It is finally starting to get hot in NYC and summer is right around the corner.

My training has been going good.  I went from a peak of 185 lbs around Feb 1st, all the way down to 156.5 this week.

I am also running 3 miles in around 20 minutes and I just started adding some sprinting.

So what is left at this point?

Not much.

I definitely need a tan.  I just started training with my shirt off, so I am slowly starting to build a base tan.  Skin cancer aside, it is almost impossible to get ripped without some type of dark tan.

I also need to sprint more.  I have only sprinted 2 or 3x and it is going to take about 30 sprint workouts before I am in really good shape.  I am still running pretty slow but I should start to quickly improve in that category.

I can also lose some more weight.  I want to cut about another 7lbs, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is when you weigh 156.

When you weight 240 lbs, 7 lbs is nothing. But for myself, that is another 5% of my body weight.

Overall, I am looking good but I am not in freak shape yet.  It is going to take some more hard training and dieting to get to the level where I feel like a monster.

Tomorrow is just deadlift and upper back, but the weekend is going to be all cardio including some sprinting.

Almost there! Summer is right around the corner!

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

Advertisements

This has been a solid year so far.

My winter bulk up went smoothly; I hit 315 lbs in the bench press and 535 for the deadlift.

And I also went up to 185 lbs in body weight.

Now I am down to 156.5 in body weight and I am finally starting to look good.  My plan is to go down to 150lbs at my summer peak which is typically in Mid-August.

The only problem I have noticed, is that it is taking my a lot longer to get back into running shape.

I wouldn’t say that I am running bad; I am running under 21 minutes for 3-miles.  But I am not progressing as fast as I would like.

I was hoping to run 3-miles in at least 19 or maybe even 18 minutes this summer.

One permanet change that I need to impliment, is that I need to have a “cleaner” bulk up.

My goal in the winter was to hit 185 lbs of bodyweight and I did reach it, but I also ate a lot of “unhealthy” food.

It’s hard to gain 30 lbs by just eating clean, but since I am not going any younger, I think I need to suck it up and eat better next year.

Whether is is 8-hard boiled eggs, or 5 gains of tuna fish per day, I need to eat cleanly.

No more bagels, no more muffins (my weakness), less pizza, less beer and less ice cream.

I still eat pretty healthy during the winter, but I definetly let myself cheat to gain weight.

The other problem I have, is that I didn’t do any cardio at all for 6 months.

My main focus this year was just to gain strength, but I believe going foward, I need to start adding some form of cardio all year-round.

It doesn’t have to be hard core sprinting and interval running, but I need some type of consistent cardio all-year round.

Overall, my Spring training has been going pretty good.  I am starting to get pretty cut and I should be looking good on July 4th.

All I have left is to lose 5 extra lbs, add some more sprints and continue to lift hard.

Good luck!

-John Andre.

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

This time of year is crunch time for me.

If I am not killing myself in June, then my year is over.  For July and August I should already be in insane shape and I usually peak the week before Labor Day.

20160715_065110

Sometimes I question myself “Am I training hard enough?”

Usually after a week of training and commuting to work, the answer is YES.  But then I will have a week of even harder training and I start to question my entire routine.

How to I tell if I am really training hard?

I WILL BE EXHAUSTED.

There has been only several times in my life when I can say I was completely exhausted from training and that is also when I was in my best shape.

One time was when I ran College track and field.

I only ran for two seasons of College track and field and one thing I remember is being completely exhausted during the week.

My classes would typically be from 8am to 3pm and then I would train “all out” from 5 to 9pm.

When you are training hard and especially training with other people, you will be TIRED.

I was basically sleeping through my first 2 classes every day and I ended up with my worst G.P.A.

When you are truly pushing it hard, you will be tired.

It should hurt.

If you are just going through the motions of your training and just showing up, you will never make any progress.

To become a champion, you need to push yourself.

It is also hard to train by yourself.  One of the reasons that I like to sign up for power lifting and running competitions is that if forces me to work hard.

Almost 95% of my training partners have quit over time and it’s hard to find consistent partners.

But let’s not make excuses.

Summer is coming.

Lose weight.

Heavy to moderate weights.

Fast cardio.

Time to get ripped.

20170817_062911

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

July 4th is a great holiday.

Not only is it the biggest American holiday over the summer, but it is also a patriotic and symbolic occasion.

As we honor those that have served and sacrified, I am also reminded of American exceptionalism.

Although the world is becoming smaller than ever, there are still certain American characteristics that make this country unique.

One the biggest difference that I find between Americans and the rest of the world, is our proud tradition of “individualism“.

We are not scared to be individuals.

