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  #1  
Unread 12-10-2017, 01:35 PM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Default How much damage occurs with FULL 2.5 weeks off?

I've taken the longest compete break from all training in 10 years. 17 days of nothing at all.

Paranoia about major losses from over a week of inactivity is commonplace in the bodybuilding world, and I've as much succumbed to such neurosis throughout my training life as anybody else.

This is a simple log to see what happens, to me at least, given this scenario. I hope it might be useful or of interest to those who have ever harboured similar concerns.

I will set out the method of this log in my next post.
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  #2  
Unread 12-10-2017, 01:44 PM
Determinism Determinism is offline
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Great experiment (or is it involuntary?) and very good idea to log it.
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  #3  
Unread 12-10-2017, 11:29 PM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Determinism View Post
Great experiment (or is it involuntary?) and very good idea to log it.
BACKGROUND DETAILS:

I booked a trip abroad for 2 and a half weeks, not even anticipating the possibility of no training. Even before I left, however, it became obvious that there wouldn't be even the remotest possibility of going to the gym whilst at my destination. Bummer. I'm usually comfortable with, say, max 7 days off here and there, but 17 days? That's pretty much (sadly and with a little exaggeration) a body-obsessed prima donna male gym fanatic's ultimate nightmare.

THE PROTOCOL ABROAD:

Training:

- Navigating complex subway systems.
- Occasionally hitting a few elevator buttons.

Diet:

- Didn't weigh once.
- Ate according to feeling. Tried to neither over- nor under-eat.
- Made sure to eat plenty of vegetables and protein rich foods
- There was no attempt either to specifically limit carbs, fats or whatnot. Just ate what I felt like, being conscious of my overall limits.

Mirror:

- Admired myself on a frequent basis, provided there was a suitable looking glass available and favourable lighting.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS SINCE RETURNING:

My bodyweight seems more or less unchanged. Leanness, by the mirror, seems not much different to when I left. Naturally, pump is down, but not massively--and I can't really say for sure whether there's any very clear visual loss of muscle.



So that's the background. Next will follow a post about my routine and how I propose to measure any changes in the gym.
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  #4  
Unread 12-10-2017, 11:46 PM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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TRAINING STATUS:

I'll say I'm upper intermediate for most lifts. I'm not going to bore everybody by posting a bunch of wow-look-how-much-I-lift numbers, and instead will keep my report down to changes either in reps or in percentage of what I was able to lift. Volume, intensity etc.

BODY FAT PERCENTAGE:

On a recent caliper test (DW) I was roughly 11%.

MY ROUTINE:

For the past three months or so I've been running the GBR (I've used it many times over the years and find it among the most practical and time efficient systems). As with seeminly most people running this routine, my two upper and lower body workouts are slightly different from each other.

(Note: I've opted for less total sets this time round, though often go for the more sets option)

LEGS A

Leg press 3x6-8
Ham curl 3x6-8
Leg extension 2x10-12
Ham curl 2x10-12
Straight calf 3x6-8
Seated calf 2x10-12
<Not bothering recording the ab and lower back stuff as very boring>

LEGS B

Deadlift 3x6-8
Ham curl 3x6-8
Leg press 2x10-12
Lunge 2x10-12 (ya, I know this isn't a hamstring dominant exercise for the sharp-eyed among you; I don't feel I need a further hammie move in this second leg workout)
Straight calf 3x6-8
Seated calf 2x10-12

UPPER A

Bench 3x6-8
Bent over row 3x6-8
Incline press 2x10-12
Pulldown 2x10-12
Biceps 2x12-15
Triceps 2x12-15


UPPER B

Bench 3x6-8
Pulldown 3x6-8
Shoulder press 2x10-12
Machine cable row 2x10-12
Biceps 2x12-15
Triceps 2x12-15



So there it is. That's all the background.

My first workout will be LEGS A, to begin in about an hour. I'm really not looking forward to it, and I know the DOMS will be epic and nasty.
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  #5  
Unread 12-11-2017, 12:02 AM
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Liberty Liberty is offline
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What does the DW stand for in your caliper test? (Sorry, so curious, so n00b.)
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  #6  
Unread 12-11-2017, 12:19 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberty View Post
What does the DW stand for in your caliper test? (Sorry, so curious, so n00b.)
It's the Durnin and Womersley 4-point test. A common body fat test and often the one for which you're most likely to find somebody competent enough to do it for you at a semi decent gym.
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  #7  
Unread 12-11-2017, 05:35 AM
funkord funkord is offline
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Interesting. Also, I think it is healthy to just let go every so often. Following.
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  #8  
Unread 12-11-2017, 07:50 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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COUPLE MORE RELEVANT DETAILS

- Not using any supplements (creatine etc) other than whey, which I don't regard a supplement as such. To me it's just foodstuff.

