The End of My German Volume Training Routine

I started a blog on here documenting my progress during my German Volume Training routine. With a few hiccups along the way, I’m not totally convinced that my next DEXA body scan will tell the full picture.

At the start of September, I began a German Volume Training (GVT) routine. The idea was to check primarily whether body recomposition was still possible after several months of proper training. I had a DEXA body scan at the start of September, and aim to have the follow-up at the start of December. The plan was to undertake 13 weeks of the routine.

Death, Holidays & Illness

Just a few weeks into the new routine, my mother died. It was expected, as she had been battling cancer for the past year or so. During her final months, I spent a lot of time at her house looking after her. I have no way of measuring my stress hormones, but undoubtedly this will have played a part. Although I went to the gym consistently, my diet was not great for those couple of weeks, and I did not track my calories. I did, however, ensure I was taking protein supplements so that this was at least hitting the marks.

A couple of weeks after the death of my mother, I visited Poland for a week. During this time I took no protein supplements, did not track my diet and had no access to a gym. This was the first rest week I took in over 7 months of training. When I returned, my lifts had suffered a lot, which was frustrating, to say the least. It is often advised to take a rest or de-load week. However, I was still improving my lifts week after week, and so would only have considered this once I hit a plateau.

Then, as part of a three-pronged attack on my progress, I got ill. My first fever since childhood reached 40 degrees at one stage. I was sick, severe headache and tired. It was so bad that it was recommended to go to the hospital. My blood pressure was very low, I was dehydrated and not well at all. It appears to have been a very bad case of flu, but the doctors suspected meningitis at one stage.

The Final Few Weeks of the Experiment

I have lost the flow with GVT, but have made great progress, overall. As I said, the primary purpose of this experiment is to check if body recomposition is still possible after training for some time. GVT is hard work, exhausting – both physically and mentally – and the fact that my lifts went down after the holiday, and again after becoming ill has put me off continuing with it. After all, I want to enjoy my time in the gym, and I am not looking forward to returning with that at the moment. My plan is to try it out again in 6-9 months’ time. For now, I have returned to my push, pull and leg split, with strength and hypertrophy each week.

I have changed up the routine as I look to tackle some weaknesses. Rows & pull-ups are still particular issues, so I will perform more around these exercises on pull days. Also, my traps are not massive, and so I am adding rack pulls to the routine, too. I will add triceps and biceps work to the push and pull days, rather than having their own day.

Measuring the Results

I’m super-keen for my experiment to be perfect, but things like this happen – and they will happen to most people, so I guess – if anything, I can at least check the results against what happens when things don’t go to plan if that makes sense? I am still having my DEXA body scan in December. Given the stress, illness and issues I have faced along the way, the slightest muscle gain combined with fat loss would be a success. It would prove that body recomposition is possible after training for some time, and even when there are factors working against us.

I will keep you posted.


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Rob is the founder and CEO of Fitness Savvy. He's online most of the time and happy to answer questions regarding nutrition, fitness and the site in general.

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