Posts Tagged ‘weights’

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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I like the summer, but I don’t enjoy the oppressive heat.

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I am more of an early Fall, late Spring type of guy.

When it is too Hot (July) or too cold (January), sometimes I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Today I woke up planning on running outside at 9 am.  It is supposed to reach 98 degrees today in NYC, so I figured I would get ahead of the curve and go for a nice morning run.

Of course my son decides to sleep in late and then he wanted two hours straight of play time.

After play time we realized that he was out of food, so then we had to drive up to the supermarket and back.

By the time I made it outside it was 12:30 pm and around 98 degrees out.

I actually felt “OK”.  The first mile went by quickly in 6:15 but after I started the 2nd mile (which is on a hill) I had to stop.

It was just too hot out.  About 3/4 into a large hill I was starting to get dizzy and that’s when I decided to pull the plug and start walking.

When I was 21-years old, I would just plow right through a workout like this and complete it a near death.

Not that I am in my late 30’s, I would rather live to fight another day.  I can just run a hard one tomorrow and not sweat as much.

Overall, I don’t love running outside in July.  Even though it is the warmest month of the year and the least amount of rain, it just isn’t fun for me.

August gets a “little bit” better, especially late August around Labor Day.  And then of course my favorite time of year to run, The Fall.

Sept, Oct and November are the absolute best times of year to run outside.  I usually finish my season with a big race in the Fall before I start bulking up and power lifting for the Winter.

One big change I want to make this year, is that I want to “force” myself to get out more in July,  Although I am not enjoying myself as much and it can be very uncomfortable, if I can survive 30 days of training, it should help me run a fast race in the Fall.

I am going away on vacation next week, and I think I may try to run 4 or 5 times outside.

It’s going to be tough, but it helps to keep my lean, I get a suntan and I should be able to bust out a fast time in the next couple month

-John Andre.

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

This was a rough winter.

It wasn’t necessarily very cold or snowy, but it just seemed to drag on forever.  The first couple weeks of April were still pretty bad out (NYC) but now it finally looks like we are turning a corner.

For myself, I make it a point to start training outside in March, no matter how nasty the weather is.

Unless it’s pouring rain out, I will wear the appropriate clothes and go outside.

Reason? I know that the nice weather does not come slowly, it appears IMMEDIATELY.

Later this week it may reach 80 degrees in NYC.  Luckily for me, I am already in decent shape.

I am running 3 miles in under 21 minutes, I am still benching and deadlifting relatively heavy and I lost 25 lbs since January.

Today I actually took my shirt off in public, which is pretty impressive for April.  Usually I don’t like to show the goods until Memorial Day.

May is an important month for bodybuilding.  If you are not already killing it in your training, you better start now.

You can look a lot better for Memorial Day and you can get ripped for July 4th, but you don’t have a lot of time.

Start cutting weight, continue to lift heavy and introduce moderate cardio to your routine.

Summer will be here before you know it.

If you haven’t started yet, you better get moving.

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P.S. Big race coming up on May 17th.  After the race, going to officially start bodybuilding for July 4th and continue to run a race here and there over the summer.

I usually peak in Late August, so I should have some good pictures this summer!

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I am officially back in NYC!

This last week I was in Raleigh, North Carolina, Hilton Head SC, and Savannah, GA. It was a fun trip and I will post my review on these cities during the week.

I always try to plan a Spring Break trip almost ever year.  It provides me the motivation to get into shape and it sets the pace for my Summer training.

When it comes to vacation and especially Spring Break, there are certain tips I use to handle my training and diet.

A) Start off the vacation being light.  This year I lost about 16 lbs before I went away.  I figured even if I gain 3 or 4 lbs back, I am still down over 10 lbs from my winter bulk up.

B) If the hotel has a gym, and most of them do, try to hit the major bodyparts.  I won’t work out every day, but I try to do a 30 minute chest, shoulder and leg work out if I can.  I don’t go crazy, but just try to keep the blood flowing.

