Thursday, September 27, 2007

Building Muscle As A Vegetarian

Question: I recently purchased Muscle Gaining Secrets and have to tell you how very pleased I am with it. The information makes perfect sense. I'd like to know what your thoughts are on training and having a vegan diet. I am a big fan of the environment and not eating meat was my first step to help change things (not to mention improving my health). The more I read and learned about the global food industry at large, the more focused I have become on being very selective on my diet choices.

I have read, understand and agree with you on the importance of big caloric intake when building size is concerned. However, for someone like myself, who has been vegan for 4 years now, can I still make this work for me? Granted my size may suffer somewhat but what do you think about the stress of heavy training and a strict vegan diet? I think there are a lot of serious lifters who are also struggling with the yes/no to meat question.

I hope you can provide some guidance in this matter as the material you have put out so far is the best I've personally come across.

Thanks and keep up the great work!! I have told everyone who will listen to pick up your MGS if they are serious about muscle growth.
Best Regards,
Frank Marini

Answer: Frank, great question and I will do all I can to provide you with a worthy answer. First of all, I am going to start with some information that will probably come as a shock to everyone who has ever read my stuff…

I don’t eat meat anymore.

That’s not a misprint. I gave it up exactly one month ago and can’t see myself ever going back. I used to own a t-shirt that said “Nobody likes a vegetarian.” I also made fun of people who didn’t eat meat and called them pussies. Not eating meat was the equivalent of curling in the squat rack, in my mind.

But when I realized why some of these people weren’t eating meat, I was embarrassed by how I had acted and thought all those years.

There are three reasons why someone would stop eating meat and they are:
- The negative effect on the environment and the contribution to global warming.
- The cruelty to animals issue.
- Health reasons.

You can’t make fun of someone and call them a pussy if they are giving up something they love in order to do their part to make the world a better place. The consumption of meat has a negative effect on the environment that we should all be aware of. The main thing that got me thinking about cutting meat out of my diet was the environment issue. I’m very passionate about a great number of causes that I believe in and saving the environment is one of them. I’m not going to explain the whole cycle here or push my beliefs on anyone but there are plenty of books you can read on the subject.

Also, I can’t really see how wanting to stop the slaughtering of innocent animals makes you less of a man.

But if you just choose vegetarianism for health reasons and health reasons only, I will still make fun of you while I drink a beer and smoke a cigarette. One has to draw the line somewhere…

So, how does being a vegetarian affect your ability to build muscle?

Probably a lot less than you would think or have been led to believe.

First of all, man was probably actually intended to be a herbivore and not a carnivore. Physiologically speaking, man has all the characteristics of a herbivore and none of the characteristics of a carnivore. We have the teeth, jaws, digestive enzymes, stomach acidity, and small intestine length of herbivores. Probably the most disturbing and nauseating of those is the small intestine length. Carnivores have a small intestine that is 3-6 times body length. This is because meat rots very quickly and needs to pass through the body very rapidly. Unfortunately, humans have a small intestine length of 10-11 times body length. What this means is that long after the meat has gone rotten, it’s still in your body decaying and contributing to untold number of diseases.

When you add in all the chemicals and other unhealthy substances that our meat contains these days you can see that eating meat might actually not be the best option for those interested in remaining healthy long into the future.

With that out of the way let’s get to building muscle on a vegetarian diet. As I have mentioned plenty of times in the past, high protein diets are a scam. You don’t need all that much protein to build muscle. Although many people thought he was insane, Mike Mentzer first told me that during a phone conversation back in the mid 90’s. I asked him his thoughts on protein intake and he screamed at me “That’s the biggest scam under the sun! Nobody needs that much protein. Muscles are 70% water. The only reason you read about the benefits of high protein area because that’s what everybody sells! It’s all a lie, Jason!”

Say what you will about Mike Mentzer, but I think he was ahead of his time on that one and you have to respect his rebelliousness.

In all honesty, being a vegetarian will not affect your strength gains AT ALL. In fact it shouldn’t really affect your size gains that much either. As you know, you need a caloric surplus to build muscle. To this as a vegetarian, you need to focus on good fats like nuts, oils and avocadoes, starchy carbs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, pasta and brown rice and for protein sources you will be limited to dairy and fish (if you eat those things) or if you are a true vegan- beans, legumes, quinoa, soy, hemp protein, nuts, etc. Even though your protein will be lower than that of most meat eaters you can still build plenty of muscle.

Look at guys in prison. Walk into any state pen and take a look at the weight pit. You will see some of the biggest, most jacked guys you have ever seen. How many grams of high quality protein do you think they eat per day? Very, very little, I can assure you that. Someone I know used to be a prison guard and told me of how big and strong the guys were. “How are they getting so big with no protein” I asked (this was back in the days when I was still brainwashed). He told me that he had no idea because all they had to eat was grits, fake potatoes, rice and a small serving or two a day of very low quality meat or a meat substitute. So maybe they were getting 90 grams of protein per day. Yet they were huge.

You simply do not need high protein diets to build muscle.

When it comes to adding muscle while maintaining bodyfat, this is the only place you may have difficulty. Because it will be impossible to get all the calories you need from veggies and fruits you are going to really need to pile down the starchy carbs like rice and bread. If you are lean, this shouldn’t be a problem. But since your insulin sensitivity is lower when you are fatter, you may have trouble staying lean by eating all those starchy carbs. This may slow down your size gains because you may end up looking like a fat slob in no time.

To combat this problem, I would recommend carb cycling the way a normal meat eater would do it. Have super high carbs on training days and limit your starchy carbs on non training days. Maybe one day per week, only have vegetables as your carbs and eat nuts, and beans and fish and eggs that day.

