Posts Tagged ‘protein’

As a natural lifter, I need some type of cardio to get cut.  I don’t know how natural lifters are able to get ripped without any cardio and I don’t believe its healthy to remove it from your workout routine.

In my opinion, everyone needs some form of cardio.

The question is what type of cardio and how long.  Also, what type of cardio will remove the most body fat.

Luckily, I have experimented for over 20 years with all different types of cardio.  My personal favorites?

It’s a combination.  Below, I will list the benefits and negatives of different forms of cardio that I have used.

Running (Long distance): I consider over 5 miles long-distance.  I rarely run longer than 3 miles in my training and I only go up to 5 miles for races.  Whenever I have tried adding long distance running, I ended up skinny fat.  Skinny fat is where you are slender but you still carry a large percentage of body fat.

tempo

Sprinting: Sprinting is a really good fat burner, possibly the best in short doses.  Although there are some problems:

sprinting

A) You can only do it for so long.  You can’t sprint every  single day for a year.  You can only do it several months in a year and its typically seasonal.

B) Most people don’t use enough reps.  You can’t just run 100 meters 3 or 4x a week and expect to get ripped, you really need a hard session.

Overall, there are some negatives with sprinting, but when used correctly, it is still one of the best methods to remove body fat.

Tempo runs: This unfortunately has worked the best for me, but, I have found that it is starting to wear my body down.  Tempo runs would be 2-3 mile runs at a fast pace, 3 or 4x a week minimum.  When I am in good shape, I can run these at around a 6:30 per mile pace.

IMG_2962

Racing

The negatives are that it kills my joints, especially my knee’s, and after a while I will start to get skinny fat if my weight lifting goes down.  If you start getting weak in the gym, you need to cut back.

Sports: This can also potentially be the best.  If your diet and weight lifting is on point, there is nothing wrong with playing tennis, basketball or soccer.  Hitting a ball around is good, but a competitive game is better.  You just have to make sure you play 3 or 4x a week otherwise you have to fill in those gaps in with other forms of cardio.

tennis

Bike riding: Zero.  This actually makes me look worse.  It makes my arms tired from holding my body up and then I can’t lift.

bike

Swimming: So/So.  I hate to say this, but swimming doesn’t do it for me.  Top level swimmers get lean but you can’t hold on to any solid muscle mass.

swimming

Kickboxing. Pretty good.  I would just make sure that you take a class AFTER weight lifting so it doesn’t kill your heavy lifting.  My wife is taking kickboxing and she lost 35 lbs in 4 months since my son has been born.

kick

Elliptical. Pretty good.  I’ve been using this as a really good “fill in” cardio workout.  If my legs and joints are hurting, I will do a hard 30 minute elliptical session instead of running.  Its easy on the joints, but doesn’t use the muscles are much as some of the other exercises.  I like that you can basically go non-stop without burning down and it also doesn’t affect my weight training.

elliptical

So, what is the overall winner?

If you NEED to burn body fat, no questions asked, you should start using tempo runs 3 to 4x a week and then start throwing in some sprints immediately after.

If its your offseason, or you don’t want to break your body down, I would recommend a mix of sports, running and elliptical.

Recently, I have been completely mixing it up and I was able to go from 180 lbs down to 150 while also lifting pretty heavy.

20160715_065110

Good luck! And don’t forget, you need to lift heavy.  If your first priority isn’t lifting heavy weights, you wont have anything to cut up after burning off the fat.

-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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One of the things I enjoy about natural bodybuilding, is that the sport is very fair.

Although everyone has different genetics and structural bone differences,cutting body fat is almost the same process for everyone.

Basically, you can get really cut if you work hard enough.

The summers when I get myself in really good shape, I am always training and dieting like a freak.  I am also training harder than most of my peers and that’s why my physique starts to stand out.

jabeer

BBQ in long island!

What are some examples of insane training and dieting?

  • 730 am cardio weekend cardio sessions
  • 14-hour work day fasting
  • Hill sprints in 95 degree heat
  • One hour elliptical machine workouts

All of this hard training really starts to add up, especially when it comes to fat loss.  During the winter is when I lift heavier to add the solid muscle, but when the summer starts, its game on for losing weight.

Now that we are in the middle of August, I have about 4 weeks of cutting left before my season is over.  As such, I need to KILL it this week.

My plan is 4 days of weights, 4 nights of cardio and I need to fast like crazy this week.  I want to cut 5 more lbs before I reach my goal of a super lightweight of 147 lbs.

