Posts Tagged ‘food’

I cant believe it, but I am actually going to turn 39-years old next month.

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Its funny, but I remember my father turning 40 years old and thinking that he was ancient.

Now, I am almost there.

Physically, there hasn’t been that many major changes since I was 18.  I am definitely slower and my joints hurt more, but I am probably stronger and my stamina is greater.

I also don’t get to sleep past 7 a.m with an infant at home and my hangovers last for 2 days instead of 1.

Since I have never stopped working out, I have been able to maintain a strong physique.  I am still benching over 300 lb’s and deadlifting over 500, and I can also run 3 miles in 21 minutes.

But if I didn’t work out, I would be in big trouble.

During last years bulk up, I noticed that I got way too fat.  In just 5 months of skipping out on cardio, I started to feel morbidly obese.  I started to find it difficult to complete basic day to day tasks like taking out the garbage and even walking up stairs.

Let’s face it, that is how most people live in this country.

If you cant see your abs, run a mile under 8 minutes, or climb stairs going to work; you are slowly dying.

If you don’t have any energy because you have the testosterone level of a teenage girl, you are in trouble.

If you hairline is receding, your back is getting hairy and your teeth are starting to rot.

You are on the fast track to death.

You won’t even make it to your life expectancy of 78.

You are not the only one, a lot of people in our generation won’t.

Wake up.

-John Andre

Check out my books on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

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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

 

 

Last week I took a weekend vacation to Gettysburg, PA and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

harpers ferry

Although I had never planned on traveling to Gettysburg, I figured I would sneak it in since it is a big part of Civil War history.

But my main purpose of the trip was to see Harper’s Ferry.

Harper’s Ferry has been on my radar for a while.  If you are not familiar with the town, it’s a really small city in West Virginia where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.

But what is so unique about the town, is the amount of history in such a small area, especially civil war history.

It was the scene of the famous John Brown raid.  If you are not familiar with this, I highly recommend you read the wikipedia page, it’s a good read for any history buff.

john brown

Basically, John Brown was a big abolitionist (anti-slavery) before the U.S. Civil War started. Whether his anti slavery ideas came from his devotion to religion or from his business failures is debated, but what is not debated is that towards the end of his life he gained a “militaristic” hatred of the institution of salary.

Although the civil war did not start yet, it was slowly starting to develop.  John Brown had already led some successful slave insurrections and came up with the idea of raiding a federal weapons armory.  The idea was that he could arm many of the slaves in the South and start a major slave uprising.

Long story short, his plan backfired.  He was caught pretty quickly, several of his son’s  were killed on the scene and he was tried and hung in the nearby town of Charlestown (named after George Washington’s brother).

Although John Brown was not succesful, his raid on the armory was big news and helped fuel the anger on both sides which started the Civil War shortly after.

The town itself was also taken over by the confederacy and the union several times during the war.

Like I stated, small town, big history.

It’s hard to explain Harper’s Ferry.  It’s basically a town on a river bank, with a railroad, pedestrian and car bridge, along with some small shops and historic area’s.

harpers ferry 3

They have parts of the original fort that John Brown was captured in, along with a ton of hiking trails.

Overall, I give Harper’s Ferry a “C+/B-”  It’s not bad, just not a lot to do.

It is limited on hotels, but there are a decent number of good restaurants near the water front.

harpers ferry 2

Outside of town, Charlestown has a nice horse track and casino about 10 minutes away.

You can basically make a day out of it or maybe stretch a weekend trip.

Check out the John Brown fort area, walk over the pedestrian bridge, pick some hiking trails and then hit the casino.

Not a horrible trip, but not sure if I would go again.

-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

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

This has been a decent training year for me.

During the winter season, my bulk up went great.  I went up to around 185 lbs in body weight, my bench press reached 325 lb’s and my dead lift went up to 525.

But more importantly, I finally started squatting good again.  After two years of wasting my time with the leg press, I started squatting again and worked my way up to around 300 lb’s.

Running has been a different story.  I don’t know what my problem is but my running has been underwhelming.  So far, I have been running 3 miles in around 20:45.

That is decent time, but not great.

I was looking to get my time down to the low 19’s.  Although I still have a month left in my running season, I haven’t uncorked a super fast run yet.

Running is a weird sport.  Sometimes it takes just a little bit extra in your training to bust out a super fast run and you may be closer than you think.

When the training is going hard and feel down and out, sometimes you just need to push it a little bit more.

And that goes for everything.

Studying for exams, trying to reach a sales goal, trying to get a new girlfriend, etc.

Sometimes you are JUST about to reach your goal and you don’t even realize it.

This season reminds me of my senior year of High School.

I had a sort of disappointing junior year on the track team and I remember training hard over the summer to get ready for my final season.

My cross country season in the Fall went well, my indoor season was so-so and then my first race in the Spring was a bust.

At this point, my head was in a fog.

I was ready to quit running.

I had 10 days off for Easter break that year and I remember going to my parents summer house in Cape May, NJ.

There was a old-fashioned dirt track not too far from my parents house, so I decided to run super hard for 10 days in a row.

When I came back from Easter break, I felt super charged.

On my first race back, I signed up for a 400 meter race (one lap around a normal track).

I decided I needed to be more aggressive in my races.  I figured I would try to follow whoever was in first place and then try to take them out near the end.

No matter how fast they ran, and these were potential College scholarship athletes, I was going to follow the leader closely.

The race started and I followed the guy in first for almost the entire race and tried to take him out in the last 20 meters.

Unfortunately, I came in a close second place, but my time was insane!  I took 5 seconds off my best 400 meter time and I had almost qualified for the city finals.

The following week I signed up for a 200 meter race (half a lap around a normal sized track) and I came in first.

From then on, my results were improving.  I had several 1st’s, lots of 2nd’s and some really fast times.

I ran so well, that I decided to run for one year in College and by the end of the season I was named the M.V.P of the outdoor track team.

Lesson learned? Sometimes you might be really close to a break through.

Just like the first time you ever rode a bike, it will happen.

Will it happen for this year?

Only you can decide.

-John Andre

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Weight training and running are very different.  When I get cut for the summer, I use a combination of running, weight training and a proper diet.

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This year, I skipped running almost completely for about 4 months so that I can bulk up.  Occasionally,  I will run the entire year. But this year, I wanted to make sure that I put on enough size.

Around February 14th I decided that I would stop bulking up and start to slowly cut down for the summer. Although I am not dieting super hard yet, I am slowly cutting down on my calories and I also started running 3x a week.

One thing that I have noticed right away, is that the training used for running is very different for than it is for weight training.

With weight training, you definitely need extra rest.

When I deadlift or squat, I need an entire week of rest and for chest, I can do it twice per week at most.

You also need more calories when you weight train.  If you do not consume enough calories or rest enough between heavy workouts, you will never grow any muscle.

Running is a different story.  I can get in pretty good shape by just running hard 3 or 4x a week, but If you really want to get fast, rest is your enemy.

When I am running fast, it means I am training all the time.

You also lose your running stamina quickly.

I can skip 3 months of weight training and still be pretty strong.  With running, if I skip 3 month of training, I will lose it completely.  It’s almost like I never ran before.

In the Spring is when it gets weird.

I am going to have to lift heavy weights, which requires rest, while running several times a month that requires no rest.

I also need more calories for building muscle, but less calories for getting cut.

So, how do I lift heavy weights for muscle and run for cuts at the same time?

It’s not easy.

That is why you need to start off with some solid muscle before you starting cutting up, because you will lose some of it.

The key is to try to hold on to as much muscle as possible, while still removing all of my body fat.

It is tricky.

I compare it to a chef.  If you take 100 chef’s and ask them to bake the same cake, there will always be several cakes that stand out.

Why?

Everyone has the same recipe, the same ingrediants.  So why doesn’t every cake taste the same?

It’s tricky.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Running is a fun sport and it is very addictive.

When you are in great shape, nothing feels better than a fast 3-mile training run.

But running is strange; I will typically feel good immediately after a hard run but then the rest of the day I feel like crap.

I get tired.

I get insomnia.

I feel irritable.

I never get sick, unless I have been running a lot.  Which also makes me think that running is not very good for your immune system.

Yet, I am still addicted to running.

I woke up today exhausted.  I ran a hard 4 mile run in the morning yesterday, went to a BBQ for several hours in the sun and then my son kept me up all night so I didn’t sleep well.

Besides all of that, I still cant wait to run today.

I feel horrible and I know I am going to feel worse, but I still need to run.

Weight lifting is different.  With weight lifting I feel energized, I sleep great and mentally I feel focused.

So, why don’t I just weight train?

The answer is that you probably need a little bit of cardio, especially low impact cardio, but not necessarily running.

Running is not low impact at all.

There is nothing worse than the 10,000 steps my knee’s have to absorb every time I go for a jog and I am almost certain I will need some type of surgery when I get older.

But running is a sport.

I like to compete; both against myself and against other people.

And it helps to get me cut.

This year, I am running to early October the latest and then I am taking a long break.

The Fall and Winter are going to be powerlifting only before I start running again.

Wish me luck.

-John Andre.

Check out my books on amazon.com! Book number 3 coming soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

Summer is almost over!

Another couple of weeks and school will be back in session, the weather will start to cool down and football will start again.

So, what does it mean for my training?

It is RACING season!

The Fall is my favorite time of year and also the best time of the year to run a fast race.

My goal at the beginning of the year was to break 20 minutes in a 5k, but that might have been a little bit too optimistic.

Realistically, I am looking at going under 21 minutes.  Right now I am about 30 seconds away from that goal.

I am going to sign up for a flat race on Sept 16th.  Although the race is a flat as a pancake, the course if occasionally windy.  If the wind is not acting up, I have a solid chance of running a good race.

I have been running “ok” this year, but I haven’t really ran a super fast race.

When I am stuck in a running slump, there are usually only 2 ways to get faster.

The first is to add “Speed Work”.  Speed work is where I would add shorter distance training to try to speed up my pace.  That is repeat mile, 2-mile, 3-mile runs.  200, 400 and 800 intervals and even some sprinting.

The second method is to basically increase my distance.  Instead of running the fast 2 to 2.5 miles that I have been doing in my training, I am going to increase it to 4-5.

I usually don’t like increasing my distance because it starts to wear down my muscle, but since I am only running for another 45 days tops, its “ok” for me to gamble a little.

So, right now I am doing one big race on Sept 16th.  If I feel like I still have some gas in the tank, I might train for one more big race in October.

After that, it is over.

November until March will be hard-core powerlifting.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast