Posts Tagged ‘muscle’

I don’t care what anybody says, you need “SOME” form of cardio in your life.

Unless you do physical work for a living, cardio should be a part of every person’s routine.

Without cardio, I do not get super cut.

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Don’t get me wrong, about 80% of getting cut is from your diet.  But the final 20% is what separates the men from the boys.

Cardio is a funny thing.  A right amount of cardio really helps, but too much and you will look terrible.

For example, I think marathon runners have the worst looking bodies in the world.  There is nothing natural or healthy with running those insanely long distances.

I don’t have a problem with someone running it for sport, I ran the Brooklyn half-marathon several years back, but just don’t expect to lose body fat or become healthier.

The healthiest type of cardio training will be short and quick.  That would be basketball, football, lacrosse, tennis, soccer and track and field.

Short, quick, movements.

I see a lot of guys in the gym that really have their weight training down.  They are benching heavy, curling strong, squatting deep, etc.

But their cardio isn’t done correctly at all.

I am ready to fix that problem.

Coming Jan 1st.

(Bloggers, email me for a free review copy : )

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As I sit here typing this as a 38-year old man, I firmly believe that every man under 50 years of age should go to Spring Break.

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Spring Break is healthy.  Spring Break is motivational.

And it’s a damn good time.

For some of my European and Asian readers that are not familiar with Spring Break, it is an American tradition where many young people travel to a warm area during the months of March and April.  It’s very popular for College students and usually coincides with their school schedule.

Some of the hot spots include Florida, Jamaica, Texas, Cancun and others.

In my lifetime, I have been to 4:

  • Cancun
  • Lake Havasu, Arizona
  • Bahamas
  • South Padre, Texas

The last one that I have been to was in South Padre, Texas when I was 30 years old.

So, what do I love about Spring Break besides the warm weather and the debauchery?

First of all, it is IDEAL for bodybuilding.

There is nothing that gets me more motivated in the Winter than training for Spring Break.

When it is 20 degrees out and snowing, I can’t stop thinking about the warm beaches and palm trees.

It is also seasonally perfect.  Typically I would bulk up from October to February, then I would start to diet and add cardio to my routine.

The result would be that I would start to look really good in Late March and Early April.

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I wouldn’t be super cut and skinny like I get in the summer, but I would still have some solid bulk that would look really good.

Spring break is the ultimate motivation.

If walking around in a bathing suit in front of thousands of people doesn’t get you motivated to train, what else will?

Now that I am older, married, and I have a child. Should anything change?

Why should I stop going to Spring Break?

This year, it is officially back on.

Although I won’t be doing keg stands on Daytona Beach, I sure as heck will be somewhere warm, diving into a swimming pool.

And I refuse to be the overweight and out of shape father on vacation, I am showing up ripped this year.

Now I have something to live for as winter starts to slowly creep into NYC.

Extra motivation.

-John Andre

Check out my books on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I can’t believe that I am going to turn 39 years old in December.

Growing up, I always considered “40” to be old age.  My father, who is still an athlete at 72, looked old at age 40.

Almost all of my aunt’s and uncles also looked pretty old at 40.

40 is the age where if you haven’t taken your health serious, you are going to start the rapid decline towards death.

Am I being too serious? Take a look at the direction of this country.  We are fat, drunk, high on pills and dying younger.

We are also not training correctly.

There are two major problems I see with how people train as they age.

A) Weight training.  You need to keep lifting heavy.  Light weights is for babies.  There are “some” exercises that I can’t do anymore, but the majority I still can use.

I dead lifted 455 lb’s last Friday and I am gonna try for 600 this winter.

B) Our cardio is TOO slow.  Think about how you ran around as a child.

As a 3rd grader; did you go for a slow jog around the neighborhood?  Of course not.  Kids only run as fast as they can.

I NEVER ran slow.  Everything was climbing, sprinting, jumping and bouncing.

But adults mostly do their cardio SLOW.  Slow, boring jogging, mindless bike riding, slow swimming. etc.

You need SPEED.  As you grow older, you get slower.  If anything, your stamina increases.

This past summer, I decided to do my first track and field competition in 20 years.

Believe it or not, I actually entered the long jump.

In High School, I was not a great long jumper.  My technique was horrible and I only jumped around 15 feet.

In College, I decided to work on my long jump a little bit more and I actually got up to around 20 feet.

20 feet is basically where you divide the men from the boys.  If you can jump into the mid-20’s, you will be on a College scholarship.

I trained for several weeks during the summer, mostly on cement (!) and in August I did my first long jump competition since 1998.

Overall, my form was horrible and I hit around 15 feet, which was my High School best.  Next Spring and Summer I should be able to destroy that.

I would also like to run the 100 and the 200 meter sprint next year.  I was thinking about running it this summer, but I didn’t really have enough time to train.

My plan for the next several months is heavy powerlifting, followed by several track and field races during the Spring and Summer.

This should get be in great shape for next year.

-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

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

I can’t sugarcoat this statement, Americans are too fat.

Not only are we too fat, but we are in denial of being too fat.

Our life expectancy is slowing to a crawl, possibly even going lower, and more and more people are coming down with preventable illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

And they are also getting those illnesses at lower ages.

