View Full Version : METAMORPHOSIS into a BEAST

10-18-08, 10:23 am
What up everybody, so glad to be here. A little about myself...I grew up as weak as they come, got a little stronger after hitting the gym in college, but then got very weak after a coma/brain surgery 10 yrs ago. I worked out since in desperation and gained decent strength. Even though I had come a long way, I felt I was still a weakling.

On my birthday in July, I set my mind to acquiring serious strength over 3 yrs and reducing body fat level below 10%. I started lifting heavy 5-6 days/week and attempting maxes on the Bench, Squat, Dead regularly, posting videos on youtube. My progress over the past 10 weeks has been remarkable, and I thought I would share...(i know this may belong in the journey section but i wanted to get everyone's attention and hopefully motivate some bros out there who don't believe in themselves)

START Aug '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645; Caliper = 17.42%
CURRT Oct '08 : BENCH 235, SQUAT 210, DEAD 335 = 780; Caliper = 16.34%
GOALS July '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 405, DEAD 505 = 1315; Caliper = 10%

BENCH: +20 lbs
SQUAT: +45 lbs
DEADL: +70 lbs

Here are some of the vids (working on improving form every week) :
Week 2 Failed DEAD 275 x 0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnwgFTtsZJE)
Recent DEAD Max 335 x 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnwgFTtsZJE)
Recent BENCH Max 240 x 0.5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8KsrviDOeU)
BENCH Reps 135 x 20 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7refNsq8zjE)
Recent SQUAT Max 215 x 0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y96DYcz8IdU)
SQUAT Reps 165 x 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0AjoMe3y6k)

10-18-08, 11:20 am
Respect to you mate for getting up and doing what you do after your surgery, keep working on those poundages and videos, start a log.

10-18-08, 11:23 am
i say a Mod should switch this to the journey page bu bro much respect for your determination..
keep hittin it strong... ill be checkin in on ya progress when u post ... u need nething just ask id be glad to help

....and welcome to the pack bro...

10-19-08, 10:32 am
sanga, sup mate. Checked out your journey. Motivating stuff. I'll start a formal journal myself.

MassMonster, thanks for the encouragement. A hell of a unique pack this seems to be. Hopefully the other bros can learn from actively observing a learner.

Squats felt easy this morning as I warmed up and acclimated toward a max attempt. Instead of trying for 215 (the weight I failed at last week), I went for 225. That didn't seem all that hard either as I unracked the weight and started the eccentric. Being taken aback by the ease, I failed to go parallel and racked the weight. Reseted 5 min and retried going a little lower next time. Still wasn't satisfied. Rested 10 min and went lower the 3rd time. Felt I had 235 in me. Next time. Finished off with 3 sets of 185x6.

Considering I have been on a 2k cal diet all week to lose the extra 5 pounds gained recently, I attribute the sudden jump in squat poundage to the following factors:

1) Have not maxed or lifted heavy on the DEAD for 11 days
2) Quads recovered stronger from last heavy SQUAT session 8 days ago
3) Switched to barefoot, which activated the strength reflex better
4) Motivation ?? (Youtube poster commented yesterday that my legs are weak and I told him I would try max @ 225 within a month)

Attempt # 1 225 x 0.5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvoARHo2Ygk)
Attempt # 2 225 x 0.75 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPcMYoVwvHg)
Attempt # 3 225 x 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDH4mEx6zIg)
SQUAT Reps 185 x 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXqQzWXcVa8)

The Sun
10-19-08, 2:19 pm
you should turn this into a journey, I'll be following the progress for sure.
great work invested, enjoy the comings.

10-20-08, 1:41 am
Are you going for mass or power? Either way, we have some great Animals that can give you some pointers.

Definitely turn this into a journey.

One pointer I can give you, is make sure to keep your butt on the bench. Going up like that can injure your back. If you're like me, and dont have a training partner, do things in the power cage. It lets me focus on my form and not worried about decapitating myself.

10-20-08, 1:51 am
whats up zack welcome to the forvum, whats your current split? if your trying to just gain power, 6 days sounds like its to much but hey i'm not a powerlifter...

10-20-08, 4:54 pm
The Sun, yes I'm going to turn this thread into a Journey. I guess the mods will move it soon.

