In this episode of the Super Strength Show, world renowned strength & conditioning specialist and muscle building expert, Jason Ferruggia, helps you get fit and focused, so you can live a life worth talking about. During this interview, Jason stresses the importance of keeping it simple and focusing in on what’s important, so you can maximize results in both training and life.
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[0:00:19.8] RT: What’s up Strength Maniacs? And thanks for tuning in. I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest, Jason Ferruggia. Jason is a highly sought after, world renowned strength and conditioning specialist and muscle building expert. He has been training clients ranging from athletes to weekend warriors for nearly 20 years.
In 1994 he opened Renegade Gym and has since trained more than 700 athletes from over 90 different athletic organizations. Jason has worked extensively with firefighters, police officers, military personnel, Hollywood stars and entertainers. More importantly, he’s helped over 100,000 skinny guys and hard gainers in 126 different countries, build muscle and gain weight faster than they ever thought possible.
Jason is an author, speaker, entrepreneur and host of the Jay Ferruggia show. Definitely check that out, fantastic podcast which is all about helping you get fit, get focused so you can live a life worth talking about. You can connect with him by visiting his site at jasonferruggia.com.
Jason, welcome to the show, pleasure to have you here man. Buddy, I’ve been following you for years and year, you’ve been online for, since the beginning of the Internet man. I got to tell you, it’s exciting to have you on the show.
[0:01:40.6] JF: I appreciate it, thanks a lot Ray.
[0:01:42.2] RT: No problem at all. Why don’t you go into a little bit more background about you? I gave kind of the 50,000 foot view and very tip of the iceberg. If you don’t mind, how about you share a little bit more about yourself?
[0:01:52.1] JF: Sure. It’s almost cliché nowadays but I was the kind of skinny, insecure dude growing up. I lacked self-confidence and I wasn’t the best athlete and in high school, I started of training my cousin was dating a guy who was a pro wrestler at that time, he wasn’t in WWE which was WWF back then. He was in some smaller federation, he was humongous, he was about 6”4, 250.
And he was actually the guy who got me started training in eight grade and he gave me this crazy body parts with ultra-high volume which was not the smartest thing for a beginner to do. Did that for a few years and I got nowhere and by the time I graduated high school, doing stuff like that, I was six feet and 147 pounds and that was after slaving away in the gym for five years.
[0:02:40.0] RT: damn.
[0:02:41.8] JF: I got more and more into it because I really loved it, I just wasn’t making any progress, I wasn’t getting any bigger and stronger and it became an obsession of mine when I got in to college and basically, long story short, I decided that was the career path I wanted to take and started studying exercise science, I got sick, I got really sick actually with Tuberculosis when I was going to Arizona State and I had to come home and spend the semester basically on bed rest and take 50 pills a day.
And while I was doing that, that was ’92 or three. I got my first certification and then one after another , I kept doing that I started training people that summer and making a pretty good impact and getting clients really fast, getting great results, word of mouth was spreading. So I transferred back home and ran the business while I was still going to school and then built it up successfully, finally started training.
About probably a year or two into it, got my first high school athlete, he was actually in eighth grade at the time. He got phenomenal results and then he referred me quite a few other friends. Back in ’94, ’95, ’96, I was doing group training with athletes and nowadays it’s the norm but back then, nobody did it and I would have four to six guys in a group, trained a lot of high school, college, even some semi-pro guys back then, started to get some minor league baseball players but that was basically how I got going and then the business just grew rapidly to the point where I would have from 3 PM after school until 7 PM.
I would have 50 to 70 kids coming in training in groups of 12 and then eventually I had some guys brought some employees in then I started writing for the magazines in 2000, 2001, eventually got my own column, got the hard gainer column in Men’s Fitness then they made me the chief training adviser, then I started writing for all the magazines online, blew up pretty fast as well and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I’ve transitioned more to online, probably since 2006 and now I have a membership site, I have sold my own programs and books and things like that. That pretty much brings us up to today.
