Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

I have to admit, the Fall is my favorite time of year for doing outside cardio.

falll

When the weather cools down and the leaves change color in N.Y.C, I try to get outside as much as possible.  It’s also nice to get outside before the extreme cold weather starts.

I don’t care what anyone says, long-distance running is better in cooler weather.

It’s not a coincidence that the NYC marathon is usually on the first Sunday in November, because the weather is slightly colder  It’s not necessarily better for sprinting, but it is a lot better for long distance training.

Running in the heat is tough.  Although I want to be cut in the summer, I find it hard to run outside when its over 90 degrees out or extremely humid.

Now that I am officially done losing weight for the summer, I am also slowly going to increase my calories and get back into some heavy lifting.

I plan on starting my official bulk up on October 1st. But for now, I want to get outside as much as possible.

Next week I am going to post my official bulk up guide.  There are several changes that I would like to incorporate this year and hopefully next summer I will look my all-time best.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Advertisements

Summer is almost officially over.  School is back in session, football has started and the Mr. Olympia is this weekend.

I am doing 1 or 2 fun races in the next several weeks and then I am officially starting my winter bulk up.

20170903_085651

Although I ended up in pretty good shape this summer, there were two problems that effected my winter bulk up.

  1. I didn’t diet strictly.  Don’t get me wrong, I generally eat pretty good all year long, but I let myself eat some bad food during the winter.  I need to cut out the pizza, (which is tough since my wife was pregnant and I moved to Staten Island)
  2. I need to do cardio all year round.  Last year I was so burnt out from running that I took a full 6-7 months off. That is way too long.  I really only need a couple weeks of rest before adding some cardio into my routine.  I don’t need to do wind sprints in the snow like I used to, but a moderate cardio session 3x a week will do the trick.

Bulking up is a sensitive topic and I don’t even like using the word in front of amateurs.  95% of guys in the gym look the same for 20 years in a row.  Winter, summer, spring and Fall, they weigh the same, their bodyfat is the same and they train the same.

If you want to bodybuild, you need to make adjustments.  Gain muscle in the Fall and Winter, and cut down in body weight in the Spring and Summer, while trying to retain the muscle.

When I was in the best shape of my life, I was running 3 miles in 20 minutes and benching 275 for 7 reps.  That is a powerful combination of both strength and cardio and it worked really well for my body.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

So my advice this bulk up season is:

  • Stay strict with your diet and continue your cardio at a moderate pace.   To gain weight, try to eat more “good” food instead of increasing the calories with crap.
  • Always do your cardio AFTER heavy lifting.  Remember, the key is to put on size and gain strength.
  • If you aren’t stronger in the winter, then you are wasting your time.

The bulk up is a long 6-8 months, so make sure you do it right.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Well, it’s official.  Summer is over, I am done cutting up and I am on vacation this week.  I was supposed to be in Hilton Head, SC but due to the Hurricane, I am doing 3 days in Cape May, NJ before heading to upstate NY.

20170407_204223

I have to admit, it does feel good to finally be able to eat.  After 4 months of hard dieting, I have let myself go these last couple days.

Although I went running outside on Saturday and Monday, I probably came close to doubling my average caloric intake.

One thing that I have noticed about working out and especially bodybuilding, is that you can lose your cuts immediately.

Don’t kid yourself, I could probably put on 5 lbs of body weight over a bad weekend.

And where do you think that body weight is going to hide? Most likely your stomach.

Now, if you have been working out and dieting consistently for weeks, you can get right back on track in 3 or 4 days, but a bad weekend can really hurt you.

DON’T TAKE OFF.

My rule of thumb is that I will allow myself to eat crap for a wedding or birthday party, but besides that, I try to stay on point forever.

I still have an entire week of vacation left and its going to be tough, but I am going to try to slow down.  I don’t need to pig out for 9 days straight.  Although I am probably going to be eating at restaurants, I am going to start ordering more fish and cut the desert to a minimum.

Most importantly, I going to include some workouts on my vacation.  I’m not going to go as crazy as I do during my regular week, but I will at least run or lift light weights in the hotel gym every other day.

