Project Rockstar 2017 - Pre-Training Fitness Program Weekly Journals

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  1. #1
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    Sterling is offline Certified Love Systems Instructor

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    Nov 2008

    Project Rockstar 2017 - Pre-Training Fitness Program Weekly Journals

    The Project Rockstar 2017 class has been selected!

    Project Rockstar represents a multi-faceted complete life transformation. From the moment the Rockstars are selected the training begins. The Rockstars have to go through a mandatory, extremely grueling fitness program. They are tracked daily, with photos and measurements submitted every week for assessment, and pushed to the absolute limit.

    Roughly 2-3 hours of gym time every day for 12 weeks and preparing ALL their own meals as part of a strictly controlled nutrition and diet program. That means upwards of 4,000 calories a day for those gaining mass, and less than 1,500 calories a day for those losing weight. With no question the guys will be stepping into summer in the best shape of their lives.

    Through their struggle and transformation, we hope to impart inspiration to your own journey of self-improvement. While these lucky guys have an overwhelming amount of support and pressure to succeed, there's nothing stopping you from doing it too.

    It is my pleasure to present the Project Rockstar 2017 fitness journals.

  2. #2

    Week 1

    Hey guys, little intro. Iím 25 and I work as a financial advisor for Fidelity Investments in LA. This is the first time I have ever participated in a customized fitness plan. I played water polo and was on the swim team in high school, but neither of those teams participated in a structured weight-training program. In college, I went to the gym off and on, and I actually participated in the 12 week Gethin program before I went to spring break my junior year. I didnít understand that I needed a goal in order to be successful. That lack of direction meant that no matter my dedication, I was never going to see the results I wanted to. Last year that changed. I spent three months working through Gethin one more time, while following a nutrition plan a personal trainer friend of mine put together for me. I saw great results, although I was a little disappointed because I had not focused on the right thing for me. But it was a start. I believe this program will help me to be much more successful. It exactly aligns with what I want to do: put on 20 lbs of muscle while staying lean. I am more than excited to be doing this, I know this is going to be a foundation that I can use to fuel a renewed focus on my health for the rest of my life.

    I noticed differences in myself right from the outset of the program. My second day on the program, I had a boner throughout my entire Tuesday morning office meeting. I work out in the morning, and both the first and the second day after I had finished my lift, all I could think about was finding a girl and tearing off all of her clothes. I like to think Iím a pretty sexual guy, but if Iím being honest I have felt that my overall sex drive had been waning over the last couple months. I have had blue balls throughout this entire week. Itís almost like my body is telling me, ďBuddy, this is what weíve been missing.Ē

    First lesson of the week: If you eat chicken, make sure you cook it thoroughly. When I went on my diet program last year I had a set rotation of foods I was comfortable with so I just upped the size of my meals to match the number of calories I was eating. This was my first time cooking chicken on a grill in probably 4 years. Turns out I messed up the timing. There are some pros to under cooked chicken. For one thing, I get to have a ten foot space bubble around me at all times, and the peace and quiet makes it a lot easier to get work done. Iíve also sent my little bro a ton of hilarious memes using all the time Iíve been spending on the porcelain throne. Thatís about it. Cons include, surrounded by smell of dead animal, stomach starts speaking in tongues, stool looks like it would power a nuclear submarine, must replace underwear once a day(sometimes twice), and will feel like you spent the weekend with a dominatrix wearing a strap on(your asshole will be on fire if that wasnít clear). When you cook use a meat thermometer or make sure you nuke your chicken before you actually eat it.

    Second lesson, on the weekends, you need to make sure eating is a priority and space out your eating time. Itís easy to get your workouts in, that maybe takes 2 hours tops in one focused sitting. When you are eating 4,000 calories a day, you NEED to space your meals out or you WILL feel sick. On the weekends I like to sleep in and be overall lazy. I learned the hard way today(Sunday) that compressing your meal times is a surefire way to be miserable. I woke up this morning, went on a run for the 20 min cardio, and when I came back I got ready to start cooking for the week. I ate a banana to put something in my system before I got my breakfast ready. Within an hour I had stomach cramps and I ended up throwing up(see lesson 1 for more information). This was at 11a. It wasnít til 5p that my stomach settled and I could resume eating again. As I write this blog, I still have to eat 40% of my food. Itís 9p and I just ate. 9p is my food eating curfew(I live with my grandparents, they get grouchy if Iím in the kitchen past 9p). FML I have to eat all of my food now. Start eating early, and eat throughout the day.

    Third lesson of the week: space out your responsibilities. I crammed shopping, cleaning my room, cooking the food, packing the food, eating some food, working out, writing this post and taking pictures all into one day. Granted, I got it all done but I started my day at 10am and Iím still writing this post 12 hours later. Ok wait I lied, it still looks like a tornado touched down in my room. Some things you canít reschedule, like you obviously canít get all your workouts done in one day. You can go shopping on Saturday and be ready to cook and prep on Sunday. You can do your laundry and clean your room on Friday so that you can balance your work time and your fun time. Space out your responsibilities so you can get everything done you need to.

