Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Imagine that your doctor told you that you had 20 years left to live?

Would you quit your job?

Would you travel more?

Would you get married or divorced?

I think I know what I would do.  I would buy an R.V. and travel throughout the United States for several years.

travel-rv

In my R.V. I would pack a squat rack, bench press and up to 600 lb’s in weights.  Although it’s going to kill my gas mileage, I would be able to set up a base at different sites and powerlift.

For my cardio, well that’s easy.  I can run anywhere in the great outdoors, or alongside the truck as my wife drives.

After several years traveling throughout the United States, I would like to do the same in Europe.  Travel throughout the different counties with my 600 lb’s of weights and maybe take one or two side-excursions to Asia, most likely Japan and one other country.

Along with stopping at various churches and praying for my afterlife, I will publish two books about my travels and then I am ready to die.

So what would you plan on doing?

Or more importantly, what are you doing now?

  • Do you workout 5-6X a week?
  • Do you lift heavy to moderate weights?
  • Do you add cardio to your routine including sprint training?

Also, how is your diet?

  • Do you eat clean?
  • Do you have a visible 6-pack for part of the year?
  • Do you take any recreationale drugs?
  • Do you drink more than 20 beers a week?
  • Do you have high blood pressure or cholesterol and need medication to lower it?

WAKE UP STUPID!

Your life expectancy is probably only 20 years right now.

Travel…

Exercise…

Run…

Eat right..

Pray…

And enjoy your life…

-John Andre

Check out my books on amazon.com…

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

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Last week I took a weekend vacation to Gettysburg, PA and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

harpers ferry

Although I had never planned on traveling to Gettysburg, I figured I would sneak it in since it is a big part of Civil War history.

But my main purpose of the trip was to see Harper’s Ferry.

Harper’s Ferry has been on my radar for a while.  If you are not familiar with the town, it’s a really small city in West Virginia where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.

But what is so unique about the town, is the amount of history in such a small area, especially civil war history.

It was the scene of the famous John Brown raid.  If you are not familiar with this, I highly recommend you read the wikipedia page, it’s a good read for any history buff.

john brown

Basically, John Brown was a big abolitionist (anti-slavery) before the U.S. Civil War started. Whether his anti slavery ideas came from his devotion to religion or from his business failures is debated, but what is not debated is that towards the end of his life he gained a “militaristic” hatred of the institution of salary.

Although the civil war did not start yet, it was slowly starting to develop.  John Brown had already led some successful slave insurrections and came up with the idea of raiding a federal weapons armory.  The idea was that he could arm many of the slaves in the South and start a major slave uprising.

Long story short, his plan backfired.  He was caught pretty quickly, several of his son’s  were killed on the scene and he was tried and hung in the nearby town of Charlestown (named after George Washington’s brother).

Although John Brown was not succesful, his raid on the armory was big news and helped fuel the anger on both sides which started the Civil War shortly after.

The town itself was also taken over by the confederacy and the union several times during the war.

Like I stated, small town, big history.

It’s hard to explain Harper’s Ferry.  It’s basically a town on a river bank, with a railroad, pedestrian and car bridge, along with some small shops and historic area’s.

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They have parts of the original fort that John Brown was captured in, along with a ton of hiking trails.

Overall, I give Harper’s Ferry a “C+/B-”  It’s not bad, just not a lot to do.

It is limited on hotels, but there are a decent number of good restaurants near the water front.

harpers ferry 2

Outside of town, Charlestown has a nice horse track and casino about 10 minutes away.

You can basically make a day out of it or maybe stretch a weekend trip.

Check out the John Brown fort area, walk over the pedestrian bridge, pick some hiking trails and then hit the casino.

Not a horrible trip, but not sure if I would go again.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I just returned from a visit to Gettysburg, PA.

First impressions: Ugh.

Gettysburg is pretty bad.  If you aren’t familiar with Gettysburg, it is a small town in Pennsylvania that is known for one of the deadliest battles of the Civil War.

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When you consider that Americans were killing other Americans, it is the scene of possibly the largest number of casualties in American war history.

So what is wrong from Gettysburg?

When I was researching online, I expected the town to be “high-end”.

Not very high-end like the Hampton’s, but maybe similar to Newport Rhode Island or Woodstock Vermont.

I at least expected it to be nice.

Also, most of the hotels were also sold out on a Saturday in October, so I figured it must be a popular tourist attraction.

The ride took me about 4 hours from NYC, and as soon as I arrived into the middle of town, I noticed that something was off.

The city is small.  Very small.

It’s basically a roundabout in the middle of town, a train station, and several blocks of small gift shops and restaurants.

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After eating at the “Lincoln diner”, we decided to do some shopping.  Unfortunately, the gift shops are pretty bad.   I showed up to town with cash in hand, looking to buy some something and the stores were pretty horrible.

Both my wife and I said the same thing “how are these stores still in business”?

But let’s be honest, you don’t travel to Gettysburg to go shopping and eat at fancy restaurants, you go to see the battlefield.

