The Intelligent & Relentless Pursuit of Muscle™
Performance Photos
 
5 Year Progress
1
 

Ghost16
Level

Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

Hey guys I pasted some pictures together to show some of my progress over the last 4.5 years. The third picture was taken about 4 months ago.

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spongechris
Level

Join date: Jul 2009
Posts: 83

Impressive. Also got Frontside and legs?
What were your lessons learned for the five years?

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ryanbCXG
Level 5

Join date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5503

Seems like you have added some size. ALso i like how crooked your first two poses are. Great work man. What kind of training and diet have you had? Straight gaining or have you done some cuts in there as well.

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Ghost16
Level

Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

Thanks for the replies guys.

I do have some front poses so maybe I'll put those together later today as well. I wish I had taken more pictures on my quest for muscle. Yeah my first poses are so crooked because I have no idea what I'm doing lol.

The pictures make the progress look like it was linear but it really wasn't. I made majority of my progress in the last 2 years. The biggest lesson I've learned is that it's not about working harder or smarter. It's about working harder AND smarter.

You can bust your ass in the gym as hard as you want but if your routine or diet is shit you'll make no progress. Likewise you can know every single cellular reaction going on in the body but you're not willing to push yourself you'll never make any gains either. Once you combine these two things together though your body has no choice but to respond and get bigger.


EDIT: I know the 2D nature of pictures can make progress look less dramatic... so just for reference my arms are 15 inches in the first picture and 17.25 in the third picture.

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ryanbCXG
Level 5

Join date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5503

So what changes did you make when you started going harder and smarter? What did you change in diet and training?

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Ghost16
Level

Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

Diet- I started eating a lot more. A LOT MORE. Too much more lol. For awhile I was consuming 6000 plus calories a day. I got a lot bigger and stronger but piled on more fat than I should have. Next time I bulk up I'll keep it around 4,000-5,000 a day. A lot of ppl train hard but only eat around 3,000 a day. That's nowhere near enough to build muscle fast. Don't be afraid to get a little sloppy with your diet.

Training- Progression is everything. At the end of the year when your chest isn't bigger... don't look at how many sets of cable crossovers you did... look at how much your bench press went up. Getting stronger at the basic movements is the backbone of getting more muscular IMO. I'm not saying you have to train like a powerlifter but by the end of the year you should be significantly stronger in the basics. I consider the basics the military press, bench press, chin-up, barbell row, deadlift, and squat. For me pressing movements and pulling movements need to be done twice a week. Squatting and deadlifting only need to be once a week.

Just recently I added a half inch onto my arms in 5 weeks (not shown in the above pictures) by trying something a little bit different and it's how I'm going to specialize bodyparts from now on. I would take 2 bicep exercises (reverse curls and alternating dumbbells curls) and 3 tricep exercises (tate presses, rollback extensions, and overhead extensions) and do 2 sets of each exercise with a very heavy weight. Each workout I would focus simply on progressing in these exercises, usually by going up 5 pounds and trying to hit the same reps. After these heavy sets I would just have fun with it. Because the progression aspect is already taken care of I would try to obtain the most insane pump I possibly could... even if this meant doing 30 rep concentration curls it didn't matter bc my heavy lifting was already taken care of. I did this twice a week and the results were amazing.

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Ghost16
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Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

This pic was taken 3/31/12... In the middle of a cut right now. Bodyweight was 214 when this was taken.

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COMEONDIESEL
Level

Join date: Oct 2011
Posts: 51

Fucking sick progress mate. I'm sick of being a skinny lean 160lb. Right now I'm only eating about 3000-3500 calories a day. Can you tell me how you were/are getting in 6000? Meal examples? I think 5000-6000 is where I'm gonna need to be.

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basily
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Join date: Aug 2011
Posts: 639

[quote]Ghost16 wrote:
... Don't be afraid to get a little sloppy with your diet.


Not to sure if this is what ghost meant, but I think he implied we shouldn't avoid, but rather eat pizza, burgers and, among others, chicken wings, if they are needed in order for someone to meet their cal/macros. (Don't tell me you can't meet 4-6k cal by eating the aforementioned foods).