    If you ever get into a situation where you have to travel(I had to be up in LA rather than my home in Long Beach), an ice cooler is going to be your best friend. I ate all my uncooked foods(eggs, veggies, oatmeal) in the morning before I left and then I took my chicken, tuna, rice, and pasta with me on the road. Do you hate eating your food cold? Looking for a microwave? Have no friends whose microwave you can use? Fear not, if you are well dressed and smell respectable Whole Foods has public microwaves that are available for your convenience. Basically, donít look like your homeless and theyíll look the other way. I was able to heat up all my food(crucially important considering the state of my chicken) and I did it all for free. Will be going back there to use the microwave again. Pro tip: If they hassle you just tell them that you everything in the Tupperware is Whole Foods brand.

    Thatís going to be the end of this post. Iíll see yíall next week. In case youíre wondering yes Iím still eating and yes it still sucks.

  3. #3

    Week 2

    Week 2 has been a rollercoaster, a lot of highs and lows. One over arching theme throughout: energy. Before this program I would constantly be yawning throughout the day even though I would get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Then when Iíd finally lie down to go to sleep, it would take an hour before my mind quieted down enough for me to pass out. Since starting this program, my energy has been at peak levels. I rarely if ever yawn before 7p and when I do lay down I fall asleep within ten minutes. Still canít take naps but I am curious to see if that will change as the program continues.

    I canít speak enough to how helpful reading everyoneís blog posts is. When I started reading everyoneís posts I got all jazzed up about being on this transformation. I realized just how powerful it is to have people around you that support you and/or are striving towards similar goals at the same time you are. It helped me really push during the ab ripper program. Ab ripper X is so satisfying, I have always wanted to see my six pack so although my screams can be heard a block away I love an ab ripper day. And you know the first place I go after finishing is straight to a mirror to check myself out. Ab ripper X made me realize how weak my abs are. By the time the pulse ups coming along Iím practically throwing myself forward just to get up.

    Quick update. I started week 1 at 192lbs 9.6% body fat(I am 6í6Ē). This week I started at 197lbs and 10.5% body fat. My coach asked me to start splitting up my fat and carbs into separate meals instead of eating it all together. Unfortunately, all of my meals were already prepped together so next week will be first week implementing those split macros.

    I love chest days. I always feel like I have a little extra motivation to throw up weight on chest which may or may not be because your gym man hood is based exclusively on how much you bench. I have always wanted to be able to bench two plates on each side so I typically hit it pretty hard. While I was putting up the weight, I felt my left shoulder start to strain. I have a friend who told me about how he had tore his rotator cuff doing bench. I remembered this, and immediately dropped the weight down. It was really discouraging; I felt really weak and that if I pushed myself too much I was going to set myself back even farther, or worse not be able to continue lifting in prep for the program. I pushed through the workout and moved on to the next day.

    It wasnít until Thursday that I realized how much I had limited myself over fear of injury. When I was a freshman in high school I strained a muscle in my back while doing deadlifts, which took me years to recover from. I also have a split disc in my back from doing some lifting while at work that I am still dealing with three years later. I was reading some more of the blog posts while I was doing my preworkout cardio, and I realized that over the years I had continually put a cap to the amount of weight I had put up. I put limits on the amount I was comfortable lifting in order to protect myself from any imaginary injury that may occur. Unless I thought I was using ďperfect formĒ I wouldnít let myself go any higher. I thought back to Monday and although there is danger in lifting really heavy weight, I had limited myself even when there wasnít any feeling of strain or pain. When I continued to read through the week 1 posts, I realized that if I didnít push past my comfort zone Iíd never hit my goals. I walked into the gym on Thursday to ready to destroy. If you had put earplugs into my brain you would have heard screamo death metal blaring at you. It was a little disappointing to realize that Thursday was calf day. I felt rather silly making loud grunting noises as I strained at the calf machine but I they got wrecked nonetheless.

    On Friday, I took that energy and focus I had acquired the day before and took it out on my back. For the first time I felt like I was at home. For years I had felt self-conscious about what I was doing in the gym; how much I was lifting or what exercises I was doing. I always felt like the other guys knew I was a beginner and were in someway doubting me. That day I raged on my back, it was my best workout since the program started. As I continually pushed my boundaries, I felt almost at peace in the gym. I looked at all the other guys that were working out as brothers. We were all there to accomplish the same goal. I finally felt like I was apart of the group. I felt confident in myself that I was going to be able to change the way my body looked.

    Today is Sunday, and living in California I have been enjoying the sunshine as a reward for the cooking and prep I did this morning. As I sat shirtless I realized that even if I was pushing my workouts to the max I still was lacking in one area: cardio. Itís not as though I havenít been doing the cardio, but at times I would be lethargic and would not push myself past the pain. One of my biggest gripes about my body is that I carry most of my fat on my midsection. Anyone that looks at me sees a fit tall guy but when even as I sit in this chair and look down I see fat and it makes me uncomfortable. If I really want to see the changes that I do in my body, I need to give 100% of my effort to all aspects of the program, from diet, to the workouts, to the cardio, to the sleep. In the end that is going to give me the ability to look back and say I did my best and this is what I have to show for it.

  4. #4

    Week 3

    One Word. Mind Muscle Connection. Friday was shoulders and I finished what I felt was the best workout of the program(Iím seeing a trend here). What I did was during the lift, I concentrated on contracting the specific muscles that I was targeting. For example, the first set was a superset of side lateral raises and then front shoulder raises. Instead of doing what I did the week before which was taking the heaviest weight I could find and heaving it, I took my time and concentrated on flexing my shoulder muscle throughout the whole exercise. The craziest part? I felt that the weight became easier to lift. As I would approached failure and my muscles would start screaming, it was easier for me to push through the pain to complete the last couple reps. I also felt like instead of compensating with other muscle groups such as triceps I was able to concentrate more on my shoulder. And when I did compensate with my triceps during the lift, I knew it and was able to adjust/drop the weight accordingly to refocus on the shoulders. Which leads me into the next section.

