Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

This year, one of my bodybuilding goals is to run a 5k in under 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, that is a time that I haven’t reached since College.

In the last several years I have gotten down into the low 20’s, but I still haven’t been able to go into the 19’s.

So, what is the problem?

Part of my problem is that I am getting slow.  My endurance and stamina haven’t really changed, but I can’t sprint like I used to.

My next book is going to be mostly about speed.  Speed is a lost art form, but it a lot more important than endurance.

I need to work on my speed more so I can pick up the pace and also finish fast.

My 2nd problem, is that I need to add a little bit of extra mileage into my training.

The last couple years I have been running mostly hard 2-2.5 mile tempo runs in my training and the result is that I would never finish strong.

I have always been paranoid of running for too long, because then you start to get skinny-fat and lose all of your muscle.  But, I think I can get away with adding an extra mile to my training.

If I can start running 3.5 miles in my training, a 5k will start to feel a little bit easier.

Overall, I am planning on running my first 5k next Saturday depending on the weather.  I honestly cant say I am running for time, since I just ended my winter bulk up, but it’s good to see what type of shape I am really in.

After that run, I am going to start training hard for some big races in April and May.  If I can get back into the low 20’s for April and May, I should have a good chance over the summer to get back into the 19’s.

It can be done.

-John

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Although California may have better weather, NYC is still a good place to bodybuild.

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Seasons are not a problem.  In the Winter we can bulk up and lift heavy, cut down slightly in the Spring and then get ripped in the Summer.

The 4 distinct seasons work great for me.

I couldn’t imagine living somewhere where I need to take my shirt off all year round.  You need some time to gain weight otherwise you will keep cutting down to a bag of bones.

If you live in a cold region, the Spring is very important.

If you jerk around in the Spring, you will never get cut for the summer.

Losing body fat is hard.  If you think you can wait until June and then start getting ripped, you are in trouble.

You won’t even be in good enough shape to burn the fat off.

There are two ways that I try to stay motivated in the Spring.  The first is to choose a race.

2-years ago I choose a 5k race to train for in New Jersey.  It wasn’t anything crazy, just a small community race in park that I wanted to run.

I used that race for my motivation, I trained hard, lost weight and I actually ended up winning the race.

That was the first time I ever won a 5k.

The second best way to stay motivated, is to plan a vacation.

SPRING BREAK.

spring break

I went on a Spring Break trip almost every year until I turned 30.  There was just no way that I would allow myself to fly someplace warm and show up overweight.

For my spring break trips I would still carry a small amount of bulk, but I would cut down enough so I didn’t look fat.

Motivation is important.

Whether it is training for a race, training for a vacation or trying to get back at your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend; you need some motivation.

Something has to light a fire under your ass.

Find it grasshopper.

-John

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Hello everyone.

I am now about 3-4 weeks past my winter bulk up and I am slowly starting to hit my cardio workouts hard.

It’s amazing how fast your lose your stamina and endurance.

I can skip weight lifting for 6 months (although I never have) and still walk into the gym and lift some decent weights.

But running is completely different.

Even if you miss as little as 2 weeks in a row, you really lose a lot.

Since I feel that I’ve lost so much, I am trying to run a lot to get back in shape quickly.  Last week I ran hard 4x and this week I plan on running at least 4 or 5 times.

I am still slow and out of shape, but I am definitely improving already.  I think another month of hard training and I might run some half way decent times.

I am also trying to cut weight.

The first 3 weeks I cut about 7 lbs, but a lot of that is garbage weight.  In the beginning of  starting a new diet, mostly everyone will lose a couple lb’s quickly.

It’s after you lose the first 10 lb’s, that it starts to get more difficult.

Usually if I run hard 3 or 4x a week I will keep cutting weight.  But, its hard to run when you are in crappy shape.

If I can only run 2 miles in 15 minutes, it’s harder to lose weight compared to when I can run 3 miles in 19:30.

When I finally get back into good shape, I can start killing my workouts.

Better shape=more intensity=more body fat loss.

In late March I am going to a spring break trip (Hilton Head/Savannah), so it is keeping me motivated to work out hard.

Although it was 40 degrees in NYC today, I know it will be around 75-80 by the time I head down South.

