7 Lessons: Geek to Freak progress and results

As I have followed my nose through 7 weeks of Occam’s Protocol workouts, and now around 5 weeks of Geek to Freak (G2F) workouts, I find myself a little more aware of the little things about these workouts that lead to sub-optimal performance.

One example of this is mis-timing my workout so that I’m finishing it right when I am due for a meal. Mistake. Back it up by an hour and you’re in the golden energy zone between meals. Is this something that could be holding your workouts and muscle gains back?

What else could be affecting your results?

  1. Firstly, as I do more weeks of workouts, I continually need to challenge my thinking of how I am adding weights to my lifts. It seems to be a habit to slow down, in terms of my actually adding the weights, compared with how keen I was to add extra a couple of months ago. Seems strange, but being aware of it means I am constantly pushing the envelope, no matter what the perceived pain level might be (generally much less than I expect).
  2. Next, I do find sometimes that I mentally talk myself out of achieving a really top performance – I have noticed that recently, as I haven’t had a spotter as often, I’m not pushing to that extreme level of exertion, which of course, means muscles aren’t getting challenged as much. If you can, always use a spotter who is comfortable pushing you to ‘do just one more rep’.
  3. Using a metronome of any kind definitely helps the quality of the workout. Read my short post on working out better for less than $7, and see some great comments on free alternatives for smart phone owners.
  4. Rest can do wonders, and don’t underestimate sleep. I had a couple of weeks where my sleep was around 6 hours – 7 hours a night, and started feeling an old feel I used to get when overtraining. I’m focussed now on 7-8 hours, and things are much better.
  5. Another very important lesson I’ve learned is about eating. I have now pushed past any of my old worries I had about eating so much (and I’m very grateful for this, as I had no idea what it was like to eat 3500 calories), but I find that I still naturally gravitate back towards eating ‘just enough’. This is thanks, in part, to good training while on slow carb, however for muscle gain, it doesn’t make the most of the hard work at the gym. Keeping up with heavy eating can be difficult, as you have times where you just don’t feel like eating anything more.. for perhaps half a day.
  6. Taking a 50% calorie day once a week is more difficult mentally than it is physically. The idea of it scares me, but the reality of it, especially when it’s going from 3200 to 1600 calories, isn’t really a huge issue at all. I can still work, enjoy the day, and perhaps only feel a touch of hunger a couple of times, mainly due to my expanded stomach I expect.
  7. Any interruption to the workout and food routine can lead to losses. I was on vacation for a week, and dropped multiple lbs. I attribute this to my avoiding starches and not having a lot of meals with beans, but replacing some energy with protein bars – obviously not enough calories. After this, for the first time, I started feeling like I wasn’t recovering properly from a workout. Lesson: carbs are good when they are related to workouts.

So what about results?

Technically, my Geek to Freak (G2F) workouts really only covered a 4.5 week period, as I extended rest periods to 6 days after the first 2 weeks. This was due to aching like I never have before. It truly is a full body workout.

Over that period, I did not gain as much as expected – around 4 lbs with no perceivable fat gain. My strength went up, however I felt a drain through the workout, as I struggled to consume enough food to have the energy required to sustain the whole workout.

My overall lesson: Geek to Freak is an excellent workout prescription for experienced lifters, and those who recover moderately quickly. I find my recovery to be a little slower than some people, and for that reason I was only hitting the gym once a week, to allow proper recovery. I wasn’t satisfied with this, so I have decided to take a different approach, which I will discuss in an upcoming article.

Have you worked with the Geek to Freak workouts? What’s your favorite? Occam’s Protocol? Geek to Freak? Something else?? Let me know in the comments below!

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11 Responses to 7 Lessons: Geek to Freak progress and results

  • Justin says:

    I bet your results are pretty good, must be pretty ripped now.

    I am not a fan of the “body building” style training that Occam’s and G2F are writing an article and a workout plan that you might like now that you are done these. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Justin,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m definitely gaining muscle, though had a 2 week setback due to vacation and getting back into the routine, but I’m back on the gaining path now. I’m focussed on gaining mass currently, so ‘ripped’ might not exactly describe it, however I’m really excited to be gaining muscle beyond where I’ve ever been, and see it as a totally new phase in my life, where my body will have plenty of muscle, and I can work on cutting down on fat %. (Compared with previous efforts than resulted in loss of muscle and fat, and ending up scrawny).

      I’ll be really interested to read your workout plan – sounds interesting! Currently, I’m training with the ’3rd mystery alternative’ to Occam’s and G2K, though it is still heavy weights. Looking forward to something lighter over summer.


  • Carsten says:

    I like your eye for the details and the huge amount of motivation in your tracking. :-) I’m trying to figure out what works best with my own heavy weight workouts, and I think it boils down to 2 things: don’t eat crap and get enough sleep. With those 2 rules in place it’s only a matter of time to get to the results we’re looking for.

    For the fast day, I will try to do a one fast day per week now too. Just to see if it has any effect on my workouts, my sleep and my energy level.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Carsten, thanks very much for your comment!

      Your 2 principles are pretty awesome. I think they are both key, and many people miss out on the sleep portion of this equation; I am now gaining weight, now that I am focussing on 8 hours of sleep a night, plus proper nutrition. Another week, approx a month ago, I gained nothing, but was eating like a horse (around 3500 calories/day) but my sleep was not good – 6-7 hours most nights.

      I’d love to hear about your experiences with a fast day.. I plan to go to a leangains.com style Intermittent Fasting regime in about a month’s time, when I’ve put on some more weight.

      All the best!

  • Jimmy says:

    I had a similar experience where I didn’t really gain any weight. I however did enjoy the free time and didn’t lose anything either. Back to working out with the program Rusty Moore has, I still was able to put up the same weight I did before geek to freak. Works as a great way to maintain for me.


  • Jan says:

    Hey Luke, I was just wondering something. Tim Ferriss claimed he gained about 13 kg in 4 weeks, while also losing a couple of percents of body fat, during his geek to freak experiment. His book however, doesn’t mention what he was eating on a daily basis to achieve this… it only mentions his workout routine and the supplements he used. But that’s not really my question. This is what I find strange: he says that it’s likely to GAIN body fat, when you do the Occam’s Protocol… and with that, you “only” gain 5 kg per month. So how could he have LOST body fat while eating like a horse and doing the geek to freak thing?

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jan, this is a contentious issue with the book – I believe that he did gain that muscle, but there’s some things he did that helped him lose fat. Firstly, he was taking a lot of supplements, including one preworkout supplement that I won’t touch (the NOXplode) and was very focussed on gaining muscle. I believe he was eating around 4000 calories/day in food. I expect his entire routine was based around gaining muscle – so perhaps more sleep, more rest, avoiding any unnecessary activity over that time. He was regaining muscle he had had previously, which is documented to be easier to do than gaining muscle above and beyond the biggest you’ve had before. Plus, some people are excellent at gaining muscle, and some people are not – I believe he’s in the first category. Other people, myself included, would be more likely to gain 60-70% fat if eating 4000 calories, while gaining a little muscle.
      Having more realistic expectations is a healthy thing – but I think you should be expecting to gain muscle when working out, and if you’re not, then eat a bit more, otherwise you’re shortchanging your efforts.
      All the best!

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