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I finally broke the 170 lb mark this week and I am officially down 10 lb’s since my summer bulk up.

If you are a natural lifter, like I am, then you NEED to lose weight to get cut.  I just don’t see any other way to remove body fat unless you lose weight.

This year I am trying to “work” the weight off instead of just starving myself.

In previous years, I would cut my calories down drastically and lose the 20-25 lbs that I need to get cut, but I also noticed something weird.

When I lose the weight from hard training, if makes a big difference in my physique, compared to just starving it off.

Don’t get me wrong, I always train hard with weights when I am cutting weight. But this year I want to lose weight from harder cardio work outs, more intense weight lifting, strict dieting and becoming an overall better athlete.

I always said that your body will look the way you train.  Just as a chain smoker or an iron worker is going to have a certain look to them, so will someone that is training hard.

And when you get it all right, it should look something like this.

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It has been about a month since I reintroduced cardio into my workouts and so far it is has been going great.

Although the weather hasn’t been as cooperative as I would like, I have been getting 3-4 cardio workouts in every week.

So far I have been running 3 miles in around 21:15 on the treadmile.  Generally, I am 10 seconds per mile faster on the treadmile, so I would estimate my 3 mile pace to be around 21:45 outside.

But to be honest, I don’t really care about my 3 mile time this year.  I just want to hit 21 minutes for 3 miles (7:00 per mile) pace and then I want to focus on my SPEED.

One of the best ways to get fast and to cut a ton of weight, is to use interval training.

Interval training is basically when you add short stretches of speed at a faster pace than your jogging pace.

For example: This is the workout I completed on Tuesday.

.25 miles jog at 7:30 pace

.25 mile run 6:15 pace

.25 mile jog at 7:30 pace

.25 mile jog at 6:15 pace

.25 mile jog at 7:30 pace

.25 mile jog at 6:15 pace

.25 mile at 7:30 pace

.25 mile at 6:15 place

Basically, I would sprint and then jog, sprint and then jog, until I reached 2 miles.

This year I want to add a ton of interval training into my routine and when the weather gets nicer out, I want to start sprinting on the outdoor track.

How is everyone else’s training going?

-John

To be fair, I don’t have anything against people using steroids.  I could really care less.

But, I am not going to lie, I do get a kick out of out lifting them in the gym or showing up more ripped at the beach.

The sad reality is that many people never learn the “basics”, so despite the amount of chemical they ingest, they can still be beaten on a regular basis.

I’ve noticed that steroids seem to really help in some area’s and not so much in others. They appear to really help in bench and shoulder presses.

Not so much in dead lifts and squats. I don’t care how many steroids you take, you aren’t going to dead lift 500 for 6 reps at 165 lbs unless you are training hard.  And if your squat technique isn’t perfect, you aren’t going to put up any heavy numbers.

But how do you beat them in looks?

This is tricky.  You probably aren’t going to be able to get as big and you probably can’t get as cut.

Your skin will also never get paper thin.  But that good be a good thing.

The only way to beat a steroid user in a bodybuilding competition is to be super strict with your diet, consistent in your workouts and persistent in your cardio.

It can be done.

Lets face it; if you don’t learn how to diet, your abs will always look bad, steroids or not.

It might even look worst with steroids.  There is nothing worse looking than a lumpy steroid gut.  This only happens when someone starts to use steroids but doesn’t diet down properly.  It makes the stomach region look lumpy and unnatural.

If body fat percentages are the same, the natural body will always look better.

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So, what is your job as a natural lifter? You need to get your body fat down.

Learn the basics

Work on your diet

Be consistent and train hard

And enjoy beating your competition….

I am only several weeks into my Spring Training work out and I am already starting to get fast.

My goal this year was to run 3 miles in under 21 minutes and I want to run 400 meters (One lap around a track) in under 1 minute.

Last week I ran 3 miles in 21:07, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to train on an outdoor track since the last snow storm in NYC.

I am also starting to lose weight.

This year I bulked up to 178 lbs and tonight I weighed in at 171 after work.  My goal is to start April 1st at 170 lbs and then keep cutting down until I am under 155.

April and May are when I lose the majority of my body fat and I have slowly started to tighten up my diet.

If you haven’t started your cardio or cutting down on your calories you better start NOW, if you want to get ripped this Read the rest of this entry »

Spring is finally here!  The sun is out longer, the birds are chirping and the snow is finally start to melt in beautiful Staten Island.  So what does it mean for most bodybuilders?

Its time for Spring Training.

Time to increase the cardio, decrease the calories and remove all of the body fat.

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Since January 1st I have been INSANELY busy. Between getting slammed at work, I also studied and finally passed a licensing exam at work and my wife is also 8 and 1/2 months pregnant.

Fortunately, none of this had any affect on my training, but it did affect my blogging.  Now that some of my schedule has cleared up, it’s time to kick it into another gear and start getting serious.

This year I want to focus on retaining my mass.  I feel like the last several years I have been cutting my calories too low and losing too much mass when I get cut up.  I never have a problem getting a 6-pack, but I want to also keep some solid muscle after I cut down.

My motto this year is “burn off the bodyfat, don’t starve it off” And by that, I mean that my workouts need to be harder and more consistent, so that I cut my body fat more from the gym and less from the kitchen.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand the importance of dieting, especially when it comes to getting cut.  But, I feel like I have more potential in becoming a better athlete through my training, than I do from just dieting down every summer.

This is my premliminary training  program for this season:

Monday: Chest/foremars

Tuesday: Legs, calves, cardio

Wendsday: Back

Thursday: Cardio

Friday: Shoulders, calves

Saturday: Cardio

One of my goals are to run 3 miles in at under 21 minutes and I also want to start doing more sprinting on the track.  When you get older (37) you don’t lose as much stamina as you do speed.

Rarely, do you see someone in their 30’s or 40’s working on their speed.  All across N.Y.C I see ton’s of people my age outside using long and slow distance running, but the truth is when you get older, stamina and endurance aren’t the problem.

You need to work on your speed.

Another area I want to work on hard are my back and calves.

For my back; I am going to focus on shrugs, bent over rows and weighted chins.   My shrugs need to be over 450lb’s and on occasion, I can do chinups with over 70 lbs hanging off me.

For the other bodyparts, I just want to maintain as much strength and mass as possible.  Right now I am around 172 lbs and I plan on losing at least 20.  With that amount of body weight loss, it’s inevitable that I am going to experience some strength losses, but I still want to be able to throw up some decent numbers at a low bodyweight.

And finally, I have a second book coming out soon that goes into my philopophy of heavy lifting and fast running.

My 3rd book is going to be about using sprint workouts to remove bodyfat.  Sprinting is the holy grail of cardio for body fat loss and it is very underutilized in this country.

Good luck.

-John

I am proud to announce that my winter bulk up is officially over and now it is time to start cutting up!

Although I still might be able to put some extra size and strength, I have started to add cardio back into my routine and I am about to cut down on my calorie intake.

This year I took a full 5-6 month break from any type of cardio.  I was feeling a little burnt out from all the running in the last several years, so I decided to give my body a solid rest.

When I started running again last week, I was in SHOCK by how much slower and out of shape I had become.

Running DOES NOT have any type of muscle or endurance memory.  If you stop running, you lose it, case closed.

Strength training on the other hand, seems to stick with you for a long time.  Even grown men that I know haven’t lifted heavy in years, still look pretty strong in their older years.

In other words, you can tell when someone used to be a powerlifter, but you can’t tell that someone used to be a runner.

I also realized that it’s really not healthy to skip any type of training.  Since I still consider myself young (37), I don’t mind missing a couple of weeks of cardio or gaining weight in the winter.  But when I get into my mid-40’s, I think I need to stick with a least a minimal amount of cardio year-round.

I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard a story about a former marathon runner that died from an early heart attack.  Of course the first thing everyone says is “he was in such good shape”.

But in reality, you don’t know if he or she was still in good shape.  Running and cardio does not have any muscle memory.  For all you know, this person might have taken the last several months off.

If you stop working out, you might die.

Keep training, keep up your cardio, keep up with your diet.

If you are really sick or really busy, it’s fine to take a day or two off. But overall, you need to force yourself to get out there for your entire life.

-John Andre

P.S. I’ve been extremely busy recently but I should have a new workout book out this Spring including some new videos.

Today officially ended my bulk up for the season.  I went from a summer low of 149 lbs in the winter to up to 178 lbs in early February.

Recently, I have been eating like crazy so I am actually surprised that I didn’t get up to the mid 180’s.  Either way, I am satisfied with a 28 lb weight gain this winter.

With the end of my bulk up season, I have slowly cut down on the calories and started to reintroduce my cardio workouts.

Today I went for a hard one-mile run to see how fast I am after missing 5 months in a row.

Results: I ran a mile in 7 minutes flat and felt like I was going to die.

Let’s put that into perspective for one minute.

Several months ago I could run 5 miles at a 6:50 per mile pace and only 5 and half months later, I almost died running a 7 minute mile.

Now, of course you can say that I gained some weight.  But even with the weight gain, that is still a ridiculous decrease in cardiovascular endurance.

Running DOES NOT PRODUCE MUSCLE MEMORY.

If you can bench press 315 lbs for 4 reps and then you take off 5 months of weight lifting,  you will still probably be pretty strong.  You could also probably get strong again pretty fast.

Not so for running.  Weight training memory carries on way longer than any type of cardio.  Some heavy weight lifting muscle may even carry on for the rest of your life, such is the case with many retired football players.

Cardio workouts are only beneficial when you use them and for that moment only.

Even taking off 10 days in a row can kill your cardiovascular conditioning.  In July I bruised my head and ended up in the hospital, missing 2 full weeks of workouts.

When I started training again, I couldn’t believe how slow I got.

Overall, there are 3 lessons to be learned by this.

A) You need to always lift weights and weight lifting is the primary way to stay in shape

B) You need to continue some form of cardio, even if light cardio, for the rest of your life.

C) What you did in the past regarding your cardiovascular workouts has no baring on your condition today.

My goal for the end of winter and beginning of Spring is to slowly start losing some body weight, continue lifting heavy weights and begin to add my cardio back in.

Good luck!

-John

Heart disease runs in my family.  If we survive our first big heart attack we have a good chance of living to our 90’s.  My father recently survived his first heart attack at age 69 and is now back to playing tennis and skiing.

My grandfather on my father’s side died from a heart attack in his sleep.  Went to bed one night and never woke up, probably the best way to go out.

I tested positive for high blood pressure once and surprisingly, it was over 10 years.  Back in my heavy powerlifting days, I was up over 185 lbs and the Doctor said I was slightly high.

Ever since then I have been just at the regular level, although I may be high now since I am in my last 3 weeks of bulking up.

But besides my blood pressure going up because I gained 35 lbs since the summer, there is also the stress level.

Recently my stress level has been through the roof, considering the following:

  • My wife is 7-months pregnant
  • They have laid some people off at work
  • My wife isn’t working
  • I just moved into a new apartment and raised my rent 50%
  • I haven’t signed up any new clients to my business yet for 2017 (Although getting close)
  • Studying for a major licensing exam at work

Recently, my life has just been insane.

There was a couple of nights that I had some nightmares and when I woke up, I couldn’t believe how hard my heart was beating.

If I was an older man, I have no doubt that I might have suffered a brutal heart attack.

Stress can kill you and so can a bad nightmare.

So what can we do?  We all need to work.

I figure I can still get away with killing myself at this age (37) but at some point I am going to need to slow down or relax more.

Slowing down is probably not an option, so I need to relax more.

I have several goals that I am trying to accomplish before May 1st, after that, I am taking some serious time off to relax, train and spend time with my new child.

-John

This year I am down to the last several weeks of my bulk up and I am generally lifting the heaviest weights that I will all year.

Although I will still be pretty strong when I add the cardio back into my routine next month, I usually set my records for the year in January and February.

One of the problems with bulking up, is that I gained a ton of weight really fast this year.  In only 4-5 months I added over 30 lbs of bodyweight and that is a lot for my small 5’8 frame.

When you add that amount of bodyweight, it takes a while for your muscles and joints to get used to the heavier poundages, including stretch marks.

Recently, I have been feeling really strong but I noticed that my triceps are sore.  Usually, you can get away with having a sore muscle or two, but for some reason, when your triceps are hurting it can kill your workouts.

The triceps are so important, that I don’t even work them out separately.  Between heavy bench press and shoulders workouts, my triceps have been taking a beating every week.

Yesterday I worked up to 80 lb dumbbells for shoulders and something didn’t feel right.  Even when I was warming up with lighter weights I would lift the weights off my shoulders easily, but my arms were locking out super slow.  I realized that my shoulders were feeling really strong, but my triceps were in really bad shape.

The triceps are often neglected, but they can affect most of your major upper body workouts.  Bench press, shoulder press, incline press, push presses, etc, all incorporate the triceps.

So be careful.  If you are going heavy in your compound lifts, you might not need a lot of extra tricep work.  Be especially careful if you notice that you aren’t locking out your lifts.

A lot of times it might not necessarily be a weakness in your back, chest or shoulders that is slowing you down, but just weakness in your triceps.

Good luck!

-John