A Quick Workout Log, Plus the Arnold!

Hey everyone,

Just thought I'd post up a quick workout that I did yesterday. Today is definitely a busy day, as I am getting ready to head out to Columbus, Ohio tomorrow for the Arnold Classic. I cannot be more excited to go back for my second year in a row. Seeing the Bodybuilding.com team, my favorite athletes and hanging out with my friends is going to make this weekend one of the best ever!

 Now, with my plans out of the way, on to the heavy iron!

Back Day 

Deadlifts: 7 warm up sets, followed by 7 sets of 2 with 385lbs., no belt

Dumbbell Rows: 80, 85, 90, 100, 105lbs. for 5 sets of 10

Lat Pulldowns: 140 x 8, 145 x 8, 145 x 7

Face Pulls: 50 x 15, 57.5 x 15 (slow negative of 3 seconds)

Overall, it was great to get back into deadlifting. I started lighter than usual, as I want to leave room for some progression in the subsequent weeks. With back demolished, it's time for the ARNOLD!

- Ian

How I've Been, Plus My Plans

Hey all,

Sorry I've been away lately. It was midterms week at my university, so my schedule has been packed. If I wasn't studying, I was thinking about studying. Glad it's all over.

 As I write this, the Arnold Classic is just two short days away. I'll be there from Friday through Sunday, so if any fellow Bodybuilding.com members happen to be there, come up and say hi if ya see me!

On to training business... Seeing as my schedule has been hectic the past two weeks, my training has been pretty sparse. I've been getting in quick workouts with varying levels of intensity in order to conserve time. I am happy to report that now that things are over, I'll be able to get back to a strict lifting schedule.

I am hoping to return to my usual 3-4 days per week split. I am also playing around with the possibility of restarting one of Chad Waterbury's programs. The Waterbury method was a great lifting experience for me, so I think I will give it another go. My strength levels are higher now than they were before, so it can't do anything but help.

I will also, after assessing my conditioning, begin adding some sprints a few days a week to my regularly scheduled lifting.

- Ian 

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A Little R&R

After yesterday's workout, I decided it was time for a little rest from the gym. I have been going at it 100% for a few months now, and I realize that some time off will do my body good. 5 days of no gym, some clean food and daily naps should kick start my recovery and help me continue progressing. 

Using myself as an example, I want to emphasize the importance of regular time off from the gym. A lot of people fear this idea, thinking that gains will slow, stagnate or even regress during their time away from the iron. Let me assure you, they won't. Time off is a necessary and beneficial part of training and should be a part of yours as well. Anywhere between five to seven days is great. Sometimes people opt for more time and shoot for 10 days. Rest assured (no pun intended), you will return to the gym with more fire, energy and motivation than ever before.

I know some of you are thinking, "But Ian, what the heck am I supposed to do for five to 10 days without the gym?!"

Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are five tips to help make the most of your time off.

1. Strive for Sleep

 Sleep is a vital physiological process. In fact, sleep is so important that humans spend about a third of their lives catching some z's. Sleep is also necessary for optimal repair and growth of muscle tissue. When you hit the hay, growth hormone levels skyrocket and cellular regeneration is at its peak. Aim to take 1-2 naps daily, and make sure you get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.

2. Eat to Grow

Food is the key to bodybuilding success. Your time away from the gym will enable you to spend more time focusing on fine tuning your nutrition for maximum mass. Focus on getting in a good amount of quality food during your time off. At the end of your time off, you'll feel refreshed and eager to return to the gym. However, be cautious as to how much you're consuming during your time off. Tailor your calories to match your level of activity.

3. Say no to Supplements

While supplements can and should play a role in your nutrition plan, their use during your time off should be minimal. The only supplements I would recommend using daily are a multivitamin formula, protein powders and fish oil (BCAA's are okay as well). You should focus on getting the rest of your key micro and macronutrients from whole foods. Supplements containing stimulants such as caffeine or 1 3-dimethylamylamine should be avoided in order to give your adrenal glands a break. Your Central Nervous System can easily become overtaxed if you are constantly feeding it stimulants. You're taking time off - your adrenal glands should as well.

 4. Cheater's Delight

Bodybuilding culture is known for praising healthy foods while abhorring typical American-ized processed foods. While I am 100% for a clean, sustainable eating plan, sometimes ya just gotta have that burger and fries you've been craving. It's okay to cheat once in a while. I like to indulge every 2-4 weeks in order to feel like I'm not "dieting." The composition of the food you cheat with, assuming you follow a clean eating lifestyle, is foreign to your body. As a result, your body must work harder to break down these unknown substances. Your metabolism will speed up, which can help with fat loss and increase energy levels. In addition, those extra calories can help spur new gains in size.