Cstlfx, focusing on strength and fat loss for now because I am on a caloric deficit of 500.
189 lbs, 16% caliper. Will focus on mass after I drop to 180, but that may change based on what others recommend.

Mizzarler, I don't have a set split. With my frequent maxes and heavy lifting, I train or rest on a given day based on how my body is responding. I usually focus on 1 muscle at a time.

In the coming few days, I'd like to get a consensus to come up with a training schedule/diet to put me on the path to my goal. I'll post a link to my pics and get opinions.

Thanks guys.

10-21-08, 3:52 am
excellent for my own motivation bro
good luck on your goals... no doubt u will achieve em an eventually beyond!
much props

Carpe Diem P.T
10-21-08, 9:15 am
hey bro. i was just sussing out your squat vid. glad to see you are making good use of the cage and setting it up at the right height.

good luck


Carpe Diem P.T
10-21-08, 9:21 am
it kind of looks to me as though your knees are going too far over your toes which will affect pretty much everything

here is a vid i like on squatting. hope you dont mind the suggestions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRnGI3c5Jjs&feature=related

10-23-08, 11:16 am
CreatineSteve, thanks buddy. I will turn this thread into a journey and hopefully it will motivate all the bros into truly believing the sky to be the limit when it comes to training. I wish people could have seen me struggle with benching 75 lbs and not squatting my body weight, but my consistent videos on the path to beastness will exemplify what the mind & body are capable of.

Carpe Diem P.T, I thrive for criticism. Thanks for the pointer..will keep it in mind.

10-29-08, 1:42 am
First SQUAT max attempt at 245 failed miserably. Took BCAA pills and ate a choclate protein bar for motivation. Came back 30 min later..lo and behold, 245 went up easy.

SQUAT 245 x 0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YXTWRKN__s)
SQUAT 245 x 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpw_heP9QZM)

Prior to embarking on my quest for strength, I had been stuck at plateaus on the 3 major lifts for several months. After incorporating Kelly Baggett's planned over-reaching techniques for 12 weeks, I have made significant progress in poundages - first concentrated on BENCH, then DEAD, then SQUAT. How long a layoff would be advisable before returning to a new over-reaching cycle?


START Aug '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645; Caliper = 17.42%
CURRT Oct '08 : BENCH 235, SQUAT 245, DEAD 335 = 815; Caliper = 16.80%
GOALS July '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 405, DEAD 505 = 1315; Caliper = 10%

BENCH: +20 lbs
SQUAT: +80 lbs
DEADL: +70 lbs

The Sun
10-29-08, 2:59 am
goooooooooooooooooooooooooood lift man, strong comeback on that 245!

10-29-08, 10:58 am
Keep it up man. That's great determination, coming back hard into the gym. Just make sure you keep your form in check when doing those exercises. Good luck

10-29-08, 8:42 pm
Good job bro. I think you hit it the second time cause you kept your core tight all the way throughout, and pushed off with your heels.

Keep up the good work. If you continue to work this hard, your goals will be reached far before 2011.

10-29-08, 9:34 pm
The Sun, Harch33, Cstlfx, appreciate the encouragement bros. An added boost to get back in the gym always helps.

I would like this thread to be my Journey, so I suppose the mods will move it...

11-04-08, 3:46 pm
goldmill, you'll be glad to know for my sake that the program for the next couple months has me working with moderate weight and not maxing out on any lift.

hayabusa3, thanks for the article. It reinforces my belief of improving DEAD form before increasing weight further.

Pavel Psatsoluine's Grease The Groove Strategy involves executing a the desired specific lift very frequently and never going to failure. This is described in his book "Power to the People".
You do 2 sets for the lift each time. On day 1, Set 1 is supposed to be a comfortable 5 reps. Set 2 is 90% of the weight used in Set 1. If one desires to up the intensity, they can do multiple sets (5-20) at 80% of the 1st set with 30-90 sec increments. Every time you train, increase the weight 5 lbs, eventually peaking at your PR of 5 reps.

