Posts Tagged ‘cuts’

One thing I have noticed in bodybuilding and in other area’s of life, is that when I am ready to give up, I am usually close to a goal.

I don’t know if it’s a mental block, but it took me a long time to work out around it.

Now when I start to feel run down and discouraged, I will start to push it a little harder.

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Last summer I was into the middle of July and I still didn’t look super cut.

Don’t get me wrong, I always have a 6-pack, but I didn’t feel like I was in my best condition.

At that point I decided to increase the cardio, straighten up my diet and I cut another 5 lbs.

By the time August rolled around I was finally looking like a champion.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

One area I need to change for next year, Is that I need my diet to become more strict during my bulk up.

I don’t care if I need to eat 5 cans of tuna fish like a whale, I need to cut out the crap food and also do a little bit of cardio year round.

This year, I am feeling a lot like I did last year.   I look good, but I still have a little bit to go before I consider myself a super stud.

I need to cut another 5 or 6 lbs, add some more sprinting and tighten up the diet.

It is going to be tough.  But whenever I start to push for that last 5-10% is when I really start to look like professional.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

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It is time to go nuts.

Summer is in full swing.  It is supposed to be 92 degrees in NYC tomorrow and I don’t care.  I am going to do a leg workout, followed by 3 miles outside around 1:30 pm.

92 degrees is nothing.  I don’t care it reaches 127.

I am training hard tomorrow and I don’t care if I pass out in the middle of the street.

I am also really itching for a race.

For the last couple years, I have been searching and planning on training for a sprint race.

What is a sprint race? I would consider it any distance from one mile and under.

I have run several one mile “road” race in the last several years, but I haven’t done a track race in almost 20 years.

My last track race was actually during my freshman year in College.

I was looking on the internet today and I actually found a race in two weeks that not only has 100 and 200 meter sprints, but it also has a LONG JUMP!

People don’t know this, but I actually won the City University Of New York long jump championship in 1998.

To make a long story short, 2 guys that had qualified for the olympics were out due to injury and I had my best jump ever.

Either way, it counts and I was the champion.

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Not only am I considering signing up for this competition, but I want to do the long jump.

The long jump is going to be really, really hard for me.  It’s a technical event and basically I am going to have to “wing it”.

Overall, I am looking forward to running the 200 meters and the long jump if possible.  If I feel “Ok” I might also do a 100 meter.

Basically, I am either going to have a great time or end up in the hospital.

Videos should be coming!

-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.

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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

Running is not a very complicated sport.

I generally focus on running between 2 and 5 miles at a fast pace.  Anything further and I lose too much muscle and start becoming fat, anything less, and it’s not enough volume.

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Don’t get me wrong; sprinting is probably the best exercise for burning off body fat.  But I prefer to sprint after I am done with my 2-4 mile training run, not as a 1 for 1 substitute.

This week, I am finally getting fast.

I have been consistently running 3-4 miles outside in my training and today I ran 3 miles on the treadmile in 20:30.

That 20:30 was also pretty easy.  I probably could have run close to 20 minutes.

I’ve found that it takes around 60 days to get into decent running shape.  Of course that is considering you are already in decent shape and not ‘brand new” to a work out routine.

My entire running workouts consist of 2-4 miles, 4 or 5x a week, with some occasional sprints at the end.

I will typically add more sprinting and hill repeats in the beginning of summer, after I am already in decent running shape.

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My first big race of the season is on May 17th.  Right now I am about a month away and feeling pretty good.

When it comes to lifting weights, it’s a little bit different.

If usually takes me about 90 days to get into decent shape with weight lifting, but it feels like it lasts longer after I stop. (I rarely stop)

If I skip running for a month, I will almost completely lose any type of “running endurance”  With weight training, I will stay strong for several months after.

That is also why you can never stop training.

Nobody cares if you completed 25 marathons and won 6 bodybuilding competitions.

If you don’t work out for 6 months in a row, you can have a heart attack and die.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am having a really good training season so far.  During my winter bulk up I benched pressed over 315 lbs and my dead lift went up to 525.

Now that I am 5 weeks into my Spring Training, my priorities have started to change.  Not only have I lost 14 lbs already, but I am running 3 miles outside in under 22 minutes.

If everything keeps going fine and I don’t incur any injuries, I might have one of my best summers in a long time.

My goal this summer is to weigh between 145-152 lbs and run 3 miles in under 21 minutes.

With those numeric goals, along with my weight training, I should have an insane 6-pack this summer.

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I have been bodybuilding now for the last 9 seasons and I am proud to say, that I have stopped my aging process in its tracks.

At my wedding last year, I was 37-years old.

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At the end of this year I will turn 39 and it is amazing how young I still look.

With my diet, work out routine and advances in modern science; why wouldn’t I live to 120?

All of my grandparents lived past age 80, plus they were overweight and hadn’t exercised since High School in the 1930’s.

Personally, I think all bodybuilders are going to live to at least 100.

The proof is out there.

Unlike many of the famous marathon runners that have died prematurely, there are tons of old-school bodybuilders that are still alive today and are very active at an advanced age.

Just as long as you stay off steroids and recreational drugs, you can live a long quality of life if you continue to focus on your health across your entire lifespan

But yet, some people STILL do not exercise.

Out of my 20 good friends from High School, only 4- or 5 still work out.

