Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Are You Too Busy To Workout?

Many times I hear this excuse from people who do absolutely no exercise at all. They say they have no time to train. They feel and look terrible yet they have no intentions of doing anything about it.

I was at the park doing some sprints a few days ago and saw a guy there pushing his kids on the swings. When they got off the swings and went to play on something else the guy, in his mid forties, went over to the chin up bar and attemted to do a single rep.

He couldn't even get half way up!

A grown man who couldn't do a single chin up...What a disgrace. The sad thing is that I have seen this exact scenario at least a dozen times at the park.

How can you even consider yourself a man? What would you do if you ever had to defend or protect your wife or kids?How can you look yourself in the mirror and live with yourself if you are in that kind of shape and that pathetically weak?

The excuse of not having enough time is a lame one. No matter how much you work and how many responsibilities you have, there is always time to exercise. The problem is that most people think an efficient workout has to last an hour or two. This is complete BS. Often times I will train for no more than 20-30 minutes on a very busy day. If you can honestly tell me that you don't have 20-30 minutes per day for exercise, you need to take a serious look at your life and your priorities.

An efficient strength training workout can be accomplished with as few as two or three exercises and be completed in as little as twenty minutes. Just by making time each day to do that small amount of exercise, you will feel ten times better. The workouts in How To Get Jacked all average about 40 minutes but if you are pressed for time they can be shortened to meet your schedule. If time is your enemy, try this: Go to the gym (or your basement or garage) and do a brief warm up. After warming up pick one pushing exercise, one squatting exercise and one pulling exercise. Do 2-3 sets of each for 6-10 reps each. You will be in and out of the gym in 20 minutes but the positive benefits will be with you for the next few days. Don't think that if you don't have at least 4-6 hours a week, it's worthless to do anything at all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No excuses.

For more info on time saving workouts click HERE, but first check out what people are saying about How To Get Jacked, below:

"I have gained about a good 11 pounds so far of my goal to 200 now at 183, so thanks alot for a successful program man."
Ryan Liska

"Great Book!"
Richard Bell

"Thank you for making the material and I look forward to learning from you for years to come! My training is taking off and I have to thank you for alot of it."
William Southern

"Thank you for writing the book. It helped me out a lot. I'm 30 years old and have been working out since I was 15. I'd been stalled out at 175 pounds for years and years; after reading your book I finally broke that barrier and jumped up to 200 pounds. I'd been stuck doing the standard split routine for so long; I'd given up hope that I'd ever bulk up, but I stuck with weight training because of the mental benifits I got from working out. Anyway thanks a lot for passing on your knowledge, it's given me a new zest for weight training."
Mike Orr

"Great work on the book and opening me up to some great ideas. Keep it up."
Andre Hernandez

Monday, November 27, 2006

How to Get Jacked

Today I'm reposting an interview I did for Craig Ballantyne of last week.

I hope you enjoy it.

We are going to switch gears today and talk about building muscle, and lots of it. After all, yesterday gave you the calories, right? Today we might as well give you the training...

Today I'm giving you a mini-interview with the "strength coach to strength coaches", Jason Ferruggia. When he talks, I listen. So does Mike Boyle, as does Alwyn Cosgrove.

Jason has great muscle-building advice from years running his own gym, so let's get to it.

CB: What rep ranges - you say no high reps - what does that mean? Nothing above 10, 15, 20?

JF:For the most part, skinny guys will be wasting their time if they use high reps and light weights.I usually like to see most of the reps be in the ranges of 6-12 when training for size. Now if it's a lower body exercise such as a squat, step up or Romanian deadlift, you can get away and maybe even get better results with slightly higher reps. For the lower body you could actually go as high as twenty reps and still make good progress. On total body exercises such as a dumbbell swing, you could also get good results with reps in the 12-20 range.Here's a secret about getting good results with higher rep training. Most of the time I don't recommend killing yourself and going to death set failure on every set. But if you are using higher reps, the weights are lighter already. If you are doing multiple sets of high reps the cumulative fatigue starts to mount and the weights can start to get really light.For this reason, when you do sets above 12 reps they probably should be all out death sets to failure, otherwise there is just not enough stimulus to induce a hypertrophy response. But for the most part, if you really want to get jacked, the majority of your training should be in the 6-12 range.

CB: What do you think aboot pigging out while getting big? Is that alright or should people be very strict with their muscle-building nutrition as well?

