Posts Tagged ‘Abs’

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.

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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

 

I love running.  I have been running on and off for over 20 years and I love the sport.

But it wears me out.

For some reason, no matter how hard I try, I cannot run for an entire year straight.  I can run hard for 4-6 months tops and then my body and central nervous system needs a break.

Many runners never take off,  I don’t know how they do it.

Weight training is different.  I have been weight lifting for 20 years straight and I never take off.  I won’t always set records and sometimes I have nagging injuries, but I never feel burnt out from weight lifting.

This summer I am slowly getting back into running, but to be honest, I’m not really feeling it.  As an alternative, I have been trying to get back into basic sports.

Basketball and tennis.

What’s wrong with using sports instead of running? Cardio is cardio.

I played an hour of 3 on 3 basketball last week in 90 degree heat and it felt harder than a 8-mile run.

But more importantly, it’s fun.  Running can get really boring after a while.

So, what it is my advice? Don’t forget about sports.  There is nothing wrong with playing tennis 3x a week or going swimming.  You might even burn off more fat than any type of running.

-John

P.S. I have my 2nd book coming out on amazon in two weeks!

This was a good weekend for working out.  I FINALLY was able to sneak onto a track in Staten Island and run some sprints.

For some reason Staten Island locks down all of the public High School tracks so that nobody can use them.  (I’m from Brooklyn)

And I was able to run (6) 200 meter runs in the blazing heat.

After only several intervals, I remembered why I love sprinting for burning off the fat.

After the run my body was in complete pain!

I also like running tempo runs, but after you get into good shape, I can run 3 miles in 21 minutes without breaking a sweat.

With sprinting, it never really gets easy. And if it does get easy, you aren’t running hard enough,

After I got home from the track I felt like playing basketball, so I went down to the courts near my house.  I planned on taking it easy and shooting around for an hour until some kids asked me to join a 3 on 3 game.

I haven’t played in a game in over 5 years and again I was hurting.

Playing basketball outside in the July heat is no joke.

Saturday’s complete workout: 6 X 200 meter sprints on the track followed by 3 on 3 basketball.

My plan for this upcoming week is to stay on my diet.  I want to hit 155 lbs’ this week and cut another 5 before the end of the summer.  My abs are starting to pop and I think another couple lbs and I should start looking pretty ripped.

-John

My training has been weird this year.  My son was born in mid-April and that killed part of my spring training momentum, but besides that, I have been almost injury free and reaching good numbers.

I have been working out for almost 20 years now and I’ve noticed something important; I need heavy weight lifting.  Without lifting heavy weights my body doesn’t grow and I notice it even more when I cut up for the summer.

It’s hard to cut up when you don’t have any muscle.

The last couple years I have been able to get really cut, but I feel like I have been missing out on the thick mass that I used to have.

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10 years ago I was benching 345 and deadlifting 580.  Now I am barely hitting 300 lb bench press’s in the winter.

Part of my decrease in strength has been from nagging injuries and the other part has been from the fact that I don’t bulk up as much.

But, If I had to choose the two most important area’s in bodybuilding, it is heavy weight lifting and dieting.

If you can lift heavy and diet down correctly, you should be able to get ripped.

I am not saying that cardio isn’t that important, it is, but for myself the cardio is just the last 10%,

The cardio removes the final body fat for me and also tightens up the skin.

But in reality, the heavy weight lifting and diet is more important.

Case in point, if you only did cardio, you would probably look horrible.  You can get away with only sprinting, but long-distance running without weight lifting will build the worst looking physique you can have.

I should have some summer pics up soon.  I am trying to cut another 5-8 lbs and then peak in August.

New book coming out in a couple of weeks!

-John

I firmly believe that if you are a natural lifter, you need to lose weight.  There is just no other way to burn the fat off.

The best part about losing weight is that it is very easy in the beginning.

If you have never been on a bodybuilding diet, the first couple weeks of dieting are a piece of cake.

From just adding some basic cardio routines and changing your diet, you should be able to cut some easy weight.

The real challenge is several weeks later when your body fat percentage is low.

When you start going from slightly ripped to very ripped, it gets really hard to burn off any body fat.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

I am already working out in the gym 4 days a week and running for 4-5.  Even with all of that hard training, I am going to have to start upping my effort if I want to get ripped.

I have gotten my bodyfat percentage to an insanely low-level several times in my life and each time there was a familiar pattern.

