Friday, 4 September 2009

Body by Science Session 12: Stagnation Suggests More Rest or More Food

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 3th September

Twelfth BBS Big 5 session:

Week 13*Week 12*Week 11Week 10Week 9

Week 8Week 7Week 6Week 5Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1


Pull Down155
Seated Row1201:441201:421152:021151:561151:311102:021002:15803:08
Overhead Press60
Chest Press951:37951:52951:39902:01901:391001:111001:17901:28
Seated Row105
Pull Down1451:561451:461402:091352:111302:151301:561252:151102:26
Chest Press85
Overhead Press601:33601:28601:37601:49601:37601:38601:4480, 700:35, 0:25
Leg Press330
Leg Press3102:303002:012903:242802:12260-2503:02230, 2704.312002:57
Total Time
8 mins11 mins14 mins10 mins

25 mins14 mins25 mins25 mins22 mins28 mins27 mins
Rest period
7 days7 days7 days8 days

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days
No leg press because race on Sat. Stagnation on all exercises suggests 7 days rest no enough. Or not enough calories?Finally got that 4th rep with OH press. Because the chest press was in use, did leg press before chest and chest press on a different machine. Lack of progress in pressing is mitigated by pulldown and leg success. Overhead felt better even tho TUL staticLess rest and a change in exercise order threw timings into disarray. Surprised by Overhead Press not being better

Baffling underperformance on chest and surprising improvement on legs, which may partly reflect increased intensity.Finally finding the sweet spot for leg press. Much less rest, so not surprised by overhead press suffering. Previous week's overhead press gains may have been due to slower reps. First real signs of progress now that I have stability on the weights.No leg press, hence shorter workout time. Was saving myself for fell race at the weekend.Still finding it hard to judge the right weight for leg press.Struggled to find right weight for leg press. Still finding the correct weight for all exercises.Had to change weight with overhead because misjudged it.

"TUL" = Time Under Load
Red =
got worse
Blue =
Black =
weight changed or improvement did not exceed a previous best

Post Workout Nutrition: Chinese Brambles, Scrambled Eggs, Cocoa Powder, 50 minutes later.

Whilst this week felt like a good workout, I made no progress on any of the exercises.

One thing I notice is that I have consistently had only 7 days rest for the last 3 sessions. This may suggest I need longer.

Another factor I am considering is calorie intake. I have a nasty habit of gaining a load of fat over a period of 2 - 4 days, then spending the next 3 months slowly clawing it back. This means I am almost permanently on a slight calorie deficit.

In the BBS Book they talk about studies showing that the muscular gains from strength training can be harder to achieve under circumstances of calorie deficit.

Long term, I would like to get myself into a position where I can eat sufficient or excess calories for a sustained period in a healthy way, to see whether this helps me with training progress. It seems that quick binges followed by slow weight loss is the least optimal pattern I could follow.

In the meantime, I will rest for 7 days again, see whether I continue to stagnate, and if so push the rest time out to 8 - 10 days.


Anonymous said...


At the risk of sounding "mainstream" might I suggest more peri/post workout nutrition and see what happens? Perhaps more fruit before and after for the next couple weeks and see what happens? This is how I build my eating around training and it has worked for me.


Deline said...

I skipped week of reporting, but I didn’t skip the gym!

In fact, after “Week 10” I got ahead of my schedule. I had gone Week 9 Monday as usual, but this time I moved up the schedule and hit the gym on Friday for my Week 10. So semi rested 5 days instead of the full 7. After that, I got anxious and I hit the gym on Wednesday the following week for “Week 11”. Again, 5 days rest.

I wanted to see if any effects were notable and all around I did better than I did the week before.

Why am I seeing more consistent gains here than you? I can tell you for SURE, that my diet is piss poor. It consists of eggs, chicken, chips(bad habit of eating those), skim milk (a lot of it), some fruits, hardly any vegetables, and lots of meat. It's embarrassing and not healthy. I eat like a adolescent. Got to change that.

I'm not proud of this in the least. And I've gained some pounds I earlier last few weeks. I'm back to 201 which I'm not happy about.

My arms ARE bigger, my shoulders, legs, everything feels bigger and better... only that my gut got bigger as well. So maybe in your case, it could be more food? I am pretty sure I overeat and consistently eating over 2000 calories a day.

I agree with you on the straps. I had grip problems again. I'm wondering maybe if gloves help? I don't know.

I also stepped up the rest period to 5 days. I just wanted to see what would happen. So far nothing unusual and my pace is still kind of crazy. I mean, I pushed 380 lbs with my legs. 11 weeks ago, I would struggling at 200 lbs.

Anyway, here are the numbers....

Week 11
Overhead 130 / 49s 90 / 35s
Pulldown 155 / 1m 14s
Chest Press 155 / 1m 4s
Seated Row 155 / 47s
Leg Press 380 / 1m 18s

Week 10
Overhead Press 130 / 45s
Pulldown 155 / 1m10s
Chest Press 150 / 55s
Seated Row 150 / 55s
Leg Press 360 / 1m15s

Week 9
Overhead Press 130lbs 30s, 70 lbs 40s
Pull Down 150 lbs 1m10s
Chest Press 150 lbs 60s
Seated Row 150 lbs 1m15s
Leg Press 340 lbs 1m50s~

I'm still stuck though on that @#* overhead.

Methuselah said...

Skyler - as ever, thanks for your thoughts. I will put your suggestion in the 'variable queue'. First I will try the longer rest period on its own but keep the food the same; then change the food instead or as well, depending on how things pan out.

Deline - your progress is indeed impressive. I guess your diet might not be ideal, but it does contain what sounds like the essentials, fuel-wise - and perhaps your eating patterns are closer to what Skyler is recommending?

Deline said...

Sounds interesting Skyler. I think that could work.

I really need to lower cholesterol and I'm afraid that my poor diet is actually harming me. I have seen significant increases with the BBS stuff, but that doesn't mean my arteries aren't hurting. It's just my diet has been a source of bad habits for so long.. maybe smaller changes around my work may help.

Thanks for the suggestions Methuselah, Skylertanner

Anonymous said...


That variables queue is a great idea; going about it in an systematic/algorithmic manner keeps fitness ADD from creeping in.