Posts Tagged ‘cuts’

There are only two options in life; either you are religious and believe in some type spiritual power or you believe that when you die, you die.

If you go the religious route, then you will focus solely on your spiritual side and make it your number one focus in life.

If you find yourself in the latter category, then you will live like there is no tomorrow.  Not that you want to die, but you don’t need to “hold back” on anything in life.

I personally feel that 98% of the population fits within the middle of each.

Nobody is 100% dedicated to anything, but the few people that can come close, can be extremely successful.

The Pope was most likely very dedicated.  The same can be said for Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Gates.

When it comes to the gym; unfortunately most people are also in the 98% middle ground.  In other words, they don’t really make any progress.

For this winter bulk up, I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to mess around.

I am either lifting weights, or I am not.  I am either getting strong or I am not.

You are either running faster or you are not.

You are either burning off body fat or you are not.

When you start viewing life in absolutes, you can remove the emotional bullshit and stigma’s attached and accelerate to your goals.

So far this year I am already close to a 500lb deadlift and a 300lb bench press.  Since I have decided to stop messing around, I am almost at my St Patrick’s day goals months ahead of schedule.

Next year, I also plan on adding the same focus on other area’s of life.  Whether it is getting stronger, saving $20K, starting a new business or finding a new job.

Stop bullshitting and get it done.

There is no time to mess around.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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The easy answer is that it depends on the person. But more importantly, you need to find out which routine works the best for your body.

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After years of working out, I can say with 100% certainty that my body responds to low reps.  Not only does my body prefer low reps, but it also prefers heavy weights.

Some people are different.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for doing multiple sets over several hours a day.

Ronnie Coleman was known for lifting super heavy with powerlifting style exercises.

Personally, I prefer the heavy powerlifting style for several reasons:

  • The muscle lasts longer.  When you are lifting heavy weights, the mass stays on for a long time
  • It’s practical. even if you aren’t a bodybuilder, it helps in everyday life to be a stronger person.
  • I always get injured with high reps.

This Fall season, I have been getting back into the old school powerlifting routines.  Heavy weights, low reps and a ton of extra calories.

The same can also pertain to running.   I believe that everyone needs some form of cardio; whether it is running, biking, basketball, etc.

But I definitely do not believe in long distance running.  Training for 1 or 2 marathons in your life isn’t going to kill you, but I don’t recommend it as a long-term training routine.

I actually gain body fat when I run long-distance.   I become “skinny fat”, which is very skinny with a high level of body fat.

When it comes to cardio, I prefer to train the same way as I do with weights.  Quick and fast.  Sprinting, tempo runs, hill repeats and nothing over 5-miles.

By just running 2-4 miles 3x a week, I am able to get my 3 mile time to under 20 minutes.

So overall, do high reps work?

It depends on the person.  Try it out on yourself and track your progress.

Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t making progress then it may not be working for you.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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I am two weeks into my winter bulk up and I am already starting to go heavy.

I have already benched 275 lbs and today I deadlifted 405 for 2.

Screenshot_20171010-190334

Of course I plan on lifting much heavier, but it’s still a pretty good start for me.

I’ve noticed that in the last several years, I have been taking my time working up to the heavy weights.  I will start light in the Fall and then slowly progress to heavy weights in the Winter and Spring.

This year I have decided to jump right in.

Considering that I have over 20 years of lifting experience, I trust that my body can make the quick adjustment to heavy power lifting.  To be honest, I need to stop babying myself.

Being comfortable or going with the flow, doesn’t work for me.

If I stick with a job, relationship or work out routine that isn’t showing results; I need to make a quick change immediately.

Several years ago, I stayed in a job for way too long.  I was underpaid, under worked, and underappreciated. When I finally got the nerve to leave, I ended up jumping 2 jobs in 3 years and I increased my salary by almost 50%.

As I look back on the several years that I wasn’t really pushing myself, I realized that it’s a waste of time.

And I don’t have years to waste.

Whether its having children, deadlifting 600 or starting a business.

