Listen up soldier, face your weak head forward. You see those arms? Tiny! That stomach? Flabby! Those shoulders? Why don't they ache?

Of the many things that Splendour taught me, I most appreciated learning that my back pain could be controlled with dosages of Panadeine 15 and Bundy'n'Cokes. This combination doesn't actually remove the pain itself, nor is it medically recommended, but it does remove the connection from the pain to the brain. And it was then, as I actually enjoyed a set by Operator Please, that I knew I did not need to fear pain anymore.

This was an extremely vital realisation for me. Because, as anyone who has experience chronic back pain will attest, the fear of back pain exceeds the pain itself. This is a mental battle that saps a lot of energy, because every time you move, stretch or make plans you need to consider your back and internally reassure yourself that your back will be ok, every thing's under control.

What this pain killing instance taught me was that, given all the rehabilitation, habit changing and conditioning that I'd gone through in the past 12 months I was now at a stage that I could take extend myself physically and if there was pain I had the power to knock it out. I can't convince you how this has changed me. In the weeks following I have felt new again, like a man who could not walk healed. Then, as the sun began to rise earlier and warm longer and the flowers burst with colour, I realised it was now time to resume my life as it was on July 15, 2006. Because God did I miss that Brad. So, on August 26, a Sunday Evening, I welcomed myself back. With BULKTEMBER. I am one week into my 6 week extreme conditioning and bulking phase that will henceforth be the theme for this publication in the coming month. Testify!

What is BULKTEMBER?

Bulktember is a six week commitment to personal fitness and bulking. This is divided into three areas:


  • Weight Training
  • Eating a Lot
  • Sleeping a Lot

Going to the gym is something that a lot of people participate in, but few rarely commit to. For good reason, as the time and lifestyle commitments required are rich.

However I believe that a few key periods of bulking, interspersed between much longer periods of maintenance, can achieve worthwhile results. The first of these periods for me is BULKTEMBER, which is taking precedence over almost every other issue in my life for the six weeks between August 27 and October 6 2007.

What is involved
Five sessions per week of high intensity weight lifting, with varying programs. Three upper body, two lower body plus core.
Eating my target weight multiplied by 2.3 grams of protein per day, in six healthy meals. This is an easy part.

Sleeping eight hours per night, to allow juicy growth hormones to flood through my body and stimulate muscle development.

The sleep part is particularly easy due to being quite knackered by the end of a week of weight lifting every day.

BULKTEMBER also comes with it's own range of stretches, supplements and techniques which I will allude to in depth later.

The final note for today, BULKTEMBER can not be whispered or said quietly, it must always be yelled. This is scientifically proven to improve the bulking process.

Spaghetti BULKOGNESE

Weight lifting regimes are one important part of BULKTEMBER, but eating is its equal. Not only does food have to be shovelled down every two to three hours, but it has to be healthy, flavoursome and with a solid balance of carbohydrates, protein and good fats.
Trying to cater for forty-two meals a week can be a tough ask, and that's why it's beneficial to make one super meal once that can be eaten throughout the week. This week's Super Lunch: Spaghetti BULKOGNESE!
First I shall step you through the ingredients.


Lean Mince. 550g. .50 [Special]. Lean Beef and other lean and white meats are a key ingredient in muscle building. Eat another animals muscle to build your own. The advantage of lean meats is less fat, obviously. I like to write my name on my beef.
San Remo Wholemeal Pasta – Spirals. .98. Whole foods contain more protein than processed foods, and with a lower G.I. as well, meaning the energy from the food will sustain you over a longer period. I used spirals instead of spaghetti because I already had this meal last week and some variety is good.
Generic Spices – FREE. We have Italian Seasoning, Oregano and Mixed Herbs which I think contains more Oregano. Herbs enhance the flavour and don't really have any health benefits.
Garlic – FREE. Garlic is full of antioxidants and contains properties that naturally fights off illness and infection. And it smells great!
1 Capsicum, chopped – 0.80c. Capsicum also contains helpful health properties; it can lower blood pressure and apparently helps reduce back pain!
2 Onions – FREE. Onions are like Garlic.
Olive Oil – FREE. High in monounsaturated oil, and vitamin E. Whenever you cook with oil, make it olive oil. It lowers your cholesterol and helps burn through fat.


