Posts Tagged ‘summer’

If you follow my blog ,you know that I have been a runner for YEARS.

I love running and I have probably competed in over 200 races. But recently, the running has been really burning me out, both physically and mentally.

Most importantly, I’m not 100% convinced that it is really healthy for you.  I rarely get sick, but when I am running hard, I seem to start coming down with nagging colds.

I am also not sure If I need it to get cut, especially the long distance running, which might do the opposite.

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Recently I have been trying to add more sprinting and interval training, along with actually playing sports.

This year I have been playing a lot of basketball and I find it to be a great substitute for running.  It might actually even work a lot better.

There are a couple of noticeable differences:

  • It works the muscles more. When I play basketball I  use a ton of sprinting, jumping, fighting for rebounds, etc.
  • I can work out longer.  I can play basketball for an hour easy, but when I am running, I go for 20 minutes and then I am spent.
  • Since I am outside longer I also get a lot more tan.

 

And finally, it’s not BORING.

 

Last week, I played my first full court basketball game in almost 20 years and I couldn’t believe how hard of a workout it is.

In my teenage years I would play for 5-6 hours a day.  My body misses those long days of exercise.

My plan now is to stick with a mix of running and basketball and I  also might start playing tennis with my wife.

My advice, don’t forget about sports! Running can get boring.  Try to mix in some tennis, soccer, basketball or any other sport that forces you to run.

-John

 

A lot of people call bodybuilders obsessed and I have often been called that myself.

But, I don’t think that’s fair.

Don’t get me wrong, if you won’t touch a piece of cake at your own wedding, then yes, you might need to loosen up.

But make no doubt about it, working out and dieting are the most important aspects of your life and you need to take it serious.

You aren’t worth much dead and nothing will stop your aging in your tracks like exercise and a proper diet.

This is a picture from my wedding last year at age 37.  Since I started dieting around age 28, my aging has been minimal.

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I am only 2 years away from my 40th birthday and I am amazed by how I was able to stop my aging.

40 is definitely the new 30, but I want to make it the new 25.

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Although I look young for my age, just because you look a certain way, doesn’t mean you are necessarily healthy.

In your teens and 20’s you can get away with almost anything, but that becomes a whole new ballgame when you get older, especially if you have an unhealthy diet.

Since I reached my mid-30’s, I have numerous friends that have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and I also know two coworkers that have had mini strokes.

The economic aspect of your health is also significant.

I don’t know about your insurance, but my son cost me $6,500 for his delivery this year and if I end up sick, my bill is going to hit our family max of $10K out of pocket.

These costs also may include missed days of work, loss of promotions and opportunities,  and the high costs of prescription drugs, etc.

Trust me on this, being unhealthy can hurt your career.

It’s unfortunate, but “ageism” does exist in this country.  When interviewing between a healthy looking 42-year old person and someone at the same age who appears in bad shape, it helps to look healthy.  People notice, as unfair as that may sound.

Being in good help also helps with fertility, and trust me, once you get married this is a big one.  I feel “blessed” that my wife was able to have her first child at 36.  For our 2nd child, my wife will be between 38-40, god willing.

Time is not on our side, but keeping a healthy lifestyle does help.

And finally, probably the most important part about working out and dieting, is the quality of life.

Sure, you can possibly sit on the couch and life to 95-years old, but what kind of retirement is that?

Wouldn’t you rather be able to dead lift 400 lb’s at age 70?

Or run a half marathon at age 75?

Play 2 hours of tennis in the middle of the summer at age 80?

Get on a plane to see the running of the bulls in Spain as an 82-year old?

Take your grand kids to the park and play basketball at 79?

There are a ton of people who can’t even do that at age 40 and its sad.

Now remember, you don’t need to become obsessed, but you need to take it serious.

Diet, weights, cardio.  The trifecta of healthy lifting.

95% of the time, the trifecta should work.

Otherwise, we leave it all up to a higher power.

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-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

I love running.  I have been running on and off for over 20 years and I love the sport.

But it wears me out.

For some reason, no matter how hard I try, I cannot run for an entire year straight.  I can run hard for 4-6 months tops and then my body and central nervous system needs a break.

Many runners never take off,  I don’t know how they do it.

Weight training is different.  I have been weight lifting for 20 years straight and I never take off.  I won’t always set records and sometimes I have nagging injuries, but I never feel burnt out from weight lifting.

This summer I am slowly getting back into running, but to be honest, I’m not really feeling it.  As an alternative, I have been trying to get back into basic sports.

Basketball and tennis.

What’s wrong with using sports instead of running? Cardio is cardio.

I played an hour of 3 on 3 basketball last week in 90 degree heat and it felt harder than a 8-mile run.

But more importantly, it’s fun.  Running can get really boring after a while.

So, what it is my advice? Don’t forget about sports.  There is nothing wrong with playing tennis 3x a week or going swimming.  You might even burn off more fat than any type of running.

-John

P.S. I have my 2nd book coming out on amazon in two weeks!

This was a good weekend for working out.  I FINALLY was able to sneak onto a track in Staten Island and run some sprints.

For some reason Staten Island locks down all of the public High School tracks so that nobody can use them.  (I’m from Brooklyn)

And I was able to run (6) 200 meter runs in the blazing heat.

After only several intervals, I remembered why I love sprinting for burning off the fat.

After the run my body was in complete pain!

I also like running tempo runs, but after you get into good shape, I can run 3 miles in 21 minutes without breaking a sweat.

With sprinting, it never really gets easy. And if it does get easy, you aren’t running hard enough,

After I got home from the track I felt like playing basketball, so I went down to the courts near my house.  I planned on taking it easy and shooting around for an hour until some kids asked me to join a 3 on 3 game.

I haven’t played in a game in over 5 years and again I was hurting.

Playing basketball outside in the July heat is no joke.

Saturday’s complete workout: 6 X 200 meter sprints on the track followed by 3 on 3 basketball.

My plan for this upcoming week is to stay on my diet.  I want to hit 155 lbs’ this week and cut another 5 before the end of the summer.  My abs are starting to pop and I think another couple lbs and I should start looking pretty ripped.

-John

My training has been weird this year.  My son was born in mid-April and that killed part of my spring training momentum, but besides that, I have been almost injury free and reaching good numbers.

I have been working out for almost 20 years now and I’ve noticed something important; I need heavy weight lifting.  Without lifting heavy weights my body doesn’t grow and I notice it even more when I cut up for the summer.

It’s hard to cut up when you don’t have any muscle.

The last couple years I have been able to get really cut, but I feel like I have been missing out on the thick mass that I used to have.

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10 years ago I was benching 345 and deadlifting 580.  Now I am barely hitting 300 lb bench press’s in the winter.

Part of my decrease in strength has been from nagging injuries and the other part has been from the fact that I don’t bulk up as much.

But, If I had to choose the two most important area’s in bodybuilding, it is heavy weight lifting and dieting.

If you can lift heavy and diet down correctly, you should be able to get ripped.

I am not saying that cardio isn’t that important, it is, but for myself the cardio is just the last 10%,

The cardio removes the final body fat for me and also tightens up the skin.

But in reality, the heavy weight lifting and diet is more important.

Case in point, if you only did cardio, you would probably look horrible.  You can get away with only sprinting, but long-distance running without weight lifting will build the worst looking physique you can have.

I should have some summer pics up soon.  I am trying to cut another 5-8 lbs and then peak in August.

New book coming out in a couple of weeks!

-John

I firmly believe that if you are a natural lifter, you need to lose weight.  There is just no other way to burn the fat off.

The best part about losing weight is that it is very easy in the beginning.

If you have never been on a bodybuilding diet, the first couple weeks of dieting are a piece of cake.

From just adding some basic cardio routines and changing your diet, you should be able to cut some easy weight.

The real challenge is several weeks later when your body fat percentage is low.

When you start going from slightly ripped to very ripped, it gets really hard to burn off any body fat.

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I am already working out in the gym 4 days a week and running for 4-5.  Even with all of that hard training, I am going to have to start upping my effort if I want to get ripped.

I have gotten my bodyfat percentage to an insanely low-level several times in my life and each time there was a familiar pattern.

I was training like a lunatic.

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This year has been a little bit hard.  I been working two jobs, which isn’t too bad, but then my first son was born in April.

I am still making it to the workouts, but I don’t have the time to put in the crazy insane effort like I used to.

The good news is that he is starting to finally sleep better and I am increasing my efforts.

Today I weighed in at 157 lbs and I am in decent shape, but I still want to cut down to 150.  I think because I got a late start this year, I should peak around mid August.

For July 4th, I want to at least touch the 155’s.  Tomorrow I am going to work out legs at lunch and then I am going to try to kill it with some cardio after work.

A double session tomorrow and I should have a solid chance of getting into the 155lb range.

After July 4th, it is just super hard training up until October.

How is everyone else’s training going?

-John

I bet you didn’t think I would write about this topic! But my son is almost 3-months old, so now I am a bodybuilder and a father. So, what are my tips for soon to be parents?

1.Get grandma over: I have a ton of energy and I am telling you, the first month is exhausting.  I don’t know how anyone can except to raise a child by yourself.  If you can get the grandmother’s to come over a couple of times a week, it is a lifesaver.  For child #2,  I need to commit the grandmothers’ to staying over more.  We did the first couple weeks mostly by ourselves.

2. Get your finances in order before the child is born.: You have 9-months to plan.  Get all of your hard work done before the child is born.  I took a big licensing test at work right before he was born.  Studying with a newborn is close to impossible.

