Archive for August, 2018

I have always had really good abs.

Part of it is genetic of course and the other part is hard training.

When I am in good shape, I can beat Arnold.

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Getting ripped abs is not easy.  It takes months of dedicated weight lifting, cardio and of course, a strict diet.

The only time of year that I get ripped abs is in the summer and that is after I lose a ton of weight.

I have also experimented from all different types of ab exercises; including sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, side twists, etc.

All of those exercises work to some extent.  But there are actually two main exercises that really build your abs.

Squats and dead lifts.

Have you ever seen a powerlifter take his shirt off and you noticed that he has a huge stomach?

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It’s not a 6-pack but it looks like a giant blob of muscle and fat?

Believe it or not, that is actually how to build insane looking abs.

I discovered this by accident.

I noticed during the summer when I cut down on the squats and the dead lifts, my abs were starting to lose some size.

I still had a decent 6-pack because I was dieting and training hard, but my actual ab muscles didn’t look as good.

It wasn’t until I started squatting and deadlifting again that I realized what was missing.

Squats and deadlifts are insane ab builders.  Just as long as you lose the body fat, your abs will look a million times better than if you haven’t.

Summer pictures coming soon.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

A lot of people call bodybuilders obsessed and I have often been called that myself.

But, I don’t think that’s fair.

Don’t get me wrong, if you won’t touch a piece of cake at your own wedding, then yes, you might need to loosen up.

But make no doubt about it, working out and dieting are the most important aspects of your life and you need to take it serious.

You aren’t worth much dead and nothing will stop your aging in your tracks like exercise and a proper diet.

This is a picture from my wedding last year at age 37.  Since I started dieting around age 28, my aging has been minimal.

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I am only 2 years away from my 40th birthday and I am amazed by how I was able to stop my aging.

40 is definitely the new 30, but I want to make it the new 25.

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Although I look young for my age, just because you look a certain way, doesn’t mean you are necessarily healthy.

In your teens and 20’s you can get away with almost anything, but that becomes a whole new ballgame when you get older, especially if you have an unhealthy diet.

Since I reached my mid-30’s, I have numerous friends that have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and I also know two coworkers that have had mini strokes.

The economic aspect of your health is also significant.

I don’t know about your insurance, but my son cost me $6,500 for his delivery last year and if I end up sick, my bill is going to hit our family max of $10K out of pocket.

These costs also may include missed days of work, loss of promotions and opportunities,  and the high costs of prescription drugs, etc.

Trust me on this, being unhealthy can hurt your career.

It’s unfortunate, but “ageism” does exist in this country.  When interviewing between a healthy looking 42-year old person and someone at the same age who appears in bad shape, it helps to look healthy.  People notice, as unfair as that may sound.

Being in good help also helps with fertility, and trust me, once you get married this is a big one.  I feel “blessed” that my wife was able to have her first child at 36.  For our 2nd child, my wife will be between 38-40, god willing.

Time is not on our side, but keeping a healthy lifestyle does help.

And finally, probably the most important part about working out and dieting, is the quality of life.

Sure, you can possibly sit on the couch and life to 95-years old, but what kind of retirement is that?

Wouldn’t you rather be able to dead lift 400 lb’s at age 70?

Or run a half marathon at age 75?

Play 2 hours of tennis in the middle of the summer at age 80?

Get on a plane to see the running of the bulls in Spain as an 82-year old?

Take your grand kids to the park and play basketball at 79?

There are a ton of people who can’t even do that at age 40 and its sad.

Now remember, you don’t need to become obsessed, but you need to take it serious.

Diet, weights, cardio.  The trifecta of healthy lifting.

95% of the time, the trifecta should work.

Otherwise, we leave it all up to a higher power.

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-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

 

I have to be honest, I don’t know if bodybuilding is really a healthy sport.

The dieting and low body fat percentage is probably healthy, but when you take it to the extremely low body fat percentages, it can’t be too good for you.

For myself, I know that when I am looking like a freak, I am also dieting and training like a freak.

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Often when I am training hard and dieting strictly, I don’t feel so well.  It’s not a natural lifestyle.

