Posts Tagged ‘strength’

This year I took a chance.

From Oct 1st to the middle of February I did almost close to zero cardio.

ZERO.

But I did lift heavy.  I got my deadlift up to around 535 and my bench press up to 325. Those are decent numbers for me and I was very satisfied with my winter bulk up.

But I did notice a negative affect of skipping cardio for so long, my body accumulated too much fat.

Fat is tough to remove.

The process of removing bodyfat is slow and grinding and in all reality, you are better off never adding it on to begin with.

This year I am finally starting to look pretty good.  I was hoping to peak around August 1st, but I think since I went so long in my bulk up, that I will probably peak around Labor Day.

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But overall, one thing is for certain.

“I need to do cardio all year round”

Next winter as I gain weight and start to powerlift heavy again, I need to continue adding some cardio into my routine.

Although cardio does affect my power to some extent, the amount of bodyfat that it prevents from building up is worth it.

-John Andre

Book 3 coming out this summer!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

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Today is daylight savings time in NYC?

So what does that mean for bodybuilding? Its time to turn it on.  Time to start losing weight and increasing the cardio.

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Unfortunately, it is still pretty cold outside.  But at this time of the year, you need to just suck it up.

Yesterday when I woke up if was around 30 degrees out and windy.  I really was not in the mood to go outside and run, especially since I live near the water.

But this is the time of year when you need to toughen up.

Don’t skip those 5-10 early workouts in March, by the end of March it will start to get nice out and you need to be already in decent shape.

So far I have lost around 12 lbs since my winter bulk up.  I am going on a Spring break during the last week of March, so I am hoping to lose another 5 before I leave.

After Spring Break, I will be fully into my pre-summer routine.  Heavy lifting, increased cardio and a strict diet.

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Like I have stated many times on my blog, you need to lose weight if you are going to get cut.

Even in a worse case scenario, you should at least lose 10 lbs for the summer.  Personally, I am going to lose 35, but I keep going until I have a 6-pack.

Take my advice, get moving now.

Early Spring training will really pay off once the weather starts to improve.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am going to state this bluntly: I am a HUGE fan of fasting and I have been using it for many years.

In my opinion, if you are going to get ripped naturally, you will need to add fasting to your routine.

I actually discovered fasting by accident.

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In High School, I was starting to get stomach problems every day from eating the school lunch.  I think it was a combination of the bad food and studying for my advanced placement classes.

To fix my situation, I started to eat a large breakfast in the morning before school and then I wouldn’t eat again until I got home at 2 p.m.

In between, I would lift weights, run track, play basketball during gym and also go to my classes.

After several months of my new diet routine, I noticed something interesting; I was starting to get ripped abs.

By the time my senior year rolled around, I had a complete 6-pack.  Probably one of the best 6-packs in my entire school.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had discovered my secret formula to getting ripped.

Fast forward to 10 years later.  I was 190 lbs and in the strongest shape of my entire life.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

I was competing in power lifting competitions, with a bench press near 350 lbs and a dead lift near 600.

That summer I decided I wanted to try bodybuilding and I cut down to 155 lbs using a combination of cardio and fasting.

The end result was that I got into the best shape of my life.

jabeer

 

Fasting works.

Almost every major religion has some type of fasting ceremony included. The practice of “fasting” has been around for thousands of years before Christ.

The key is to use it wisely.  Obviously you can’t fast every day and you also can’t fast for 48 hours straight.

Today I ate a medium-sized meal at around 10 a.m and then I went to gym at 1 p.m. for squats and a 2-mile run.

My second meal of the day was dinner at 7:30 p.m.

The result of my new diet and workout routine, is that I have lost 11 lbs in about a month.

Don’t be afraid to try fasting.  When done in moderation, it is a lot healthier than over eating and the majority of the United States has an obesity problem.

The pain is temporary, just like anything else in life, you will get used to using less calories.

And if you aren’t willing to accept the pain, you will never look like a champion.

-John

 

 

Hello everyone!

