Muscle Gaining Secrets Interview By Jason Ferruggia
Q: Can you give us some background about yourself?
JF: Sure. I have been in the fitness industry for nearly 15 years. During that time I owned my own private training facility in central New Jersey for ten years where I worked with over 500 clients from over 20 different sports and all walks of life, helping them get bigger, stronger, faster and leaner.
I am now the head fitness adviser for Menís Fitness magazine where I also have my own monthly column called The HardGainer. I also write for numerous other publications such as Menís Health, Maximum Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, and MMA SportsMag. I have written four books and continue to do fitness consulting, training and lecturing on a regular basis.
Q: What got you started with weight training?
JF: I was a painfully skinny kid and always hated that. It tortured me and really affected my self confidence. My cousin was dating a pro wrestler who was absolutely enormous and he was the one who got me really into it. I wanted to be just like him so I started hitting the iron. Unfortunately I was doing a lot of the wrong things and wasted a lot of years before I discovered the right way.
Q: What is it about weight training that you love so much?
JF: I love training hard, getting stronger and making progress. I love lifting heavy stuff. I love doing what so many people donít have the heart, dedication or balls to do. I love competing with myself and with my training partners. I love unleashing my aggression a few times a week at the gym. I love how it all makes me feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
Q: What adversities have you had to overcome?
JF: I have some of the worst muscle building genetics imaginable. Neither of my parents is over 140 pounds soaking wet. So I had that working against me from the get go. Then after I had gained my first fifty pounds of muscle I got really sick with tuberculosis and nearly died. I had to be rushed to the hospital to have my lungs drained and then was on bed rest for six months. I shriveled down to nothing and was even smaller than when I started. But I battled my way back, regained the fifty pounds and added another thirty plus on top of that. I just wanted it and nothing was going to stand in my way.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
JF: Deadlifts are my favorite exercise, by far. Next would be a tie between squats, clean and presses, military presses, and 1 arm rows. I also love strongman exercises like tire flips, car pushes, keg lifts, farmers walks and the like.
I hate most isolation exercises and machine exercises with a passion. I like heavy, compound free weight and odd object lifting. There is no torture that I could imagine that would be worse than being forced to go to the gym every day and do leg extensions, cable flyes, leg curls, concentration curls, and those types of exercises.
Q: What has been your favorite weight training or bodybuilding moment so far?
JF: Definitely getting all the great feedback from my book Muscle Gaining Secrets http://www.MuscleGainingSecrets.com and hearing all of the stories from those that I helped. I know how frustrating it can be, not knowing who to listen to or what to believe so it really makes me happy to hear that people are getting mind blowing results with the program and are avoiding a lot of the pitfalls that I fell victim to. I got in this business to help people and did so with hundreds of people in my own gym but now with the book I am able to help thousands and it really makes me happy.
Q: What are your tips for the beginner, intermediate and advanced bodybuilders?
JF: Contrary to what most people say, beginners shouldnít use high reps. They donít have the control or stability to safely perform high reps. Also when you are trying to learn a new exercise you donít want to be doing twenty reps where the possibility of form breaking down is much greater. You want to stick with five reps so that each rep will be done with perfect form. I donít recommend that beginners go above eight reps for at least their first six months of training.
Beginners should do full body workouts three times per week.
I donít believe that anyone needs to do more than 16-20 sets per workout, train for longer than 45 minutes or workout more than four times per week; and three is usually better for the drug free lifter.
I believe in using predominantly big, compound exercises like presses, chins, dips, rows, squats and deadlifts. I believe in lifting heavy and always following the progressive overload principle. I believe in keeping a training journal and always trying to beat your previous performance.
I believe in carb/ calorie cycling but I also believe that high protein intake is overrated for building muscle.
I believe that everyone should do cardio to keep lean and stay healthy and in shape. Cardio also increases your appetite and helps allow you to eat more muscle building calories without getting fat.
Advanced guys need to be more concerned about recovery than beginners and intermediates do, so I recommend that they do even fewer sets and take time off even more frequently. Also, contrary to what some coaches recommend, I think some advanced guys would be better served to do slightly higher reps than newbies and intermediates. Whereas newbies should stick with fiveís and intermediates should focus mainly on sets of 5-8 reps, advanced guys might be better off lifting in the 8-10 range more frequently just to stay safe and injury free.
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As seen in magazines: Mens Fitness, Maximum Fitness & Men'sHealth