    DAAAAAAAAMMMMMMNNNNN. I punished my legs. Like my future wife came down with a short skirt before we were going to dinner punished. I typically feel like my legs are one of those muscles where I skimp out. Not because I donít care but because I can usually bring the pain the most on the legs so I ďgo easyĒ on them. Not today. Using the mind muscle connection that I learned on Friday, I blasted the shit out of my legs. I must sound like a broken record, but the farther into the program I get, the more and more I am able to focus during the workouts. In fact, by using MMC, I felt like I could power through sets where in the past I may have given up halfway through. The hardest part for me is always completing those last couple reps when you really feel the pain. By the end of the workout I could have thrown away my shirt I was so drenched in sweat. Focusing on contracting the muscle upped the intensity of my workouts, and I canít wait to go at it again next week with the other muscle groups.

    In Ab ripper X, about half way through the video Tony Horton says ďwere about halfway done, parties almost over what a bummer!Ē Iím caught in between loving that I have 9 more weeks and that there are only 9 more weeks. I am feeling the best I have felt physically in perhaps my entire life. I feel full of energy, my muscles are getting tighter, and I love the small changes I am seeing in the mirror. Iím now at the point where I am starting to constantly ask myself questions like, ďhow I can improve, what do I need to do to get a better workout, how can I make the most of this week?Ē And it really comes down to having a goal and setting a time line to it. Knowing that I have 12 weeks total to see a full transformation has throttled my motivation. And I stress again I love reading the posts. I was reading Alexís earlier and reading about how he was increasing his weight by 10-15% and all I could think was ďshit I need to be tracking this.Ē Not because I need it, but because I know it will help me get closer to the results that I want.

    And speaking of making sure I get my results, I am actually noticing that I am getting better at time management. I live with my grandparents and there is a curfew on being in the kitchen past 9pm. This makes it difficult at times for me to be able to get all the food I need in my body while making my workout times. I have become acutely aware of how much time I spent dicking around not doing what I need to be doing. For example, I spend a lot of time on instagram, reading articles, or on facebook from my phone. Not because I want to but because the all-consuming vortex of social media consumes my attention. Itís a shit situation to get home at 8:40p needing to eat 1,600 calories in order to finish the day off. What I have been doing is actually really small, but I am now more aware of when I am sitting on my phone not getting my chores done. Even just being aware of it makes it easier for me to break away and go get things done. After I finish everything, I find I donít even want to be on my phone to begin with. I suddenly have the urge to go hang with friends or work on my business. In the past, 60% of my free time Iíd spend procrastinating and the other 40% Iíd get my important things done. Now I spend 60% of my time on the important things, but I can spend the other 40% doing actually meaningful things for myself.

    The food. For two weeks, I was eating my carbs and fat together with a protein but no more. My coach made some changes to my diet and let me tell you my eating has changed from fine to a struggle. One thing is for sure, I need to improve my ability to cook chicken because if I have to eat another dry piece of chicken I may go vegan. Combine that with dry whole-wheat pasta and by far I have one of the most difficult meals to eat imaginable. I literally just put food in my mouth, chew, and then drink water to help me get it down. Ugh. Weíll see how this weeks food turns out. I wouldnít call myself a grill master just yet but my skills are far superior compared to week 1ís results aka the gas blast.

    Last thing I want to do is highlight some things I want to get done this next week so I can come back and see how I did. First and foremost, tracking the weights so I can see how I am doing. What gets measured gets done, and I want to see myself not just stronger because I feel stronger but actually lifting heavier weight by the end. I am going to focus on that MMC in my workouts again throughout the week. Those are my big 2 this week. See ya next week.

  5. #5

    Week 4

    Week 1 I started at 192 lbs with just under 10% body fat. I am now up to about 202lbs with about 10.5% body fat. If Iím being honest, Iíd like to have gained all that weight in muscle and then kept the same amount of fat. I do however want to be realistic with this process and focus on my main goal of gaining muscle mass. If on day 84 I weigh in at 210lbs I will have hit the goals that I really wanted for myself. In the past, I have been impatient with the gains. Since my week 1 jump from 192 to 197, I have been gaining weight more gradually, which although frustrating I have taken as a step in the right direction, especially since I can see changes in the mirror and my fat hasnít ballooned as I gained the weight. On Wednesday I will be doing either a caliper test or DEXA scan to get my true body fat which should tell me my actual progress compared to what Iím seeing day to day.

    Ok Iíll be straight, food wise Iím thinking of giving up tuna. Iím eating two cans a day and have started glowing from all the mercury Iím taking in. The way I have split up my protein is mostly 50/50 between chicken and fish. Itís easier to inhale the chicken if I can at least tell myself itís not more tuna. For the most part though itís getting easier to eat all my calories throughout the day. And if I do have to combine meals I can now take down an insane amount of calories in one go. I mentioned last week I wanted to find new recipes. Have not found new recipes which can be attributed to a severe case of laziness filed with the mantra ďif it ainít broke donít fix it.Ē One thing worries me, and that is when I finish Project Rockstar I wonít be able to easily build off the momentum from these 12 weeks and continue exercising. Iím not saying that I wonít go back to eating tuna and chicken when I get back from Project Rockstar but Iíll be real Iíd rather not start scarfing more tuna and chicken when I get back from Project Rockstar. My goal for this is to not have this be a one and done transformation but to be the new track that I run on for the rest of my life. So this week I plan on focusing on finding some new recipes to make my food more appetizing.

