It’s been three weeks since the Arnolds, so I thought a quick training and diet update would be in order.
In the 3-4 days after the Arnold, I put on almost 10kg (22lbs), granted mostly water, but it was alarming enough to make me want to rein things in very quickly because I was feeling absolute shit along with the weight gain.
So, for the past three weeks I’ve switched to an Intermittent Fasting setup again using a carb and calorie cycling approach, depending on my training days.
I’ve cut my training back to 4 days per week contrasted with my precontest high volume, 6-7 day,, twice-a-days approach with the result that I’m feeling a lot better given the extra recovery time.
My calories aren’t that high still. On the low carb, low calorie days. I eat 3 days of 1600cals, 2 days of 1800 cals on the medium calorie days and then 2 days of 3-4000cals.
The setup looks like this
Monday – No Training – 1600 cals
Tuesday – No Training – 1600 cals
Wednesday – Train – 1800 cals
Thursday – Train – 3-4000 cals
Friday – No Training – 1600 cals
Saturday – Training – 1800 cals
Sunday – Training – 3-4000 cals.
I’m using a 16-8 Intermittent Fasting Schedule which means I’m eating for 8 hours (from 1:00pm everyday) and shutting off the food by 7-8pm.
Even though I’m on what amounts to contest prep calories, it’s a lot more of a comfortable approach compared to when I was doing a 6 meal a day setup before.
The only reason I was doing regular feedings precontest was due to the morning workouts. On an IF setup, I’m never hungry and have stable energy and mood levels. On the 6 meal per day set-up I was ALWAYS hungry.
5-6 under 300 calorie meals absolutely sucks. I’ll take 2-3, satiating five-six hundred calorie meals over that bullshit, any day.
The two refeeds per week are definitely great, but to be truthful, most of the time I don’t feel like them and they’re definitely more controlled affairs compared to the insane gorging I was doing in the months leading up to the shows.
Another difference is that my diet now is EXTREMELY clean and I’m eating MASSIVE amounts of veges compared to before.
I can only assume that this level of nutrition my body is receiving is making me feel good, look good and providing better satiety due to the increased fibre intake.
I recently went to see the contest promoter and head-judge for some feedback of which direction I should go in future contests.
I seem to be too heavy for the current Classic Division requirements, yet wayyyy too small and light to ever be competitive in the Open Classes.
He was very surprised at my current condition and said I look better now that at the State show and Arnolds. He mentioned that although I was 10kg heavier, I could still step on stage tomorrow, and I should aim for the 75kg division next show and then inch my way up to the 80kg division over time.
He said I have good overall shape and balance, but I need to bring up my calves and hamstrings more.
Fortitude Training Review
Fortitude Training is a system of training devised by Dr Scott Stevenson which could best be described as a high frequency, whole-body, HIT, DoggCrap hybrid.
With FT, You hit the whole body 3-4 times a week, using one or two sets per bodypart, going to failure on the last set.
Each day emphasises either the upper or lower body using varying rep schemes. Loading Days use a standard bodybuilding approach with moderate (6-12 reps) for either the upper or lower body and then higher rep pump sets (15-25) for the other body parts.
Just as an example, on Thursdays, I’ll do a Loading Day with an Upper Body Emphasis. I’ll train:
Back – Thickness and Width
Chest – Compound and Isolation
Delts – Compound and Isolation
Legs – Pump Sets
The Leg Pump sets:
The other two days uses a technique Scott refers to as Muscle Rounds, which is just another way of saying Cluster-Set (rest pause style) or Myo-Reps.
With Muscle Rounds, you do six sets of 4 reps taking 10 seconds between each mini-set. You attempt to hit failure by the 6th set or your drop the weight so you can hit the 6 set total.
Here’s an example of Dr Scott doing a Bent Over Barbell Row Muscle Round.
You alternate exercises each week on Loading Days – so for Week 1 you might do Barbell Squats, Week 2 you might do Smith Machine Squats and Week 3 you’d do Leverage Squats as an example.
It’s pretty hard going, which is probably why I’m guessing it’s called “Fortitude Training”. Although I’m used to training full body workouts via my experience with HST, it’s hard to bang out failure sets on every body part and maintain even intensity across the workout on all body-parts.
To manage fatigue and build in a level of periodisation, Stevenson recommends doing a series of “Blasts and Cruises” whereby you hit the volume and intensity hard for blocks of 3-4 weeks, then back it off for a couple of weeks using a form of deloading to allow the body to recover and supercompensate.
Stevenson also provides a diet setup to complement the system so that you can match your training days with an appropriate level of macros and calories.
The book uses an evidence based approach and cross references all the existing literature to support the methods used.
Watching his Youtube Channel you can see that Dr Scott definitely practices what he preaches and if you’ve heard him speak on any number of recent podcasts, he knows his stuff inside and out.
It’s a great workout setup if you’re looking for something new to shakeup your existing training method. It’s definitely not for the faint of hearted and you’re going to have to be ready to really push yourself through some hard workouts each week.
Although I’ve given just a small overview of the program here, the book goes into a lot more detail and provides a number of options on how to customise it to your own personal experience level.
The discussion chapter on the science behind the method will also enhance your own knowledge on the factors behind what makes a program effective giving you confidence that this isn’t just another program that’s throwing darts at a board.
I recommend you pick up a copy and give it a go. All purchases of the book are provided with a code giving you access to a private discussion board where you can ask Dr Scott questions about the program.