3. It’s not expensive.  Like I said in step 2, you had 9 months to plan.  I spent a lot more when I was single.  As a single guy I was spending $150-200 a week on going out and another 5-10K a year on travel.  Now it’s just some formula and diapers.

4. Find out what he/she likes:  My son likes it when I play with him and walk him around, but he hates laying on me.  I think he cries a lot less when I hold him , compared to my wife, but we will fall asleep on my wife and not me.  I know what he likes and what he doesn’t, so I stopped trying to force activity on him that makes him scream.

5. Go outside for walks:  75% of the time when we take him outside he will fall asleep and its a great way to get some cardio done. Yesterday we walked 4 miles with him and he slept almost the entire time.

6. Check your insurance:  Insurance is a pain.  Check with your insurance months before your child is born.  I did all of my research and they still snuck some bills on me.  Overall, the delivery is costing me about $6,500 out-of-pocket.

7. Keep working out:  There was a couple of days where I was sleep working out, but overall, exercise helped to keep me sane.

8. Stay inside for a while: It’s bad news if the kid gets sick in the first couple weeks.  I’m on week 10 and I still haven’t taken him to the mall or a restaurant.  Life is long, take it easy for a couple of weeks and order out.  Now that he is almost 15 lbs, it’s not that serious to come down with a small fever or cold. But that could be a rough week if he gets sick as a small infant.

9. Be patient with your wife:  The first child is no joke.  I had ZERO experience with kids before taking my own son home from the hospital.  There will be nights where you are both up 3 in the morning and not in a good mood, try to relax.

10.  Don’t wait to have kids because of a stupid career:  It is risky to have kids later in life and also harder to conceive.  Don’t put off having kids because of some stupid office job.  Having children is life changing.  I had my first child at age 37 and my wife was 36.  We were very lucky to have everything go smooth, but we aren’t going to wait too long for #2.

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!

As most of you already know, this week was the summer solstice and now we are officially into summer.

As I have stated before, if you haven’t started losing weight yet, you probably aren’t going to look good this summer.

I have cut down from 176 lbs in the winter down to 156!  I plan on losing another 6 lbs and maxing out at 150 lb’s.

Right now I am focusing hard on diet and cardio.  I am trying my best to get at least 3-4 hard cardio sessions in a week and I am also trying my best not to cheat on my diet.

This year I am peaking slightly later in the Summer than the last several years and I should look my best in the middle of August.

I know I have posted an pictures in a long time, but I should have some new one’s after July 4th weekend.

The only thing I am really missing now is a solid tan.

Skin cancer aside, a good tan is very important and unfortunately, nothing is better than the actual sun.

When I get really tan, my skin starts to shrink around my muscles like plastic wrap.

This year I might get a solid base tan from the sun, then I will finish it off with a spray tan.

It’s been hard to get outside this year.  Besides working two jobs and an infant at home, I just don’t have time in my day to sit outside and work on my tan.

Hopefully I can get outside more in the next couple weeks.

Although, I don’t except to make any strength gains at my light body weight, I do expect to improve in my cardio times.

For example, today I ran 1 1/2 miles in 9:45 (6:33 per mile pace)

I would love to get that under 9 minutes and get my mile under 6.

How is everyone else doing?

P.S. I have my 2nd book coming out within the next 2 weeks!

-John

This has been a tough running year for me.  Actually, the entire last 9 months has been tough.

About 2 years ago I was in really good running shape and I was getting close to reaching my College times. But recently I have regressed.

One of the problems is that I have been running on the treadmill more.

My son was born in April and since then, I have been doing only treadmill during the week.  On the weekends, I have been trying to get outside but sometimes the weather in the Spring is just horrible.

I’ve noticed that my treadmill time is usually about 10-20 seconds faster per mile than when I run outside.

For example, if you can run 3 miles in 21:00 minutes on a treadmill, then you should run around 21:30-22:00 minutes outside.

But although the treadmill helps for running outside, the muscles used are completely different.

Today I did a Father’s Day race in NYC just to see what type of shape I am in and I ran horrible.  Probably my worst time in 5 years.

The first mile felt okay, but then after that I died out.

Using the treadmill just doesn’t use the muscles as much.  If I want to get back into outdoor running shape, I am going to need to run outside more.

But, there is a weird flip side to this argument.

I think the treadmill might be better for bodybuilding.

A) The treadmill is less impact, by a lot.  I can run hard on the treadmill all the time without getting super sore.

B) If might be better for bodybuilding.  This year I have been sprinting and jumping pretty good (basketball) and I think it might be because I’m not running outside so much.

So who knows? Is the treadmill the cardio of the future?  I still like going outside to run.  It’s better for a tan, sprinting and also it’s nice to be outside.

I think from this point forward I am going to force myself to get outside more.  There are several good races in the Fall that I would love to run.

How is everyone else doing?

-John

Check out my new book on amazon.com!

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