Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We're Moving!

After two years here at this address we are packing up and moving. The new home for my bigger, badder, better blog will be where you can expect a lot more frequent updates, a more interactive format and tons of killer info.

I thank you for reading for the last two years and sincerely hope to that you will join us at our new address. Feel free to stop by any time and leave a comment.

See ya there!

Jason Ferruggia

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get Ripped Without Losing Any Size or Strength

With summer rapidly approaching I know that many of you are in a big rush to get ripped in a hurry. The problem is that, more often than not, people take on this goal with a completely flawed approach. The result is that they end up small, weak and flabby. Or, worse yet, they don't even try to get lean because they have seen one person after another start a fat loss phase only to end up... small, weak and flabby.

The good news is that this doesn't have to happen. My friend and colleague, John Alvino has the solution to this problem and recently I got him to share his secrets with us. John is a training advisor for Men's Fitness magazine and one of the most experienced and knowledgeable experts in the fitness industry today.

When I asked John, yesterday, about how to lose fat without sacrificing any muscular size or strength, here is what he had to say...

Most fat loss programs leave you with less muscle, less strength and less energy. This unfortunate fate may be acceptable to a competitive bodybuilder, who can afford to sacrifice a couple pounds of his muscle and has absolutely no concern for his strength or power. This unique exception notwithstanding, I can’t imagine anyone being willing to sacrifice their hard-earned muscle and long-term metabolic rate, just to shed a few pounds of fat.

I have been an athlete all my life, and a strength and conditioning specialist for over 16 years now. Over the years, I have discovered some amazing techniques that allow my clients to get ripped while simultaneously INCREASING their strength and power. Even people who tend to lose muscle very quickly on a normal fat loss protocol will find that with my system, they will not lose one precious pound of the muscle they bled to build.

See, the majority of the guys I train for fat loss are not just trying to get lean so they can prance around on a stage while wearing a Speedo. To the contrary, most of my clients are high level athletes who want to get lean in order to improve their performance. It’s no secret that if an athlete is carrying around an extra 15-20 pounds of body fat, he will not run, jump or move as well as he would without that unnecessary body fat slowing him down.

On the other hand, it is imperative that these guys improve upon all of their physical qualities, such as strength, power, speed and agility. Thus, they must steer clear of any protocol that has a negative impact on any of these qualities. The challenge is to get as lean as possible, while building (or at least maintaining) muscle mass, and continuing to make strength gains. That’s where I come in to play.

I have developed a very unique fat loss system that employs many clever training and nutritional tricks and techniques. I basically “fool” the body into holding on to its lean muscle for dear life, while at the same time tricking it into burning its own fat for fuel as quickly as possible. The results have been tremendous.

Here are a few brief points that one should consider when entering a fat loss phase.

1) Don’t decrease calories by more than 15% below your maintenance levels. This is one of the keys to maintaining all of your muscle mass during a fat loss phase. If you have a time constraint (weigh in for sport, wet t-shirt contest, etc), you may have to decrease your calories further than 15%. In these rare cases, you can decrease calories as low as 25% below maintenance, but be sure to temporarily increase your calories at regular intervals. This brings up our next point.

2) Do not stay in a caloric deficit for longer than 5 consecutive days. Staying in a caloric deficit for too long leads to a slower metabolism, less glycogen (stored carbohydrates in your muscles that are crucial for athletic performance), and without fail, losses in lean muscle mass. This is easily avoided by “eating up” occasionally to replenish your glycogen stores and give your metabolic rate a much needed boost.

3) Focus on force output during your cardio workouts. Many so-called fat loss “experts” love to say, “You shouldn’t output a lot of force during cardio. You will fatigue and have to stop before you burn enough calories.” These critics are missing the forest for the trees. There are 2 critical points that they are completely disregarding.

First, they are focusing solely on the amount of fat loss that occurs during the cardio workout itself. This is foolish, because if a cardio program is designed correctly, the majority of the fat loss from that cardio will occur AFTER the workout has already been completed. As a matter of fact, it turns out that the post-workout energy expenditure that follows a very intense cardio workout burns much more fat than a long, boring low intensity cardio session ever could.

