Posts Tagged ‘weights’

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!

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing my entire physique to the king, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I am just saying that my abs are better.

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Even without steroids, supplements or a strong tan, I still beat Arnold on abs.  Take a look at the belly buttons, it’s not even close.

Everyone has certain body parts that are genetically better than others.  Some people have biceps that peak into mountains, while others like myself, have long biceps that grow out.

Genetics plays a large role in how your body develops, and luckily for me, when I am in good shape I develop really good-looking abs.

Since I have always been natural, I also have to be ultra strict with my diet, cardio and I need to be consistent in the gym.

You can’t fake good-looking abs.  Even if you take steroids, if you aren’t training hard or dieting correctly, your abs aren’t going to look right.  Most of the top athletes that you will see competing in the Mr. Olympia won’t have good abs and in my opinion, it’s hurting the sport.

So Arnold might beat me in calves, arms, chest and back.  But, I take him out in the abdominal department.

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For this picture above, I cut down from 180 lbs in the winter to 150 lbs by the middle of August.  My routine was 4 days a week with weights and another 3 days of outside cardio.

Want to build natural looking abs? Check out my two books on amazon.com for more details!!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I have been training really good recently.  I finally have a new training partner to spot me in bench press (It’s been 2 years) and I am hitting some strong summer numbers.

I lost almost 25 lbs this year since the winter and this “should” be the time of the year that I am weakest.  Surprisingly, I have had a strength surge recently.

The only idea I can think of that led to my recent strength surge, is that I cut down on any long-distance running.  I was feeling burnt out again, so I decided to switch to sprinting and basketball only.

Just to give you an example, I almost benched 295 at 152lbs of bodyweight today.  I am really close to doubling my body weight in bench press.

Since I have been lifting so good, I am actually considering competing in powerlifting again.

Powerlifting is the best type of training.  Even if you aren’t going to compete, the powerlifting lifts are the best way to maintain strength.

Bodybuilding is an obscure sport.  The majority of people going to the gym are never going to be bodybuilders nor will they ever have a 6-pack.  Those people should be training for strength only, along with a little bit of cardio.

Being strong has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s picking up your child, carrying groceries or climbing stairs when you are 60.  Staying strong is very important and the best way to stay strong, is to incorporate power training.

Do you need bodybuilding in your life? Not really.

The dieting and training is healthy, but it’s not a very practical lifestyle.

Marathon running is even worse, it not, the worst.

Try incorporating some power training into your routine.  It is the best way to build any mass and the training is the most practical when it comes to using weights.

Hope everyone is enjoying the end of the summer.  Please check out my new book on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Everyone’s body is different.  When someone tries to give “one size fits all” advice I can tell immediately that they have no idea what they are talking about.

All I know is my own body and my body needs heavy weights.

Light weights do NOTHING for my body and I think high reps actually make me look worse.

Believe it or not, I also get injured a lot more with light weights.  When I go heavy, I cut down on the bullshit sets and rarely get injured, just sore.

Recently , I have been getting back into the heavy weight lifting and I feel such a difference.  Although I am down to 152 lbs, I am lifting pretty heavy for being so close to my summer peak weight.

With that being said, I am expecting some heavy weights this winter.  I would love to get my bench press back over 325, along with some 400lb squats and 500lb deadlifts.

I am also getting the urge to do another powerlifting competition.

If I am lifting heavy and injury free up until Christmas, I might enter a competition.

I am not saying that everyone needs to be a powerlifter, but at least for me, the light weights don’t do anything.

I actually look worse and I become skinny fat, like a marathon runner.

Lift heavy and run fast, that is my motto.

-John

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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

 

No, I am not talking about speeding up your metabolism.  I think that is some b.s. science make up from supplement companies.

Eat every two hours, get fatter every two hours.

I guess I shouldn’t say it doesn’t work because everyone is different, but for me, that doesn’t work at all.

I NEED to lose weight, or I don’t get cut.  There is no other way around it. And the only way I lose weight is by cutting the calories or upping the intensity of my cardio.

In the last couple years, I have had a problem where I lose weight too quick.  It’s important to lose weight but when I lose weigh too fast I end up burning off too much muscle.

This year I have been losing it slow by accident.  My first son was born last month and it killed my diet and training for 2 weeks.  I am staying patient but I’m probably 2 weeks behind where I want to be this spring.

But instead of cutting 10 lb’s in one month, I am trying to “TIME” the way I eat.

Instead of eating too early or late at night, I am trying a new method this year.  I am eating RIGHT before I go the gym.

I am also trying to eat more when I KNOW that I am going to work out hard.

I’ve had several days where I planned on training super hard and I just felt too worn down from the lack of sleep and calories.

Now, I am trying to eat more on days that I am know I am going to work out hard.  I am allowing myself to have some extra calories, just to make sure that I KILL it in the gym.

Diet is very important, but it isn’t everything.  After you have been lifting and training for a long time, the big difference is really in the intensity.

My diet is always going to be good, I know what to eat by now.  I just need to pick up the intensity.

If you can train harder while slightly increasing the calories, you may be able to burn off even more bodyfat because you are training harder.

-John

Check out my new book on amazon.com!