One of the things I enjoy about natural bodybuilding, is that the sport is very fair.

Although everyone has different genetics and structural bone differences,cutting body fat is almost the same process for everyone.

Basically, you can get really cut if you work hard enough.

The summers when I get myself in really good shape, I am always training and dieting like a freak.  I am also training harder than most of my peers and that’s why my physique starts to stand out.

jabeer

BBQ in long island!

What are some examples of insane training and dieting?

  • 730 am cardio weekend cardio sessions
  • 14-hour work day fasting
  • Hill sprints in 95 degree heat
  • One hour elliptical machine workouts

All of this hard training really starts to add up, especially when it comes to fat loss.  During the winter is when I lift heavier to add the solid muscle, but when the summer starts, its game on for losing weight.

Now that we are in the middle of August, I have about 4 weeks of cutting left before my season is over.  As such, I need to KILL it this week.

My plan is 4 days of weights, 4 nights of cardio and I need to fast like crazy this week.  I want to cut 5 more lbs before I reach my goal of a super lightweight of 147 lbs.

I have to admit, it’s not going to be easy.  When you start cutting down in weight, your progress really starts to slow down when you get lower in body fat.

Wish me luck! And check out my new book on amazon.com!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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Getting cut is not that hard.  The problem that most people have is that they don’t diet hard enough and cut the necessary weight.

I see the same people in the gym year after year and their physiques never changes.  But, if you are working out correctly and losing weight, you should start seeing some abs.

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Summer abs

The hard part for me is to continue getting cut.  Meaning, when I get my body fat low but I want to keep going.  That last 2 or 3% is when you really need to get dedicated and become a workout freak.

Most people will never get to this point.

Just to make an example; this week I did 4 days of half-day fasting, along with 4 days of weights and 3 nights of cardio.  After all of the lifting and fasting, I only lost .5 lb.

When you get really low on body fat it becomes super hard to go any lower.

My goal this year is to cut another 5 lbs within a month and it wont be easy.  I am going to have to continue dieting hard, if not harder, and I am going to have to increase my cardio to 4 or 5 days a week.

If it comes down to it, maybe I will do cardio 14 days in a row.

What ever it takes.

Want to build natural looking abs? Check out my two books on amazon.com for more details!!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing my entire physique to the king, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I am just saying that my abs are better.

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Even without steroids, supplements or a strong tan, I still beat Arnold on abs.  Take a look at the belly buttons, it’s not even close.

Everyone has certain body parts that are genetically better than others.  Some people have biceps that peak into mountains, while others like myself, have long biceps that grow out.

Genetics plays a large role in how your body develops, and luckily for me, when I am in good shape I develop really good-looking abs.

Since I have always been natural, I also have to be ultra strict with my diet, cardio and I need to be consistent in the gym.

You can’t fake good-looking abs.  Even if you take steroids, if you aren’t training hard or dieting correctly, your abs aren’t going to look right.  Most of the top athletes that you will see competing in the Mr. Olympia won’t have good abs and in my opinion, it’s hurting the sport.

So Arnold might beat me in calves, arms, chest and back.  But, I take him out in the abdominal department.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

For this picture above, I cut down from 180 lbs in the winter to 150 lbs by the middle of August.  My routine was 4 days a week with weights and another 3 days of outside cardio.

Want to build natural looking abs? Check out my two books on amazon.com for more details!!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I have been training really good recently.  I finally have a new training partner to spot me in bench press (It’s been 2 years) and I am hitting some strong summer numbers.

I lost almost 25 lbs this year since the winter and this “should” be the time of the year that I am weakest.  Surprisingly, I have had a strength surge recently.

The only idea I can think of that led to my recent strength surge, is that I cut down on any long-distance running.  I was feeling burnt out again, so I decided to switch to sprinting and basketball only.

Just to give you an example, I almost benched 295 at 152lbs of bodyweight today.  I am really close to doubling my body weight in bench press.

Since I have been lifting so good, I am actually considering competing in powerlifting again.

Powerlifting is the best type of training.  Even if you aren’t going to compete, the powerlifting lifts are the best way to maintain strength.

Bodybuilding is an obscure sport.  The majority of people going to the gym are never going to be bodybuilders nor will they ever have a 6-pack.  Those people should be training for strength only, along with a little bit of cardio.

Being strong has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s picking up your child, carrying groceries or climbing stairs when you are 60.  Staying strong is very important and the best way to stay strong, is to incorporate power training.

Do you need bodybuilding in your life? Not really.

The dieting and training is healthy, but it’s not a very practical lifestyle.

Marathon running is even worse, it not, the worst.

Try incorporating some power training into your routine.  It is the best way to build any mass and the training is the most practical when it comes to using weights.

Hope everyone is enjoying the end of the summer.  Please check out my new book on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Everyone’s body is different.  When someone tries to give “one size fits all” advice I can tell immediately that they have no idea what they are talking about.

All I know is my own body and my body needs heavy weights.

Light weights do NOTHING for my body and I think high reps actually make me look worse.

Believe it or not, I also get injured a lot more with light weights.  When I go heavy, I cut down on the bullshit sets and rarely get injured, just sore.

Recently , I have been getting back into the heavy weight lifting and I feel such a difference.  Although I am down to 152 lbs, I am lifting pretty heavy for being so close to my summer peak weight.

With that being said, I am expecting some heavy weights this winter.  I would love to get my bench press back over 325, along with some 400lb squats and 500lb deadlifts.