JF:This really depends on your genetics and bodyfat levels. If you can stay lean no matter what you eat then go for it. If you are really trying to add a lot of size you definitely have to jack up your calories. I believe bulking cycles should last 12-16 weeks max.After this you need to go into a maintenance or diet phase and do a completely different kind of training. Many people will do better with shorter cycles. This is an individual thing. But during this time you do have to pig out. This doesn't mean throwing caution to the wind and trying to induce a heart attack in that time frame by eating fast food and ice cream all day. You can eat some junk food if you have a very fast metabolism but the majority of your food choices should be clean.The best choices here are beef, chicken, fish and eggs for protein and rice, potatoes, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, whole grain bread and fruits and vegetables for carbs. Be sure to include some healthy fats as well like nuts, avocadoes, and oils.If you have trouble staying lean you will probably want to limit your carb intake to the morning and pre and post workout period and avoid mixing large amounts of fats and carbs.On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have trouble eating enough, a trick I like to use is to focus on eating high glycemic carbs like white rice. The reasoning behind this is that they digest rapidly and leave you feeling hungry again very shortly after eating them. This is why you are hungry an hour after eating Chinese food.

CB: You've been experimenting in your strength training lab for years - what was your most surprising finding - what "universal truth" doesn't really hold up in the real world?

JF: There are so many. You definitely need way less training than most people think. Even if you are genetically superior and have the time and ambition, I really don't see much benefit to training more than three days per week. If you can handle it, the results are not really that much better, if at all.Some rules like the supposed inverse relationship between sets and reps is completely false. This rule, which 90% of the industry seems to live by, states that the less reps you do, the more sets you do and the more reps you do the less sets you do.This is okay with beginners but what about some one who can bench press 400 pounds? If they are doing sets of three they are supposed to do between six and ten sets supposedly. Good luck with that. Aint happening. With a strong guy this rule is actually completely backward.

Some experts will tell you that you should only do compound movements and this will take care of everything. For example, they say you should only do presses and rows and chins and never pushdowns or curls.I agree with that to an extent but after you have built up a decent amount of mass on the basics you could actually benefit from a very small volume of some of these isolation exercises.Your strongest muscles will take over when doing a row or press and often times, for the more advanced lifter, the smaller muscles like biceps, don't receive an adequate growth stimulus. For this reason, if you really wanted to get your arms to grow (and are way beyond the beginner stage) you should a few sets of direct arm work.

The old myth that a muscle takes 72 hours to recover is also completely incorrect. If you wanted to you could probably train full body seven days a week. The guys in the military do it. It's just all about finding the optimal balance between volume, intensity and frequency.I mentioned training to failure earlier but this is something that most people are still confused about.Here are the simple rules about going to failure that hold true every time: If you are training strictly for size or fat loss, you can go to failure on every set. I don't mean nervous breakdown, death set failure but you can go until you can't get another rep.If your main priority is getting stronger, you can not go to failure. It's that simple. If you do choose to go to failure when training for strength, you need to change your workouts much more frequently because you will not be able to progress week to week.There are a ton of other ones but those are the first that came to mind right now. Hopefully that gives people a few new ideas and things to think about.

CB: Thanks J. I personally am using a program that was designed with Jay's help. I suggest you give his programs a try as well.Jason has just released his hardcopy book, "How to Get Jacked". You can order a copy HERE. Again, How to Get Jacked is a hardcopy book, so you'll get it in the mail.

CB: P.S. Jason helped me design my workouts...That you can read about in my blog at

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Performing Like Georges St. Pierre

Motivated by last night's Ultimate Fighting Pay Per View, I got up today and decided to turn it up a notch in my conditioning workouts. With a sled, a forty five pound plate, a pair of blast straps and two training partners, I headed out to the field. After a dynamic warm up we proceeded to do the following workout:
Forward chest presses with sled
Forward sprints with sled
Rows with sled
Wheelbarrow partner walks
These were all done in a ciruit with very little rest. The distance was about 50 yards per exercise. We did this for 35 minutes straight or until we were all seeing stars and nearly puking our lungs up. When no one could do any more I issued a challenge. Like he always does in a situation like that, when pride is on the line, my brother proceeded to peel his carcass off the grasss and, on his last set, double the distance anyone had gone all day in the wheelbarrow walk. The value of good training partners can never be underestimated, especially when training like this.

Combat athletes need low levels of bodyfat and high levels of conditioning and these kind of workouts help accomplish both of those goals, fast.

By following a workout like this or any of the others detailed in Combat Conditioning Secrets, you will incinerate bodyfat and dramatically boost your conditioning levels.