C) Run outside If I can.  This week off I was able to run 4 times.  I ran twice in Hilton Head and also twice in Savannah.  You lose your cardio ability quickly, so I am happy to say that I ran pretty hard over my week of vacation.

D) Pig out.  I don’t understand people that start to diet on vacation but not during their regular work week.  On vacation I drink beer, I eat ice cream and I let my diet fall apart.  Once in a while I will order a fish dinner just to detox, but I refuse to travel and not try the local cuisine.

Overall, enjoy your vacation.  Lift weights briefly if you can, do some light cardio if you have time and for goodness sake, please do not diet.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

35 is a weird age.

I feel like it’s the point in life where you either decide to live healthy or you don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, people start making lifestyle changes later in life all the time.  My parent’s are starting to eat healthier in their early 70’s due to high blood pressure/cholesterol.

But most people do not make the change.

The worst part about not making the change and I see it all the time, is that you start to age rapidly after 35 if you don’t make the lifestyle changes.

Men start to go gray, they lose muscle mass and their energy levels drop due to low T.

For women, it’s a lot of the same, including a decrease in fertility.

There is no answer to father time, but you can slow it down.

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(Age 36)

I had the opposite reaction at age 35, instead of slowing down, I work out angry and motivated.

It’s hard to explain, but my motivation to become a champion has gone up substantially.

If you think about it, my entire day is disappointing.  9 hours of work, long commute, daily shower, shave, and little time off for vacation.

I have been blessed to grow up in a generation where I do not have to do manual labor to survive, I don’t need to hunt game to eat, I wasn’t drafted into war and my country has never been invaded.

But there is a downside.

For centuries, young men were born to be warriors.  We fought, we farmed, we conquered, we were invaded.

We lifted heavy stones and built homes with our bare hands.

We didn’t sit in front of a computer.

Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming at work and I imagine that I was a Viking.

viking

Running full speed into a village with just an axe and some body armor.

Or I am a warrior in the crusades, traveling through Europe and engaging in epic battles.

I imagine myself traveling in a stagecoach across America, building a log cabin with my own tools and hunting for game.

That was the reality for centuries, until the last 50 years.

That energy has to go somewhere, otherwise you are going to fade away and die.

Starting April 1st, I plan on killing it.

I want to train harder than any man or women in the United States.

Heavy weights, hard cardio and strict diet.

I’ve always said, you will always look the way that you train.

Train like a freak, look like a freak.

Train like a high school cheerleader, look like a cheerleader.

Don’t train at all?

Die.

-John

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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The easy answer is that it depends on the person. But more importantly, you need to find out which routine works the best for your body.

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After years of working out, I can say with 100% certainty that my body responds to low reps.  Not only does my body prefer low reps, but it also prefers heavy weights.

Some people are different.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for doing multiple sets over several hours a day.

Ronnie Coleman was known for lifting super heavy with powerlifting style exercises.

Personally, I prefer the heavy powerlifting style for several reasons:

  • The muscle lasts longer.  When you are lifting heavy weights, the mass stays on for a long time
  • It’s practical. even if you aren’t a bodybuilder, it helps in everyday life to be a stronger person.
  • I always get injured with high reps.

This Fall season, I have been getting back into the old school powerlifting routines.  Heavy weights, low reps and a ton of extra calories.

The same can also pertain to running.   I believe that everyone needs some form of cardio; whether it is running, biking, basketball, etc.

But I definitely do not believe in long distance running.  Training for 1 or 2 marathons in your life isn’t going to kill you, but I don’t recommend it as a long-term training routine.

I actually gain body fat when I run long-distance.   I become “skinny fat”, which is very skinny with a high level of body fat.

When it comes to cardio, I prefer to train the same way as I do with weights.  Quick and fast.  Sprinting, tempo runs, hill repeats and nothing over 5-miles.

By just running 2-4 miles 3x a week, I am able to get my 3 mile time to under 20 minutes.

So overall, do high reps work?

It depends on the person.  Try it out on yourself and track your progress.

Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t making progress then it may not be working for you.

-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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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

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.

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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!

 

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!