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Ghost16
Level

Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

COMEONDIESEL wrote:
Fucking sick progress mate. I'm sick of being a skinny lean 160lb. Right now I'm only eating about 3000-3500 calories a day. Can you tell me how you were/are getting in 6000? Meal examples? I think 5000-6000 is where I'm gonna need to be.




To be honest when I did it was I was eating fast food every 2-3 hours, you'll get 6,000 calories really fast doing that. In hindsight I wasted a lot of money and added more fat than I needed to by doing it that way.

5000-6000 is definitely where you want to be. Anything more than 6000 is overkill in my opinion. I would buy a lot of frozen pizzas, cheap walmart high calorie protein shakes, a lot of milk, a lot of beef. If you're having trouble throw some candy in there. Those are the foods I would focus on. You have to make eating your job when you're bulking. The meals are just as important as the workouts. Also, don't eat a lot one day and then get lazy the next day. You need to consistently bring in high calories all the time if you want to get bigger.

Training wise it's very important that you pick a few compound lifts and make sure you consistently get stronger in them. For me this list is pull-ups, rows, military press, incline press, bench press, squat, deadlift, barbell curls, rollback extensions or tate presses, and if I did it again I would add barbell lunges to that list.

Another thing I would change if I did it again would be adding more volume after my heavy lifting. The best way to build muscle IMO is to lift heavy AND do high volume. I have a friend who is strong as hell (all natural with a 650 deadlift weighing 216... a belt but no suit) but he's not as big as I am. He trains only with heavy weights and never does a lot of volume. I think that's why even though he's stronger than I am he isn't as big.

If you're gaining weight but not getting stronger you're doing it wrong. When I did my huge bulk I gained 40 pounds bodyweight and 90 pounds onto my bench press in one year. My bulk was probably 20 pounds muscle 20 pounds fat.

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Field
Level

Join date: Oct 2011
Posts: 529

Ghost16 wrote:

5000-6000 is definitely where you want to be. Anything more than 6000 is overkill in my opinion. .


Lol i second this.

Between september 2011 and now ive increased my bw from 165 to 185 with my bf keeping around 12% (calipers) , and the only time i was gaining weight was when i was eating waaaay more than i thought was necessary.

It does depend on your daily activity though. I used one of those bodymedia fit armbands for a little while to see what i burned on average. When i was working 11 hours a day in warehouse packaging, then going to the gym and lifting weights , it said i was burning 6000+ calories per day.

Days where i was kind of lazing around , it was more like 2500 calories.

You definitely need to eat more than you think.

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Ghost16
Level

Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

Field wrote:
Ghost16 wrote:

5000-6000 is definitely where you want to be. Anything more than 6000 is overkill in my opinion. .


Lol i second this.

Between september 2011 and now ive increased my bw from 165 to 185 with my bf keeping around 12% (calipers) , and the only time i was gaining weight was when i was eating waaaay more than i thought was necessary.

It does depend on your daily activity though. I used one of those bodymedia fit armbands for a little while to see what i burned on average. When i was working 11 hours a day in warehouse packaging, then going to the gym and lifting weights , it said i was burning 6000+ calories per day.

Days where i was kind of lazing around , it was more like 2500 calories.

You definitely need to eat more than you think.



x2

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COMEONDIESEL
Level

Join date: Oct 2011
Posts: 51

Ghost16 wrote:
COMEONDIESEL wrote:
Fucking sick progress mate. I'm sick of being a skinny lean 160lb. Right now I'm only eating about 3000-3500 calories a day. Can you tell me how you were/are getting in 6000? Meal examples? I think 5000-6000 is where I'm gonna need to be.




To be honest when I did it was I was eating fast food every 2-3 hours, you'll get 6,000 calories really fast doing that. In hindsight I wasted a lot of money and added more fat than I needed to by doing it that way.

5000-6000 is definitely where you want to be. Anything more than 6000 is overkill in my opinion. I would buy a lot of frozen pizzas, cheap walmart high calorie protein shakes, a lot of milk, a lot of beef. If you're having trouble throw some candy in there. Those are the foods I would focus on. You have to make eating your job when you're bulking. The meals are just as important as the workouts. Also, don't eat a lot one day and then get lazy the next day. You need to consistently bring in high calories all the time if you want to get bigger.