One thing I should note though, is that, as a combat athlete, you need to watch your diet. I have provided nutritional guidelines and sample diets in Tap Out and have also brought in the worlds leading nutrition expert, John Alvino for even more detailed diet info in an exclusive interrogation in the Underground Combat Files. Both of these are part of The Combat Conditioning Secrets package.

The reason I mention diet is because when we were watching the pay per view last night, the fat guys were the topic of conversation at one point. Most combat athletes would probably assume that with all of the hours of exercise they get each week, they don't need to pay much attention to diet and will still be ripped come fight time. This was and is obviously not the case. As John noted, it seems to defy the law of thermogenics. "You would think that you could eat ho-ho's betweeen every punch you threw and still not look like that."

If you want to look like Georges St. Pierre or "The Sandman" James Irvin and be able to perform at that kind of level, you can not neglect your nutrition in the least.

For more inside info on becoming a dominant combat athlete, click HERE now.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Becoming a Bad Ass Martial Artist

"I love it, I want to sign up, " I told our teacher, David. "Okay, go down to Master Chei's studio tommorow to pick up your gi and be here with it on for class on Wednesday."

The year was 1993 and I had just attended my first Tae Kwon Do class in the rec center at Arizona State University. It had been a while since I participated in TKD. My dad owned a school when I was young and taught a more hardcore version than the tyical Gay Kwon Do that is taught in most strip malls across America. I started from a very young age and became accustomed to that style.

Since then, it had been hard to find but low and behold I had finally come across what I was looking for. This class was no joke and David, the teacher, let you know up front that there were no pussies allowed and that it was going to be balls to the wall from day one. His words were reinforced by the bruises and welts on many of the students.

One in particular stood out. Bart didn't look the slightest bit intimidating. He was small and kind of nerdy looking. But he limped into class the first day, taped up his injuries and proceeded to kick the shit out of everyone in his path. There were several others who seemed just as tough. These were the kind of guys I wanted to train with.

I took the bus to Master Chei's the next day to get my gi. When I got there I forgot to take off my shoes so he was immediately pissed. Next I forgot to bow and the master was none too pleased. I told him my name and that I was there for my gi. "Dobok," he insisted.

"Great, three strikes, dummy. He's definitely gonna kick your teeth out now you nitwit"

Luckily he let it slide and went to get my gi, er, I mean, dobok. He opened up the refridgerator. I thought he was gonna offer me a beer. It was nearing happy hour, after all and the bar on the corner had a great Monday Night Football party. Maybe he was getting a jump start.

When I looked in the fridge it was stacked to the brim with nothing but gi's. Like most things in life, I found this to be incredibly amusing and started to laugh like a kid in church. I knew I shouldn't have but couldn't help it.

"I'm really dead this time," I thought. The look on Master Chei's face told me that he didn't like me. It's a look I get from most people I meet but this was a little different. With one glance I knew that he intended to exact swift revenge on my punk ass.

Luckily he let me leave alive but notified David of my behavior. I was made aware of this on Wednesday when I walked into class without removing my sneakers; yes I really am as dumb as I look. "Fifty pushups now!" David barked.

"Master Chei said you were very disrespectful."

"Way to make a first impression, douchebag. This class should be great," I thought.

For the next few weeks David punked me into the ground whenever he could. But for some reason we grew closer because of it. I think I finally earned his respect and he definitely had all of mine.

Around this time was when I was having a great awakening in my strength and conditioning studies. A lot of what I was learning and doing with my training was making a difference in my TKD performance. Eventually I got pretty good and even earned my way back into Master Chei's good graces.

We took a beating in that class but loved every second of it. David allowed us to go at it at the end of every class; full contact, no holds barred.

At the time, I still didn't have a full understanding of proper energy system training, recovery methods, how to properly structure workouts or how to avoid overtraining. Man, do I wish I knew then what I know now. That was one of my favorite classes I have ever taken and if I just knew how to train the right energy systems and build functional strength and power like I do now, I could have been so much better. I would have been able to recover faster. I would have been able to deliver much more powerful and explosive strikes and kicks. And on the days when we practiced "street fighting techniques" I would have been able to use my strength to overpower many of my classmates and opponents.

I might even have been able to get out of bed the day after sparring with Bart.

