Posts Tagged ‘muscle’

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

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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!

spring break

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!

 

I am two weeks into my winter bulk up and I am already starting to go heavy.

I have already benched 275 lbs and today I deadlifted 405 for 2.

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Of course I plan on lifting much heavier, but it’s still a pretty good start for me.

I’ve noticed that in the last several years, I have been taking my time working up to the heavy weights.  I will start light in the Fall and then slowly progress to heavy weights in the Winter and Spring.

This year I have decided to jump right in.

Considering that I have over 20 years of lifting experience, I trust that my body can make the quick adjustment to heavy power lifting.  To be honest, I need to stop babying myself.

Being comfortable or going with the flow, doesn’t work for me.

If I stick with a job, relationship or work out routine that isn’t showing results; I need to make a quick change immediately.

Several years ago, I stayed in a job for way too long.  I was underpaid, under worked, and underappreciated. When I finally got the nerve to leave, I ended up jumping 2 jobs in 3 years and I increased my salary by almost 50%.

As I look back on the several years that I wasn’t really pushing myself, I realized that it’s a waste of time.

And I don’t have years to waste.

Whether its having children, deadlifting 600 or starting a business.

If you are going to do it, then do it.

You might not realize it, but if you are doing any type of “maintenance’ you are actually slowly going backwards.

Take the words maintenance out of your mouth, that is for losers.

It is time to turn up the heat and I am feeling motivated.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

“Old man”strength exists.  I have been working out now for over 20 years and there is a certain level of strength that I have in my 30’s, that I didn’t have in my teens.

As a young man, I had tons of energy and speed. But, now that I am into my 30’s I’ve noticed that although I have lost some speed, I have gained strength and endurance.

I remember when I first started working 40 hours a week.  I thought I was going to die.  Now, after years of working, I can do repeat 60 hour work-weeks without batting an eye.

I can also go to work with barely any sleep and I only get sick just once a year if even that.

Unfortunately, I also have some nagging injuries.

My left rotator cuff has been hurting on and off for a decade now.  Sometimes it hurts just a little and other times it hurts so bad that I can barely lift.

Recently, I am trying a new method.

IGNORING IT.

Rest doesn’t help and if I go to a doctor he is going to tell me to get surgery.  So basically I am adding 30 minutes of stretching a day and just ignoring it.

Life is about pain. Whether it is working 90 hours a week, training for a marathon, or going to work with no sleep because my son was sick; I need to ignore the pain.

You can’t always live a life of comfort and I have decided that if I plan on lifting forever, I just need to just suck it up and accept the pain.

Today I did some squats at lunch on 4 hours of sleep.  Between an infant, a job and working out, it’s not easy; but no time for excuses.

-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.

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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!

 

Today officially ended my bulk up for the season.  I went from a summer low of 149 lbs in the winter to up to 178 lbs in early February.

Recently, I have been eating like crazy so I am actually surprised that I didn’t get up to the mid 180’s.  Either way, I am satisfied with a 28 lb weight gain this winter.

With the end of my bulk up season, I have slowly cut down on the calories and started to reintroduce my cardio workouts.

Today I went for a hard one-mile run to see how fast I am after missing 5 months in a row.

Results: I ran a mile in 7 minutes flat and felt like I was going to die.

Let’s put that into perspective for one minute.

Several months ago I could run 5 miles at a 6:50 per mile pace and only 5 and half months later, I almost died running a 7 minute mile.

Now, of course you can say that I gained some weight.  But even with the weight gain, that is still a ridiculous decrease in cardiovascular endurance.

Running DOES NOT PRODUCE MUSCLE MEMORY.

If you can bench press 315 lbs for 4 reps and then you take off 5 months of weight lifting,  you will still probably be pretty strong.  You could also probably get strong again pretty fast.

Not so for running.  Weight training memory carries on way longer than any type of cardio.  Some heavy weight lifting muscle may even carry on for the rest of your life, such is the case with many retired football players.

Cardio workouts are only beneficial when you use them and for that moment only.

Even taking off 10 days in a row can kill your cardiovascular conditioning.  In July I bruised my head and ended up in the hospital, missing 2 full weeks of workouts.

When I started training again, I couldn’t believe how slow I got.

Overall, there are 3 lessons to be learned by this.

A) You need to always lift weights and weight lifting is the primary way to stay in shape

B) You need to continue some form of cardio, even if light cardio, for the rest of your life.

C) What you did in the past regarding your cardiovascular workouts has no baring on your condition today.

My goal for the end of winter and beginning of Spring is to slowly start losing some body weight, continue lifting heavy weights and begin to add my cardio back in.

Good luck!

-John

I know this article is going to cause a decent amount of “hate”, but I DO NOT recommend using squats unless you are one of the following people:

  • Under 30 years old
  • Training for competitive sports, ex Football, track and field, skiing, etc.

For everyone else, you should probably just skip it.

So, why do I recommend that people avoid squatting?

Because 90% of people are using the wrong form.  When you use the wrong form during squatting you are either going to A) Get hurt or B) Not grow

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that squats don’t work.  They are probably one of the top 3 most effective exercises for putting on overall mass, but they are also the most dangerous.

Even squatting with only ONE spotter is dangerous.  I have competed in around 10-15 power lifting competitions in my life and when I start going heavy in squats I prefer to have 3 spotters instead of 1.

But if you aren’t an athlete and  you just want to add some size to your legs, I wouldn’t even waste my time with squats.  Squatting is too technical; from the placement of the bar, the leg width and most importantly, the execution.

Instead of squatting, you should focus on heavy leg presses.

With the leg press you can load the machine as heavy as you want and more importantly, you don’t really need a spotter.

Is the leg press as good as squats? No.  But since you are most likely not squatting correctly anyway, it might be better for you.

The form in the leg press is easy to learn, just go all the way down and all the way up, without bouncing off the bottom.  Surprisingly, I even see a lot of people using the leg press incorrectly and not going down low enough.

For myself personally, I gave up on squatting.  Every time I would start working up to a heavy weight I would either lose some of my training spotters or I would hurt my back and knees.  It’s a great exercise for adding mass and strength, but now that I am not competing, I just stick to the leg press.

My current routine for legs is 5 sets of leg press, 2 sets of leg extensions and 6 set of calves (twice a week).

That’s all I need to add size in my legs.  I’ve been taking my legs really serious this year, especially the calves, and I want to put on some serious size for next summer.

Remember, when you wear shorts the calves are usually the only part of your legs that are visible, so you really need to destroy them.

Check out my latest book on amazon.com!

-John