Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

I am officially about 2 months into my 2018 running season and I am finally starting to feel pretty good.

It takes a couple of weeks of going outside before I realize how much I missed running.

The first couple times out are rough, but once you get into a groove, I start to really enjoy my training.

If you want to get fast with running, you just need to run hard.

That means pushing it in your training and also competing often.

For myself, that means either going to a track and timing myself or signing up for many races.

This year, my first official big race is on May 17th.  Since I have about a month until the race, I figured it would be a good idea for me to sign up for a practice race in April.

At least I can see what type of shape I am really in.

To get fast in running, you need to run hard and compete.

All of that practice and slow running is a waste of time if you aren’t getting faster.

Right now, I think I can run 3 miles in close to 21 minutes.  That is a pretty decent time for April, but the only way for me to find out, is to run a race or time myself.

Maybe this weekend.

-John

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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

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Today I finally made it outside for a lunch-time run instead of using the tread mile.  This winter hasn’t been very cold in NYC, except for one week, but it has been really long.  We have actually had a decent amount of snow into April

Unfortunately with the horrible weather, I have been using the treadmile a lot more instead of going outside.

I have a big race coming up in the middle of May and I am trying to get my 5k time down.  Right now I believe I can run 3 miles in about 21:30ish.

It feels like its been a while since I had a fast run.  Running is a lot of work and I realize that for me to get faster, I really need to get outside more.  The treadmile helps, but it’s not the same as training outside.

Just like everything else in life, there really aren’t any shortcuts.  If you want to get strong, fast or cut, you need to put in the work.

If you want to become a doctor, expect to be in College for at least 10 years.

If you want to become a lawyer, expect several years of law school after College.

It also helps to have years of experience when it comes to training.

Today as I was out running, I started to reflect on my running career and I realized that I have been running off and on now for almost 25 years.

That is a long time.

Last week when I was on vacation, I unfortunately lost my G.P.S running watch somewhere in Georgia.  Luckily, I always keep an old running watch around, so today I used one of watches that I had saved from College.

It’s a very basic watch, obviously made before GPS was created, but it still works.

And to be honest, I felt better without the stupid GPS.

I went for a nice run by just using the basic time.  I knew when I reached 14 minutes that I was probably near 2-miles and when I was passed 21 minutes I estimated that I had probably passed 3-miles.

It almost felt liberating that I didn’t know my running pace for every second and I can just go at my own pace.

If you think about it, I set almost all of my running personal bests before GPS watches were invented.  The only way I was able to officially time myself was on a track or during a race.

Sometimes I would even measure out a 3-mile course with my car and then memorize it.

But part of being successful in running, earning money or your career; is that you need a long-term pattern of consistently.

I saw a guy eating a slice of Pizza today on my commute home and I have to admit, I was really jealous.

It’s not that I will never eat pizza, but definitely not on a random ride home from work. And I started thinking about how long I have been dieting.

This year will be my 9th straight year of bodybuilding.  That means for 9 years in a row I have been lifting weights, running, fasting and building a 6-pack every summer.

That has to help at me some point.  That is 9 years straight of being on a strict diet.

I am going to turn 39 this year and I can already see that I look a lot younger than my peers.  It wasn’t as clear when I was 25, but now at nearly 39, it is a big difference.

Making an effort matters.

Its the same with saving money.  I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagine, but, I did save money for the least several years consistently.

Small efforts help.

If you are either training harder than your competition, studying harder or saving more money than everyone around you, long-term, it will really start to add up.

The key is to never quit and keep pushing yourself.

-John

Book 3 coming this summer!

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Savannah in one word? Historic beauty.

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Is that two words? Either way, Savannah is a beautiful city and if you are a history buff like I am, it is a great place to visit.

I love the city planning that was involved in creating Savannah.  Savannah is divided up into numerous “squares”, that each have some historical reference.

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The city also has a large centrally located park, named “Forsyth Park”, that is constantly filled with people.

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What I also love so much about Savannah, is that is it so walkable.

Whether you walk around the riverfront area or around some of the “squares”, there is just so much to see.

The weather is also great, although I heard it is really hot in summer, but you also have Tybee Beach only 30 minutes away.