So in conclusion, bodybuilding is a lifetime sport.  If you think you can skip the gym or cheat on your diet for over several days, your physique will suffer.

You can lie to yourself, but your body knows the truth and will look accordingly.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

This was a wild year.  Last summer I trained super hard, got my body weight down to 149 lbs and I was insanely ripped.

20160715_065110

This year was different.

I was so insanely burnt out from last year’s training, that I ended up  taking off almost 6-7 months  from any type of cardio.  Although it felt good to rest my body, the only problem is that I put on some body fat.

Usually, I can cut the body fat down after 10-12 weeks of cardio and dieting, but this year was challenging.  My first child was born in April and my spring training was cut down right in the middle of it.

I only really missed 3 or 4 workouts, but overall, mentally I was out of it for 2 months.

Around July 4th, I honestly thought I was in big trouble.  I was still at 160 lbs and I wasn’t running or lifting good.

Fortunately, two good things happened.

A) I finally got a good training partner.  This really helped for going heavy in the gym

B) I got some of my free time back to go hard with the cardio.

Recently, I was able to get down to 150 lbs and was almost able to reach last summers ultra low body weight.  I was planning on going under 150 this coming weekend, but the hurricane in Florida killed my plans.

My wife and I had booked a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, but today we had to cancel.  Instead we are going upstate to Lake George and Lake Placid, where it has been reaching 39 degrees at night.

Going to train hard the next couple days, but I think my season is officially over.

Here are some pics..

And some more…

There is a slight chance that I might improve in the next 14 days, but to be honest, I doubt it.  It is going to be too cold for me to tan and I know that I wont be eating good on my vacation.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Hello All.  If you read my blog, you would know that I had my first child in April.  So far, it has been a life changing experience, both good and bad, and I couldn’t picture my life before him.

Was-Cain-or-Seth-Adam's-Firstborn-Son--EL2

So, what are the major changes?

  1. Sleeping in late is OVER:  After age 32-33, I started getting up pretty early on the weekends anyway, but now I get up at the latest, 530-630 am.  As soon my son is up, I am up.
  2. The first month you wont sleep:  I am not going to lie, the first month is tough.  I remember going to work with little sleep day after day.  You eventually get used to it, but by then, my son started sleeping a little better.
  3. Your sleep is never straight through the night.  I am almost 5-months in and I still have to wake up 2-3x a night.  Sometimes it will only be once, sometimes 4, it really depends on his day.
  4. Working out doesn’t change too much:  I only  missed about 3-4 days of weights.  I work out with weights at lunch, so that really didn’t change.  Cardio is a little tougher.  After work I am pretty tired and I also want to get home to see him before he goes to bed.  I have been using a lot of treadmile and 8am weekend running.
  5. Read all you want, but there is no substitute for real life practice and every child is different.  You will QUICKLY find out what they like and what they don’t like.

What are some other major changes?

  • More compassion but less tolerance for bullshit.  For some reason, I feel more compassionate for people with real legitimate problems.  With that being said, I lost all patience for bullshit.  Especially with young lazy people.
  • Become more religions.  If having a child doesn’t do it for you, nothing will.

What about costs:

  • My wife is not working indefinitely, so we have to be on a strict budget.  But to be honest, you have a solid 9 months to prepare, so you don’t have any excuses.  And I got married at age 36, so I wasn’t a rookie.  We paid off almost all debt and so far, it’s a lot cheaper than being single.  Less drinking, eating out and vacations, but more money on health insurance, formula, diapers and utilities.  Overall, not as bad as I thought it would be.

Overall, I can’t say enough how life changing it is to have a child.  Very tiring, but I would say you are crazy to not entertain the idea before its too late.

Do I miss single life? Not really.  Occasionally, I will feel like I am missing out on a big trip.  The key is to get everything done BEFORE you get married.

  • Go to Miami
  • Go to Ireland
  • Go to Japan
  • Go to Mardi Gras

And for the love of god, don’t pass up on having children just to support some stupid corporate job.  Trust me,

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Sept 1st is finally here!  This summer has went by so fast, that I can’t believe it is almost over.

