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Hobbs' 12 week challenge

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Week 9 / Session 3




Weights roughly similar but the form is improving and I can target the right muscles better.





Yesterday's cardio: 40min HIIT


Bike 20mn


20 sec max effort + 10 sec rest x8

2 min easy

10 sec max effort + 10 sec rest x4

2 min easy

10 sec max effort + 10 sec rest x4


Stair climber 20mn

1min 80% effort - 1 min easy, then 30sec 80% effort - 30 sec easy, all that x 5

Cool down

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Completed 3 week shoulder cycle.

Going to move on to the chest cycle to complete the 12 week challenge, before going on holiday for a week.

Then I'm curious to do the leg cycle as well, before moving to something else.


Stats are roughly the same, weight a bit down in spite of the calorie increase.




Weight 68kg (-0.2kg)

Body fat % 7.3 (-1.4%)

Hydration % 62.2 (+1.4%)

Muscle weight 60 kg (+0.7kg)




No change


High carb day, on training days, 4 days/week : 3,300 kcal

prot 25% 190g / 760 kcal

fat 20% 80g / 720 kcal

Carb 55% 450g / 1800kcal


Medium carb day, on cardio days and rest day, 3 days/week: 2,700 kcal

prot 30% 180g / 720 kcal

fat 30% 90g / 810 kcal

Carb 40% 270g / 1080kcal

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Week 10 / Session 2



Another quite average session, low weights and knee unhappy

I find front squat hard on the wrists, not sure I'm placing/removing the bar correctly.

Need to check videos on Youtube for tips and proper from.



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Week 10 / Session 3




Not a great session, still feeling weak, and breakfast wouldn't stay down -_-'

Not feeling tired or sick other than that, maybe I've lost a bit of my mojo.



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Week 10 / Session 4




Things got better, great workout and knackered by the end.





Random HIIT 40mn - bike / running



Random HIIT 40mn - stairclimber / bike

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Week 11 / Session 2




Weights going up, still finding front squat hard on wrists. I think sumo squats holding a dumbbell work better for me.





Week 11 / Session 3



Same weights but an extra rep for all sets.





Cardio day:

Ramdom HITT

Sprints on treadmill 15mn

Sprints on bike 15mn

Jog/walk in nearby park 20mn

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I had signed up for a free British military fitness session in the local park where I run sometimes.

Various bodyweight exercises like lunges or squats, but all done to failure, and then a bit more

Some running in between exercises.


My legs and abs still hurt 2 days later, so it's nice kick in the arse.

They regularly organise free sessions all over the UK, defo worth a try:



Then Sunday:


Week 11 / Session 4






And this morning


Week 12 / Session 1




Was supposed to go for heavier weights and long rest but I wasn't into it at all so went the other way with higher reps and low rest.



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Stats are roughly the same, weight still down in spite of the calorie increase.

Wonder how accurate my scales are.


Onward to final week anyway !




Weight 67.2kg (-0.8kg)

Body fat % 8.2 (+0.9%)

Hydration % 61.1 (-1%)

Muscle weight 58.6 kg (-0.4kg)




No change


High carb day, on training days, 4 days/week : 3,300 kcal

prot 25% 190g / 760 kcal

fat 20% 80g / 720 kcal

Carb 55% 450g / 1800kcal


Medium carb day, on cardio days and rest day, 3 days/week: 2,700 kcal

prot 30% 180g / 720 kcal

fat 30% 90g / 810 kcal

Carb 40% 270g / 1080kcal

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Catching up!


Week 12 / Session 2






Week 12 / Session 3







Week 12 / Session 4




Quite a short workout, added a superset, in italic below.



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Weight 67.6kg (+0.4kg)

Body fat % 7.2 (-1%)

Hydration % 62.2 (-1%)

Muscle weight 59.5 kg (+0.9kg)




So as a reminder:


for the past 12 week I've been following the plan as described in Nick Mitchell book:


Nick Mitchell website:



This is a 12 week plan, made of 4 3 week cycles, each cycle focusing on 1 body part (2 workouts/week) + 2 extra workouts for the rest of the body.

The user is free to choose the body parts he/she wants to focus on. The only rule is not to focus on the same body part for more than 3 weeks.

My cycles were:






Cons and pros of the method



- Not for beginners.

Workouts are quite demanding and require a certain gym know-how. It's clearly stated in the method and the author gives a routine plan to follow for few months for people who have spent less than 2 years at the gym.

Also if you miss a piece of equipment or your gym does not have a specific machine, you need to be gym savvy enough to come up with a suitable alternative, as the author does not give any.

- Workouts cannot be reasonably done at gym peak times.

Workouts call for plenty of supersets, which is all good except you can't really hog 2 pieces of equipment at peak times in a gym.

So you need your own home gym, or go to the gym at less busy times, early in the morning or at night.

- Nutrition plan is a vegan hell.

Nick Mitchell basically killed Bambi's mother, then ate Bambie the day after, for brekkie.

The meal plans calls for animal protein at every meals, adding carbs only post-workouts or at night.

So if you're vegan or vegetarian, getting close to the macros requires a large use of protein powder.



- It keeps on changing.

You change the body part you focus on every 3 week, so just when you're getting comfortable with a routine, it's time to change again.

Withing a cycle, rest times, number of sets and number of rests change as well. No way to get bored.

- Teaches proper form and tempo.

The author puts a lot of emphasis on form and tempo, so you make sure you target the right muscles and ask a lot from them.

The eccentric part of the exercises is always done slooowly (often 4 to 6 seconds), so you have plenty of time to feel the pain

- Teaches interesting takes and variations on exercises.

For instance, I feel that kneeling when doing E-Z bar curls helps targeting biceps a lot more than doing the same exercise standing.



What went well... or wrong.



- I can endure quite a bit more pain when it comes to lifting. I don't give up as easily as I used too.

- better wam-ups.

I use to warm-up with some cardio. Now as specified in the method I warm with low weights, slowly increasing the weights and lowering the number of reps.

- better form. My shoulders does not hurt anymore after bench press for instance.

- legs workout made my legs stronger, which help with my old knee injury and running

- stopped drinking 4-6 cups of extra strong coffee in an effort to get an healthier life style on the way.

Now I just have 1 cup before working out.



- I didn't not eat enough to gain real mass. I don't like to feel stuffed, and I get stuffed really fast!

Also part of me still thinks as an anorexic, stupidly associating calorie intake with self-worth and cleanliness, all that non-sense


What I should have done differently:

- eat more!

- take measurements to help assessing progress

- take photos of these bloody legs too!

- do less cardio, especially in the early days of the program, and forget about running a half-marathon.



Anyway... did that method work?


To some degree, but not as much as I expected.


Stats summary:


The first couples of week (italic) are not really reliable as I was using crappy scales




Not much change is the upper body, some clothes feel a bit tighter.

Noticeable changes in the legs though. But I didn't take pics of those :P


I'm quite stronger though and I'm able to lift 10 - 20% heavier than when I started.

So I'd say I've gain more strength than mass.





What's next?


- off for holidays today : 1 week in Finland!

- when I'm back : do the 3 week leg cycle I haven't tried yet.

- follow the same plan, but changing the macros and go less protein/fats, and higher carbs.

Something like: 15% protein, 70%carbs, 15% fats

- try the previous 12 week method by the same author


- try shorter, very high intensity workout and max contraction training as described on this forum by HIT Rob.




That's it, thanks for reading!

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Finland...why you lucky son of a .... Been to Iceland (which was awesome), but really fancy a Nordic cruise in the future. Enjoy!


Increasing your intensity and decreasing you volume will definitely be a step in the right direction mate, results are proportional to the intensity of effort, as a pioneering physiologist by the name of Roux stated "hypertrophy results in the increase of intensity of the work done in a unit of time, whereas the total amount of work done is without significance".




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  • 2 weeks later...
Good tip on the EZ curls. No legs for 12 weeks? Did I miss something?

There was 1 leg workout / week.

So for instance on an Arm cycle, it was:

2 sessions arms

1 sessions chest/back

1 session back.


Started the Leg cycle, and it goes like that:

2 sessions legs

1 session chest/back

1 session arm


Rob : Finland is great. Really lovely, friendly and generous people, forest and lakes everywhere.