Building a great physique as a vegetarian is definitely possible. I believe Clarence Bass was a vegetarian and a couple other legendary bodybuilders were as well. My friend and colleague, Robert Dos Remedios, is vegetarian and is a lean 240 pounds and in incredible shape.

Like the great Chuck D once said, don’t believe the hype. You don’t need 400 grams of protein per day to grow. You will progress just fine as a vegetarian. Good luck and keep me posted.

Jason Ferruggia


Click HERE now to get huge.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Skinny Guy Secrets to Insane Muscle Gain- Part 2

Today I have part two of my recent interview with former hardgainer, Vince Delmonte.

Vegetarians, stay tuned for tomorrows post where I will finally answer all of your questions that I have been promising to answer.


Q: What were some of the biggest mistakes that you made and what mistakes do you still see skinny guys doing in the gym today on a regular basis?

Okay, where should I start...
-- reading bodybuilding magazines if your training without drugs

-- relying on finding the "right" supplement

-- training with wimpy friends or guys not very serious

-- doing "mirror workouts" (starring at yourself in the mirror the whole time)

-- 'over killing' a muscle group with body part training

-- getting your gym membership confused as a "social membership"

-- spending more time trying to pick up the cute receptionist instead of working out

-- lifting the same weights every week

-- too much alcohol on the weekends

-- too many late nights partying

-- not being consistent year round

I could go on for awhile here... those are just a few things.

Q: What do you think are some of the biggest BS myths out there regarding effective training and nutrition for hardgainers?

1. You need supplements to get big. What else is a hardgainer going to think when he opens a bodybuilding magazine and sees 200 of the 300 pages are supplement ads? Try this test out on yourself. Take ONLY supplements for 2 weeks only, while training, and see what kind of results you get. Now eat ONLY whole food for 2 weeks only, while training, and see what kind of results you get! Think about how many incredible physiques were built 20-30 years ago without supplements! Supplements only make a 5-10% difference ASSUMING that your lifestyle, training and nutrition are hitting a 90% threshold.

2. Doing cardio will kill your muscle gains. Yes, training for the Boston marathon or even a 10 K road race, is not going to accelerate your muscle gains (it will harm them) but sprinting on a treadmill 3x a week is not going to make you "lose" muscle. It will actually help with muscle growth because it will increase your appetite to eat more and improve overall circulation which is critical for muscle growth. 3. You need to "bulk up" to get huge. Bulking up is good for someone who is SERIOUSLY underweight and has self esteem issues and a lamborghini kind of metabolism.

However, you can not "force" your muscles to grow with more and more food. Yes, you must be in a surplus, but a 2000 calorie surplus is not going to get better results than a 500 calorie suprlus because genetics and testosterone levels determine the rate your muscles grow.

Can you give they typical skinny hardgainer a list of the most important things they should be doing to maximize their results?

Learn from somone who can relate to your "muscle unfriendly genes". Would you take money advice from a guy who inherited a fortune? No! So why take muscle building advice from a guy who inherited great genetics? One piece of advice that worked for him might completely screw up your program...

Q: What are your guidelines for mass building nutrition and supplementation?

A: For skinny guys: If you want to look like someone who is 200 pounds and 5% body fat then you have to start eating like a man who is 200 pounds and 5% fat.

If you are a female and want to be a lean and trim 120 pounds and 15% fat then you have to start eating like a women who is 120 pounds and 15% fat. Nutrition is a mental game and knowing what you want and then becoming the part. My nutrition plans are 45% carbs, 35% protein and 20% fat. Obviously, clean calories all around the board. I don't believe in 'forcing' your muscles to grow with food. Surplus, yes; but 'force feeding', no, as mentioned above.

For supplementation: I guess it depends on how financially committed someone is to their goals as well. If you’re following my meal plans, most supplements are redundant anyways. I do recommend a high quality multi, fish oils and a pre made workout drink. That's about it.

Q: What about some counterintuitive tips you could share that most people don't think of or overlook?

A: I read somewhere about this concept called the "lean threshold." All it means is that you'll look more muscular around 10% body fat than you will, even at a higher weight when 13-18% fat. Each trainee's goal should be to get their body fat level down to around 10 ish % body fat before going into a 'surplus' meal plan. It will make you look way better naked, keep you motivated to eat clean and prevent you from increasing your fat cells which is very hard to get rid of when it comes time to 'cut.' As long as you’re getting stronger from week to week, eating clean all year round in a surplus and gaining 1-2 pounds of dry muscle each month – you’re rockin! If your body fat starts creeping up more than you wish, simply add some more interval cardio. Plain and simple.

Q: I know you have gotten great feedback from your outstanding muscle building program. Can you tell our readers what's different about your program and how it will help them?

A: I would say my program is "efficient." Consider this last analogy. Whose job is more efficient? They guy making $100,000 a year working 40 hours a week or 20 hours a week? 20 hours a week! Whose bodybuilding program is more efficient? They guy who gained 20 pounds in 3 months training 7 hours a week or 3 hours a week? 3 hours a week!

That's how my program is different. It teaches you how to train smarter, not harder (don't get me wrong, the workouts will kick your ass) but the overall program is structured and progressive and built around achieving long term success.
I'm sure your readers could care less that it's my websites "birthday" but they'll definitely want to know that for the next 3 days ONLY, until Wed at midnight, I m throwing in 9 new muscle building bonuses to celebrate... so this is by far the best time of the year for any one to man up and start building their best physique EVER!

Don't forget to check out Vince's No Nonsense Muscle Building

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Club Life

For quite some time now I have been meaning to tell you all about a great site to check out in case you haven't seen it yet. I just got off the phone with my buddy, Rob The Bouncer and finally remembered to pass this website on to you guys. Click HERE for an incredibly entertaining read and while you're at it be sure to check out Rob's book, Clublife, available now in bookstores everywhere.

