Q: Before the start of my spring/summer job a month ago, my muscle development was progressing nicely. I was using your Positions of Flexion and X-Rep techniques on my three-days-a-week split: chest/bi’s, legs, and back/tri’s. My strength-and-size gains were steadily increasing. Then I started my summer job, and I was a lot sorer after my workouts, I take longer to recover, and I’m losing the size I had in my arms. The job is 40 hours a week of outdoor physical labor. I thought that by eating frequently with adequate protein and eight hours of sleep each night, I’d be fine, but that’s not working. Do you have any suggestions to help get me back on the muscle-building track, especially in the arm department?
A: A demanding physical-labor job can make it more difficult to grow, but not impossible. Even a high-pressure office job presents a similar problem: too much stress. It’s similar to being a hardgainer with low recovery ability and high cortisol output: You have to find the right balance and workload so you don’t overtrain, which means you sometimes have to cut back to grow. [Read more…]