How I Gained 12lbs in 6 weeks

I completed a 6 week bulking program back in May of this year. I followed Dan John’s “Mass made simple” weight training program. It was the most difficult program I have ever done but the program in which I made the biggest gains, both in body weight and strength.
I only did 14 session during the 6 weeks. Each session is followed by two days of rest.
The program follows two rules – TUL (time under load) and eating, lots of it. These are the two most important factors affecting your bodies ability to put on mass.
Each session consists of the following exercises.
1. bench press
2. bat wings
3. one arm press
4. bird dog
5. barbell complex
• clean
• front squat
• military press
• back squat
• good morning
6. High rep back squat
The key to each session is the high rep back squat.
On day one you complete 1 set of 30 reps at 55kg (120lbs).
On day 14 the goal is complete 50 reps at 85 kgs (185lbs).
I gained a total of 12 lbs over the 6 weeks. I started at 165lbs (75kg) and finished at 177lbs (80.5kg). This is the heaviest and strongest I have ever been.
I made a huge PR in the bench press going from a 1RM (rep max) of 80kg (175lbs) to 100kg (225lbs). (It should be noted that I had not done any bench pressing for over a year prior to starting the program).
week1 week6
It is the most consistent period of over eating I have ever had. For the past one and a half to two years I followed intermittent fasting and carb cycling protocols.
Usually over eating on my training days and under eating on my free days. During the 6 weeks I was over eating every day.
Week 1 week 6
Reasons why the program worked
• I committed to it for 6 weeks.
• I didn’t worry about putting on fat and losing my abs for a few weeks. (Up until the program I was always conscious of my diet and rarely over ate. I would usually follow a day of binge eating by a 16-24 hour fast)
• Lots of sleep and resting. I slept 8 hours a night, I tried to walk and move around much less. This was easy to do because it was the hottest month in Thailand, most days were 39˚C so I used my scooter to go everywhere.
• I focused on clean reps with all the lifts. I dropped the weight on the bench press on week one because I wasn’t lifting it withproper form.
• I had adequate mobility to do the squats.
• I had no injuries.
The month before I started MMS I completed a 30 day squat challenge. This involved holding a bodyweight squat for a total of 30 minutes each day. I recommend you try this before starting the program. Your body will thank you. You can also do the squat program Dan recommends.
Some tips on over eating.
• Increase calories over the weeks. This gives you more room for diet tweaks if your weight stalls. I found over the weeks my ability to eat more improved. Just like with training each day I tried to eat a bit more.
• Eat faster and eat distracted. I tried to eat while watching TV. I could consume much more by not focusing my attention on my food. I did the opposite to what you should do when eating for weight loss. Eating faster allowed me to consume more food before my body realized it was full.
Recovery
Recovery wise I didn’t do a huge amount on my off days. I just held a bodyweight squats and some gentle yoga.
The last two weeks I started feeling the squats so I would do more yoga on my off days the next time.
On day 10 I got a headache during the back squats. I continued to get these up until day 14 so I didn’t finish the back squats for day 14. These headaches are known as exertion headaches. Dehydration and heavy lower body exercise is what triggered them with me. If you do get them, first get a check up with a GP and secondly rest. I had to stop all physical activity for three weeks before it went away.
What did I Eat?
Weeks 1-4
The biggest problem with thai food is the lack of protein. My normal day looked like this
• 7am 3-4 boiled eggs
• 11am Green/massaman/red curry with rice, 2 cups of stir fried veggies, 4 boiled eggs.
• 4pm – sometimes I would eat fried rice or yogurt and fruit here.
• 7pm one chicken fried rice, noodle and kale soup, 4 boiled eggs.
Weeks 5 – 6
• 7am 5 boiled eggs, yogurt
• 11am curry and rice, 2 cups veggies, 5 eggs.
• 3-5pm – Pork/chicken fried rice
• 7pm – rice, noodles, 5 eggs
15 eggs a day for the last two weeks was a challenge to say the least. It was a case of eating as much as I could with little enjoyment coming from my meals. I felt little satisfaction from eating.
After buffet meals I would be exhausted and not fit to do much else the rest of the day. I didn’t use any supplements during the 6 weeks.
Lessons from Mass made simple
• Realizing that it will only last 6 weeks. This allowed me to over eat guilt free. It also helped when I didn’t want to do a session or eat a meal. I would remind myself that it would be over in less than however many weeks were left.
• I have a new respect for anybody who has to do this type of training and eating long term – rugby players, bodybuilders, physique athletes. I became hyper conscious of my food, my weight, my meal timing and activity.
• This type of lifestyle is not sustainable. Unless you are doing for it for a sport or professionally it’s just not a lot of fun. I love food and enjoy eating and spending time with friends and family. During the 6 weeks I was a freak. Food was only looked at as a fuel source, nothing else.
• High rep back squats are the most difficult exercise you can do. Period.
• If you want to gain size you have to eat much more food and lift heavy weights.
• Recovery is so important. I only did 2-3 sessions a week. It was the recovery, proper sleep and diet that made the most significant difference.
• In future instead of adding exercises to my routine I will take them out. Each session was the same for the 6 weeks but rep and set schemes changed. I really got a new understanding of my body by repeating the same movements consistently.
• Complexes are awesome. It’s been over a year since I last did complexes and they are an excellent way to build lean mass.
So again the beauty of this program is that it is only 6 weeks. I didn’t enjoy the lifestyle and constant over eating. The last 6 sessions are brutal but in the end I gained 12 lbs of mass in 6 weeks without any supplements and not completing the last session.
That is a great return for my time I think.
Mass Made Simple is a great program to do once a year. If you are going to do it, follow it up with a less intense program.
Since completing it I have been concentrating on yoga while maintaining my size with two strength session per week.
If you are interested in putting on some mass I recommend you pick up Dan’s book and stick to it. There are so many programs out there that promise you the world; mass made simple does exactly as it promises.

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OLIVIA

The advantage of this program is that it’s only 6 weeks. Hard and grueling weeks, but it’s quickly and great result.