I will train the 3 lifts and the MILITARY few times a week, periodically doing multiple sets for any 1 lift. Here is my current cycle:

Nov 1:
BENCH 155x5, 140x5, 10 sets of 125x5 with 30 sec breaks
DEADL 220x5, 200x5
SQAT 155x5, 140x5
MILIT 75x5, 70x5

Nov2: Rest

Nov 3:
BENCH 160x5, 145x5
DEADL 225x5, 205x5

BENCH 160x5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTJKyzRqgrA)

DEAD 205x5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-O3i6bnPB4)

11-04-08, 5:05 pm
awsome work man

11-05-08, 4:12 pm
I've never heard of that program, it sounds really interesting. I'm looking forward to your gains on this program.

11-06-08, 1:39 am
Cstlfx, the book was very interesting. The program is pretty much a sure way for anybody to increase strength fairly quickly. However, the trade-off is very little to no muscle gain.

I am enjoying it so far and my cycle will soon pick up momentum.

Tried Bench Press reps today and hit a PR of 135x23

11-16-08, 9:06 am
Attempted max on DEAD @ 345. Struggled with the form. Not sure if the lift would qualify by PL meet standards..someone judge for me?


The Sun
11-16-08, 9:22 am
Well, congrats for pulling 345 for first time but that was not clean at all, work your technique again because even at the setup I was able to notice you weren't getting the arch, this in the long-time could lead to injuries.

again, that was some strong pull indeed, but work your technique to avoid injuries.

11-16-08, 3:18 pm
Attempted max on DEAD @ 345. Struggled with the form. Not sure if the lift would qualify by PL meet standards..someone judge for me?


Other than making sure to keep your back straight to avoid injuries, I'd say its good. You had continuous upward motion. You might have used your thighs a little to get it up there, its tough to tell (hence the reason they make you wear a singlet). Overall, I'd say it would definitely count at a meet, but others will have to chime in to get a consensus.

11-21-08, 10:30 am
Cstlfx, thanks for the vote of confidence. Regardless of whether it would count at a meet or not, I will be spending the next few weeks working on DEAD form to hit my New Yrs Day goal of a clean lift @ 350. For now I will count my max as still 335. Here are other lift goals and progress so far:

START Jul '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645

CURRENT Nov '08 : BENCH 235, SQUAT 245, DEAD 335 = 815

Short GOAL Jan '09 : BENCH 245, SQUAT 250, DEAD 350 = 845

Medium GOAL Jul '09 : BENCH 275, SQUAT 305, DEAD 405 = 985

Long GOAL Jul '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 405, DEAD 505 = 1315

4 month BENCH Progress: +20 lbs
4 month SQUAT Progress: +80 lbs
4 month DEADL Progress: +70 lbs

11-26-08, 3:53 pm
So today I officially announced my Journey using Frank McGrath as my role model. I'd be blessed to get to half his level, but thats the guy I need to look up to. Its the only way, the way of the Animal.

Here are vids from today's workout.

Operation McGrath : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so6lk0PSDJ0

CG Bench 220x0 / Chest Work : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1LRqvY5VyY

SQUAT 250x1 (PR) / 225x2 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00_OZ91Lcj8

11-27-08, 3:17 am
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Got in a good leg workout to take advantage of the upcoming feast meals

SQUAT 205x5 / 30" BoxJump (BW+20 lbs)

11-30-08, 9:21 pm
Over the past month I have been squatting almost daily. To squat ALOT you have to squat ALOT. The results speak for themselves. Additionally, me embarking on Operation McGrath and eating more than normal may have given me extra strength.

Last week I maxed out at 250x1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00_OZ91Lcj8 and today I knocked out 5 reps 225 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEmP05Wj6_Q - I barely lifted 225 once little over a month ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDH4mEx6zIg

If this trend continues, I may consider trying out for the 2012 olympics :)

Regardless, I am now more confident than ever of attaining my short term July 2009 goals of 275 BENCH / 315 SQUAT / 375 DEAD and have upped my long term Jul 2011 goals to 405 BENCH / 505 SQUAT / 605 DEAD

12-06-08, 4:14 pm
My Bench form was shaky in initial videos @ 225 & 230 and the recent attempt @ 245 (video not posted) had the same problem. On my last lift @ 225 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJtjQZHV0is, I tried to Bench in a slow/controlled manner with no feet/butt movement, keeping back arched and shoulder blades pinched. may need to pause a split second at the bottom to further improve the lift. I will redo the max lift @ 245 in 6 weeks.

