Spine's progress pics (updated July '08)

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Spine's progress pics (updated July '08)

#1 Postby Spine » Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:07 pm

UPDATED July '08: Scroll down for new entry and photos.

Age: 37
Height: 5'9"
Weight before training (started December 2007): about 154
Weight in March '08: 160
Weight in July '08: 161

March 2008
Well, I've been hitting the weights for about three months now, so I thought I'd stop lurking here and post some pictures. For me, these are progress photos, but they'll be "before" photos for you--assuming I keep at it and post again in a few months.

I'm grateful to have found this forum. When I went vegan last year, I found that I had more energy to burn, and I wanted to be a good ambassador for veganism, which meant using my own good health to counter all the usual myths about vegans. Discovering this site got me intrigued about weight training, so I got started. (I'd lifted in the past as part of my usual gym routine, but nothing serious or thorough.)

Robert's sample routine for beginning bodybuilders gave me a starting point, and recently I've been using the pyramid method that is so frighteningly well documented in Troy's training diary. I've also learned a lot from John Hansen's book Natural Bodybuilding, which has been an invaluable source of information for different exercises and how to do them. Only in the last few weeks have I felt that I'm actually doing the exercises correctly. My shoulders in particular were hurting, and I probably would've damaged my rotator cuffs if I hadn't started 1) using proper form (or trying, anyway--still a lot to learn) and 2) beginning my workouts with light weights to warm up the muscles.

I'm feeling more comfortable handling weights. I didn't start squats until a few weeks ago because they scared me--what if I break my back? Now I'm enjoying them. My favorite area to train: chest/biceps. Least favorite: abs. I haven't learned to love the burn of an abs workout yet.

I usually work out four days a week: chest/biceps, back/abs, shoulders/triceps, legs. I try not to go more than two days in a row.

Learning about the role of nutrition has been a revelation. I don't think I ever made the connection among calories, protein, and muscle growth. Eating a lot is a tough one for me. My style before was to have a low-calorie, highly nutritious whole-foods diet. So it's a bit weird to be chugging Vega and eating mid-morning and afternoon snacks, but I'm getting used to it.

Here's a photo from last summer:
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And below are photos taken this morning, March 1, 2008. Suggestions are welcome and most appreciated. I want a balanced physique, so let me know what needs work (besides the obvious--everything :)). Thanks to all of you for making this forum such a unique and motivating resource. I'll post more pics in a couple of months.

(Pics moved to updated entry below)

UPDATE: July 2008

OK, so I finally got around to taking some new photos. I continue to hit the weights 3 or 4 times a week, though I've had to take a hiatus here and there due to winter colds or busy times at work (of which there have been far too many). I'm pleased with the progress I've made. But seeing these new pics makes me realize that I've got plenty more work to do.

My weight has pretty much leveled off at 161 or so. That's only a pound more than I weighed in March, and yet I'm thicker now. I suppose this means I've lost some fat and replaced it with muscle, and that's pretty cool. My legs are stronger now but haven't really gained any mass. I'm intrigued by the idea of getting bigger but I think I'm pretty much where I want to be. I'm definitely eating more calories, but I can't seem to put away more than 2500 or so in a day. Just doesn't feel natural to me. So for now I'll just work on symmetry, definition, and LBM.

I feel like I'm still learning how to lift weights properly. I'm not in a hurry to increase the weight I lift, because I find I can make the exercises harder and more stimulating to the muscles just by concentrating on form and contracting the right areas. It's been a really interesting project, and I love the results.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions! I look forward to meeting some of you during the PDX portion of VV '08.

Same T-shirt, summer 2007 and summer 2008
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If you think that's a skinny arm in the 2007 pic, here I am at 18 years old:
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Yes, that's a mullet. Hey, it was the 80s.

Now on to the comparison pics:

March 2008, July 2008
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Onward!
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Last edited by Spine on Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:32 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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#2 Postby BodhiDave85 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:13 pm

Your abs look phenominal in the second picture!
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#3 Postby Spine » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:30 pm

BodhiDave85 wrote:Your abs look phenominal in the second picture!