 5. Smell the Roses

Relax! Go outside, play some frisbee, make some snow angels, go to the beach...whatever! This is your time to de-stress and not worry about the gym all the time. Catch up on some reading, watch a little more T.V., play with your dog (or cat, for you cat people out there). As long as you're enjoying it and it makes you happy, do it. Engaging in activity you enjoy can help decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can be catabolic to muscle tissue. So, my advice is to chill out, kick back and enjoy the little things.

Stay focused,


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End of Waterbury Method - Thoughts and Comments

Last week Friday, I knew it was time to switch programs. I had a not-so-stellar leg day (could only finish 4 of my 10 sets of squats that day due to knee pain) and my strength on key lifts had stagnated. In addition, my joints began to feel sore and I had trouble getting through my workouts without feeling burnt out. The time had come to make a change.

This week Monday, I began yet another Chad Waterbury program, eloquently titled "Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy." This program calls for changing set and rep parameters in order to keep the CNS fresh and recovery high. I have done two workouts using this method and I am loving their energy, intensity and shorter duration. Outlined below are examples of Waterbury's ABBH program:

Day 1:

Incline DB Press: 10 sets of 3 reps with 85 pound DBs


Chin Ups: 10 sets of 3 reps with a 50 pound DB

Day 2:

Front Squats*: 5 sets of 10 reps with 165lbs (60% of 1RM)

Hanging Leg Raises*: 5 sets of 10 reps

Calf Raises*: 5 sets of 10 reps with 700 pounds

 *These movements are performed in a giant set with 60 sec of rest between movements.

As you can see, these workouts center around basic compound movements for lots of sets and low reps (as well as less sets, more reps, in order to keep the CNS fresh). According to Waterbury, this method is effective for both strength and hypertrophy because:

  1. Compound movements recruit more muscle fibers, thus more motor units

  2. Lifting large loads (80% or greater) and keeping sets short (>9 seconds) will recruit Fast-Fatiguing (FF) motor units, which have the greatest potential for growth

  3. The set/rep volume promotes strength and hypertrophy while keeping your CNS fresh, thus increasing your recovery

  4. Avoiding failure promotes maximum gains in strength over time

I will keep everyone posted on my weekly workouts utilizing this new method. I can't wait to see the results!

Stay hungry,


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"Week of Waterbury:" Week 3, Day 1

I'm into my third week of Chad Waterbury's "Waterbury Method," and I am loving it! I have not hit muscular failure in almost three weeks now and my energy and recovery levels are at an all-time high! I am able to efficiently hit each body part two times per week and be fresh and motivated every workout. Today was the 10x3 method for chin ups, and I set PR's on practically EVERY lift! My motivation is through the ROOF, baby!


Chin Ups (weighted): Bodyweight + 45 pounds for 10 sets of 3 reps

Decline Barbell Bench Press: 225 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


Hammer Curls: 50 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

Seated Calf Raises: 4 forty-fives plus 1 twenty-five for 4 sets of 6 reps


Seated Hamstring Curls: 3 forty-fives for 4 sets of 6 reps 

Barbell Lunges: 135 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps 

I should note that rest periods are 60-70 seconds between sets on the exercises (and between supersets). If you read last week's training log, you will know that I was experiencing some pain in my right knee when I performed lying hamstring curls. As a result, I have switched to seated curls and the pain has completely vanished. The switch paid off and I intend to stick with the seated version for the duration of this cycle plus further cycles of the W.M. 

Today's session was certainly intense. My focus and energy were high, thanks to my meals being perfect (I trained after 3 as opposed to 2 meals today), my supplementation being on point and setting PR's left and right. I'm loving this style of training and cannot wait to hit it hard again on Wednesday!

- Ian 

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"Week of Waterbury:" Week 2 Results and Reflections

Great week of training! Every session was very intense and focused - just where I'd like them to be. In fact, I could say this was one of the best weeks of training I have ever had! Overall, a great week and an awesome start to the new year.


Chin Ups: Bodyweight + 35 pounds for 10 sets of 3 reps

Decline Bench: 220 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


Hammer Curls: 45 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

Seated Calf Raises: 180 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


Leg Curls: 75 pounds for 2 sets of 6 reps / 80 pounds for 2 sets of 6 reps

Barbell Lunges: 130 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

The chin ups felt great, almost too easy. I was very motivated when I flew through those 10 sets. Decline bench was definitely a challenge. I need to focus on being more explosive off my chest in order to reap the full benefits. Hammer curls felt great - making improvements here every week (which is awesome, because my arms are a weak point for me). The seated calf raises are measured in 4 forty-five pound plates on a machine and were strong as always. The lying leg curls are actually bothering the outer, right-hand side of my right knee when I curl the weight... I'm switching to seated curls this week to see if I can alleviate this. Finally, the barbell lunges remain consistent and strong.