The food is also outstanding and the city has an open container law (although I am not sure if that is city-wide or just in the tourist area’s)

This was the 2nd time I have been to Savannah, and several years ago it seemed to have more of a crime element.

Now? It seemed like it cleaned up a lot more.  Maybe something to do with the high real estate prices? I am not sure, but outside of 2 or 3 vagrants in some of the parks, I didn’t really seen any problems at all.

Overall, Savannah is a beautiful city and deserves a good 3-day weekend trip.

What are the negatives?

  • Not 100% kid friendly.  There is the park and some horse ride tours, but overall, there isn’t really much for kids to do.  They would be better off at the beach during the day.
  • Although it’s a large city, it doesn’t feel much like a “real” city.  Meaning, it feels like the main industry is tourism. It would be a good place to retire, but not sure if I could build a career there.

But besides those two negatives, and they are small negatives, Savannah is still a very nice city.

Beautiful architecture, great food and nightlife, warm weather and a close drive to the beaches.

Overall rating, “A-“

You need to work out hard.  There is no way around it.

I don’t buy all of these articles stating that less workouts are better than more. I agree that you cannot overtrain, but is less really better than more when it comes to removing bodyfat?

It depends.

Performance is everything.  If you think you can work out twice and week and show up in good shape, good luck.

You wont be able to run a mile in 5 minutes.

You also won’t have enough cardio workouts to burn off the extra body fat.

When I train for the summer, I will work out 6 or 7 days a week and show up ripped.

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Although I will work out for 6 or 7 days a week, my workouts are usually only an hour at time, and two hours on the days that I do both cardio and weights.

I only squat and deadlift once a week and I rarely do more than 3 sets per body part (not including warm ups)

I prefer to focus on high-intensity.  Hit it hard and quickly and get out.

But sometimes I feel rundown.

Last week I was on vacation and when I went back to work on Monday I felt exhausted.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were horrible workouts, so by Thursday I realized that something was off.

Thursday night I decided to increase the calories.  I had a big dinner, some desert and I had 2 beers before I went to sleep.

Friday I went to the gym and I decided to skip deadlifting.

So overall, I took an easy day at the gym and I completely cheated on my diet.

End result?

Today I ran like a champ!  I finally had a great workout and ran 4 miles at around a 7 minute per mile pace.

So although I try to be strict on my diet as much as possible and I rarely skip the gym, sometimes its pays off to take a break.

Increase the calories,  and skip or take an easy day at the gym.

Once you feel rested, right back at it.

Just as long as you don’t make a habit of it, a short break ran help your training and assist you in reaching your goals.

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-John

I am officially back in NYC!

This last week I was in Raleigh, North Carolina, Hilton Head SC, and Savannah, GA. It was a fun trip and I will post my review on these cities during the week.

I always try to plan a Spring Break trip almost ever year.  It provides me the motivation to get into shape and it sets the pace for my Summer training.

When it comes to vacation and especially Spring Break, there are certain tips I use to handle my training and diet.

A) Start off the vacation being light.  This year I lost about 16 lbs before I went away.  I figured even if I gain 3 or 4 lbs back, I am still down over 10 lbs from my winter bulk up.

B) If the hotel has a gym, and most of them do, try to hit the major bodyparts.  I won’t work out every day, but I try to do a 30 minute chest, shoulder and leg work out if I can.  I don’t go crazy, but just try to keep the blood flowing.

C) Run outside If I can.  This week off I was able to run 4 times.  I ran twice in Hilton Head and also twice in Savannah.  You lose your cardio ability quickly, so I am happy to say that I ran pretty hard over my week of vacation.

D) Pig out.  I don’t understand people that start to diet on vacation but not during their regular work week.  On vacation I drink beer, I eat ice cream and I let my diet fall apart.  Once in a while I will order a fish dinner just to detox, but I refuse to travel and not try the local cuisine.

Overall, enjoy your vacation.  Lift weights briefly if you can, do some light cardio if you have time and for goodness sake, please do not diet.

-John

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35 is a weird age.

I feel like it’s the point in life where you either decide to live healthy or you don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, people start making lifestyle changes later in life all the time.  My parent’s are starting to eat healthier in their early 70’s due to high blood pressure/cholesterol.

But most people do not make the change.

The worst part about not making the change and I see it all the time, is that you start to age rapidly after 35 if you don’t make the lifestyle changes.

Men start to go gray, they lose muscle mass and their energy levels drop due to low T.

For women, it’s a lot of the same, including a decrease in fertility.

There is no answer to father time, but you can slow it down.

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(Age 36)

I had the opposite reaction at age 35, instead of slowing down, I work out angry and motivated.

It’s hard to explain, but my motivation to become a champion has gone up substantially.

If you think about it, my entire day is disappointing.  9 hours of work, long commute, daily shower, shave, and little time off for vacation.

I have been blessed to grow up in a generation where I do not have to do manual labor to survive, I don’t need to hunt game to eat, I wasn’t drafted into war and my country has never been invaded.

But there is a downside.

For centuries, young men were born to be warriors.  We fought, we farmed, we conquered, we were invaded.

We lifted heavy stones and built homes with our bare hands.

We didn’t sit in front of a computer.

Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming at work and I imagine that I was a Viking.

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Running full speed into a village with just an axe and some body armor.

Or I am a warrior in the crusades, traveling through Europe and engaging in epic battles.

I imagine myself traveling in a stagecoach across America, building a log cabin with my own tools and hunting for game.

That was the reality for centuries, until the last 50 years.

That energy has to go somewhere, otherwise you are going to fade away and die.

Starting April 1st, I plan on killing it.

I want to train harder than any man or women in the United States.

Heavy weights, hard cardio and strict diet.

I’ve always said, you will always look the way that you train.

Train like a freak, look like a freak.

Train like a high school cheerleader, look like a cheerleader.

Don’t train at all?

Die.

-John

The training used for running is very different from bodybuilding.

With bodybuilding and especially weight lifting, you definitely need more rest.

If you are going to lift heavy weights, and in my opinion only heavy weights work, then you are going to need to rest or you will get injured or weaker.

If you are going to dead lift 550 lb’s on Monday, you better believe that you are going to need some rest before you deadlift again.  I ONLY deadlift once a week and I usually only complete one heavy set.

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Running is different.

If you want to become a fast runner, especially in distances between 1 to 5 miles, you will need to run all the time.

3 days a week may be fine, but to be honest, 4 or 5 will make you even faster and 6 is probably optimal.

The only problem with running 6x a week, is that it will probably hurt your physique.

It’s going to be hard to hold on to any muscle if you are running that often.

It’s for that reason that I try to run as hard as I can, with less training sessions.

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INTENSITY OVER ENDURANCE

2 years ago I lived near an Army base in Staten Island, NY.

After work I would run through the base at least 4 or 5x a week and the course was HARD.

The Army base was designed over 200 years ago and the way it was designed, it had at least 3 very serious hills.

After several work outs a week, I was total spent.

I did get pretty fast, but sometimes I question if I would have become faster by running on a track instead.

So the question is, does running hills in every workout help?

Personally, I think you need a mix of both.

Sometimes you can do hills several days in a row but other times you just need a flat course to work on your speed

Today I did just bench press and I plan on running the next 3 days in a row before my vacation next week.

Next week I am taking a vacation down to Hilton Head, SC and Savannah Georgia, so I will have to miss a week of my normal routine.

I will try to get 3 or 4 sessions in the hotel gyms if I can but after Easter, it is game on until Memorial Day weekend.

This is the time to start killing it.

-John

For the people that are going to take it serious, this is the time of year that you need to start killing it.

Heavy lifting, cardio and a strict diet.

This morning I weighed in at 170.5 lbs and I am down 14 lbs from February 1st.

I am doing a spring break trip next week down to Hilton Head, SC, so my plan is to go down under 170 this week.

For my cardio, I have been running 2 miles in 14 minutes and 3 miles in around 21:30.  Although those are decent times, I am not going to lie, I am still out of shape.

I have a big race coming up on May 17th and I plan on showing up in shape.

On problem with my training right now, is the crappy weather.

At least in NYC, the weather is either rain, snow, wind and barely any sun.

The treamile is OK, but for me to get fast, I need to get outside more.  I might need to go for some runs in the rain if need be.

March and April are working months.  Whether you are training to get ripped for the summer or studying hard for school, this is the time of year that you need to KILL it.

Too many people wait until late May to get in shape, but by then it is too late.

Get busy…

-John

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

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