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  1. #151
    Doozy IK9's Avatar
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    Lol.. I just ordered internet at my place for Thursday.. $65+ for just internet plus some other monthly modem fee.. but $85 for phone, internet, & tv.. sigh hahahah #lifeishard
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  2. #152
    Registered User mhilliard44's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IK9 View Post
    Lol.. I just ordered internet at my place for Thursday.. $65+ for just internet plus some other monthly modem fee.. but $85 for phone, internet, & tv.. sigh hahahah #lifeishard
    Lol this is why I keep putting it off...the things I do to get free wifi right now is slightly absurd. Luckily Gold's Gym has free wifi, I've taken advantage of that numerous times so far. Not having the convenience of wifi from your own apartment anytime you need it is a big adjustment. We are all so spoiled I this day and age hahahah. I don't watch enough tv for cable to ever be worth it for me.

    But life goes on and we adapt and we kick butt anyway. If life was easy it wouldn't be rewarding in the end!
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  3. #153
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    Originally Posted by mhilliard44 View Post
    Lol this is why I keep putting it off...the things I do to get free wifi right now is slightly absurd. Luckily Gold's Gym has free wifi, I've taken advantage of that numerous times so far. Not having the convenience of wifi from your own apartment anytime you need it is a big adjustment. We are all so spoiled I this day and age hahahah. I don't watch enough tv for cable to ever be worth it for me.

    But life goes on and we adapt and we kick butt anyway. If life was easy it wouldn't be rewarding in the end!
    Sometimes buying cable requires like a 2 year membership, so if you try to break it early they will charge you up the wall.
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  4. #154
    Registered User phillysteak's Avatar
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    Dude internet, cell phones, they got us by the nads with all the luxuries!
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  5. #155
    Registered User mhilliard44's Avatar
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    14 weeks post competition update

    Hey guys, been a long time since I posted. Things are starting to stabilize a bit more after two months living here in Texas. This post is an update to my current improvement season.

    Weight: 202.4lb (competition weight on stage at 188lb)

    Macros: averaging right at 3k/day. Some days I am awake a lot longer than others so I may have 6 meals or I may have 7 meals some days, so I've adjusted to that discrepancy slowly.

    Workouts have been pretty good I would say. I am struggling with chest training right now. A lot. I think I am making gains but who really knows. And this is the part where being a "natural pro" flat out sucks. For someone with my personality, somedays it feels like too much pressure. Too much expectation to progress at a certain rate which I don't think I am meeting.

    Training volume has increased quite a bit even from what I was doing to prepare for my first competition before even dieting. Patellar tendonitis is killing me right now so I am going to take some time off for quads and use the extra space to do more hams, calves, post delts, and possibly more chest. I seriously have no idea what I'm doing for chest. My bench press is pathetic at best. I just don't perform that lift enough. I stick to machines and dumbbells mainly, but I think that needs to change if I want to actually grow my chest and not get embarrassed anytime I set up under the bar on the bench.

    I take bodypart measurements regularly. Everything has increased a good amount. Arms dramatically. Of course you have to factor in the fat gain.

    All in all, I think this improvement season is going well. Need to take care of minor injuries and figure out what I am doing with chest training. Its driving me insane. Been lifting for ten years and I have no idea how to train my chest. Solid.

    One a positive ending note: I keep up with many of you guys on here even if I'm not posting regularly, I see everyone making some sick gains and that motivates me like crazy. This forum has always been a rock in my life and I'm glad to have gotten to know quite a few of you on here over the past year. On forward with the training!!
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  6. #156
    Registered User jaredmus's Avatar
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    Don't worry about the natural pro thing.
    No one says you need to step on the worlds your first year, pic something small if need be.
    And with chest training I think doing 5-9 weeks of a power block followed by a deload and then 6-8 weeks of hyper focused block would work best my man.
    Trying to improve day in and day out.

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  7. #157
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    Focus on your life and job ... the stage and the "Natural Pro" will always be there.
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  8. #158
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    I agree, there is no need to feel like you have to meet some Pro level standard. No one here is measuring or critiquing your progress. It's great that you feel like you need to keep pushing yourself, but just know that your stress is internal, not from others. We're here supporting you, all the way.
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  9. #159
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    You're always a motivation to me!
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  10. #160
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    Everyone has a tough body part, even the best pros. Just keep crushing each day and it'll come!
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  11. #161
    Registered User phillysteak's Avatar
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    Sounds like you nailed it dude--if you've got a body part that isn't growing a lot with what you've been doing, come at it harder or even with other movements. Plus I bet if you start incorporating stuff that's fun for chest, whatever that means for you, you'll enjoy it and push it even more.

