Last June, just a few short weeks after starting the Scrawny to Brawny program run by Precision Nutrition, I wrote a post on my progress up to that point and what I thought the next few months were going to be like. I was already worrying about fat gain, where the program was going and what progress I was going to see by dedicating a year of my life to just getting as big as possible. Now, 36 weeks after starting the program I am quite a good bit further along its path and I feel that a second post on how my training has gone and what I have achieved would be a good idea. Along with this, the program has moved on a phase and I am no longer trying to build as much mass as possible and am now trying to get prepped for my professional photo shoot in March! All in all, an update is more than overdue!
The S2B (Scrawny to brawny) program is one that aims in adding as much muscle mass to your body in 12 months as possible. This is achieved using a weights and exercise program along with dietary and lifestyle changes which are implemented through biweekly habits. These habits, added one at a time so as not to overwhelm people, aim at either changing, adding or removing something from your life, such that doing so will allow you to add muscle. These range from ‘muscle meals’ and ‘super-shakes’ , high calorie meals full of healthy whole foods to add a serious amount of calories to your diet, to more lifestyle orientated changes such as de-stressing and getting adequate sleep.
Overall, the structure of the program’s implementation is second to none. Looking at most other generic programs you will get at your local gym, it usually consists of a brand new workout program with all new exercises, some form of excessive cardiovascular routine along with a detailed and complex list of dietary changes and foods to either add or remove from your daily intake, all of which are to be started simultaneously. Overwhelming as hell and only setting up the new recruit for failure. Once one thing goes, maybe just a small cheat on their diet or a missed workout here or there, the utter disappointment of it all becomes too much and it all gets abandoned.
The benefit of S2B’s habit structure is that there is only ever one change happening at any one time. Lets say your new habit is to eat a muscle breakfast every day. For the next two weeks this is your only aim. That’s it. There is nothing else you have to figure out how to add in or change and you can just concentrate on making this a part of your routine. Before the two weeks are out you’re having your muscle breakfast daily and are not even thinking about the effort of it all or how overwhelming getting up that bit earlier to cook it is. Then, when the next habit comes two weeks later, it still only feels like your making one change because the muscle breakfast is already part of your daily routine. This happens every two weeks and before long you’ve not only made all the changes your local gym program would have made, but you’ve added even more and are keeping them all up and doing them as they should be.
This is the one thing that S2B does that makes it a success, it removes the overwhelming side of programs like these and makes it so much easier to succeed.
However, this is not to say that this program was easy. In fact, it has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do when it comes to my training and nutrition. Every day you have a number of things which need to be completed. These are outlining whether you did your training for that day (If applicable), whether you completed that days habit to its full and also reading a daily lesson which is usually information on the current habit, information on training or just some inspiration. All this sounds pretty easy, and it was. Filling out a couple of check boxes and reading an A4 page or two is hardly mind-blowing. Even the workouts, although extremely tough, weren’t that big of a change from what I was used too before I started the program and training and going to the gym was already something I did without much thought. The major thing that made this program tough was the nutrition and food side of it.
A couple of weeks into the program, once all the diet habits had been added onto my daily routine, I decided to add up how many calories I had been consuming on a daily basis. I was quite surprised. Between three ‘muscle’ meals (Breakfast, lunch and dinner) which are about two/three/four times the size of a standard meal, two protein ‘super-shakes’ and a workout shake I was slamming down between 5,500 and 6,000 calories a day. Eating this amount of food was tough, by far the toughest part of the program. It was quite a long time into the program before I stopped being constantly nauseous and overwhelmingly full all the time. Along with this, it allowed me to learn the biggest thing I have learned through completing this program. In order to get bigger, you need to eat a lot of food, a HELL of a lot.
Eating all this food and doing all this training did lead to results. I’ve gone from having a body weight of 64.8 Kg to the 79.3 Kg I was last week when the ‘bulk’ phase of the program ended. That’s a total gain of 2 Stone and 4 pounds. This isn’t all muscle of course and my level of body fat did rise (I started at about 11% and am now at about 16%) however, the majority of this gain was in muscle mass. Over the course of the last nine months or so, my lean body mass (Body weight with the mass of ALL fat removed) has gone up 19 lbs or 1.5 stone. Needless to say gains like these speak for themselves.
Along with this, my strength has come along leaps and bounds also. Looking at two of the holy trinity (Leaving out squatting, due to the broken leg recovery last year it wouldn’t be a true comparison of real strength increase) my deadlift went up from a single at 130 Kg to 195 Kg for four and my bench went up from 70 Kg for two to 100 Kg for two. In my whole life I have never gotten even close to these numbers before. I am, without doubt, the strongest I have ever been and feel great because of it. Again, it just shows that eating all that food really is necessary to make any significant changes in the gym and to your physique.
Going forward, the plan for the next 9 weeks is to try to lose some of that body fat I have put on by eating so much to achieve these gains. I’m looking at doing quite a lot of walking, making significant changes to my diet and being dedicated as hell up until 3:30Pm on March 22nd when I will be half-naked in front of the camera. I’m one week into this stage of the program and like the phase before, it will be tough. Like I was at the start of the program I’m nervous, excited and looking forward to see where I end up. Unlike the start of the program however, I am definitely going to trust the PN and S2B crew, they definitely know what they are doing.
It is only when the photos are taken and the final results are reviewed that I can form a true opinion of the program, but right now, it is one of the best things I decided to do.
Wish me luck, because I’m sure as hell going to need it!