I was training like a lunatic.

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This year has been a little bit hard.  I been working two jobs, which isn’t too bad, but then my first son was born in April.

I am still making it to the workouts, but I don’t have the time to put in the crazy insane effort like I used to.

The good news is that he is starting to finally sleep better and I am increasing my efforts.

Today I weighed in at 157 lbs and I am in decent shape, but I still want to cut down to 150.  I think because I got a late start this year, I should peak around mid August.

For July 4th, I want to at least touch the 155’s.  Tomorrow I am going to work out legs at lunch and then I am going to try to kill it with some cardio after work.

A double session tomorrow and I should have a solid chance of getting into the 155lb range.

After July 4th, it is just super hard training up until October.

How is everyone else’s training going?

-John

I bet you didn’t think I would write about this topic! But my son is almost 3-months old, so now I am a bodybuilder and a father. So, what are my tips for soon to be parents?

1.Get grandma over: I have a ton of energy and I am telling you, the first month is exhausting.  I don’t know how anyone can except to raise a child by yourself.  If you can get the grandmother’s to come over a couple of times a week, it is a lifesaver.  For child #2,  I need to commit the grandmothers’ to staying over more.  We did the first couple weeks mostly by ourselves.

2. Get your finances in order before the child is born.: You have 9-months to plan.  Get all of your hard work done before the child is born.  I took a big licensing test at work right before he was born.  Studying with a newborn is close to impossible.

3. It’s not expensive.  Like I said in step 2, you had 9 months to plan.  I spent a lot more when I was single.  As a single guy I was spending $150-200 a week on going out and another 5-10K a year on travel.  Now it’s just some formula and diapers.

4. Find out what he/she likes:  My son likes it when I play with him and walk him around, but he hates laying on me.  I think he cries a lot less when I hold him , compared to my wife, but we will fall asleep on my wife and not me.  I know what he likes and what he doesn’t, so I stopped trying to force activity on him that makes him scream.

5. Go outside for walks:  75% of the time when we take him outside he will fall asleep and its a great way to get some cardio done. Yesterday we walked 4 miles with him and he slept almost the entire time.

6. Check your insurance:  Insurance is a pain.  Check with your insurance months before your child is born.  I did all of my research and they still snuck some bills on me.  Overall, the delivery is costing me about $6,500 out-of-pocket.

7. Keep working out:  There was a couple of days where I was sleep working out, but overall, exercise helped to keep me sane.

8. Stay inside for a while: It’s bad news if the kid gets sick in the first couple weeks.  I’m on week 10 and I still haven’t taken him to the mall or a restaurant.  Life is long, take it easy for a couple of weeks and order out.  Now that he is almost 15 lbs, it’s not that serious to come down with a small fever or cold. But that could be a rough week if he gets sick as a small infant.

9. Be patient with your wife:  The first child is no joke.  I had ZERO experience with kids before taking my own son home from the hospital.  There will be nights where you are both up 3 in the morning and not in a good mood, try to relax.

10.  Don’t wait to have kids because of a stupid career:  It is risky to have kids later in life and also harder to conceive.  Don’t put off having kids because of some stupid office job.  Having children is life changing.  I had my first child at age 37 and my wife was 36.  We were very lucky to have everything go smooth, but we aren’t going to wait too long for #2.

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

I am assuming that most people know that June 21st is the first “official” day of summer.

For myself, I have always tried to get my body fat down for Memorial Day weekend.  When I was in College, Memorial Day weekend was always the first good weekend after the Spring semester was over.

Now that I am years out of College, I am starting to change my goal “in shape” date to July 4th.

When I get really cut for Memorial Day weekend, it always feels a little premature.  Going forward I am going to try to look good for July 4th and then peak in the middle of August.

Also, a large part of bodybuilding is having a good tan and until I make it out to the beach a couple of times, I will not get tan enough.

I also need to cut the weight.  This week I weighed in at 158lbs.  That is almost a 20lb loss since St Patrick’s day, but I still need to lose some more.

This year I would like to just dip under 150.  That should coincide with my peak cardio conditioning in Mid to Late August.

Overall, if you haven’t cut any weight, you NEED to start asap. There is really no other way to get cut and burn off fat, if you aren’t willing to lose weight.

Cardio.

Diet.

Hard Training.

-John

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

Check out my new book on amazon.com!

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