I am now into my 2nd week of Spring training and I am finally starting to add some cardio back into my routine.

sprinting

I like running towards the end of winter because it sets me up for a good spring.

If you wait until March or April to start running, sometimes you will get a late start for Summer.

By April I want to be running fast already, so for me, that means I need to slowly start revving up the engine.

I am also taking in less calories.  I lost 3.5 lbs the first week and I would like to reach 5 total lbs by week 2.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

I always lose weight really easy in the beginning.  It’s when I start to get very low in body fat that it gets harder and harder.

I also believe you NEED to add some cardio workouts into your routine for your health.

I ran outside for the first time in several months on Saturday and I felt like I was going to DIE.

That can’t be healthy.

When you are in your 20’s or 30’s you “feel” like you are going to die.  When you get past age 40, you might actually die.

Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, etc. They are all major illness related to obesity that too many people suffer from in the United States from basic neglect.

I use cardio to remove body fat and stay in good cardiovascular shape, and I firmly believe that some type of cardio needs to be in your exercise routine.

With that being said, too much cardio can also kill you.

I am working on my 3rd book and I did some research on the famous 1970’s marathon runners.  You will be amazed by how many famous long-distance runners have come down with serious health problems.

Marathon running is not healthy.

If you want to train for just a couple marathons in your lifetime, there is no harm.

But training for long-distance is not healthy over the long term.

Focus on improving your SPEED.

As you age, your endurance does not decrease as much as your speed.

Anyone up to age 90 can run a slow 5-mile race, but not too many people can still sprint, jump and leap.

Speed over endurance any day of the week.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

I am proud to announce that today was my official last day of Winter bulk up 2017-2018.

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Overall, I give this season an “A”.  Before the start of the season I set several concrete goals:

  1. Bench 315: Got it! Almost benched 325 as well.
  2. 500lb dead lift: Did 500 for 2 reps and 525 for 1
  3. Shoulder dumbbells 100’s: Big failure.  Got up to 85’s, shoulder injury is not healing.
  4. Squat 315: I don’t have a spotter for this exercise but 315 is in my range. Probably closer to 345-365.
  5. Gain 30 lbs: I gained 35!

Besides not reaching my shoulder dumbbell goal, this year was a total success!  This was the heaviest I have lifted in several years.

I also kept up a small cardio routine, but nothing significant.

Now, I need to make the transaction from bulking into my cutting phase.

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So, how do we accomplish this?

The goal is to keep as much muscle mass as possible, while also removing all of my body fat.  I know that I won’t be able to lift as heavy in June as I did in January, but I still should be lifting heavy.

What are some mistakes I have made in the past?

A) Cutting calories too fast.  I need to lose 20 lbs, but I should do it slowly.  If I start starving myself I will get “skinny fat”, like marathon runners.   That is where you are skinny with a high body fat percentage

B) I start slacking with the heavy weights.  Although I will lose the leverage provided from being fat, I NEED to keep pushing myself in the gym.  Heavy compound exercises; squats, deadlifts, bench, etc.

It is also time to add some cardio.  I am going to start going hard with the cardio tomorrow.  3x a week until the weather improves, and then I might increase to 4x depending on how my body is holding up.

Spring goals?

I am still working on this, but I want to focus on a few key area’s.

A) Keep squatting.  This year I started squatting after taking several years off and I feel a big difference.  Not only is my body a lot thicker, but my abs are going to look good when I lose weight.

B) Heavy bicep and calve workouts: These are really secondary exercises, but when you wear a tee-shirt, what muscles are visible? Answer: calves and biceps.

For my cardio goals, I still haven’t locked any plan down yet.  I always try to hit 3 miles in 21 minutes and also add in some sprinting.

I would love to compete in a sprinting competition.  It was been 20 years since I have last competed in track and field, and I am getting a little bored of the 3 and 5 mile races.

This morning I weighed in at 185 lbs.  It is going to take me a couple weeks to get the boiler heated, but once I do, this engine is going to be revved up and ready to kick ass.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

So, what am I talking about?

Body fat.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe that diet and cardio along with consistent weight training are the only ways to burn off body fat.