For the latest, most cutting edge strength and conditioning information for martial artists, and to learn in just a few hours what has taken me countless hours and a few hundred thousand dollars over the last thirteen years, check out Combat Conditioning Secrets by clicking HERE now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Ultimate Energy Bar

The sound of the alarm, irritating as ever, woke me just before Christina Millian accepted my marriage proposal and I was pissed. I stood up to find that not only was I pissed but I was hung over. The 8 vodkas I had in Giants Stadium parking lot Sunday night were definitely not out of my system. I purposely set the alarm 15 minutes later than normal because I knew I'd need all the extra sleep I could get after a long, late night. That left me very little time to eat so I grabbed a DeFranco energy bar and a bottle of water and ran out the door.

Shit! No gas! I immediately headed to my favorite gas station to throw a quick ten bucks in and head to my appoinment. I always stop at this one particular spot because I know the attendant. Well, I shouldn't say I know him actually. I know who he his. And who he is, is an angry man. I can't seem to figure what it is about this guy and what my obsession with breaking him is. He came to the window with the same disdain filled look as usual and I asked how he was doing. I even called him "buddy."


Finally after a brief staredown, I asked for ten dollars, regular. As usual, I wasn't sure if he was going to headbutt me or spit on me. Normally I despise miserable people and avoid them at all costs but for some reason it has become my lifes mission to crack this guy or at least kill him with kindness along the way. He proceeded to pump the gas, furious that I made him get up for a measly ten bucks. I thanked him as graciously as I could and told him to have a great day. I'm pretty sure he told me to go fuck myself as I pulled away.

En route to my training session I ripped open my DeFranco bar because I was starving and my head was pounding. This is going to be one hell of a long day, I thought.

But I underestimated what I had just consumed. You see, Joe's new bars contain the powerful combination of Tyrosine and caffeine. When taken alone these two are great stimulants but when taken together, the effect is enhanced dramatically. The best thing about the amounts he put in the bar is that it doesn't give you that nervous, jittery stimulant feeling. You just feel better, you have more energy, are more alert and more focused. Not only that but the thing tastes great and digests with ease. Most protein bars sit in your stomach like you just ate concrete but not the DeFranco bars.

I walked into my training session feeling miserable and dreading the day ahead. The group I was training was doing flat dumbbell presses as their first exercise. Without fail they have repeated the same mistake for the last seven years. After doing a set they drop the weights on the floor. The next person goes, without moving the dumbbells from underneath them. It's an accident waiting to happen and before long someone will put a dumbbell down on top of another and crush their finger. It happens at least one time out of five...for seven years straight. What's that they say about the definition of insanity?

In a normal good mood, I will rush over and save fingers while simultaneously trying to spot another exercise for ten minutes straight. Today was an exception, however, and I thought to myself that if they can't figure it out by now, they're beyond my help.

But then something strange happened just a few minutes later. The caffeine and tryosine from the DeFranco bar started to kick in and suddenly I had more energy and was suddenly back to my normal self, laughing and joking and yelling. Man that Joe is good, I thought to myself. I even decided to prevent a blood blister in the making by running over and kicking a dumbbell out of the way a split second before it hit.

The rest of the morning was much better than could have been expected, even though several things went wrong. Without the uplifting effects of the DeFranco bar it could have been much worse.

So even though Joe did not design the bar with this in mind, I will go out on a limb and promote them as a great cure for a hangover.

By 7pm I was starting to crash. I was riding the train and had dozed off. Whenever I fall asleep in public I always dream about food. I have no idea why. This never happens on the couch or in my bed. The embarrassing thing is that I wake myself up by trying to take a big bite out of the food placed in front of me. I can only imagine what this looks like to the people around me. This train ride would prove to be no exception. I was dreaming about something completely unrelated to food; football, opening up for Pearl Jam, an island getaway with the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, perhaps. Who knows? But there was definitely no food involved. Suddenly a big chicken parm sub was right in front of my face for no reason whatsoever. I went to take a bite and woke myself with a big mouthful of air. I looked at the girl seated across from me who was staring right at me. She immediately looked away because she probably felt bad for me and assumed I had some odd disorder.

For the rest of the ride I continued to chomp away at imaginary culinary delights until I got off and ripped open my bag to find another DeFranco bar. Thank God, I thought. I needed to get a work out in and had no energy whatsoever. This is what Joe really made these things for so I scarfed one down and headed off to train. Within twenty minutes I felt great again and had an awesome workout.

Most of you know by now that I don't promote bullshit that I don't believe in. Having said that I do have to say that if you are dieting strictly and really trying to lose fat, you should not consume any protein bars whatsoever. Joe would tell you that himself. But if you are an athlete or just training for size and strength, I don't think you will find a better pre workout supplement than a DeFranco bar.