Two Cases Where Continually Lifting Heavier Weights Doesn't Work

I constantly harp on the importance of getting stronger and continually striving to lift heavier weights. It's the most surefire way to make long term progress. Adding more sets and decreasing your rest periods and adding intensity techniques are short term approaches and can not work forever. The only thing that can is getting stronger and lifting heavier weights.

There are two particular muscle groups, however, where this principle doesn't always apply. These muscles are the neck and the forearms. While you should strive to get stronger and improve your lifting poundages on neck and forearm exercises, there will come a time where the overload is too great. Once you can wrist curl a pretty decent amount of weight, it will start to get harder to continually add weight without putting your wrists at risk for injury. If you were somehow able to do a barbell wrist curl with 275, I'd be willing to bet that the pounding your wrists would take would not be worth it and that you would probably be looking at an injury waiting to happen.

That is not to say that you can not continually improve your grip strength poundages, because you can and you should. There is really no risk for injury in doing so. It's just flexion and extension exercises for the forearm that you need to be concerned with as eventually, brutally heavy weights will be overloading the joints more than the muscles.

Using a neck harness is great to build up your neck but this is another case where you will get to a point where you are risking a serious injury when the weight gets too heavy. Working up to the point where you can do a 45 pound plate for twenty reps is a great goal for most people. Others may be able to work up to two 45 pound plates after several years but anymore than this (and in most cases, a single 45) sounds like a really bad, and dangerous idea. The potential risk to the neck and spine is just far too great, in my opinion.

So how do you progressively overload the forearms and neck if not by getting continually stronger? Well, the forearms seem to respond better than most muscles do to a higher volume of training (meaning more sets and more reps). So increasing the sets and reps and even decreasing the rest periods is a good plan to keep the forearms growing. As far as the neck goes, it doesn't seem to tolerate as much volume as the forearms do in one particular workout but you can add volume by doing neck work more frequently (five days per week instead of one or two). With neck training, you should always keep the reps high and the sets fairly low. Decreasing rest periods or supersetting are two other effective strategies for overloading the neck without risking injury.


To build muscle faster than everyone at your gym click HERE now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Skinny Guy Secrets to Insane Muscle Gain- Part 1

Most of the readers of this site are familiar with the names of my well respected colleagues like Alwyn Cosgrove, Dave Tate, Jim Wendler and Craig Ballantyne. But today I would like to introduce you to someone you may not be familiar with. His name is Vince Delmonte and when it comes to helping skinny hardgainers pack on muscle, Vince really knows his stuff. I interviewed Vince recently and here is part one of what he had to say...


Q: Vince, like me, you were a skinny kid growing up and a stereotypical
hardgainer. How much trial and error did you have to go through to come up with a formula that works for guys like us?

A: To be honest, I lucked out and found myself a 'savior." I met this natural level bodybuilder (at my church of all places) who basically took me under his wing and became my coach right before I decided to transform my body.

This guy was a tank! 225 and 5% body fat all year round and I believe he was in his late 40's. He started giving me these "old school" workout tips and techniques and programs and before I knew it, I gained 41 lbs of lean muscle in six months.

Over the past 5 years, I've finessed the program by working in the trenches as a trainer - with sometimes 40-50 clients at a time and found how to tailor the program to virtually anybody - teenagers, young gals, beginners, older fellows, moms... anybody.

Building muscle is really not that complicated. There are only a few universal principles that need to be applied consistently, over time, for muscle growth. As long as these "ingredients" are in place, there is no reason anyone should spend years going through trial and error.

Don't get me wrong, some individuals have unique situations that require some tweaking but for the most part, building muscle is very simple in theory but difficult in "doing!"

Q: What do think made the biggest difference? Are there a few things that you discovered that really made a huge impact on your training?

Four things for now:

1. Truly "high intense" workouts. The first time I learned how this principle works, I ended up in the bathroom puking worse than a first year keg party. Most guys are just not giving their muscles a reason to change. The workout are too easy for their body's so the body laughs back at them and says, "Nice try..."

2. Infrequent workouts. If you are training more intensely, will it take longer or shorter to recover? Longer! So the key is to find the optimal number of days in between workouts to allow for recovery and adaptation to occur.

3. Progression. When I started to make a conscious effort to "out do" my previous workouts performance with either a extra pound or extra rep. The best way to measure your bodybuilding progress is by using the standard of strength.

4. Consistency. It's critical you stay dedicated and consistent all year round to maintain motivation and see results.

Q: What were some of the biggest mistakes that you made and what mistakes do you still see skinny guys doing in the gym today on a regular basis?

Okay, where should I start...
-- reading bodybuilding magazines if your training without drugs

-- relying on finding the "right" supplement

-- training with wimpy friends or guys not very serious

-- doing "mirror workouts" (starring at yourself in the mirror the whole time)

-- 'over killing' a muscle group with body part training

-- getting your gym membership confused as a "social membership"

-- spending more time trying to pick up the cute receptionist instead of working out

-- lifting the same weights every week

-- too much alcohol on the weekends

-- too many late nights partying

-- not being consistent year round

I could go on for awhile here... those are just a few things.


Vince is having a huge anniversary sale on his No Nonsense muscle building course from now until 12, Midnight, this Wednesday. He is offering an additional nine bonuses until then. Take advantage of this great opportunity by clicking HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Some Stuff...

-- Why will some people readily take cholesterol medication but not change their diets. If they need to take something, why not fish oil? I asked this to an older friend recently who had started taking cholesterol medication and he said he wouldn't take anything like fish oil because he didn't know the dangers and heard that it thins your blood. So you opted for drugs instead?

