Working out with a busy schedule
Q: Thank you for the 10-8-6-15 workout, I've been staying on it for a few weeks now, doing it 3 times a week. But recently I have been quite busy with works and only able to do it once a week.
My question is, should I stop the 10-8-6-15 and follow your "Flexible Frequency" training in your 4th book?
I really enjoy reading your book Training for the Busy Bodybuilder. Actually I love it! Thank you for sharing!
My Answer: Glad you love the book, Dat. If you find that you're only able to get to the gym once a week, then by all means follow the Strength Training for the Busy Bodybuilder. That's what the book was meant for.
The "Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph" program is based on frequent training, because that is what the ectomorph needs. But if you can only train once or twice a week, then your schedule will dictate your training program. Your schedule doesn't give a rat's ass whether you're an ectomorph and that ectomorphs thrive on frequent low to moderate volume training.
So follow the principles in the Strength Training for the Busy Bodybuilder program and workout when you can.
Q: First, I want to say thank you for the program!!! I am a 41 yr old (5'9'') ectomorph and have been at a steady weight of 174 lbs. for many years - most I ever weighed was 179. Until Now!!!
I have been on your program for 6 weeks and constantly upped the weight and now weigh 196 lbs. My question is: Where do I go from here? I like the gains but do not want to plateau. Is there another program that you recommend for ectomorphs?
Also, with all the eating, mass gain drinks, protein drinks, creatine and NOX, I feel that I'm also getting fatter as well. Do you recommend cardio on off days or wait until I build more mass then cut?
Thanks again for all your help!!! This is awesome what you do!!!!
My Answer: Congrats on making a 20 pound gain in such a short period of time, JB. If you want to keep making gains in size and strength, but you're starting to smooth out a bit, then I suggest you use strength training as the primary fat loss engine. Ectomorphs respond horribly to cardio. They end up losing muscle mass. So if you can, cut the cardio and follow a strength training/fat loss program such that found in the Building a Bigger Engine article.
Q: "Would croissants be too bad for me if I'm an ectomorph, and I need calories? Should I stay away from them?"
My Answer: Mmm... croissants. If you're a true ectomorph, then don't worry about it. Eat all of the croissants you want. Just be sure that is not the only thing you're eating for breakfast. If all you're eating for breakfast is a croissant and coffee with no protein source, then no wonder you're not gaining any weight. For ectomorphs, you really don't need to eat clean. In fact, you would do much better if you had some junk food for the extra calories. If it is junk food, then make sure you eat high quality junk food. Eat at In and Out instead of McDonald's. Choose Chipotle over Taco Bell.
Q: "I am reading your second book, which is really great, and am wondering if I could modify your Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph program, since I don't consider myself fully an ectomorph. I don't have the typical ectomorph body, but still I think I am a hard gainer and am slow to put on muscle mass. The rep range is 10-8-6-15, and I want to know if I would profit from modifying it a bit - for instance by making the rep range 9-8-5-12 or so?"
My Answer: Perfectly fine to do that. People who have been training longer will find that over time, they will need to lower the reps and work with heavier weights. Part of the reason is that intermediate and advanced trainees have learned to tap into higher threshold muscle fibers.
Newbies don't have that ability, because the movements are still new to them. So to compensate, they need longer time under tension. In other words, longer sets from more reps. The greater number of repetitions helps newbies develop the neural pathways that tap into those muscle fibers.
Intermediate lifters can use a lower rep range, because their neural pathways were already developed from lifting. The exception of course is when the exercise is completely new. In this case an intermediate lifter would need to lift with higher reps to develop the neural pathways for that particular exercise.
So a pyramid with a lower rep range would be perfectly fine. That would be the natural progression of the Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph program.