And it also works pretty nicely on a hangover...

Click HERE to order yours today.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Full Body Workouts Vs. Bodybuilding Splits

My colleague and close friend Alwyn Cosgrove was recently slammed in a bodybuilding magazine by trainer Charles Glass. The reason? He recommended full body workouts. He did a great job of addressing the situation himself HERE and certainly doesn't need me to come to his aid. In fact he has no idea that I'm writing this but since I am also a big fan of full body training I felt the need to address this situation as well.

As columnist for a fitness magazine myself, I know exactly how this all works and know that there was no need whatsoever for this. Especially to address Alwyn by name and claim that he was promoting a gimmick. That suggests a lack of credibility on his part which couldn't be further from the truth. The real problem I have with this is the fact that as a columnist I know that WE MAKE UP OUR OWN QUESTIONS!!

The question which was something like, "What do you think about the fact that Alwyn Cosgrove recommended full body workouts for those looking to gain mass," was answered in a very puzzling way. Charles Glass who is supposed to know a thing or two about building muscle went on to say that what the author (Alwyn) is recommending is a gimmick.

WHAT?!?! How the fuck is it a gimmick?! If I do bench presses, chin up's and squats in the same workout, how is that a gimmick? Which of those exercises is a gimmick? How do you compare those three exercises to Bosu or Bozo or whatever those balls are? What about the Bodyblade and that kind of crap? You're telling me that squats and bench presses are the equivalent of waving the bodyblade while standing on a stability ball?

To say that he didn't like full body training or that he didn't think it was great for advanced level bodybuilders would have been fine. But to say it's a gimmick just makes you look like moron of the year. It makes zero sense whatsoever. Full body workouts were the only way to train for years and years before drugs and supplements and bodybuilding magazines like the one in question ruined all that. It's how all the old time greats built up incredible levels of size and strength and how I have helped thousands of people to get insanely big.

If you like bodypart splits, that is up to you and I would never claim that what you are doing is a gimmick. If you are an elite level bodybuilder it might be the best way to go, I really don't know. To me it's boring as hell and I feel like a complete bitch doing lateral raises and leg extensions so I'm a little biased.

The shit people say sometimes...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Atlas Shrugged (But "How" Is The Question)

I trained inside last night for only the second time in the last ten or twelve weeks. I actually even used some machines; the EFS Power Squat and a Magnum seated row, which are pretty good as far as machines go and I had several plates on each side so as not to feel like a total pussy. I will admit that my last sets on each were true 5RM's with questionable form but I had to push it.

Surprisingly my strength on these two machines was not far from what it was the last time I used them. People told me that with my bodyweight/strongman outdoor workouts I would probably lose a lot of top end strength. I didn't think it would be the case and last night proved it to me.

I've broken my right wrist three times and thus need a wrap to do most exercises that involve holding a weight in my hand. Rows with a parallel grip are the rare exception. Anyway, I couldn't do any kind of Olympic pulling movement or deadlift which I was really looking forward to. So I was left with nothing else to do for traps than shrugs on the power squat.

Which got me to thinking...

The shrug is one of the most confusing exercises there is. I know what you're thinking, "It's the easiest fucking exercise on the planet, how could there possibly be any confusion?!"

Let me explain. On one hand you have the camp that says you need to go heavy as balls and do partial reps, just heaving the weight up. On the other hand you have the camp that says you need to go light and get a full range of motion, trying to get your shoulders as close to touching your ears as possible and hold it there for a second.

To understand where the answer truly lies lets look at the athletes with the biggest traps: Olympic lifters and power lifters.

Olympic lifters lift relatively lighter weights (while I know that some Olympic lifter is going to email and tell me that he clean and jerks 768lbs and that is not light fucking weight, please note that I said RELATIVELY LIGHTER as I am comparing it to the next lift, the deadlift) explosively and with a range of motion that does indeed have them bringing their traps to their ears.

Powerlifters have huge traps because of all the deadlifts they do. Deadlifts are heavy, period. There is no shrugging movement at all, in fact.

Looking at these two groups, what does this tell us about shrugs and the proper way to do them?

Quite simply: they suck and the best way to do them is to not do them. The best way to get huge traps is to deadlift and Olympic lift. Bottom line.