We've had such a good time we're already planning to go again next year :P


Last day was picture perfect Finland: we harvested wild blueberries, went to an old sauna before jumping into the lake:




Back to business: I tought I'd list the exercises / variations / supersets I found the most interesting during the 12 week program:



Cable face pull

Lying sideways dumbbell pullover


Triceps and arms:

close grip bench press



Dumbbell wrist curl

Cable wrist curl

Behind back dumbbell wrist curl



Decline plank with touch



neck bench press + incline reverse dumbbell row

Seated dumbbell shoulder press + 60 degree hammer curl

Decline close-grip E-Z bar triceps extension + Kneeling close-grip EZ bar curl

Triceps dips + 45 degree dumbbell curl


Shoulder superset:

Cable face pull +

Seated lateral raise +

Seated Scott press +

Incline reverse lateral raise +

Seated behind the neck press +

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Looks awesome mate, its the simple things in life, me and the mrs were planning our trip for next winter:)


Good luck with the next bout of gym endeavours aswell, will be following:)




Go there! We used couchsurfing.com, you lose some privacy but it's always far better to stay with locals, they can show you stuff most tourists will miss.


Waiting for amazon to deliver my max contraction training book :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Up! Summary of the past 3 weeks:



I've bee doing the leg cycle as described in the method I used before for the 12 week challenge:



The program for a week was as follows.

I periodised it to increase weights and decrease reps every week:





Pull-ups on arm day:

a personal trainer I met while on holidays told me to try and do as many pull-ups as possible in 15mn in order to become stronger. Apparently once you can do 100 pull-ups, you can do a set of 20 reps.


So far I my record is 70.

It's really taxing and I was super sore the first time I tried. Not sure it's working for me.


Max contraction training

I read the Max Contraction training by John Little, upon HIIT Rob's suggestion on this forum.


The idea is that you can decrease reps and training time by going for very high weights while keeping the muscle contracted for a very short time.

I intend to give it a go later on this year, but out of curiosity I started trying it already on various machines to see how it goes.

It's intense!




I switched to carb cycling between 4 high days (weights days) 3 and low days, for an average calorie intake close to maintenance (2600kcal)


After 3 years vegan I decided to try a vegetarian diet, adding eggs and cottage cheese.

Didn't notice any increase in performance, recovery, or body composition.

I went for organic stuff but even like that I didn't feel really comfortable buying animal products, so it's back to a vegan diet.


Rounding things up:


High days:

3000 kcal:

170g prot - 25%

380g carbs - 55%

70g fat - 20%


Low days:


170g prot - 40%

55g carbs - 10%

100g fat - 50%



Not much change, although my legs are more muscular:

weight: 68.4kg

fat: 8.7%

muscle: 58.4kg



Started doing spinning class once a week, more demanding that when I do intervals on my own.

With the instructor shouting at you, the loud shit music and the group around, it all really pushes you to do more than you would on your own.

Whenever I do classes, it seems they are far more girls than guys, so singles: give classes a go


Also signed up for another half-marathon in Warrington in mid-September.

Planning to do it in a fancy costume, maybe Jack Sparrow or a dinosaur, just because.


Also really want to get back into martial art for fitness and cardio. I used to do taekwondo, but the time and the class didn't really suit me.

Had 1 lesson of krav maga this week which I enjoyed, very friendly people and supportive atmosphere - in spite of all the aggro



Next 3 weeks:

- weights:

I'll start another 12 week plan by the same trainer


- nutrition:

get back to a vegan diet, stop relying as much on protein supplements and take carbs up for macros like:

prot - 15%

arbs - 65%

fat - 20%

- cardio

find a martial art class I really like and fully get into it, for 2-3 sessions/week if possible.

I already planned to try: karate, kickboxing, and muay thai.


Thanks for reading!

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Ah, so youve made your MCT debut:) Enjoyable?


The advanced MCT book I think is even better, goes into the omega set training and talks with high level athletes from different sports who've used it successfully. John also goes into the glycogen theory, and why high carb diet is a most for this type of training method.


Love Urban Krav Maga btw, did it for a couple of years about 6 years ago, also training in Wing Tsun years ago, reached a pretty high level, but couldnt continue due to illness at that time. Might give the KM another go. Found it to be more realistic than traditional systems due to its aggressive approach and the techniques, their arent fancy, but their definitely very effective.


Take it easy

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