I have to say, I ended the season pretty strong.  I got a little bit of a late start because of my son being born, but recently my weight has gone down to 150 lbs and my body fat is pretty low.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

My plan going forward is to lose another 2 lbs and go down to a 20-year low of 148.  I am not going to lie; when your body fat and weight gets very low, it becomes really hard to make large improvements.

So now that summer is almost over, how does our training change?

Actually for me, I like to run more.  September and October are my favorite months to run outside and I am already signing up for several runs.

I usually stay pretty cut in the Fall.  I won’t take my diet as strict as I have in the summer, but with all the cardio, I will still stay pretty lean.  Sometimes I will even slightly improve.

Around the middle of October, I will eventually start my winter bulk up.  The winter bulk up will be less cardio, heavy lifting and increased calories.

My goal this year is to hit 180 lbs.  That is also a number I have not reached in several years.

Good luck!

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I was looking at the weigh-in pictures from McGregor and Mayweather today and I noticed that they are both looking pretty lean.

So, how do we build ripped abs like McGregor?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor - Weigh-in

It’s hard, but not too hard.

First off, you need to keep a consistent weight training routine over several months.  That routine needs to include heavy compound movements such as bench press, squats, should press, dumbbells, barbell curls and others.

You also need a ton of cardio.  That includes tempo runs (2-4 miles), sprinting, shuttle runs and also some sports.  The sports can be boxing, soccer, rugby, tennis, basketball or any other active sport.

And then most importantly, you need to cut weight.  This winter I went from 180 lbs down to 150 and I plan on cutting 2 or 3 before I am done.

And what happens when you bring it all together?

A) I weigh 3 lbs less than McGregor at around the same height

B) My abs are better.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I hate to say this; but the answer is either no or at the best, very minimally.

How do I know this? I tried it on myself.

This summer I have been trying to get down to 148 lbs and although I am very close to reaching my goal, I am still not there yet.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

In the last 2 weeks, I have decided to throw in some extra walking to speed up the body fat loss and unfortunately it did not work.

It even got the point where I walked 8 miles on a random Tuesday and I still ended up gaining weight.

walkkkk

So, what is the problem with walking?

I think it’s very healthy, it just doesn’t burn enough calories.  Unless it’s over 90 degrees out and humid, I wont even break a sweat.  When you are in decent shape, you can probably walk from the time you wake up, straight until dinner without breaking a sweat.

But on the contrary, by picking up the intensity, I can burn up to 2 lbs in one hard workout.

A hard run will burn more calories than almost any other type of cardio.

What’s the absolute best cardio workout for removing body fat? If you read my blog you would know that I am not a fan of long-distance running.

A) 2-3 mile hard tempo runs.  By hard, I mean you are ready to die by the time you are done.  And also volume sprinting.  By volume sprinting, I mean that you need to do enough repetitions so that it adds up to a decent amount of distance.

If you don’t want to run, then you need to use sports.  Tennis, rugby, basketball and soccer, all are outstanding fat burners and should be used as much as possible.

So overall, walking is healthy and I enjoy it, but don’t except to burn off any  bodyfat or get ripped just by going for a walk.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Bodybuilding is a funny sport.  Everyone claims that they are working out for looks, but they end up looking the same every single year.

I have been going to the gym for over 20 years now and probably 5% of people working out look any different.

The problem that most people have, is that they don’t take their diet serious.  If you weigh the same in the summer as you did in the winter, you aren’t going to burn any fat off.

This year I went from 180 lbs and now I am down to 150.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

But what if you don’t want to bodybuild? And is bodybuilding even healthy?

To some extent it is.

But how should you work out if you don’t care what you look like?

I would narrow it down to 2 categories:

A) Moderate to heavy weights:  Heavy weight lifting has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s for everyday activities or just keeping your aging in check, moderate to heavy weight lifting is important and should be done by everyone

B) Moderate cardio 2 to 3x a week:  Many bodybuilders don’t believe in cardio, but I tend to disagree.  Moderate cardio is extremely important and as of today, heart disease is the number one killer for men in the United States.