Although soccer may never become a very popular sport in the United States, a sport like bodybuilding has always been popular and the U.S. has traditionally been a world leader.

One of the greatest examples of American invividualism and exceptionalism would be with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Although I have better abs than him, Arnold’s life truly embodies the American dream.

Screenshot_20170809-203858 (1)

 

He emigrated to the United States as a young man, at one point became the highest paid movie star in the world, and he is generally considered the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

When I think of the 4th of July, I think of people like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I don’t know what it is, but I love getting ripped for the 4th of July.

jabeer

Ripped abs

There is just something about drinking a Budweiser, eating a Nathan’s hot dog and ripping my shirt off on the beach and showing what can be achieved with hard work.

God bless the United States!

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I am not a millennial.

I was born late in 1979.  I did not have the internet until junior high school and I didn’t have a cell phone until College.

When I first start working out, I didn’t have the opportunity to review routines online or watch video’s on YouTube.

Basically, we would follow the bigger guys in the gym.  Since they were almost always lifting heavier weights, we tried to lift heavy as well.

The rest that we learned was basically from reading magazines, like Flex, and also from just basic experimentation in the gym.

Now because of family obligations and my career, I lift weights at lunch and try to do my cardio after work and on the weekends.

In my small group at work I have my manager that is 55 years old, myself, and 5 millennials.

Who works out in that entire group?

Just myself and my 55-year old manager.

For some reason the millennials refuse to work out and it shows.

I look about the same age as them,  which is very sad.

_O5C0056

They also don’t have a lot of energy.  They drag themselves into work, they leave as quick as they come in and their enthusiasm is very low.

Could it be their lack of exercise and proper diet?

Maybe not at age 21, but at age 30 and over, that will start to catch up with you.

The millennial generation are now entering their 30’s and it’s not looking good for a lot of you.

Today my group went to Chipolte together at lunch while I went to the gym.

Immediately after my work out I texted all of them the same message.

“Where are all you millenials at?” and I attached today’s workout video.

At some point in your life you need to decide.

Are you a lion or a lamb?

Do you want to conquer to world?

Or are satisfied with being a Chipolte-eating chump….

P.S. It’s June 1st, no more time for nonsense.  Hard training only until July 4th.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I have always had really good abs.

Part of it is genetic of course and the other part is hard training.

When I am in good shape, I can beat Arnold.

Screenshot_20170809-203858 (1)

Getting ripped abs is not easy.  It takes months of dedicated weight lifting, cardio and of course, a strict diet.

The only time of year that I get ripped abs is in the summer and that is after I lose a ton of weight.

I have also experimented from all different types of ab exercises; including sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, side twists, etc.

All of those exercises work to some extent.  But there are actually two main exercises that really build your abs.

Squats and dead lifts.

Have you ever seen a powerlifter take his shirt off and you noticed that he has a huge stomach?

20180107_195126.jpg

It’s not a 6-pack but it looks like a giant blob of muscle and fat?

Believe it or not, that is actually how to build insane looking abs.

I discovered this by accident.

I noticed during the summer when I cut down on the squats and the dead lifts, my abs were starting to lose some size.

I still had a decent 6-pack because I was dieting and training hard, but my actual ab muscles didn’t look as good.

It wasn’t until I started squatting and deadlifting again that I realized what was missing.

Squats and deadlifts are insane ab builders.  Just as long as you lose the body fat, your abs will look a million times better than if you haven’t.

This summer, I plan on dead lifting and squatting the entire season.

I have a good feeling that my abs should start to look great.

Right now I am down to 159 1/2 lbs and I just starting adding sprint training.

By July 4th I should be ripped and hopefully post some pictures.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

As some of you might have heard, my wife and I gave birth to a baby boy last year.

Having a child is definitely life changing.

I think I was only out past midnight once in the last year and I am happy to say I have seen him every day that he has been alive.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with dropping junior off with the grandparents for a weekend while my wife and I go for a short vacation, but I haven’t felt the strong urge.

I wanted until age 38 until have a child, I am in no rush to go back out drinking and traveling.

But how does it affect my training?

At least 10 of my chump friends and acquaintances told me my working out days would be in trouble.

I am happy to say that they are 100% wrong.

My training has changed, it is still hardcore.

What are some of the changes?

  1. I can’t goof around as much.  Before the child I could spend the entire day at the park or the beach and take my time.  Now as soon as I get to my training spot, I run, then back home.
  2. Less sleep.  I try to sleep when my son sleeps, but he is definitely tiring.  You kind of get used to it after a couple of months, but there are some days where I am going into work exhausted.
  3. Harder to get a sun tan.  I look really cut when I get a solid tan, but now I don’t have the time to spend outside with my shirt off for 4 hours a day.
  4. Weights are exactly the same.  Maybe even better.  I work out every day at lunch, so my weight training was not effected.  If I couldn’t go at lunch I would go before work or right after.
  5. Diet is the same.  Unlike financialsamurai who likes to complain about his child making him gain weight, I don’t see any difference in my diet.

