My “problem”  that I have with modern bodybuilding is that many athletes are not really “in shape”.

So what does “in shape” mean?

At a minimum, you should be able to play a full court basketball game or at least a full game of singles tennis.

You should also be able to run without having to catch your breath.

And your vitals should be good.  That means regular blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

I “allow” myself to get a little bit overweight in the winter, but that is ONLY for 2-3 months and never for an extended amount of time.

Most of the time, I will also continue doing cardio throughout the entire winter.

Lifting heavy weights doesn’t get you in shape.  Lifting weights is the easy part and unless you are powerlifting, you probably aren’t even going very heavy.

Don’t forget to stay in shape.  Bulking up forever can get you in big trouble going forward.

Too many heavy weight lifters in the gym, not enough guys in shape.

Don’t forget your cardio

Don’t forget your diet

-John

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People, especially women, ask me all the time if I have more energy when I am in good shape.

My first response is usually “no, I’m exhausted”.  When I am training hard, I am tired all the time and I get sick the most often.

But, now that I am finally starting to get into pretty good shape, I realized that I do have a ton of energy.

I’m just cranky.

When I am at work and the day is dragging, I get into the worst moods.  I feel lethargic, I don’t want to speak to anyone and I generally feel moody.

But as soon as I get out of the office, I feel supercharged.

After tomorrow, I would have completed 8 training sessions this week already.  That’s back to back sessions, 4x during the workweek.

I am also going to workout on Saturday and Sunday, for 10 sessions in one full week.

I also started taking the train for extra cardio, instead of the bus, and I noticed on my walking app, that I am up to 4.5 miles a day of just walking.

So, maybe I do have a ton of energy.

I have been training more.  I have been blogging more.

It’s a good time of year to be in shape!

-John

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The diet is very important, especially to natural athletes like myself.  If you don’t take your diet serious, you can forget about building a 6-pack and you will never burn off your extra body fat.

But, is it worth living if you never get to eat?

Overall, I am pretty strict with my diet but recently I have learned to loosen up a little.  I don’t mind dying 2 years early to enjoy a juicy steak or a bowl of ice cream when it is 96 degrees out in NYC.

I am also going to eat when I am on vacation.  When I am in New Orleans, I want some gumbo, jumbalaya and I am probably going to drink more than I usually do.

But, I don’t think the answer is moderation.  Moderation is a cop out.

I think the key is to just choose your battles.

I had a really hard week of training last week.  I hit the gym 4x and I also did 4 days of cardio, beating my 21 minute 3-mile goal for the summer.

Yesterday I woke up for work and I was barely able to move.  In the same week I did 495 lb shrugs, 17 chinups, 245 bench press for 8 reps and I ran hard including playing basketball on Sunday.

My workout in the gym on Monday was lackluster, I just wasn’t feeling it.

On Tuesday, I wasn’t feeling great either.  I did some legs at lunch and some easy cardio after work.

When I got home Tuesday night, I decided to eat a little.  I finished my dinner in 2 seconds and told my wife that I was still hungry.

I couldn’t hold back and I tore into a bag of hummus and chips.

Sometimes you just need some extra calories and some extra rest.  Especially if the extra calories are going to help you train harder.

Tomorrow I am back to my super strict diet and I plan on hitting the gym twice for weights and cardio.

Next week for Father’s day, I want some beers and hamburgers.

I don’t believe in moderation, just choosing my battles.

-John

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Today was a great workout!

Yesterday, I  was supposed to work out but I actually skipped the gym because I was exhausted.  Since I was off on work Monday for Memorial Day I ended up working out 3 days in a row and on Friday morning I was barely able to walk.

I also decided to increase my calories yesterday.  I was really feeling run down, so yesterday I ended up having an extra snack at work and I had a bunch of mexican food for dinner.

It helped.

Today I went for some empty stomach cardio as soon as I woke up and I ran like a champ.

After the first mile, I KNEW I was going to have a good time today.

I passed the first mile in around 6:55 and I was barely sweating.

