Archive for September, 2016

I officially started my winter bulk up last week and I am enjoying the extra calories that I am allowing myself to consume.

After months of near starvation and long cardio workouts, I am eating like I was just released from prison.

Although I haven’t weighed myself in about 10 days, the last time I checked I was up at least 10 lbs from my summer low of 149.

Whenever I loosen up my diet after a long season, I always gain a decent amount of weight almost immediately.  In a couple of weeks I am going to have to slow down and start eating a little cleaner, but for now, I am taking in a ton of calories.

I have to be honest, I really don’t miss the cardio.  I have been sleeping really well, I feel more energized during the day and I feel that my work performance has picked up.  I believe that cardio is important for getting cut, but I’m not convinced that I want to keep running outside long-term.

Another benefit is that my strength is also starting to return pretty quickly.   I benched 235 for 7 reps pretty easily last week and my shoulder is finally starting to feel better so I can lift heavier.  Once I start bench pressing over 300 lb’s again I will start to see a large increase in mass.

Overall, I am excited to get back into the heavy lifting and my body is really enjoying the extra calories.

I plan on going heavy for the next couple weeks and then I will reintroduce some light cardio towards the end of the year.

How is everyone else doing?

-John Andre

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For years I have had REALLY small calves.  Almost embarrassingly small.

I always figured that I just had horrible genetics and they would never grow, but it looks like I was wrong.

In the last several years I started focusing hard on my calves and they are starting to explode.  I never measured them, but my calves are starting to become one of my best body parts.  I am actually starting to get more comments and questions on my calves than any other body part.

The calve muscles are a very important body part.  Generally, they are the only muscle in your legs that people can see when you wear shorts.  Unless your shorts are really tight, you usually aren’t going to show off your hamstrings or quads, but your calves are always visible.

Since my calves are starting to really stand out, I plan on DESTROYING them during this  years’ bulk up season.  I always say when you have a good body part, go with it.   I want to build up a tremendous set of calves for next summer.

My biceps are another story.

My biceps are “ok”, but they could be a lot better. I’ve tried many different training techniques, but I still haven’t found the best routine.  So far the best method I have found is by using heavy cheat curls.  Nothing else has really worked for me.

I am going to have to experiment with different exercises this year to improve my biceps.  There has to be some routine that will make them explode and I need to discover it.

In the next several weeks I will start to post some bulk up pictures and hopefully some videos.

-John Andre

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If you read my latest post, you would know that my running and summer cut up season is officially over.  It is now time to put on some SIZE and STRENGTH.

Today I had my first workout since  I stopped running and I actually felt pretty strong.  Although I’m recovering from a nagging shoulder injury, I  was still able to put up 225 lb’s for an easy 10 reps.

If I can get back to bench pressing 275 for 10 reps, I will be JACKED.

There are 2 keys to bulking up:

A)  Add strength: I need to put on some serious size and strength this year and the only way to do it is by lifting heavy.  For this winter, I am going to set definite strength goals that I need to reach.  I would like to get my bench press over 315, shoulder dumbbells over 95’s, leg press over 600 lbs and deadlifts over 500.

B) I need to bulk up cleanly.  It’s not healthy to add-on a sloppy 25 lb’s of  body fat and start lifting heavier weights.  I want to make sure that I only add on lean muscle.  A small amount of extra body weight is acceptable, but not so much that I am overweight.

Overall, I think bulking up is very effective when done right.  Just make sure that you don’t put on too much extra body fat and you should be ready to cut up when the summer arrives.

jaweightsathome

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I’m sad to admit it, but my season is over.  My legs are killing me, I’m burnt out from all of the cardio and I am starting to loosen up on my diet.

Tomorrow I am reluctantly doing a 5-mile race in Brooklyn and then its over.

This summer was really good for me, probably my 2nd or 3rd best shape ever, but I still  could have been a little bit better.

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2 things stood in my way:

A) I had an accident in late July and ended up in the hospital with stitches.  This completely killed my training right at the peak time.  I missed about 10 days of diet, cardio and heavy lifting.

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B) I got married in early August:  Of course I am glad that I got married, but it killed about 2 weeks of hard training.

Overall, a really good year, but It still could have been a little bit better.

There are a couple of things I need to change for 2017:

A) I need to get back into serious heavy lifting.  My body just doesn’t respond as well without the heavy-duty lifting.  I miss the solid dense muscle that I have built up in the past.

B) Less long-distance running, more sprinting.   I ran pretty hard for 8 months straight and now I am so burnt out that it hurts to walk.  I want to train for a sprinting race next year.  I haven’t run a sprinting race since I was 18-years old.

C) Less Pizza:  My diet is usually pretty good, but when I moved from Queens to Staten Island I started eating a ton of pizza.

Tomorrow I am going to run one of my favorite 5-mile races.  I am not expecting any type of good time since my training has been going horrible.  After the race, I am ready to shut down my season and slowly start my winter bulk up.

Full review of the race coming soon!

-John

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As I stated in Part #1 of my vacation/honeymoon, the first stop in our vacation was in Lake George, NY before driving up to Montreal, Canada.

montreal

Now to be fair: I have been to Montreal before.

The first time I was in Montreal was over 10 years ago for a bachelor party and now for my 2nd time, I went with my pregnant wife.  Obviously it was two completely different trips!

When I judge big cities like Montreal, I try to decide if I could live there full-time or not.  Its a different comparison to a vacation spot like Aruba or Cancun.

Overall, I like Montreal.  Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did 10 years ago, it is still a great city and I could definitely live there.

Some of the things I “Like” about Montreal:

  • Large City
  • Different distinct neighborhoods: Hipster, American (Crescent Street), Mostly French area’s, Old-town, etc.
  • Good city for outdoor activities: Mont Royal, etc.
  • Many diverse restaurants
  • Many nightclubs and bars
  • Very clean
  • Relatively safe

Montreal is a real city (unlike Vegas) and is very livable.   The only issue I have with living in Montreal is that you have to enjoy the “French/Quebec” culture.

I personally don’t mind it.  My wife couldn’t STAND it.

My wife HATED Montreal.

Coming from NYC, the restaurant scene can be slightly annoying.  On multiple occasions I either had to wait a long time to sit even though there are open tables or when you finally get a seat, it is difficult to find a waiter.

Coming from New York City, the difference in service was noticeable.

It’s also hard to find simple food.   Street food seemed to be non-existent and just trying to find a simple bottle of water becomes a hassle.

The good news is that almost everyone spoke fluent English (slightly less in Quebec city) and the American Dollar is super strong right now.

I stayed at the W hotel downtown, which was close to “Old Town”.

I would recommend visiting the following:

  • Old town: Touristy but interesting
  • St Laurent Street: Long section of bars/restaurants
  • Crecent street: Bars/restaurants
  • St Catherine: Bars and shopping
  • Mont Royal: Really nice park, can’t miss it
  • Poutine at La Banquise

Overall, Montreal is a really nice city.  There is plenty of activity to keep you busy and I’ve been told that even in the freezing cold winter, Montreal still holds a lot of winter festivals/activities.

I would add Montreal to my top 10 cities in North America/Canada, but I’m not sure if It would crack my top 10.

What does everyone else think of Montreal?

My review of Quebec City coming soon!

-John

Hello everyone!

I just returned from my 7-day honeymoon/summer vacation and I want to publish my reviews while the vacation is still fresh in my mind.  Our original plan was to fly to Hawaii, but 2 days before the wedding (Aug 6th) my wife discovered that she was pregnant and decided that she didn’t want to take a long flight

So instead of a week in Hawaii, we decided to drive upstate with a stop in Lake George, Montreal, Quebec City and then Maine.

So what is my official review of Lake George? Surprisingly good!

lake-george

I have been meaning to visit Lake George for a long time but I just never found time to made the trip.  I went to College in Albany, NY for a while and its at least a 45 minute drive PAST Albany. So figure at LEAST 4 hours from NYC, but probably even closer to 5 hours depending on traffic and what borough you live in.

The first thing you notice about Lake George is the outstanding air quality.  The air in the Adirondack’s is INSANELY clean.  Before Penicillin, people with respiratory illnesses would spend time in the Adirondacks as part of their recovery and now I understand why.  As soon as you step out of the car you notice a tremendous difference between the clean mountain air and the dirty air I have been breathing in NYC.

Lake George has a small center of town with various bars, restaurants and stores, along with several nice resorts and campgrounds across the sides of the HUGE lake.   I obviously wasn’t partying with my pregnant wife, but the bars also looked pretty good.

lake-george-bars

We stayed at the Fort Henry hotel.   Most of the hotels in town seemed pretty nice but definitely not very modern.  Think more like the Jersey Shore rather than Paris, France.

Bascically, Lake George is an outdoors town.  If you are into running, biking, canoeing, hiking or swimming, you won’t have a bad time in Lake George.  I went for a 3-mile run on my last day there and I found out they were holding a triathlon at the same time.

Lake George is an outdoor paradise.

I told my wife several times that Lake George reminded me of the town from the movie “Dirty Dancing”.    It has that 1950’s, “Americana” vibe which I really enjoyed.

Overall, if you are looking for a luxury vacation, I wouldn’t recommend Lake George.  But if you are looking for a kid-friendly town with a lively scene and beautiful nature, then Lake George is a great vacation.

I would recommend visiting Lake George in the Summer and Lake Placid for a Winter trip.  Choose any hotel in downtown and you can’t go wrong.  Once you park your car you can walk through most of the town pretty easily.

Lake George belongs in my category of NY vacation spots that have pleasantly surprised me, along with Niagara Falls and Lake Placid.

Next reviews will be Montreal, Quebec City and then Maine.

-John

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