going in the good direction or if you need to adapt your training or your diet.
My goal at the end of the program is to keep more or less the same weight, but with 10% bodyfat instead of actual 20%. This can seem ambitious, but Iíve done it before and Iíve already got a clear picture in my mind of what Iíll look like.
The challenges Iím seeing in front in me for the weeks to come are:
- Maintaining the intensity of the workouts without burning out.
- Maintaining a clean diet while away from my home: Iíll be away for work one or two during the program, Iíve already secured the gym aspect but having access to a kitchen will be difficult.
Thatís about all I got to say for this week, Iím already seeing positive changes so Iím eager to begin week 2
03-30-2013, 06:45 PM #7
They say champions are made when no one is watching.
I for one was definitely not watching in the spring of 2012 when eight normal guys joined the Project Rockstar program and embarked on a twelve-week fitness transformation to prepare themselves for the summer of their dreams.
I started paying attention when I read a thread on the attraction forums detailing how these same guys were charting a different path for their lives. Their stories were inspiring Ė they were meeting beautiful women, developing businesses, networking with other successful individuals, and partying all over the world. I read stories about guys hooking up with models and beauty pageant winners for the first time, developing their self-confidence and reaching levels of success in their lives that previously seemed unattainable.
Of course, behind every success story there is a story of preparation. Each one of these guys had completed a grueling twelve-week fitness transformation prior to the summer that got them into the best shape of their lives. Girls love a fit guy Ė what has more physical sex appeal for a woman than a six pack? Unfortunately for the majority of guys, ripped abs donít just donít materialize out of thin air. A ton of the hard work went into getting these guys to a stage where they would be physically attractive to the opposite sex.
So here I am. Being inspired by what I read in the Rockstars journals last year, I decided to apply for the program, and somewhat to my surprise I was selected to participate out of hundreds of applications.
Of course, participation in Project Rockstar is not unconditional Ė Iím expected to be in peak form for this summer. It looks like itís my turn to hit the gym.
So on the morning of March 13th, 2013 I climbed out of bed long before sunrise and made my way to the treadmill to begin my own personal transformation. My goal Ė to drop my bodyfat below 10% for the summer; and thatís how it began, early one spring morning, with no one watching.
The good thing is that Iím not alone; six other guys are out there doing this program for the first time just like me. Iíve never met any of these guys, but Iíll be meeting them eleven weeks from now, and the expectation is that we all will have reached a formidable level of fitness. I find thereís always more positive pressure to succeed when other people are striving for the same goal. It becomes a group effort and there is some unspoken accountability not to let the team down.
Each one of the guys participating in the fitness challenge leading up to Rockstar is going to face some unique challenges. I have my own set. I work on a geophysical exploration ship, and at the moment we are in the middle of the South China Sea with no land in sight. While some of the other guys have been able to test their bodyfat levels before beginning the program, Iím only estimating mine. The bodyfat analyzer I ordered is likely sitting in my mailbox at home in Canada right now.
Even getting an accurate reading of my weight is difficult, the never-ending side to side roll of the ship causes the scale to fluctuate; it gives me a weight range, and the calmer the seas the more accurate the number is. So Iím not exactly clear on where Iím starting.
One thing Iím clear on, though, is where Iím going.
If I can stick with the program I know Iím going to reach a level of fitness that Iíve never had before in my life. While not terribly out of shape, itís been a long time since anyone looked at me and said ďwow, that guy is ripped.Ē Iím proud that Iíve started on my way there now.
Itís the end of the first week and I can already notice a difference in my physique. A lot of it has to do with diet. My diet has tightened up Ė itís almost exclusively made up of meat, vegetables, salads, protein shakes, and eggs for breakfast. Iíve cut my intake of carbohydrates down to almost nothing. This has made me a touch cranky around my co-workers, but Iím starting to adapt. With no carbohydrates coming in I have dropped a lot of water and I look leaner in the mirror. My body temperature seems to be constantly running a few degrees higher these days so Iím making sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
The amount of protein Iím taking in would be considered high by some - about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. The extra protein should help preserve muscle mass; the last thing I want to do is lose muscle in the quest for abs Ė I find the two complement each other quite well.
The workouts are high volume which is something my body is not used to Ė over an hour of weight training plus forty minutes of cardio per day and you realize that this is no joke, this is some serious work. One morning my hip flexors were so sore from running that I could barely walk. I was shuffling around at the speed of a ninety-year old man. I had to load up on Ibuprofen just to get through the workout that day.
I wake up each morning with my muscles a bit sore and a bit tired now, but this is a signal to me that Iím pushing through my comfort zone, which I know is necessary to get where Iím going.