    Last week I said that I wanted to focus on two things: tracking weight and mind muscle connection(MMC). I did not track the weight I was lifting. I did however focus on the MMC to the nth degree. And I came to realize a couple things. I am not as strong as I thought I was. Donít get me wrong, I have never seen myself as a muscle head that can crush the weights on any given day, but I did feel like I could throw up a fair bit of weight in every category. Except maybe biceps(damn you T-rex forearms). Between the MMC and the pointers from my fitness coach, I came to the realization I had been lifting totally wrong since I started working out as a freshman in high school. When I focused on the little things to improve the quality of my lift: full range of motion, not bouncing the weight, controlled motion, using correct posture, I was no longer able to lift the same amount as I had before. The difference was noticeable when I left the gym. Whatever body part I had been working would be totally crushed when Iíd leave. Abs were the a prime example of this. Two days after the custom Sports Food Nutrition Ab workout I am still feeling the DOMS(delayed onset muscle soreness). Just learned that word. Make sure you add it to your vocabulary, itís badass to say the DOMS are killing me mate. Accomplishing that level of success took a complete focus on each exercise at hand. Which leads me to my next point, which is what happens when I lose that focus.
    As soon as I stopped focusing on contracting the muscle, on controlling the exercise, on strengthening my core, my mind flooded with different thoughts that derailed my workout. Some guy walked by my legs while I was doing my hip thrusts and I immediately started griping about how rude he was and didnít he see I was working out? Which was followed by my next thought of ďalright youíre almost done just keeping throwing it up, ya only 10 more just push through.Ē This doesnít sound like itís all that bad, but I stopped focusing on the exercise and I started focusing on finishing the set. As a result, my form went from contracting abs to throwing up legs with whole body as fast as possible. And I was ineffective in contracting my core muscles to the best of my ability. I realized it wasnít just working out that this habit affected, but many different areas such as at work(just ten more calls), talking with people(day dreaming instead of listening), or even writing this blog post. Whenever my focus was directed elsewhere than on the task at hand, my performance would suffer. Iím not saying that it is easy to be totally focused, but it allows you to get way more out of the time you spend. And I know when I take this skill and develop it, it will pay dividends towards my future and current success.

    This next week I will focus on three things. MMC is going to be the first thing. Even if I am using it already, I am going to continue developing it to get the most I can from the next 8 weeks. It will be paramount getting my focus as close as I can to 100% on every exercise, every set, every rep if I am aiming for 210lbs. Second, I want to have some appealing recipes ready to cook for the week, so research this week and I will implement them the week after. Lastly, I want to track the weight Iím lifting. I will focus on the weight where I feel like I have the best muscle recruitment rather than the heaviest weight I am able to put up. Cheers, looking forward to next week.

  6. #6


    What a great first week. Before I get into it, a bit of an introduction. Iím a 26 year old engineer from Australia, Iíve been weight training consistently for around 5 years, and have been extremely fit and active for *nearly* all of my life.

    As a teenager I was a national level athlete, and played plenty of sports. However, once I was out of my sporting environment and moved to university, I neglected my fitness and physicality fairly severely; training sporadically and eating a lot of takeaway while partying or cramming. By the time I finished my final year thesis, most of the muscle I had was gone and I was about 18kg overweight. Something had to change, I lost all the weight (still had hardly any muscle); that year was my welcome to bodybuilding.

    While I knew how to train for performance, under a coach and a supportive environment, I had no idea about proper nutrition or moving toward goals under my own steam; I was useless at being the master of my own destiny, I was a passenger in my life. In hindsight, this was probably a significant turning point not only for my physical health, but my mental attitude toward life. Something Iíve only recognised recently is that the process of fixing my weight problem and learning to learn that followed in that year was the first (of many) dominos in adjusting my mental dialogue to realising everything in life is down to me, my attitude and my willingness to work my ass off to get what I want.

    I made fitness and health part of my life from that point. Over the last 5 years Iíve gone through a physical and mental journey, my attitude toward food has completely evolved several times, my physique is decent, Iíve accumulated what I feel is a lot of knowledge on the topic, and had the privilege to be peers with some of the fittest men in the country. My training over the past year, and leading up to the start of the Rockstar fitness program, has been back down to around 5-6 sessions a week, lifting weights, eating at a slight caloric deficit to keep myself lean (interspersed with very occasional cheat meals, eating out, chocolate, Christmas etc).

    Week 1, Days 1-7

    I was really looking forward to starting the program, to see where I could take my physique during a 12 week period of intense focus alongside a bunch of other motivated guys. Adapting my training routine to the program wasnít a huge adjustment, apart from adding a lot more cardio in and actually training the smaller muscle groups that Iíd often drop for more time on compound movements (looking at you biceps & calves). Iíve been meal prepping for the last 5 years, and the types of food I eat havenít really changed, but the amount surely has (roughly doubled). Iíve essentially been cutting (i.e. at a caloric deficit) for the past 5 years Ė I would routinely work for ~8 months to get to <10% body fat for summer, then in 1-2 months Iíd be back up over 15-18%, having partied and ate all the Christmas ham with a ruined metabolism. Despite knowing all the right information to reverse diet correctly and telling myself I was going to put on some size Ďthis yearí, Iíd stick at it for a few weeks before I got scared of getting fat, what people would think of me, and all the extra time cutting Iíd need if I kept putting on weight so fast (more on these fears shortly). So Iíd start cutting again, rinse and repeat. Having the structure and the peer network of the Rockstar fitness program has given me more confidence to actually try and put some decent size on, while controlling the fat gain.
    The first few days I was a bit hesitant to eat so many calories, and was constantly full. But by even the second day, during training I could feel my body responding well to all those extra carbohydrates it isnít used to having. 7 days in, I wouldnít say Iím back to the strongest Iíve ever been, but Iím very quickly approaching it, so Iím confident by week 2 or 3 Iíll be back to that level, with the rest of the program to shatter new heights.

    Getting the cardio in can be a bit of a pain; at least twice this week I was out there at midnight after 17 hour days of work & night classes Ė though I havenít had to dig too deep to get it done. Over the years when people have seen me consistently training, eating well and saying no to cake and TimTams at morning tea, they often ask how Iím so motivated. It makes me laugh. What Iíve come to understand (and try to teach them) for anything hard in life, is that Ďmotivationí only gets you there on day 1 & 2, or maybe even week 1 & 2. Itís Ďdedicationí, a burning desire for change/progress, and a level of what I call Ďgoing full robotí (get out of your head and execute the plan you made when you had a clear mind) that will see you through weeks 2 to infinity.

    Letís talk briefly about the abs componentÖ Ab Ripper X - ďI haate it.. but I love itĒ *said with crazy eyes*. I thought my core strength was solid, but man that circuit will teach you a thing or two about humility if you do each movement correctly. My abs ended up a bit sorer than normal for me, but after legs on day 1 and this on day 3, my hip flexors were ruined. I was in agony trying to go between sitting and standing, and just standing up straight would be a 15-30 second movement. Lesson: stretch more often.

    As Iíve seen with fitness over the years, the biggest effect it has is not on your physique, but rather on your mental state and inner dialogue. To be honest, because of all the success and progress Iíve had in the past with this area of my life, I didnít think I was going to get a huge mental benefit out of the fitness component. This evening Iím incredibly grateful I was wrong. This short time, 1 week, has been enough to get me to realise the thing thatís been holding me back physically, and by extension highly likely other areas of my life too (money, relationships, business). FEAR. Fear of LOSS. For fitness: (1) fear of losing the level of physique Iíve got, because of (2) fear of getting fat with no muscle gain to show for it, (3) fear of not being able to get lean again after putting on too much weight, and (4) fear of what people will think of me if Iím bigger than I usually am (this one probably goes back to being repeatedly told I was fat growing up). The funny thing is, Iíve routinely REALISED those fears, every year, because Iíve essentially let fear rule my decision making (i.e. going back to cutting shortly after getting just a bit fatter, resulting in nil/negative overall long term physical progress). While desperately holding onto the physique I have, Iíve stopped myself from getting better Ė Iíve fallen trap the monkeyís dilemma (where they get trapped by holding onto food in a jar, just need to let it go and be free). I never really set out a proper plan for getting bigger, so that I could dedicate and go full robot. Fear stopped me making that plan. I donít remember where I read it, but I saw something once that said that if you fear something, youíll probably get it. Lesson learned, no more fear. I think itís Tim Ferris that routinely practices poverty for certain periods; cutting back his life to the bare minimum, eating rice and beans, wearing old simple clothes etc. The idea being that once you actually face up to your fears, youíll see theyíre not 1/10th as bad as in your head. I understand that sentiment this week: Iím a week in at roughly double my normal calories and Iíve put on marginal fat, feeling much better in the gym, had some of the best sessions in a long time, and women are commenting positively.

    Iím really happy with this mental progress, and grateful for one more barrier falling away. Clarifying the fear issue in my head helped me reconcile the conflict between believing Iím someone with dedication (and not just motivation), with the fact I couldnít really ever commit to bulking. Rockstar, this year, and hopefully the rest of my life will be a series of smashing limits, and I cant wait to see what else is in store.

  7. #7

    Week 2, Days 8-14

    Another great week down. It feels like yesterday I was sitting down to reflect on week 1, and I’m already at it again, yet for some strange reason Monday & Tuesday feel like a lifetime ago. I’m certainly settled into routine at this point, and didn’t have to do meal prep this week as I did 14 days’ worth of it last week. The training this week was a bit up and down; some days easier than others, so I ended up adding a few exercises to days that were a bit light on (calves day for example; I added triceps as they weren’t going to be trained for a few days after that).

    Most of the guys from the program have now got each other on Snapchat too, which has been fun getting to know each other a bit and share in collective triumphs, pain, and just general jovialities as we go about our days. I cant wait to be in the same room as these legends and kill it.

    Now that I’m getting back into it, cardio is starting to get fun again. I used to like running before training, pushing myself and seeing how far I could run in 20mins, or doing 3x 1.6 km sprints before weights. I’ve just been upping the speed of each pre-training run, I’m at around 13km/hr for 20min now, I’m aiming to hit 15km/hr by week 6 or so, then I’ll start sprinting and mixing it up a bit. I’ll also look to start rowing and cross trainer next week, to add some variety.

