Case Study: Results From First Year Of Weight Training
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
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A year ago our son Devon Peacock started to train with TC & me, and while he’s also become a certified personal trainer in the meantime he has allowed me the honour of weight training him and setting our nutritional plan each week. Dev was 23 when we started the year, and as always we tracked everything – weights, reps, exercises, cycles, etc. – and did monthly photo sessions.
Each workout cycle was 3 – 4 weeks in length, and rotated through a mix of powerlifting, weightlifting and bodybuilding routines since our goals at this point were overall health & fitness (a blend of additional lean bodymass and strength gains). Devon’s naturally lean so there were no weight-loss cycles included in his training.
As you can tell from Devon’s before picture (taken Sept. 2011), he had already worked out from time to time and was in good shape at 23. But due to his lean frame he had always considered himself a hardgainer unable to put on much muscle mass in spite of his weight training.
His goal as we started to train together was simple – he wanted to get stronger, balance out his physique and put on some visible muscle mass without bloating up from excess bodyfat. To his credit, Devon gave his weight training and nutrition 110% in spite of his previous lack of real gains, missing only 1 or 2 workouts throughout the year.
As is always the case some workouts were better than others, with some being terminated early if either of us simply didn’t have it in us that day, while others went well enough to add in a few extra sets or include some added-intensity techniques for a set or two. As his personal trainer I’m pleased to see that Devon has built bigger muscles in every area of his body while balancing out his overall physique. As his father, I’m both proud and amazed at how much effort he’s put in to ensure his success with his first serious year of weight training – good on ya, Dev!
Building Bigger Muscles And Gaining Lean Bodyweight
The current photos of Devon (Sept. 2012, above right) show the lean bodyweight gains he’s made in just one year. Some of his stats include gaining 14 lbs of lean bodyweight, adding two inches to his chest, an inch to each arm and over 2″ to each thigh.
Equally important, his arms, thighs and calves are now perfectly balanced, each stretching the tape the same amount left to right. Devon’s musculature is proportionate top-to-bottom over his 6′ 2″ (188cm) frame, and his results this first year leads us both to believe that over time Devon will be able to pack a lot more lean muscle onto his frame since it appears he may not, in fact, be a hardgainer – or at least less of one than he first thought.
Strength Gains: Getting Stronger Fast
While Devon’s muscle building has been impressive this year, remember that our goal was a mix of building muscles and gaining raw strength for overall fitness. And once again Devon has triumphed, racking up some amazing strength gains and getting stronger fast – faster than either of us had predicted.
In just this first year of serious weight training Dev has achieved a 300 lb. (137 kilo) deadlift and repeated it 3 or 4 times now to totally ‘own’ it. This is an increase of 100 lbs. (45 kilos) in the past year – especially impressive given his new deadlift is approaching twice his bodyweight. His bent rows are up 80 lbs, bench press is up 80 pounds, military (seated overhead) press is up 100 lbs and his curls are up 30 lbs – again, all in the last year.
Fitness Goals Met & Exceeded – Strength & Muscle
Overall, most trainees in their first year of weight lifting would be happy with either of Devon’s new muscle mass or new strength – but together they combine for fantastic results. Are his gains typical for first-year weightlifting trainees? Of course not – Devon’s body is as unique as yours or mine – no two bodies will react the same way to any specific training regime, which is why certified personal trainers create specific programs for each athlete and then modify the programs according to the results produced on an on-going basis.
Another factor is Devon’s age – at 23/24, the male body is peaking in its ability to produce hormones like testosterone and growth hormone, and his metabolism hasn’t started to slow down yet – in fact, his mix of ultra-heavy rep and higher, lighter rep schemes should keep that efficiency for years to come. While both my own lean muscle mass and strength have continued to build nicely during this year, neither matches Devon’s results and he has caught me on most exercises – even surpassed my weights on a few of them. But at 57 I don’t expect to be able to build as fast nor recover as quickly as he does at 24. What’s important is that we’re both making progress continually.
What is typical is that with the right training and nutrition, trainees in their first year of weight training should always be able to increase their strength and build muscles – how much they gain in either will vary. If you’re in your first year of weight training, don’t have access to a certified personal trainer and are not overly happy with your results to date, do an honest self-audit of your workouts, nutrition and rest patterns.
Are you skipping workouts often? Do you change up your exercises, rep ranges and between-set rest periods regularly? Are you eating enough – especially enough protein while keeping your carb intake reasonable for your system? Are you taking enough recovery time between workouts based on the type of training during that cycle, but not leaving it too long between workouts? And, of course, are you regularly getting 7 – 10 hours of sleep a night to allow your body time to repair & build?
During this last year Devon has referred to me as a ‘hardass trainer’ and a ‘nutrition nazi’ – hopefully in a loving sense, of course… LOL But the truth is all the kudos have to go to the trainee in their first year of weight training – they’re the ones putting in the time, effort and extreme mental focus required to get these kinds of results. Not only has Devon raised his strength and overall health & fitness to a whole new level, he’s enjoying new-found respect from friends and co-workers and new attention from the fairer sex. He’s become a role model for other ‘skinny guys’ who think they’re hardgainers – even if they are. His results are an inspiration to anyone trying to overcome questionable genetic builds to achieve the body they desire.
For now, Devon and I are starting a new 12-week program I’ve designed for people entering 90-day challenges – as always, we’ll test it out fully before releasing any information about it. And if you’re interested in knowing more about the workouts that got Devon these fantastic results, I’ll be going more in depth about his training and nutrition in the first issue of our Flirting With Fitness online magazine, available as a free download from this site later this month – be sure to bookmark the site and return often for updates… And don’t forget to add your comments below – we love hearing from our online fitness family!
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