Overall, there really isn’t any excuses for not working out because you have kids, it’s even sometimes beneficial.  Less late nights and distractions.

Once your kids can walk, go out to the park.  I was chasing my son around for about an hour in the sun the other day, between lifting him up 100x and playing, it’s a good workout.

I  also drink 95% less than I used to.

And most importantly, my son needs me to stay alive.  If you weren’t working out before child, you better start working out post-child.

Don’t make excuses.

-John Andre.

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

I have been working out now for over 20 years.

If I would have to describe the biggest difference between a beginner and a moderate bodybuilder, it would be with the diet.

Most people do not diet.

If you do not work on your diet and at a minimum lose weight for the summer, you will never get cut.

I know people who have been lifting weights for years that always look the same because they never change their diet.

This year, I am down 25 lbs since February.  That is from a peak of 185 lbs down to 160, and I also planning on losing some more.

I basically keep going down until the cuts start to show.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

The hard part  is trying to retain the muscle after you lose the weight.  But if you never lose any weight, you will never even get to that point.

Cardio, especially sprinting, mixed with heavy to moderate weight lifting and a strict diet will do the trick.

Also, there really aren’t any benefits to being overweight.  Unless you work in construction or compete in powerlifting, it’s always healthier to keep your body weight lower.

Remember, you might have ton of solid muscle, but it will never show if it is covered up by fat.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

Bodybuilding is a very interesting sport, especially for natural lifters like myself.

The sport is basically a combination of weights, cardio and a proper diet.  Until you can find the proper routine that works for you, you will never build muscle or remove any significant body fat.

I have experimented with all different types of routines over the years and I have become really good at removing my body fat.  But, there is always room for improvement.

20160715_065110

Several years ago I went to a wine making event with some relatives in New Jersey.

My uncle paid for several barrels of wine for the entire year that he was going to make and then bottle himself in a large factory.

One of the key factors in making your own wine or beer, is that you have to be sanitary.  If the batch gets contaminated you are going to end up with a large barrel of smelly vinegar instead of wine.

I also learned that you can actually make adjustments mid way into the fermentation.

The owner of the wine factory explained to me that by checking the p.h. balance during the fermentation ,they could actually do small adjustments to “fix” or correct the wine.

It’s the same way with bodybuilding.

Whether you are planting a tree, making wine or building a muscle; it is all very similar.

This year I already lost over 25 lbs of body weight since the winter and I running 3-miles in around 21 minutes.

Since my running time is right around where I need it to be, now I am going to refocus on heavy weight lifting.

I’ve noticed that in the past several years, I felt like I went overboard with the cardio and ended up losing too much muscle.

This year it is different.

I plan on cutting back on the amount of cardio sessions, but increase the intensity, while attempting to go heavier with the weights.

The weights are really the key.

With cardio and my diet I can remove the bodyfat, but I need continue heavy lifting to build any muscle.

That means heavy bench press, squats and dead lifts, along with shoulder dumbbells, bicep curls and other power-related lifting.

Don’t be afraid to change your routine.

If you still are carrying too much bodyfat, increase the cardio and improve your diet.

If your bodyfat percentage is low and your muscle mass is lacking; hit the heavy weights.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

Spring training is over.

Since the end of the winter I have lost over 20 lbs and I got my 3-mile run down to 21:10.

Now that I am in decent cardio vascular shape and I have lost the body weight, the only thing left for me is hard-core bodybuilding.

I want to look good by July 4th, by the middle of August, I want to look like the best in the world.

20170901_061455

So, how can I obtain these goals?

A) Need to focus more on the weights:  I have been running a lot recently and I feel that it is starting to affect my gym workouts.  Starting this week, my emphasis will be more on the weight training and less on the cardio.

B) Less cardio but more intensity.  I am in decent running shape, so I just need to work on my speed.  Less workouts, but more intensity in my training.

C) Stricter diet.  I lost over 20 lbs already, but I need to cut another 10 to start looking ripped.  The last ten are always the hardest.

Overall, bodybuilding season is officially here!

If you haven’t starting training yet, you can still look “ok” by July 4th if you start now, but you can’t wait much longer.

Almost every summer the gym gets packed in late June before most people quit again.

Start now.

Add some cardio, cut body weight and lift heavy to moderate weights.

More to come!

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast