Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

I am having a surprisingly good bulk up this year.

Although I am only several weeks in, I have already deadlifted 405 for 6 easy reps and I am on pace to hit 500 in October.

I almost always reach 500 lb’s in the deadlift, but to reach it in October is VERY early for me.

Usually I will reach 500 around Christmas and then I will max out in late January/Early February.

Dead lifting is a great exercise and it is also one of the most basic.  You just bend down and pick up a weight.

You don’t need a spot. You don’t need any friends.

It’s just you and the bar.

Like I stated in the title, it is almost impossible to put on any solid muscle if you aren’t lifting heavy weights, especially powerlifting.

Many of the famous bodybuilders started off  using powerlifting, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva and Ronnie Coleman.

There just isn’t any substitute for heavy lifting.

I have always been a pretty good deadlifter and my record was 585 lb’s in my late 20’s.

I “think” I have a serious chance of beating that this year.

The last several years I have been maxing in the low 500 lb’s and this year I am almost there in October.

If I can get into the mid 500’s pretty fast, I am going to give it shot.

I plan on bulking up until Valentine’s day, so I would like to attempt it before then.

Good luck!

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

 

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What is more important, cardio or weight training?

Or is it all diet?

In reality, it’s probably a mix of all three.

One thing that I like about heavy weight training, in comparison to cardio, is that it lasts forever.

Even if you haven’t lifted in ten to 20 years, I can take one look at someone and tell if they used to be a power lifter or football player.

Running and cardio in general, goes away almost immediately.

You can run for 6 months straight, as soon as you miss 2 weeks, you are going to be slow.  It’s really a sport where “what have you done for me lately” is always true.

I just started getting back into the heavy lifting and I am already pretty sore.

This week I am getting my bench press into the low to mid 200’s and I plan on deadlifting 365 lb’s for reps on Thursday.

I “should” be pretty strong by Thanksgiving.  I want to shoot up to 500lb’s quickly and then I can work on the mid 500’s to 600.

Bench press is going to be tough this year, mostly because all of my training partners keep quitting.

Will post some videos soon!

Good luck.

-John

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

It’s official. My season is over.

Overall, I had a pretty good year, but not outstanding.  In a couple days I will publish my annual review, along with some pictures.

My theme for next year is “Back to basics”.  And what I mean by that is, I want to cut out the bullshit.

Clean eating, with a lot of eggs, water and tuna fish.

Super heavy lifting, with deadlifts over 500 at a minimum and hopefully bench press in the mid 300’s.

And I need to continue my progress in squatting.  I “should” be able to beat last year’s squats pretty easily.

Regarding cardio, I am going to do a minimal amount until New Year’s Eve.  I feel that my body needs a serious rest from the cardio, but not for too long.

Last year I took off a solid 6 months and I think in the long run it hurt me.

You don’t need to do cardio 100% all year long, but you need to do something.

My preliminary workout is going to looks something like this:

Monday: Chest/bicep

Tuesday: Legs/cardio/abs

Wends: Rest

Thurs: Chest#2/Shoulders

Friday: Deadlift/Back/Abs/Cardio

Sat/Sun: rest/light cardio

My goal is to avoid looking in the mirror for a while but focus on hitting big numbers.  I want to eat a lot cleaner than last year and hopefully only put on “lean muscle”.

Overall, I had an injury-free year, so I “should” be able to hit some decent numbers this Fall.

Wish me luck.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I know that most normal people do not follow the Mr. Olympia, but the annual event was held last week and the new champion is 43 years old!

Shawn-Rhoden-Mr-Olympia-2018

(Shawn Rhoden)

And, it is also the first time he has ever won…

Although that would seem to be an old age to become a first time champion, being a competitive bodybuilder over age 40 is not uncommon at all.   If anything, most bodybuilders peak at ages 35-45 years old.

Although a 40-year old man or woman might not recover like an 18-year old will, it’s hard for a young person to defeat someone in bodybuilding that has been lifting heavy weights for 20+ years.