Beans, 400g of Red Kidney Beans and 400g of 5 Bean Mix - .36. Fibre! Protein! Iron! Raw beans are brilliant for you, not only will they bulk this meal up by about 500g (when drained) which saves us money, but they are good for you too. If you don't like them, once the meat and sauce has simmered through you won't even notice them.
Chopped Tomatoes, 800g - .00 [Special]. I highly recommend the latest range of tinned tomatoes from Ardmona, who have released a selection of tomatoes enhanced with different spices and flavours. And I'm talking so enhanced that you could literally sit there and eat the tin straight (this is how I cut my finger last week). The paprika and chilli one is the best. Woolworths have these on a 2 for special all this week.
Tomato Puree, 400g - .09. This will assist with the base of your sauce, being runnier than the chopped tomatoes. With the tins of tomatoes and the herbs and vegetables you are cutting out the need for Dolmio or any other tomato based pasta sauces, you get twice as much as you would pay for the sauce and you're cutting out a lot of sugar. All tomatoes and other red coloured fruits are loaded with lycopenes, which are world title antioxidant champions twenty centuries running.

A note on brand name versus generic brand tinned vegetables. Woolworths and Coles have both recently rebadged their generic range to include pictures and look higher quality. Do not be fooled; always check the label. The Woolworths Select tomatoes contained much higher levels of sodium (salt, raises blood pressure, decreases life span!) and less protein and energy, indicating more watering down. Alternatively, the Select Beans both outperformed the closest priced Edgell beans, being lower in sodium and higher in protein and complex carbohydrates.

In six weeks I hope to have glutes the size of these saucepans.

In six weeks I hope to have glutes the size of these saucepans.



Whew! With that out the way we can discuss the actual process. Boil four litres of water plus a drip of olive oil and, when it is bubbling, add the pasta. Meanwhile, after chopping the vegetables (you can include celery and mushrooms in those calculations) heat a tablespoon of oil in the frying pan. Once steaming, add a tablespoon of garlic; mince; and a lot of herbs. Then spread this around in the frying pan or saucepan (I used saucepan because my frying pan wasn't deep enough!) until the mince is browned. Add the vegetables and the beans, drained. After 2 minutes add the three tins of tomatoes, then two minutes later cover and simmer, to let the flavours blend. Stir regularly throughout.



After 10 minutes on low heat and after the pasta has been drained, covered and cooled for five minutes, you may serve. This came up with five meals, which averages out costs to .59 per lunch this week. That is a massive bargain, considering going for a dosage of complex carbohydrates and protein (46g of protein per serving here, 8g more if you add 30g of Parmesan Cheese) from Subway or something would cost you about a day and you'd probably fork out .80 for a Coke Zero as well (which, by the way, I don't recommend).
In fact, I suggest sourcing a carton of Pepsi Max cans from Woolworths when the cans cost 29c each, keeping a couple in the fridge and the rest under your desk.
Now, I know what you're thinking.
"Brad, how am I going to cart a whole case of Pepsi Max cans from the Woolworths in Rundle Mall to my office building? They're too heavy!" Why with your giant, bulky muscles of course. This is what being a spendthrift health fag is about. Alternatively, if this is all too hard, you can just go out for lunch every day and enjoy fatty meals from fryers filled with vegetable oil, similar to what my Step Mum demonstrates here:
Big Wurst makes her happy.

Big Wurst makes her happy.


Today's Awesome Benching Experience

My arms and shoulders were a little sore today from the upper body session last night, where I will note I reached new highs in my chest press, shoulder press and lat-pull down. By the time lunch time arrived today I was stiff from being stationary all morning. However I had a Tupperware container of BULKOGNESE in the fridge, so no reason to leave the office.

It was too sunny to stay in, I decided, and I left to walk in the warmth with no real purpose. I strolled across North Terrace and slowed to a meander as I confronted the river. Overwhelmed by the urge for a nap, I found a place to slouch and closed my eyes, absorbing sunshine blissfully and converting it to alpha sleep. Today was one of those occasions where the sun is purely a source of brightness so long as you keep moving, but once you achieve stillness it's rays wrap relaxing tendrils around your body.

Alas my lunch break was too quickly over and I had to return to my office, which seemed much greyer and more washed out after the blast of natural brightness outside. I spent the afternoon mainly in meetings. Fortunately there was always a window within sight, allowing my eyes to wander and my mind to know that out there, nearby, was today's awesome bench experience.

Lose Weight While You Sleep!

During BULKTEMBER I'm keeping our house's scales next to my bed so I can check my weight progress regularly. All reasonably mundane stuff, but I noticed a phenomena this morning. I woke up two whole kilograms lighter than when I went to bed. This seems like a disturbing amount of weight to lose in a period of doing nothing. I didn't leave the bed the whole night.

Last night wasn't particularly warm, so I hadn't sweat out those kilos. No lucky dreams either, and if there had been I would have been way impressed. It seems I don't have all the answers when it comes to bulking. Nevertheless, I think I will take the opportunity to post my morning and evening weights each entry, for posterity. Despite the fact that building a kilogram of lean muscle would take the best part of a month, and that all fluctuations in weight will most likely be gastric.