Cardio: jogging. 5 minute warm up, 15 minute jog, 5 minute cool down.


Incline DB Presses: 85 pounds for 10 sets of 3 reps

DB Deadlift: 115 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


DB Military Presses: 65 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

Calf Raises: 920 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


Lateral Raises: 25 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

Close Grip Bench Press: 175 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

This session really offers everyone a glimpse at the huge strength difference between my upper and lower body. My lower body has always been very strong and my legs reflect this. I can also say, with confidence, that this was one of my best training sessions EVER. The intensity was off the charts! No real comments or complaints about the day... Everything seemed to be perfect.


Barbell Complex - 3 rounds

Decided to change things up a little and try a barbell complex for cardio today. I loved it! Definitely worth trying if one needs to get away from the treadmill for a while.


Squats: 310 pounds for 10 sets of 3 reps

Dips: 60 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


DB Rows: 100 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

Barbell Curls: 75 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps


Skullcrushers: 75 pounds for 4 sets of 6 reps

Great training session! I trained at famous Jakked Hardcore Gym in Montgomery, Illinois for this session. The hardcore atmosphere definitely helped push me. The squats were done in Olympic weightlifting shoes, so I really got deep on each rep. 


Barbell Complex - 3 rounds

More complexes! I really loved these the first time around and I figured you could never have too much of a good thing...especially when it's helping keep my body fat levels in check. ;) 

Overall, a great week of training! I did have a cheat meal on Thursday night, which I feel like contributed to my almost shocking gain of 3.6 pounds this week...crazy! No cheating this coming week and I will train extra hard!

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"Week of Waterbury:" Week 1 Results and Reflections

Yesterday concluded my first official week of Chad Waterbury's "Waterbury Method," a total body, high-frequency training routine found on T-Nation. The goal of the program is to lift relatively high loads (80% or greater) for 10 sets of 3 reps in an explosive fashion, followed by other movements for 4 sets of 6 reps with a similar load. The program focuses on compound movements and avoiding muscular failure to facilitate recovery and promote multiple training sessions for each body part.

With week 1 in the books, I can say with confidence that I am enjoying Dr. Waterbury's program. I have always been a fan of explosive lifting and questioned whether or not I could hit body parts multiple times a week. I am feeling strong and healthy, a far cry from how I normally feel after a week of lifting adhering to traditional hypertrophy training precepts. Instead of feeling burnt out and achey, I feel refreshed and motivated. This can no doubt be attributed to the avoidance of muscular failure and the relatively quick training sessions.

Also, this is my first week back from my first major injury (very bad neck strain and neural problems) that sidelined me for 3 weeks, so my numbers are not stellar or what I'm used to. 


Chin Ups: 10 sets of 3 reps with bodyweight + 25 pounds 

Decline Bench: 4 sets of 6 reps with 215 pounds


Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 6 reps with 40 pounds

Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets of 6 reps with 115 pounds (need to go heavier here)


Leg Curls: 4 sets of 6 reps with 70 pounds

Barbell Lunges: 4 sets of 6 reps with 125 pounds 


Cardio: 15 minutes on the treadmill, walking at a deliberate pace


Incline DB Press: 10 sets of 3 reps with 80 pounds

DB Stiff Leg Deadlift: 4 sets of 6 reps with 100 pounds


DB Military Press: 4 sets of 6 reps with 60 pounds

Calf Raises: 4 sets of 6 reps with 900 pounds


Upright Rows:* 2 sets of 6 reps with 85 pounds / DB Lateral Raises: 2 sets of 6 reps with 30 pounds

Close Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 reps with 165 pounds

*After the second set of upright rows, I knew this movement was bothering my shoulders. I switched to lateral raises and will use them again next time.


15 minutes of cardio, walking, deliberate pace, outside


Squats: 10 sets of 3 reps with 295 pounds

Dips: 4 sets of 6 reps with 55 pounds


DB Rows: 4 sets of 6 reps with 95 pounds

Skullcrushers: 4 sets of 6 reps with 75 pounds (I need to go heavier on these)


Barbell Curls: 4 sets of 6 reps with 75 pounds (close grip) 

Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets of 6 reps with bodyweight

This workout was at Jakked Hardcore Gym in Montgomery, Illinois. Being the famous strongman/powerlifting gym it is, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try some Atlas stones.