-John

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Weight training and running are very different.  When I get cut for the summer, I use a combination of running, weight training and a proper diet.

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This year, I skipped running almost completely for about 4 months so that I can bulk up.  Occasionally,  I will run the entire year. But this year, I wanted to make sure that I put on enough size.

Around February 14th I decided that I would stop bulking up and start to slowly cut down for the summer. Although I am not dieting super hard yet, I am slowly cutting down on my calories and I also started running 3x a week.

One thing that I have noticed right away, is that the training used for running is very different for than it is for weight training.

With weight training, you definitely need extra rest.

When I deadlift or squat, I need an entire week of rest and for chest, I can do it twice per week at most.

You also need more calories when you weight train.  If you do not consume enough calories or rest enough between heavy workouts, you will never grow any muscle.

Running is a different story.  I can get in pretty good shape by just running hard 3 or 4x a week, but If you really want to get fast, rest is your enemy.

When I am running fast, it means I am training all the time.

You also lose your running stamina quickly.

I can skip 3 months of weight training and still be pretty strong.  With running, if I skip 3 month of training, I will lose it completely.  It’s almost like I never ran before.

In the Spring is when it gets weird.

I am going to have to lift heavy weights, which requires rest, while running several times a month that requires no rest.

I also need more calories for building muscle, but less calories for getting cut.

So, how do I lift heavy weights for muscle and run for cuts at the same time?

It’s not easy.

That is why you need to start off with some solid muscle before you starting cutting up, because you will lose some of it.

The key is to try to hold on to as much muscle as possible, while still removing all of my body fat.

It is tricky.

I compare it to a chef.  If you take 100 chef’s and ask them to bake the same cake, there will always be several cakes that stand out.

Why?

Everyone has the same recipe, the same ingrediants.  So why doesn’t every cake taste the same?

It’s tricky.

-John

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Now that my winter bulk up is over, I am starting to add some cardio back into my routine.

This week I ran 4 times.  I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I was considering running on Sunday, but I decided not to.  When I use my running for cardio, I like to run HARD.  Easy running is for marathon runners and it doesn’t burn off a lot of body fat.

If anything, most marathon runners are skinny fat.  Skinny fat is where you have a low body weight but still a high body fat percentage.

The key to cardio is intensity.  Run hard, run fast and push it.

This year, my goal is to run 3 miles under 21 minutes without running for than 3 or 4x a week.  I also never run more than 3-4 miles in my training, when I run, it is short and fast.

I meet runners all the time that utilize a ton of mileage in their routine, but their running times never go anywhere.

It’s truly a waste of time to go outside or on a treadmill and start plodding along.

The key to cardio is to work on your SPEED.

You don’t really lose a lot of endurance as you get older, but you definitely lose a lot of speed.

Speed is the key to life and vitality, not endurance.

Sprints, tempo runs and even sports are the cardio routines that you can use to get into great shape and remove body fat.

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Last summer I was running outdoors and when I would start to feel burnt out, I would switch to basketball.

But overall, I would never run more than 12-15 miles a week, max.

Today I ran 2 miles in 15:00 minutes (7:30 per mile pace).  I’m only into my second week of running, but I am quickly starting to feel pretty good.

Running is a weird sport, it usually takes me around 15-20 runs before I start to get into the “groove”.

But once my legs and my breathing starts to make the adjustment to the training, I can really start to push it hard.

Remember, start training outside now so when the weather changes, you will be ready.

By the time Spring rolls around you want to be in the middle of a hard training routine, not at the beginning.

-John

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Winter is almost over! Hallelujah!

We are now in the middle of February, the weather is warming up slightly (in NYC) and the sun is setting later.

Although every month is important, I see March as a month of transition.

“March comes in like lion and goes out like a lamb”

In March you get the last several days of Winter in the beginning of the month and then by the end you start to see the beginning of Spring.

If you want to get cut for the Summer, you need to train hard in the month of March, including outside cardio.

Although there are days in March when its freezing cold and the weather is horrible, you need to force yourself to get outside and get moving.

sprinting

If you skip hard training in March, you are going to be very disappointed in April when you get that first 70 degree day.