[0:04:55.9] RT: Yeah, you’ve been at this for a while and there’s a reason why. Because the stuff you talk about in the info you share, solid gold man. No wonder. Definitely, I’m not just trying to say that to brown nose or anything like that but it’s legit. Guys, just go online and check out J’s stuff, it’s all over the place. Real good info and that’s one of the great things man about being in the free market.
People judge by their wallets and it’s pretty hard to have longevity especially when you’re dealing with a magazine like Men’s Health, that’s no joke right? If your stuff is crap, you’re not going to be around for long. I’ve been in this game for a long time.
[0:05:29.5] JF: It’s funny, I think it’s this month, it was sometime in the winter of ’96, I was talking to Alan Cosgrove and Joe De Franco recently, that’s when we met, it’s been 20 years ago that the three of us all met at an event in the winter of ’96 and there were so many people at that event and there was a lot of people that we would continually see over the next few years at events that just never really made it and you don’t hear about it anymore.
It shows that hard work really pays off. Joe’s done great for himself over the last 20 years as cost go. Martin was there as well. It’s pretty cool to share that connection and then watch the path that those guys have been on as well over the last 20 years.
[0:06:11.4] RT: Yeah, a couple of other big names. Joe, probably in the last four, five years maybe, when he produced that documentary film, Strong, that’s when the stuff really blew up for him in cross river, he’s been doing this thing for a long time as well. It’s interesting to see how things pan out right? You meet up with somebody and you yourself don’t know where you’re going to end up.
I bet you there were times you probably looked at those guys and you were like, “Man, those guys made it pretty far,” and then all of a sudden you kind of caught yourself thinking, “Wait a minute, I’ve done pretty good for myself too.”
[0:06:41.8] JF: Yeah. It’s just cool to see because a lot of us, I’ve been friends with Smithy, Jim Smith and the diesel crew and guys like Zack Abanash for years too, at least since 2001-2, somewhere in that range. It’s cool to see the journey of those guys and there’s no competition between any of us, we’re all super close friends and to see the evolution of the mindset we’ve gone through because I remember we would all be in certain mindsets when we’re younger and dumber and then we kind of learn things at the same time, took a similar path and our evolution has been similar.
Now, if we sit down and have a conversation, it’s amazing how we’re on such the same wavelength and the same thing you could have said, in 96 or 2003. It’s been cool to see that the growth in the industry because so many people have a bad taste in their mouth about the industry, they’re all bitter about the fitness industry because they know a lot of insecure people who are in the fitness industry and they thing there’s a lot of scumbags.
I’ve really never had that experience. I’ve known, most of my best friends, not most of them but a lot of my best friends are in to fitness industry and guys that I can call on for anything. They’re really solid people. It’s not what some people make it out to be.
[0:07:56.6] RT: Yeah, and I mean look, those are the stories that probably get the most attention because it’s drama. For whatever reason, people just love to sink their teeth into that stuff. But yeah, it’s funny because, in the fitness industry, you have the whole glamour and aesthetic side of things which is completely fine, one look good but there is the potential for people to take that and be very superficial in both personality and what it is that’s trying to do.
Then you got the other end where guys are trying to either do, whether it’s performance or more rehabilitative type of work. It’s difficult to be superficial when your goal is overall performance right? You’re trying to lift more, you’re trying to run faster. You can’t really fake that, you got to put in the work to get that stuff and again it could be argued you got to do that as well for the aesthetic side of things.
It’s just like anything else, you’re going to get both ends of the continuum. You and I were talking before we started, talk about one end of the continuum, the aesthetic side, bodybuilding, recently had something with Ben Pakulski, he had an event on, fantastic time and you had said that you know him as well. He’s a great dude, he’s put us some fantastic information.