For the 2nd mile, I decided to increase the pace and I passed two miles in around 13:45.

At this point, I knew for sure that I was going to hit my summer goal of 21 minutes.  The only question was by how much.

By the 2.5 mile mark I was hurting pretty bad.  I decided to increase the pace for the last .25 and I was able to finish in 20:24!

I can officially say that I am finally back into decent shape.  That is a fast time for early June and I would love to go under 20 minutes this year.

Last year I felt like I was training 10x harder and I was only able to go under 20 minutes once.

My game plan from now on?

I just need to keep it up.  Add more speed training to my routine and eventually I will bust out some fast times this summer.

How is everyone else doing?

-John

My son is a month and half old now and he is finally starting to sleep better overnight (thank god). But this also means that it gives daddy a chance to step up his training.

In the last 2 weeks I have thrown in 8 really HARD cardio sessions.  I felt like I was 2 weeks behind in my summer training and I wan’t to make sure I got back on track.

Today I weighed in for the first time in a while, and I am down to 159!

That is a 19 lb weight loss since St. Patrick’s day and I am also starting to run some fast times.

It’s funny, but I haven’t weighed in a while and I think that helped.  This whole week I was paranoid that I wasn’t cutting enough weight and it made me stick to my diet.

Overall, my body is finally starting to look better.  The abs are starting to come in and my one-mile time is probably under 6 minutes.

My goal for June is just to train hard.  I want to keep improving on my running times, preserve as much strength as I can and cut another 5 or 6 lbs.

I would love to be under 155lbs for July 4th and maybe I will start to post some pictures.  The only thing I need is a dark tan and I will be ready to show off the goods.

How is my competition doing?

-John

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During the last couple years I have noticed an interesting pattern.  When I start cutting up for the year, it generally takes me 2 and 1/2 months to get cut.

This year, I am about 2 weeks behind schedule.  My son was born in mid April and I ended up missing about 10 days of hard lifting and dieting.

Just recently have I finally started to see my abs pop out. I think another week or two of hard training and I should start looking pretty good.

The other problem is that I am missing a sun tan.  This year I am whiter than a glass of skim milk.

No matter what anyone tells you, a good sun tan is really important for bodybuilding.  Not only does it shrink the skin, making you appear more cut, but it also brings out the veins.

Now that I am getting older (37), I am slightly concerned about skin cancer.  I might try a spray tan and see how it looks.  It’s probably not the same, but I’m not a professional bodybuilder and I don’t need the health risks.

How is everyone else doing?

-John

No, I am not talking about speeding up your metabolism.  I think that is some b.s. science make up from supplement companies.

Eat every two hours, get fatter every two hours.

I guess I shouldn’t say it doesn’t work because everyone is different, but for me, that doesn’t work at all.

I NEED to lose weight, or I don’t get cut.  There is no other way around it. And the only way I lose weight is by cutting the calories or upping the intensity of my cardio.

In the last couple years, I have had a problem where I lose weight too quick.  It’s important to lose weight but when I lose weigh too fast I end up burning off too much muscle.

This year I have been losing it slow by accident.  My first son was born last month and it killed my diet and training for 2 weeks.  I am staying patient but I’m probably 2 weeks behind where I want to be this spring.

But instead of cutting 10 lb’s in one month, I am trying to “TIME” the way I eat.

Instead of eating too early or late at night, I am trying a new method this year.  I am eating RIGHT before I go the gym.

I am also trying to eat more when I KNOW that I am going to work out hard.

I’ve had several days where I planned on training super hard and I just felt too worn down from the lack of sleep and calories.

Now, I am trying to eat more on days that I am know I am going to work out hard.  I am allowing myself to have some extra calories, just to make sure that I KILL it in the gym.

Diet is very important, but it isn’t everything.  After you have been lifting and training for a long time, the big difference is really in the intensity.

My diet is always going to be good, I know what to eat by now.  I just need to pick up the intensity.

If you can train harder while slightly increasing the calories, you may be able to burn off even more bodyfat because you are training harder.

