Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

I can’t believe it, but I am officially 39-years old.

It’s weird, but I don’t feel that much different from when I was 18.

18 was a fun a year.  I was lifting weights and running pretty much 7 days a week, my diet was nonexistent and I (thought) I was insane shape.

But it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I learned how to work out and run properly, along with a real diet, that I finally became ripped.

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Now that I am in my late 30’s and almost 40, what changes do I feel?

Nothing.

Ok, I am lying.  I feel some changes.

My shoulders are always killing me, I don’t get to sleep past 7:30 due to work and/or family and my hangovers last 3 days.

But besides that, what’s the difference?

When someone between ages 35-45 starts telling you about how they are an “old man”, send them to my website and tell them they are being a bitch.

There is no difference at that age except you are hard headed.

If your diet is bad, you quit sprinting and you complain about every little ache and pain, then yes, 40 might be a death sentence for you.

But for those you want to keep training hard, you can still get better.  Actually when it comes to bodybuilding, ages 35-45 are usually the best.

So, how to we compare last season to this season?

  • Are you lifting more?
  • Are you running faster?
  • Do you weigh less?
  • Do you look better?

When it comes to the winter bulk up, its really pretty easy.  What are you lifting and at what body weight.

Last year I was around 7-10 lb’s heavier and I am squatting and deadlifting more this year.

That is progress.

My top deadlift was 515 last season and I just did 525 yesterday and it went up like a rocket ship.  Going to lift heavy for another 2 weeks and hopefully get over 550 before I start spring training.

For my squat, I am getting near 315 pretty easy.

My problem with bench and squatting, is that I don’t have a steady spotter.  All of my training partners keep quitting.

For the bench press, I am training in the 275-300 range without a spotter, which is dangerous.

So last year was a bench press victory, but I definitely improved on squats and deadlifts and I also weigh less.

When the spring starts I will start my cardio again and the question will be, did I get faster than last year?

Sprinting, 1-mile run and the 3-mile run.

Stopwatches are great.  Unless the earth is spinning slower around the sun, 18 minutes when I was in college is still the same 18 minutes now.

Last year I got my 3 mile time down to around 20:30.

Can I beat that this year? We will see.

This year I want to “try” to focus a little more on my sprinting times, 1-mile or less, but I will still run a couple fast 3 mile races.

And then there is my looks.

This year I have a solid chance of looking ripped.  My son was still a baby last summer and it was killing my sleep.

Now, with some extra rest and a solid training plan, hopefully I will look better.

At least better than you other 39-year old’s.

-John Andre

Check out my books on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

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Yes, it is official. Spring Break is on.

Well, not really spring break but I am taking my family to Disney World in April.

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My son will just be turning 2 and he will probably have “some” fun, but I don’t care if he doesn’t remember shit, mommy and daddy need a warm vacation.

I love spring break.

Living in NYC my entire life, there is nothing like getting on a plane and taking a break from the cold weather.

And most importantly, it gets me motivated to get into decent shape.

You can’t show up fat and out of shape on spring break and I’ll be damned if I am going to be the fat-looking father in the Disney pool.

So, it is time to get ripped.

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This is my plan going forward.  Continue to bulk up until the Superbowl (First week in February)

Then I will start my “spring training”.

My focus this year is on upper back.  I am FINALLY starting to see some decent progress in my upper back, that has always been one of my weak spots.

Monday Chest/Biceps/Back

Tuesday: Squats/Calves/Cardio

Wednesday: Cardio

Thursday: Chest#2

Friday: Heavy Back

Weekend: Some cardio, including sprints.

So for this spring training, I will be hitting my chest and back twice a week, but that would only include one session of deadlifts.  I can do rows twice a week, but not deads.

Cardio will be some 2-3 mile tempo runs and sprints.

And most importantly, I need to start dieting down.  I probably weigh about 175 now, for Disney I would need to cut down at least 10.

This would give me about 7 weeks to get into decent Spring shape.

I don’t expect to get super ripped, but I just want to look in decent shape and have a good head start on the summer.

-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

Spring training is over.

Since the end of the winter I have lost over 20 lbs and I got my 3-mile run down to 21:10.

Now that I am in decent cardio vascular shape and I have lost the body weight, the only thing left for me is hard-core bodybuilding.

I want to look good by July 4th, by the middle of August, I want to look like the best in the world.

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So, how can I obtain these goals?