The rest?

Not only do they look substantially older but they have noticeably low energy.

Once you turn 35, your energy and testosterone levels are going to start dropping like a rock if you don’t work on it.

And over 40 or 50? You will start to become completely sedentary.

I don’t know about you, but I am still improving.

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For years, 40 was becoming the new 30, and now 40 is becoming the new 25.

Don’t get me wrong, you still can die from car crashes, shootings, bad luck diseases and shark attacks.

But those are outliers and not the norm.

See you in 2100!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am going to state this bluntly: I am a HUGE fan of fasting and I have been using it for many years.

In my opinion, if you are going to get ripped naturally, you will need to add fasting to your routine.

I actually discovered fasting by accident.

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In High School, I was starting to get stomach problems every day from eating the school lunch.  I think it was a combination of the bad food and studying for my advanced placement classes.

To fix my situation, I started to eat a large breakfast in the morning before school and then I wouldn’t eat again until I got home at 2 p.m.

In between, I would lift weights, run track, play basketball during gym and also go to my classes.

After several months of my new diet routine, I noticed something interesting; I was starting to get ripped abs.

By the time my senior year rolled around, I had a complete 6-pack.  Probably one of the best 6-packs in my entire school.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had discovered my secret formula to getting ripped.

Fast forward to 10 years later.  I was 190 lbs and in the strongest shape of my entire life.

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I was competing in power lifting competitions, with a bench press near 350 lbs and a dead lift near 600.

That summer I decided I wanted to try bodybuilding and I cut down to 155 lbs using a combination of cardio and fasting.

The end result was that I got into the best shape of my life.

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Fasting works.

Almost every major religion has some type of fasting ceremony included. The practice of “fasting” has been around for thousands of years before Christ.

The key is to use it wisely.  Obviously you can’t fast every day and you also can’t fast for 48 hours straight.

Today I ate a medium-sized meal at around 10 a.m and then I went to gym at 1 p.m. for squats and a 2-mile run.

My second meal of the day was dinner at 7:30 p.m.

The result of my new diet and workout routine, is that I have lost 11 lbs in about a month.

Don’t be afraid to try fasting.  When done in moderation, it is a lot healthier than over eating and the majority of the United States has an obesity problem.

The pain is temporary, just like anything else in life, you will get used to using less calories.

And if you aren’t willing to accept the pain, you will never look like a champion.

-John

 

 

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.

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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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

If you are a reader of my blog, you would know that I have just finished my winter bulk up.

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One of my goals this year was to start squatting heavy again.

Squatting is one of the 3 power lifting lifts, along with the bench press and deadlift.

I have been squatting on and off for the last 15 years and unfortunately it is my weakest lift in the gym.

In my power lifting peak, I was deadlifting close to 600 lbs but only squatting in the mid 400’s.

Squatting heavy takes a lot of practice, a lot of work on technique and it also helps to have a “squatters body”.  If you take one look at my physique you can tell that I have a dead lifters body.  I have long arms, long legs and a short upper torso.  I have always had a difficult time with the squat, but I do recognize its importance.

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One thing I have noticed is that although I am weak in the squat, it is still the best exercise for leg development.  It’s not even a comparison.

I focused on leg press the last 2 years and although I got up to 600+ lb’s for reps, it doesn’t really do much.

Machines in general don’t really do anything for me.  There is something about squatting that really builds the deep muscle in the legs, including the calves.

One of my goals for the Spring is to continue to squat all year-long.   Squats are one of the best mass building exercises and I truly feel that they are too important to ignore.

They also work your abs.

The summers where I have had my best looking abs, have always been the years when I have been consistently squatting all year-long.

In the winter my abs might start to look bloated and bulky, but when the summer comes along, my abs start to look ripped when I lose weight.  Heavy squatting will build your abs better than any type of crunches, situps or side bends.

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My advice? Don’t neglect the squat.

Although it can be a pain in the ass and dangerous to lift heavy without a spotter, it is still the best leg exercise and an overall mass builder.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

So, what am I talking about?

Body fat.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe that diet and cardio along with consistent weight training are the only ways to burn off body fat.

Unfortunately, many people are only doing 1 or 2 of the 3.  And all 3 are mandatory.

If you are only running, you are going to continue to burn off muscle until you look like a waif.

If you are only dieting, you can lose weight, but you won’t have any muscle tone.

Body fat is everything. A light person can have a high body fat percentage and a heavy person can have a low body fat percentage.

You can also become “skinny fat”.  A ton of marathon runners are skinny fat.  Slender, skinny legs, low on body weight, but they don’t have any ab definition or cuts.

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Ripped abs

You need muscle to have cuts.  Just being light isn’t enough.

I am JUST about to finish my winter bulk up.  I missed my max bench press attempt today, so I will try it one more time next Monday and that is it.

Another week and a half of being over weight and I will start to get cut again.

We had a warm streak in NYC the last several days and I am already daydreaming about getting outside and running some cardio.

This year, while I am still strong, I want to hit some heavy rep sets.  I know that once I start losing weight I won’t be able to beat my one-rep max, but I still should be able to complete some heavy sets for reps.

Those heavy sets will help when I get super cut for the summer.

Remember, it’s a combination of weight lifting, cardio and diet.  And when you get it right and stop babying yourself, it should look like this:

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!