For health reasons, it’s probably best to have a little bit of body fat.

If you were to look at most of the top athletes, they usually aren’t going to look like a bodybuilder.

They may be very lean; but Lionel Messi or one of the top powerlifters, are not going to have a 3% body fat.

You need some leverage.

I am amazed by how much strength I lose when I cut weight.

This winter I was deadlifting 500 lbs’ relatively easy and now I can barely deadlift 415.

I don’t think that I lost that much muscle, but I lost some leverage.

Same thing with my squat and deadlift.

This past weekend I was in Lancaster, PA on a family vacation and my diet went to shit.

Over 4 days I had pizza, muffins, moon pies, Amish ice cream, car snacks, etc.

I think I peaked on the low-end for my body weight in the middle of August and now I am starting to slowly creep up.

The result?

Not only am I starting to lift a lot heavier, but I have been running like a champ.

Sunday I ran 3 miles outside in 20:10 and today I ran 3 miles on the treadmill in 20:07!

I am finally running some fast times and the only thing I changed, was that I increased my calories.

So what is my recommendation?

Sometimes you need to eat.

If a piece of cake or an ice cream cone on Sunday is going to make you feel that much better when you train, then maybe you need it.

Because working out on 800 calories a day really gets old after a while.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I have been working out now for over 20 years.

If I would have to describe the biggest difference between a beginner and a moderate bodybuilder, it would be with the diet.

Most people do not diet.

If you do not work on your diet and at a minimum lose weight for the summer, you will never get cut.

I know people who have been lifting weights for years that always look the same because they never change their diet.

This year, I am down 30 lbs since February.  That is from a peak of 185 lbs down to 154, and I also planning on losing some more.

I basically keep going down until the cuts start to show.

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The hard part  is trying to retain the muscle after you lose the weight.  But if you never lose any weight, you will never even get to that point.

Cardio, especially sprinting, mixed with heavy to moderate weight lifting and a strict diet will do the trick.

Also, there really aren’t any benefits to being overweight.  Unless you work in construction or compete in powerlifting, it’s always healthier to keep your body weight lower.

Remember, you might have ton of solid muscle, but it will never show if it is covered up by fat.

-A quick lesson from John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

This has been a decent training year for me.

During the winter season, my bulk up went great.  I went up to around 185 lbs in body weight, my bench press reached 325 lb’s and my dead lift went up to 525.

But more importantly, I finally started squatting good again.  After two years of wasting my time with the leg press, I started squatting again and worked my way up to around 300 lb’s.

Running has been a different story.  I don’t know what my problem is but my running has been underwhelming.  So far, I have been running 3 miles in around 20:45.

That is decent time, but not great.

I was looking to get my time down to the low 19’s.  Although I still have a month left in my running season, I haven’t uncorked a super fast run yet.

Running is a weird sport.  Sometimes it takes just a little bit extra in your training to bust out a super fast run and you may be closer than you think.

When the training is going hard and feel down and out, sometimes you just need to push it a little bit more.

And that goes for everything.

Studying for exams, trying to reach a sales goal, trying to get a new girlfriend, etc.

Sometimes you are JUST about to reach your goal and you don’t even realize it.

This season reminds me of my senior year of High School.

I had a sort of disappointing junior year on the track team and I remember training hard over the summer to get ready for my final season.

My cross country season in the Fall went well, my indoor season was so-so and then my first race in the Spring was a bust.

At this point, my head was in a fog.

I was ready to quit running.

I had 10 days off for Easter break that year and I remember going to my parents summer house in Cape May, NJ.

There was a old-fashioned dirt track not too far from my parents house, so I decided to run super hard for 10 days in a row.

When I came back from Easter break, I felt super charged.

On my first race back, I signed up for a 400 meter race (one lap around a normal track).

I decided I needed to be more aggressive in my races.  I figured I would try to follow whoever was in first place and then try to take them out near the end.

No matter how fast they ran, and these were potential College scholarship athletes, I was going to follow the leader closely.

The race started and I followed the guy in first for almost the entire race and tried to take him out in the last 20 meters.