A) Need to focus more on the weights:  I have been running a lot recently and I feel that it is starting to affect my gym workouts.  Starting this week, my emphasis will be more on the weight training and less on the cardio.

B) Less cardio but more intensity.  I am in decent running shape, so I just need to work on my speed.  Less workouts, but more intensity in my training.

C) Stricter diet.  I lost over 20 lbs already, but I need to cut another 10 to start looking ripped.  The last ten are always the hardest.

Overall, bodybuilding season is officially here!

If you haven’t starting training yet, you can still look “ok” by July 4th if you start now, but you can’t wait much longer.

Almost every summer the gym gets packed in late June before most people quit again.

Start now.

Add some cardio, cut body weight and lift heavy to moderate weights.

More to come!

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I know this would seem to be a very obvious statement, but there is actually more to this story.

What I really mean, is that when you are good in shape, you can handle more strenuous exercise.

For example, when I officially ended up winter bulk up and started running again, I was only able to run 3 miles in 23 1/2 minutes.

Also, it was very difficult for me to even reach that distance.

Now?

I have been consistently running 3 miles in under 21 minutes and I should be able to go under 20 this summer.

End result? The fat is really starting to fly off.

If you have never worked out before and just started a new routine, you will lose some weight right off the bat.

But after you become experienced, you really need to focus on improving your performance.

If you are lifting the same weights, running at the same speed and weighing the same; you won’t look any better.

This last week, I ran 3 miles in under 21 minutes 4x, I benched pressed 255 for several reps and I deadlifted 405 for 6.

Although I am starting to lose my strength in the gym, that is still a pretty difficult routine for someone to try to match.

When I am in tip top shape, I will be running 3 miles in 19 minutes, 1 mile in 5 minutes, bench pressing 300 and deadlifting 500.

All at the same time.

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This was a rough winter.

It wasn’t necessarily very cold or snowy, but it just seemed to drag on forever.  The first couple weeks of April were still pretty bad out (NYC) but now it finally looks like we are turning a corner.

For myself, I make it a point to start training outside in March, no matter how nasty the weather is.

Unless it’s pouring rain out, I will wear the appropriate clothes and go outside.

Reason? I know that the nice weather does not come slowly, it appears IMMEDIATELY.

Later this week it may reach 80 degrees in NYC.  Luckily for me, I am already in decent shape.

I am running 3 miles in under 21 minutes, I am still benching and deadlifting relatively heavy and I lost 25 lbs since January.

Today I actually took my shirt off in public, which is pretty impressive for April.  Usually I don’t like to show the goods until Memorial Day.

May is an important month for bodybuilding.  If you are not already killing it in your training, you better start now.

You can look a lot better for Memorial Day and you can get ripped for July 4th, but you don’t have a lot of time.

Start cutting weight, continue to lift heavy and introduce moderate cardio to your routine.

Summer will be here before you know it.

If you haven’t started yet, you better get moving.

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P.S. Big race coming up on May 17th.  After the race, going to officially start bodybuilding for July 4th and continue to run a race here and there over the summer.

I usually peak in Late August, so I should have some good pictures this summer!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Running is not a very complicated sport.

I generally focus on running between 2 and 5 miles at a fast pace.  Anything further and I lose too much muscle and start becoming fat, anything less, and it’s not enough volume.

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Don’t get me wrong; sprinting is probably the best exercise for burning off body fat.  But I prefer to sprint after I am done with my 2-4 mile training run, not as a 1 for 1 substitute.

This week, I am finally getting fast.

I have been consistently running 3-4 miles outside in my training and today I ran 3 miles on the treadmile in 20:30.

That 20:30 was also pretty easy.  I probably could have run close to 20 minutes.

I’ve found that it takes around 60 days to get into decent running shape.  Of course that is considering you are already in decent shape and not ‘brand new” to a work out routine.

My entire running workouts consist of 2-4 miles, 4 or 5x a week, with some occasional sprints at the end.

I will typically add more sprinting and hill repeats in the beginning of summer, after I am already in decent running shape.

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My first big race of the season is on May 17th.  Right now I am about a month away and feeling pretty good.

When it comes to lifting weights, it’s a little bit different.

If usually takes me about 90 days to get into decent shape with weight lifting, but it feels like it lasts longer after I stop. (I rarely stop)

If I skip running for a month, I will almost completely lose any type of “running endurance”  With weight training, I will stay strong for several months after.

That is also why you can never stop training.