- Age, 32.

- Genetically "average"? I'd probably say somewhere slightly above average, given that I see such a large number of people in the gym struggling to get what I consider "anywhere" at all. But by no means would I say I'm gifted, no bloody way. Just a tad above the middle, and I think that probably also describes a lot of the long-term posters here.


With all that said, hopefully, this is more or less a pretty raw experiment.


I have completed my LEGS A routine, and will post my results/findings/analysis soon.
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  #9  
Unread 12-11-2017, 08:25 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Quote:
LEGS A

Leg press 3x6-8
Ham curl 3x6-8
Leg extension 2x10-12
Ham curl 2x10-12
Straight calf 3x6-8
Seated calf 2x10-12
Here goes.


WARM-UP

I warmed up with a set of squats (I do this for maintenance purposes). I do one set of 10-12 reps at 1.25x bodyweight, and usually this feels easy as any warm-up ought to. I'll say now that, while I made my reps, it felt REALLY hard. But saying so, it had been 21 days since I last did it, so the gap was rather even more pronounced.

LEG PRESS

Actually, this went fine. I felt surprisingly strong doing it, and made my reps without too much problem. So much so that I'm probably only a few weeks off progressing in weight.

HAM CURL

Full of optimism, I moved onto the curl. Oh dear. Not very good. The first set was so weak I decided to drop 10kg on the machine for the following sets. Even after that, what I found was that 5 reps in it felt really easy, but then my body just crapped out on me and the rest felt really hard if almost not possible to complete.

This is interesting: it felt as if what was missing was the stamina element. Ever had that? An exercise feels really easy, almost too easy, at the start, such that you think you could go 20-30 reps. Then by rep 7 you're like, what just happened?

I feel as if this was a glycogen thing.

LEG EXTENSION

I made my reps on this one at the usual load, but it definitely felt much harder than before my trip. I felt like I was already running out of steam.

ANOTHER LEG CURL

Back to the curl, at high reps this time. On both sets, I struggled to reach my rep target, and only just managed it. Although again, it began feeling incredibly easy.

Again, felt like a lack of glycogen shindig.

STRAIGHT CALF

I made my reps but it felt difficult.

SEATED CALF

This one was interesting. A definitely anomaly: it felt really quite easy compared to my last workout. It wasn't SO easy that I can progress next workout, but it was, as I said, noticeably easier.

I have thought a bit about this, and it may be related to the amount of walking I had to do in the city I was in. I walked a lot more than I ever generally do, and actually built up an improved stamina for it over the 2 week period. The soleus, the main muscle recruited in the seated calf, is said to be the slow twitch muscle of the calf musculature--the one that can take a real beating, and the one that responds best to higher rep schemes. Is it possible that unusually large amounts of city walking translated into an improved calf raise performance? It's an interesting thought. At any rate, I was full of stamina for it.

ABS

I'll chuck this in anyway, as I guess it's potentially of some interest.

Weighted crunches and side raises, a couple heavy sets a piece. Felt easy, actually seemed an improvement on my previous. Again, I don't know why. Perhaps my body was just fatigued from weeks of training without a break, before, and that affected my core performance. Who knows.

ANALYSIS

So, a mixed bag. There was no terrible catastrophic loss of performance, and some stuff here and there was quite good, but definitely SOMETHING of a loss of strength.

As I have suggested, if experience has taught me anything, the feeling of the weakness had all the hallmarks of a sort of glycogen depletion. Perhaps after my heavy leg press, there just simply wasn't enough left in the tank to go much further without running into stamina issues.

I'm going to theorise that, with a few workouts this week and a higher intake of protein and sugars, I will increase my muscle glycogen to pre-vacation levels and MIGHT just overturn this weakness entirely by next week.

I guess it's obvious that glycogen depletion would likely happen not just from dieting but from not training? But that, on the flipside, it may be retained in muscles heavily recruited on a daily basis (e.g. the soleus). That might explain the anomaly with the very easy seated calf. Also, hauling awkward suitcases around many places and up and down stairs on a continuous basis might have kept core glycogen high.

I will continue this log into next week to see what happens with this workout.

Tomorrow, UPPER A.
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  #10  
Unread 12-11-2017, 08:37 AM
Determinism Determinism is offline
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Two questions:
- Why 4x a week in an upper/lower split instead of 2 full body workouts to gradually increase training volume? Would've probably provided a little more headroom and a little less DOMS.
- Did you take into consideration that you lost neural adaptions and work capacity? It will probably come back after a few workouts.
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