Here’s a quick update to my lean mass gains and spring fitness goals to show progress of what I laid out for myself as a 2016 New Year’s Resolution. After 4 months, I’ve made some progress to my goals. I will lay out the different things I faced along the way and break down what I need to improve.

As of May 6, 2016, I am 161 pounds, 6 pounds more than 154 from the beginning of the year. Body fat percentage has remained about the same. This is a gain of 1.5 pounds per week. This could easily be 2-3 pounds per month if I was a little more focused. Here’s what happened.

In March, I sustained a lower back injury while front squatting. Basically, my lower back did not remain tight, and lost its form. It bent forward and I could feel it give out. I immediately racked the weight. I went to finish with some calves and I was done for the day.

I experienced this for the first time back in 2012. But at the time, I had no idea how severe it could be. I kept doing legs and even deadlifted the next day. It was a bad idea, The pain was there for a week and I was tight for almost 2 months after that.

Because I knew to stop (I felt like passing out), I eliminated any chance of this getting worse. After a few days the pain subsided and my back just remained tight.

Since then, I have not been squatting. I have only been doing leg press and other leg exercises, but increasing volume. My leg press strength has gotten consistently better, week after week, which is a good thing for me. Once I can do more to strengthen my lower back, I will begin squatting again and focusing on my breathing patterns to maintain proper form.

So here are some good progress points

  • Weight has increased due to lean mass gains. I have not increased body fat percentage very much.
  • Strength has increased on
    • leg press
    • sumo deadlift
    • overall back strength

Needs work:

  • Handstand has plateaued
    • I need to start varying my movements to increase flexibility and joint strength
  • Squat has been paused
    • I don’t know how close I am to my squat goals. I will end up working into the squat in June or July and trying again. Or I may scrap it altogether and focus on other leg compound movements
  • Weight could’ve gained a little bit more, but I don’t feel my body fat has increased
  • Shoulder joint pain
    • This can be relieved through proper warm up methods

 

And finally… 

Nutrition

  • On most days, I hit 2200-2400 calories. But there have been many days I hit 2000-2100. I’ve also run into off days in which i get 1600 and have to squeeze in a bunch of calories at night from dessert, snacks, cookies, etc. This is a bad way to go because it puts my fat intake higher than it needs to be. Which leads me to…
  • Fat intake needs to be slightly lower. There have been days when I would hit 80-100 g of fat easily. I should only be hitting about 50-60 g. Because of this, I’ve had to reduce carbs which is a no-no when it comes to building muscle.
  • I really need to dial in nutrition to be more consistent with calories on a day to day basis for effective lean mass gains.

On a good note, I have increased my greens intake daily and at restaurants, back to what it was years ago. I won’t say it’s given me energy or helped me to sleep better, but it has improved digestion.

Conclusion

With Summer coming around, I’m always debating on whether or not I should lean out just a little bit during the remainder of spring. I’ve decided against it, however, because I want to play the long game of gaining weight. I’m just going to better about my nutrition throughout summer to not gain excessive amounts of body fat. I want to remain relatively lean for photoshoots.

How are you doing with your fitness goals for 2016? Leave a comment and let me know!

And if you haven’t yet, sign up for my email list to get more in-depth insights about improving your lifestyle.

 

ANTHONY

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