Posts Tagged ‘training’

Sept 1st is finally here!  This summer has went by so fast, that I can’t believe it is almost over.

I have to say, I ended the season pretty strong.  I got a little bit of a late start because of my son being born, but recently my weight has gone down to 150 lbs and my body fat is pretty low.

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My plan going forward is to lose another 2 lbs and go down to a 20-year low of 148.  I am not going to lie; when your body fat and weight gets very low, it becomes really hard to make large improvements.

So now that summer is almost over, how does our training change?

Actually for me, I like to run more.  September and October are my favorite months to run outside and I am already signing up for several runs.

I usually stay pretty cut in the Fall.  I won’t take my diet as strict as I have in the summer, but with all the cardio, I will still stay pretty lean.  Sometimes I will even slightly improve.

Around the middle of October, I will eventually start my winter bulk up.  The winter bulk up will be less cardio, heavy lifting and increased calories.

My goal this year is to hit 180 lbs.  That is also a number I have not reached in several years.

Good luck!

-John

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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

 

Spring is finally here!  The sun is out longer, the birds are chirping and the snow is finally start to melt in beautiful Staten Island.  So what does it mean for most bodybuilders?

Its time for Spring Training.

Time to increase the cardio, decrease the calories and remove all of the body fat.

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Since January 1st I have been INSANELY busy. Between getting slammed at work, I also studied and finally passed a licensing exam at work and my wife is also 8 and 1/2 months pregnant.

Fortunately, none of this had any affect on my training, but it did affect my blogging.  Now that some of my schedule has cleared up, it’s time to kick it into another gear and start getting serious.

This year I want to focus on retaining my mass.  I feel like the last several years I have been cutting my calories too low and losing too much mass when I get cut up.  I never have a problem getting a 6-pack, but I want to also keep some solid muscle after I cut down.

My motto this year is “burn off the bodyfat, don’t starve it off” And by that, I mean that my workouts need to be harder and more consistent, so that I cut my body fat more from the gym and less from the kitchen.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand the importance of dieting, especially when it comes to getting cut.  But, I feel like I have more potential in becoming a better athlete through my training, than I do from just dieting down every summer.

This is my premliminary training  program for this season:

Monday: Chest/foremars

Tuesday: Legs, calves, cardio

Wendsday: Back

Thursday: Cardio

Friday: Shoulders, calves

Saturday: Cardio

One of my goals are to run 3 miles in at under 21 minutes and I also want to start doing more sprinting on the track.  When you get older (37) you don’t lose as much stamina as you do speed.

Rarely, do you see someone in their 30’s or 40’s working on their speed.  All across N.Y.C I see ton’s of people my age outside using long and slow distance running, but the truth is when you get older, stamina and endurance aren’t the problem.

You need to work on your speed.

Another area I want to work on hard are my back and calves.

For my back; I am going to focus on shrugs, bent over rows and weighted chins.   My shrugs need to be over 450lb’s and on occasion, I can do chinups with over 70 lbs hanging off me.

For the other bodyparts, I just want to maintain as much strength and mass as possible.  Right now I am around 172 lbs and I plan on losing at least 20.  With that amount of body weight loss, it’s inevitable that I am going to experience some strength losses, but I still want to be able to throw up some decent numbers at a low bodyweight.

And finally, I have a second book coming out soon that goes into my philopophy of heavy lifting and fast running.

My 3rd book is going to be about using sprint workouts to remove bodyfat.  Sprinting is the holy grail of cardio for body fat loss and it is very underutilized in this country.

Good luck.

-John

I have been working out for over 20 years straight.  That includes competing in both High School and Collegiate track and field, over 20 powerlifting competitions and at least 100 road races (1 mile up to the Half Marathon)

And after all of these years, I can honestly say that have a training partner helps.  It is not 100% necessary, but overall it definitely helps.

In running, a training partner is really useful in breaking up the monotony.  Going for a 5-mile run on a Sunday morning becomes a lot easier when you have a training partner. For long-distance running, having multiple partners are even better.

If you watch the famous Kenyans or the Ethiopian marathoners train, they almost always run in large groups.

For powerlifting  and bodybuilding you don’t necessarily need a partner to train, but it really helps with both the bench press and squatting.

Personally, I don’t like to bench press over 275 lb’s without a spot.  Occasionally if I am going for a single and I am feeling strong, I will lift 275-300 lb’s  without a spot. But benching with a spot is not ideal and it could become dangerous.

Last week I bench pressed 265 for 5 reps and I just asked a random stranger for a spot.  It’s annoying to bother strangers, but If I want to go heavy, I am going to have to ask for a spotter.  I can’t risk my life every time I train my chest.

Every other exercise I can basically do by myself.  Deadlifts, shoulder dumbbells, biceps, chins, bent over rows, triceps, all of these exercises can all be done solo.

But I not going to lie, I miss having a training partner.

It’s a shame but I have lost all of my old training partners from either people moving to different cities, changing jobs or some people just becoming lazy and giving up.

A good training partner can keep you on track, motivate you and make you a better athlete.

This year my bulk up has been coming really good, but I have a feeling that I am going to at least need a consistent spotter soon.

There is no way I am going to start attempting 315-355lb bench presses while only weighing 165.

Fun week coming up! Day light savings time is this Sunday, including the NYC Marathon!

Happy Halloween…

I am only 5 or 6 weeks into my bulk up and so far my plan is going great.  I am already maxing out the same as I did last year in the leg press and I am rapidly gaining strength in the bench press and shoulder dumbbells.

If I keep up the pace I am on, I should destroy last years bulk up numbers.  But experience has taught me that A) my pace will slow down B) Injuries will happen.

This week I am going to attempt 75’s for 10.  Once I can hit 80’s for 10 I am right back into the heavy stuff.

The body definitely has muscle memory.  I haven’t gone this heavy in a while and the strength is coming back almost immediately.  I am surprised by how strong I am getting after just several weeks of extra calories.

It is fine to gain weight in the winter, but I want to make sure that I don’t put on too much body fat.  Lean muscle is the goal this winter.

I am also really enjoying the fact that I haven’t been doing any cardio.  The cardio workouts were really starting to wear me out.

Originally I had planned to reintroduce the cardio in December, but now I am thinking I might take a complete break until Jan 1.

Winter is right around the corner! I can’t wait for some heavy lifting…

-John

For years I have had REALLY small calves.  Almost embarrassingly small.

I always figured that I just had horrible genetics and they would never grow, but it looks like I was wrong.

In the last several years I started focusing hard on my calves and they are starting to explode.  I never measured them, but my calves are starting to become one of my best body parts.  I am actually starting to get more comments and questions on my calves than any other body part.

The calve muscles are a very important body part.  Generally, they are the only muscle in your legs that people can see when you wear shorts.  Unless your shorts are really tight, you usually aren’t going to show off your hamstrings or quads, but your calves are always visible.

Since my calves are starting to really stand out, I plan on DESTROYING them during this  years’ bulk up season.  I always say when you have a good body part, go with it.   I want to build up a tremendous set of calves for next summer.

My biceps are another story.

My biceps are “ok”, but they could be a lot better. I’ve tried many different training techniques, but I still haven’t found the best routine.  So far the best method I have found is by using heavy cheat curls.  Nothing else has really worked for me.

I am going to have to experiment with different exercises this year to improve my biceps.  There has to be some routine that will make them explode and I need to discover it.

In the next several weeks I will start to post some bulk up pictures and hopefully some videos.

-John Andre

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If you read my latest post, you would know that my running and summer cut up season is officially over.  It is now time to put on some SIZE and STRENGTH.

Today I had my first workout since  I stopped running and I actually felt pretty strong.  Although I’m recovering from a nagging shoulder injury, I  was still able to put up 225 lb’s for an easy 10 reps.

If I can get back to bench pressing 275 for 10 reps, I will be JACKED.

There are 2 keys to bulking up:

A)  Add strength: I need to put on some serious size and strength this year and the only way to do it is by lifting heavy.  For this winter, I am going to set definite strength goals that I need to reach.  I would like to get my bench press over 315, shoulder dumbbells over 95’s, leg press over 600 lbs and deadlifts over 500.

B) I need to bulk up cleanly.  It’s not healthy to add-on a sloppy 25 lb’s of  body fat and start lifting heavier weights.  I want to make sure that I only add on lean muscle.  A small amount of extra body weight is acceptable, but not so much that I am overweight.

Overall, I think bulking up is very effective when done right.  Just make sure that you don’t put on too much extra body fat and you should be ready to cut up when the summer arrives.

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I’m sad to admit it, but my season is over.  My legs are killing me, I’m burnt out from all of the cardio and I am starting to loosen up on my diet.

Tomorrow I am reluctantly doing a 5-mile race in Brooklyn and then its over.

This summer was really good for me, probably my 2nd or 3rd best shape ever, but I still  could have been a little bit better.

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2 things stood in my way:

A) I had an accident in late July and ended up in the hospital with stitches.  This completely killed my training right at the peak time.  I missed about 10 days of diet, cardio and heavy lifting.

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B) I got married in early August:  Of course I am glad that I got married, but it killed about 2 weeks of hard training.

Overall, a really good year, but It still could have been a little bit better.

There are a couple of things I need to change for 2017:

A) I need to get back into serious heavy lifting.  My body just doesn’t respond as well without the heavy-duty lifting.  I miss the solid dense muscle that I have built up in the past.

B) Less long-distance running, more sprinting.   I ran pretty hard for 8 months straight and now I am so burnt out that it hurts to walk.  I want to train for a sprinting race next year.  I haven’t run a sprinting race since I was 18-years old.

C) Less Pizza:  My diet is usually pretty good, but when I moved from Queens to Staten Island I started eating a ton of pizza.

Tomorrow I am going to run one of my favorite 5-mile races.  I am not expecting any type of good time since my training has been going horrible.  After the race, I am ready to shut down my season and slowly start my winter bulk up.

Full review of the race coming soon!

-John

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Workout and Travel

It’s around 5 pm on a Sunday night and I am already starting to plan out my itinerary for the following week.

I try to divide my weeks into small achievable goals.  If I plan too many activities at once, I typically end up procrastinating and getting nothing done.

Experience has taught me that it is better to break my week into small manageable goals, instead of over planning and under delivering.

For example, this is my plan for this upcoming coming week

Monday: Gym at lunch, deposit 2 checks at the bank.

Tuesday: Gym at lunch, either cardio after work or visit a client

Wednesday: Gym at lunch, pick up rental car in Newark for upcoming vacation

Thursday: Pick up birthday gift for my wife.

Friday: Gym at lunch. Pack clothes. Drive to upstate New York

I also use this system of small goals inside the gym.

For example…

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I have been really burnt out recently. Between training 6 days a week and my wedding last Saturday, this week has really been a struggle.

When you start feeling really burnt out, sometimes you just need to take a rest.  When you get to the point that you can’t even get out of bed anymore, it is probably time to take a day off.

This morning when I woke up, it was a struggle just to make it to the shower.  My legs were hurting, my muscles were aching and my body was overall tired.

Today I decided to bite the bullet and just take a day of rest.

When it comes to running, I feel like I am able to run 3 or 4 days in a row before I need some serious down time.  It is just impossible to run all year-long and I always need to add some down-time to recuperate.  During the year, I generally plan 3 to 5 races to train hard for and then I will take a couple of weeks off in the winter.

With the weight lifting, it is a little bit different.  If I am using 8-10 rep sets,  I can lift weights for the entire year. The only time it  really starts to hurt is when I start going heavy.  Single and doubles will start to really wear me down and I can usually only go  heavy for several week in a row.

So what is my advice?

I try to never take off or skip any training days, but once in a blue moon, I get so tired that I just need a day.  Just don’t make a habit of it.

-John Andre

jabeer

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