Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Project Jason: Pre-Workout and Bulking

Project Jason is my attempt to gain some weight. It's been a long journey that started in August and I haven't given up just yet, maintaining an average of at least 3 hours a week in the gym. I've learned that it's not enough to simply go to the gym, and through my trainers (Eli and that "other guy") am learning routines, supplements, and "flexibility" to maximize my time spent in the gym.

Almost none of my pants fit anymore either thanks to leg day. My legs have shown the most noticeable improvement since I've got my trainers. If only the same could be said of my upper body and arms.

But what you do outside the gym played a far greater role than I initially realized as well. If you don't eat enough, the muscle won't develop, no matter how much you workout. You'll look like a slightly meatier skeleton.

So today, let's talk about a supplement called "pre-workout" and my efforts to "bulk".

I can only hope my readers are actually reading.

I started getting my protein powder and other supplements through Eli. I'd be taking the same stuff as him, it certainly tasted a lot better the other stuff I was drinking, but one stuck out. Something simply referred to as "pre-workout". Eli claimed that you couldn't get it in Canada (he was ordering it from the States) and that it allowed you to push yourself harder.

I had no reason to doubt him. But the initially the effects were felt after the workout. Usually after an hour or two in the gym I felt exhausted. But on this pre-workout I left feeling full of energy, as if I could go back and do several more sets. Was it the supplement? Was I experiencing some kind of "weight lifting high"? It was odd, but I kept taking it anyways.

The true power of the pre-workout was finally realized on a leg day. We were doing squats. I go down for my last few reps, almost done a set, when suddenly a familiar sensation hits.

My calf is cramping up.

Experienced weight lifters will likely scoff at the barely 100 pounds that I am squatting. But I'm still getting used to this, this is pretty heavy, and to fall over due to a cramp with this weight on my back? Not going to be a good time.

And then suddenly the cramp goes away.

I begin another set. And my other calf starts cramping up but just as suddenly as it arrives it's gone. In fact, for the rest of my leg work out I can sort of feel my legs threatening to cramp up, but it was almost like a barrier was keeping the cramps away. It's the best way I can describe it.

Apparently the pre-workout works by reducing lactic acid build up in muscles. At least, the stuff that Eli got me does that. I've looked online and there are some with caffeine but I think I'm good with what I have right now.

Which brings us to our next topic, bulking and cutting. The idea is that while you workout, you bring your body fat percentage up to 15% by eating 500+ calories above your recommended intake. You'll gain muscle, the resources to build said muscle, and some fat along the way. Then, you "cut" by reducing your calories eaten to 500 below your recommended intake but maintaining your workout schedule.

You don't want to starve yourself (otherwise your body starts breaking down muscle instead of fat) but this reduction will burn away the fat and allow you to keep the muscle. Rinse and repeat.

And one day, you too may look like this.

But as we all know, poor old Damian here has trouble bulking. I need to eat at least 3200 calories a day and I'm used to eating 2000, maybe less. I went to my doctor and for the first time, maybe ever, a medical professional has recommended that their patient eat more fast food.

I'm serious. My doctor told me, "You know, I probably shouldn't be telling you do this, but, ugh... It might do you some good to eat like, an extra Big Mac a day or something. Just to help with the weight gain.". Eating junk food during your bulk phase is referred to as "dirty bulking". And I think all the chocolate milk I've been drinking counts as dirty bulking as well.

I've been on my bulk phase for at least a month now. I'm dying to figure out what my body fat percentage was. Back in August, a machine determined it was at ~3%. Probably inaccurate, but until I get my own set of calipers I'll have to keep using this machine.

I step on, I hold my breath, and a number pops up on a digital display:


My sentiments exactly.

Alright. Need to keep bulking. Maybe in another month something will change. I really just want to start cutting because I'm so lazy. I could go make myself food to eat OR I can load up another video on Youtube. The choice is simple. Eating is a chore, and it's getting expensive. Maybe I should invest in more fast food coupons or something.