I am also getting the urge to do another powerlifting competition.

If I am lifting heavy and injury free up until Christmas, I might enter a competition.

I am not saying that everyone needs to be a powerlifter, but at least for me, the light weights don’t do anything.

I actually look worse and I become skinny fat, like a marathon runner.

Lift heavy and run fast, that is my motto.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am not going to lie, recently I have been in the “zone”.

What is the “zone”?

For working out, it means that I am lifting injury free, running like a gazelle and my diet has been clean.

The last two weeks I have done 3 double sessions during the work week, including playing basketball on the weekends.  Tonight I weighed in at 152.5 lb’s, only about 4 or 5 lbs away from my summer goal.

Last year I just touched 149 lbs and I looked ripped.

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This year I just want to try 147 lbs to see how it looks.

It’s interesting, but I am running a lot worse with the long-distance than I did last year, but I am playing a lot more sports and I am lifting heavier.

I bench pressed 285 pretty easily on Monday and I weighed in at only 153.  There is an outside chance that I might be able to bench press 305 at only 150 lbs of body weight!

A big factor in my recent success, is that I have been injury free.  I have been going hard and heavy for several weeks now and I am feeling good.

The only thing that I am missing this year, is the hard running outside.  My wife just had a baby a couple months ago and it has been harder to escape for a 2nd gym session.  I am also missing that deep summer tan.

Overall, I have one month left before I peak.  I am peaking a little bit later this year than previous summers and I should have some pictures coming up.

After Oct 1st, its back to the winter bulk up!

Also, I just wrote a new book and it is available on amazon.com!  Take a look!

John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Years ago when I was back in College, I started a daily training log where I wrote down my weight lifting and running numbers and I kept it up until I was in my early 20’s.

I saved all of the books and sometimes I will look through it just to see what type of training I was using.

Today I don’t keep a log, but generally, I will run several races every year and in the summer I will take some bodybuilding pics. I know my limitations in the gym and with running, so I don’t need to write it down anymore.

One thing I have noticed after all these years, is that I need to stay “aggressive”.

This goes not only for my training; but also for earning money and living my life.

I will give some examples.  If there is a course or certification that you need to take for work, get it done.  Don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate, do it.

If you aren’t earning enough in your current job but feel comfortable, get “uncomfortable”

If you want to train for a half-marathon, sign up for the race immediately and start training.

If I review the last 10 years of my life, probably 6 or 7 of them were aggressive and several of them were passive.

I need to stop having passive years.

I am going to turn 38 this year and I have a 3-month old child.  It’s either going to happen or it isn’t.

Some examples include:

  • Start law school
  • Write a book
  • Go back to school for a 2nd career
  • Get a second job
  • Lose 20 lbs

There is never a good reason to “cruise” through life until the very end.

You need to work hard and keep pushing!

Good luck!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I’m going to give you a clue, it’s not from working out less.

It’s also not from eating more.

Last week I went out to an Iron Maiden concert in Brooklyn and I ended up missing my weight goal.  I was planning on weighing under 155 lbs by Sunday, but unfortunately I ended up at 156.

Of course you can say it’s only one lb, but at this time in the summer, I want to go down to 150.  One or two bad weekends can ruin your entire summer physique.

Since I had a bad weigh-in, I decided I need to train harder this week and cut down the calories.

First thing I did, was I added an extra cardio day.  My usual cardio days are Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Saturday’s.  Today I did a 2nd session on the treadmill after work. so this week I will do cardio Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I also need to get super strict on my diet.  I’m not going to lie, it was over 90 degrees out for several days in a row in NYC and I ended up having some ice cream.   When it’s that hot out, I need to relax.  It’s the same as having a nice bowl of chili when it is 10 degrees out and snowing; comfort food.

So overall, last week was a disaster but there no excuses for me not to get back on the train.

Super strict diet, an extra day of cardio and I “should” be able to get my weight down to 154-153.

I plan on weighing myself Thursday night after my third cardio session and depending on where I am, that will decide how hard I need to train on Saturday.

-John

 

If you follow my blog ,you know that I have been a runner for YEARS.

I love running and I have probably competed in over 200 races. But recently, the running has been really burning me out, both physically and mentally.

Most importantly, I’m not 100% convinced that it is really healthy for you.  I rarely get sick, but when I am running hard, I seem to start coming down with nagging colds.

I am also not sure If I need it to get cut, especially the long distance running, which might do the opposite.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

Recently I have been trying to add more sprinting and interval training, along with actually playing sports.

This year I have been playing a lot of basketball and I find it to be a great substitute for running.  It might actually even work a lot better.

There are a couple of noticeable differences:

  • It works the muscles more. When I play basketball I  use a ton of sprinting, jumping, fighting for rebounds, etc.
  • I can work out longer.  I can play basketball for an hour easy, but when I am running, I go for 20 minutes and then I am spent.
  • Since I am outside longer I also get a lot more tan.

 

And finally, it’s not BORING.

 

Last week, I played my first full court basketball game in almost 20 years and I couldn’t believe how hard of a workout it is.

In my teenage years I would play for 5-6 hours a day.  My body misses those long days of exercise.

My plan now is to stick with a mix of running and basketball and I  also might start playing tennis with my wife.

My advice, don’t forget about sports! Running can get boring.  Try to mix in some tennis, soccer, basketball or any other sport that forces you to run.

-John

 

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 this 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.

Jesus-w-guy

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!