-- If you are going to get a religious tattoo, that's your business, but I think it's a safe bet to say that getting the phrase "Only God can save me" or "forgive me for my sins" is, at this point, a horrible decision. You're not Tupac. People will laugh.

-- Like in-the-gym-training-volume, the volume of speed workouts should also be kept fairly low. Doing a few dozen forty yard dashes is overkill and will not lead to speed gains but over training. If you can get by with 5-10 total hard sets on your leg days of squats, step ups and glute hams, what makes you think you need to quadruple this number on the track? You don't. Speed work needs to be of a very high quality, not quantity. If you are not improving, you are regressing.

-- The best lifting straps are the old school $5 Harbinger's. Lots of companies have "the worlds strongest wrist straps," but they are usually too long and/or too thick and kind of defeat the purpose. Sure the cheapo straps will break in a few months but who cares? They're five bucks! And do you really want to keep the same pair of smelly, rancid straps for 18 years?

-- The Growth Hormone and testosterone increases you get from training are negligible. Most bodybuilders take several iu's of GH per day before they see any results at all. The amount you get from decreasing your rest periods or using a higher volume of training is nowhere near this amount and thus will do nothing. The same can be said for testosterone. Bodybuilders know that they need at least 500mg's of test per week to see results. You don't get anywhere near this kind of increase from training.

Competition also increases testosterone levels. But this doesn't mean that if I sat around and played John Madden football with my buddies all day that I would get huge.
Extreme temperatures increase GH but leaving my warm house and going out to play in the snow doesn't add inches to my biceps.

The concept of hormonal increases due to training is largely over rated.

-- Despite what you may have been led to believe by pop radio and MTV, there are still some bands making real rock n roll. I had the pleasure of seeing the Kings of Leon play Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend seeing them. They are a very talented band with a different sound. Nothing like the crap they play on most radio stations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Random Thoughts

-- I'm really starting to dislike kettlebells. And they are overpriced. There are a few exercises you can do with them that you can't do with a dumbbell but those exercises really aren't that great anyway. Sure, if you run a training business and take a few kettlebells to the beach with your clients that's all well and good but there is really no need for them in a well equipped training facility. And they are not "functional" and do not build a "more athletic looking physique."

-- Speaking of functional, functional training still sucks. Here's what you have to do to get ready for football season- squat, dead, bench, military press, row, chin, shrug, repeat. Do your football specific speed and conditioning work on top of this and you're good to go. Single leg crap on a wobble board and any other kind of pussy exercise that is not a variation of those I listed is pretty much useless. Do you really think that all these little cute muscle activation drills and unstable exercises do anything?

-- Next to "blog," core is the gayest word in the world. I beg all fitness professionals to stop using this term immediately. And "core" training is nonsense. Like I said, squat, deadlift and military press. Your core will be pretty stable from those. Add in strongman training like farmers walks, throw in your sprints and plyos and other full body type training and I think your "core" is more than taken care of. Everyone I have ever seen specialize in "core" training and doing all those nancy boy exercises can usually squat a massive 185 at best.

-- Whoever came up with the idea that this is the proper way to write a workout obviously failed first grade:

A1) Bench press
A2) Bent over row

That is not how you write an outline!!! Didn't you learn that in elementary school??? Why are so many people doing this? It is completely ass backwards and wrong! Dave Tate was the first to point this out to me years ago and I thought, "Man, how could I ever be so stupid?" You know how? Because I am that stupid. But there are many people who seem to be more intelligent than me who are still doing this. Please stop it now.
When Dave pointed this out to me I immediately emailed five close friends and colleagues of mine who are big names in the fitness industry. I am proud to say that since that day none of them have ever made that mistake again.

For the final time, in case your first grade teacher didn't tell you this, here is how you write an outline: The number goes first and then the letter. Thus...

1A) Bench press
1B) Bent over row

-- What are people proving with one to two hour assessments? I talked to my good buddy Alwyn Cosgrove yesterday for an hour or so and this was one of the topics we discussed and agreed on. If you train high school or college athletes here is the assessment- they walk in and shake your hand. You now know all you need to know. They are most likely too weak, too inflexible and their diet sucks. You want specifics? They have weak posterior chains and upper backs. Their hip flexors and hamstrings are tight. They don't eat often enough and much of it is junk food. And they need to build muscle or lose fat or both. That's all you need to know and like that bizarre looking chick said to weirdo Tom Cruise in Jerry Macguire, "You had (me) that at hello." Have you ever had a client who was too muscular, too fast, too lean and too flexible hire you? Exactly. So stop wasting peoples time and money.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Effective Training Programs For Females

Working in the fitness industry seems like it has to be the worst occupation in the world when you’re at a party full of people you don’t know. At least 75% of the people you meet will ask you some kind of question about how they can lose “this” or tighten up “right here.” By about the fourth such inquiry I usually start looking at the drapes and wonder how long it will take me to fashion a noose out of them and attach it to the ceiling fan while praying that it will hold my weight.

Earlier this summer I was fortunate enough to have the extreme pleasure of being at a party where I only knew about five people and met at least two dozen who had questions about how to “get ripped abs.” I couldn’t have been more excited. To say I was in heaven would have been an understatement. (pleas note the strong sarcasm)

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see my friend Heather.

“Hey Jay, I want you to meet Kristin. Jay’s a personal trainer.”

I had just had this same experience with at least eight other people and couldn’t believe it was about to happen again.

“She always says that, it’s an inside joke we have. I actually work for Rawkus Records. I discovered and signed Mos Def several years ago.”

“Oh stop it Jay. He’s just joking. He’s a personal trainer.”

