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What a crazy start to the year.

Not only did I completely rip both quads in a powerlifting competition, but I also did it about one month before NYC was shut down with the coronavirus.

Luckily, I was able to get my surgery done before things got out of hand, but even as I am starting to recover, the gyms are still closed.

Since I am going to be stuck at home for at least several more weeks, I have started the “Prison Workout”.

So, what is the “Prison Workout”?

The Prison Workout is exactly what is sounds like.  Its the type of workout that you would use if you were stuck in a prison cell.

It means a lot of calisthenics.

I am doing a very basic, high school gym class workout.

A) 250 reps of push ups over several sets

B) 100 reverse dips over several sets for triceps

C) 100 reps over 3 sets of lifting a holding chair over my head for shoulders.

Then for legs, unfortunately I am still a mess since my surgery, but I am starting to do multiple sets of stepping up to a small box, side leg raises and leg extensions without any weight off the side of my bed.

Cardio is non-existent since I my legs are shot, but from just using imminent fasting, I have been able to cut 17 lbs since Valentines day.

Results so far: Honestly, I have been pretty surprised.  I think if you are coming from several months of heavy lifting or powerlifting, like I was, then the multiple reps of calisthenics work pretty well.

If you don’t have a solid base of heavy lifting, then I don’t believe it would work.

Overall, I am actually enjoying my break from heavy weight lifting.  I have been lifting heavy for 25 years straight now and it actually feels good to spend these 3 or 4 months just using my body weight.

What else choice do I have?

-John Andre

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What a crazy year this had been.

God really acts in strange ways.  Who would have guessed that I would rip two quads, a very rare injury, a month prior to a virus pandemic.

For all I know, ripping both my quads might have saved my life, since I have been working at home since February 18th.

Although nobody from my office has gotten infected, I was taking public transportation every day into Manhattan, so who knows?

The good news is that I had my surgery already and my quads have been reattached.

So far, the recovery has been slow.  I am one month post surgery and although I am pain free, I am still unable to bend either leg past an inch or two.  I am supposed to keep them stiff for another 2 weeks, but I am getting restless and trying to speed my recovery.  Some people online swear they are almost back to normal within 4 months, but somehow I cant imagine that.

My workouts now have been basic calisthenics; pushups and leg raises, along with intermittent fasting.  I figure if I am unable to lift heavy I might as well lose weight and so far I have cut 13 lbs from a peak to 180 lbs down to 167.

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My goal going forward is to continue cutting weight, add more calisthenics, and by the middle of April I plan on buying some light weights for home.

But most importantly, I need to get these legs back.

Each day they are improving but I’m still not up to the point where I can get back to my office, I can barely climb any stairs and I definitely can’t drive.

Hopefully this virus will peak soon and we can have a normal summer.

Stay safe!

-John Andre

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Well, if you are wondering why I havent posted about my first full powerlifting meet in over 10 years, it is because it was a disaster.

I warmed up, feeling good, with 135, 225 and 275 before coming out for a “token’ 305 lbs.

What happened next was like a bad nitemare. I took the weight off the rack, felt light. I was slightly anxious from the crowd watching.

I remember going down fine, coming up slightly and all of a sudden my legs gave out.

My Double Quad Tear

All I remember is my legs giving away and people screaming while two guys ran over to help me stand.

Then the pain started.

It’s hard to explain what the pain felt like.  It wasnt a 10, more like an 8 and if anything, felt like one the worst “stinging” pains I ever had.

I couldn’t walk by myself, but I had two guys pace me back and forth in the back of the gym to work out the pain.  It actually felt better to walk around but eventually they made me sit down and apply large ice bags.

That’s when the pain hurt pretty bad.  I was able to handle it, but I was shaking pretty bad from the trama of everything.

After about 30-45 minutes I got my wife to pull up the car and the same 2 guys ( med students I believe) lifted me into the car.

I felt a little better on the way home, the pain went down to maybe a 6.5.  The hard part was getting out of the car. I didnt know the extent of my injuries at that point and I almost fell to the floor in the middle of the street.

Eventually my brother in law helped me walk into my apartment and down the stairs to my bed.

Once I got into the bed, I actually felt ok. The pain was down to a 4.5 and I slept for about 2 hours.

I usually never go to doctors, but I listened to my brother in law and went the next day. This injury looked serious.

I took a quick xray and the doctor said right away it looked like a double quad tear and they had ‘ never seen two pulled quads like that before, except for a major car crash”.

So now I am scheduled for surgery Wendsday to reattach my ligaments.  I have “sorta” gotten used to it. I can walk when my legs are completely locked and I been using crutches around the house and outside.

I wouldn’t be so horrible if I didn’t have a 2 year old and a 4 month old at home that want my attention 24/7.  I think my son has jumped on my legs already at least 25x. The good news is he forces me to stretch my legs every 30 minutes by playing with him

So, what does the future hold for me?

I think squatting is done. I am going to be 41 years old and I dont get paid for this shit.  Maybe I can deadlift again, but that will be a year away at least.

According to the doctor some patients come back to normal, it just takes several months to completely heal.  Then again, I blew both quads, not just one.

Wish me luck, I might start a daily vlog of my recovery.

-John Andre

 

I cant believe we are finally here!

Training for a powerlifting meet is no joke and I am not gonna lie, I felt like dropping out several times.

Its not only the physical pain and soreness but also the mental pain.  You really cant let up for several weeks in a row, along with attempting to reach certain numbers in your training.

For example: if I plan on deadlifting 400 lbs for 12 reps on a certain day, I need to do it.  I cant take a day off and I can never relax.

Sometimes you feel like doing it, sometimes you just aren’t into it mentally.  Compared to just training for fun, where you would probably just take an easy day here and there, it’s just not possible when training for a competition.

This year, my training went OK. In College I totaled between 1000-1,100. It wasnt until after College that I got pretty strong and was able to go with over a 1300 total.

I used to routinely hit 450+ squats, 325ish benches and over 550+ deadlifts in my late 20s.

For this meet, at age 40, my goal is to go over 1100, but I am also not using any equipment.

No belt, no knee wraps, no bench shirts.

That is going to take a minimum of 50lbs off my squat, but overall, I should be able to break my College numbers even without the equipment.

Overall, I enjoyed my training this season, but it’s a lot of work.  I will see how I enjoy my meet next weekend, If I have a good time, maybe I will train for 2 meets next year.

I always said that powerlifting is the best training to use over the the winter and is one of the best ways to add on any muscle.

People ask me all the time for the best ab workout, well actually, squats and deadlifts will beat any type of crunch, situps or twist.

Later next week I will start my spring training and start losing weight to get ripped.

Expect to get a full meet update early next week!

-John Andre

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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!

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

Check out my books on amazon.com!

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