Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Hello All.  If you read my blog, you would know that I had my first child in April.  So far, it has been a life changing experience, both good and bad, and I couldn’t picture my life before him.

Was-Cain-or-Seth-Adam's-Firstborn-Son--EL2

So, what are the major changes?

  1. Sleeping in late is OVER:  After age 32-33, I started getting up pretty early on the weekends anyway, but now I get up at the latest, 530-630 am.  As soon my son is up, I am up.
  2. The first month you wont sleep:  I am not going to lie, the first month is tough.  I remember going to work with little sleep day after day.  You eventually get used to it, but by then, my son started sleeping a little better.
  3. Your sleep is never straight through the night.  I am almost 5-months in and I still have to wake up 2-3x a night.  Sometimes it will only be once, sometimes 4, it really depends on his day.
  4. Working out doesn’t change too much:  I only  missed about 3-4 days of weights.  I work out with weights at lunch, so that really didn’t change.  Cardio is a little tougher.  After work I am pretty tired and I also want to get home to see him before he goes to bed.  I have been using a lot of treadmile and 8am weekend running.
  5. Read all you want, but there is no substitute for real life practice and every child is different.  You will QUICKLY find out what they like and what they don’t like.

What are some other major changes?

  • More compassion but less tolerance for bullshit.  For some reason, I feel more compassionate for people with real legitimate problems.  With that being said, I lost all patience for bullshit.  Especially with young lazy people.
  • Become more religions.  If having a child doesn’t do it for you, nothing will.

What about costs:

  • My wife is not working indefinitely, so we have to be on a strict budget.  But to be honest, you have a solid 9 months to prepare, so you don’t have any excuses.  And I got married at age 36, so I wasn’t a rookie.  We paid off almost all debt and so far, it’s a lot cheaper than being single.  Less drinking, eating out and vacations, but more money on health insurance, formula, diapers and utilities.  Overall, not as bad as I thought it would be.

Overall, I can’t say enough how life changing it is to have a child.  Very tiring, but I would say you are crazy to not entertain the idea before its too late.

Do I miss single life? Not really.  Occasionally, I will feel like I am missing out on a big trip.  The key is to get everything done BEFORE you get married.

  • Go to Miami
  • Go to Ireland
  • Go to Japan
  • Go to Mardi Gras

And for the love of god, don’t pass up on having children just to support some stupid corporate job.  Trust me,

-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 was looking at the weigh-in pictures from McGregor and Mayweather today and I noticed that they are both looking pretty lean.

So, how do we build ripped abs like McGregor?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor - Weigh-in

It’s hard, but not too hard.

First off, you need to keep a consistent weight training routine over several months.  That routine needs to include heavy compound movements such as bench press, squats, should press, dumbbells, barbell curls and others.

You also need a ton of cardio.  That includes tempo runs (2-4 miles), sprinting, shuttle runs and also some sports.  The sports can be boxing, soccer, rugby, tennis, basketball or any other active sport.

And then most importantly, you need to cut weight.  This winter I went from 180 lbs down to 150 and I plan on cutting 2 or 3 before I am done.

And what happens when you bring it all together?

A) I weigh 3 lbs less than McGregor at around the same height

B) My abs are better.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I hate to say this; but the answer is either no or at the best, very minimally.

How do I know this? I tried it on myself.

This summer I have been trying to get down to 148 lbs and although I am very close to reaching my goal, I am still not there yet.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

In the last 2 weeks, I have decided to throw in some extra walking to speed up the body fat loss and unfortunately it did not work.

It even got the point where I walked 8 miles on a random Tuesday and I still ended up gaining weight.

walkkkk

So, what is the problem with walking?

I think it’s very healthy, it just doesn’t burn enough calories.  Unless it’s over 90 degrees out and humid, I wont even break a sweat.  When you are in decent shape, you can probably walk from the time you wake up, straight until dinner without breaking a sweat.

But on the contrary, by picking up the intensity, I can burn up to 2 lbs in one hard workout.

A hard run will burn more calories than almost any other type of cardio.

What’s the absolute best cardio workout for removing body fat? If you read my blog you would know that I am not a fan of long-distance running.

A) 2-3 mile hard tempo runs.  By hard, I mean you are ready to die by the time you are done.  And also volume sprinting.  By volume sprinting, I mean that you need to do enough repetitions so that it adds up to a decent amount of distance.

If you don’t want to run, then you need to use sports.  Tennis, rugby, basketball and soccer, all are outstanding fat burners and should be used as much as possible.

So overall, walking is healthy and I enjoy it, but don’t except to burn off any  bodyfat or get ripped just by going for a walk.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Bodybuilding is a funny sport.  Everyone claims that they are working out for looks, but they end up looking the same every single year.

I have been going to the gym for over 20 years now and probably 5% of people working out look any different.

The problem that most people have, is that they don’t take their diet serious.  If you weigh the same in the summer as you did in the winter, you aren’t going to burn any fat off.

This year I went from 180 lbs and now I am down to 150.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

But what if you don’t want to bodybuild? And is bodybuilding even healthy?

To some extent it is.

But how should you work out if you don’t care what you look like?

I would narrow it down to 2 categories:

A) Moderate to heavy weights:  Heavy weight lifting has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s for everyday activities or just keeping your aging in check, moderate to heavy weight lifting is important and should be done by everyone

B) Moderate cardio 2 to 3x a week:  Many bodybuilders don’t believe in cardio, but I tend to disagree.  Moderate cardio is extremely important and as of today, heart disease is the number one killer for men in the United States.

I wouldn’t necessarily get into running, but possibly play some sports or even some hiking.  You can get in pretty good cardiovascular shape from just 30 minutes of cardio 2 to 3x a week.

Overall, even if you aren’t going to bodybuild, you should always exercise with weights and cardio throughout your entire life.

For your diet, i would “allow” yourself to gain a little bit of extra weight in the winter but then cut 10-15 lb’s every summer.  I would also moderate my alcohol intake and try to focus on eating healthier options.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am going to answer this question quickly.  Burning Fat is harder.

Burning fat hurts.  There are only 2 ways to burn off fat; either by burning extra calories in your workouts or by cutting your calories.

I prefer to use a combination of both.  It I cut my calories too low I end up burning off too much muscle and If I increase my cardio workouts too long, I start to feel weak in the gym.

jabeer

That’s not to say that bulking up is necessarily easy, quite the contrary, it is just not as difficult as burning fat.

One of the major differences is with the dieting.

When you are bulking up you still should be strict with your diet, but you don’t need to go overboard.  I try to stick with a high-protein/lo-carb diet and I never count the calories.

The most difficult part of gaining muscle is lifting heavy weights.

I am a firm believer that you need to lift heavy weights to build muscle and lifting progressively heavier weights is not easy.

This Monday I bench pressed 245 X 8 without a spot, but during my bulk up I will go up to 335 lbs for heavy singles and doubles.

I will also incorporate 500 lb+ deadlifts, 550 lb+ shrugs and 700 lb+ leg presses.

Heavy lifting is the only way to grow and the work outs are extremely difficult.  Heavy weight lifting is very taxing on your body, including your muscles, joints and central nervous system.

But although gaining muscle is tough, burning fat is still harder.

There is nothing harder than hitting the gym, then running 2 miles on the track during an 12-hour intermittent fast.

Dieting hurts.  I go through months of stomach aches and dieting pains before I start to look cut every summer.

That also includes going to work on an empty stomach, dizzy feelings, irritability and many nights of horrible sleep.

But most importantly, almost anyone can bulk up without much effort.  If you go to any average gym in America you will see plenty of men that can bench 275 lb’s, but you rarely see anyone with a 6-pack.

Being in good shape is difficult and lowering your body fat is extremely hard.

But overall, it is all worth it in the end.

20160715_065110

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It has been about a month since I reintroduced cardio into my workouts and so far it is has been going great.

Although the weather hasn’t been as cooperative as I would like, I have been getting 3-4 cardio workouts in every week.

So far I have been running 3 miles in around 21:15 on the treadmile.  Generally, I am 10 seconds per mile faster on the treadmile, so I would estimate my 3 mile pace to be around 21:45 outside.

But to be honest, I don’t really care about my 3 mile time this year.  I just want to hit 21 minutes for 3 miles (7:00 per mile) pace and then I want to focus on my SPEED.

One of the best ways to get fast and to cut a ton of weight, is to use interval training.

Interval training is basically when you add short stretches of speed at a faster pace than your jogging pace.

For example: This is the workout I completed on Tuesday.

.25 miles jog at 7:30 pace

.25 mile run 6:15 pace

.25 mile jog at 7:30 pace

.25 mile jog at 6:15 pace

.25 mile jog at 7:30 pace

.25 mile jog at 6:15 pace

.25 mile at 7:30 pace

.25 mile at 6:15 place

Basically, I would sprint and then jog, sprint and then jog, until I reached 2 miles.

This year I want to add a ton of interval training into my routine and when the weather gets nicer out, I want to start sprinting on the outdoor track.

How is everyone else’s training going?

-John

Most bodybuilders focus on the main body parts when they are working out, such as the chest, quads, back and calves.  But there some smaller body parts that are often overlooked and are very important.

Two muscles that come to mind immediately are the triceps and the hamstrings.

If during your bulk up you injure your triceps, your presses will be in trouble.  That goes for the bench press, shoulder press, dumbbell press, military press or any other press that involves using your upper body.

The triceps are not necessarily a small muscle group, they are larger than the biceps, but their importance can sometimes be overlooked.

As I am getting close to hitting my winter goals of 315 for the bench press and 100’s for dumbbell shoulders, I noticed that my triceps are really starting to get sore.

Last week I worked out with 75’s for shoulder dumbbell, which at this point should be an easy weight, and I noticed something odd.   Although the weights were coming off my shoulders without much of an effort, I was starting to stall on the lockouts.  My shoulders have obviously been getting a lot stronger, but unfortunately, my triceps have not been able to keep pace.

When I am lifting heavy,especially when I am power lifting, I usually don’t train my triceps separately.  I know that most bodybuilders give their triceps individual attention but I actually try to rest them as much as possible.  Between heavy bench press and heavy dumbbells for shoulders, my triceps are already getting a lot of work in.

Another overlooked muscle group are the hamstrings.  Most bodybuilders spend a lot of time on their quads and calves, but in reality, it is the hamstrings that provide most of your speed.

I ran 3 years of High School track and one year in College, and whenever I started a new sprinting season, I noticed that my hamstrings would start to get sore.

Similar to the triceps, if you ever strain or injure your hamstrings, forget about running fast.  It is close to impossible.

Right now I have 8 more weeks of heavy lifting before I start to diet down for the summer.  I am not going to lose the body weight right away, but in late February I will start tightening up my diet and reintroduce the cardio workouts.

I believe I should be able to reach my winter lifting goals soon, and before you know it, Spring will be here and time to start getting cut again for the summer.

-John

Plateau’s are a major problem in bodybuilding as well in many other sports.  Most people will experience rapid gains when they start a new training activity but eventually those gains will come to an end.

They might not stop completely, but they will at least slow down.

Going from a 95lb bench press to a 200lb bench press is pretty easy and can be accomplished within a year, but going from 350 to 400 can take 10 years.

Running a 7 minute mile is easy after several weeks of training, while running a 5 minute mile takes a whole different level of committment.

This season I started my bulk up season in Mid September and for the last couple weeks I have been increasing my strength rapidly.

My goals this season are a 315 lb bench press and 100 lb dumbbells for shoulders.  As of today, I am up to around 300 lb bench press and 95lb dumbbells for shoulders.

Although I am getting close to my winter goals, the problem is that my gains are starting to slow down.  Any gains from now on are going to be a lot tougher.

So how do I keep gaining in strength?

  1. Increase the calories: I need to gain weight and I need to take in extra protein.  It’s close to impossible to get stronger if you aren’t taking in enough calories.
  2. Less sets/More intensity:  Often I see beginners starting to add extra sets to blast through a plateau, but in reality, they should be doing the opposite. Cut down on the sets and focus on taking your lifts more serious.
  3. Improve your speed: Many people don’t realize the importance of speed.  If you want to press heavy weights, you need to lift it fast.  Trust me, if you think you are going to deadlift 500-600 lbs slowly, you are joking.  Bench presses need to blast off your chest, dumbbells need to blast off your shoulders and barbells need to blast off the floor to deadlift it.

The other problem I am having, is that my body is not used to the heavy weights yet.  My muscles are starting to quickly adapt, but my joints and ligaments are starting to hurt.

It takes months and even years of consistent hard lifting to get really strong and if you think you can do it fast you are kidding yourself.

But if you work out consistent, lift heavy and eat right, anyone can build up a solid physique.

20161113_211403

-John

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To be fair, I have lived in Brooklyn for  over 34 years and only 2 years in Staten Island. My only break was for 6 months in Albany, NY during college and In my early 30’s I spent 2 years in the Rockaways, Queens.

stateni-sland

(South Beach, Staten Island)

Although I have lived in 4 different area’s, I am officially “FROM” Brooklyn. Not be confused with the tens of thousands of people who moved to Brooklyn in the last 10 years.  I was born in Brooklyn, went to public school in Brooklyn and I got married in Brooklyn.

I am not a transplant, I am FROM Brooklyn.

brooklyn

Although I’ve never hung out much in Staten Island prior to moving here, I’ve been to the Island hundreds of times growing up, because one side of my family lives on the South shore.  My experience growing up was several weekends a year to visit relatives, many trips to the Staten Island mall and in my mid 20’s I went to graduate school in Staten Island (St John’s)

So let’s get down to the comparison:

People:  Edge Brooklyn.  In my opinion, the people are a lot more humble and approachable in Brooklyn (except the hipsters).  Brooklyn has a much higher density and diverse population, so growing up in Brooklyn you are forced to interact with other people.  Some people in Staten Island are very nice, but overall they seem to be very wary of strangers.  Many people moved to Staten Island to  “get away” from the rest of the city, and it’s no surprise that Staten Island has the highest gun ownership in NYC.

Commute: Staten Island.  The people in Staten Island complain about the commute, but they don’t know how good they have it.  The traffic in Brooklyn is BAD and getting worse.  Driving downtown or anywhere near the Barclays center is a nightmare, Coney Island is getting worse and parking across the borough is becoming nonexistent.  If you work in Staten Island you can park almost anywhere., meanwhile,  Brooklyn is slowly turning into Manhattan.

In Staten Island, the only time it gets bad is if you live out on the South Shore and have to commute to Brooklyn or Manhattan.  But with that being said, the train to the ferry is the best deal in all of NYC.  My wife picks me up and drives me to the ferry for work, so I commute to Manhattan everyday for FREE (Minus gas, insurance and repairs)

Gyms:  Staten Island has a huge gym culture and so does parts of Brooklyn.  I would probably call this a tie.  Staten Island on average has more bodybuilders and power lifters, but Brooklyn has more gyms.  In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where I grow up, they have 5 or 6 gyms in walking distance from my house, in Staten Island most people have to drive.

Parks: The parks in Staten Island parks are extremely underrated.  Clove lake park, Silver lake park and South Beach are all great areas.  Further out, Great Kills Park and Wolfe’s Pond Park are also great and so are the trails on the green belt and Todt Hill.  Brooklyn has Prospect Park and Coney Island of course, but again, parking can be difficult and they have become super touristy.  To be fair, Prospect Park is my favorite park in NYC, but Staten Island has many more options.  Staten Island Wins.

Bars/Restaurants: Staten island has really good pizza/Italian food, but the borough loses on every other category.  For bars, Staten Island has maybe 10-15 decent places, but they mostly attract a neighborhood crowd.  In Brooklyn you get the neighborhood crowd and also a little bit of a tourist crowd.  Brooklyn has more business turnover, so there are always new places to try.   Brooklyn wins food and bars by a long shot.

Price: Staten Island is generally less expensive, but historically the homes have not appreciated  in value like they have in Brooklyn.  This is a tie. Prices are lower, but if you buy something, it doesn’t go up as much (historically).

Overall winner: It’s hard to say, since they are both very different.  If you are just moving to NYC from out-of-state and you end up in Staten Island, you will probably be disappointed.  Staten Island doesn’t have the culture or diversity as the other boroughs and its generally more of a suburb than an urban city.

But if you are already familiar with NYC and you know the places that you like, Staten Island can work for you.  For myself, my commute to Manhattan is a breeze compared to when I lived in Brooklyn and it’s also a 10-minute bus ride to my parents house in Bay Ridge. I  also found a gym that I like and there are several parks that I use for my cardio.

So overall, if you are between ages 18-28, I would not recommend living in  Staten Island.  Brooklyn has more bars, restaurants, diversity and population.  If you are more established or raising a family, I would consider giving Staten Island a chance.  I’m not leaving.

-John

This year, I am bulking up very quickly.  I went from a low of 149 lbs in July and now I am  already into the mid 170’s.

In the last week, I am finally starting to look a little bit chubby and I plan on slowing down after New Years.

Since I was super skinny only 5 months ago and now I consider myself fat, I can describe some of the obvious body changes between being super ripped and slightly stocky.

20161207_133330

(Getting Stocky but extra calve work is starting to show)

  • I can’t stay awake.  Around 9:30-10pm at night I am just exhausted.  When I was really cut in the summer, I would stay up to midnight without a problem.
  • My strength is tremendous.  My bench press is up 30-40lbs already and I am up almost 20lbs in shoulder dumbbells.  The weights are feeling really light and I have been going up consistently every week.
  • My feet have been killing me.  I am going to have to purchase new sneakers this weekend as my feet as constantly hurting and swollen.
  • I am out of breath.  My breathing is noticeable labored.  That is a big reason why I believe you should continue cardio workouts throughout your entire life.
  • My appetite never ends.  It takes a ton of extra calories to fulfill my appetite.
  • It is easier to concentrate.  At work and in my private life, I feel like I have been able to concentrate a lot clearer.
  • I am in a better mood.  Low-calorie and low-carb diets often put me in a horrible mood.
  • My wife said I look better.  Interesting.  I definitely fill out my shirts a lot better, but my cuts are nonexistent.

Overall, I almost feel like a different person since I gained weight.  Different strength, different emotions, different attitude and different sleep schedule.

Both good and bad, I am an enjoying the differences that my body is going through during this years bulk up and hopefully I reach my strength gains soon.