All of a sudden you will realize that it is bathing suit season, but you are still overweight.

You need to survive March if you want your cuts to blossom in April, before getting ripped for May, June and July.

But the month of March doesn’t just apply to bodybuilding.  It is also a time of transition in work, school, and life.

In March you can:

  • Start good study habits for finals
  • Find a new job or start a business
  • Lose weight
  • Start dating someone new
  • Plant a tree

Maybe I am generalizing here, because you can do this any month of the year.  But March is the only month (NYC) where you get to experience two distinct seasons.

There is just something about the transition from Winter to Spring, especially when you live somewhere cold like NYC or Chicago.

Spring represents new life.

New opportunities

Optimism

And most importantly,

St’ Patrick’s Day.

st pats

 

Hello everyone!

I am now into my 2nd week of Spring training and I am finally starting to add some cardio back into my routine.

sprinting

I like running towards the end of winter because it sets me up for a good spring.

If you wait until March or April to start running, sometimes you will get a late start for Summer.

By April I want to be running fast already, so for me, that means I need to slowly start revving up the engine.

I am also taking in less calories.  I lost 3.5 lbs the first week and I would like to reach 5 total lbs by week 2.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

I always lose weight really easy in the beginning.  It’s when I start to get very low in body fat that it gets harder and harder.

I also believe you NEED to add some cardio workouts into your routine for your health.

I ran outside for the first time in several months on Saturday and I felt like I was going to DIE.

That can’t be healthy.

When you are in your 20’s or 30’s you “feel” like you are going to die.  When you get past age 40, you might actually die.

Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, etc. They are all major illness related to obesity that too many people suffer from in the United States from basic neglect.

I use cardio to remove body fat and stay in good cardiovascular shape, and I firmly believe that some type of cardio needs to be in your exercise routine.

With that being said, too much cardio can also kill you.

I am working on my 3rd book and I did some research on the famous 1970’s marathon runners.  You will be amazed by how many famous long-distance runners have come down with serious health problems.

Marathon running is not healthy.

If you want to train for just a couple marathons in your lifetime, there is no harm.

But training for long-distance is not healthy over the long term.

Focus on improving your SPEED.

As you age, your endurance does not decrease as much as your speed.

Anyone up to age 90 can run a slow 5-mile race, but not too many people can still sprint, jump and leap.

Speed over endurance any day of the week.

-John

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Sports and life in general are competitive.  I can never understand people who are not competitive at every age.

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Don’t get me wrong; there are bloggers that I follow that live in R.V.’s or travel the world for a living and sometimes that sounds like a great idea.

But I am too competitive.

And I get bored very easily.

I worked from home at one of my prior occupations and surprisingly I didn’t really enjoy it.

Unless I was working from home in the summer, there was usually nobody around from Monday to Friday.  Basically, instead of being locked in the office, I would be stuck at home.

I like to be competitive.  It keeps you young.

Today I was at the gym and I started to size up some of my competition.

Usually there is only one or two decent bodybuilders in a gym and rest are just there for maintenance.

The best way to tell if someone is training correctly, is that you should be able to see major changes in their body.

If they look the same across the whole year, basically, they are just maintaining.  Maintaining is fine, but you will never really improve, nor will you ever get ripped.

At my gym, there are several guys that look decent.

So for this coming summer, I need to design a workout plan to defeat my competition.

  • What are my weaknesses and what are my strengths?

My weaknesses are definitely my upper back and legs.

My strengths would be my mass, chest and abs.

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Since I am slowly starting to lose weight, my goal this year is to continue to train heavy.  I have a strong advantage in strength and mass, so I think that is where I should focus.

Like I’ve stated in other posts; I believe it is important to show off your best body parts.  So for myself, I need to continue to train chest and shoulders heavy, while I get my body fat percentage low enough so that my abs are ripped.

Another week or two and I will reveal my Spring training guide, but right now, it is looking something like this:

Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Legs/cardio

Wednesday: Cardio

Thursday: Shoulders

Friday: Back

Saturday: Cardio

Sunday: Rest

I want to slowly get back into my cardio workouts for several weeks, before I start to really get cut for the summer in May and June.

So far, I am one week into my cutting phase and I already lost 3.5 lbs.  I usually cut 10 lbs pretty quickly, then it starts to slow down after that.

Good luck everyone!

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I am proud to announce that today was my official last day of Winter bulk up 2017-2018.

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Overall, I give this season an “A”.  Before the start of the season I set several concrete goals:

  1. Bench 315: Got it! Almost benched 325 as well.
  2. 500lb dead lift: Did 500 for 2 reps and 525 for 1
  3. Shoulder dumbbells 100’s: Big failure.  Got up to 85’s, shoulder injury is not healing.
  4. Squat 315: I don’t have a spotter for this exercise but 315 is in my range. Probably closer to 345-365.
  5. Gain 30 lbs: I gained 35!

Besides not reaching my shoulder dumbbell goal, this year was a total success!  This was the heaviest I have lifted in several years.

I also kept up a small cardio routine, but nothing significant.

Now, I need to make the transaction from bulking into my cutting phase.

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So, how do we accomplish this?

The goal is to keep as much muscle mass as possible, while also removing all of my body fat.  I know that I won’t be able to lift as heavy in June as I did in January, but I still should be lifting heavy.

What are some mistakes I have made in the past?

A) Cutting calories too fast.  I need to lose 20 lbs, but I should do it slowly.  If I start starving myself I will get “skinny fat”, like marathon runners.   That is where you are skinny with a high body fat percentage

B) I start slacking with the heavy weights.  Although I will lose the leverage provided from being fat, I NEED to keep pushing myself in the gym.  Heavy compound exercises; squats, deadlifts, bench, etc.

It is also time to add some cardio.  I am going to start going hard with the cardio tomorrow.  3x a week until the weather improves, and then I might increase to 4x depending on how my body is holding up.

Spring goals?

I am still working on this, but I want to focus on a few key area’s.

A) Keep squatting.  This year I started squatting after taking several years off and I feel a big difference.  Not only is my body a lot thicker, but my abs are going to look good when I lose weight.

B) Heavy bicep and calve workouts: These are really secondary exercises, but when you wear a tee-shirt, what muscles are visible? Answer: calves and biceps.

For my cardio goals, I still haven’t locked any plan down yet.  I always try to hit 3 miles in 21 minutes and also add in some sprinting.

I would love to compete in a sprinting competition.  It was been 20 years since I have last competed in track and field, and I am getting a little bored of the 3 and 5 mile races.

This morning I weighed in at 185 lbs.  It is going to take me a couple weeks to get the boiler heated, but once I do, this engine is going to be revved up and ready to kick ass.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

-John

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Most people in the gym train by themselves.  Sometimes you will see two people who go together consistently and it is the same for running.

You don’t need a partner to train, which is good.  I can do almost all of my exercises except max bench press, without a partner.

But, it does help to have one.

Unfortunately, in the last several years I have been going through training partners like underwear.

When I was younger everyone wanted to lift with me, now, not so much.

When I have a good training partner, I try to lift as heavy as possible.  I need to take advantage of a good spot on my exercises while I can.

More importantly, it helps with motivation.

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Yesterday, I went to the gym aiming to break my winter bulk up deadlift max of 525 lbs.

Once again, I was there by myself warming up, when I ran into a guy that I know.  Turns out that he is a powerlifter.

I told him I was going for my max today and he immediately replied “oh, I need to see this”.

For some reason, that was all the motivation I needed.  He started cheering me on as I worked up to my final set and by the time I put 525 lbs on the bar, I had 3 or 4 guys watching me.

Motivation helps.  It’s hard to voluntarily go to the gym at lunch and lift 525 lbs off the floor.  But when I have people yelling and encouraging me, it went right up.

It’s the same for running.  Nobody wants to go outside and jog 5-miles on a 23 degree morning, but when you running partner shows up, you are going outside.

You also push yourself.  Some days you don’t feel like running fast and your partner does and vice versa.

I also used to make up imaginary friends.  Sometimes when I am training alone, I start to think about my competitors being there.

I start trash talking to myself.

I think about my old coaches.

I think about old enemies.

I recite my favorite scenes from Rocky.

Whatever it takes to become a champion.

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-John

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