This year I went from 185 lbs in the peak of winter, down to 152 lbs today.  That is a huge loss of 32 lbs in about 4 months.

One thing that I have realized this summer, is how fat I was during my winter bulk up.

Although I was lifting heavy with 315+ bench press and 535 lb deadlifts, I was still holding a large amount of body fat.

And that can’t be healthy.

I have people come up to me every day in the gym and ask me what I do to get cut and the first thing I recommend, is to lose weight.

If you are weighing over 200 lbs and not lifting really heavy weights, you are going to be overweight.

Even when people weigh 175 lbs, I tell them to lose weight.

That is too heavy.

If you look at the height and weight charts from the 1950’s and 60’s, it is crazy how light the ideal body weight was.

Did that really change? People are slightly taller, but why would it be all of a sudden healthy to gain 30-40 lbs in 40 years.

“But muscle weighs more than fat”

Yes, it does. But do you have any muscle?

Are you bench pressing 350-500 lbs?

Are you dead lifting 600-800?

Can you run a mile in 5 minutes?

Yes, muscle weights more than fat.

But you are just fat.

Where is the muscle?

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-John Andre

Book 3 coming out this summer!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

It is officially GAME ON.

If you haven’t started training hard yet, I am sorry to tell you this, but it is probably over.

You will not look good this summer.

At best, you can lose 10 lbs between now and Labor Day weekend.

But my blog isn’t for chumps, I want to meet champions!

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My goal for July 4th was 155 lbs.  I “should” hit that pretty easy if I start kicking butt.

But goals aren’t made to just reached, they are made to be blown up and surpassed.

My lowest body weight this season has been 156.6 lbs, I would love to break 155 lbs this week.

It is going to take a very strict diet and I need to push my cardio hard this week.

Weights every single day, Monday to Friday and cardio on Tues, Wends, Thurs, Sat and Sunday.

Next week I will do weights on Monday and Tuesday and then it’s July 4th.

I always look ripped on July 4th, although I usually don’t peak until the middle of August.

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The summer diet is always tough, but it’s all worth it when you look like a champion.

God bless America!

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

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!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

Spring is here!

Although we might be getting a foot of snow tonight in NYC, daylight savings time is this coming Sunday and the warm weather is right around that corner.

I have started losing weight quickly and I have been adding cardio to my routine at least 4x a week.

One major mistake that I have made in the past, is to forget that I am a lifter first and not a runner.

Yes, you do need to run to get cut.

And yes, running is healthy when done in moderation.

But DO NOT start increasing your mileage in an attempt to get cut.

You need to focus on your weigh lifting first and then your cardio.

You will definitely start to get weaker as you lose weight, but the name of the game is to hold on as much muscle as possible while you burn off your body fat.

In my gym, I see guys running on the treadmile all the time and barely lifting weights.

The end result? They look horrible.  And they also look unhealthy.

If you can bench press 350 lbs or squat 600 and THEN start to hit the treadmile, you will look like a champion.

But it doesn’t work in the opposite direction.

If you can run a 5 minute mile and then bench press 165, you will look horrible.

Muscle is the name of the game.  You can burn off the fat by dieting and using your cardio.

But don’t forget, muscle is more important.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

It is almost that time again!

Spring Break!

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I’ve been on Spring Break at least 10 times, including Cancun, South Padre Island, The Bahamas, Lake Havasu and others.

I also went to St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin Ireland, Boston, Key West, Philadelphia, NYC and Phoenix.

If there is one consistent theme for myself in the Spring, it is to get into good shape for Spring Break.

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I don’t need to be in my absolute best shape for Spring Break, but I just need to look decent.

I plan to be several weeks into my summer diet, so at least a large part of my body fat is already removed.

The only problem is that, I don’t have a lot of time.

Between peaking in mid to late February and trying to look good by late March/early April, it takes a lot of work.

Not only do I need to cut a ton of weight, but I need to hit the cardio as well.

This year, I am heading to Savannah and Hilton Head, SC for the last week in March.

Although I have already started cutting down, I am hoping to lose another 7-10 lbs within 3 weeks.

I am going to have to work hard.

In the next 3 weeks I want to do 18 workouts.  That is Monday to Friday during the work week and at least one day on the weekends.

So far, I have cut down about 10 lbs since my winter peak of 184.  I have also been running pretty consistently.

Today I ran outside and I hit 2.5 miles at a 7:08 per mile pace.  I am still far off from where I need to be, but I am heading in the right direction.

When I am in decent shape, I should be able to run 3 miles in 21 minutes pretty easily.  By the end of summer, I would like to be able to run 3 miles in under 19.

It is a lot of work, but if I run hard and lose some more weight, I should be able to do it.

When it comes to Spring Break, the name of the game, is losing weight.

Considering you are going somewhere warm; you don’t want to be out in your bathing suit looking overweight.

You need to start cutting weight immediately, using your diet and by also adding cardio to your routine.

By the time I touch the beach at Hilton Head this year I plan on being almost 20 lbs lighter than my Winter peak and that is after only 7 weeks of dieting.

Use Spring Break to your advantage.

By getting yourself into good shape for Spring Break, you are setting yourself up to have a good summer.

You just need to lose more weight, keep lifting weights, continue running, and eventually your body will look like this.

jabeer

Summer cuts

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!