Posts Tagged ‘summer’

I am now officially a month and a half into my winter bulk up and so far it is going great.

My only disappointment so far has been with my bench press.  I definitely have some type of permanent shoulder and elbow damage that is affecting my ability to go super heavy.

I have been experimenting with different types of grips and techniques for my bench press and although I have been able to eliminate a lot of the pain, it still sets me back several weeks on making progress.

I am starting to realize that if I ever want to reach my record of 355 lbs, I am going to have to change the way that I train.  For decades I have driven most of my power from my chest and shoulders, but going foward, it looks like I need to focus on my triceps.

I will always have a strong bench press, I just cant guarantee that I will break my old records. Of course, I will never stop trying.

My shoulder press has been going surprisingly well.  Even with all my shoulder and elbow problems, I was able to get up to 85’s in shoulder press almost immediately.  Last winter I peaked at 95 lbs dumbbells, so I am only 10 lbs away and I have 4 and half months left.

For the squat and deadlift, I have been killing it.  I have already deadlifted 475 lbs and today I squatted 255 lbs pretty easily.  My back and knees are feeling pretty good, so I should be able to hit some decent numbers.

Overall, I can’t complain.  I am gaining body weight and my lifts are within striking distance of my winter goals.

I need to eventually decide when to cut back.  The last several years I have starting cutting up on St. Patrick’s Day.  I will have to decide if I want to start cutting up earlier or allow myself to go longer into the Spring.

-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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There are only two options in life; either you are religious and believe in some type spiritual power or you believe that when you die, you die.

If you go the religious route, then you will focus solely on your spiritual side and make it your number one focus in life.

If you find yourself in the latter category, then you will live like there is no tomorrow.  Not that you want to die, but you don’t need to “hold back” on anything in life.

I personally feel that 98% of the population fits within the middle of each.

Nobody is 100% dedicated to anything, but the few people that can come close, can be extremely successful.

The Pope was most likely very dedicated.  The same can be said for Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Gates.

When it comes to the gym; unfortunately most people are also in the 98% middle ground.  In other words, they don’t really make any progress.

For this winter bulk up, I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to mess around.

I am either lifting weights, or I am not.  I am either getting strong or I am not.

You are either running faster or you are not.

You are either burning off body fat or you are not.

When you start viewing life in absolutes, you can remove the emotional bullshit and stigma’s attached and accelerate to your goals.

So far this year I am already close to a 500lb deadlift and a 300lb bench press.  Since I have decided to stop messing around, I am almost at my St Patrick’s day goals months ahead of schedule.

Next year, I also plan on adding the same focus on other area’s of life.  Whether it is getting stronger, saving $20K, starting a new business or finding a new job.

Stop bullshitting and get it done.

There is no time to mess around.

-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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“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!

 

I have to admit, the Fall is my favorite time of year for doing outside cardio.

falll

When the weather cools down and the leaves change color in N.Y.C, I try to get outside as much as possible.  It’s also nice to get outside before the extreme cold weather starts.

I don’t care what anyone says, long-distance running is better in cooler weather.

It’s not a coincidence that the NYC marathon is usually on the first Sunday in November, because the weather is slightly colder  It’s not necessarily better for sprinting, but it is a lot better for long distance training.

Running in the heat is tough.  Although I want to be cut in the summer, I find it hard to run outside when its over 90 degrees out or extremely humid.

Now that I am officially done losing weight for the summer, I am also slowly going to increase my calories and get back into some heavy lifting.

I plan on starting my official bulk up on October 1st. But for now, I want to get outside as much as possible.

Next week I am going to post my official bulk up guide.  There are several changes that I would like to incorporate this year and hopefully next summer I will look my all-time best.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

This was a wild year.  Last summer I trained super hard, got my body weight down to 149 lbs and I was insanely ripped.

20160715_065110

This year was different.

I was so insanely burnt out from last year’s training, that I ended up  taking off almost 6-7 months  from any type of cardio.  Although it felt good to rest my body, the only problem is that I put on some body fat.

Usually, I can cut the body fat down after 10-12 weeks of cardio and dieting, but this year was challenging.  My first child was born in April and my spring training was cut down right in the middle of it.

I only really missed 3 or 4 workouts, but overall, mentally I was out of it for 2 months.

Around July 4th, I honestly thought I was in big trouble.  I was still at 160 lbs and I wasn’t running or lifting good.

Fortunately, two good things happened.

A) I finally got a good training partner.  This really helped for going heavy in the gym

B) I got some of my free time back to go hard with the cardio.

Recently, I was able to get down to 150 lbs and was almost able to reach last summers ultra low body weight.  I was planning on going under 150 this coming weekend, but the hurricane in Florida killed my plans.

My wife and I had booked a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, but today we had to cancel.  Instead we are going upstate to Lake George and Lake Placid, where it has been reaching 39 degrees at night.

Going to train hard the next couple days, but I think my season is officially over.

Here are some pics..

And some more…

There is a slight chance that I might improve in the next 14 days, but to be honest, I doubt it.  It is going to be too cold for me to tan and I know that I wont be eating good on my vacation.

-John

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

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I hate to say this; but the answer is either no or at the best, very minimally.

How do I know this? I tried it on myself.

This summer I have been trying to get down to 148 lbs and although I am very close to reaching my goal, I am still not there yet.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

In the last 2 weeks, I have decided to throw in some extra walking to speed up the body fat loss and unfortunately it did not work.

It even got the point where I walked 8 miles on a random Tuesday and I still ended up gaining weight.

walkkkk

So, what is the problem with walking?

I think it’s very healthy, it just doesn’t burn enough calories.  Unless it’s over 90 degrees out and humid, I wont even break a sweat.  When you are in decent shape, you can probably walk from the time you wake up, straight until dinner without breaking a sweat.

But on the contrary, by picking up the intensity, I can burn up to 2 lbs in one hard workout.

A hard run will burn more calories than almost any other type of cardio.

What’s the absolute best cardio workout for removing body fat? If you read my blog you would know that I am not a fan of long-distance running.

A) 2-3 mile hard tempo runs.  By hard, I mean you are ready to die by the time you are done.  And also volume sprinting.  By volume sprinting, I mean that you need to do enough repetitions so that it adds up to a decent amount of distance.

If you don’t want to run, then you need to use sports.  Tennis, rugby, basketball and soccer, all are outstanding fat burners and should be used as much as possible.

So overall, walking is healthy and I enjoy it, but don’t except to burn off any  bodyfat or get ripped just by going for a walk.

-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.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

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!

 

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!

 

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.

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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!