There is a certain size and density level in muscle that you just can’t build in a short time period and that is why you have a lot of older bodybuilders.

When I saw the recent Mr. Olympia champion, it immediately reminded me of Roger Clemens when he was on the Yankees.

When Roger was pitching for the Yankees he was in his late 30’s/early 40’s and unlike most players his age, he was having a career resurgence.

Same with Barry Bonds.

I am assuming they were both using steroids, along with the Mr. Olympia competitors.

When you combine years of hard training, along with extra testosterone, it is really hard to beat.

You have the recovery time of the younger players plus the strength and experience of being an older athlete.

It is really the best of both worlds.

Although I have never taken steroids and most likely will not, I thought about how they would really help me at this age.

At 38, there are days were I can barely roll out of bed and the cardio sessions in the Summer are really starting to drag.

I don’t recover like I used to, yet, I am still as strong as a bull.

I was deadlifting over 500 lbs like it was nothing this winter, my bench press was back over 315 and generally I was one of the stronger guys in the gym.

I am still strong, just don’t have as much energy.

On a personal note, the summer is slowly coming to a close and I am going to start my power training on Oct 1st.

I will write out my training plan soon, with a main focus on bulking up “cleaner” this year.

Hopefully I will peak in my 40’s.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

People ask me all the time how I “feel” after working out.

Family, friends, co-workers, etc.  People that I am in contact with are constantly asking me if I have extra energy and vitality from exercising, but the answer is “NO”.

Especially from running.

Running is not natural.  Although humans have the ability to run, no human being in a million years has run 70 miles a week until the last 100 years of history.

Until the late 1800’s, all running was mostly sporadic sprinting.

Cave men didn’t go for a jog.  They ran to save their life, fight or to kill a dinosaur.

And I don’t think too many soldiers went jogging during the civil war.

Unless something crazy was going on, basically you walked slow and long.

Weight lifting and dieting are different.  I 100% feel better when I weight lift and diet correctly.

I have a ton of energy, I sleep well and my strength and stamina is through the roof.

Running makes me feel horrible.

Right now I am peaking for my running season and I feel absolutely horrible.

My anxiety is high, I am constantly irritable and I don’t sleep well.

Does this sound like torture?

I believe it does.

After September 29th my season is over.

Then back to dieting and heavy powerlifting.

Cant wait.

-John Andre

Men generally do not live as long as women.  That not only goes for just humans, but for animals as well.

I’m not sure if it is from the testosterone or possibly the positive benefits of child-birth, but women live several years later than men on average.

life-expectancy-birth

Men also traditionally marry younger.  Whether this is because of the earning power discrepancy or the length of a women’s fertility, men typically marry someone younger than themselves.

The combination of living longer and marrying an older man,  often means that daddy passes away a lot earlier than mommy.

Usually.

I am statistically in that same boat.

I am about a year and a half older than my wife and although I work out and eat cleaner than she does, her vital signs are always better than mine are.

Her blood pressure is always lower, her cholesterol and blood sugar have always been in check.

It’s just one of those things,

Like I stated in my last post, it’s really hard to eat super clean when you have a family.

I can’t stay out dancing in the 90 degree heat until 4 a.m and then eat a can of tuna for breakfast like I used to.

Obligations change.

With that being said, more families should try to eat healthier together.

Usually when you see an obese family, you can tell that they are all eating the same crap and keeping the same bad habits.

Children follow the routines of their parents and parents usually copy off each other.

In my family, I want daddy to eat healthier.  To the point where I may need to eat a separate meal.

Does it sound selfish?

I think its common math.  I am already supposed to die earlier, shouldn’t I try to extend my life past my life expectancy?

If I can push out another 2-5 years, then maybe my wife and I can live until our 90’s and beyond.

Let’s face it.  You aren’t worth much to your family dead.

Eat healthy guys!