-John

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Recently, it has been hard to get my workouts in.  I haven’t really missed any days, but I’ve been very overtired between working two jobs and having an infant at home.

But, no excuses.

My routine this Spring has been weights 4x a week at lunch, with cardio 2x after work and one extra cardio day on the weekend.

Because I do not have a ton of time to train, especially after work, I have been using the time I do have to train INTENSELY.

For my 2 cardio sessions during the week, I only train for 30 minutes each.

Basically, I have been running straight to the gym as soon as I get out of work, strip down in 3 minutes and then run as hard as I can for 20 minutes.  Afterwards,  I throw my clothes back on, grab my work bag and run straight to my ferry.

The results have been great so far!  Since I don’t have a lot of time, I don’t screw around.

Yesterday I ran a half mile at a 6:22 pace, followed by another half mile at a 7:15 pace,  and kept going using faster and slower intervals until I reached 3 miles.  By the end of the workout I was drenched with sweat.

I’m really amazed that some people still don’t work out.  I have a wife and a one-month old son and the last thing I need is to die early because I am too lazy to exercise.

Only 30 minutes a day can make a ton of difference.

Even if you don’t want to run, add 30 minutes of weight lifting

30 minutes of walking

30 minutes of biking

Skip dinner once in a while and cut some pounds.

There are no excuses…

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-John

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There is a famous saying that goes “the harder you start working, the luckier you start to become”.  And I believe that’s true.

When you start working harder you will notice that things start falling into place.  You start doing better in school, you start saving more money, you get promoted and you start training better.

Yesterday I had planned on getting up at 730 a.m on Saturday and hitting the gym for a hard hour and half workout.  Unfortunately, my newborn son had me up to about 6 a.m in the morning.

Wasn’t planning on it, but he was up screaming all night and I couldn’t make it.

Later in the day, my wife and I stopped by my mother in law’s and thankfully she agreed to babysit for us for a couple of hours.

I did some grocery shopping and ran some quick errands before we drove home and took a nap for about 2 hours.  I shouldn’t even call it a nap, it was more like dead sleep.

At 5:30 pm I felt a little better, so I decided to FINALLY make it to the gym.  I usually don’t work out that late on Saturday, but I didn’t want to start missing days over a fussy newborn.

I ran 2 miles on the treadmill in pretty decent speed and then instead of leaving, I decided to add some extra intervals at a 5:30 per mile pace.

Later that night I took a look in the mirror and I noticed that I was finally starting to look “beach ready”.

Sometimes in life, you are just not working hard enough.  I took about a 6 week break from killing myself at work and in my training, but now its time to start getting busy again.

  • More books to be written.
  • More licensing tests to take.
  • Harder training.

No more Mr. Nice Guy!

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I have to be honest, this year’s cut up is going slow.

Most recently I have been weighing in around 163 lbs.  Although I have cut 15 lbs from my peak in late February, I still have noticeable body fat.

I am starting to work a little bit harder on my cardio and I am hoping to look decent by Memorial Day.  For me to look cut, I HAVE to get my bodyweight under 160.

But, that is not the only problem.

I am running like a snail.

In the last several years I have noticed that I could get pretty fast in long distance running, with times in the 3-mile run under 20 minutes, but my sprinting times are horrible.

When you get older, you need to focus on SPEED.  Strength and stamina does not go away as fast as speed.

My goal this summer was to run one lap (400 meters) in one minute flat.  That is a time I havent ran since I was 17.

Yesterday I went down to the track and I had my wife time me in a couple runs.

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Pre marriage

Although, it is still really early and the first time I have run on the track this year.

I ran three 400 meter sprints at a decent effort and my times were HORRIBLE.

I ran the first lap in 1:14, 2nd attempt I ran 1:21 and the last one in 1:25.

Those times are horrible, but the good news is that I realized how far I need to go.

For the next several weeks I need to focus on hard sets in the gym, intense cardio and most importantly, I need to be strict on my diet.

Good luck!

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