Well, as predicted, the over-training has started to take it’s toll.


I expected right from the start that the 2 week over-training period would cause a slight increase in body fat and a slight drop in muscle mass, but would create a hormonal change that would cause big changes in the 5 day rest period after.


That’s why I was surprised when I gained 5lbs of lean muscle in the first week.


Days 9 – 13 were hard work though.


It was when the thoughts of quitting really reared their ugly head.


The soreness wasn’t too bad.


But the general fatigue and mental fog was hard going!


Within 3o minutes one one day I:

  • Lost my keys
  • Couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find a name in my phone book – I was typing in the first word of the text I was trying to send him – 4 times!!!!
  • Took 3 wrong turns on the way to work for no apparent reason


And, finally, I started to go backward.


My strength was dropping.


And I was definitely feeling a bit ‘softer’ around the edges.


I finished my last workout on Saturday and checked my Bio Sig on Sunday.

Macclesfield Muscle Experiment - Day 13

To be honest – I was surprised to only added 0.2% body fat and dropped 0.7kgs of muscle.

I think I look noticeably worse in the progress photos (part of that may be the lighting, which I tried to get the same but couldn’t quite, but I’ve definitely lost definition):

Day  0 -13

So – the big changes should happen over the next 5 days.

5 days of constant eating.

I’ll be eating a full meal every four hours and a large protein shake in between.

I’m hoping my body will be crying out for the ¬†nutrients.


Muscle tip #4

Time under tension is key

Muscles don’t understand reps and sets.

They only understand the challenge that is being placed on them – the intensity and the duration of the ‘stress’.

This is why you often see people getting stronger in the gym, but not necessarily looking any better – they are doing the number of reps and sets that they’ve been told, but often too quick, making it more of a strength exercise.

For this programme I mainly used a X-0-4-0 tempo.

This means an explosive lift (the X), zero pause at the top, a 4 second negative (lowering), a zero second pause at the bottom and repeat.

This meant each rep took exactly 5 seconds.

Working in the 6-8 range for most exercise meant my muscles were under tension for 30-40 seconds – a good range for muscular growth.

10 reps on a heavier weight, knocked out quickly might only give a Time-Under-Tension of 15 seconds – more suitable for strength development.

And maintaining the tension is key.

Looking out at the top of a rep, or taking a short term rest in some other way, takes the tension of the muscle momentarily – making the exercise less effective.

So, if you’re looking to build some quality muscle – concentrate on the challenge to the muscle for a target amount of time (30-40 seconds) rather than thinking about lifting a weight a maximal number of reps.


P.S. I’ve just started my recovery phase – where I expect to grow rapidly in 5 days. I’ll keep you informed!

Jon Hall
Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at myrise.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.