Rising Weight: 100.4
Retiring Weight: 101.0

Gym Stats

Days of Consecutive Bulking: 11
Rising Weight: 100.8kg
Retiring Weight: 100.2kg
Light Beers Consumed during BULKTEMBER: 3

Warming to Bulktember

I was rummaging this afternoon, preparing for my tax return (to, you know, bulk up my bank account). During this I came across a piece of paper from the first time I was well enough to visit the gym after my back. On that day I was checking one-rep maxes, on the bench press it was a lady like 47.5kgms. Now two weeks into BULKTEMBER I'm using more than that as my warm up!

This does seem rather bland, but Friday night's binge drinking derailed things a little, so I'm trying to rebuild my weight training mental momentum.

Bulktember 11 – Never Forget

BULKTEMBER: Ruined by Laryngitis? Maybe, but it goes a little deeper than that. Kids, I'm here to tell you about the dangers of Alcohol. In particular, the impact it can have on healthy individuals in the midst of a BULKTEMBER. You may believe the only negative effect of a solid eight hours of imbibing could be left/right imbalance after all those light bicep curl reps, but you are wrong.

Scientifically, alcohol is one of the least productive chemicals that can be put through the human system. There are problems that go beyond the cliché issues you'd expect, such as eating too many gyros; dehydration; and distributing all the protein, carbohydrates and bits of carrot that you were going to be using for recovery between your legs and into a toilet bowl.

The first thing we consider is the production and repair of muscle fibres themselves. Studies have proven that regular alcohol consumption "alters a variety of key regulatory steps in translation initiation that would be expected to impair protein synthesis in skeletal muscle" (Lang, C. Et al 1999). Essentially, if protein synthesis is impaired amino-acids struggle in their quest to form complete proteins, which eventually would form a key cell in your rippling left bicep or telephone-cable strength groin.

Alcohol consumption has also been shown to reduce testosterone production in males, effectively putting a skirt on your body's desire to grow new muscle fibres. This also affects the balance of oestrogen in the body, which reduces libido – cascading into a lack of motivation for bulking up – as well as explains why the majority of unfit, sorry drunks carry bitch-tits wherever they go. However, one study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research did show that in certain types of rat testosterone occasionally spiked acutely following the administration of alcohol (Diamond, I., de Wit, H. 1997). But even if you are a rat person, this isn't greatly beneficial in regards to weight training.

You can't weight train while drunk. Alcohol and B Vitamins don't get along nicely, and as each drink dissolves throughout your bloodstream is nukes B Vitamins as it goes. This cripples your strength, energy and endurance. No vitamins and minerals are spared by alcohol. What's worse, all nutrient processing that occurs in alcohols presence is hampered. The American National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has been banging on about this for years. Alcohol's effects include:


  • The pancreas decreases the secretion of digestive enzymes;
  • Cells lining the stomach and intestines are damaged, impairing absorption of nutrients;
  • The presence of alcohol can also prevent transport of some nutrients into the bloodstream completely (NIAAA 1993)

Meaning that drinking in excess within the 36 hour window after weight training when your body is repairing is in part wasting your workout.

And, finally, the conclusion you come to when you realise all the crucial vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants have gone missing from your body at the same time as your energy levels crash and you're completely dehydrated is that you're a World Trade Centre just waiting for bacteria and viruses to crash into you and topple you into an anti-BULKTEMBER heap. This is the reason I'm sitting here with a course of Penicillin which, in its tablet form, is incredibly bulky and hard to swallow. I made the mistake of drinking during BULKTEMBER and that is something I will never do again. So whenever you develop a six week bulking plan you should avoid scheduling conflicts with weddings, your birthday or successful software implementation celebrations. This is something I'll never forget.

How to Look Strong in Photos

So being sick makes it hard to tackle BULKTEMBER in an as full on manner I’d hoped. But there are ways to bulk up when you can’t get to the gym. Even you, yes you, can look handsome and strong in your photos from this summer. With beach and BBQ weather flirting with the city already, and the spring bringing with it hundreds of new Facebook accounts and photo albums, here are some BULKTEMBER tips for improving your photo presence. Follow these and you can improve your strength an appearance in seconds, instead of spending hours into the gym and investigating different types of moisturisers.
First, what not to do:
Is this you? Looking washed out; lumpy; and tilting your head to the side like you’re a poof? Do you squint your eyes when you try to fake a smile? Do you think two hours of walking will be better exercise than 15 minutes of intense sprints? When taking a photo remember the following:

Is this you? Looking washed out; lumpy; and tilting your head to the side like you’re a poof? Do you squint your eyes when you try to fake a smile? Do you think two hours of walking will be better exercise than 15 minutes of intense sprints? When taking a photo remember the following:



Stick Your Neck Out. Hold your shoulders back and make an effort to separate your chin from your neck. This keeps your skin looking smoother and prevents the double chin effect. Keeping your shoulders back will smarten up your posture, bring your chest to the forefront and makes it harder to tilt your head. Having your chest forward makes it appear bigger, and perspective wise can bring it a further or inch or two closer to the camera.