Iíve been visualizing what Iíll look like at 8% bodyfat and it looks pretty spectacular in my mindís eye. I think one of the best ways to achieve a goal is to visualize the outcome and then take small, manageable steps everyday towards it. The guys at Sports Food have outlined the plan, now itís my job to put it into action.
The first week of my fitness transformation has come to a conclusion, and Iím already seeing results. I wonder whoís watching?
03-31-2013, 03:35 PM #8
Week One - the journey begins
I will start off by covering how fitness has played a role in my life before starting the Sports Food 12 week transformation last week. In junior high and high school I was a distance runner but also on the wrestling team, lifted weights, and did martial arts for a few years. My body type is a cross between ectomorph (tall and skinny) and mesomorph (shorter and more muscular), which meant that I was fairly versatile in sports but mean I had to work harder to specialize in any given event than some of the athletes who were naturally built for specific events.
I later spent 11 years in the military, where there was a lot of focus on endurance events such as long distance runs, cross training, hiking with heavy loads, and doing as many pushups and situps as possible. The military lifestyle also made it very difficult to eat properly. Much of the food during my time was unhealthy old school cafeteria style food and limited portions. We frequently had to skip meals or eat prepackaged Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). I lifted weights when I could but gym access was sporadic and it was difficult to lift in addition to the other physical demands without overtraining.
I left the military in 2010 and had the focus of gaining muscle mass. I achieved the amazing initial gains that most beginners enjoy and then hit a plateau. I switched programs several times, took too many breaks from lifting, and had a lot of trial and error in my development. There are so many legitimate programs available and many of them offer conflicting advice or bad advice. There were also many locker room experts that filled my head with garbage. I saw some guys who were in great shape but had poor form and ate garbage. It took me a while to realize that genetics plays a huge role and even those with advanced training certifications can give you bad advice. Also, many of the fitness models and authors take steroids and have other tricks to pump themselves up for the camera. Even those who donít take steroids will achieve ďgainsĒ that are really just increased glycogen stores and water weight. I have come to the conclusion that you have to live very consciously to improve oneís fitness level.
Recent training experience and Sports Food transition:
Last year I started a high intensity training (HIT) program with a similar workout split (work and rest plan) to the Sports Food (SF) program. I focused on one or two muscle groups per training day and trained two days followed by a day of rest and then repeated the cycle (a ď2/1 splitĒ). I placed a greater emphasis on consuming enough calories but didnít ďclean bulkĒ, had inconsistent meal timing, and would always eat more food when in doubt. I gained muscle mass but also went from around 12% Body Fat (BF) to 18% BF. This was the conventional approach to bodybuilding with a bulking phase followed by a cutting phase. I had always wanted to maintain the right balance of lean gains and fat loss. The Sports Food system seemed to be the answer.
Now I will talk about training this year and my transition to the SF program. I knew that I wanted to officially start this round of the SF program so I started making some changes to the way I trained and ate months before. I started tapering down on the calories and cut out nearly all alcohol. You would be amazed at how much a few beers over the weekend can really add up to a lot of empty calories. When I was accepted into the SF program I deliberately took a week off from training to let my body recover. Another added benefit of a longer break is that you really shock your body when you start to train again.
Current stats and goals:
Iím 33 years old next week, 5í11Ē, and weigh 188 pounds at 10.2% body fat. These are the same as my stats on day 1. My long-term goals are to gain 20 lbs. of lean muscle in the next 12 months and maintain no more than 10% bodyfat for life. I turn 33 this month so I want to gain muscle mass before my testosterone production drops even more. Note that around age 40 it is harder for men to gain lean muscle. I want to maintain around 10% BF because I want more muscle definition to be visible in my body and I want to sculpt my face. Body fat that is visible in the face and neck makes one look several years older. I also want to have the general health benefits that result from a balanced diet and good cardiovascular health (e.g. lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, etc). The Sports Food transformation seems to be very congruent with my goals. My main goal is to have a visibly impressive ďwowĒ body. I have seen some guys out in public and have done a double take because their physiques are so impressive. That's the type of body that I want.
Initial impressions of the Sports Food program and general reflections:
After training on the SF program for over a week I am very optimistic about my transformation. I love the fact that we have a cohort that serves as a support system and keeps us all accountable. I like that Kris Gethinís 12-week trainer serves as the backbone of the program. Gethin is a self-claimed ďlifetime naturalĒ bodybuilder meaning that he has never used steroids. He adheres to many of the principles that I support: shocking your body with changes to the exercises and routine, staying disciplined with a ďzero defectĒ mentality, and listening to your body to prevent injuries. It is also good that the Sports Food team doesnít just blindly tell us to follow Gethinís program but has modified it based on our goals.
