Bigger Smaller Bigger

by with John Berardi & Martin Rooney

The Final Day


– 9:00 AM –

So I’ve gained 10 pounds since yesterday at 7:30 PM (when I finished my test) and if I do everything right today, JB expects me to go up another 5 or 6 pounds before my final test at 6PM.

According to JB, Georges St Pierre usually gains 15 -17 pounds back before his fight. So I’m in good company.

I’m still drinking a liter of “special water” every hour, too. Which is funny because instead of being “Cooler Guy” — the guy I talked about earlier who brings his Coleman lunchbox with him everywhere — I’m now “Water Jug Dude.” Which is much, much worse.

Water Jug Dude is the guy who brings his own 2-gallon plastic jug of water to the gym and drinks directly out of it. Everyone looks at him and says, “Now that is one hydrated fella! I admire his dedication to living a healthy lifestyle.”

No, I’m kidding. No one thinks that all.

It’s more like, Look at that dude. Is he seriously drinking straight out of a fuckin’ milk jug? Doesn’t he know they sell bottles of water? Or that he can drink out of a water fountain?

Since I sat inside most of yesterday, suffering and waiting for my test to start, today I had to get out of the house. So I’m running some errands, eating at restaurants, and working on my laptop at a coffee shop.

And carrying a blue gallon jug of red liquid around with me the entire time.

Anyway, I just polished off a huge breakfast omelet with toast and vegetables. Aside from an unexplained headache, I’m feeling good. Way better than yesterday morning where I would have done anything for a glass of water.

I’ve got two more meals to eat before my test and a lot more water to drink. So that’s my plan for the day.

A hearty breakfast.

– 3:00 PM –

Lunch was a steak salad with a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the side. My second lunch was a sandwich, a bowl of soup, and potato chips.

I’m not taking this “eat as much as you want in three meals” recommendation lightly. I also cut off my liter-of-water-per-hour practice and am now sipping water with meals.

In two more hours I’ll weigh in. And then the final test at 6:00 PM.

Second lunch. Third lunch.

– 5:05 PM –

Weight: 186.6 pounds

I’ve officially gained 16.9 pounds in 24 hours.

That’s fucking crazy.

Time to test.

– 9:00 PM –

I’m done. Finished.

34 days of experimenting, and now I can go back to having a normal life.

The testing was interesting. In fact, the jump in performance was dramatic, especially in the bench press and the TMax and VMax.

Day 0 Day 28 Day 33 Day 34
Weight 169.6 190.2 169.7 186.6
Girth Measurements
Neck 15.25 15.38 14.38 14.75
Shoulder 48 49.25 47.75 49.25
Chest 41.5 44 43.25 45
Upper Arm 14.75 16 15.13 15.5
Waist 31.5 32.25 31 32.5
Hip 38 39.5 38 38.25
Thigh 23.13 24.25 23.5 24.5
Calf 15.5 15.38 15 16
Body Fat Measurements
Mid-Ax 2.8 3.8 2.8 2.8
Cheek 2.8 5.7 5.7 5.7
Chest 2.8 4.7 1.9 3.8
Ab 7.6 3.8 6.7 2.8
Subscap 5.7 7.6 5.7 5.7
Triceps 2.8 3.8 2.8 2.8
Suprailiac 2.8 4.7 4.7 3.8
Knee 5.7 2.8 3.8 3.8
Hamstring 3.8 4.7 2.8 2.8
Calf 9.5 6.7 7.6 7.6
Body Fat (%) 3.03 (probably ~6) 4.1 (probably ~7) 3.2 (probably ~6) 3.37 (probably ~6)
Vertical Jump
Jump 1 25″ 31″ 26″ 28″
Jump 2 29″ 32″ 29″ 29″
Jump 3 30″ 32″ 28″ 30″
Average 28″ 31.7″ 27.6″ 29″
225 lb Bench Press
Reps 8 15 5 12
One-Rep Max (lbs) 405 475 N/A N/A
Speed (mph) 8 8 8 8
Incline (%) 8 6 3 6
Duration (min) 9:32 7:38 4:15 7:09
Duration (min) 3:11 3:14 1:28 3:25

After getting a measly 5 reps on the bench yesterday, today was redemption. I got 12 solid reps, not quite as many as I did on Day 28, but more than I did on Day 0. Looks like my new-found strength is here to stay.

My vertical jump was better than yesterday, but not by much.

And I didn’t do the deadlift today, either. (I know, I know. It feels like a cop-out. But I just wasn’t positive that my body could handle another max deadlift. If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes.)

On my girth measurements, every single site we tested went up, some significantly. It felt like blowing some air into a shriveled balloon.

The biggest change, though, is in the photos.

Day 34 (after rehydration) — 186.6 lbs

I no longer look sick, which is nice. My face and muscles are fuller. I actually look healthy, despite what I’ve put my body through the 34 days.

If I were an MMA fighter, this would be about the time I’d actually get in the cage and fight. And you know what? I think I’d do OK.

I’d get my ass kicked, of course. I mean, it wouldn’t even be close if I was fighting someone who actually knew what they were doing.

But fighting skill and talent aside, I know I’d be strong and athletic, even after dehydrating myself to a ridiculously low weight then hydrating back up gain.

That’s pretty cool. And perhaps this protocol is something real MMA fighters would find useful.

11:30 PM

While I didn’t rush the test, I was glad to get the hell out of the gym.

After taking a shower and changing clothes, Richelle and I drove to our favorite Thai restaurant to meet up with friends. When my order came — chicken pad thai and a Singha beer — I just sat and looked at it.

My meal had salt, starchy carbs, and sugar, three big no-no’s for the dehydration part of my experiment. It was also kind of normal-sized. No doubt I’d have to eat two plates full if I was still in my weight-gain phase.

I looked at Richelle and our friends all gathered around the table, talking, laughing, and enjoying their food.

For the past month, food was simply fuel for me. It was a tool to gain or lose weight. I gorged myself on 2.5 pounds of meat per day, and then went 24 hours without any food at all.

And while I didn’t necessarily hate the food during the experiment, I can’t say I enjoyed it either. Not like my friends were enjoying this meal, at least.

I picked up my fork, wrapped the noodles around it and took a bite. It was delicious.

And really, it was the perfect setting and the perfect meal to end a challenging, rewarding, crazy-as-shit 34 days.

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