    I fixed my bike so I could start cycling to the gym on weekends, figured I’d give it a go today. It was great fun, and a nice afternoon. It then turned into a bit of a horror show; riding home after training legs can be a recipe for some mental toughness training, let alone after doing 200 hack squats… In the long run it was probably a good thing, a decent cooldown running the legs over while cars laughed at me trying to go up hills.

    I’m loving the clean, consistent higher caloric intake. I’m at roughly double what I’d normally eat when trying to maintain a 6-8 pack (..whilst also tending to eat all the foods from every restaurant, chocolate shop and bakery in my city on the weekends). I had been fairly worried about going too high on the calories too quickly, but on around 3850cal for 2 weeks now, I’ve put on about 1.1 kg (though this morning’s measurement was another full 1kg higher, I suspect additional water weight from varying my meals yesterday, and there wasn’t a weights session). The 1.1kg gain is likely also part water weight, since I was extremely low carbohydrate pre-program, and I’m now at around 300 grams/day.

    Overall, my bodyfat % is only up about 0.4%, but I’m feeling and looking much bigger, smashing heavier weights in the gym every session, and for the first time in a long while I’ve had plenty of energy to push through long sessions rather than burn out and lose all strength and will to live half way through. I’ve also noticed a significant increase in sex drive, so my testosterone levels are likely at a much healthier level – thanks calories! It would have been interesting to have hormone levels taken before the program, during and after. Next time.

    I’m happy with my diet. It’s over 7 or 8 meals, and I’ve spread out enough meals across it that I LOVE so that the chicken/rice/broccoli meals don’t get old. My avocado/peanut butter/protein/banana/cinnamon/spinach/cucumber smoothie rocks my world. Twice a day I’m having a serve of ground beef and sweet potato. Last week when I meal prepped, I tried to save some change by buying 6kg of beef in bulk at the markets. Bad move, as I got low quality beef that had a bit of an odd smell, and yes, that smell carried through to the taste. By the 3rd or 4th day, I was able to get through it with only gagging 2 or 3 times. Now I actually kind of enjoy it, so either the freezer killed the badness(?) or I’m losing my mind. Meal prep is awesome, just be sure of what you’re doing when you make 28 of something… I look forward to re-making this meal with proper beef from a reputable butcher this weekend. Until then, bon-app-the-feet.

    In terms of current lifestyle, I’m happy to be a bit of a hermit and focus on fitness. I’ve also got nearly full time postgraduate classes and study outside of work hours, so with training, EATING (takes a lot of time), full time work and study I don’t have space for much else. I’m still being social where it’s easy and doesn’t interfere with diet / training or sleep, but it’s a lower priority. The best occasions have been dates and catch ups with friends have been combined with evening cardio, or cooking steaks / bulk sweet potato and eggs.

    To date, I haven’t had any cravings for junk food or a cheat meal (and I didn’t expect to). Pre-program I was at a point where I was having a cheat meal every 4-6 weeks, but I still had cravings occasionally. This was a big change from 4-5 years previously, when I’d hardly make it to Friday before I felt like I needed to binge on pizza, Thai food and ice cream. With the large increase in calories though, I doubt my body wants anything more or is even capable of having a craving. I’d attribute this also partly to the mental approach; from day 1 I completely put the idea of a day off the diet out of my head. Something I’ve known a while, but is reinforced here: when something is non negotiable it is 100x easier to adhere to it. So, set your goals, don’t allow yourself excuses or easy ways out, and execute your plan.

    From here, I’m looking forward to getting into week 3 and keeping my head down and training even harder, pushing heavier weights for more quality reps and bigger squeezes. Plus, Ab Ripper X, I’m starting to love that and am going to challenge myself more and more going forward. With that, I raise my smoothie and say let the period of eating at a caloric surplus continue.

  8. #8

    Week 3, Days 15-21

    I’m now 3 weeks into eating clean at roughly double my pre program calories, and weighing in at 87.0kg @ 14.54% bodyfat at 6’1’’. From Day 1, I’m up 1.3kg with an increase of 0.31% bodyfat. I’m not willing to immediately trust this number as a massive muscle increase or expect much accuracy from these scales; it’s more likely an increase in water retention and general extra weight from being full all the time. My next dexa scan is 10 or so days away so I eagerly await that assessment and having some concrete numbers.

    This week has been another good week in terms of training, and I’ve made some decent progress on all of my lifts. Monday was an incredible chest and triceps session; I felt a bit average at the start but by the end the pump was on another level and my muscles where cooked. Google actually called and wanted to use a photo of my arms a basis for the new Maps app; the vascularity was legendary. Back on Tuesday was the real deal too, the last exercise was close grip chin-ups with legs elevated, doing that at a point that your muscles are past deep fried is emotional.

    It’s getting quite cold here now, so doing cardio at midnight in the rain isn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever done, but I find it enjoyable in a weird way because it’s an opportunity to test myself; it pushes me to think about my motivations, why I’m doing what I’m doing etc - I seem to keep showing up for more so that tells me something. I’ve started to feel a little less horsepower and energy in the gym than normal – which I think is expected after 3 weeks of solid training and no real rest days. This week had 3 days in which there was no weights (the standard 40mins of cardo, plus ab circuit and stretching only), and I was grateful for the few lower intensity days. I was feeling strong and energetic again today, so looks like those days were needed.