The biggest change from my previous programs is treating this transformation as a lifestyle rather than just a program. For example, I am going on a trip tomorrow and planned the flight time around my workout rather than the other way around. Long term motivation is critical and you really have to have a "zero default" mentality. Sometimes it sucks to follow through but if you slip up once it becomes a slippery slope. It was nearly two in the morning one day last week as I headed to bed and I realized that I had forgotten to do my second 20 minute cardio session. I really didn't feel like doing it and debated ďpaying myself later with interestĒ but got off the couch and did my cardio. I have seen others (and myself a few years ago) rationalize breaking the rules by promising they will work twice as hard during the next workout to compensate for cheating today. Remember, you can only cheat yourself.
The greatest challenge of this program is the overall time commitment. There is a great amount of time required to cook, eat at the right times, clean dishes, watch the videos, conduct additional research, and break up my training sessions during the day. Again, this is a lifestyle. I view Gethinís videos and the overall plan as a starting point. There is still a lot of room for ways to fine tune based on my goals and my body. For example, I had rotator cuff surgery and have bad knees so I am very careful with some exercises. I take the warmup sets seriously to ensure I have form that works for me.
Being meticulous and planning ahead doesnít just apply to those with injuries. When you add very heavy weight, a difference in foot pronation or hand position on a barbell can make a big difference. This results in having to research alternate exercises, which can be an issue if you have a crowded or incomplete gym. Note that Gethin switches exercises for every workout so I find it best to watch the videos well in advance of my gym session so I can have the prescribed exercises, and alternate exercises, ready to go in my digital notebook rather than having to figure them out on the fly.
There are also some generalities in the program that can be fine-tuned. For example, not all vegetables are created equal. Carrots and corn have a high glycemic index (raise blood sugar and turn to fat) compared to other vegetables. Also, due to the lengthy weight workouts, high reps, and cardio sessions I am concerned about reaching a catabolic (muscle burning) level so I am adjusting my behavior. Since I am in the ďgainerĒ category, I try to do cardio several hours before or after the weight or abdominal workouts rather than in combination (with the exception of warmups). There are also different types of protein powder such as whey, casein, and beef protein that all have their uses.
I have found value in tracking all of my reps in the gym and nutrition specifics using my smartphone. Just the act of recording can be beneficial, not to mention the ability to analyze and monitor progress. The bottom line is that all of this takes time and focus.
Lastly, the Sports Food supplementation seems to be efficient and does not go overboard like those in some other programs. I like how the powders are packaged in resealable bags that make them easy to travel with.
I believe this is an excellent program that I am excited to be part of. I will address some of the points I covered here in more detail in case you are able to learn from my experience in the Sports Food program.
04-02-2013, 01:32 AM #9
Wow, what an excitement to embrace a new life style. For the first time in my ENTIRE life, I actually eat more than 2 meals a day. Now, I eat around 5-6 meals a day. Believe me, there are time, I feel not hungry AT ALL. But I got to do whatever it takes to improve my life (special thank you to Sterling and Venture. You guys are giving me awesome guidance in this training). Weight training part is really heavy for me. I actually though I am a lot stronger. Everyday I go to the gym and usually the previous guy sets the weight at 60-70lb, and I will have to adjust to 20 lb LOL. But I only compete with myself so I will keep on tracking my progress, and I am excited to see how much I can go with this 12 weeks program. If you ask my personal goal, I would say, IF I can weight 140 lb at the end of this 12 week program, I am a happy camper already. Another interesting thing Iíve notice, is that there are A LOT of hot girl in the gym. Those girl work out just as hard to maintain their waist, their thighÖetc. I am SURPRISED by the fact that A lot of hot girl with nice body actually put in time to MAINTAINE her body in the gym. I guess thatís how they get a nice body in the first place. And THAT make me understand why I should work extra hard in gym. What I DO NOT want in life (I am right now) is to, hopefully, eventually become good at talking to girl, then go back home and play video game and eat instant noodle. Now, I see how hard for GIRLS to maintain their body, I know I should make myself a more attractive guy fundamentally. (how can a girl like me if she put in a lot of efforts to maintain her body in the gym, and I just play video game and eat instant noodle???) Good question to myself lol.
Weight training actually is TOUGHER than I thought, my shoulder and deltoid muscle are shaking right now and itís sore. (funny story, it was actually not that sore in the gym, but when I get home, it start to sore now lol I guess it has some delay effect). I still need more cardio. Believe it or not, the first time I do cardio, I am tired already for 5 min. But I got to keep on pushing myself.
Those guys in the gym are really inspirational to myself. Those guys has the physics that I DREAM to have. Some of them has a biceps as big as my thigh!!!!!!
I like those training now because I kinda feel like I am having a more productive life, I waked up earlier, I hang out with my coworker who goes to the gym as well. They gave me an advice to listen some music with ear phone to make the working out process a more enjoyable one, I might try that as well. My mom actually is happy that I start to eat more heaythy food and most importantly I actually feel more energy at work.
There are definitely someday I want to eat fast food, but I have to force myself to stop and to re focus on my diet regiment. There are times I want to drink Vitamin water, but I just have to stop those sugar water. New lifestyle is hard but I just got to force myself to change to a better self. Lately, about 2-3 days ago, some of my coworker and patientís family brought some coca-cola and cookie to me, and I tell them ďNo I canít eat thisĒ, lol I turn down their offer.
Some of my friend keeps on telling me that Chinese will never get big muscle. Those are really discouraging to me. One of them is even a Chinese doctor in my facility, He has all my respect in this field, but he really discourage me to improve myself. Then I decided to STOP talking to him about Fitness and Game. He does not believe people can learn how to talk to girl (he believe you have to be rich to get girl) and he believe our race determine if we can get bigger. I kinda donít believe it, beause I saw Chinese body builder is just as good. So I have to cut him out of my life if they keep on discourage me to get better. Good thing, my mom actually encourage me to follow the work out regiment.
So my goal for the next week is to keep on showing up at the gym, keep on follow the diet and work out regiment
04-02-2013, 01:41 AM #10
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
Week one of the pre-program to Project Rock Star was pretty fun. I start getting used to all the process we need to do. Iím learning how to manage my time better, and take advantage of every second. Between working, working out, and eating I barely have time to do other stuff. I find it very exciting and challenging and Iím sure I will get the result that I want with this process.
This week I mainly focused on working out, and eating right. I just got all the supplements 2 days ago, and I am getting used to the idea of how and when I should take each one of them. I love it. Being in a new system is really exciting for me, and Iím really excited about the result.
For me the less easy part is the food. I havenít cooked myself in a very long time. I have been eating outside for the last couple of years, because Iím always on the run. I also love to eat outside and try new types of food, so itís not easy to get used to eat the same shit every day. However, I did supersized my self with the self discipline that I had this week, with all the cooking I did, and how I almost never skipped a meal. Iím getting better with the time, and learn how to manage my time around my meals and food. Itís very new to me, but Iím very happy with the challenge, and I think that this is the number one thing that always stopped me from having the perfect body. Therefore, Iím very excited about it, and looking forward to see the results and the transformation that Iíll make.
Working out at the gym has always been my thing. Iím having fun going there and itís my therapy and quality time with myself during the day. However, I have never liked working my abs, and I used to be lazy about doing crunches and stuff. Doing this p90x ab ripper x, is great. It is a very intensive workout for the abs, and I feel my improvements every time Iím doing it. I have done it 3 times so far, and the amount of breaks I take between sets is going down. I feel like my core and abs are getting in a better shape, and I am sure Iíll be happy with the results.
I have been motivating my self every morning when I wakeup and every night before Iím going to sleep, in order to keep me more focus and help me push my self harder at the gym. Iím listening to this iPhone app called ďUmanoĒ, that has all those inspiring articles about different businesses, businessmen, athletes, and other interesting stuff too. The best part about it is that you can listen to that, so you can listen to it while doing other stuff such as: driving, cooking, or taking a shower. I find it extremely important to be more organized with your time in order to see results. Doing 2 things at the same time helping me to be on the top of my clock. The pre-program is very intense and you need to invest a lot of hours reading and learning about the diets and the working out. I have to watch Kris movies before I work out, so I can understand my work out better. You also need to find the time to cook your own food and put it in taper wares for the whole week. I need to make sure Iím on track with my calories, and count my calories every day. Between that I also need to work and do personal errands. But I do love it, and making everything on track, makes me happy because I know that Iím not wasting time. Itís a great challenge for me and Iím learning more and more about my self every day.
Motivation is a big thing for me, and I have always been the person who is searching for different tubes on YouTube about motivation and how to reach success in every area in your life. Iím consistently doing that, and it does help me to keep on track and push harder at the gym.
Iím really excited for this and I do see improvements already. I am sure that as the time pass by, it will become easier because I will be on automatic pilot and will make it an habit in my life.
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