BUT... what if you can not do either of those exercises due to back or shoulder problems or a misplaced wrist wrap? Then you have no choice but to shrug. Traps are the most important bodypart there is and you can't walk around with none.

So then, exactly how do you do shrugs and which camp is right? They both are. If shrugs are the only exercise you can do for your traps you need to hit them with as much variety as possible. Go heavy for low reps, cheat the weight up and don't worry about getting an extreme contraction at the top. Then on another day of the week go lighter for higher reps with a complete range of motion and exaggerated contraction and hold at the top.

Another option is to do what I did last night; do both variations in one workout. I started with a lighter weight and did 15 reps on the first set, bringing my shoulders as high as they could go. With each set I added more weight and worked my way down to five reps by the fifth set and was cheating the reps up with a little calf raise and getting a partial range. You could start with the heavier ones and work your way down if you want as well.

Deadlifts and Olympic lifts should always be your first choice in the quest to look like Goldberg but if they are not possible hit the shrugs as many different ways as you can. Just make sure to go up and down and don't roll forwards and backwards; that's for douchebags who don't understand gravity.

Click HERE now for more kick ass, mass building information.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Fastest Growing Sport in the Country

Did you know that the UFC/ Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Every time you turn around there is a new MMA school popping up somewhere. People are obsessed with this kind of training. It's the hottest new craze sweeping the nation.

The popularity of the UFC has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. In the early days you would be hard pressed to find a single soul on the streets who knew Ken Shamrock or Dan Severn. Nowadays, guys like Tito Ortiz and Chuck Lidell are household names. The Ultimate Fighter reality show on Spike TV is enormously popular and there is even a new MMA reality show on another network.

Ultimate fighting and mixed martial arts appeals to the bad ass inside all of us. Seeing two warriors go toe to toe, no holds barred really gets the testosterone pumping. I remember several years back when it seemed like no one was watching. Now, nearly everyone I know watches every single pay per view. A good majority of them sit there drinking beer and eating pizza, thinking "I could do this shit." With a little training I could kick some serious ass in there.

And because of this, many fans have become participants. Every MMA school around is packed on a daily basis.

If you are a strength and conditioning coach, performance enhancement specialist or trainer this has huge implications for you. This is an ENORMOUS market that you are missing out on. Unless you are skilled and experienced in working with combat athletes you are leaving insane amounts of money on the table every year.

There are probably dozens of these types of athletes in your area that need a good strength and conditioning program to take them to the next level in America's fastest growing sport. Are you the one that can supply it? Or would you rather they give their money to some one else?

Don't leave money on the table, my friends. Educate yourselves and start making a lot more money today.

For the most cutting edge, up to date information on training combat athletes, go to now!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Best Fitness Expert You Never Heard Of

Earlier in the summer, I had a chance to sit down and interview my long time friend and colleague, John Alvino. John has been in the trenches for over 15 years working with bodybuilders and athletes. Without fail, John produces some of the best results I have ever seen. The reason you have yet to hear his name is because unlike many armchair experts, John is actually still out there training clients for ten hours a day and doesn't have that much time. He's finally ready to be heard here for the first time. Read on for more...

Jason: John, could you give us a little background intro about yourself?

John: I started lifting weights in the eighth grade to get bigger and stronger for football. At that time, I was training in my basement with those classic Joe Weider, sand-filled weights. Even though football was my first passion, I began to love training just as much as I loved playing ball. However, since I had absolutely no knowledge, I got minimal results. I guess that 800-calorie junk food diet wasn't cutting it. This lack of results frustrated me so much that I became obsessed with learning how to get bigger and stronger. Fortunately for me, one of my close friend's older brothers was Mr. East Coast at the time. He noticed my desire and work ethic and invited me to come and train with him everyday. I guess he kind of took me under his wing. I'll never forget those days. He would pick me up after school and we would go to one of the hardest training gyms in New Jersey. He taught me a ton about bodybuilding. Under his guidance, I gained 11 pounds in no time flat. At that point, I was hooked. For the next 10 years, I turned myself into a human guinea pig. I experimented with every training and nutritional combination possible. Naturally, the more I learned experientially, the better my results were. My obsessive work ethic and research culminated in my winning first place in the Mr. Teen New Jersey State Bodybuilding Championship. I also placed in the top ten at the Nationals. Some competitors of mine were Jay Cutler, Craig Richardson, and Branch Warren, to name a few. Even when I was bodybuilding full-time, however, I never lost my athletes' mentality. For instance, I was never into that all show/no go style of training that so many body builders adhere to. It just never made sense to me. Thus, I have always developed training systems intended to improve aesthetics through hardcore strength training. As an example, just a couple of years ago my powerlifting buddies came to me and said, "We need one more guy to make a team at our meet." I said, "OK." I had absolutely no time to prepare for the meet, but I still took second place in my weight class at the Deadlift Nationals. In other words, I believe in having huge muscles that can actually DO something.