Another reason why I don't like bulking is because I'm actually starting to develop a small gut. It's only noticeable to me, when my shirt is off, after I've eaten a lot of food. But still, I don't like this. Give me my abs back.

I've almost gained another 5 pounds since my last post though. There's a few fluctuations but hopefully by the end of the month I'll be at a steady 155 pounds.


  1. Maaaan. I'm not trying to sound envious because i get that this is a struggle for you, but HOTDAMN do I wish I was told to eat 3200 calories a day.

  2. Reading these posts really makes me kinda worry about you. I don't think I'd want to try something that you couldn't get in my country. Unless it's some kind of shirt, as my three favourite shirts are imported. Anyway, good luck with it man and don't destroy your body. I say eat junk food if you have to. I struggle to eat more than 1600 calories without eating junk food. Even I, who probably weighs twice as much as you (don't worry it's mostly fat...okay worry about that) has trouble eating that much.

  3. Well, I've learned a new term today. "Dirty bulking." Who knew? I was going to suggest a daily trip to Tim Hortons to scarf down as many donuts as possible. Oh wait, that's MY routine.

  4. >I can only hope my readers are actually reading.
    I know that feel man. Don't worry though, I'm here!

    Re: that post-workout high, I got that too. When I get home from running I'm usually pretty tired at first, but a shower and some dinner later, and I'm feeling peppy as ever. Good stuff.

    Isn't it possible to cut in smaller increments instead of having to go up to 15% every time? I'm sure there's some science behind it, but you already got ~7% over your initial value that you can do away with... right? Or is it ideal to stick around a certain percentage? Hell if I know.
    Good luck!

    1. (Also, looks like the feed you probably have of the blog stopped working, so you want to re-add it as . Sorry for the trouble!)

  5. Be careful what you put into your body...and some bodies just won't get into the mold you want them.

  6. That is my main problem, it costs too damn much to eat what i have to eat to get things bigger and it all seems to go to my gut when I do anyway

  7. Good luck man maintaining your weight at 155p

  8. I really wished Sikh was pronounced the way I think it was. Ruined the fun of the puns

  9. Good luck! I must say it's inspiring to hear about the progress you're making.

  10. A cool post :) DWei.
    I am no expert in this field of bodybuilding so can't offer any suggestions. You better consult some medical expert in this field who is well versed with the ingredients of the 'powders' that we see in gymnasiums.
    Best of luck :)

  11. Also, I don't know if you'd even want to publish this, but you could use amazon to sell stuff like pre-workout now that you're already giving the item free promotion. Who knows, you might make a buck.

  12. Still hear to harp that I am sure you're very cute the way you are!

  13. Ugh, on eating a Big Mac. I think chocolate milk is a way better alternative to dirty bulking... at least it's healthy too. :)

    Glad you found something that throws up a barrier to the cramps. That's pretty rocking, actually.

  14. Good luck bulking up! I'm sure there are many women that would die to have 10% body fat :)

  15. I guess, it's hard, but you can do it man! Good luck to you!

  16. can you not get supplemental food thingies I had to take these shakes that are high in calorie to gain weight - i feel like i told you this before...maybe they affect memory loss. good luck tho!!!

  17. I can do workouts all day long. That's easy. The eating is the hard part, especially if you have to force yourself to eat 3,000 calories. And it's not just stuff like slamming down Big Macs and twinkies. You have to eat good, protein filled fuel.

    So yeah, give me a grueling workout that makes me want to puke over the bulking phase any day. Good luck, man. And keep at it. You'll get there eventually.

  18. For me, the bulking is the easy part ;)

  19. Good luck with your progress. I am sure in a few weeks you will be great.

  20. I get chubby by just thinking about it. It's a curse. I think. Five pounds.... before you know it, it's ten. Usually we gain more weight when we get older, so who knows Damian...