“Well, not really.”

“What do you mean, not really? You’ve been doing that for like 15 years I thought.”

“Yeah, but I mainly work with athletes and guys who want to get bigger, stronger and faster. Not so much the pussy stuff.”

“The ‘pussy stuff?’ What does that mean?”

“Umm… I don’t know… forget it. Nice to meet you, Kristin.”

“Ok, well I’ll leave you two to talk. Kristin, be sure to grill Jay, he knows a lot about training. He writes for a bunch of magazines.”

Note to self: plan a significant payback for Heather as soon as possible. And then sever all ties with her.

“So Jay, I have been trying to lose these last ten pounds and tighten up my lower abs and butt. I do weights three days per week, take a bootcamp class, an aerobics step class and walk three miles every other day. What else do you think I should do? I want a body like Jessica Biel’s.”

“Me too…me…too. Have you seen her ass lately? It’s like J Lo with muscles. What I would do… I mean… Wait, what was the question?

“What should I do?”

“Umm… Maybe eat less?”

“No seriously.”

“I kinda was serious. I see you need a refill on your drink, can I get you one?”


“Ok, I’ll be right back.”

En route to the bar I notice my friend Ray standing directly in front of me.
“Is that chick Kristin behind me?” I ask him.


“Thank God. Now here’s what I want you to do. Stage an argument with me and knock me out cold.”

“What?! Are you drunk? Why?”

“We’re beyond the point of questioning. Please just do this for me as a friend and carry me outta here. I can’t take it anymore.”

He handed me a very large glass of straight vodka and told me to drink up cuz he wasn’t about to throw a haymaker in my direction.

I did and a minute later Kristin reappeared.

“So Jay, how about it? Can you give me a training program? I will do everything you say and will even let you use before and after pics of me if you want.”

I looked for anything sharp with thoughts of Owen Wilson dancing through my head but there was nothing around. Since I had no other option, I slugged my vodka like it was Gatorade on a hot day and said, “Let’s grab a seat and I’ll break it down for you.”

“Everything you have read in women’s fitness magazines is probably all wrong. I want you to stop reading them immediately. As much as you may think you want and need the information in there, you really don’t. It’s like asking your boyfriend how many girls he’s slept with. You may think you want and need that information but you really don’t. And what happens when he flips the question on you?”

“Huh? What’s this have to do with training?”


Anyway, the first thing you have to understand is that there are only a few things you can do to change the way you look. The word “tone” does not exist. It is not a reality and there is no definition for it. You can only make a muscle bigger or make it smaller. The same can be said for fat cells; you can make them bigger or you can make them smaller. That’s it. You can’t shape or elongate or tone a muscle or anything like that. So basically what every female should be aiming to do is build muscle and lose fat. While the phrase “build muscle” scares some females, it shouldn’t. When you build muscle you will end up looking better and burning more calories at rest, meaning it will help you lose fat and get leaner.

While many females fear that they will end up looking like Hulk Hogan in a matter of weeks, this is a fear that is completely unfounded. Females simply don’t have the hormonal profile to build muscle at the same rate as males; not even close. And, trust me; it’s not even that easy for most males. We have to fight our way to every five pound muscle gain.

The principles that make up an effective training program for a male are exactly the same as those that make up an effective training program for a female, and those are:

Lift heavy – No matter what you have been brainwashed to believe from watching Oprah or reading US Magazine, girls should not be lifting soup cans and three pound dumbbells with the thought that it is actually going to do a damned thing. You need to challenge yourself and give your body a reason to actually change. Kickbacks with a couple cans of chicken soup aint gonna cut it.

Lifting heavy weights in the ranges of 6-15 reps should be the basis of your training. Contrary to popular mainstream belief, high reps do not burn fat or help you improve muscle definition. Heavy weight training burns far more calories than high rep nonsense with light weights ever could. You have to understand that it is not how much you sweat or even how many calories you burn during the workout that is important but rather how many calories you burn in the 24-48 hours after your workout, during the recovery period. Lifting heavy elevates your metabolism to a much higher degree and forces you to burn far more calories all day long than light, high rep training does.

Use big compound exercises- Females should not be relegated to the butt blaster and the abductor/ adductor machine while avoiding squats and deadlifts at all costs. If you want to build muscle and lose fat you have to focus on the basics. These include military presses, bench presses, bent over rows, chin ups, dips, squats, deadlifts and all their variations. Isolation exercises like flyes, leg extensions and triceps kickbacks are a waste for most females and do very little to build muscle or burn fat.

Follow the rule of progressive overload- Some people, both male and female, do the exact same workouts with the exact same weights over and over again for months or even years and never get anywhere. It’s no wonder why. Once you do something new, your body will do all that it can to adapt to the stimulus so that it is prepared for it the next time and does not suffer the same shock and trauma. So if you bench press 65 pounds for two sets of ten reps today, your body will rebuild itself bigger and stronger to prepare for that challenge again in the future. When you do it again next week you have not presented a new challenge for your body to adapt to and thus nothing will happen. You need to continually challenge your body. You can do this by adding more sets, decreasing your rest periods, or most importantly and most effectively; increasing the weight.

Females should not be afraid of getting stronger or increasing their training poundages. I never understood why more females didn’t have the desire to get stronger. What could be a better feeling than looking sexy and feminine yet being incredibly strong? A friend and client of mine named Megan possesses this attitude and is obsessive in her quest for strength. Not only does she look great but she can out lift a lot of men in the gym. It has to be an incredibly empowering feeling.