The battlefield is a quick 5 minute ride out of downtown and is large and completely preserved.

Now, don’t get wrong.  It is nice.  There is ton’ s of historical monuments and you can can do a guided or audio tour, which is also pretty cool.

But to be honest, it’s just a big field in the middle of Pennsylvania.

Although trip advisor has great reviews on it and I am really into Civil War history, I still felt the battlefield was really boring.

I almost think that people are scared to criticize it.  Is is unpatriotic to say that the battlefield is not worth a trip?

The history is very, very interesting.  But the geography is just not very nice.

I climbed up to the “devils den” which is supposed to be the one of the highlights of Gettysburg and that was also pretty boring.

devin den

It’s basically a 100 foot hill with a bunch of medium-sized rocks on the bottom.

The only interesting party of Gettysburg I found are the memorials.

I didn’t realize how many Irish immigrants had died there and there are many old memorials with shamrocks on them. Very cool.

Overall, I give Gettysburg a “D”.

You will find better civil war history in Cape May, NJ, Charleston S.C. or Savannah.  I liked seeing cities, ports and churches.

There is only so much to look at in a field.

The restaurants are bad, the stores are run down and I’m sad to say that I cannot recommend it.

We also checked out Antietam, which was also the scene of another major civil war battle.

It’s not as preserved as Gettysburg and I actually like it better.  They have a really cool Civil War cemetery and the famous Dunker church that was near the confederate line during the battle.

My next review will be for Harper s Ferry, WV.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

Lancaster PA is surprisingly really good.

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To be honest, going into Lancaster I wasn’t expecting much. Most of my recent trips to the state of PA have been pretty disappointing and I didn’t think this would be any different.

But Lancaster is really nice.

I would add Lancaster to my trip list of surprisingly nice towns, along with, Lake Placid and Niagara Falls.

So why did I decide to go to Lancaster?

Well, first of all, it is a quick drive 2 and 1/2 to 3 hour drive from N.Y.C.  Very manageable with a small child and my son usually sleeps for the first 2-hours in the car anyway.

Secondly, the town is supposed to have a lot of kid activities, which it did. So I figured we can make a quick summer trip out of it.

Our first stop into town was the Lancaster central market, which is located in downtown Lancaster.

What most people don’t realize, is that not every part of Lancaster is Amish. Lancaster is a real city, with a real downtown area.   The farms and “country-life” are located outside of downtown, but surprisingly not very far.

My first impressions of “downtown” Lancaster?

“Not bad. Definitely old, possibly up and coming.”

lancaster-city-m

I was trying to think of what town it reminded me of. Possibly a smaller, cleaner version of Philadelphia or maybe a much cleaner Allentown.

There are a bunch of old row houses and a decent central area with a some trendy restaurants.

The central market is nice, it has a collection of Amish stores where you can buy locally made products.

central-market

We made a quick stop for a bite to eat before we shipped out to the hotel.

We stayed at the “Eden resort”, which was recommended to me from a good friend.

The hotel was extremely nice, and very good for kids. They have a big indoor and outdoor pool section, along with sprinklers, basketball courts and a playground.

Very, very nice hotel.

our-stay-at-best-western

Which takes us to actual Amish country.

Amish country is wild. I was expecting to see maybe one or two Amish people if I was lucky, but was I wrong.

Amish people are all over the place, working, traveling around, etc. While driving around for an hour in our car, we passed at least 40 horse and buggies traveling along side the highway, along with bicycles and scooters.

Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, Amish Horse And Buggy.

The farms are also fascinating. You will pass farms all the time driving through PA or going to upstate NY, but you won’t see a farm being actually worked on with physical labor like you do in Amish country. “Some” of the Amish will use a minimal amount of electricity and machinery while others will use close to nothing. But overall you will see almost everyone outside working on their farms during the day.

Prior to traveling, I though I would see evidence of hard living, quite the contrary. Believe it or not, it looks like a good life. They live on large farms with a great sense of community, they eat the freshest food available, they are all married and they have large families (7 kids on average)

Which takes us to the food. I couldn’t stop eating the entire trip.

The Amish make a ton of baked good, such as moon pies, shoefly pie, sticky buns, cakes and all of the organic meat and vegetables tasted outstanding.

amish

We ate at the good and plenty restaurant, which was outstanding, but I have been told there are much better places.

Outside of Amish country, they have some amusement parks (Dutch wonderland), outlet malls and all types of family activity.

Overall, Amish country is a great vacation and I would definitely like to return during a different season.

May not be an exciting trip for a single male, but a lot of fun for a family trip.

Add this to my surprisingly good vacation list.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I am not a millennial.

I was born late in 1979.  I did not have the internet until junior high school and I didn’t have a cell phone until College.

When I first start working out, I didn’t have the opportunity to review routines online or watch video’s on YouTube.

Basically, we would follow the bigger guys in the gym.  Since they were almost always lifting heavier weights, we tried to lift heavy as well.