    And like the others said, none of us are watching you thinking "Now that he has a pro card, this guy better be destroying everything in sight." You know the name of the game--consistency, hard work, rest, and for cryin out loud enjoyment!
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  12. #162
    Registered User red_cat's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by phillysteak View Post
    And like the others said, none of us are watching you thinking "Now that he has a pro card, this guy better be destroying everything in sight."
    ...actually, I'm thinking he should destroy everything in sight.



    AND HE IS!!! Career/Life/Lifting...it's all there!
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  13. #163
    Registered User mhilliard44's Avatar
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    This week I adapted my training. Dropping all quad work for the time being to heal up my knee. Maybe drop the ham curls too, the extra ROM seems to aggravate my patellar tendon. Sticking to SLDLs for hams/glutes now. Might drop DLs next too. I also finished the first week of a 3 day Smolov Jr on flat bench. It felt real good. I'm trying to keep some hyper work in my upper chest so I have been playing around with exercises this first week to see what might fit well into my weekly routine. I have no excuse to not have a decent bench press.

    Originally Posted by jaredmus View Post
    Don't worry about the natural pro thing.
    No one says you need to step on the worlds your first year, pic something small if need be.
    And with chest training I think doing 5-9 weeks of a power block followed by a deload and then 6-8 weeks of hyper focused block would work best my man.
    This is probably really good advice with chest. Sometimes I need a kick in the butt to get things going. Trying out this Smolov Jr again. Last time I tried was on a calorie deficit (LOL). One week down the hatch and it feels good. Only 3 days, I ommitted the 10x3 day. Need a little more rest right now. 4 days benching is rough, my body isn't adapted to that level yet.

    Originally Posted by The Solution View Post
    Focus on your life and job ... the stage and the "Natural Pro" will always be there.
    Work is going well!! Happy with the career and move decision

    Originally Posted by Vytis View Post
    I agree, there is no need to feel like you have to meet some Pro level standard. No one here is measuring or critiquing your progress. It's great that you feel like you need to keep pushing yourself, but just know that your stress is internal, not from others. We're here supporting you, all the way.
    Definitely internal I appreciate it Vytis!

    Originally Posted by IK9 View Post
    You're always a motivation to me!
    Thank you Inna!!

    Originally Posted by jpfaherty View Post
    Everyone has a tough body part, even the best pros. Just keep crushing each day and it'll come!
    Somedayyyyy I will grow my chest to a decent level. Gotta find that right training stimulus combination. The search continues

    Originally Posted by phillysteak View Post
    Sounds like you nailed it dude--if you've got a body part that isn't growing a lot with what you've been doing, come at it harder or even with other movements. Plus I bet if you start incorporating stuff that's fun for chest, whatever that means for you, you'll enjoy it and push it even more.

    And like the others said, none of us are watching you thinking "Now that he has a pro card, this guy better be destroying everything in sight." You know the name of the game--consistency, hard work, rest, and for cryin out loud enjoyment!
    I'm enjoying training besides the nagging injuries. Being injury-free would make training 100 times more enjoyable. But life always throws obstacles, doing my best to get around it and be smart in the process.

    Originally Posted by red_cat View Post
    ...actually, I'm thinking he should destroy everything in sight.



    AND HE IS!!! Career/Life/Lifting...it's all there!
    Heck yeahhh! I'm more stoked about my job and big move than bodybuilding lately. Not to sound like I'm losing my interest, motivation is there and I'm hitting this offseason much smarter than when I prepped for my first competition. Better training, better nutrition, more time to prepare, the next final product shall be fun to see. Working to get there is enough motivation in itself for me.
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  14. #164
    Banned The Solution's Avatar
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    What happened to the knee?
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  15. #165
    Registered User mhilliard44's Avatar
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    Anybody ever just wanna be like "f*** tracking macros!"? Lol

    Its ridiculous. I never even tracked macros until I was about 8-9 weeks into my 29 week diet for prep this year. I always had a good idea where I was at calorie wise though. I think I may go back to this approach. Because seriously, tracking macros just isn't working for my lifestyle right now. Too much extra time each day. I can handle healthy food decisions and splurge once in awhile when applicable.

    Originally Posted by The Solution View Post
    What happened to the knee?
    Little bit of tendonitis. Result of muscle imbalance, poor form, and increased volume on quads. So I'm resting it completely right now to heal it up. Lucky for me I work in rehab and treat people with these kinds of problems on a daily basis, just with the upper body. Same principles though. So I'm doing lots to get it better then really being smarter with my training once I'm good again. I can still do SLDLs for hams/glutes and train calves and do hip ADD so its not bad. Giving me extra time for my upper body right now.
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  16. #166
    Registered User mhilliard44's Avatar
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    Sun 8/16/15

    Flat bench - 200lb 8x4
    Supported tbar - 145lb 3x6
    Lat pulldown wide - 160lb 3x10-12
    CLose grip pulldown - 150lb 3x10-12
    HS uni row - 2pps+30lb 3x12; additional set L side, plus dropset
    DB row - 80lb 3x10
    Back ext - 30lb x4