    Toward the end of this week I was feeling mentally exhausted overall, and a fair bit ‘off’. I’ve been feeling relatively ineffective at getting things done for the past fortnight or so, had headaches all of Thursday (and I never get headaches, and seldom get sick), and felt horrible Friday afternoon. So, after I knocked off work, I rescheduled my other professional commitments and went home, grabbed two delicious eye fillets and attempted to take the evening off to chill out and recover (after cardio!). I spent the time basking in the awesomeness of my own company (a rare occurrence as a relatively extraverted dude) and calling friends and family. I wish I could say I rested over the weekend, but come early Saturday morning I had to get back into it. I’m feeling OK now on Sunday evening, having done not much else but work/eat/train/meal prep over the weekend, but I do probably need to find some time to take a short break from burning the candle at both ends and refocus. I also need to learn to say ‘no’ more often; trying to do everything and be everything is a recipe to end up doing and being nothing. I realise I probably don’t have that many commitments that matter, or many tasks that are important in the bigger scheme of things, so I need to get some perspective and stop working 70-80 hour weeks, most of which is for someone else. I like working hard and being productive, but I’m feeling like a lot of my energy is scattered at the moment. The one constant is my commitment to Rockstar, and I’m glad to see that when pitted against the other elements of my life, it continues to emerge as my number 1 priority.

    Moving forward, I’ve got a few commitments to finish early this week, after which I’ll be refusing to take on more and taking a few days off to train, eat, and *relax* - something I may find hard to do.

    Something I’m very excited about is being finished with those mince + sweet potato meals I made in bulk with the poor-quality mince. I ate the last one yesterday, did a little happy dance after I finished gagging, and immediately started dreaming up what else I could make instead. Nailed it tonight, I roasted a large chunk of lean beef PERFECTLY, with a heap of sweet potato and some red onions. I look forward to smashing this meal twice a day for the next week or so. On that note, can we just take a moment to appreciate sweet potato? It’s fucking delicious.

    Enough talk, time to smash some Ab Ripper X, then get some rest and work on growing some muscles! Lets get massive.

  9. #9

    Week 4, Days 22-28

    This program is flying by. At this point, the process is mostly routine (apart from the occasional workout I completely underestimate before having a few lessons in humility delivered at a rapid rate). About now is when I’d be expecting to see some results, and I am. I’m looking softer in most areas, but still have OK definition in my abs, chest and back, and am still looking fairly lean whilst training. Muscle’s are looking full and feel tight, and I’m loving training. I’m weighing in at 87kg again this week, with 14.6% bodyfat. I’m looking forward to my next Dexa scan in a few days, to firm up some of these numbers.

    Last week I wrote about feeling fairly drained and mentally exhausted, and I’m pleased to report I took some time this week to catch up on rest and some headspace. The week was fairly busy for the first half, but training was great and I achieved some skin splitting pumps. To fit everything in, I ended up training a few times past midnight.

    Went to a ball on Friday, which was great to get socially recharged with good people after majoring in the hermit life for the past few weeks. Luckily there was roast beef & sweet potato on the menu, so I didn’t have to pull out tupperwear full of chicken and rice in the middle of a swanky event. Another big highlight for me this week was getting to meet one of the Rockstar mentors while he was in town on business; we grabbed some chicken and trained chest. It was awesome to meet such a likeminded determined guy, who has killed it in various parts of his life but is still so driven to work on himself. I know I’ll learn a lot from him over the next few months and years.

    Over the weekend, I committed to having some down time. I minimised phone use, locked my laptop away, spent some time in the (winter) sun and hung out with a friend. I even slept in, which I haven’t done in months. The tranquillity ended on Sunday afternoon when I went to the gym to train legs, having earlier only quickly glanced at the seemingly simple session. It was a session for anyone that’s a sucker for punishment, so I enjoyed it once I could get out of the wheelchair. Can confirm the stairs to the change rooms afterward felt like Everest, and lowering myself down them again with the railing was a feat of strength.

    I’ve noticed my body feels as if it’s adjusted to the longer workouts. The implication of this is that the workouts themselves actually feel shorter, so I’m working on pushing myself further mentally: from the cardio, and from the first exercise of the first set, right through until the last rep of the session. I’ve been using a concept I learned through many intense testing periods during military service, with the idea being to apply extreme focus to the direct challenge in front of you; forget the rest of the session or what you’ve got to do the rest of the day/week etc, and focus only on the task/threat/action required in that moment. In the gym, this looks like completing the goal number of reps with the maximum weight, without worrying that I’ve got X number of sets more to do, or X number of exercises left, or that if I keep up that intensity I won’t make it through the whole session. Forget it, face only the challenge in your face. This applies to the wider fitness program, and achieving any large goal. It’s like eating an elephant one bite at a time. I expect Rockstar will be like this throughout the entire journey. I imagine that when it’s 4am, I’m sick/tired, we’ve got seminar in a few short hours, some massive challenges coming that day, and the day after that, and the week after that, it’ll be easy to call it a night and go to bed, so building this muscle of focusing on the now and pushing myself will be valuable.