Second, they are neglecting the fact that low intensity cardio actually encourages the fast twitch muscle fibers to take on characteristics of slower twitch fibers (for those of you who don’t know, it is your fast twitch fibers that provide you with explosive strength and quickness). These are very serious consequences to a high level athlete.

For both of these reasons, I strongly advise you to stay far away from low intensity cardio. So what kind of cardio should you perform? That brings up my next point.

4) It’s no secret that a great way to integrate higher intensity cardio into your routine is high intensity interval training (HIIT). The problem is that there is so much confusion about how to perform HIIT properly, and what work to rest ratios provide maximal results.

I have discovered after years of methodical research that there is no perfect ratio across the board. However, it turns out that each specific type of HIIT exercise does actually have its own optimal work to active rest ratio.

For example, some well respected experts have asserted that the best work to rest ratio is 1 to 3. This is true for a few specific exercises, but for many other important and popular forms of exercise, it is completely wrong.

Let’s take the jumping rope, for example. Can you imagine getting a great workout from jumping rope for 1 minute, and then resting for 3 full minutes? As you can see, a “one size fits all” approach is seriously flawed when it comes to HIIT training. So knowing the exact ratios that best accompany the different forms of exercise is of paramount importance. I have spent years calculating them quite precisely, and when you hit the right combination on the button, the results are incredible.

5) Resistance training is of the utmost importance in any fat loss protocol. However, there are just as many misconceptions about how to properly weight train for fat lass as there are about performing cardio for fat loss. In particular, be very careful not to use a “high rep” approach exclusively. This is very popular among some well known fat loss gurus, and it is the kiss of death for anyone who truly wants permanent and sustainable fat loss. Using high reps exclusively can actually cause you to lose muscle mass during a fat loss phase. This will with direct negative impact on your metabolism, thus making it that much harder for you to lose your next pound of fat. Even further, this type of resistance training will cause you to lose strength and power, for the exact same reasons that low intensity cardio does.

A resistance training program is crucial to fat loss, but it must be designed very shrewdly. A specific balance between higher rep exercises and lower rep exercises must be utilized if optimal results are to be seen.

Start employing these tips right away, and you will see immediate and dramatic improvements in your strength, energy, and fat loss results. Good luck!


John is having a very special introductory sale on his long awaited Complete Fat Loss system. This is not something that was slapped together overnight. On the contrary, John worked on this for over a year. I should know because he called me up more times than I care to remember at midnight or later to get my opinion on a new chapter or some other aspect of the product. I have never seen so much work put into a fat loss system before and believe it is the most comprehensive system on the market today.

Check it out by clicking HERE.

Jason Ferruggia
Performance Enhancement Specialist
Chief Training Adviser, Men's Fitness Magazine

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fit To Fight Review

First off, I want to say congratulations to my buddy and fellow vegetarian Mac Danzig for his outstanding performance Saturday night at the UFC pay per view. Big things ahead for this guy.

Secondly, I wanted to thank everyone for all the positive feedback so far on Fit to Fight and to share the latest review with those of you who haven't gotten your copy yet.

Click HERE to read it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Growing Up

I spent this past weekend in LA with my buddy and fitness expert, Keith Scott, visiting friends and watching two of Eddie Vedder’s only solo shows ever. If you are a Pearl Jam fan I highly recommend that you get a hold of a bootleg of some of these solo shows. They were absolutely amazing.

Friday night I met up with my long time friends Laura and Danielle Prepon. Laura is the former star of That 70’s Show and current star of October Road on ABC. We partied ‘til the wee hours of the morning and had a great time but the thing that stood out more than anything is how little Laura has allowed success to change her. She is the exact same girl I have known since she was a little kid with the same great sense of humor and not the slightest hint of arrogance or self importance. She treats every stranger who approaches her with the utmost respect and kindness just the way she would treat a family member. When people came up to her all night, she repeatedly held up my book, Fit To Fight, and told people that they needed to get their copy ASAP. It was something she didn’t need to do but a gesture that I appreciated sincerely. It’s sad that it’s a rarity to see someone so unchanged by success, but it made me very happy to see my old friend acting just the same and treating people like she always has. Selfishly, I secretly want her to quit showbiz tomorrow so we could hang out regularly just like we did the last summer she spent at home. But I know that’s never going to happen and I am thankful for the time I still get to spend with an old friend. If anyone is deserving of such success it’s Laura and I wish her nothing but the best in the future and couldn’t be more proud of her.

On Sunday morning, Keith and I had breakfast with my other two good friends, Chad Waterbury and celebrity trainer, Valerie Waters. I have a feeling that some people might be shocked that Val and Chad are two of my close friends. After all, we disagree on way too many training issues to be friends, right? A few years ago I used to be ignorant and immature enough to think that.

“He recommended four sets instead of five?! What a numbnuts!”

But then I grew up and got a little smarter and realized that it doesn’t matter in the least. Chad and I were introduced through a mutual buddy about a year and half ago. Since that time Chad has become a good friend who has always gone out of his way for me in any way he can and that means far more to me than the fact that we might disagree on certain aspects of training here or there.

The truth is we have barely even discussed training for more than an hour, at most, every time that we’ve hung out. It’s not politics. It’s not religion. It’s how to improve your deadlift for fucks sake… and that’s not really that important in the grand scheme of things. And if we disagree does that mean I should hate him or not be friends with him? It’s ridiculous to think so. But although it pains me to admit, I once thought like that.

Even though Chad and I do some things differently in how we train our clients, when you really break it down, it’s all very similar in the end. We both believe in lifting fast. We both believe in max strength work for all athletes. We both train people for performance, first and foremost. We both like full body workouts or upper/lower splits in favor of any other type of split. Etc, etc, etc…

When Val, Chad, Keith and I talked training this weekend, we all agreed far more than we disagreed and we learned a lot from each other.

Chad is currently training the greatest fighter of all time, Rickson Gracie and his son and future legend, Kron among several others. When I talk training with someone like that I am far more interested in what he is doing with his guys and what he has found to work, based on years of experience more than I am interested in how he interprets some Russian training literature. Like, Dave Tate said, “Fuck science!” Show me what you learned under the bar. That’s where it’s at.

Valerie Waters has trained more celebrities than can be seen in the current issue of People Magazine. While she may not use some of the fancy words and periodization schemes that some people are so impressed by she has trained Jessica Biel, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner. So, needless to say, she definitely knows her shit. She explained to me over breakfast, how she believes that girls can get too big and how she gets around that. At first I would have disagreed with her but after hearing her out I agreed 100%. This is something you can’t always convey in an article. And something, that for some odd reason, pissed people off when she said it. But when hearing her explain it in person it all made perfect sense.

I have mentioned Keith Scott several times before but after spending this weekend with him I am once again convinced that he knows more about the human body and has more real world training experience and knowledge than most people you will ever meet.

While I truly am as dumb as I look and only graduated high school because my dad knew somebody who knew somebody; Chad, Val and Keith are three of the most intelligent people I have ever met. I know that when you are successful people will take shots at you. But the fact of the matter is that unless you are training the likes of Rickson Gracie, Jennifer Garner or working twelve hour days for 17 years straight training athletes you might want to think twice before criticizing others.

On my flight home from LA I sat next to a wonderful 90+ year old lady named Carmen. She was one of eleven children who moved here as a child from Holland. We talked for the majority of the six hour flight and I was intrigued by her stories as she walked me through one life changing experience after another. I saw the sadness in her eyes as she talked about her husband being tortured as a POW and the deaths of all of her other siblings. And then I saw the joy as she spoke of her grandchildren and how happy she is to still be here. She was flying in to see her last living sister who was sick and also taking care of her husband who just had open heart surgery. Her arrival was intended to be a surprise that she hoped would cheer everyone up.

When we arrived at Newark airport slightly after 11pm, I found out that Carmen’s arrival was a surprise to EVERYONE and that there was no one there to pick her up. I guess that important detail was overlooked in the planning. I called my girlfriend to apprise her of the situation and told her to park the car because we were probably going to be a while. For the next two and a half hours we did all we could to get Carmen to where she was going. And all the while we continued to talk and exchange stories. She offered sage advice that can only come from having lived on this planet for nearly a century. She said a lot of things that really hit home and made me think about my own existence. Life is too short to deal with petty bullshit or not to fully experience everything this world has to offer. Whether you live to be Carmen’s age or die by age thirty, there is no time to waste on things that cause you stress or unhappiness. As I said my final farewell to Carmen and hugged her goodbye I couldn’t help but tear up. She taught me a lot during the eight and half hours that I spent with her and for that I will be forever grateful. Sometimes people come in to your life for a reason and you have to take the time to stop and fully appreciate the experience.

For the last few months I have spent way more time working on a computer than I would like to. I have been preparing for my new book release and simultaneously working on other projects. I have been stressed out of my mind and that’s just not healthy. I woke up this morning the happiest I have been in months. I thought about what I learned from Carmen and what I saw in Chad this weekend and the grasp that he had on his own life and destiny and I was inspired. As much as this industry sometimes stresses me out I wasn’t thinking about that at all this morning. Instead I thought about how good this business has been to me and how many dear, lifelong friends I have met like Chad, Keith, Val, Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Jim “Smitty” Smith, Alwyn Cosgrove, Craig Ballantyne, John Alvino, CJ Murphy and Sean Hyson. People that I could count on to be there for me no matter what. Not to mention all the clients who have become like family members to me. And as I thought about that I had to smile. Life is pretty good.

Since it’s going to be in the seventies here in Jersey over the next few days I decided to go buy a new surf board and hit the water as soon as I finish writing this. I also decided that I will probably call up the cable company and disconnect my internet connection and instead go to a wireless cafe for an hour or two a day and do my work there and never turn on the computer at any other time. Living in the real world is far more fulfilling than existing in a virtual world any day.

I don’t really know how to wrap this up or what all of this even means. But the bootleg track from Eddie’s show Saturday night in LA, which is playing on my iTunes right now probably sums it up better than anything. He did a cover of the Springsteen classic, Growing Up that was absolutely mesmerizing. I guess maybe, after 33 years, I am finally growing up and at long last realizing what’s important and what’s not.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Combat Q&A

Question: What is more important for a fighter to focus on; strength or conditioning?

Answer: Neither is more important than the other. It really depends on what the particular fighter needs to work on and what his major weakness is at the time. If he is inhumanly strong yet completely gassed after a minute, then max strength work will be a complete waste of time and he should focus most of his time on conditioning. The reverse, obviously holds true for someone who is in great conditioning yet weaker than tissue paper. Determine your weakness and what is holding you back and focus on improving that while maintaining (and not losing!) the other quality.

Question: It’s tough for me to weight train and still stay in my weight class. When I start lifting I just blow up too fast and put on too much size. For that reason I only do bodyweight stuff. Is there a way around that or is that all I should be doing?

Answer: In a case like this I think you should only focus on maximal strength/speed/power training in the weight room. This type of training, when done with low sets and reps and long rest periods shouldn’t put on too much size; especially if you keep your calories low enough. I just think the benefits of proper weight training are too great to ignore and can really improve your game. I firmly believe that most fighters could benefit dramatically from improving their max strength levels. I had this conversation with my friend and colleague, Chad Waterbury, over breakfast at The Firehouse in Venice Beach Sunday morning he was in full agreement. From what we have seen there are very few combat athletes who couldn’t benefit from some proper max strength/speed/power work.

Like I said, if you keep your volume low, rest periods high and keep the calories in check you shouldn’t gain any size from this type of training.

Question: Is sprint training of any benefit to combat athletes even though they never run in a fight?

Answer: Yes, it is. Sprint training can make you explosively fast and powerful and also help you burn off bodyfat which is incredibly important for combat athletes.

Question: What kind of supplements should I be taking after my MMA workouts?

Answer: A good post workout drink will help get some much needed calories in ASAP after a brutal conditioning style workout. I prefer waxy maize as the carb source. I was introduced to this a year or so ago by Justin Harris and Dante Trudel and was reluctant, as usual, to try it. As many of you know I think most supplements suck. My good friend Dave Tate said he was loving so it I finally bit the bullet and gave it a shot. So far, the results that most of my guys have gotten have been quite impressive and everyone seems to like it. I recommend mixing it with either pea protein isolate or rice protein. I personally don't recommend the regular consumption of dairy products for a variety of reasons but if you choose to go that route you could always mix it with whey.

Also, be sure to drink tons of water after training to rehydrate yourself.

For more information about the training of combat athletes be sure to pick up your copy of Fit to Fight today.

Chuck Liddel has his copy.

Ultimate Fighter winner, Mac Danzig has his.

And so does former Olympic gold medal winner and WWF world heavyweight champion, Kurt Angle.

Get yours HERE!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You... The Next Ultimate Fighting Champion?

“Hey, what’s up buddy? You lost a bunch of weight, huh? You look... good.”

That’s what my friend Ron said to me yesterday when I saw him for the first time in a few months. Good meant skinny. He just didn’t know what else to say.

Later, I walked into a restaurant I hadn’t been to in a couple months to meet a friend for lunch. The owner came up to me as soon as we got there and gave me his take on the situation. “Trimming down, huh buddy? You look good!”

Again, good was code for skinny.

Since it has finally started warming up here in Jersey, I put on a t-shirt last night before heading to the gym. It’s one of my favorite t-shirts but one I hadn’t worn in a few months.

I was swimming it… and drowning in sadness. Anyone who was once a painfully skinny hardgainer and then went on to put on a significant amount of muscle knows how distressing it can be to lose it.

When I arrived at the gym, my friend and often time training partner, John Alvino, told me, “Bro, I hate to say this to you and have been holding it back for the last couple weeks but I can’t take the sight of you at that size anymore. It’s actually making me sick. You’re done with that scam. You gotta slap at least 15 pounds back on immediately.”

After I stopped laughing I told him he was right and that I had already made that decision on the way to the gym and was committed to gaining all my size and strength back over the course of the next six weeks.

As I lay in bed last night with my girlfriend, I started to tell her about all of the comments that people had made about my weight loss throughout the course of the day but before I couldn’t even get a word out her hands wandered to my biceps and a second later she jokingly quipped, “Where’d they go?”

Ok, I get it. I vow to gain it all back within six weeks.

Now, leave me alone ;)

The upside of this story is that today makes it all worth it. The hard work, the stress and the weight loss were all worth it this morning when I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw my new book sitting right on the table at the front of the store.

As many of you know, I have made my living training athletes for the last 15 years. I am particularly fond of working with combat athletes, in particular, and the training methods used to transform them into unstoppable warriors. I have compiled all of those years of knowledge and experience into a brand new book from Penguin Publishing called Fit to Fight: An Insanely Effective Strength & Conditioning Program for the Ultimate MMA Warrior.

Within the books 200 pages you will discover:

• The secrets of developing never ending stamina and relentless energy that will allow you to outlast every adversary in your path.

• Proven training methods guaranteed to build animal-on-the-attack speed and quickness.

• A fully detailed, 16 week combat training program with over 100 exercise pictures and descriptions

• How to incinerate body-fat and radically boost your conditioning levels with my top 7 high intensity, sprint workouts.

• Logs, sandbags, kegs, tires and more. Learn how “dinosaur training” can turn you into a dominant warrior who wreaks havoc on all who stand in your way.

• The top 30 bodyweight-only conditioning exercises proven to develop the strength and endurance of a champion...even if you don't have access to a gym or any equipment at all.

And much, much more.

If you compete in MMA or just take classes recreationally; this is the book for you. If you don’t do either but are looking for an incredible program to get in unbelievable shape and bring up your strength, speed and endurance, while developing a head turning physique; this is the program for you.

Click HERE now to order your copy today!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hardcore Conditioning

If you want to really bring up your conditioning and lose body-fat you need to get your ass off the stair stepper and treadmill and start moving. Sprints, Prowler pushes, jumping rope, sled drags, sandbag work, sledgehammer swings and bodyweight exercises are far more effective than any "cardio" machine could ever be.

A great exercise to really bring up your conditioning rapidly is the burpee/chin up combo. You perform a burpee and then at the top of each rep you jump up into a chin up. The higher the chin up bar, the better. Try performing a few sets of this at the end of your strength workout or as part of a conditioning circuit mixed in with some mountain climbers, grasshoppers, slalom jumps and jump rope sprints.

One note to be aware of when performing a regular burpee or burpee/chin up combo is that you don't want your hips to sag when you are in the bottom with your legs fully extended. This puts undue stress on your lower back and can lead to injury.

Give these a try today and let me know how they work out for you.

And, for more incredible conditioning methods, don't forget that Fit to Fight comes out tomorrow.

Unfortunately the tape ran out before he puked after rep number 21.