Narrow your waist. Which you can do without any exercise. Try breathing a deep breath of air into your lungs, not your stomach. This will inflate your chest, which should be sticking out already, and make your chest appear bigger. The bigger your chest looks, the narrower your waist looks. Pure optical illusion, but it works and is easier than a rowing machine.

Stand facing the light. The photographer should stand with their back to the light source, so it flows over their shoulders and onto you. When the light is behind the subject (facing the lens) it will affect the levels in the photo, washing it out and leaving you and your skin looking muggy.

Thumb your Guns. You might not have the physical strength to even lift the camera, but you can add the impression of bigger arms by crossing them and sticking your thumbs out into your biceps from behind. Brilliant! In the real world it’s difficult for almost all men to develop large arms without having complete upper body strength. It takes about 5kg of body weight per inch on your arms (apparently.) But if you’re wearing a t-shirt and make your biceps look bigger others will automatically assume you’re built all over because they can only see your arms. Of course no one else will know about this illusion because no one else reads this far into long entries.

Don’t fake a Smile. You can look strong as well as jolly, but for all photos a real smile is better than a fake one. Real smiles engage the eyes and cheeks whereas forced ones can leave those areas revealing that you don’t really care about your step-families Sunday dinner. The best way to fake a real smile is to remember something that always makes you laugh, like that Christmas lunch where my little brother landed nads first on an outdoor tap and turned it on trying to untangle himself from it, or that scene in the Simpsons where Homer drops Bart off at the Burlesque house and says: ‘Now you're gonna do chores for that lady until you work off the damage you did. It's called "responsibility."’ Then as he drives off he knocks down the mailbox, screams and drives off.



Now you’re looking good, and have left only the ethics to consider if you should reveal why you look so healthy when you’ve been in bed most of the week with laryngitis. Or, with even less time in the gym and some time in Photoshop you can enhance yourself even more, in believable ways.

Continue Reading How to Look Strong in Photos...

Farewell Sore Throat

Back to work tomorrow, ending my three consecutive days of wearing track pants.

Bulking so Hard

We lost basketball finals and this made me angry. I considering writing an essay on how the biological process of anger could enhance or reduce weight gaining effectiveness, but I got over it. It turns out anger makes me cook a lot of chicken on the BBQ after pasting it with a delicious seasoning.

So now that there's no basketball it means I have less commitments and more anger to commit to BULKTEMBERing. And given my renewed focus I will now share an important secret of building muscle: eating!

Protein, complex carbohydrates and poly/mono unsaturated fats are the building blocks of a healthy diet. When trying to gain muscle you should be eating over 2.2g of protein per kilogram of your target body weight. My target weight is 104kg, so I am targeting 240g of pure protein per day. Thus, behold my seven meals of protein efficiency:










FoodProtein (g)
0830 Breakfast46.4





1130 Snack 120.4







1330 Lunch56.8




1700 Snack 226.8



1930 Post Gym Intake20





2030 Dinner65




2330 Bedtime Snack8.8

I poo at least twice a day.

I Love Big Bulks and I Cannot Lie

There is a Women's Health magazine now. It's Men's Health, but for women. It's essentially the same but with the sex tips removed and marriage tips replacing them. From what I understand. It's being launched in Australia soon.

This is bad. I feel like Men's Health gives me a gender advantage because unlike most other men's magazines, and all women's magazines, it seems genuinely interested in presenting me with scientifically backed tips. Now women will have this advantage and be healthy and also get strong as well.

Actually, I don't mind this. Bulk on, ladies. Bulk on.

19/Bul/2007

Spaghetti, again. I haven't gotten sick of eating it after four weeks, but I am sick of heating it up in the work microwave inside a tupperware container that barely holds it, and flicking sauce on my white business shirts every lunch time. I have to schedule all my client facing meetings before 1pm so that I don't ever go into a negotiation wearing blotches of tomato sauce. It makes me so angry!
Also, there is no Parmesan cheese at work, which means I am getting 4.4g less protein per day than I scheduled. Worse, today I needed 42 almonds to constitute 50g and satisfy my mid-morning requirements for mono-unsaturated fat and selenium but I only had 37. THIRTY-SEVEN! Argh!