    A colleague asked this week how I manage to get training in amongst everything else, assuming that I must not get much sleep. It took a moment for me to process the question, and thinking about this conversation brought to light a philosophy I’ve taken on over the years. To me, working out has become a mandatory part of my life, up there in importance with sleeping and eating. A regular exercise habit is health for life, it is awesome for mental health, leads to improved mental performance, and is a key contributor to wider productivity. For some people, it’s the easiest thing to drop when life gets busy, but it’s a false time gain because they lose the productivity and overall long term health benefits. So when she asked how I do it, it was easy to tell her that skipping training for me isn’t an option, because it will affect everything else I want to get done. Then I went home and did the day’s 90minute yoga session… at 1am, after a 17 hour day (side note, slept amazing after it, 10/10 would yoga and sleep again).

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about priorities. For any aspirational goal that requires sustained dedication, most any excuse can be eliminated by proper prioritisation - being clear on what you want and putting the steps to get there above other competing goals. Everyone wants 6 pack abs, yet will skip the gym/eat take out because they’re tired (want to relax more) or have work to do (want to advance career). They want to buy their own home, yet want to be more social so they buy $19 smashed avocado on toast 3x a week and spend $200 on drinks at bars. We all want a multi-million dollar business, to date supermodels, have great friendships etc, but don’t prioritise the process of achieving those things highly enough, so never make real progress. For a lot of driven people I talk to, this is their problem: too many competing ambitions, and it’s been a problem for me in the past. This year, and this program so far, has been an awesome exercise in focus. Any physical changes will be great but immaterial overall; what will matter is the process of committing to a goal and giving it sufficient priority to execute an ambitious plan. I will look to carry this mindset through all of Rockstar and beyond.

  10. #10

    Week 1

    23/4/2017 - Week1

    I'm John, a 38 yr old IT professional based in Adelaide, Australia. As this program starts I'm tipping the scales at 237lbs and 29.6% body fat. One would argue I fit the stereotypical unfit and overweight desk ridden IT keyboard warrior, the upside is the opportunity to have such a profound transformation physically - this is very exciting.

    I'll be completely honest - fitness hasn't been a massive priority through my adult life.
    As a teenager I was always very active in various sports and I never used to worry about diet, my metabolism and active life I could pretty much eat anything I wanted and not put on size. In my early 20's this slowly changed, I became a little less active with sports whilst still maintaining the unhealthy diet. I'd notice my jeans wouldn't fit anymore and need to buy the next size up. I wasn't too concerned, I had a long term girlfriend and soon got married. Infact after getting married both of us kind of "let ourselves go" body wise. Fast forward 12 years later, I was massive - probably 280lbs or more, stuck in an unhappy marriage. I'd managed to build an awesome career but was miserable inside.

    I had a burning for change - and over the course of 12-18months I put my energy into "fixing" my life and getting out of the downward spiral. Firstly I needed to get down to reasonable weight and do something with the failing marriage. In the end the best decision for both of us was to go in different directions. Although hard at first, it was clearly the right move.

    I was quietly impressed when I hit the scales a while back @ under 220lbs. This was the result of a few crash diet attempts and some effort into fitness - many light cardio. I didn't really know what I was doing and my efforts were more spasmodic than strictly regimented. Not having a clear goal or program to follow, my body has yoyo'd to its current form.

    The first week of the program has hit me like a tonne of bricks. For the first 5 days I thought I was going to throw up in the gym - I was constantly pausing my sets. I've never taken supplements and I'm not sure if it was my body adjusting to the new intake or just pure exercise shock.

    I got accepted to Rockstar on the Easter Friday and the program was to start on the Easter Monday. I had only just returned from a holiday trip to Stockholm on the Thursday afternoon and I was mega jet lagged from the 30hrs of transiting home over 3 flights. It was a long weekend in Australia for Easter and many shops were closed for most of the weekend. I spent the weekend completing the shopping list as best I could.
    I was all set for the gym starting Monday. My usual gym is a private gym only provided to staff of a company that I do consulting for. All dressed in my gym gear I swipe the access card and I hear the noise of rejection. I didn't realise but they don't allow access on public holidays - I'd never tried Ė public holidays were never a workout day for me in the past !!

    I was devastated, but with my "PR2017" mindset I thought - improvise - whatever you need to do to get it done - just do it. I went to a couple other gyms to try to get some kind of temporary access - no luck. So I'm 1 day behind on the program which has been eating at me all week. Plan is tomorrow (public holiday here) to get squeeze a morning and afternoon workout into the same day. Early the next day when businesses resumed trading, I sorted a new 24/7 gym with pretty much all the equipment I need (thus far).

    Diet has been pretty simple chicken / broccoli and brown rice to get me started. I've been moving house which made cooking challenging. I've found no matter what, I need to put PR2017 first, and then just plan the rest of my life around that. Its quiet a shift in mindset but is critical to my success. Life is busy, there is always excuses why you canít do this, or need a cheat meal here or day off there. Hand on heart I can say I haven't had one ounce of food not permitted on my nutrition plan.

    Moving house definitely caused some time challenges. Often I would only start at the gym @ 11:30pm as that is when I would finish packing boxes. Preworkout drink a few hours before bed doesn't work well I found out the hard way. Week 2 I need to fix my workout times and sleep patterns.

    This is the first of many updates and I look forward to sharing more insights to my transformation. I finished the week with 234.1 lbs and 29.0% body fat. A loss of 2.9 lbs and 0.6% body fat.

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