Jason: So how did you get into the business of training others?

John: When I was training hardcore, I never gave a second thought to training others. However, after I starting doing really well, competitors from all over wanted me to help them prepare for their shows. So I did. For the first five years of being in this business, I trained (almost exclusively) bodybuilders and people with aesthetic goals. One of the things I was known for was developing and individualizing nutritional systems that got guys body fat down to single digits in record time without losing muscle mass. I had great success, but I had everything down to such a science that I no longer felt challenged in my career. At that point, I turned my attention to my other passion: training guys for sports performance.

Jason: Why have you removed yourself from the inner circle of strength coaches and the internet in general for the past couple of years?

John: In order to answer that question, I have to give you a little history first. When I decided to train athletes for my career, I studied with all the top guys in the field. I traveled all over the U.S.A. and other countries as well. I read every book on the topic, attended every seminar, did internships, etc. I figured these guys must know more than I do. Look at the experience they have! Look at their success in their field! However, once I immersed myself in the world of "training gurus", something very strange happened. For the first time in my career, my results worsened! It didn't make sense. I figured that I was just applying my newfound knowledge incorrectly. It couldn't possibly be that I was getting faulty information, right? So I went back to these so-called mentors and experts to see what I was doing wrong. These pricks proceeded to convince me that if their teachings were not working, there must be a rare contagious blood disorder spreading through my gym, preventing positive training adaptations! God forbid their precious techniques are just a load of crap. No, they insisted; my clients clearly had an Ashwaghanda deficiency, and needed to start devouring a couple bottles per day immediately! These "gurus" had me stand on one leg, close my eyes, hold on to a bottle of zinc and perform strength tests to see what I was deficient in. It was ridiculous. They practically suggested witch doctors to perform exorcisms on my clients, who clearly were possessed by demons who were preventing them from making any strength or size gains! As my suspicion grew, I started researching all the so-called experts. And what did I find? I found that some of them never trained anyone. Not a single clientever! How could they possible prescribe techniques that they never tested? Were these training "theories" developed in a laboratory? I just didn't get it. I dug deeper. I found that some of these "gurus" could not bench 135 lbs or run a forty in 6 seconds. They were just sales people who can write well and know some impressive-sounding bullshit terminology. Do I sound angry? You bet I'm angry. I spent countless hours and countless dollars learning a lot of bullshit from a bunch of used car salesmen who call themselves experts.
Anyway, after my initial open-mindedness and trust turned to rage and disgust, I knew it would be best to remove myself from this inner circle of experts before I jammed a fat bar up one of their asses using one of their strength-zapping 6-0-4-0 tempo theories.

Jason: What would you recommend to my readers to help them avoid wasting time and money with these shysters?

John: Don't take my previous rampage in the wrong way; acquiring knowledge is absolutely imperative in this field. I could not have gotten to where I am today in complete isolation. For instance, I thank you, Jason, for teaching me some of your innovative views and theories. You have real knowledge that translates into real results, and that's what I always aim for in my own techniques. So I do value education. However, speaking from first hand experience, it?s very easy to get sucked in to some useless theory about training. Imagine reading in some big magazine that what you're missing in your training is pre-exhausting isometronic contractions at 32 degrees of elbow flexion. My clients gained 47.8% on their bench using this secret technique!? Sounds good, right? 47.8%...that sounds real nice. It sounds like a lot of chicks are going to be after your sexy ass once you buy this guy?s book, or pills, or DVD. However, unfortunately for you, my friend, it?s all BULLSHIT!! Don't fall prey to this nonsense. Education is important, but you have to learn from people who you actually trust! They may not be the best writers, or have a Ph.D. after their name. But they would never sell you a line of crap just to make a buck. They know their stuff, and they can help you get big and strong. Always be a pragmatist. Consider the source of your information. Are they nerdy little guys who never stepped foot into a gym? Or have they gotten into the trenches and used the very techniques they are prescribing to you? At this point in my life, I learn from a select few, and I learn mostly from experience and my own research. I promise that anything that I suggest to people is tried and tested by yours truly. I wouldn?t suggest something that I myself had not tried, and I would never want anyone go on the wild goose chase that I went through before I learned the truth. My techniques have been proven to work again and again, not only for me, but for my clients as well. If, in the process of suggesting a training technique or a diet philosophy, I happen to delve deeply into the science behind something, it's because I feel that it's important for people to truly understand what they are doing, rather than just listen to me because I'm John Alvino, the training guru. I know Jason feels the same and you guys are lucky to have found him.

