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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!

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

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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I’m pleased to announce that I plan on doing a powerlifting competition for the first time in about 5 years.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: powerlifting is the best off season workout for bodybuilding.  If you can combine some heavy squats, bench press and deadlifts along with some bodybuilding exercises and moderate cardio; you will have a solid winter.

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I’ve noticed that the summers where I have looked my best I was always lifting heavy, combined with moderate cardio throught the entire winter.

Although I dont expect to set any personal bests this year, I think I can still compete.

For the record, I am competing raw. No belt, no knee wraps and no squat suit.

Powerlifting is sorta a bullshit sport. Everyone cheats in the squats. With a squat suit, belt and knee wraps, I used to rep 400+ like it was nothing.

Now? I want to be in the mid 300s. That’s ass to the ground, no belt or wraps.  So I will definitely lose in the squats, but I am there only to compete with myself.

In the bench, I am looking to hopefully get into the 275 to 315 range.  That is also raw without those cheating bench shirts.

Deadlift (the only lift where you cant cheat) I am trying to reach between 500 to 545. I usually do pretty well in the deadlift and it’s my best lift.

Overall, unlike in the past when I was obsessed with powerlifting,  I am going to use this meet just as motivation to get strong over the winter.

I am still going to use bodybuilding lifts in my weekly routine and I’m even going to continue with the cardio workouts until the 2-3 weeks prior to competition.

So that is my plan this winter. One powerlifting competition in February, then I will slowly start cutting down in the Spring, adding more cardio and getting ripped for the summer.

Updates and training videos coming soon!

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-John Andre

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I am planning a very ambitious year for 2020.

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Not only am I looking to purchase my first home in the Spring, but I want to add a 3rd income (side business) and I want to compete athletically.

Now that my 2nd child is almost 3 months old and we are sorta getting some type of normal sleep at night, I want to get back into hard training.

After New Years, I plan on signing up for 2 events immediately:

A) Powerlifting Meet. They actually have a meet coming up in February that I would like to attend. It’s been probably 5 years since my last one and I am overdue.

I don’t plan on setting any personal records, but it at least gives me some winter motivation to train hard.

B) Signing up for a big 5k race on March 1st.  That’s right, I am going do to a powerlifting meet and then 2 weeks later a 5k race.

Again, I am not expecting any type of fast times but I want to get an early start on the cutting season. Running outside in the cold is the best way to do it.

After March, there are a couple of races I will sign up for and then I might do some sprinting competitions over the summer.

But right now, my focus is on powerlifting.

I feel pretty good, the only thing killing me is a lack of a spotter. It is impossible to bench or squat heavy by yourself, so I am kind of “winging it”.

I also plan on competing “raw”, that means no belt, no wraps, no anything.

Some powerlifters consider using just a belt as still raw, but belts are for snowflakes.

I rarely even see belts in the gym anymore, when I first started lifting, everyone had one.

Overall, I would love to go over a 1,100 total.

350 Squat

275 Bench

525 Deadlift.

Those “used” to be really easy numbers for me, but I havent competed in a long time.

I will post some of my training videos as I start getting stronger.

-John Andre

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I’ve always liked training hard throughout the winter, especially in the gym.

The winter is by far the best time of the year to gain some body weight and lift heavy weights.

And to be honest with you, I actually miss running outside in the winter.

It has been probably 10 years since I have run outside throughout the entire winter and that year was most likely my best physique ever.

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RIpped abs

Right now my training is going full steam.  My bench press is in the 275 range, I deadlifted 455 x 2 last Friday and my squats are nearing the 315.

This year, I also decided to keep up with my cardio. Although I am only doing the treadmile, I am still getting close to 2 miles in 14 minutes and under.

Winter is a time to work.  Time to stop looking into the mirror and to just put in the work.

My plan going forward is to keep lifting heavier in the gym, continue with my cardio and when I start cutting down in the Spring, I should be looking jacked.

P.S. I am strongly considering a powerlifting competition in early 2020, it has been about 4 or 4 years and I am overdue.

-John Andre

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It’s kind of sad, but I think at my age (almost 40) there are just certain records that I will never beat.

I will never beat my long jump record from college.  That just isn’t happening, I tried it last year and I was about 4 feet off.

I can still grab the rim and jump pretty high but I will never jump as long as I used to.

My bench press record is also going to be tough.

Although i can still muscle my way up to 315 lbs almost every day, it’s going to be tough for me to get past 355.

First of all, I am not willing to gain as much weight. 10 years ago when I bulked up to 205 lbs, I would bench press 315 for an easy 4 reps.

Now at 170 lbs tops and without a steady spotter, it is going to be close to impossible to beat.

For the deadlift and squat, I believe I could beat it.

Yesterday I deadlifted 375 for 10 reps and it felt like a feather.  For me to get back near my record of 585, I will need to start lifting in the mid 400’s for 10 reps, to be honest, it doesnt seem that far off.

I am still able to get my deadlift over 500 almost every year without even training.

For the squats, I feel like I break my “non-equiped” record if I had a consistent spotter.

Running is a mixed bag.

I am definitely slower in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, but I feel stronger in long distance.

I think I could still beat my 5-mile and half-marathon record and maybe have a slight chance to break my 5k record.

But that big question is, am I pushing myself enough?

I have been pretty much injury free for the last several years, so should I start pushing it a little more?

Unfortunately,  I think the answer is “Yes”.

I want to hit some strong numbers in the gym this winter and I want to run faster in the Spring and Summer.

If I dont have any injuries, why not?

It’s time to start going harder…

-John Andre

 

Fall Training Update

Posted: November 4, 2019 in Uncategorized
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I apologize for not blogging as much recently, but my wife and I just had our second child and life has been crazy.

Unlike my first child, this time around I actually recieved 6 weeks of paid paternity leave, so I have been working out pretty good.

I have been on a 6-day a week schedule:

  • Sunday Squats, calves, cardio
  • Monday Chest, Back
  • Tuesday Squats, calves cardio (2)
  • Wendsday Cardio
  • Thursday Chest (2)
  • Friday Heavy Back with deadlifts

Unfortunately, although I have been working out consistantly, my diet has been horrible.

I dont care what you say, when you are on 2 hours of sleep with two kids screaming, you aren’t worried about avoiding carbs.

My “go to” meal at 3 in the morning had been peanut butter sandwiches. Better than nothing.

Weight lifting-wise, I am almost getting there.

My bench press is near 275, squats are around 255 and my deadlifts are near 455.

This winter I want to get my bench over 315, squats over 335 and deadlifts over 525 lbs.

For my cardio, I have decided that I am going to run the entire winter for maintenance, I just wont go crazy.

By the end of the winter I want to be running 3 miles in around 21 minutes.

Right now I am doing 2 miles in 14.

So overall, everything is slowly on pace. I am inching towards my winter strength goals and I am still running strong.

-John Andre

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I have to be honest, I think that Arnold is slightly full of shit when he talks about his workouts.

Arnold trained in the “high volume” era of the 1970s and to be honest, that era had most of the most popular physiques in bodybuilding history.

But is not fair to say it’s just from the training, alot of it is from the steroids available at that time.

Whatever they were injecting in the 1970s, seemed to work.

I have read all of Arnold’s training guides and his legendary “several hours a day” workouts.

I tried to follow his workouts in the past and they did not work for me at all. If anything, I started to look worse by copying his routine.

The workouts that worked the best for me have always been heavy powerlifting training along with cardio and intermittent fasting.

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But part of Arnold’s training philosophy does makes sense. If he is training chest twice a week while receiving enough rest and recovery, he will develop faster than someone only working out their chest just once a week.

For myself, I can only work out body parts twice a week if I limit the sets.

The first exercise that I started training twice a week was my chest. I found that if I cut the sets, I would be able to hit it hard twice a week.

My workout now is bench press on Mondays and then I will mix flat and dumbbell press on Thursdays. By only doing one or two heavy sets after warming up, I found that I can train heavy twice a week without getting injured.

The second bodypart I started working out twice is my back.  I add some light high-rep work on Mondays and then I add heavy duty back training on Fridays.

The 3rd and probably the final body part I started working out twice a week is my legs. I am attempting to squat on both Sunday and Wendsday.  Squatting takes a lot out of me, so I am going to see how long I can keep it going.

Overall, although I believe that Arnold was slightly embellishing his true workouts, but there is some validity to his methods.  If you can handle working a bodypart twice a week, then feel free to go for it. You’ll will get in shape much faster if done correctly.

-John Andre

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