I am reducing Back Squat volume and focusing on Front Squat in my new Squat cycle; will add weight daily till I peak, rest a couple days, and then attempt a Back Squat PR @ 265

12-06-08, 4:21 pm
Why are you maxin out so much man? Most bodybuilders I know never max out... Powerlifters do, just not bodybuilders. If you want to add mass I thiknk 6 - 15 reps is the range you wanna be in. Maybe sometimes 20, 50 and 100 rep sets when necessary...5 -1 reps are great for strength and not necessarily size.

12-10-08, 7:10 am
Mizzarler, I am doing a combination of PL and BB until I hit my strength goals. I max out once a week at most on any given lift. I listen to my body and may take time off if needed from a specific exercise.

Front Squat cycle progress 145x4 135x6:


12-10-08, 8:25 am
Awesome progress bro! With your apparent solid work ethic you are destined for greatness in this game, keep at it brotha!

12-10-08, 11:00 am
Excellent work bro!! Awesome Depth.

You said you're doing powerlifting and bodybuilding, have you read G Diesel's articles on powerbuilding?

I have to ask, when do you work out? Your videos have 0-1 people in the background and the gym is huge. Its like you have the whole thing to yourself.

12-10-08, 12:16 pm
shizz702 & Cstlfx, thank you! Will check out powerbuilding...

I usually head to the gym at midnight - very few people there that late..and most of them are on cardio machines or playing basketball. I can hog any exercise station I want and make videos by placing the camera on other machines. Feels like I pretty much own the gym :)

12-14-08, 9:25 am
After Front Squats every day this week at light/medium weight, I did a 1RM on Back Squat today (got 205 lbs - 45 lbs less than my PR of 250) and finished of with an attempt @ 135x20. Quads were very tight from the first rep onwards and I didn't think I'd make it past 10..so was content with 16 reps. Will rest 3 days and start a new Squat cycle.

SQUAT 205x1 / attempt 135x20

12-20-08, 11:57 pm
I have started preparation for BENCH PR attempt @ 245 in 4 weeks:

Bench 205x1 (full second Pause) Fly 30x10 195x3 (no pause)

I will be striving towards 20 Rep Squats regularly. When I get 20 reps, I will increase the weight 5 lbs. Got 1 rep more this time:

FrontSquat 165x1 BackSquat 135x17

START Jul '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645, 28" jump

CURT Dec '08 : BENCH 240, SQUAT 250, DEAD 335 = 825, 32" jump

GOAL Jul '09 : BENCH 275, SQUAT 315, DEAD 375 = 965, 36" jump

GOAL Jul '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 505, DEAD 605 = 1515, 50" jump

6 month BENCH Progress: +25 lbs
6 month SQUAT Progress: +85 lbs
6 month DEADL Progress: +70 lbs
6 month Box Jump Progress: +4"

12-22-08, 5:23 pm
SQUAT 18 reps @ 135 after a single @ 215

BoxJump 30" made / 32" made / 34" failed

12-23-08, 1:08 am
Okay this was so funny, I had to share as soon as I got to my computer. After reading feedback from youtube users advising me on pretty much the same thing to correct my Box Jump technique, I head to the gym to see if I could clear the failed 34" jump in the vid above.

The guys in the gym heard me slip, saw me laying with my back flat, but weren't sure what was going on??? One of them, who later told me didn't know what box jumps were, asked what I was trying to do

34" Box Jump, ALMOST !!!

Spectator Interview

12-31-08, 8:22 pm
Was very weak on all lifts after being bed-ridden with no appetite for a week. Could consume no more than 500 calories per day. Someone told me I had the flu which has no symptoms except from the neck down (weakness/mild body aches). Someone else told me the signs I mention are of one that is over-trained.

Either way, I am excited to attack 2009 with renewed vigor. Even though the recent strength loss is a huge setback, I am not letting it devastate me emotionally.

Thus, I am exploring a new terrtitory of exercises - exercises where I have no mental records to compare my current performance to a previous performance.

One of these exercises is the Overhead Squat. I tried it out today.


12-31-08, 8:26 pm
Man those overhead squats are brutal! I personally think those, along with snatch grip deadlifts are the hardest exercises you can do. Have you ever tried or considered the olympic lifts? If not you should, they are very fun to do and have great carry over for not only strength and mass but will make you more athletic.

No worries on the set back bro, shit happens, I admire you for staying so positive and determined, stay that way and there's no stopping you.

12-31-08, 11:44 pm
shizz702, yea OH squats did seem brutal but I have taken a liking to them.
You think clean/jerk and snatches would be good for me to do? I suppose I should separate these exercises from shoulder or bench days by 48 hrs?

01-01-09, 6:01 am
shizz702, yea OH squats did seem brutal but I have taken a liking to them.
You think clean/jerk and snatches would be good for me to do? I suppose I should separate these exercises from shoulder or bench days by 48 hrs?

It depends on what type of routine you do. If you full body, I'd take a day out for olympic lifts, and probably do overhead squats, clean and jerks, and snatches all in one day.

A great way to run a full body routine is to have a push day (squats, bench, overhead press), a pull day (deadlifts, rows, curls or chins), and a dynamic day with the olympic lifts with the overhead press, clean, and snatch.

Otherwise is you do a bodypart split, your best bet would to throw in some power cleans, or snatches into your back day, as these lifts mostly use your back musculature.

01-04-09, 5:32 am
shizz702, thanks for that tip. I am experimenting with alternating push/pull exercises. I tried the snatch too.

Another new exercise I tried is the GoodMorning


Back to striving towards 20 Rep Squats. When I get 20 reps, I will increase the weight 5-10 lbs. Squat 135x20 :

01-22-09, 7:01 pm
My invention of modifying Triceps DEATH to destroy the tris - preparing for upcoming Bench PR attempt @ 245

OH Ext 95x6 (PR) / PushDowns / Triceps DEATH - Giant Set


01-27-09, 1:46 am
2 months ago I experimented with The BEAR and barely managed 1 circuit rep @ 95 lbs. Yesterday I got 5 reps!

BEAR 95x5 / Snatch 95x1 / db Press 65x3 / PushPress 135x2 (PR)


01-28-09, 6:47 pm
DEAD PR Attempt @ 355 / Superset Tris & Bis / DEAD 225x7 / DL Progress Summary

01-28-09, 7:31 pm
Very solid work Zack!

I watched the vids from your last 2 workouts, and here's some tips on form:

The Bear

With the power clean, avoid using the arms to reverse curl it up, work on explosion and using lower body power and shrugging hard to explode it up. When power cleaning correctly, the arms are used to guide the bar up only, not curl it up.

Also, after power cleaning it, you front squat, then push press it up. Though I really don't think it matters that much. But you may want to do it like that from now on for the extra work.


You are hyperextending way too much at lockout. You don't want to do that as it is very stressful on your lower back. Squeeze your glutes at lockout to avoid that and just stand straight. Also, don't bounce the bar on the ground between reps, pause and reset between each rep that way each rep is done as an actual deadlift.

Push press

Work on more explosion and leg drive. Dip down and push as hard as you can with your legs. Also, I highly reccommend you hit up strict standing presses (no leg drive).


Again, like with the cleans you pretty much used all arms. You got to work on explosion with the lower body and work on shrugging your traps hard during the second pull.

With the power clean and snatch the lift starts off slow essenitally as a deadlift then as soon as the bar reaches thigh level you explode and shrug hard. These are very technical lifts and take a lot of time and effort to get down.

Shit I'm far from an expert myself and still have to work on my technique when doing those lifts.

Anyways bro, just trying to give you some tips here, not trying to be a dick or anything, just want to give you some feedback on the vids.

You are putting in some very solid work and I admire you dedication and hope to see you achieve your goals soon. Keep doing like you're doing bro, and you will reach them.

01-29-09, 12:00 am
shizz702, awesome advice man! Lets see if I can make some improvement on my next vid. I know it will take several months to develop acceptable form on these technical lifts.

02-03-09, 8:37 pm
WalkLunge/ FrontSquat / Blooper / FastLunge / JumpSquat / Squat PR Summary