Wednesday, May 20, 2009

12 Weeks 15-Pound (and a Beard) Transformation

First, no laughing at my lack-of-a-tan or my beard...

...but I figured I would do the opposite of what most guys do in the TT contests. I grew more hair and I gained weight...since most TT folks lose weight and shave off the hair.

Should I keep the beard? I think it's got about 3 days left before I get rid of it...

Anyways, it's been about 12 weeks since I started the "can you gain muscle while fasting" experiment...and I've gone from 170 (photo with no beard) to 185 (photo with beard).

Honestly, its tough to tell the differences, isn't it?

...but I think the shoulders and upper back are bigger, or maybe its all in my butt, who knows.

Or maybe I have a 9 pound beard, I guess I'll have to weigh it when I shave it.

Anyways, the big mistake I made is not putting enough time into don't be a fool like me. When you do your transformation, measure everything!

Now for the #1 question on many people's minds...Did I gain some fat?

Yeah, maybe a little, but definitely a small, acceptable amount considering the weight gain.

Now here's the surprise...

I fasted, on average, once per week.

Not only did I prove that I won't lose muscle fasting, but that I can also gain muscle while fasting.
So what "secrets" did I use over the last 12 weeks?

Not many. This was as basic as can be.

The training program was 3 days per week. In fact, my training didn't change much at all from what I was doing before.

What did change?

I eat a lot MORE BREAD. That's pretty much it.

And I used creatine for the first 4 weeks and then again for the last couple of weeks.

No protein powders or other supplements. I still eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and raw nuts.

So there you go. I know what works for me.

This is a good plan and I'm sticking with it.

(By the way, in case it matters to anyone, I'm 34 years old...and clearly not on steroids. That's why it always makes me laugh when folks acuse Tiger of being on the juice.)

But back to my's what I did today...

1) Sumo Deadlift - Worked up to 365x5 (alt grip)

2A) Good Morning - 3x15
2B) Military Press - 3x8

3A) Power Shrug - 3x15
3B) Overhead Squat - 2x5

That's it.

Let me know how your 12 week Transformation goes,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS


VelocityRD said...

Yeah, I can see the shoulders and upper back are larger. Good work.

Jeremy said...

You sure you're right about those pics? Haha..

I honestly think you look bigger in the before photos!

Maybe you gained it in your legs mostly?

Dangeruss said...

Dude you honestly look much better in the after pictures. The beard actually helps you look younger, as does the shaggier hair-do. Keep them both.

Rich said...

I see no difference.

Manon said...

I think you look more muscular in the before photos.

Sara said...

LOSE the beard, now, now, NOW!

That's all I have to say. Everything else is irrelevant.

Abby said...

I'm with you, Sara. The beard must go. ;)

Alexis Ee-Khem said...

LOL you grew that much beard in THREE DAYS?!!

Brad Pilon said...

A full beard adds at LEAST 7 pounds of pure muscle...just ask Samson, Chuck Norris..and Mr. T.

Seriously, good work man...and nice to see you finally have some sort of color to your pasty skin!


Alex said...

Man, they don't get any sunlight up in Canada, do they?
Seriously, though, definitely good growth in the upper back. You've really got some geography there. I can personally attest that I have made my best strength gains while fasting.
The beard, dude.

Deb Froehlich MS CSCS said...

I think the secret was the banana tacos.

Anonymous said...

keep the beard :)

Andy said...

Honestly's honestly so hard to tell but I can definitely tell you beefed up some. It could be all in your butt like you said. Hey, that's a good thing! I would trade for a nice pair of buns any day. :)

But I like your before pics better because I can see your abs more and can see the definition in your back (your back looks even wider in your before picture). But again, that's just me.

Looks good to me!

Again, cut the beard. :)


Cut the beard.


andrewjameslowry said...

I see little difference. The back after picture is a little blurry. Take some advice from Catherine on taking pictures. :) I like the beard but, I suggest get a good barber (not a stylist) to trim it down to a modern look, full face but not so thick. I think that will improve it. Right now it makes you look like a sailor. Thanks for the post. I am trying to go from 170 to 185 lbs with that being muscle.

Chris said...

Dude, can't see the difference but the scales don't lie. it's clear that the weight is muscle and not fat - that's for sure. Fasting myth busted!

Beard looks good! Try getting it trimmed wolverine style.

Neil Gazzillo said...

Like the last poster I cant see much difference in your muscle tone Craig, but you can definitely not see any body fat either.

I'm enjoying the TT 2K8 workout but only have 4 workouts left. I hit a bit of a plateau last week because it was my daughters birthday last Thursday so had some beer and ice cream to celebrate.

Back on track this week and off the booze til my birthday in 2 weeks time.


Michael Navin said...

I thought maybe you were growing the beard because of playoff hockey...

Anonymous said...

Craig - What the movement like for the "power shrug"? Up to your chest?

Pics look good. I'm going to grow a beard....

Robyn. said...

Hmmmm, Definately lose that beard Mountain Man. I mean, why hide even an inch of your handsome face :) BTW, why is it that most women wear skimpy outfits for their pics, while the men are more modest,,, you're not even showing off your legs, or your butt for that matter!!!

Dr. Kim Baker said...

Congrats on the transformation, I personally think you look younger without the beard.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

Thanks everyone.

Well, the tribe has spoken.

There will be a ceremonial shaving of the beard Friday evening.

Darci said...

Lose the beard, Craig. You are far too hott to look like a crazy mountain man. Oh, and maybe some back waxing is in order? Just sayin'....
Love you. Love your workouts. Want to kidnap Bally. ;)

Grok said...

The heck with what the girls say, keep the beard! It makes you look like Leonidas <-- Badass

Grok said...

Hey, that said remake your 300 workout video with that Bad Larry beard.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

Grok, that would have been an amazing video. Now i have a reason to grow the beard again!

Dr. Brad Campbell said...

Very interesting that you were able to fast and still gain some muscle mass. Research is great, but we never truly know until we try things out for ourselves. Congrats on the stellar beard as well, even if it is short lived.

Anonymous said...


The beard is awesome! Keep it, man!