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

I looked pretty good this summer (Pics coming soon).

Probably my 4th or 5th best.  But I can’t lie, I didn’t reach my best ever, even though I trained pretty hard.

When I do my end of year review, I like to ask myself some questions and self-reflect on what I can change for next year.

Also, what changed in my life?

First of all, I got married two years ago.  That hurts, but not an absolute killer.

Second problem, I have a child now.  This hurt some more as well, but its not really an excuse.

And finally, I don’t go out drinking any more.

Let’s face it.  When I was in my best shape of my life, I was single, no kids and I went out drinking every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Now, I am not saying that drinking helps you to get cut.  But you know what does? Dancing, sweating and walking around all night until 4 in the morning.

Now I go to bed at 10:30.

That extra cardio is key.

jabeer

Ripped abs premarriage

The other issue with being married now, is that I can’t keep the insane diet.

There were times that I would eat a can of tuna for dinner, 3 or 4 days in a row.

As a married man, that is a tough diet to sell to your wife.

When you have kids, that training is the same, diet is a little worse because you start eating some of their good.

But the rest is horrible.

Running a quick 4-mile tempo run, followed by 10 sprints in 95 degree heat is tough.

I used to do that workout routinely, then chill out in the air conditioning, drink a beer, put my feet up and take a nice nap on the couch.

Now?

The minute I am done with the workout, I am on full baby duty.

No rest. No naps.

So overall, there is still no excuse not to be in good shape if you are married.

It is just the small things that block you from being the total champion that you were as a single guy.

Hopefully, once my son is a little older I think it will free me up somewhat to get back in the crazy training.

And hopefully he starts eating tuna fish.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

One thing that I like about lifting heavy weights, compared to running, is that your gains last for a long-time.

Even after 30 years of relative inactivity, you can just look a person sometimes and tell that they have played College football.

Heavy lifting can make permanent changes to your body composition and you lose a ton of weight or take up long-distance running, a lot of that muscle will stay around for years.

Running is different.  If you miss just one month of running, almost all of your stamina goes away and after several months, you are basically starting from scratch.

That is another reason why you need to be careful as you get older.  Skipping out on cardio as a young man is not very dangerous, but if you were to skip it for 6-9 months in your 60’s or 70’s, it can kill you.

You need to lift and do cardio across your entire life.

One muscle that I have found to stick around forever, is the calf muscle.

Its funny, but my calves used to be one of my major weak points. Especially in my teen’s and early 20’s.

Only after training them heavy, twice a week, for 2 years straight, did they finally start to explode.

And now I can say that they are one of my strong points.

The key to building a nice pair of calves is actually pretty easy.

A) You need to lift heavy.   Your calves are walked on all day long. To make them grow, you need to blast them with heavy weights are they are going to ignore you.

B) Stay consistent.  You need to blast them once or twice a week for at least a year straight.

Once you build them up, they are pretty easy to maintain.

My other weak spot is my upper back.

If you can find a secret for that one, please let me know.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

Lancaster PA is surprisingly really good.

best-things-to-do-in-lancaster-pa_f_mobi

To be honest, going into Lancaster I wasn’t expecting much. Most of my recent trips to the state of PA have been pretty disappointing and I didn’t think this would be any different.

But Lancaster is really nice.

I would add Lancaster to my trip list of surprisingly nice towns, along with, Lake Placid and Niagara Falls.

So why did I decide to go to Lancaster?

Well, first of all, it is a quick drive 2 and 1/2 to 3 hour drive from N.Y.C.  Very manageable with a small child and my son usually sleeps for the first 2-hours in the car anyway.

Secondly, the town is supposed to have a lot of kid activities, which it did. So I figured we can make a quick summer trip out of it.

Our first stop into town was the Lancaster central market, which is located in downtown Lancaster.

What most people don’t realize, is that not every part of Lancaster is Amish. Lancaster is a real city, with a real downtown area.   The farms and “country-life” are located outside of downtown, but surprisingly not very far.

