Archive for January, 2020

I cant believe we are almost at the end of January but I am down to my last 17 days of my winter bulk up.

I havent weighed in for a while but I am sure I have gained at least 20 lbs from the winter.

My lifting this year has been strong. I am deadlifting, ass to the floor, towards the mid 300s, deadlifting slightly over 500 and today I almost bench paused 295 lbs.

I am enjoy lifting heavy weights in the winter and making gains, the only thing I dont like is the extra bodyfat.

I dont care what you say, if you are get strong, you need a little bit of fat.

It’s also crazy how 20 lbs make such a big difference.  When I weigh between 155-160 lbs I will have ripped abs, but when I get near 180 I start looking fat.

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I hit a sweet spot, which is the picture above, at around 175ish.

For lifting weights, its night and day.

At 155, I cant lift to save my life. My bench press max is at most 265 and I feel like a skeleton trying to squat anything.

At 180, I feel jacked. Back in my early 30s I would bench 225 for 20 reps and 315 for 4 like it was nothing.

I would say 98% of the guys in an average gym look the same all year round. They dont lift heavy in the winter, they dont diet hard in the summer and they never get to a level of cut like this.

jabeer

Ripped abs

 

– John Andre

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I have been lifting now for almost 25 years, and if I would have to choose the most injured muscle, it would definitely be the shoulders.

Almost every serious lifter has had some type of shoulder/rotator cuff injury in their lifting career.

The worst I ever had was it was in 2007 when I was benching near 355 lbs.  At one point it had gotten so bad that I could barely bench press over 200 lbs.

Even to today, I have to stretch out each shoulder with a 5lb plate for about 10 minutes before I train.

The other issue is that I started to cut out certain excercises; I havent done any type of overhead barbell lift in probably 10 years.

But then I started cutting out dumbbells.

After I cut out dumbbells my shoulders were feeling good, but then some negative effects started.

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A) My bench press has been slacking. Besides not having a spotter, my bench press has been about 20 lbs lower than last year.

B) I look smaller. Shoulders are a giant muscle group to ignore, I noticed I’m not filling up my shirts as much as I used to.

So, around 4 weeks ago, I decided to do shoulder dumbbells again.  I’m stretching out before and after each workout and so far, no pain.

And almost immediately, my bench press has been creaping up again.  Just this week I paused 275 lbs for 3 seconds and lifted it without a spot. If I did a regular “gym” lift I think I would be around the 295 range.

Overall, I am still training for a powerlifting meet next month.  It’s hard to peak in the squats, bench and deadlift at the same time, but I am getting close.

-John Andre

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I have been working out for almost 25 years now!

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Besides lifting weights in the gym, I have also done various powerlifting competitions, running races and during the summer, I do some friendly bodybuilding competition’s among friends.

One issue I have always had a problem with, is trying to peak at the right time.

When it comes to running, I always tend to get burnt out too early. I just dont know how to train moderately. I’m always in a rush to run 3 miles in 18 minutes and I end up training too hard and frequent.

For powerlifting, I either go too hard early and get injured or I dont peak in all 3 lifts for the competition.  I am having that problem this year, it looks like my deadlift is stalling, while my bench press and squats are continuing to climb.

In bodybuilding, it is the opposite. I typically peak too late (labor day), instead of July 4th.  I have been trying to start my diet earlier in the year but I just dont get cut enough in the Spring.

This year I have been training for my first 3 lift (squat, bench, deadlift) competition in over 10 years.

My original goal was to beat my best total from College, around 1,000, and to maybe go over 1,100.

I am also competing raw: no belt, no knee wraps or squat suit and no silly bench shirt.

Where that will affect me the most is in my squat, those knee wraps can assist by 50-100 lbs easy, but I dont care about a medal.  I just want to put on some legitimate size and strength.

The only issue I am having this year, is that I hope I didnt peak too early.

3 weeks ago I I deadlifted 495 lbs and the weights somehow slipped off the bar.

Two week ago I slaughtered 455 x 5 reps and felt like a beast.

Last weak I was so sore in the warmups I could hardly lift 400.

So my plan now, is to unfortunately cut back on the volume in squats and deadlifts.

I’m gonna try to preserve what I have and then run back up to another peak for the Feb 15th competition.

Will it work, I cant say for sure.  I am praying that the hard work I put in will let me peak on contest day.

Wish me luck…

Updates to come soon!

-John Andre

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Yes they can!

And if you are into natural bodybuilding, I would even say they thrive together.

Over the years I have experimented with many different routines including: powerlifting-only workouts in the winter, long-slow cardio outside, moderate bike riding, elliptical/etc.

After years of trial and error, I can say with 100% certainty, that I always looked a lot more cut when I kept up some form of moderate cardio throughout the winter.

This season, I have been running up to 2 miles  after each squat and deadlift workout at a 7 minute mile pace. That is just the right amount of cardio where I can still lift heavy weights but also prevent myself from adding on too much extra bodyfat.

I’ve discovered that by using cardio in moderation, I can still lift heavy weights and even add on muscle size over the winter.

Some people swear by not using any cardio, but I dont think that is healthy at all.

You need “some” form of moderate cardio into your routine. If it is not running or elliptical, you can always play a sport like basketball or tennis.

For myself, the best way to remove body fat has always been heavy weight lifting, along with moderate cardio and intermittent fasting.

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Another important benefit from my moderate cardio routines, is that it prevents stiffness.

When I first started powerlifting in college, I used to get stiff for 5 days after my squat workouts.  Now by running even as little as a mile after my leg workouts, I almost feel like normal the following day.

So overall, dont be afraid to add some cardio into your routine, even if you are bulking up.

If used correctly you will continue to add solid lean muscle and may even prevent soreness from heavy workouts.

-John Andre

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Its official, I am 40 years old! Time flies…

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Actually, the first 30 years felt like eternity, the last 10 felt pretty fast (and fun).

So, how will my training change now that I am 40?

Answer: it wont.

I am training harder than ever, it’s just a little bit more difficult since I have two kids under age 3.

You need to make adjustments.

There are also certain exercises I cannot perform anymore and its difficult for me to go insane with my cardio since I never get to rest.

With that being said, I have been lifting pretty well in the gym and I am considering signing up for my first powerlifting competition in about 5 years.

Although i dont expect to set any records, especially now that I dont have anyone to spot me, I think I should be stronger than I was in College.

When it comes to weight lifting, you can stay pretty strong until your 60s.

Running is a different story.  I haven’t been able to get even close to my college running times, although, I plan on making a serious stab at it this summer.

I have to be honest about being 40, I miss having zero responsibilities.  This holiday season has been tough between parties, work and watching my kids.

I was having second thoughts about doing this powerlifting meet but then it came to me: if I dont compete, age is winning the battle.

A 21-year old me would compete all the time.  If I dont sign up, I am doing what most other 40 years olds do; nothing.

So, i plan on competing in February. It’s fun and a good way to bulk up and then I will slowly transition to running/bodybuilding.

Videos will be coming!

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