Testosterone based bulking rage spiraling out of control!

Brad's BULKTEMBER Guide to Supplements

In the days of Ancient Rome it was possible to be buff, cut and still hold down a full time job. This was because most jobs involved heavy lifting and there was no such thing as Cheese Supreme Doritos. Nowadays we have desk jobs and trans fats, but we also have science! That means your bulking can be improved through chemistry. There are hundreds of products available which, when used with an exemplary bulking plan, can result in better and bigger gains. I don't have any scientific or medical training but I can write some paragraphs about the stuff I put in my body today.

Creatine.

Creatine.



Creatine helps your muscles recover faster, meaning after you finish a heavy set they'll regroup faster for the next one. This means you can lit more. Creatine occurs naturally in the body but not in the levels you'll need to pay $62 per tub for. I mix mine with equal parts water and orange juice. Unlike other supplements it's tastes quite nice. It should be taken on days when you lift, once in the morning and once an hour prior to training. There is also what's called a "loading period" where you take it four times a day for five days. Creatine powder contains a few B-Vitamins and also Taurine and during the days I was loading I had ridiculous amounts of energy and my heart beat quite fast a lot. It made me quite extroverted.
Omega 3.

Omega 3.



Fish Oil contains Omega 3 which most of the nutritional world has a hard on for these days. I take it because it lowers cholesterol absorption, eases joint wear and can improve memory and alertness apparently. I take it in the morning and afternoon. One of the reasons I take it is because I don't eat fish and this counters that, although everyday around lunchtime I will burp and taste fish oil capsules and go 'ugh'. I also take it because it lowers cholesterol absorption, eases joint wear and can improve memory and alertness apparently.
Boner Pills.

Boner Pills.



Tribulus Terrestris is some random herb that increases the natural level of testosterone in the body. What it basically implies is that if you already have normal testosterone it's as good as eating celery in terms of weight lifting. Fortunately it's very cheap and whether or not it does provide any benefit is moot because it's only about 20c a day for the capsules you take. Boner levels while on Tribulus Terrestris are also the same as without it. This is scientifically proven; for the first few months I kept a spreadsheet.
Whey Protein Isolate.

Whey Protein Isolate.



Whey Protein Isolate is the big brother of Whey Protein Concentrate, which you can get cheaply at pharmacies but is much less effective. WPI is also quite affordable when you buy it on special in giant buckets. I got this one last October and its still going strong. It will probably last me until next October or at least sometime during BULKPRIL. I add a big scoop to my breakfast smoothie and I also use it after gyms if I run out of emergency Up&Go's in my glovebox.
Milo Cereal.

Milo Cereal.



If I eat it before I go to the gym I can lift more weights and every time I burp it tastes like chocolate. Then I can skateboard home.

Post-BULKTEMBER Checklist

With it almost reaching the start of October - obvious what with all the rain - it means BULKTEMBER is also coming to an end. Officially that conclusion is October 6 as it is a struggle to fit a six week plan into weak and skinny September.
Nevertheless, that day is approaching quickly and it's time to start thinking about what needs to be done following that last gym session and final Up&Go Energize.


  • One week off weights, to allow my body to recover
  • Shower
  • Yell really loudly for a moment
  • Take "after" photos
  • Come up with new journal theme for next month (POOLTober? Beachvember?)
  • Rescue an old lady's cat, receive an apple pie as a reward and be shown on the news shirtless and tanned.

I can't wait!

I am Strong Because My Journal is Strong

There were free drinks at work tonight, from 4:30 until late. I didn't go. I wanted to go! I went to the gym instead, taking advantage of the early minute. There I worked out. I chose the gym over drinking because I am committed to BULKTEMBER. I'm mainly committed to BULKTEMBER because I've been journaling about it a lot.

Way to go, Journal.

ALSO! Click ads! I am very close to the payment threshold!

Morning Workouts vs Evening Workouts

A lot has been written about the benefits of exercise in the morning compared to the evening. It's all very scientific but usually comes out equal. I worked out in the morning today, because it is Labour Day tomorrow which means I can't labour tomorrow or even tonight because the gym closes earlier.

Physiological Benefits of working out in the morning include:
Don't feel so bad about yawning a lot at the gym.
It's more acceptable to eat pre-gym cereal in the morning.
Only have to shower once per day.
Don't have to watch Today Tonight when cooling down in the cardio space.

Disadvantages:
Makes it harder to come up with lists later in the day.