I once wrote an article for a female fitness magazine and when I suggested that the readers increase the weight once the movement became too easy the editor I was working with freaked out. “Isn’t there something else we can tell them other than to increase the weight?” Yeah, tell them they should be in the kitchen, bare foot and pregnant like they belong, for Christ’s sake! Isn’t that the equivalent of telling them that they should remain weak forever? Jeez…

At this point Kristin had her hand on my thigh and over the course of the last half hour as the vodka kicked in, she started to look less and less like a girl I used to make fun of in high school and more and more like Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussy Cat Dolls. Because of that and since she seemed way more interested in what I had to say than anyone ever should be I decided to continue…

While many of the principles of effective weight training are exactly the same for males as they are for females, there are a few differences that need to be pointed out. These differences are not of major concern and the fact is that many females could get great results doing the exact same workouts as their male counterparts. But since I brought it up, here they are:

Females seem to achieve better results with a slightly higher rep range than males- While most males build muscle most effectively in the range of 5-10 reps, females often tend to do better while working in the range of 8-15 reps. Notice I didn’t say 15-50 reps. Remember, that stuff is useless nonsense. Heavy sets of 8-15 reps to failure or near failure are the way to go for most females looking to build muscle and burn fat.

Females can tolerate a slightly higher training volume- Because they are usually weaker and have less overall muscle mass than males; females recover more easily and quickly and for this reason can tolerate a greater number of sets in their training. For males I usually recommend an average of 12-18 hard sets per workout but for females I prefer to stick with 16-28, sometimes even higher.

Just because they can tolerate the higher volume, does that mean that they actually need it? This is a question I have often pondered but have never really experimented with because of the mental and emotional aspect of training females (trainers and coaches pay attention). Most females have been conditioned to believe that a good workout consists of sweating their asses off and nearly needing to be carried out of the gym when it’s over. For this reason you simply can not tell a female to do ten hard sets 5-8 reps on squats, rows and presses with long rest periods and expect her to be happy about it. If I had a female do one of my workouts with me that consisted of two sets of squats, two sets of deadlifts, two sets of glute hams and a few shrugs, neck extensions and grip work she would hate it with a passion. It is mainly because of this that I always prescribe more sets for my female clients than I do my male clients.

Females require less rest between sets than males- This is very similar to the rule about training volume. Because they are weaker, less muscular and recover faster, females don’t need to rest as long between sets. While most males will need at least 3-5 minutes between a brutally heavy ten-rep set of squats before they will be able to repeat the effort, most females can do so in just a minute or two; sometimes even less. If they are extremely weak, they may actually be able to repeat the effort in as little as 30 seconds. If you give them a workout that calls for the same rest periods that males use they will be bored to tears. This goes along with the mentality that females have been brainwashed into having; that an effective workout must leave them rolling in a pool of their own sweat and puke.

Take note of this if you are a trainer because prescribing shorter rest periods for your female clients can eliminate some uncomfortable situations for you. When a girl is not slightly winded from a set yet you decide to give her a 90 second rest period like you would a guy, you are going to be in for a lot of awkward silence while frantically searching for something to talk about after about the 15th set.

“So, umm… is Lauren still dating that alcoholic dude on Laguna Beach?”

“It’s actually The Hills now.”


Trust me; 90 seconds will never seem so long.

After our discussion Kristin seemed satisfied, and since I can’t say that for most girls after they spend a half hour on a couch with me, I was pretty happy myself. “I think this chick loves me,” I thought. “How could she not? I mean they all do…”

“So Kristin, whattaya say me and you get outta here?”

“That’s my fiancĂ© right behind you. And I really gotta get going. Thanks for the info.”

“Uh…right…will you buy my book at least?! Don’t forget…”


For a highly effective training program for females go to right now.

I have been shocked at the number of female buyers I have had and all the great feedback I have gotten from them. I look forward to hearing your success story next.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sick of Your Gym?

I was in public gym training last night; a situation I don't like to be in. I walked in and right past all the girls and douchebags on the treadmills and stairclimbers. Immediately I was pissed off. Don't these morons know that there are endless roads to walk on and plenty of stairs to run up?! Why would you possibly get in your car and drive 15 minutes across town to WALK ON A GODDAMN TREADMILL?! Why not just walk to the gym and back? Are people really this stupid? You're gonna pay the gym 50 bucks a month so you can...walk? Either I am insane or there are a lot of dumb people in the world. And why not go run the stairs at your local high school football stadium and get some fresh air and sun? Do people really need to have this pointed out to them?

For the first time in years I had to squat in front of a mirror. For those that don't know, you should never squat in front of a mirror. It throws off your form and is just all wrong on so many levels. Because of this my squat sucked and I tweaked my knee. When I moved onto deadlifts I noticed that everyone in the gym watched every set I did above 405. To be surrounded by so many weak people who were impressed with such an embarrassing weight infuriated me.

When I finished my deadlifts early because my grip failed due to a shitty bar and no chalk I was too pissed off to continue and decided to go home.

For all of those who have no other option but to train in a public gym, I feel for you. I really do. I honestly don't know how you get by. Being surrounded by weak people with tank tops and spiked blowouts doing curls in the power rack is not conducive to getting stronger. And as much as I would love to have Shakira do that little ass shaker move on my lap, I do not want to see it on 17 TV's while I'M TRYING TO DEADLIFT!!!

If you train with people who think a 455 deadlift is a big deadlift than you will be tricked into thinking a 455 deadlift IS a big deadlift and will always remain weak. If you train in a gym like mine where a 455 deadlift wouldn't even get you on the high school board then you think differently and thus get far better results from your training.

If you can't find a real gym I highly suggest you get a few friends who want to train hard and get strong and set up a garage or warehouse gym somewhere. Maybe your wife will be pissed that she now has to park in the driveway but the screaming you may have to endure will be well worth it in the end.

Call up Jim Wendler at Elite Fitness Systems (1-888-854-8806 or tell him you are setting up a garage gym and need some good stuff. Tell him you can't take watching Beyonce and her freshly waxed upper lip singing in your face while you are trying to squat. Tell him you need a power rack, barbells, dumbbells and a few other essentials because if you see another tanned, waxed, perfume wearing, blowout-connected-to-a-chin-strap having, 153 pound dude in a wife beater moaning his way through ten sets of concentration curls while you are trying to get fired up for a set of rack pulls that you are going to commit a serious crime. And tell him I sent you.

I promise you it will be the best thing you ever did.

Click HERE to escape purgatory now!

And if your gym is gonna play videos while you train, tell them to at least play stuff like this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Top 10 Speed Training Myths

Today we have a guest article from my friend and well respected colleague, Patrick Beith. Patrick is a world renowned speed coach who many coaches including myself, turn to when they have speed training questions. He is also having a huge sale for my readers which ends at midnight tonight. Check it out HERE.


The Top 10 Speed Training Myths by Patrick Beith

1. Static stretching prepares you to compete/practice

Static stretching actually reduces power output. Athletes should prepare for practice by doing a dynamic warm up that moves from basic, low intensity movements to faster, more explosive movements as the muscles loosen up. You want to simulate movements that athletes will go through in practice or a game. What happens when you try and stretch a cold rubber band? In a way, you can think about your muscles the same way.

2. Strength training makes females too bulky

This is a popular mindset with many female athletes that we have worked with. Simply look at some elite female athletes like Mia Hamm, Lisa Leslie, etc. These athletes certainly train with weights and no one would accuse them of having manly physiques. Strength training will improve performance and reduce injury if done correctly.

3. You can’t train speed

For some reason it is a popular belief that you are born with a certain amount of ‘speed’ and you can’t improve it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most young athletes are so physically weak and mechanically out of tune that significant improvements in speed can be made often just by working on technique and form. Athletes at any age and any level can improve speed when implementing a complete speed training program designed to improve and develop the entire athlete.

4. Training slow makes you fast

I don’t think coaches directly think this way, but their training implies otherwise. This is especially true in sports that involve a higher aerobic element such as soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, etc. I see kids out running mileage and doing long slow intervals of several minutes of continuous running. And this will get them in shape. But in games I see kids jogging, jogging and then sprinting at full speed for 20-30 yards, run, jog, sprint for 20-30 yards. If you want kids to improve their acceleration and top speed so they can get to the ball faster or get back on defense, then you have to train by running at full speed in practice.

5. You can train hard every day

The workout itself is only a piece of the training puzzle. It is the time between intense workouts, the recovery, where athletes make their improvements. And generally it takes 36-48 hours to recover from high intensity training. If athletes are doing too much, too often they become over trained. Coaches can expect to see an increase in injuries, kids complaining that they are sore more often, decreased performance, higher levels of fatigue earlier in games. It’s always better to under train an athlete than over train. Err on the side of caution to get maximal results.

6. Strength training will stunt a young athlete’s growth
This is another myth held over from a different time. On a daily basis, kids as young as 7 years old are playing organized sports year round, tackling, getting tackled, sliding, falling etc.. These loads on the body can have a much greater physical impact than a well designed strength training program. Though we don’t usually begin training with weights with pre pubescent athletes, they can benefit from body weight exercises such as push ups, lunges, sit ups, etc. This will increase muscular efficiency, speed up recovery, improve coordination and overall speed.

7. The harder the workout, the better the result

Some athletes (and coaches) have this mentality that if a workout doesn’t reduce them to complete exhaustion and/or make them vomit, that it wasn’t an effective workout. I can tell you that those who have this mentality probably see a lot of injuries and frustrating performances. The purpose of a workout is to stimulate an adaptation by the body. If the body is forced to do too much work in a given time period, it will break down. The skill in coaching is to stimulate the adaptation in the body, without reaching a point of diminishing returns.

8. Interval training is the same as speed training

Running repeat 100s, 200s, etc will not improve top speeds. Even running repeat 40s with short recovery will not improve acceleration and top speeds. Speed work is defined at 2-8 seconds of maximal intensity running with full recovery. That means at least 2 minutes of light dynamic movement between each effort. This goes against the experience of some coaches, but simply put, is the only way to improve speed. An athlete must be able to focus on proper form and maintain intensity in order to get faster. If they do not recover properly from each interval, they will not be able to replicate proper mechanics with consistency and they can not improve.

9. Flexibility won’t help you get faster

Both coaches and athletes spend so much time on the skills of their sport, speed training and conditioning that they often forget a fundamental component of success: flexibility. After practice or a game, the muscles are warm and loose. Now is the time to work on increasing flexibility. So many athletes suffer injuries or compete below their capacity because poor flexibility inhibits their range of motion and speed. We see this often in the hips and hip flexors where athletes’ stride length appears conspicuously short. Most often we see this in male athletes who will lift weights, train hard and then skip out on their cool down and flexibility work.

10. Lift your knees

I hear so many parents and coaches yelling to their kids when they want them to run faster or when they are beginning to fatigue, “Lift your knees, Get your knees up”. This is one of the most backwards cues we can give to athletes. The way to run faster is to apply more force to the ground. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so the more force you apply to the ground, the more the ground will give back. So when we cue athletes to lift their knees we’re doing two things incorrectly. One, we’re telling them to use their hip flexors to lift instead of their glutes and hamstrings to drive down. Just think about the size of your hip flexor versus the size of the glutes and hamstrings. Now which muscles do you think can create more force and therefore more speed? Second, we’re cueing them to do learn a movement that is in opposition to what generates speed. If an athlete learns at age 7, to lift their knees when they need a burst of speed, that improper cue will be hardwired into their brain. To unlearn that as a teen and try to do the opposite and drive down, that athlete will have a difficult time coordinating an entirely new way of running and will potentially have to take a step or two backwards. That’s why it is critical to learn proper form early and get an advantage over those who still aren’t getting the best instruction. So cue athletes to step over the opposite knee and drive the foot down into the ground, with the foot landing underneath the hip.

Don't forget to take advantage of this limited time only sale, which ends at midnight, tonight and cash in on the huge savings Patrick and Latif are offering on their best selling speed training information products. I have and highly recommend them.

Click here to save big money and dramatically increase your speed right now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forgot About Dre

Question: Jason, I know you're a huge hip hop fan so I wanted to ask if you saw Dr. Dre at the MTV awards Sunday night. Do you think he he did this naturally?

Answer: During commercials of the Giants game I was switching to the MTV awards and did happen to catch Dr. Dre coming out on stage. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw him and thought I was hallucinating. As far as I know Dre has been out of the public eye for at least two years so the change was not seen slow and gradually like LL Cool J's was over a number of years. Instead Dre went from what looked to be a soft but pretty big, 225 to a ripped 250. He looks to have gained at least 30 pounds of muscle and lost an equal amount of fat.

While many people will quickly assume that the good doctor traded in his chronic for Dbol, I think this is missing the point and taking away from his effort. I have rarely seen such a dramatic change in any two year period by anyone. Did he have some assistance in doing this? Maybe, maybe not. I have no idea. But the fact is, even if you take steroids you still have to do the training and eating. If you simply take steroids and do nothing, nothing happens. If you take steroids and train at half intensity and give your diet half an effort, something happens but it's usually not all that impressive. I've seen plenty of people take steroids and get less than impressive results because they half assed their diet and training.

The fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter if Dre had help in making such a dramatic transformation because he still had to work his ass off in the gym, do the cardio and eat right. To me that's impressive and motivational no matter what he was or wasn't taking. And you also have to recognize that Dre is older now, he's married, he's probably slowed down on the drinking, partying and weed smoking and is probably more into taking care of himself and eating and training right. So this change could very well have been achieved naturally with someone with above average genetics for building muscle. This is a pretty common theme in the lives of many men in their later 30's who achieve their greatest condition when their priorities and lifestyles start to change.

We'll never know if Dre did it naturally or not but I still think it's damn impressive and think it should be motivational for anyone to step it up a notch in their training.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget

It doesn't seem appropriate to write about something as meaningless as training on a day as significant as today so instead I would just like to send out my thoughts and prayers to all those who lost friends and loved ones on this day six years ago and honor the memories of all the fallen heroes.

They will never be forgotten.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Way it Should Be Done

A few years ago a young kid walked into my gym by the name of Jeff D'Annunzio. He was a baseball player and wanted to get bigger and stronger in order to increase his chances of fulfilling his dream of playing college ball. From day one Jeff busted his ass and outworked everyone around him. I only had to show him how to do something once and he would master it immediately and do it from that day on with text book form. Eventually I started to use him as an example to help teach other kids. He even helped me demonstrate technique once in front of the 300 kids I was speaking to at his high school.

Every single day that Jeff walked into the gym he was happy, positive and ready to train hard. He never complained once or had one negative thing to say in all the years that I've known him. To have 20 Jeff D'Annunzio's would be any trainer or coaches dream.

The thing about Jeff is that, like me, he doesn't have the best muscle building genetics in the world and in many scouts eyes he may have often been considered too small. Not only was he skinny, but he wasn't exactly the tallest guy in the world either.

But Jeff never let that bother him or hold him back. All he did was work his ass off day in and day out in order to achieve his goal. Unfortunately he suffered what could have been a career ending injury a couple years back and was on the shelf for nearly a year. Never once did I see Jeff let that get him down. Instead he was back in the gym shortly after surgery and doing everything he could to rehab and get ready for next year to go out there and take his spot back. He stepped back on the field bigger, stronger and faster than ever before and shocked everyone. After an outstanding season following his rehab Jeff began getting offers from numerous schools across the country and eventually decided on Catholic University in Washington, DC.

He left recently for his freshman year at Catholic and although I miss regularly seeing the kid who became a little brother to me it makes me proud to see all that he has accomplished and think of how hard he worked to overcome the odds and make his dream a reality.

Shortly before he left he squatted 425 at a bodyweight of 176 pounds and recently ran the fastest 60 time of anyone on the CU baseball team, not to mention finishing second in the mile by only 30 seconds to a kid who is on the cross country team.

Jeff never made excuses and always worked his ass off and that's why he is where he is today.

That's really all it takes; hard work and a belief in yourself. Although it's corny and cliched to say, "if you believe it you can achieve it."

So ask yourself:

Are you making excuses?

If so then stop immediately. There are none that are worth a damn.

Are you working as hard as you can?

If not then why?


For the training principles that helped Jeff gain over 40 pounds of muscle and get one step closer to his dream click HERE now.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The BIG Seminar!

Announcing the greatest training seminar of the year! On October 27th in Boston, Jim Wendler, CJ Murphy, Alwyn Cosgrove and I will be giving a one day only seminar. These are three of the brightest and most influential guys in the entire fitness/ strength and conditioning industry and three guys that I have the utmost respect for. When I have training related questions, these are the guys that I call.

This will be a very hands on seminar and we will give you exactly what you want. This is your seminar and we will deliver only the information that you guys are interested in.

It's also the only speaking engagement I will be doing this year or next so if you are even remotely interested in anything I have to say about training, this is the day to hear it.

To learn more and to sign up today, click HERE now.

See ya in Beantown,