Archive for June, 2017

I firmly believe that if you are a natural lifter, you need to lose weight.  There is just no other way to burn the fat off.

The best part about losing weight is that it is very easy in the beginning.

If you have never been on a bodybuilding diet, the first couple weeks of dieting are a piece of cake.

From just adding some basic cardio routines and changing your diet, you should be able to cut some easy weight.

The real challenge is several weeks later when your body fat percentage is low.

When you start going from slightly ripped to very ripped, it gets really hard to burn off any body fat.

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I am already working out in the gym 4 days a week and running for 4-5.  Even with all of that hard training, I am going to have to start upping my effort if I want to get ripped.

I have gotten my bodyfat percentage to an insanely low-level several times in my life and each time there was a familiar pattern.

I was training like a lunatic.

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This year has been a little bit hard.  I been working two jobs, which isn’t too bad, but then my first son was born in April.

I am still making it to the workouts, but I don’t have the time to put in the crazy insane effort like I used to.

The good news is that he is starting to finally sleep better and I am increasing my efforts.

Today I weighed in at 157 lbs and I am in decent shape, but I still want to cut down to 150.  I think because I got a late start this year, I should peak around mid August.

For July 4th, I want to at least touch the 155’s.  Tomorrow I am going to work out legs at lunch and then I am going to try to kill it with some cardio after work.

A double session tomorrow and I should have a solid chance of getting into the 155lb range.

After July 4th, it is just super hard training up until October.

How is everyone else’s training going?

-John

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I bet you didn’t think I would write about this topic! But my son is almost 3-months old, so now I am a bodybuilder and a father. So, what are my tips for soon to be parents?

1.Get grandma over: I have a ton of energy and I am telling you, the first month is exhausting.  I don’t know how anyone can except to raise a child by yourself.  If you can get the grandmother’s to come over a couple of times a week, it is a lifesaver.  For child #2,  I need to commit the grandmothers’ to staying over more.  We did the first couple weeks mostly by ourselves.

2. Get your finances in order before the child is born.: You have 9-months to plan.  Get all of your hard work done before the child is born.  I took a big licensing test at work right before he was born.  Studying with a newborn is close to impossible.

3. It’s not expensive.  Like I said in step 2, you had 9 months to plan.  I spent a lot more when I was single.  As a single guy I was spending $150-200 a week on going out and another 5-10K a year on travel.  Now it’s just some formula and diapers.

4. Find out what he/she likes:  My son likes it when I play with him and walk him around, but he hates laying on me.  I think he cries a lot less when I hold him , compared to my wife, but we will fall asleep on my wife and not me.  I know what he likes and what he doesn’t, so I stopped trying to force activity on him that makes him scream.

5. Go outside for walks:  75% of the time when we take him outside he will fall asleep and its a great way to get some cardio done. Yesterday we walked 4 miles with him and he slept almost the entire time.

6. Check your insurance:  Insurance is a pain.  Check with your insurance months before your child is born.  I did all of my research and they still snuck some bills on me.  Overall, the delivery is costing me about $6,500 out-of-pocket.

7. Keep working out:  There was a couple of days where I was sleep working out, but overall, exercise helped to keep me sane.

8. Stay inside for a while: It’s bad news if the kid gets sick in the first couple weeks.  I’m on week 10 and I still haven’t taken him to the mall or a restaurant.  Life is long, take it easy for a couple of weeks and order out.  Now that he is almost 15 lbs, it’s not that serious to come down with a small fever or cold. But that could be a rough week if he gets sick as a small infant.

9. Be patient with your wife:  The first child is no joke.  I had ZERO experience with kids before taking my own son home from the hospital.  There will be nights where you are both up 3 in the morning and not in a good mood, try to relax.

10.  Don’t wait to have kids because of a stupid career:  It is risky to have kids later in life and also harder to conceive.  Don’t put off having kids because of some stupid office job.  Having children is life changing.  I had my first child at age 37 and my wife was 36.  We were very lucky to have everything go smooth, but we aren’t going to wait too long for #2.

-John

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As most of you already know, this week was the summer solstice and now we are officially into summer.

As I have stated before, if you haven’t started losing weight yet, you probably aren’t going to look good this summer.

I have cut down from 176 lbs in the winter down to 156!  I plan on losing another 6 lbs and maxing out at 150 lb’s.

Right now I am focusing hard on diet and cardio.  I am trying my best to get at least 3-4 hard cardio sessions in a week and I am also trying my best not to cheat on my diet.

This year I am peaking slightly later in the Summer than the last several years and I should look my best in the middle of August.

I know I have posted an pictures in a long time, but I should have some new one’s after July 4th weekend.

The only thing I am really missing now is a solid tan.

Skin cancer aside, a good tan is very important and unfortunately, nothing is better than the actual sun.

When I get really tan, my skin starts to shrink around my muscles like plastic wrap.

This year I might get a solid base tan from the sun, then I will finish it off with a spray tan.

It’s been hard to get outside this year.  Besides working two jobs and an infant at home, I just don’t have time in my day to sit outside and work on my tan.

Hopefully I can get outside more in the next couple weeks.

Although, I don’t except to make any strength gains at my light body weight, I do expect to improve in my cardio times.

For example, today I ran 1 1/2 miles in 9:45 (6:33 per mile pace)

I would love to get that under 9 minutes and get my mile under 6.

How is everyone else doing?

P.S. I have my 2nd book coming out within the next 2 weeks!

-John

This has been a tough running year for me.  Actually, the entire last 9 months has been tough.

About 2 years ago I was in really good running shape and I was getting close to reaching my College times. But recently I have regressed.

One of the problems is that I have been running on the treadmill more.

My son was born in April and since then, I have been doing only treadmill during the week.  On the weekends, I have been trying to get outside but sometimes the weather in the Spring is just horrible.

I’ve noticed that my treadmill time is usually about 10-20 seconds faster per mile than when I run outside.

For example, if you can run 3 miles in 21:00 minutes on a treadmill, then you should run around 21:30-22:00 minutes outside.

But although the treadmill helps for running outside, the muscles used are completely different.

Today I did a Father’s Day race in NYC just to see what type of shape I am in and I ran horrible.  Probably my worst time in 5 years.

The first mile felt okay, but then after that I died out.

Using the treadmill just doesn’t use the muscles as much.  If I want to get back into outdoor running shape, I am going to need to run outside more.

But, there is a weird flip side to this argument.

I think the treadmill might be better for bodybuilding.

A) The treadmill is less impact, by a lot.  I can run hard on the treadmill all the time without getting super sore.

B) If might be better for bodybuilding.  This year I have been sprinting and jumping pretty good (basketball) and I think it might be because I’m not running outside so much.

So who knows? Is the treadmill the cardio of the future?  I still like going outside to run.  It’s better for a tan, sprinting and also it’s nice to be outside.

I think from this point forward I am going to force myself to get outside more.  There are several good races in the Fall that I would love to run.

How is everyone else doing?

-John

Check out my new book on amazon.com!

I am assuming that most people know that June 21st is the first “official” day of summer.

For myself, I have always tried to get my body fat down for Memorial Day weekend.  When I was in College, Memorial Day weekend was always the first good weekend after the Spring semester was over.

Now that I am years out of College, I am starting to change my goal “in shape” date to July 4th.

When I get really cut for Memorial Day weekend, it always feels a little premature.  Going forward I am going to try to look good for July 4th and then peak in the middle of August.

Also, a large part of bodybuilding is having a good tan and until I make it out to the beach a couple of times, I will not get tan enough.

I also need to cut the weight.  This week I weighed in at 158lbs.  That is almost a 20lb loss since St Patrick’s day, but I still need to lose some more.

This year I would like to just dip under 150.  That should coincide with my peak cardio conditioning in Mid to Late August.

Overall, if you haven’t cut any weight, you NEED to start asap. There is really no other way to get cut and burn off fat, if you aren’t willing to lose weight.

Cardio.

Diet.

Hard Training.

-John

My “problem”  that I have with modern bodybuilding is that many athletes are not really “in shape”.

So what does “in shape” mean?

At a minimum, you should be able to play a full court basketball game or at least a full game of singles tennis.

You should also be able to run without having to catch your breath.

And your vitals should be good.  That means regular blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

I “allow” myself to get a little bit overweight in the winter, but that is ONLY for 2-3 months and never for an extended amount of time.

Most of the time, I will also continue doing cardio throughout the entire winter.

Lifting heavy weights doesn’t get you in shape.  Lifting weights is the easy part and unless you are powerlifting, you probably aren’t even going very heavy.

Don’t forget to stay in shape.  Bulking up forever can get you in big trouble going forward.

Too many heavy weight lifters in the gym, not enough guys in shape.

Don’t forget your cardio

Don’t forget your diet

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

People, especially women, ask me all the time if I have more energy when I am in good shape.

My first response is usually “no, I’m exhausted”.  When I am training hard, I am tired all the time and I get sick the most often.

But, now that I am finally starting to get into pretty good shape, I realized that I do have a ton of energy.

I’m just cranky.

When I am at work and the day is dragging, I get into the worst moods.  I feel lethargic, I don’t want to speak to anyone and I generally feel moody.

But as soon as I get out of the office, I feel supercharged.

After tomorrow, I would have completed 8 training sessions this week already.  That’s back to back sessions, 4x during the workweek.

I am also going to workout on Saturday and Sunday, for 10 sessions in one full week.

I also started taking the train for extra cardio, instead of the bus, and I noticed on my walking app, that I am up to 4.5 miles a day of just walking.

So, maybe I do have a ton of energy.

I have been training more.  I have been blogging more.

It’s a good time of year to be in shape!

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

The diet is very important, especially to natural athletes like myself.  If you don’t take your diet serious, you can forget about building a 6-pack and you will never burn off your extra body fat.

But, is it worth living if you never get to eat?

Overall, I am pretty strict with my diet but recently I have learned to loosen up a little.  I don’t mind dying 2 years early to enjoy a juicy steak or a bowl of ice cream when it is 96 degrees out in NYC.

I am also going to eat when I am on vacation.  When I am in New Orleans, I want some gumbo, jumbalaya and I am probably going to drink more than I usually do.

But, I don’t think the answer is moderation.  Moderation is a cop out.

I think the key is to just choose your battles.

I had a really hard week of training last week.  I hit the gym 4x and I also did 4 days of cardio, beating my 21 minute 3-mile goal for the summer.

Yesterday I woke up for work and I was barely able to move.  In the same week I did 495 lb shrugs, 17 chinups, 245 bench press for 8 reps and I ran hard including playing basketball on Sunday.

My workout in the gym on Monday was lackluster, I just wasn’t feeling it.

On Tuesday, I wasn’t feeling great either.  I did some legs at lunch and some easy cardio after work.

When I got home Tuesday night, I decided to eat a little.  I finished my dinner in 2 seconds and told my wife that I was still hungry.

I couldn’t hold back and I tore into a bag of hummus and chips.

Sometimes you just need some extra calories and some extra rest.  Especially if the extra calories are going to help you train harder.

Tomorrow I am back to my super strict diet and I plan on hitting the gym twice for weights and cardio.

Next week for Father’s day, I want some beers and hamburgers.

I don’t believe in moderation, just choosing my battles.

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

Today was a great workout!

Yesterday, I  was supposed to work out but I actually skipped the gym because I was exhausted.  Since I was off on work Monday for Memorial Day I ended up working out 3 days in a row and on Friday morning I was barely able to walk.

I also decided to increase my calories yesterday.  I was really feeling run down, so yesterday I ended up having an extra snack at work and I had a bunch of mexican food for dinner.

It helped.

Today I went for some empty stomach cardio as soon as I woke up and I ran like a champ.

After the first mile, I KNEW I was going to have a good time today.

I passed the first mile in around 6:55 and I was barely sweating.

For the 2nd mile, I decided to increase the pace and I passed two miles in around 13:45.

At this point, I knew for sure that I was going to hit my summer goal of 21 minutes.  The only question was by how much.

By the 2.5 mile mark I was hurting pretty bad.  I decided to increase the pace for the last .25 and I was able to finish in 20:24!

I can officially say that I am finally back into decent shape.  That is a fast time for early June and I would love to go under 20 minutes this year.

Last year I felt like I was training 10x harder and I was only able to go under 20 minutes once.

My game plan from now on?

I just need to keep it up.  Add more speed training to my routine and eventually I will bust out some fast times this summer.

How is everyone else doing?

-John

My son is a month and half old now and he is finally starting to sleep better overnight (thank god). But this also means that it gives daddy a chance to step up his training.

In the last 2 weeks I have thrown in 8 really HARD cardio sessions.  I felt like I was 2 weeks behind in my summer training and I wan’t to make sure I got back on track.

Today I weighed in for the first time in a while, and I am down to 159!

That is a 19 lb weight loss since St. Patrick’s day and I am also starting to run some fast times.

It’s funny, but I haven’t weighed in a while and I think that helped.  This whole week I was paranoid that I wasn’t cutting enough weight and it made me stick to my diet.

Overall, my body is finally starting to look better.  The abs are starting to come in and my one-mile time is probably under 6 minutes.

My goal for June is just to train hard.  I want to keep improving on my running times, preserve as much strength as I can and cut another 5 or 6 lbs.

I would love to be under 155lbs for July 4th and maybe I will start to post some pictures.  The only thing I need is a dark tan and I will be ready to show off the goods.

How is my competition doing?

-John

Check out my new book on amazon.com!