    Rev fly partials - 80lb 4x20
    Prone incline row - 30lb x4
    Cable upright row rope - 35lb x3
    DB laterals - 25lb x3
    bent rear delts - 10lb 3x15

    Abs: vacuums and cable rope crunches
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  17. #167
    Registered User jaredmus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mhilliard44 View Post
    Sun 8/16/15

    Flat bench - 200lb 8x4
    Supported tbar - 145lb 3x6
    Lat pulldown wide - 160lb 3x10-12
    CLose grip pulldown - 150lb 3x10-12
    HS uni row - 2pps+30lb 3x12; additional set L side, plus dropset
    DB row - 80lb 3x10
    Back ext - 30lb x4

    Rev fly partials - 80lb 4x20
    Prone incline row - 30lb x4
    Cable upright row rope - 35lb x3
    DB laterals - 25lb x3
    bent rear delts - 10lb 3x15

    Abs: vacuums and cable rope crunches
    Sort of doing a Phat type split?
    Trying to improve day in and day out.

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  18. #168
    Doozy IK9's Avatar
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    Nice volume!
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  19. #169
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    Originally Posted by mhilliard44 View Post
    Little bit of tendonitis.
    Just had a cortisone shot in my shoulder haven't done chest/shoulders in a lonnng time. Injuries really blow.
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  20. #170
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    Tues 8/18/15

    Seated calves - 95lb x4 dropset
    Stand calves - 95lb 3x15 dropset
    Hip ADD - 160lb 3x10 (this was a short term goal I had set awhile back)
    DB SLDL 100lb 3x10
    Abs: crunches, vacuums, pullovers, cable crunches, Roman chair
    Forearm work

    So as I'm in the gym this morning, first set, I'm thinking to myself that yeah it sucks not being able to train quads right now, but its ok because it will come back fast once I am healthy. Then I got to thinking how much of a thrill it is to get to the gym many days per week to train to build a step closer to your ultimate goal physique. What could be better than that? Today ended up being a great workout. It usually is "Lower Body Power" however its turning into a conglomeration of many different bodyparts thrown together, all of which will ultimately help me build the physique I envision in my head.

    I've been messing around with my diet too. Adjusting macro ratios. I tried a high fat, lower carb approach the past week (ex. 150c, 150f). I had enough energy to get through all my workouts for the week; however, found myself a tad sluggish later in the evenings nearly every day. I'm going to experiment with lowering the fats to around 100g and upping the carbs appropriately and see the effects on my body. Afterall, offseason is now the time to experiment.

    Originally Posted by jaredmus View Post
    Sort of doing a Phat type split?
    Yeah essentially it is PHAT, without any quad work and 3 days of flat bench thrown in right now.

    Originally Posted by IK9 View Post
    Nice volume!
    Thanks Inna, trying to keep at it.

    Originally Posted by Scruffy77 View Post
    Just had a cortisone shot in my shoulder haven't done chest/shoulders in a lonnng time. Injuries really blow.
    That sucks man...how much more time do you have to rest it after the shot before you get back at it? Was it biceps tendonitis?
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  21. #171
    Registered User jaredmus's Avatar
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    Dude not training legs I know it sucks makes you feel like less of a man lol. 4 months of it, you'll swing back do what you can for now
    150 fat sounds good but not with 150 carbs. I take my 390 carbs and 75 all day
    Trying to improve day in and day out.

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    Originally Posted by jpfaherty View Post
    Everyone has a tough body part, even the best pros. Just keep crushing each day and it'll come!
    This

    Awesome and inspiring log man! I'm sure its pretty cool saying your a Pro Bodybuilder though
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    Originally Posted by mhilliard44 View Post


    That sucks man...how much more time do you have to rest it after the shot before you get back at it? Was it biceps tendonitis?
    Its weightlifting shoulder, some type of arthritis. He didn't even give me a time frame. I finally had a good arm workout today and im hoping soon I can at least do some chest in the 20 rep range to take it easy.
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    Originally Posted by jaredmus View Post
    Dude not training legs I know it sucks makes you feel like less of a man lol. 4 months of it, you'll swing back do what you can for now
    150 fat sounds good but not with 150 carbs. I take my 390 carbs and 75 all day
    Much less of a man lol. Yeah 150c just wasn't quite enough, I love me some carbs, but I definitely needed to add more fat to my diet. I got too scared post comp to bump it up

    Originally Posted by NaturalPursuit View Post
    This

    Awesome and inspiring log man! I'm sure its pretty cool saying your a Pro Bodybuilder though
    Ehh, I guess its kinda cool, it would be a little more rewarding if it was something I was aiming for for many many years. Ultimately, I just want to build my ultimate physique, have good mental and physical health, and accomplish the goals I set for myself

