Posts Tagged ‘diet’

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

20170903_085651

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Advertisements

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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.

20160715_065110

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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

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.

jabeer

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!

 

 

I am going to warn you right now; do not get TOO FAT!

Although I believe the winter bulk up is very important and I personally have gained almost 35 lbs this year, body fat can be very stubborn and difficult to burn off.

If you are gaining weight, please make sure you are lifting heavier and gaining some muscle.  If you are lifting light weights even though you gained weight, then you are wasting your time.

You should be putting on a combination of both muscle and some fat.

20161207_133330

One important part of bodybuilding that isn’t talked about a lot is timing.  When do we END our winter bulk up?

I like to plan out a predetermined weight gain and then I also choose several strength goals.  Once I get near or surpass my strength and weight goals, I know it’s time to shut it down and start getting ripped.

Although:

A) DO NOT stop going heavy until you are sure you will not break a record.  For example, I still need to max out on my bench press.  If I go up every week for the next 3 weeks, I will not stop.  I will keep maxing out until I cannot go any heavier.

B) If I reach my goals too early, then I will increase them.  If you reach your strength gains by halloween, you probably didn’t push yourself enough.

It appears that I only have 2 weeks left of my winter bulk up.  I am going for a bench press max on Monday, a squat max on Tuesday and I doubled my deadlift goal of 500 for 2 reps on last Friday.

If I don’t go up in these lifts, I will shut my bulk up season down in the next 2 weeks.  If I keep setting records, then I will continue to lift heavy until I cannot go up anymore.

Overall, its been a great winter bulk up and I am looking forward to getting ripped again.  I had to buy new work pants today because my waist grew to 32 inches, but that is a good sign.

Good luck to everyone except my friends Kook, Fred and Joe that I plan on beating in our annual “friends summer bodybuilding” competition.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

This past Friday I went to the gym with a clear objective, to deadlift 365lb’s for 10 reps.

I still have 4 weeks left in my winter bulk up, so I was planning on working my way up to the mid 500’s by the last week of the season.

I purposely went to the gym later than usually to avoid the crowds, but there was still 2 other guys using the deadlift platform.

One guy I have seen before; he usually does a bunch of sets in the 300’s and never goes up.

He is not a real competition for me, he is too scared to push it.

The 2nd guy I have seen before and he is pretty strong.  He is the only other guy in the gym that I have seen deadlift over 500 lbs.

I started warming up with the two guys and I immediately noticed that I felt strong and more importantly, I felt very fast.

For my last warm up, I went up to 315 lb’s and it felt like a paper weight.  At the moment I decided to call an audible and I increased the weight from 365 to 405.

Why should I lift lighter if I feel good?

Don’t overthink lifting weights.

Forget about writing down your sets with a pen and a pad or planning all of your training out meticulously, if you feel good, lift that damn weight.

People tend to forget, but, “IT IS JUST WEIGHT LIFTING”.

Turn your brain off, get angry and lift those weights.  The heavier the better.

Long story short, I figured I could get 405 for an easy 4 or 5, but I ended up getting 9 reps.

There was just no way that I could take it easy with these two chumps watching me.

A little motivation goes a long way, especially with an exercise like dead lifting.

Screenshot_20171010-190334

Right now I have 3 or 4 weeks left and my season is over!  This has been the best bulk up season for me in about 10 years.

But overall, I am starting to feel really overweight and unhealthy and I am looking forward to cutting down again.

Let’s see if I can improve on last season.

20170903_085651

Good luck! You are gonna need it…

-John

Check out my books on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

Ok, I admit it.  This title is slightly click bait, but I will explain.

This year I am backtracking on one of my old theories called “weak point training”.  From now on, I am focusing even MORE on my good body parts and even less on my weak points.

Why?

There really is no point in focusing on your weak points.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still important to have a balanced physique.  But if you want to stand out, you might need to spend more time on what works for you.

What are my strong points? Chest and Abs.

As you see in the picture above, when I am in good shape my abs are better than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s.

And my chest? It has always been on of my strong points.  I just touch the bench press and my chest explodes.

With that being said, I am going to continue to focus most of my attention on my chest and abs.  Those are the money makers.

So, what does this have to do with Kim Kardashian?

Well, she is known for one famous bodypart.  Would it make sense for her to lose a ton of weight and focus more on her weaker bodyparts?

Of course not.  Like I said before, she has one VERY famous bodypart.  Nobody talks about Kim Kardashian’s calves, forearms or back.

It wouldn’t make any sense for her to change her physique.

My body is not balanced.

Although I have been able to improve my calves into making them one of my better bodyparts, my upper back will never look great.

I have tried heavy rows, weighted dips, 500lbs deadlifts, etc.  I just don’t have the genetics to build a championship looking back.

With the summer coming up in 6 months, I am going to focus on my strengths.

Being balanced is not always ideal.

-John

Check out my books on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

Bodybuilding is a funny sport.

You can read all of the articles written in Flex magazine by the “so-called” experts or you can follow workout routines you find in the online forums, but unfortunately, most of it is bullshit.

I am not saying that some of it isn’t solid advice, but you have no idea how your body is going to react.

For myself, nothing ever goes to plan. Never.

For example, I have always been a great deadlifter.  In College I got up to 500lbs really fast and was almost lifting in the mid-500’s as a teenager.

20161113_211403

Eventually my progress started to slow down and I made a fatal mistake.  I started to add extra sets.

Not only did I get weaker, but I ended up pulling my back out and It took over a year to heal.

I see people making the same mistake with the bench press all the time.  They start to add sets on the bench press, then they go over to the incline and then they move on to the decline.

End result? They never progress.

I just turned 38 years old and I might be able to break my bench press record this year.  In 4 or 5 weeks I am going to try to get 365lb’s at around 181lb’s of bodyweight.

20171124_113303

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not any type of record breaking lifting, but it’s pretty strong for a regular gym lifter.

When I try to get stronger, it usually comes down to 3 things:

  • Speed.  I do my reps really fast, including my warm up.
  • Less Sets.  Sometimes I will only do one set after warming up
  • Eat more.  If you don’t eat, where is the magical muscle going to come from?

Also, you might find an exercise that works great for you.  If you do, don’t change anything up!!!

This year, I was doing bench press on Monday’s and I was doing shoulders on Friday’s.  I wanted to focus more on bench press, so eventually I substituted shoulder Friday’s for dumbbell chest.

From adding a second chest day, I started going up like crazy.  I shot my bench press up over 315 lb’s almost immediately.

Last week I decided to go back to shoulders and I started to add shoulder Friday’s back.

Result?  I started to feel some injuries come back and my bench press started regressing.

If something is working, DON’T STOP.  Even if it doesn’t make sense.

If pretty girls always compliment your favorite blue shirt, then wear that shirt!

Don’t try to overthink things.

Right now I have about 6 weeks of my bulk up left before I get into Spring Training.  Although I enjoy being strong, I have to admit, I am starting to feel overweight.

Good luck!

John

patreon!Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!