Atlas stones: 135 pound stone for 2 sets of 4 reps (placing the stone upon the shelf) 


New Year's Eve is no excuse not to get your cardio done. This time, I decided to shy away from the monotony of the treadmill and hit the heavy bag for a few rounds.

Heavy Bag, 5 rounds of 2 minutes



I ended the week weighing 196.8 pounds, exactly 1 pound heavier than when I began. So far so good! I will up the intensity of the cardio a little in order to reach my goal of 2.5-3 pounds at the end of the 4 weeks. 

As I said before, I am really enjoying the more rest days and higher frequency the Waterbury Method uses. I am looking forward to this weeks workouts, where I will use 82.5% of my 1RM for my major movements. 

Stay tuned!

- Ian 

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I guess my youthful tenacity got the best of me last week. While doing a leg press, I strained to such a degree that I induced a very painful headache, light headedness and I actually threw up shortly afterwards. Typical leg day, huh? Well, it turns out the injury could be more serious than I originally anticipated. I have an MRI scheduled for sometime this coming week to diagnose the problem. I will keep all of my Bodyspace friends and members of the community updated on my condition as soon as I know more. For now, let's hope and pray that the injury isn't too serious and I can get back to hoisting some iron!

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The Offseason Begins!

Today is day one of my first serious offseason. I'm excited to begin building an even better foundation to work with for my next competitive season. My motivation is sky high; being a competitive athlete again helped give me that edge. I'm looking to make this the best 8 months of lifting I've ever had.

I am following the 12 Week Daily Bulking Trainer to help me add lean mass. I did my research and found that many of its participants were seeing great results when following it to a "T." I am determined to become part of those testimonials throughout these next 3 months. Overall, I am looking to add more quality size to my upper body in order to balance it out with my legs.

Offseason training (if done seriously) is going to be brutal. It'll test my will day in and day out, but I am confident that I can win this war with the iron. I'm going to come out bigger, badder and hungrier than ever. I've tasted victory on a bodybuilding stage and felt the bittersweet feeling of a runner-up. Having my hand held high in front of 1,000 plus people is a surreal feeling and I intend to feel it again next year.

To give you all a perspective of where I'm at nutrition-wise, I am slowly adding carbs back into my diet to prevent expedited fat gain. Adding 25g per week (tonight was my last day at 125g) has helped me put on little to no body fat following my two shows, which is motivating me to no end. The fact that I was able to control myself all week (with the exception of one well-deserved cheat meal) fires me up. I know I can nail my nutrition for this offseason, and I cannot wait until my macros are at an efficient level for me to gain lean mass.

In a nutshell, that's where I'm at right now. I completed "Upper Body A" day for the D.B.T. and felt strong and confident in the weight room. While I may not be lifting as heavy as I am used to, I know that form supersedes weight when it comes to building slabs of muscle. I plan on keeping my form strict, really feeling the muscle(s) work and staying confident that doing so will propel me through my plateaus and lead to new gains. Time will tell.

 For now, it's time to put in the work. Skin meets iron once again in the pursuit of a championship body.

Let's kill it. 

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The Rush of Competing

These past two weekends, I competed in two bodybuilding shows after three years of training. I felt like I had built a physique worthy of holding its own on stage and I was confident that I could bring a winning package.

To preface, I had originally anticipated competing in 2009; however, after much thought, I decided against it. I didn't feel that my physique was ready to undergo the rigors of contest dieting and the training to go along with it. I took two more years to build up a stronger foundation and finally began my first contest prep in the summer of 2011.

The decision to not compete in 2009 turned out to be one of the best ones I've made in my bodybuilding career. Not only did I drastically improve my physique, but I also gained a healthy amount of knowledge regarding training, nutrition and supplementation (a lot of it coming from Bodybuilding.com). 

Prepping for my first show was a roller coaster. I had my ups and downs - one minute I'd be ready to hit the gym and tear the weights apart; the next minute I'd tell myself I won't get out of bed that day. It's amazing how everything people say about contest dieting ends up being true. Mood swings, hunger pangs, lethargy and demotivation all come along with contest prep. However, it is one's mental toughness that enables them to get through it, and I was going to prove I was tough enough.

After 13 weeks of dieting, I stepped on stage for the first time at the NPC Midwest Ironman Bodybuilding Championships in Chicago, Illinois. I'll admit that I was nervous because it was my first show, but I was more so excited to showcase all of my hard work. Prejudging flew by and the night show was a blast. I nailed my posing routine and was completely confident in myself. After a whirlwind evening, I was announced the overall winner in the teenage men class and was escorted to center stage to accept the overall trophy. It was a surreal feeling that I don't think can be matched.