I have to admit, it’s not going to be easy.  When you start cutting down in weight, your progress really starts to slow down when you get lower in body fat.

Wish me luck! And check out my new book on amazon.com!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Getting cut is not that hard.  The problem that most people have is that they don’t diet hard enough and cut the necessary weight.

I see the same people in the gym year after year and their physiques never changes.  But, if you are working out correctly and losing weight, you should start seeing some abs.

20160624_063939

Summer abs

The hard part for me is to continue getting cut.  Meaning, when I get my body fat low but I want to keep going.  That last 2 or 3% is when you really need to get dedicated and become a workout freak.

Most people will never get to this point.

Just to make an example; this week I did 4 days of half-day fasting, along with 4 days of weights and 3 nights of cardio.  After all of the lifting and fasting, I only lost .5 lb.

When you get really low on body fat it becomes super hard to go any lower.

My goal this year is to cut another 5 lbs within a month and it wont be easy.  I am going to have to continue dieting hard, if not harder, and I am going to have to increase my cardio to 4 or 5 days a week.

If it comes down to it, maybe I will do cardio 14 days in a row.

What ever it takes.

Want to build natural looking abs? Check out my two books on amazon.com for more details!!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing my entire physique to the king, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I am just saying that my abs are better.

screenshot_20170809-203858-1.png

Even without steroids, supplements or a strong tan, I still beat Arnold on abs.  Take a look at the belly buttons, it’s not even close.

Everyone has certain body parts that are genetically better than others.  Some people have biceps that peak into mountains, while others like myself, have long biceps that grow out.

Genetics plays a large role in how your body develops, and luckily for me, when I am in good shape I develop really good-looking abs.

Since I have always been natural, I also have to be ultra strict with my diet, cardio and I need to be consistent in the gym.

You can’t fake good-looking abs.  Even if you take steroids, if you aren’t training hard or dieting correctly, your abs aren’t going to look right.  Most of the top athletes that you will see competing in the Mr. Olympia won’t have good abs and in my opinion, it’s hurting the sport.

So Arnold might beat me in calves, arms, chest and back.  But, I take him out in the abdominal department.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

For this picture above, I cut down from 180 lbs in the winter to 150 lbs by the middle of August.  My routine was 4 days a week with weights and another 3 days of outside cardio.

Want to build natural looking abs? Check out my two books on amazon.com for more details!!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Everyone’s body is different.  When someone tries to give “one size fits all” advice I can tell immediately that they have no idea what they are talking about.

All I know is my own body and my body needs heavy weights.

Light weights do NOTHING for my body and I think high reps actually make me look worse.

Believe it or not, I also get injured a lot more with light weights.  When I go heavy, I cut down on the bullshit sets and rarely get injured, just sore.

Recently , I have been getting back into the heavy weight lifting and I feel such a difference.  Although I am down to 152 lbs, I am lifting pretty heavy for being so close to my summer peak weight.

With that being said, I am expecting some heavy weights this winter.  I would love to get my bench press back over 325, along with some 400lb squats and 500lb deadlifts.

I am also getting the urge to do another powerlifting competition.

If I am lifting heavy and injury free up until Christmas, I might enter a competition.

I am not saying that everyone needs to be a powerlifter, but at least for me, the light weights don’t do anything.

I actually look worse and I become skinny fat, like a marathon runner.

Lift heavy and run fast, that is my motto.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Years ago when I was back in College, I started a daily training log where I wrote down my weight lifting and running numbers and I kept it up until I was in my early 20’s.

I saved all of the books and sometimes I will look through it just to see what type of training I was using.

Today I don’t keep a log, but generally, I will run several races every year and in the summer I will take some bodybuilding pics. I know my limitations in the gym and with running, so I don’t need to write it down anymore.

One thing I have noticed after all these years, is that I need to stay “aggressive”.

This goes not only for my training; but also for earning money and living my life.

I will give some examples.  If there is a course or certification that you need to take for work, get it done.  Don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate, do it.

If you aren’t earning enough in your current job but feel comfortable, get “uncomfortable”

If you want to train for a half-marathon, sign up for the race immediately and start training.

If I review the last 10 years of my life, probably 6 or 7 of them were aggressive and several of them were passive.

I need to stop having passive years.

I am going to turn 38 this year and I have a 3-month old child.  It’s either going to happen or it isn’t.