My first impressions of “downtown” Lancaster?

“Not bad. Definitely old, possibly up and coming.”

lancaster-city-m

I was trying to think of what town it reminded me of. Possibly a smaller, cleaner version of Philadelphia or maybe a much cleaner Allentown.

There are a bunch of old row houses and a decent central area with a some trendy restaurants.

The central market is nice, it has a collection of Amish stores where you can buy locally made products.

central-market

We made a quick stop for a bite to eat before we shipped out to the hotel.

We stayed at the “Eden resort”, which was recommended to me from a good friend.

The hotel was extremely nice, and very good for kids. They have a big indoor and outdoor pool section, along with sprinklers, basketball courts and a playground.

Very, very nice hotel.

our-stay-at-best-western

Which takes us to actual Amish country.

Amish country is wild. I was expecting to see maybe one or two Amish people if I was lucky, but was I wrong.

Amish people are all over the place, working, traveling around, etc. While driving around for an hour in our car, we passed at least 40 horse and buggies traveling along side the highway, along with bicycles and scooters.

Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, Amish Horse And Buggy.

The farms are also fascinating. You will pass farms all the time driving through PA or going to upstate NY, but you won’t see a farm being actually worked on with physical labor like you do in Amish country. “Some” of the Amish will use a minimal amount of electricity and machinery while others will use close to nothing. But overall you will see almost everyone outside working on their farms during the day.

Prior to traveling, I though I would see evidence of hard living, quite the contrary. Believe it or not, it looks like a good life. They live on large farms with a great sense of community, they eat the freshest food available, they are all married and they have large families (7 kids on average)

Which takes us to the food. I couldn’t stop eating the entire trip.

The Amish make a ton of baked good, such as moon pies, shoefly pie, sticky buns, cakes and all of the organic meat and vegetables tasted outstanding.

amish

We ate at the good and plenty restaurant, which was outstanding, but I have been told there are much better places.

Outside of Amish country, they have some amusement parks (Dutch wonderland), outlet malls and all types of family activity.

Overall, Amish country is a great vacation and I would definitely like to return during a different season.

May not be an exciting trip for a single male, but a lot of fun for a family trip.

Add this to my surprisingly good vacation list.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I have to be honest, I don’t know if bodybuilding is really a healthy sport.

The dieting and low body fat percentage is probably healthy, but when you take it to the extremely low body fat percentages, it can’t be too good for you.

For myself, I know that when I am looking like a freak, I am also dieting and training like a freak.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

Often when I am training hard and dieting strictly, I don’t feel so well.  It’s not a natural lifestyle.

For health reasons, it’s probably best to have a little bit of body fat.

If you were to look at most of the top athletes, they usually aren’t going to look like a bodybuilder.

They may be very lean; but Lionel Messi or one of the top powerlifters, are not going to have a 3% body fat.

You need some leverage.

I am amazed by how much strength I lose when I cut weight.

This winter I was deadlifting 500 lbs’ relatively easy and now I can barely deadlift 415.

I don’t think that I lost that much muscle, but I lost some leverage.

Same thing with my squat and deadlift.

This past weekend I was in Lancaster, PA on a family vacation and my diet went to shit.

Over 4 days I had pizza, muffins, moon pies, Amish ice cream, car snacks, etc.

I think I peaked on the low-end for my body weight in the middle of August and now I am starting to slowly creep up.

The result?

Not only am I starting to lift a lot heavier, but I have been running like a champ.

Sunday I ran 3 miles outside in 20:10 and today I ran 3 miles on the treadmill in 20:07!

I am finally running some fast times and the only thing I changed, was that I increased my calories.

So what is my recommendation?

Sometimes you need to eat.

If a piece of cake or an ice cream cone on Sunday is going to make you feel that much better when you train, then maybe you need it.

Because working out on 800 calories a day really gets old after a while.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast