For those who care about buffness

Posts tagged “buffness

the legend of the human flag!

In November last year, a friend asked me to help him achieve a flag. So we started working diligently towards a workout plan which would lead him there. In all fairness it didn’t take much adaptation from my own workout, merely slight modifications for the most difficult series in the early days, and less weight. A progressive levelling to harder and heavier series.
The friend in question had a reasonable level of base fitness already, an awareness of his own body and muscles, and had already clearly experienced workouts and boxing stamina regimens. And prob had a reasonable BMI (not that I care about BMI bs but am trying to say the kid was ripe for a buffness academy intensive workout!).
So we started with the basic upper body exercises, in circuits. Pulls/chins, push, oz pulls, dips. The bread and butter of calisthenics. Progress was steady and I was lucky he was very keen and motivated.
We started with difficulty achieving 8 x pulls 4 times, and an exhausted client. We built him up and ~6 months later we have a fluent pull upper, (I think he is at ~10kg extra on all sets, and could do much more if he dared!) who does half flags on the pole for breakfast and in his sleep. With perfect form.
The grip used to teach him the human flag was the trad grip on a normal street pole (with tape added for better grip). We started practicing them every other day as soon as he developed awareness for his half flag skills, and alongside rigourous front planche practice, after circuits.
Great emphasis was put on proper form, proper grip and the initial tip toeing phase before any lift off was attempted. After a few months, he was able to briefly hold a tucked flag, and decided to start practicing the ladder grip. This grip imho is a bit easier to handle for most people due to nicer wrist angle and a feeling of safe grip, not to diminish his hard work, as 6 months ago he could hold neither! It is a remarkably hard feat for either grips, and this makes me really proud:

Congrats to him and to all of you out there working on the flag! Work your upper body hard, with compound exercises like pull ups that will work your core hard too, you will need it for this. And one day, you too can achieve the legendary human flag!

new year, new illness, new resolve

so as january rolled in and i was cruising nicely w training, along came a spider. in the form of a brutal cough virus.
after getting coughing fits which were so violent i’d practically pass out, i was told (by the doctor! not google!) that i had broken a rib, and that the whole area on the back/right hand side of my ribcage was really bruised due to crazy coughing.
tough. very tough. i was doped up on some morphine based cough mixture which would knock me out most of the day, and have no idea pretty much what happened for most of january it’s all a blur.
training was completely out of the question for the obvious reasons. at first it was just i couldn’t breathe, but then the pain hit suddenly (i know exactly when i damaged the rib, it was a thursday night! and so painful) and not only i couldn’t breathe, but i was also crippled. even getting out of bed hurt. sneezing was the worse thing next to death.

so now i think i am on the other side of that crap finally.

i am not 100% yet. i still get pain in my rib area. sneezing is still unpleasant. and that’s over a month after. i also lost about 5kg.
on the plus side, i am training again at almost full speed. slowly rebuilding the strength i lost. i am back to 64 pull/chin combined sessions with dips and push ups. and to practicing technique like flags, muscle ups, planches and even crucifix. but my old injuries are showing up again, like an inflamed wrist and biceps, as i guess i am pushing harder than ever.
nevertheless, nothing can stop this buffness train so with the help of modified moves and wrist guards/compression sleeves, we will make it. the rib is almost not bothering me much anymore. i can feel the lats are protecting the area alongside the bruised intercostals.
my back is a little painful as i was unable to stretch it fully for so long. so now to get the area between my shoulder blades released will take ages as the whole thing stiffened to the max to protect the damaged rib.
the road will be long and i am having to hack my nutrition again to make sure i don’t lose even more weight due to intense training.
until recently i was taking arnold’s iron mass by muscle pharm. slightly annoyed that they don’t really mentioned the amounts they use for stuff like creatine and all, but that’s fine because it worked well despite a sickly sweet taste. but lately, something strange had started to go on. i had this constant sweet taste in my mouth. like from first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to the moment i fell asleep. at first i didn’t think much of it. but then it started annoying me. so i looked it up. google mentioned cancer, diabetes… etc
after days i saw a post on a body building forum. someone complaining of the same thing. turns out that sucralose can do that (and other sweeteners). guess what muscle pharm use. yup.
so i stopped. and after a week or so, the weird taste went away.
unlucky, now am left w no supplement as i refuse to take this shit, god knows what it does to my insides.
so i resorted to making my own mix. am still waiting to receive my order from atm, but i ordered whey protein and some oat powder. no flavours for either, as any type of flavour involves sweeteners.
atm a friend lent me their “macro:meal” mix which is in effect a meal replacement:

Unflavoured: Carbohydrate Blend (38%) (Ground Oats, Aktivated*®* Barley Starch Powder), Protein Blend (34%) (Whey Protein Concentrate (Milk), Milk Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate (Milk), Egg White Powder), Flaxseed Powder (Cold Milled) (6%), Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin)

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 19.02.40

apart from its gritty texture (which i think might be due to the barley powder), it’s not too bad provided that you use a blender of sorts. i mix it w whipping cream, full fat milk, coconut oil, almond or peanut butter and chocolate powder. not sure how many calories it adds, but am pretty sure i wouldn’t advise it for someone trying to slim down put it that way.

buffness evolution

after a year of buffness training i think my body is taking shape nicely. so while am recovering from my current triceps injury i thought i would show off 😀

thanks to Phil Spencer for taking these amazing shots. ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHTED TO PHIL SPENCER. DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION.