I told some people I’m going to an event where Mr. Olympia competitor and they’re like, “You mean like old school Mr. Olympia or like today?” I’m like, “No, today.” They’re like, “Why would you go do that? It’s all about spray on tan and banana hammocks and all that.” “No man, you don’t even know what you’re talking about right now. These guys are not like that.” Sure enough when I got that.
[0:09:20.9] JF: That certainly breaks the mould and breaks the stereotype, he’s a smart dude, real sharp guy.
[0:09:25.1] RT: His crew that was there Joe and casting all those guys. Great guys man, it was a great event. Anybody can take things for face value and usually all the drama is tough to flow to the top but just like in anything, if you just dig a little bit deeper, it doesn’t take much that you can find a real solid guy, again, to reiterate what I said just a moment ago.
When you find people been around and they got that track record like yourself, they’ve been there for years and years. Especially nowadays with the advent of social media, it’s been around for a while. You can’t really get around talking shit or bullshitting your way through life because word’s going to spread real quick and you’re going to sink your own ship in no time.
With that being said, let’s dig into some of that knowledge that you got and let’s kick it off with the way we like to normally kick it off and that’s sharing one of your favorite success quotes and how you apply it to your training and life?
[0:10:14.5] JF: One of my favorite quotes is from Bruce. I have a lot of favorite Bruce Lee quotes but one is, “It’s not the daily inquiries but daily decrease. Hack away the unessential.” Apply that to my business. For example right now it’s the beginning of 2016, there’s a lot of things I want to accomplish. Basically what we did to keep it short and sweet is we wrote down our plans for different social media channels for the products we want to come out with this for the membership site for the live events.
I said, “Okay, here’s all the things we can do to optimize and to grow the business and to maximize customer retention and whatnot. Now let’s hack off 80% of them and figure out, really dig deep and get ourselves really working hard to hack off 80% of these things and focus on the 20 that’s really going to make a difference because we could do all these other stuff but then we’d have to have a team of way more people and it would just be overwhelming for me and I don’t work well like that.”
I said to everybody on the team, I have a team of five other people including myself. I said, “Let’s get really focused on just a few of these things,” and then when it comes to it, my life is the same way, we don’t like, my wife and I don’t like to buy a lot of things and keep a lot of things in the house, that drives me nuts. I like my desk clutter free, that’s how I work better.
One of the hardest things for me was to get rid of my books and we moved a few times and each time I get rid of more books because I’m a veracious reader, I like to read a ton but I finally cleared out, I must have given away 300 books and just looking at my bookshelf with a few books. Maybe there’s maybe 50 books left on there, which is still a lot but I used to have probably 600 books in the library, which was just getting to be too much.
I don’t like to buy a lot of stuff, example, I found a pair of pants that I love, I just bought three pair in three different color, that’s it, just make it simple. With training, same thing, I don’t like to get too complex, too complicated, focus on the essential, what’s going to make the biggest difference. For me it’s a little bit different because I’ve been training. I’m 41, I’ve been training since I was 13 so I do have to make things a little bit more advanced.
Not crazy but more so just to keep myself fresh and not get injured, I need rotate exercises and things a little bit more than someone with only a few years’ experience might have to. I still like to keep everything simple.
[0:12:33.3] RT: Yeah man, I mean look, Bruce, I don’t know if you knew about the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule but essentially for those who don’t know what that means, it’s pretty straight forward. It says. It’s not written in stone, it’s these exact numbers but 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort or some number like that. 25/75, 10/90, 5/95, that’s basically what you’re saying.
At the end of the day, the reality is, there’s really only a handful of things that we do that produce real results and as long as you can hack away at all the unnecessary crap, it allows you to free up time and energy and resources to focus on the stuff that really brings you joy or results. Usually good results lead to happiness.
[0:13:16.9] JF: Yeah. Just as an aside there, Perry Marshal has a great book on that on the 80/20 rule. I don’t really know the exact name of it but the way he breaks it down mathematically is pretty mind-blowing, it’s pretty eye opening. I would highly recommend people check that out.