The following weekend, I stepped on stage again at the NPC Natural Mid-States Muscle Classic in Rockford, Illinois. My confidence was high coming off my victory the previous weekend, and I felt positive about the show once I arrived. Once the competitor's meeting was over, it was time to pump up and hit the stage.

Prejudging went well - I was moved right to the middle of the pack almost immediately. I felt like the judges were comparing everyone else to me, and it filled me with a sense of power and confidence. Once it was over, I headed back to the hotel for some food and R&R before the night show.

Seven hours really flies by when you're doing a show! I was back up on stage and performing my posing routine before I knew it. Because of my previous experience, I knew everything I had to do to present myself in the best possible way. I even got the crowd into it and received cheers and applause at some custom moves. I walked off stage with my chest up and my head held high - I felt like the king of the world!

The moment of truth was finally here: the trophy presentation! The head judge began announcing names and placings: 5th place... 4th place... 3rd place... I was still standing.

2nd place... Ian Estabrook!

I had finished in the top two at my second show and was very happy with how it went. The overall winner deserved the title and I am friends with him today. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I can't wait to do it all again. 

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Staying on Track

"Motivation is the spark that ignites the flame of change."

 I thought that up a little while ago. I think it really rings true to what I and thousands of others are undergoing right now: a total transformation of both mind and body.

Just thought I would write a short blog and say that, thus far, things have been going really well. I do miss lifting heavy weight in the gym, but I know that the time and effort I am putting in with this program will be well worth it in the end.

As far as my eating goes, everything is on track. I never miss a meal, always eat every 2-3 hours and I am eating very clean. Resisting temptation is the key. In fact, just the other day at work, a coworker of mine offered me a slice of cake for his birthday. Everyone at my office knows I am a healthy eater, but they egged me on and told me to eat it. It is when one is against 10 plus who are telling you to sabotage your goals and derail your progress that their will and commitment is tested. 

I said no.

I am almost at the two week mark. There's no stopping me now. It's time to do work. 

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Eating In Place

The end of this week marks the first time in a long time that I have payed serious attention to my diet. Hell, I think I've put more effort into my eating this week than I have in almost half a year. Consistency has been the name of the game, and I'm prepared to tackle my transformation. I've already dropped pounds, no doubt water weight, because of my controlled approach to my eating. Preparing all of my foods in advance has also helped keep me accountable and leave me with no excuses. Time to get serious.

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Time for a Week Off

Well, after going hard in the gym for a few months straight, it's time to take a break. 

 I figured now would be a great time to relax, seeing as I have reached the end of my 5-3-1 powerlifting cycle. Plus, I'm about to begin my 12 week transformation, and I want to go into that as rested and ready to go as possible!

I have been in touch with some very inspirational members as of late that have helped me keep my mind focused on my goals. I know that with them in my corner, I'll be able to do it! I have been lax in my fitness recently, due to the summer time and bulking cycle, but now it's time to kill it! I want my best body ever, and I know that now is the time to earn it!

 - Ian

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Some New PR's

Oh hai I didn't see you thar. Hello all. Last night was a good night of training for me. I had two workout partners, which made training much more enjoyable and social (and the extra motivation I received from them didn't hurt either!) My day was full of PR's that I'm just giddy over. Here's the breakdown: Squat: 5x5 @ 295lbs. I'm almost at 300. I can't wait to hit it; it will be a great accomplishment for me. Military press: 5x5 @ 120lbs. Also steadily increasing. 135 will be quite a day. Deadlifts: 5x5 @ 250lbs. If there was a list of "Most Physically Taxing" exercises, Deadlifts would undoubtably top it. My DL has gone from 225 to 250, which I'm happy about. I can't wait to see more steady progress, particularly in this lift. Chin Ups: 5x5 @ 8 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps Following the main weight portion of the workout, I was all but spent. Chin ups were quite a strenuous activity. -Ian

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Hey BB.com. My Internet was down the other day (apparently it's not as "Comcastic" as I thought it was), so I didn't get to post up my routine and stats for the day. One of my better accomplishments on Monday was hitting 185lbs. on my Bench. It felt so great to add 25's on each side (as opposed to those little ten's and five's). At any rate, I was very proud of myself and my progress. Squat: 5x5 @ 280lbs. Bench: 5x5 @ 185lbs. Rows: 5x5 @ 155lbs. I also tried a new little routine today with my Bi's and Tri's. I super-setted Preacher Curls with Kickbacks. Preacher Curls: 2x10 @ 20lbs. (Dumbbells) Kickbacks: 2x10 @ 20lbs. Overall, a good day of training and I continue to outdo myself each workout. Gotta love Rippetoes! - Ian

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