I wouldn’t necessarily get into running, but possibly play some sports or even some hiking.  You can get in pretty good cardiovascular shape from just 30 minutes of cardio 2 to 3x a week.

Overall, even if you aren’t going to bodybuild, you should always exercise with weights and cardio throughout your entire life.

For your diet, i would “allow” yourself to gain a little bit of extra weight in the winter but then cut 10-15 lb’s every summer.  I would also moderate my alcohol intake and try to focus on eating healthier options.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

As a natural lifter, I need some type of cardio to get cut.  I don’t know how natural lifters are able to get ripped without any cardio and I don’t believe its healthy to remove it from your workout routine.

In my opinion, everyone needs some form of cardio.

The question is what type of cardio and how long.  Also, what type of cardio will remove the most body fat.

Luckily, I have experimented for over 20 years with all different types of cardio.  My personal favorites?

It’s a combination.  Below, I will list the benefits and negatives of different forms of cardio that I have used.

Running (Long distance): I consider over 5 miles long-distance.  I rarely run longer than 3 miles in my training and I only go up to 5 miles for races.  Whenever I have tried adding long distance running, I ended up skinny fat.  Skinny fat is where you are slender but you still carry a large percentage of body fat.

tempo

Sprinting: Sprinting is a really good fat burner, possibly the best in short doses.  Although there are some problems:

sprinting

A) You can only do it for so long.  You can’t sprint every  single day for a year.  You can only do it several months in a year and its typically seasonal.

B) Most people don’t use enough reps.  You can’t just run 100 meters 3 or 4x a week and expect to get ripped, you really need a hard session.

Overall, there are some negatives with sprinting, but when used correctly, it is still one of the best methods to remove body fat.

Tempo runs: This unfortunately has worked the best for me, but, I have found that it is starting to wear my body down.  Tempo runs would be 2-3 mile runs at a fast pace, 3 or 4x a week minimum.  When I am in good shape, I can run these at around a 6:30 per mile pace.

IMG_2962

Racing

The negatives are that it kills my joints, especially my knee’s, and after a while I will start to get skinny fat if my weight lifting goes down.  If you start getting weak in the gym, you need to cut back.

Sports: This can also potentially be the best.  If your diet and weight lifting is on point, there is nothing wrong with playing tennis, basketball or soccer.  Hitting a ball around is good, but a competitive game is better.  You just have to make sure you play 3 or 4x a week otherwise you have to fill in those gaps in with other forms of cardio.

tennis

Bike riding: Zero.  This actually makes me look worse.  It makes my arms tired from holding my body up and then I can’t lift.

bike

Swimming: So/So.  I hate to say this, but swimming doesn’t do it for me.  Top level swimmers get lean but you can’t hold on to any solid muscle mass.

swimming

Kickboxing. Pretty good.  I would just make sure that you take a class AFTER weight lifting so it doesn’t kill your heavy lifting.  My wife is taking kickboxing and she lost 35 lbs in 4 months since my son has been born.

kick

Elliptical. Pretty good.  I’ve been using this as a really good “fill in” cardio workout.  If my legs and joints are hurting, I will do a hard 30 minute elliptical session instead of running.  Its easy on the joints, but doesn’t use the muscles are much as some of the other exercises.  I like that you can basically go non-stop without burning down and it also doesn’t affect my weight training.

elliptical

So, what is the overall winner?

If you NEED to burn body fat, no questions asked, you should start using tempo runs 3 to 4x a week and then start throwing in some sprints immediately after.

If its your offseason, or you don’t want to break your body down, I would recommend a mix of sports, running and elliptical.

Recently, I have been completely mixing it up and I was able to go from 180 lbs down to 150 while also lifting pretty heavy.

20160715_065110

Good luck! And don’t forget, you need to lift heavy.  If your first priority isn’t lifting heavy weights, you wont have anything to cut up after burning off the fat.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!