Unfortunately, many people are only doing 1 or 2 of the 3.  And all 3 are mandatory.

If you are only running, you are going to continue to burn off muscle until you look like a waif.

If you are only dieting, you can lose weight, but you won’t have any muscle tone.

Body fat is everything. A light person can have a high body fat percentage and a heavy person can have a low body fat percentage.

You can also become “skinny fat”.  A ton of marathon runners are skinny fat.  Slender, skinny legs, low on body weight, but they don’t have any ab definition or cuts.

jabeer

Ripped abs

You need muscle to have cuts.  Just being light isn’t enough.

I am JUST about to finish my winter bulk up.  I missed my max bench press attempt today, so I will try it one more time next Monday and that is it.

Another week and a half of being over weight and I will start to get cut again.

We had a warm streak in NYC the last several days and I am already daydreaming about getting outside and running some cardio.

This year, while I am still strong, I want to hit some heavy rep sets.  I know that once I start losing weight I won’t be able to beat my one-rep max, but I still should be able to complete some heavy sets for reps.

Those heavy sets will help when I get super cut for the summer.

Remember, it’s a combination of weight lifting, cardio and diet.  And when you get it right and stop babying yourself, it should look like this:

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

I am going to warn you right now; do not get TOO FAT!

Although I believe the winter bulk up is very important and I personally have gained almost 35 lbs this year, body fat can be very stubborn and difficult to burn off.

If you are gaining weight, please make sure you are lifting heavier and gaining some muscle.  If you are lifting light weights even though you gained weight, then you are wasting your time.

You should be putting on a combination of both muscle and some fat.

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One important part of bodybuilding that isn’t talked about a lot is timing.  When do we END our winter bulk up?

I like to plan out a predetermined weight gain and then I also choose several strength goals.  Once I get near or surpass my strength and weight goals, I know it’s time to shut it down and start getting ripped.

Although:

A) DO NOT stop going heavy until you are sure you will not break a record.  For example, I still need to max out on my bench press.  If I go up every week for the next 3 weeks, I will not stop.  I will keep maxing out until I cannot go any heavier.

B) If I reach my goals too early, then I will increase them.  If you reach your strength gains by halloween, you probably didn’t push yourself enough.

It appears that I only have 2 weeks left of my winter bulk up.  I am going for a bench press max on Monday, a squat max on Tuesday and I doubled my deadlift goal of 500 for 2 reps on last Friday.

If I don’t go up in these lifts, I will shut my bulk up season down in the next 2 weeks.  If I keep setting records, then I will continue to lift heavy until I cannot go up anymore.

Overall, its been a great winter bulk up and I am looking forward to getting ripped again.  I had to buy new work pants today because my waist grew to 32 inches, but that is a good sign.

Good luck to everyone except my friends Kook, Fred and Joe that I plan on beating in our annual “friends summer bodybuilding” competition.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

Bodybuilding is a funny sport.

You can read all of the articles written in Flex magazine by the “so-called” experts or you can follow workout routines you find in the online forums, but unfortunately, most of it is bullshit.

I am not saying that some of it isn’t solid advice, but you have no idea how your body is going to react.

For myself, nothing ever goes to plan. Never.

For example, I have always been a great deadlifter.  In College I got up to 500lbs really fast and was almost lifting in the mid-500’s as a teenager.

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Eventually my progress started to slow down and I made a fatal mistake.  I started to add extra sets.

Not only did I get weaker, but I ended up pulling my back out and It took over a year to heal.

I see people making the same mistake with the bench press all the time.  They start to add sets on the bench press, then they go over to the incline and then they move on to the decline.

End result? They never progress.

I just turned 38 years old and I might be able to break my bench press record this year.  In 4 or 5 weeks I am going to try to get 365lb’s at around 181lb’s of bodyweight.

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Don’t get me wrong, that’s not any type of record breaking lifting, but it’s pretty strong for a regular gym lifter.

