My goal is no different than most- to increase muscle mass with limited fat increase. Now, I know, I know, it’s all about the diet, and you would be right and I’ll discuss that in a bit. However, IMHO the style of training and frequency does make a difference.
Serge’s style of training goes by a number of variations: Lactate Training, High Volume, or even German Volume Training. However, my goal is to replicate and use Serge’s training as-is, with as little modification as possible given some knee issues I have. If I’m going to experiment and determine if this system works, then I need to use it as is described and implemented by Serge.
Undertaking a high volume of training such as this requires slightly more calories than I would otherwise take in. I outline my macros below as well as my dietary changes. Again, my goal is to replicate Serge’s training and diet as closely as possible. It’s difficult to find detail dietary information on Serge’s nutrition and most of the information on the web is fairly limited, but makes sense given Serge was a very instinctive eater and bodybuilder.
Serge trained 6 days a week and would split his training to 2 sessions a day and hit abs every day. I modeled a similar training regime as Serge’s, hitting each body part 2x a week. Similarly, I hit abs 2x a week also, which is the only major change from Serge’s protocol. This is purely for time and efficiency purposes, otherwise I’d be at the gym for an hour just doing abs- which for my schedule is unrealistic. So instead, I substituted weighted abs with the Ab Machine and follow similar high volume protocol as the rest of the body parts.
Each session is approximately 45 minutes and moves very fast. Serge’s protocol only calls for 30 second rest between sets, and up to 1 minute for legs. If 30 seconds is not enough rest, Serge recommended you start with 60 seconds (or more) and reduce the rest by 15 second increments as your strength and conditioning improves. Additionally, Serge didn’t believe in traditional cardio, and honestly, by doing this program as is described I doubt you would need to as long as your nutrition is well managed.
The short, but intense training sessions coupled with moderate weights don’t beat me up as much and my CNS doesn’t take a hit, allowing me to put in the two-a-day sessions. I think this is important if training twice a day. Keeping the session short and intense allows you to recover that specific body part without over training it and won’t tax your CNS to the point where you need to sleep all day!
You could also experiment with the first 3 days where you perform the same number of sets, but go a bit heavier to where you are only performing 8 reps, and then jump to 12 reps in the second part of the week. This is something I’ll experiment with down the road.
Below are the workouts that I personally do. These are based on research I’ve done on what Serge used to do or at least recommend. Some of movements are “optional” for me where they cause pain or joint issues and I usually only perform them sparingly. Obviously you can swap out any of the exercises for the ones you like. For example, I’ve experimented with Smith Machine Squats as they help to vertically align my shins and therefore reduce knee pain when squatting. But I will rotate them every other workout.
Notice that the first exercise is a compound movement and always has 8 sets, and most subsequent moves are 6 sets and “generally” isolation type movements, but not always.
Now the good part- getting to eat! I’ve been running this protocol for over 2 weeks and I can tell you I’m always hungry! I’ve already seen muscle growth while my abs have actually leaned out a bit.
Serge recommended a very high protein diet, like 2-3x your bodyweight in protein daily, low fat, and enough carbs to fuel your workouts and no more. This is how he stayed within 4kg of contest shape all year and hardly ever had to “diet” down for a competition. Now, I know that Serge also experimented with Steroids and frankly don’t know for how long he took them, or what he took, but regardless, without proper nutrition, all the steroids in the world won’t help ya.
Serge also only ate twice a day, and frequently would only eat one meal a day, where he would take in all the protein, carbs, fats he needed to support growth and fuel his workouts for the next day.
So, to continue with the Serge philosophy, I’ve paired down the number of meals I eat from 6 a day down to 3, with the following macro breakdown:
Protein: 310g (1,240 calories)
Carbs: 275g (1,100 calories)
Fats: 62g (558 calories)
Total calories: 2898 (round up to 2,900). I’ve been on these macros for about two weeks and I’ve experienced muscle growth and fat loss, especially around the waist and maintaining my vascularity. I don’t know yet for how long I’ll stay on the above macros, but I’m sure I’ll experiment either up or down depending on energy levels, muscle and fat loss/growth.
- Pre-Workout: BCAA’s + lots of Coffee. Both AM and PM sessions.
- Breakfast (post AM workout):
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups of egg whites
- 11 oz of Coconut Water + 1 scoop of Orac Greens
- 16 oz of either Lean Steak, Chicken Breast, Turkey Breast
- 2 cups Jasmine Rice
- 1 cup Black Beans, or Garbanzo Beans, or something similar
- Dinner (post PM workout)
- Same as lunch, vary the protein.
So, my morning workout is essentially fasted, other than the BCAA’s which count as an energy source, but otherwise no food. The carbs at lunch serve as energy for the evening workouts. The carbs from Dinner serve as energy for the morning workouts. This has worked out pretty well and I have no loss of energy. At first I had to get over the mindset that I needed “pre-workout carbs” such as a Karbolyn, to fuel these workouts. The fact is, I don’t. The carbs and amino’s stay in my body for a long time and thus no need for any pre-workout fuel, other than say coffee or BCAA’s if I feel the need, especially in the AM session.
Sleep and Rest
Sleep is crucial when lifting weights, and especially if lifting twice a day. I can tell a major difference in my energy levels if I sleep 6 hours a night versus 7 or 8. Even an extra hour makes a huge difference in energy levels. Since I work at an office all day, I can’t just go take a nap when I feel like it, so admittedly I am well caffeinated since most nights I only get 6 hours of sleep!
Because I essentially sit on my arse all day in front of a computer screen, the positive side effect is that my body gets to rest. It would be very difficult to follow this program if I worked construction all day- I certainly would need to eat a lot more food!
Over the next few months, I’ll post more progress and any modifications I make. But, so far, after two weeks on the program, I’m enjoying watching my body adapt, get stronger and a bit leaner.