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Nutrition expert, Mike Roussell and I sat down for an interview recently and discussed the topic of building muscle.
Check it out:
MR: Jason, your transformation was pretty incredible going from 147lbs to 231lbs. How much trial and error did you think you went through training wise until you found what really worked?
JF: Oh man, Mike, I can’t even begin to tell you. I tried so many different methods and systems it was unbelievable. I actually started out as a beginner on a six day a week high volume body part split. This was back in the 80’s so I think I was just looking in the magazines at whatever Sean Ray or Aaron Baker or Gary Strydom were doing and just copy it exactly. Obviously that didn’t work out too well.
I entered high school weighing less than 100 pounds and after four years of training my ass off and growing almost a foot taller, I only weighed 147 pounds at graduation. So obviously, all my experimentation during high school didn’t work out to well either.
During those four years I was still doing whatever I could find in the magazines and even ordered some courses like Cybergenics and some other stuff that was popular at the time. I think the first training books I had were the Arnold Encyclopedia and one of Dr. Hatfields. I tried everything I read in both of those.
My experimentation during college was quite extensive and quite varied. I finally stumbled upon the HIT movement and Mike Mentzer and Arthur Jones. It was like a beacon of light and I adopted that training philosophy immediately. And for the first time I started to really grow, which isn’t shocking since I was so grossly overtrained. But as anyone who has had a similar experience can tell you, those gains don’t last too long either.
I could be here all day telling you about all the crazy stuff I did but I think it’s pretty safe to say that I was in the game and wasted an inordinate amount of time and money for a good ten years before I really figured out what really worked.
MR: It is one thing to find something that works for you personally but you routinely pack 20lbs of muscle on the frames of your clients in spans of only 3 months. How do you get results like when other people seemingly struggle endlessly to get bigger?
JF: At this point I have been training people for 14 years. During ten of those years I worked with clients for an average of ten hours per day; and twelve hours per day every summer. Now since I was always a C math student I can’t tell you how many hours that is right off the top of my head but, take it from me, it’s a friggin lot.
When you have that much experience doing anything you are bound to become somewhat proficient at it and just develop a knack for it and for reading people and recognizing commonalities.
Most people are making the same mistakes in their training and nutrition and some even have a faulty belief system that is holding them back. I address each of these issues and we’re off and running.
Training is not rocket science not matter how many people try to turn it into that. But figuring it all out isn’t simple either.
MR: Everyone nowadays is always worried about getting fat when “bulking up” what are some strategies that you use to ensure that you put on more muscle than fat? Or do you even care?
JF: Well, first of all, a lot of people that worry about that have a fear that is completely unfounded. If you are an athlete, under twenty years old or both, this is not that great of a concern unless you are eating deep fried chocolate donuts and dipping them in butter six times a day.
I have worked with plenty of guys who could eat whatever they wanted to and could still stay lean. In that case you have no excuse for not being able to pack on twenty pounds in a couple months.
If you have trouble staying lean there are a few adjustments you need to make. First off, you need to make smarter food choices. Eat lean proteins like chicken, fish, eggs, lean red meat and cottage cheese instead of burgers, hot dogs and pork chops. Next, be sure to keep your carb sources clean as well. This means fruits and veggies are at the top of the list followed by oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. By now everyone knows the benefits of eating good fats like fish oil so I won’t bore people to death with that.
If just eating clean is not enough then we move onto more advanced strategies like carb cycling and calorie cycling. This takes some time to explain but to make it really simple for everyone, you should eat more calories and carbs on training days than you do on non training days. Bottom line. Training days are higher calorie days, off days are lower calorie days; pretty simple. Of course it’s more complicated than that but that’s the gist of it.
MR: What are the biggest mistakes you see people make when trying to pack on muscle? Is it usually related to nutrition or training?
JF: It’s hard to say if it’s one or the other because they do go hand in hand. But if I had to pick I would say it’s gotta be training. It doesn’t matter how great your diet is, if your training sucks, you’re not gonna make progress.
But, you know what, Mike? I’m not even going to cover the training mistakes that people make because looking at that is missing the bigger picture. You know what the biggest mistake people make really is? The one thing that everyone seems to do these days, especially with all of the conflicting information that is out there?
It is a lack of consistency and a lack of belief in what you are doing. There is so much information out there these days that people don’t know who or what to believe. And because of this they are confused. They are constantly reading something different and always in search of the next best thing. They do a workout for a week or two and then read so and so’s new article about changing your tempo every rep or some brand new way to fire up the CNS or some nonsense and they try that system. A week or two later they decide that is not working so they switch to something else. And so on and so on.
If you are always changing programs and training philosophies how can you ever make progress? You can’t; it’s that simple. If you don’t believe in what you are doing you will never, ever be successful. That is a universal principle that applies to everything in life. It has to apply to your training if you ever want to make real progress. You can use the crappiest training program in the world but if you are consistent, have the balls to train the way you really should and really and truly believe in what you are doing, you will get results.
Pick a training program, system or philosophy and stick with it; believe in what you are doing and train your ass off. You can’t fail if you do that.
MR: Okay so tell us a little about your new course on muscle building. What makes this stand out from other products?
JF: Well, first of all I tried to make it more of an entertaining read than a lot of the stuff out there so I included a lot of stories and personal anecdotes that people could relate to. The topics of sets and reps and proteins and carbs can be kind of boring so I try to spice it up a little bit.
Aside from that, I have tried to make it as simple to understand as possible while still including information that will help anyone from a raw beginner to an advanced lifter. I have had guys who have trained for over twenty years tell me that they learned quite a bit from reading Muscle Gaining Secrets, which makes me very happy to hear. If I can do that while not alienating beginners, then I know I achieved the goal I set out to accomplish.
I have included some unique methods of periodization which have rarely been covered. I detail every single mistake that people make in their training and show how these can be avoided. And of course, a book from me wouldn’t be complete without getting politically incorrect and calling bullshit where I see it. I definitely expose a lot of the gimmicks and nonsense that is out there and do my best to help people save time and money and avoid making all the same mistakes that I did.
MR: Jason, thanks for talking the time to sit down and talk with us. The information you gave out in this interview alone is enough to put 5-10lbs on somebody’s frame.
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