With James Vandervest
My personal training journey is somewhat of a winding road, making it a little
hard for me to assess in retrospect. From age 14 to 18, I trained sporatically - sort of a 6 months on, did something else,
started again, etc. At the end of this period - and high school - I weighed 176 at 6'2". I started serious training at 18,
trying quite a few things over the next 2 years..., A Franco Columbo Intermediate course, then his advanced course, a personal
program composed by Larry Scott, and finally a power oriented program. At the end of all this, I weighed 205. I think that
suggests that none of this worked especially well. The power program seemed to be the most effective, resulting in a bench
of 245 for 3, curls of 155, and the biggest increase in muscle mass. It also all resulted in a pinched nerve- my form wasn't
the best back then- but I was young and foolish.
After taking a layoff of 5 years due to the injury and other
factors- going to college, etc., I returned to the gym at a soft 185. I began a three day a week program high Intensity style
which brought my weight to 215 after one year of training. My gains slowed and I cut back to 2 days a week and gained to 220
after another year. At this point my routines were a lot like those in the Nautilus Advanced Bodybuilding book. After a year
I became burned out on an all-machine diet and added free weights- a sort of modified heavy duty routine going 2- 3 days a
week. I did this for another year hitting 230, then 240 pounds the next year. However I was quite fat at this weight- 39 waist
:(. I sort of stagnated at this point for about a year.
. I hardened up a little, but at the time I was doing
2 on, 1 off, 2 on , 2off, with forced reps and negatives and I stagnated after 2 months. I cut back to 3 days a week again
and reached 250, a weight I held for the next 2 years, until another cut back to every 4 days and a resultant increase to
264. I then cut back further to every 4-7 days, training hard, and taking creatine. Within 4 months I was 285- not cut, but
I wasn't before either. I was pegging the stacks on most of the machines and squatted 425 for reps (and had trouble going
through doorways. My plan at that point was to shoot for
with 300 before). I then begin a stricter diet, with some
cardio to get lean.
Unfortunately, a speeding compact car broadsided me and put me in the emergency
room. I didn't train for several weeks, and when I began again I was around 262. I undertook the same routine but with decreased
weights due to muscle loss and a nagging back injury from the car accident... but not serious. After a divorce - and and break
up of the family (a time when I didnt train or eat much for a month, and not too well after that), I found my self at 220,
my lowest bodyweight in a decade.
That was two years ago. Since then I have been training every 4
to 7 days (5 on the average) and regained muscle to the point where I weigh 255 at present (with a waist size that I had at
220- 37" at 6'3").
Update- since this was written in 1999, I have continued to improve and presently weigh
a hard 235 lbs at 6'3". I have modified my training to include cardiovascular training to a greater degree and my weight workouts
are performed slightly more frequently, but total training time is less than 4 hours a week for most of the year.
-the photo taken above was this year at the OC Muscle Classic where I placed 7th in the heavyweights and 10th in Masters overall.
Copyright © 2010 James Vandervest