If you are going to do it, then do it.

You might not realize it, but if you are doing any type of “maintenance’ you are actually slowly going backwards.

Take the words maintenance out of your mouth, that is for losers.

It is time to turn up the heat and I am feeling motivated.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

 

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

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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!

 

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.

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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!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

 

One of the things I enjoy about natural bodybuilding, is that the sport is very fair.

Although everyone has different genetics and structural bone differences,cutting body fat is almost the same process for everyone.

Basically, you can get really cut if you work hard enough.

The summers when I get myself in really good shape, I am always training and dieting like a freak.  I am also training harder than most of my peers and that’s why my physique starts to stand out.

jabeer

BBQ in long island!

What are some examples of insane training and dieting?

  • 730 am cardio weekend cardio sessions
  • 14-hour work day fasting
  • Hill sprints in 95 degree heat
  • One hour elliptical machine workouts

All of this hard training really starts to add up, especially when it comes to fat loss.  During the winter is when I lift heavier to add the solid muscle, but when the summer starts, its game on for losing weight.

Now that we are in the middle of August, I have about 4 weeks of cutting left before my season is over.  As such, I need to KILL it this week.

My plan is 4 days of weights, 4 nights of cardio and I need to fast like crazy this week.  I want to cut 5 more lbs before I reach my goal of a super lightweight of 147 lbs.

I have to admit, it’s not going to be easy.  When you start cutting down in weight, your progress really starts to slow down when you get lower in body fat.

Wish me luck! And check out my new book on amazon.com!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Getting cut is not that hard.  The problem that most people have is that they don’t diet hard enough and cut the necessary weight.

I see the same people in the gym year after year and their physiques never changes.  But, if you are working out correctly and losing weight, you should start seeing some abs.

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Summer abs

The hard part for me is to continue getting cut.  Meaning, when I get my body fat low but I want to keep going.  That last 2 or 3% is when you really need to get dedicated and become a workout freak.

Most people will never get to this point.

Just to make an example; this week I did 4 days of half-day fasting, along with 4 days of weights and 3 nights of cardio.  After all of the lifting and fasting, I only lost .5 lb.

When you get really low on body fat it becomes super hard to go any lower.

My goal this year is to cut another 5 lbs within a month and it wont be easy.  I am going to have to continue dieting hard, if not harder, and I am going to have to increase my cardio to 4 or 5 days a week.

If it comes down to it, maybe I will do cardio 14 days in a row.

What ever it takes.

Want to build natural looking abs? Check out my two books on amazon.com for more details!!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I have been training really good recently.  I finally have a new training partner to spot me in bench press (It’s been 2 years) and I am hitting some strong summer numbers.

I lost almost 25 lbs this year since the winter and this “should” be the time of the year that I am weakest.  Surprisingly, I have had a strength surge recently.

The only idea I can think of that led to my recent strength surge, is that I cut down on any long-distance running.  I was feeling burnt out again, so I decided to switch to sprinting and basketball only.

Just to give you an example, I almost benched 295 at 152lbs of bodyweight today.  I am really close to doubling my body weight in bench press.

Since I have been lifting so good, I am actually considering competing in powerlifting again.

Powerlifting is the best type of training.  Even if you aren’t going to compete, the powerlifting lifts are the best way to maintain strength.

Bodybuilding is an obscure sport.  The majority of people going to the gym are never going to be bodybuilders nor will they ever have a 6-pack.  Those people should be training for strength only, along with a little bit of cardio.

Being strong has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s picking up your child, carrying groceries or climbing stairs when you are 60.  Staying strong is very important and the best way to stay strong, is to incorporate power training.

Do you need bodybuilding in your life? Not really.

The dieting and training is healthy, but it’s not a very practical lifestyle.

Marathon running is even worse, it not, the worst.

Try incorporating some power training into your routine.  It is the best way to build any mass and the training is the most practical when it comes to using weights.

Hope everyone is enjoying the end of the summer.  Please check out my new book on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!