Strength in Numbers - FTM Fitness, One Year of Bulking
2017 BULKING & TRAINING
I get asked a lot what I did to start training and putting on muscle. I point people to my blog because all I have is my own experience. I've never trained anyone else, but I've documented ALL of my progress. This post shows the numbers of my success and what I did to achieve them.
Learn the methods that made me successful
I started taking training seriously in March of 2016. I learned a lot in the first year, but this second year has been incredible. In February of 2017 I started hormone replacement therapy to start my transition from female to male. I knew that I wanted to take 2017 very seriously as far as bulking and trying to put on as much muscle as possible. The main reason was that I wanted to feel better in my body as soon as possible. I had a vision of how I wanted my form to look by the time I was one year on testosterone. It was a powerful vision that kept me motivated and consistent in the gym and with my diet. My strength gains were what ended up shining though. Aesthetics are important and are a great reward for training but this past year has taught me that strength gains are what make me focus like an athlete. The consistent commitment of showing up and training builds your muscles but especially builds your mind.
I originally intended to train hard and bulk through December of 2017. My training year is getting cut a month short because I ended up scheduling top surgery for December 5th, 2017. The rest of the year will be spent physically recovering for me and not training. So, I have a complete look at my progress for 2017 a month early.
My training routines...
Click on the workouts to see details.
Below are the charts that show my strength gains for chest, shoulders, arms, back, and chest. The numbers on the left show the working set weight (8-12 reps for 3 sets) in pounds. The bottom shows the month. There is also a chart for my body weight and my daily caloric intake.
MY TOP TIPS FOR MUSCLE BUILDING SUCCESS
Please feel free to use my plans as a resource. I've tried to be detailed and informative to show how to put on size and strength at a natural and healthy pace, but that you can also accelerate the results by using certain methods. Here are some of the top things that I've learned during my time training and bulking...
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
Track your workouts on paper or on a spreadsheet. Write down what you'll be doing in the gym ahead of time. Record the movement, the weight, the reps, and the sets. Next time you go to train that body part, try to increase reps or weight on at least one movement. This includes your food too but feel free to skip a day or two of tracking your food, just don't think of them as cheat days... just looser days.
MAKE SURE YOU FEEL THE BURN
If you're training and your workout becomes "normal" or "easy" to get through, then it's time to amp it up. Each workout should leave you feeling hot and have your blood really flowing. Exhausting the muscles is key for forcing them to grow, especially if you're using a body part split like me.
PLAY WITH YOUR MACROS
Each person is different. I learned over time that I feel sluggish with a lot of fat in my diet. I feel very tired and bloated with too much protein. I personally operate really well at a high level of carbs. Adjust your ratios and see the results. Tweak each week slightly based on how you're feeling. Try this early on and don't be afraid to have an off week or two, those weeks will tell you what nutrition you respond best to.
POST-WORKOUT BEATS PRE-WORKOUT
Don't waste money on pre-workout supplements unless you are at a high level of training. As long as you're well fed prior to your workout and have a decent amount of carbs and fat in you, you'll be fine. Stay hydrated and if you need a boost, just have some caffeine. Post-Workout is key. There are supplements that will help greatly reduce your muscle soreness and fatigue. See my recommendations here.
SOME WEEKS YOU'LL FEEL HEAVY
This isn't the most elegant phrase but it's so true, especially if you are transitioning and on hormones. Your body will have weird weeks where it feels puffy and bloated. I experienced it about every 2 months where there was a week that I just looked kind of crappy. I would notice though that I would then grow, so be patient and ride through the weird weeks. If they last more than 2 weeks though, you may want to tweak your nutrition and make sure you are getting enough rest/water.
For more tips on how to get started with bodybuilding and training, check out my YouTube series on FTM Fitness.
It's been an incredible second year of training. I can not wait to tackle 2018 once I heal up from surgery. I have big plans for my training in 2018 and can't wait to get started. Rest is my priority now and it is something that I am not good at. This next month or two will be a test on my patience and my mindset. I can use this time though to prepare and research my training/nutrition for 2018.
Whether you are just starting out or have been training for awhile, best of luck to you on your fitness journey. Please feel free to reach out to me with specific training/nutrition questions.
I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer. This post article is based off my own research and personal experience with nutrition, supplementation, and training. For more in depth information on developing your fitness and nutrition plan, click here.