Unfortunately, I came in a close second place, but my time was insane!  I took 5 seconds off my best 400 meter time and I had almost qualified for the city finals.

The following week I signed up for a 200 meter race (half a lap around a normal sized track) and I came in first.

From then on, my results were improving.  I had several 1st’s, lots of 2nd’s and some really fast times.

I ran so well, that I decided to run for one year in College and by the end of the season I was named the M.V.P of the outdoor track team.

Lesson learned? Sometimes you might be really close to a break through.

Just like the first time you ever rode a bike, it will happen.

Will it happen for this year?

Only you can decide.

-John Andre

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Let’s face it, mostly everyone does the same workout.

Marathon runners use a ton of cardio.  Weight lifters mostly use weights.

And the smart people use a combination of both, along with a low-calorie diet.

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When it comes to bodybuilding and your appearance in general; you are going to look the way that you train.

Just as an iron worker or a heavy smoker is going to have a certain look to them, it is the same with bodybuilding.

Someone that is outside in the 90 degree heat every summer and doing wind sprints, is going to have a look that is different from someone that just takes leisurely walks.

I’m sorry to say this, but if you want to look like a freak, you need to train like a freak.

When I am in my best shape and looking ripped, I really don’t know anyone that is training like I am.

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I use very low calorie diets with high protein, cardio, including sprinting in the sun, and moderate to heavy weight lifting.

Normal people basically use the same routines.  They never, ever, diet.

They do a little bit of cardio. A little bit of weight lifting.

Some of them show up to the gym every single day and still look the same.

That is fine if you are just working out for your health.

But if you want to stand out in the crowd, you need to get a little crazy.

Summer is here, time to get crazy.

-John

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Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am having a really good training season so far.  During my winter bulk up I benched pressed over 315 lbs and my dead lift went up to 525.

Now that I am into my summer training, my priorities have started to change.  Not only have I lost 23 lbs already, but I am running 3 miles outside in under 21 minutes.

If everything keeps going fine and I don’t incur any injuries, I might have one of my best summers in a long time.

My goal this summer is was weigh between 145-152 lbs and run 3 miles in under 21 minutes.

With those numeric goals, along with my weight training, I should have an insane 6-pack this summer.

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I have been bodybuilding now for the last 9 seasons and I am proud to say, that I have stopped my aging process in its tracks.

At my wedding last year, I was 37-years old.

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At the end of this year I will turn 39 and it is amazing how young I still look.

With my diet, work out routine and advances in modern science; why wouldn’t I live to 120?

All of my grandparents lived past age 80, plus they were overweight and hadn’t exercised since High School in the 1930’s.

Personally, I think all bodybuilders are going to live to at least 100.

The proof is out there.

Unlike many of the famous marathon runners that have died prematurely, there are tons of old-school bodybuilders that are still alive today and are very active at an advanced age.

Just as long as you stay off steroids and recreational drugs, you can live a long quality of life if you continue to focus on your health across your entire lifespan

But yet, some people STILL do not exercise.

Out of my 20 good friends from High School, only 4- or 5 still work out.

The rest?

Not only do they look substantially older but they have noticeably low energy.

Once you turn 35, your energy and testosterone levels are going to start dropping like a rock if you don’t work on it.

And over 40 or 50? You will start to become completely sedentary.

I don’t know about you, but I am still improving.

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For years, 40 was becoming the new 30, and now 40 is becoming the new 25.

Don’t get me wrong, you still can die from car crashes, shootings, bad luck diseases and shark attacks.

But those are outliers and not the norm.

See you in 2100!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

35 is a weird age.

I feel like it’s the point in life where you either decide to live healthy or you don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, people start making lifestyle changes later in life all the time.  My parent’s are starting to eat healthier in their early 70’s due to high blood pressure/cholesterol.

But most people do not make the change.

The worst part about not making the change and I see it all the time, is that you start to age rapidly after 35 if you don’t make the lifestyle changes.

Men start to go gray, they lose muscle mass and their energy levels drop due to low T.

For women, it’s a lot of the same, including a decrease in fertility.

There is no answer to father time, but you can slow it down.