    Originally Posted by Scruffy77 View Post
    Its weightlifting shoulder, some type of arthritis. He didn't even give me a time frame. I finally had a good arm workout today and im hoping soon I can at least do some chest in the 20 rep range to take it easy.
    Dang man, that's nothing to mess with. You go heavy on chest? Low reps?
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    what you been using as primary sources of fat for the higher fat experiment? What else have you noticed?
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    Originally Posted by The Solution View Post
    what you been using as primary sources of fat for the higher fat experiment? What else have you noticed?
    Lots of almonds, PB, yolks, extra virigin olive oil, 2% milk

    With only 150c, I felt sluggish by the end of the night a lot of days, but was good energy wise through a 5am workout plus work. That was about it. Strength improved being on a slight surplus per usual.
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    Quad feeling any better? At least quads are a strength for you. Not training them for a few weeks isn't going to hurt your balance at all.
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    Originally Posted by red_cat View Post
    Quad feeling any better? At least quads are a strength for you. Not training them for a few weeks isn't going to hurt your balance at all.
    Nahh, I am going to take at least two months off I think. Whatever I have going on needs time to heal. I don't think going to a doctor at this point would be beneficial or tell me anything I don't already know as an orthopedic therapist unless I pay for an MRI, which is not currently in my budget lol. And yes exactly, I don't need them any bigger right now: this give me valuable time to balance out my chest, lats, shoulders, and abs with my quads. When I started actually training quads seriously twice a week they grew like weeds! Thankfully. Chest? Different story lol, grows slower than my pubescent facial hair.
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    Taking a Step Back and Refocusing in Life

    This post is meant to be more a journal or diary entry. Just my thoughts being spilled out as they come to mind to help bring me peace of mind.

    I've been doing a good amount of thinking over the past several weeks in regards to bodybuilding in general. At this point in my life, I've decided that it would be in my best interest to take a step back from bodybuilding to refocus my energy. I've been dealing with several chronic overuse injuries lately. There is a variety of reasons that I should take a break from bodybuilding training:

    1. Health is more important to me than muscle mass
    2. I currently am not happy with poor health
    3. My career job is of much higher importance than growing muscle mass
    4. I have life goals that require a good amount of focus and drive attain (ex. earning a specialty certification in hand therapy, saving to buy a house, continuing to develop my life living in a new city)
    5. Bodybuilding has contributed to poor mental health for me
    6. My body simply needs rest and recovery. Maybe for a quite extended period of time.

    Reflecting on competing this year I can say much satisfaction came to me with deciding to compete, sticking true to it, and going above and beyond my set goals. That satisfaction was a tremendous feeling. I really only put 16 months of serious training for the competition, so I was very pleased with the progress I was able to make. When I first started lifting weights in 6th grade I did it for an extra boost with athletics. I had started exercising daily maybe in 3rd or 4th grade and would perform pushups and situps/crunches daily simply because I enjoyed the way it felt and it made me stronger, improved my health. The extreme training of bodybuilding, to me, is not even health related. I'm too the point of chronic overuse injuries right now that I really have to step back, analyze, and make some rational decisions. I have a partially torn quadricep tendon, chronic tendonitis of my tricep tendon, and some SI joint discomfort that has plagued me for years, but doesn't really cause a lot of pain, but daily discomfort nonetheless.

    I can't go through a whole day without being in pain physically. I look at how I got to this point. Taking things to the extreme. Bodybuilding is easily the end of the spectrum exercise-wise. When I first started exercising I did it for health, and of course to look semi decent. My mental health is very dependent on my physical health. Long story short: all I want is to be healthy and happy again. I am neither right now.

    Mental health wise? Graduating college, moving cities, starting a very difficult profession, living independently, has been enough on my plate the past three months. Bodybuilding has become too much of drain for me: the physical injuries, "daily grind", mental discomfort from those injuries along with issues with eating, tracking food, the demands I put on myself. At this point in my life, bodybuilding is doing more harm than good to me.

    Its hard to say "no" to the training because lifting weights is something I have enjoyed the past decade, but I can't keep going down this path I'm on. Its just not healthy. Its not good for me. So for now, I am saying "no thank you" to the bodybuilding lifestyle. That doesn't mean that I won't ever get back into it. At some point, I am bound to get back into it in my lifetime, but that time is not now. Not an easy decision to make. To say no to something you enjoy so much. But something in my life has to change. I know that my priorities are attaining health and happiness again so I am making some necessary changes to accommodate that.
    Last edited by mhilliard44; 09-02-2015 at 06:27 PM.
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    Health is far more important than picking up a barbell or dumbbell. Neither you or I or anyone on this webpage will ever make a living for going to the gym as a hobby.
    Wise words brother.
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