Jason: Thanks John.

John: I'm just speaking the truth.

Jason: You have developed quite a reputation for getting guys big and strong. What are some of the unique things that you do to achieve such great results?

John: I had a strength athlete come in to see me recently. He was stuck and could no longer make muscular gains. After looking at his nutritional journal, I noticed he ate six pieces of fruit at one meal. In his journal, each piece of fruit was proudly labeled with its glycemic score. Apparently, he had read somewhere that you must eat low glycemic foods to keep your blood sugar stable, body fat low, insulin levels in check, blah, blah, blah.

Jason: Are you suggesting that people start eating higher glycemic carbs?

John: There is a lot of misunderstanding about glycemic index. Let's understand one thing: the glycemic index is a scale that ranks foods based on their rate of entree into the bloodstream, and thus, how they affect your insulin levels. The lower the glycemic index, the slower the rate of absorption, thus producing a very gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin. Low glycemic advocates recommend eating foods with a G.I. of fifty or less. One quick glance and it?s easy to see that there are not too many nutritious, calorie-dense, size-producing foods on that list! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that people should eat jellybeans all day. I still advocate eating a diet consisting primarily of whole, natural foods. But one of the issues I have with revolving my clients life around the glycemic index scale is that all the foods are tested on an individual basis. In other words, the foods are ingested alone. This is another great example of some crazy lab coats that never saw a squat rack coming up with a totally illogical theory. First of all, every meal should have a protein base, a fibrous vegetable and some fat. This combination of foods, ingested at the same meal, will alter ALL of those foods? glycemic indices. In other words, the scale is inaccurate. For example, white potatoes (a staple in many of my size-seeking clients?food plans) are said to have a glycemic index of eighty-five. But this theoretical potato was eaten alone. In real life, the baked potato would be eaten with a protein source and a fibrous vegetable. Let's take a piece of salmon and a serving of broccoli as an example. Broccoli has a G.I. score of less than fifteen. This will slow down the digestion of the potato. Furthermore, salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which also slow down carbohydrate absorption into the bloodstream. The point is, when these foods are eaten in combination, the high rate of absorption (glycemic index) of the potatoes is mitigated by the other foods that are eaten in the meal.

Jason: Very interesting. Do you still train bodybuilders?

John: Sometimes. At this stage, most of my clientele are athletes looking to increase speed. It's a perfect scenario for me, because it combines my passion for training with my passion for sports.

Jason: Is there any connection between training for bodybuilding and training for sport?

John: Obviously the training is very different. But some of the concepts and goals are similar. For instance, I am able to take my nutrition background and get my athletes very lean. The less excess body fat you carry, the faster you will be. There?s no way around this one.

Jason: That's a great point. Can you talk a little more about this?

John: Absolutely. Excess body fat hinders an athletes' ability to run at his/her maximum potential. Use common sense and picture running a forty while dragging an extra ten to fifteen pounds the whole time. It's not so efficient, now is it? Nutrition is the key to body composition. Athletes must learn how to eat properly in order to lose body fat while retaining (or even gaining) muscle mass.

Jason: You have a lot of success training athletes and increasing their speed. Care to share some of that info?

John: Well, a lot goes into what I do. But I can tell you one thing for certain. A lot of speed coaches focus primarily on only one component of training. I try to look at the whole picture and address everything from diet to technique. For example, recently, a local speed coach was getting some pretty minimal results with his clients. His dismal results drove a lot of his clients to seek me out. After evaluating their training diaries, I noticed that all this speed coach did was work on their running mechanics. Now I have no problem with working on running mechanics. But who cares how good their form is if they possess low levels of strength, or if their body fat is fifteen percent? Aren't we putting the cart before the horse here? You see, you need to have low body fat (ten percent or less), optimal flexibility, and incredible relative strength, or else the best running mechanics won?t help you. And that is where many speed coaches fall short, in my estimation.

Jason: Awesome stuff bro. Thanks for your time.

John: Anytime, Jay. I'm glad to be able to contribute to your website. You?re doing great things. Keep it up!

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