Thanks! I think it was a photographic fluke, but I'll take it. My abs are getting stronger, but I'd love to have a flatter stomach and narrower waist. That gets more challenging the closer I get to 40 (gulp).
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#4 Postby robert » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:51 pm

Looking great!

You should hang out with our group in Portland sometime :)

All the best. Keep on making awesome progress!

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#5 Postby Lean and Green » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:16 pm

You look great. It's obvious that you put time and effort into attaining lbm, it shows. Hard to get a real idea of what you looked like before, it will be much easier to give comments on changes if you decide to post again in a couple of months.

Glad you started to enjoy the squats. Once they start to feel really comfy and you keep increasing in your ability to perform them, you'll be amazed at how your quads will just come out of nowhere and bulge out from all over the place. Remember the biggest muscles are in your lower body, glutes, quads..

keep up the hard work, it's paying off!
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#6 Postby Spine » Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:57 pm

Hey, thanks guys! Robert, I'd love to meet up with some people from the forum. I was a bit too late seeing the post about the last meetup at Proper Eats, which is just a few blocks from my place.

Lean & Green, thanks for the encouragement. I do try to stay lean--in fact, I'm at my all-time high weight right now and I have to keep reminding myself it's muscle. I don't think I'll be joining the 200 Club anytime soon...

I wish I'd taken some proper "before" pictures, because I've made some modest gains and it would be nice to see the improvement. On the other hand, I'm motivated to keep working out the next few months to see some real progress. I eased into lifting, not wanting to injure myself. Now I'm starting to lift some heavier weights and push myself to work harder.
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#7 Postby Troy » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:11 am

ARMS! They look twice the size!
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#8 Postby DV » Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:08 am

I agree with Troy. Nice work on the arms.

Where do you work out? Robert and I get together sometimes when he's in town and meet at the gym.

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#9 Postby Spine » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:58 pm

Thanks, fellas. My T-shirts are feeling a little smaller, so I guess that's a good sign...

DV, I belong to two gyms (a total luxury, made possible by a reimbursement benefit from my employer): Lloyd Athletic Club and West Coast Health & Fitness. I'm usually at Lloyd during the day, and at the Lombard St. WCHF evenings and weekends. It would be great to meet up with some fellow vegan lifters. Anybody here work out at either of these gyms?
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#10 Postby tuc » Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:45 am

The ABS! :shock: Wow!

You're looking great! You need to take a good pic of your back, the current shows your shoulders and arms well but it doesn't flatter your back muscles (see my progress photos to see what I mean).

At least your arms are a lot bigger compared to the picture from last summer. Can't wait to see how big you'll get within a year or two!
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#11 Postby Daywalker » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:29 pm

That's an athletic body you got and a good base for putting some mass on 8)
Really not shabby for 3 months of work!

And i like your avatar - what is it? Story behind it? :D
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#12 Postby Spine » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:06 pm

Tuc: you're right, I need to get a good shot of my back. Seems like posing for a back photo is an art in itself. I don't think there's much to show yet, though--that's one area that definitely needs more attention in the months ahead. Just started doing V-bar pulldowns today and loved them.

Daywalker: my avatar is a detail from a portrait of me made by a friend of mine for a show he had here in Portland. Talented bastard. You can see the full version at my blog.

Once again, thanks to all for the generous comments.
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#13 Postby I'm Your Man » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:55 pm

amazing abs ! Shoulders and arms seem powerful. We don't see well but calfs look pretty big also. I think it's a very good gain of muscles for three months. Very nice portrait from your friend too !
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#14 Postby roid_rage » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:11 am

great, you achieved a beautiful body!
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Train like a freak!!!

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Re: My progress pics (updated July '08)

#15 Postby Spine » Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:10 pm

Updated original post with new photos, 12 July 2008.
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