Some examples include:

  • Start law school
  • Write a book
  • Go back to school for a 2nd career
  • Get a second job
  • Lose 20 lbs

There is never a good reason to “cruise” through life until the very end.

You need to work hard and keep pushing!

Good luck!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I’m going to give you a clue, it’s not from working out less.

It’s also not from eating more.

Last week I went out to an Iron Maiden concert in Brooklyn and I ended up missing my weight goal.  I was planning on weighing under 155 lbs by Sunday, but unfortunately I ended up at 156.

Of course you can say it’s only one lb, but at this time in the summer, I want to go down to 150.  One or two bad weekends can ruin your entire summer physique.

Since I had a bad weigh-in, I decided I need to train harder this week and cut down the calories.

First thing I did, was I added an extra cardio day.  My usual cardio days are Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Saturday’s.  Today I did a 2nd session on the treadmill after work. so this week I will do cardio Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I also need to get super strict on my diet.  I’m not going to lie, it was over 90 degrees out for several days in a row in NYC and I ended up having some ice cream.   When it’s that hot out, I need to relax.  It’s the same as having a nice bowl of chili when it is 10 degrees out and snowing; comfort food.

So overall, last week was a disaster but there no excuses for me not to get back on the train.

Super strict diet, an extra day of cardio and I “should” be able to get my weight down to 154-153.

I plan on weighing myself Thursday night after my third cardio session and depending on where I am, that will decide how hard I need to train on Saturday.

-John

 

I am assuming that most people know that June 21st is the first “official” day of summer.

For myself, I have always tried to get my body fat down for Memorial Day weekend.  When I was in College, Memorial Day weekend was always the first good weekend after the Spring semester was over.

Now that I am years out of College, I am starting to change my goal “in shape” date to July 4th.

When I get really cut for Memorial Day weekend, it always feels a little premature.  Going forward I am going to try to look good for July 4th and then peak in the middle of August.

Also, a large part of bodybuilding is having a good tan and until I make it out to the beach a couple of times, I will not get tan enough.

I also need to cut the weight.  This week I weighed in at 158lbs.  That is almost a 20lb loss since St Patrick’s day, but I still need to lose some more.

This year I would like to just dip under 150.  That should coincide with my peak cardio conditioning in Mid to Late August.

Overall, if you haven’t cut any weight, you NEED to start asap. There is really no other way to get cut and burn off fat, if you aren’t willing to lose weight.

Cardio.

Diet.

Hard Training.

-John

My “problem”  that I have with modern bodybuilding is that many athletes are not really “in shape”.

So what does “in shape” mean?

At a minimum, you should be able to play a full court basketball game or at least a full game of singles tennis.

You should also be able to run without having to catch your breath.

And your vitals should be good.  That means regular blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

I “allow” myself to get a little bit overweight in the winter, but that is ONLY for 2-3 months and never for an extended amount of time.

Most of the time, I will also continue doing cardio throughout the entire winter.

Lifting heavy weights doesn’t get you in shape.  Lifting weights is the easy part and unless you are powerlifting, you probably aren’t even going very heavy.

Don’t forget to stay in shape.  Bulking up forever can get you in big trouble going forward.

Too many heavy weight lifters in the gym, not enough guys in shape.

Don’t forget your cardio

Don’t forget your diet

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

Today was a great workout!

Yesterday, I  was supposed to work out but I actually skipped the gym because I was exhausted.  Since I was off on work Monday for Memorial Day I ended up working out 3 days in a row and on Friday morning I was barely able to walk.

I also decided to increase my calories yesterday.  I was really feeling run down, so yesterday I ended up having an extra snack at work and I had a bunch of mexican food for dinner.

It helped.

Today I went for some empty stomach cardio as soon as I woke up and I ran like a champ.

After the first mile, I KNEW I was going to have a good time today.

I passed the first mile in around 6:55 and I was barely sweating.

For the 2nd mile, I decided to increase the pace and I passed two miles in around 13:45.

At this point, I knew for sure that I was going to hit my summer goal of 21 minutes.  The only question was by how much.

By the 2.5 mile mark I was hurting pretty bad.  I decided to increase the pace for the last .25 and I was able to finish in 20:24!

I can officially say that I am finally back into decent shape.  That is a fast time for early June and I would love to go under 20 minutes this year.

Last year I felt like I was training 10x harder and I was only able to go under 20 minutes once.

My game plan from now on?

I just need to keep it up.  Add more speed training to my routine and eventually I will bust out some fast times this summer.

How is everyone else doing?

-John