Nobody cares if you completed 25 marathons and won 6 bodybuilding competitions.

If you don’t work out for 6 months in a row, you can have a heart attack and die.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Savannah in one word? Historic beauty.

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Is that two words? Either way, Savannah is a beautiful city and if you are a history buff like I am, it is a great place to visit.

I love the city planning that was involved in creating Savannah.  Savannah is divided up into numerous “squares”, that each have some historical reference.

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The city also has a large centrally located park, named “Forsyth Park”, that is constantly filled with people.

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What I also love so much about Savannah, is that is it so walkable.

Whether you walk around the riverfront area or around some of the “squares”, there is just so much to see.

The weather is also great, although I heard it is really hot in summer, but you also have Tybee Beach only 30 minutes away.

The food is also outstanding and the city has an open container law (although I am not sure if that is city-wide or just in the tourist area’s)

This was the 2nd time I have been to Savannah, and several years ago it seemed to have more of a crime element.

Now? It seemed like it cleaned up a lot more.  Maybe something to do with the high real estate prices? I am not sure, but outside of 2 or 3 vagrants in some of the parks, I didn’t really seen any problems at all.

Overall, Savannah is a beautiful city and deserves a good 3-day weekend trip.

What are the negatives?

  • Not 100% kid friendly.  There is the park and some horse ride tours, but overall, there isn’t really much for kids to do.  They would be better off at the beach during the day.
  • Although it’s a large city, it doesn’t feel much like a “real” city.  Meaning, it feels like the main industry is tourism. It would be a good place to retire, but not sure if I could build a career there.

But besides those two negatives, and they are small negatives, Savannah is still a very nice city.

Beautiful architecture, great food and nightlife, warm weather and a close drive to the beaches.

Overall rating, “A-“

Hilton Head is nice, really nice.

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I always seems to have a good time in South Carolina; whether it’s in Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Charleston or others.

When I was planning my Hilton Head trip, I told my wife to think of it as a potential retirement spot.

Although I am not a big golfer, I would definitely prefer to retire somewhere South of NYC, where the weather is better and the taxes are lower.

Although, I really enjoyed Hilton Head and I would highly recommend it, I don’t believe I can retire there.

Reason?

It’s too “resorty”.  I believe almost 70% of Hilton Head is owned by private communities, but don’t get me wrong, Hilton Head is beautiful.

Pros: Warm weather but not as unbearable as Southern Florida.  Very clean and manicured with outstanding golf and tennis courts. Appears to have very good health care options with an active senior population, along with many young families.

Cons: Expensive for South Carolina.  Mostly private resorts with annoying security guards.  Reminded me of Boca Raton.

Overall, Hilton Head is a beautiful city and an excellent place for a family vacation.  Although I wouldn’t retire there personally, I could see how it would make sense for many people.

High recommended: We stayed at the Sonesta that was very nice and I would also recommend Harbour Town. They have a downtown area that has many restaurants, a light house and one of the nicest kids parks I have ever seen.

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My son had a blast.

Hilton Head deserves a “B+”

-John

I am officially back in NYC!

This last week I was in Raleigh, North Carolina, Hilton Head SC, and Savannah, GA. It was a fun trip and I will post my review on these cities during the week.

I always try to plan a Spring Break trip almost ever year.  It provides me the motivation to get into shape and it sets the pace for my Summer training.

When it comes to vacation and especially Spring Break, there are certain tips I use to handle my training and diet.

A) Start off the vacation being light.  This year I lost about 16 lbs before I went away.  I figured even if I gain 3 or 4 lbs back, I am still down over 10 lbs from my winter bulk up.

B) If the hotel has a gym, and most of them do, try to hit the major bodyparts.  I won’t work out every day, but I try to do a 30 minute chest, shoulder and leg work out if I can.  I don’t go crazy, but just try to keep the blood flowing.

C) Run outside If I can.  This week off I was able to run 4 times.  I ran twice in Hilton Head and also twice in Savannah.  You lose your cardio ability quickly, so I am happy to say that I ran pretty hard over my week of vacation.

D) Pig out.  I don’t understand people that start to diet on vacation but not during their regular work week.  On vacation I drink beer, I eat ice cream and I let my diet fall apart.  Once in a while I will order a fish dinner just to detox, but I refuse to travel and not try the local cuisine.

Overall, enjoy your vacation.  Lift weights briefly if you can, do some light cardio if you have time and for goodness sake, please do not diet.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!