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(Age 36)

I had the opposite reaction at age 35, instead of slowing down, I work out angry and motivated.

It’s hard to explain, but my motivation to become a champion has gone up substantially.

If you think about it, my entire day is disappointing.  9 hours of work, long commute, daily shower, shave, and little time off for vacation.

I have been blessed to grow up in a generation where I do not have to do manual labor to survive, I don’t need to hunt game to eat, I wasn’t drafted into war and my country has never been invaded.

But there is a downside.

For centuries, young men were born to be warriors.  We fought, we farmed, we conquered, we were invaded.

We lifted heavy stones and built homes with our bare hands.

We didn’t sit in front of a computer.

Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming at work and I imagine that I was a Viking.

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Running full speed into a village with just an axe and some body armor.

Or I am a warrior in the crusades, traveling through Europe and engaging in epic battles.

I imagine myself traveling in a stagecoach across America, building a log cabin with my own tools and hunting for game.

That was the reality for centuries, until the last 50 years.

That energy has to go somewhere, otherwise you are going to fade away and die.

From now on, I plan on killing it.

I want to train harder than any man or women in the United States.

Heavy weights, hard cardio and strict diet.

I’ve always said, you will always look the way that you train.

Train like a freak, look like a freak.

Train like a high school cheerleader, look like a cheerleader.

Don’t train at all?

Die.

-John

I have to admit it, I hate summer.

And it’s funny, because as a child and also as a college student, the summer was always my favorite time of year.

Now that I am older and I have to commute to work every day, along with taking care of a 1-year old, the summer isn’t as fun.

I really don’t like the heat.

But late August I do like.

The weather starts to improve, there are less annoying tourists running around Manhattan and it’s also a good time to travel.

For working out, it is a great time to run outside.

It’s weird, but as soon as the temperature drops below 80 degrees, I start running like a champion.

My body does not respond well to the heat.

As the weather cools off, I also start to get very hungry.

I usually peak in bodybuilding shape around Labor Day and even  into the first couple weeks of September, even though I slowly start ingesting more calories.

Part of the reason I believe, is that I can work out a lot harder when it’s not as hot out.

This year I plan on running a fast 5k race on September 16th and then I will take it from there.

If I run fast and I feel good, I might try to run one or 2 more races in Late September/Early October.

After that, I am 100% taking a several week break from running.

This year I have been looking pretty good, but probably not my best of all time.  I will post some pictures soon.

I’m in very good shape, but not all-time shape.  I have a good chance in these last 4-5 weeks to upgrade to “very” good shape, depending on how my diet and training are going.

Overall, we are entering my favorite time of year and I can’t wait for the Fall.

-John Andre

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

Bodybuilding is a funny sport.  Everyone claims that they are working out for looks, but they end up looking the same every single year.

I have been going to the gym for over 20 years now and probably 5% of people working out look any different.

The problem that most people have, is that they don’t take their diet serious.  If you weigh the same in the summer as you did in the winter, you aren’t going to burn any fat off.

This year I went from 180 lbs and now I am down to 150.

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But what if you don’t want to bodybuild? And is bodybuilding even healthy?

To some extent it is.

But how should you work out if you don’t care what you look like?

I would narrow it down to 2 categories:

A) Moderate to heavy weights:  Heavy weight lifting has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s for everyday activities or just keeping your aging in check, moderate to heavy weight lifting is important and should be done by everyone

B) Moderate cardio 2 to 3x a week:  Many bodybuilders don’t believe in cardio, but I tend to disagree.  Moderate cardio is extremely important and as of today, heart disease is the number one killer for men in the United States.

I wouldn’t necessarily get into running, but possibly play some sports or even some hiking.  You can get in pretty good cardiovascular shape from just 30 minutes of cardio 2 to 3x a week.

Overall, even if you aren’t going to bodybuild, you should always exercise with weights and cardio throughout your entire life.

For your diet, i would “allow” yourself to gain a little bit of extra weight in the winter but then cut 10-15 lb’s every summer.  I would also moderate my alcohol intake and try to focus on eating healthier options.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!