The rest that we learned was basically from reading magazines, like Flex, and also from just basic experimentation in the gym.

Now because of family obligations and my career, I lift weights at lunch and try to do my cardio after work and on the weekends.

In my small group at work I have my manager that is 55 years old, myself, and 5 millennials.

Who works out in that entire group?

Just myself and my 55-year old manager.

For some reason the millennials refuse to work out and it shows.

I look about the same age as them,  which is very sad.

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They also don’t have a lot of energy.  They drag themselves into work, they leave as quick as they come in and their enthusiasm is very low.

Could it be their lack of exercise and proper diet?

Maybe not at age 21, but at age 30 and over, that will start to catch up with you.

The millennial generation are now entering their 30’s and it’s not looking good for a lot of you.

Today my group went to Chipolte together at lunch while I went to the gym.

Immediately after my work out I texted all of them the same message.

“Where are all you millenials at?” and I attached today’s workout video.

At some point in your life you need to decide.

Are you a lion or a lamb?

Do you want to conquer to world?

Or are satisfied with being a Chipolte-eating chump….

P.S. It’s June 1st, no more time for nonsense.  Hard training only until July 4th.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

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.

jaweightsathome

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.

dam-images-travel-savannah-ga-october-2014-travels-savannah-01-forsyth-park

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-“

I must apologize.  Although my blog is called “workout and travel”, all I have been talking about recently is working out.

But now that my son is almost a year old, I am slowly starting to get back into traveling.

Last week, we took a family trip down to Raleigh, Hilton Head S.C. and Savannah GA.

What place was my biggest disappointment?

RALEIGH

North Carolina in general is a hot topic now in NYC.  Not only are many companies relocating down South but many people are also starting to retire outside of NY in greater numbers.

It can make sense, especially if you are living in the tax-hell area’s of long island, westchester and NJ.

You can most likely purchase the same size house for 100-300k cheaper and you will also see your property taxes cut at least in half.

The weather is also slightly warmer, but not much.  So what is the downside?

It’s North Carolina.

Raleigh is pretty terrible.   To be fair, I didn’t visit the wealthy suburbs like Cary and I also didn’t drive around the College campus’s at Duke or NC State.

But Raleigh itself is pretty bad.

It’s a difficult area to describe, but I think my wife said it best “it looks like a run down New Jersey”

The outskirts going into the city looked ugly and the city itself was a complete ghost town on a Saturday.

And you can’t blame that on the weather.

It’s warmer than Boston, Hoboken and Montreal.  All which would be crowded on a Saturday afternoon, especially with March madness basketball going on.

I was also surprised to see some serious blight.   Almost 2 or 3 blocks from the main action on Fayetteville Street, there is some serious poverty.

We also drove around to some of the “corporate” areas and they also reminded me of a worse version of Arlington, VA or Jersey City, NJ.

If you are going to move down South, why stop at North Carolina?

I would take almost every major city in Florida over Raleigh, including Savannah Georgia, Charleston South Carolina and even Washington, DC.

I would like to give it another shot and check out the campuses and possibly Durham, but overall, I was not very impressed.

2 hours+ to the beach, not so great weather, not alot of action.

One of my least favorite cities so far.

Official rating “D”

-John

 

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!

 

 

I know that my blog is called “Workout and Travel”, but all that I have been writing about recently is working out.

In my defense; it’s freezing cold out in NYC and my wife is 5 months pregnant.

We can do some traveling of course, but to be honest, we have started making the slow transition to becoming parents and we don’t plan on traveling much until after child-birth.  We are also in the process of moving to larger apartment and purchasing a new car soon.

Getting ready for a child is a lot of work and we don’t plan on going anywhere major next year until the summer.

My life was very different before I got married.  Before I got married I was traveling almost once a month and I was starting to visit Europe on a regular basis.  To my surprise, some of the places that I visited were actually very “kid friendly”.

Here is my list of vacations that are surprisingly appropriate for children:

  1. Kentucky Derby:  I told my wife I want to take our future kids to the Kentucky Derby and dress them up.  The infield isn’t great for kids, but the grandstand is fine.  Kids like watching the horses.
  2. Oktoberfest, Germany:  I actually have no idea what I am talking about because I have never been, but two of my friends swear to me that it is surprisingly kid-friendly.
  3. Mardi Gras: People think that I am crazy when I say this, but if you stay away from Bourbon Street, the Mardi Gras parades are actually really cool.  I plan on taking my kids there eventually.

Places that are not kid friendly:

  1. St Patrick’s Day Everywhere.  Dublin, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston. etc. I would not recommend bringing your children to any of them.  Too crowded, too much drinking and too much fighting.
  2. Key West, Florida: One of my favorite cities, but not much going on for kids.
  3. Preakness Stakes: Preakness is more of a drinking party than the Kentucky Derby.  I don’t believe I would take them there.
  4. Las Vegas:  Leave the kids at home for this one.

Any suggestions?