visit his website






Gym routine

I’ve recently started going to the gym every lunch break. It makes working full time a lot more bearable. So I got Zaki to put together a short gym routine for me. My goal was (and still is) to work on my upper body strength as that is what I need most for my straps training. Zaki gave me five exercises working mostly my delts, lats and pecs. At this stage I’m only using the machines for the following exercises:
Shoulder press
Lateral raises
Chest press
Pull down (wide grip)
Seated row

To that I’ve added the arm extension, which works the triceps. Just for fun. As I’m working for strength I’m only doing 5 reps for 3 sets but I’m trying to go really heavy. My starting weights were:

Shoulder press 35
Lateral raises 17.5
Chest press 40
Pull down 50
Seated row 55
Arm extension 25

After a month on this routine, doing it most days apart from Christmas and New Years and not on weekends, I’ve made quite decent progress. Generally, it’s not recommended to train the same exercises every day but I ignored that. I did some other training namely handstands and straps training as well, sometimes on the same days and sometimes at the weekends. Today is the end of the first month and my weights were as follows:

Shoulder press 45
Lateral raises 27.5
Chest press 40
Pull down 80
Seated row 85
Arm extension 50

I find it most useful to look at the percentage increase from the starting weights to determine my progress. These are as follows:

Shoulder press 28%
Lateral raises 57%
Chest press 25%
Pull down 60%
Seated row 54%
Arm extension 100%

I’m really happy with most of those but the shoulder press and the chest press is lagging behind. The exercise might need tweaking a little to improve those areas.

a day in the life

i think looking at someone’s diet and regime is interesting and sometimes can give ppl ideas. i am not on a weight loss program. quite the opposite. i am one of the genetically gifted ones. i struggle to NOT lose weight.

atm i am off the protein shakes to give my body a rest from the chemicals. i still supplement around workouts w creatine and bcaas. but nothing else. normally, the below is supplemented by 2 high calories protein shakes. one in the morning instead of the muesli, and one just before bed.
for reference, i have a rather sedentary job, but i make it as painful as possible by going up and down the stairs a lot.

8am. wake up and drink a glass of water as soon as am off my feet to overcome dehydration from the night.
8.30am. breakfast 50-70g swiss style muesli w added blueberries, w semi filtered cow milk.
8.50am. 5 mile cycle ride to work. full pelt. fixed gear. sweat a lot.
10.30am-11.00am. breakfast#2 2 slices of bread w 2 slices of roasted ham type meat w lurpak butter.
1.30-2.00pm. lunch consisting of a generous slab of meat or 2, sweet potatoes w chili or boiled potatoes or pasta w chili and pesto, and greens (varying amounts, when i have time to prepare it’s salad w grated carrots, feta and cherry tomatoes, w olive oil and balsamic)
4.30-5pm. snack time generally bread w peanut butter or ham again. i use brown bread generally, w added seeds.
5.30pm 5 mile cycle back. full pelt.
6ishpm creatine and orange juice pre workout
6.30 workout
7ish orange juice w bcaas post workout
7.30-8pm dinner time. similar to lunch but generally bigger portions and followed by tea and sometimes mince pies if near enough xmas.
10pm snack time humous w pitta bread and avocado or cherry tomatoes, or cottage cheese w bread.
12am bedtime (more or less respected. i never get my 8 hours sleep ever, which is NOT a good thing!)

so as you see, i try to add as many small meals as possible around lunch and dinner. i firmly believe it’s the key to keeping your metabolism high.

for those trying to shed weight i would recommend having many small portions a day, loading up on protein as opposed to carbs and fast sugars. and workout workout workout. train, do more, do cardio, weights whatever, but DO SOMETHING. always be on the move. become perpetual motion. the enemy of overweight ppl is a sedentary habit. sitting down too much. stand up, wave your arms. fidget w your legs, BURN CALORIES! get your metabolism revving.

not easy i hear you say? (and god knows i have heard it a lot “oh you’re just a lucky git you can eat what you want”, “i have a slow metabolism i can’t help it”)
well wake up and smell the coffee sunshine. nothing is easy. i didn’t get the body i have by sitting on my arse and postponing til tomorrow. i stood up and worked hard. day in day out. i suffer from multiple injuries (some self inflicted by my own ignorance) and workout through/around them. working out IS painful. you will ache. be out of breath. sweat like a pig. feel like your heart will jump out of your chest. vomit your lunch under the strain.

life is painful. embrace the pain. work to be who you want to be. it starts NOW. not tomorrow.

that sounds like a rant right? well i guess it is. i just get annoyed when ppl just expect results without putting in the effort. nothing is easy in life.

it takes dedication, stubbornness, persistence and a healthy dose of obsession to get where you want to be.

a word about volume, load and rest

according to my PT training notes, these are the official figures for goal driven workouts. depending on what goal you have, these should be more or less respected, as usual keeping in mind that what works for one person might not for the next.
these are merely guidelines, and need to be adapted in function of the person’s metabolism and genetic abilities.

i put in bold the areas that interest me, and to show that hypertrophy training is very different from strength training.


Goal Rep Range Set Range
Strength <6 3-4
Power 6-8 2-3
Endurance 12-15 2-3
Hypertrophy 6-12 4-5


Goal Rep Range Workload (%RM)
Strength <6 80-100%
Power 6-8 30-70%
Endurance >15 30-50%
Hypertrophy 6-12 70-90%

rest period:

Goal Rest Period Duration
Strength 4-6 minutes
Power 4-6 minutes
Endurance 30-60 seconds
Hypertrophy 1-2 minutes