Training wise it's very important that you pick a few compound lifts and make sure you consistently get stronger in them. For me this list is pull-ups, rows, military press, incline press, bench press, squat, deadlift, barbell curls, rollback extensions or tate presses, and if I did it again I would add barbell lunges to that list.

Another thing I would change if I did it again would be adding more volume after my heavy lifting. The best way to build muscle IMO is to lift heavy AND do high volume. I have a friend who is strong as hell (all natural with a 650 deadlift weighing 216... a belt but no suit) but he's not as big as I am. He trains only with heavy weights and never does a lot of volume. I think that's why even though he's stronger than I am he isn't as big.

If you're gaining weight but not getting stronger you're doing it wrong. When I did my huge bulk I gained 40 pounds bodyweight and 90 pounds onto my bench press in one year. My bulk was probably 20 pounds muscle 20 pounds fat.


Thanks alot mate. Think I'll take pictures of myself now, then compare in about 6 months time. Sick to death of being stuck on the same weights, gonna focus on progression like you said on the big lifts. I've managed to get a part time job over weekends, which is gonna give me like £60 a week minimum. Thank fuck. That's all going on food lol.

At the moment I'm stocking up on 3 1kg tubs of peanut butter, which I aim to last me for a month (100g per day). I used to consume your standard glass of whole milk with 2 scoops of whey; it's just not cutting it. Now I go with 500ml whole milk, 1 banana, 50ml sunflower oil, 2 tblspoons peanut butter and 1/2 scoops whey. I aim to consume 2/3 of those daily on top of my whole meals.

My whole meals usually consist of a serving of starchy carbs (about 100g of white pasta/rice), a good protein source (tuna, mince beef, chicken) and cheese. In the morning I usually have about 4 slices of buttered toast with a couple of eggs. Shortly after, I'll make one of those shakes I mentioned. F'ing annoying though how my appetite is always lacking in the morning! Don't know why.

Those pizzas are a good shout though, just did a quick google search of goodfellas pepperoni and one of 'em is like 1200cals. Sweet. I'll aim to eat at least one of those a day on top of everything else.

These are the main foods I'm gonna be buying in bulk then with my budget:

Milk
Whey
Eggs
Oil (olive, sunflower, flaxseed?)
Bananas
Peanut butter
Frozen pizza

Anything else? My parents get an abundance of white rice (25kg bag) and pasta in my house so that'll always be no problem. I'd like to include more sugary stuff (e.g sweets, candy) in my diet for carbs, but my teeth will literally perish lol (I've already had alot of fillings, dentist's warned me to stay the fuck away from sugar).

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Ghost16
Level

Join date: Sep 2011
Posts: 367

COMEONDIESEL wrote:
Ghost16 wrote:
COMEONDIESEL wrote:
Fucking sick progress mate. I'm sick of being a skinny lean 160lb. Right now I'm only eating about 3000-3500 calories a day. Can you tell me how you were/are getting in 6000? Meal examples? I think 5000-6000 is where I'm gonna need to be.




To be honest when I did it was I was eating fast food every 2-3 hours, you'll get 6,000 calories really fast doing that. In hindsight I wasted a lot of money and added more fat than I needed to by doing it that way.

5000-6000 is definitely where you want to be. Anything more than 6000 is overkill in my opinion. I would buy a lot of frozen pizzas, cheap walmart high calorie protein shakes, a lot of milk, a lot of beef. If you're having trouble throw some candy in there. Those are the foods I would focus on. You have to make eating your job when you're bulking. The meals are just as important as the workouts. Also, don't eat a lot one day and then get lazy the next day. You need to consistently bring in high calories all the time if you want to get bigger.

Training wise it's very important that you pick a few compound lifts and make sure you consistently get stronger in them. For me this list is pull-ups, rows, military press, incline press, bench press, squat, deadlift, barbell curls, rollback extensions or tate presses, and if I did it again I would add barbell lunges to that list.