When I try to get stronger, it usually comes down to 3 things:

  • Speed.  I do my reps really fast, including my warm up.
  • Less Sets.  Sometimes I will only do one set after warming up
  • Eat more.  If you don’t eat, where is the magical muscle going to come from?

Also, you might find an exercise that works great for you.  If you do, don’t change anything up!!!

This year, I was doing bench press on Monday’s and I was doing shoulders on Friday’s.  I wanted to focus more on bench press, so eventually I substituted shoulder Friday’s for dumbbell chest.

From adding a second chest day, I started going up like crazy.  I shot my bench press up over 315 lb’s almost immediately.

Last week I decided to go back to shoulders and I started to add shoulder Friday’s back.

Result?  I started to feel some injuries come back and my bench press started regressing.

If something is working, DON’T STOP.  Even if it doesn’t make sense.

If pretty girls always compliment your favorite blue shirt, then wear that shirt!

Don’t try to overthink things.

Right now I have about 6 weeks of my bulk up left before I get into Spring Training.  Although I enjoy being strong, I have to admit, I am starting to feel overweight.

Good luck!

John

patreon!Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

Happy New Years everyone!  I wish I could say I was out late partying, but my son went to bed at 9 am and woke me up at 3am.  So, it was not a great night of sleep.

Today, I officially weighted in at 183.  This is the heaviest I have been in a long time, although, I feel confident that I can cut back down in the low 150’s for the summer.

If you have been following my blog, you would know that I had 4 goals this year:

  • 315 bench Completed
  • 500 Deadlift Completed
  • 100 lb shoulder dumbbells (I don’t think I will make it, shoulder is hurting again)
  • 315 Squat Should be easy, but I have not attempted it yet.  Going to focus on this more than deadlift in the last 7 weeks and hopefully bury it soon.

I am missing the cardio, but fortunately it’s been super cold out in NYC and as soon as I go outside I forget about running.

Winter training is tough.  But it is the best time to put on some solid muscle.

13 degrees outside? Forget running around the treadmile like a hamster, eat a streak, drink some eggnog and lift some heavy weights.

I should look pretty good this summer.  I have added on some solid mass, the only thing left is the diet and cardio.

If you didn’t add any muscle mass, how are you going to get cut?  There is plenty of time left to bulk up this winter.  Between today and St. Patrick’s day, you can easily put on 10-15 lbs of bodyweight and make some serious strength goals.

A couple more weeks and we will be into Spring, happy training!

-John

Check out my books on amazon.com!

patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

 

Merry Christmas everyone! I have about 7-8 weeks left in my Winter bulk up and I now am officially fat.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have been lifting heavy weights and have been going to the gym 4x a week consistently all year, but I have also gained at least 30 lbs since the Summer.  Some of that weight is muscle but a lot of it is also fat.

I cannot tell a lie, it feels good to be big and strong.  My shirts fit really tight and last week I benched 315 lbs like it was nothing, but there are also some major negatives.

First of all, I noticed that I can’t breathe as well.  Easy tasks such as walking to the bus station for work or lifting furniture, starts to feel so much harder since my breathing is labored.  Obviously, this can’t be too healthy.

The other negative I noticed about being heavy, is that I am starting to snore.  There has to be some connection between being overweight and snoring.  I never snore until I hit my 3rd month of my winter bulk up.  Once again, this also can’t be too healthy.

Overall, my bulk up is going great this year.  I don’t want to fool people into thinking that I am just becoming an overweight lifter, but there are some obvious side affects of gaining weight.

I turned 38 years old today and I also have to think about high blood pressure and the heart attack risk.

As I get older, I will obviously have to bulk up a lot cleaner and maybe not bulk up as much.  But as long as I am in my late 30’s and early 40’s, I feel safe bulking up in the winter, just as long as I come down in the Summer.

I am off from work this week and only plan on going to the gym twice, but starting next week, it is game on until the end of my winter bulk up.  I am going to try a traditional powerlifting routine for the last several weeks.  So far, I have reached my deadlift and bench press goals, the only one’s left are squats and shoulders.

I will keep everyone updated.

-John