Another thing I would change if I did it again would be adding more volume after my heavy lifting. The best way to build muscle IMO is to lift heavy AND do high volume. I have a friend who is strong as hell (all natural with a 650 deadlift weighing 216... a belt but no suit) but he's not as big as I am. He trains only with heavy weights and never does a lot of volume. I think that's why even though he's stronger than I am he isn't as big.

If you're gaining weight but not getting stronger you're doing it wrong. When I did my huge bulk I gained 40 pounds bodyweight and 90 pounds onto my bench press in one year. My bulk was probably 20 pounds muscle 20 pounds fat.


Thanks alot mate. Think I'll take pictures of myself now, then compare in about 6 months time. Sick to death of being stuck on the same weights, gonna focus on progression like you said on the big lifts. I've managed to get a part time job over weekends, which is gonna give me like ?£60 a week minimum. Thank fuck. That's all going on food lol.

At the moment I'm stocking up on 3 1kg tubs of peanut butter, which I aim to last me for a month (100g per day). I used to consume your standard glass of whole milk with 2 scoops of whey; it's just not cutting it. Now I go with 500ml whole milk, 1 banana, 50ml sunflower oil, 2 tblspoons peanut butter and 1/2 scoops whey. I aim to consume 2/3 of those daily on top of my whole meals.

My whole meals usually consist of a serving of starchy carbs (about 100g of white pasta/rice), a good protein source (tuna, mince beef, chicken) and cheese. In the morning I usually have about 4 slices of buttered toast with a couple of eggs. Shortly after, I'll make one of those shakes I mentioned. F'ing annoying though how my appetite is always lacking in the morning! Don't know why.

Those pizzas are a good shout though, just did a quick google search of goodfellas pepperoni and one of 'em is like 1200cals. Sweet. I'll aim to eat at least one of those a day on top of everything else.

These are the main foods I'm gonna be buying in bulk then with my budget:

Milk
Whey
Eggs
Oil (olive, sunflower, flaxseed?)
Bananas
Peanut butter
Frozen pizza

Anything else? My parents get an abundance of white rice (25kg bag) and pasta in my house so that'll always be no problem. I'd like to include more sugary stuff (e.g sweets, candy) in my diet for carbs, but my teeth will literally perish lol (I've already had alot of fillings, dentist's warned me to stay the fuck away from sugar).


I think sometimes best results come after stagnation. Not even from a physiological standpoint but a mental one. Once you get fed-up enough something snaps. That's what happened to me. I was stuck for a year with the same weights in everything and eventually I thought, "I'm going to eat everything I can and as long as I'm getting stronger some of my weight gain will be muscle." That's when I started eating a lot.

My advice would be don't over think it too much. When I was eating all that food I wasn't counting calories or anything like that. Just make sure you get stronger each week and don't let the scale jump up too rapidly. Weight gain isn't linear but I wouldn't try to gain more than 10 pounds a month.

And don't make excuses for yourself. For some reason people like to sabotage themselves. You said you're not hungry in the morning? Who cares. Force yourself to eat. You're going to have to get use to force feeding. You said you don't want to eat much candy because of your teeth? Brush your teeth more. I'm not trying to sound like a dick I'm just saying that usually if you evaluate things that may hold you back they usually aren't that big of a deal.

Also, this is how I approached things. A lot of people prefer a slower clean bulk and slowly add muscle over a few years while maintaining leanness. That's fine. I preferred to gain a lot at once and then strip off the fat. I will warn you that cutting the excess fat off is a bitch. My weight is down to about 205 right now and cutting off the excess fat was much harder than I thought it was going to be. If you want to take this dirty bulk approach just be prepared to shed off all that extra fat later. In the future I'm going to take a slower approach to adding muscle but I don't regret doing a huge dirty bulk. It was a good learning experience.

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lifter85
Level 3

Join date: May 2006
Posts: 564

any, ahem...supplements youd like to divulge about to us that you took? ya know, before a bunch of dreamer bulks fail miserably due to an insane amount of fat gain compared to muscle? common sense tells us you're not fooling anyone.

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