[0:13:31.3] RT: Yeah, actually I know the book you’re talking about and it is a really good book by the way. Perry really knows his stuff, he’s an advertising guy. For anybody who is interested in business, it’s great but even for life and there’s another guy. Richard Coche, depending on how you’re going to pronounce his last name. He’s got a couple of books on the 80/20 principle and it’s just interesting when you read it. It’s like, “Damn.” For some people, it’s hard to believe that it is what it is.
It is, you sit down, you run some numbers and you realize pretty quickly that it’s no lie. If you’re able to kind of build your life around that, in training, it’s really easy to see, usually the core compound lifts are the ones that really give you the best results and you have to spend the least amount of time on whereas if you do a million other exercises, kind of like what you described earlier with your original type of training that you were doing.
You could do these crazy body part splits and you could do dozens of exercise for a certain body part or area, let’s say the lower body or you can do some type of a squatting motion, really put in some good effort and bang out a few sets of so many reps and out the door more or less.
[0:14:36.6] JF: Exactly.
[0:14:38.1] RT: Again, I’m simplifying it quite a bit there but that’s an example of basically what you’re talking about.
[0:14:42.9] JF: Yeah, the more extra stuff you add, the lower the percentage of effectiveness it’s going to be, right? If the squats are going to give you 80% of it and you add lunges, okay, now you have let’s say 85%, now you add leg presses and leg extensions, you’re only going to get an extra small percentage of adding in all that extra stuff you know? That’s basically the 80/20 rule.
[0:15:03.8] RT: Yeah, kind of going back to economics, it’s like the law of diminishing returns. At some point, you’re eventually going to start to regress because with the body, we have to ultimately recover and whatnot from our training and yeah, you will get to a point where you regress. Same thing with anything else. One ice cream cone is tasty, two scoops is probably a bit better, three is fantastic. Then you get to a point where it’s like, yeah, I’m going to throw up.
[0:15:24.7] JF: Yeah.
[0:15:27.1] RT: Now I really ruined it for myself. All right J, what about sharing a story of a time in your training when you encountered a major challenge? If you could take us back to that time in your life and tell us a story and share the lessons that you learned?
[0:15:39.1] JF: I’ve had a bunch of injuries but I was always injury prone. I was always kind of just Grant Hill when I was a kid. Whatever sport I played, I was always breaking something and then I was always just doing stupid stuff like jumping off of my friend’s roof and we were always riding bikes over whatever we can build a ramp with and just launching off.
I was always getting injured, left and right from day one. When I started training, I was already beat up. For some reason as a kid, my back would always bother me when I was sitting in school. So I went into training super hard and got into a pretty good power lifting. West side influence, powerlifting phase for years there and man, I really beat the shit out of myself and I should have been a lot smarter about it. I had some pretty serious back injury.
Considering, not that bad but back injuries where I have a couple of disc herniations and not be able to do anything seriously for six months and finally I had to learn my lesson and then I got shoulder surgery and I just started — “This is insane, what am I doing? It’s not like I’m competing on a grand scale or training for the Olympics or anything like this. It’s just me and my private gym with a bunch of guys, this is nuts.”
I had to just get smarter about training and just realize that I was genetically not gifted. This tiny dude naturally. Both of my parents are graduate high school as a tiny, weakling. I did change things dramatically with my training and just get smarter about it. Just realize I needed to warm up more, I can’t go heavy all the time, I needed to listen to my body. And another thing I did when I was doing the west side, kind of influenced training was we would go in there and I would hit smelling salts and break things over my head and go absolutely bananas twice a week on max effort upper body, lower body.
You just can’t do that. Eventually I learned to get smarter and train sub maximally. I was training sub maximally was one of the biggest things that made a difference for me. Every workout I used to make it like a rocky training montage. That really beat the shit out of me. Honestly Ray, it seemed like for that five to seven years stretch, I can’t remember sleeping through the night. I just remember being up all night because my CNS was so jacked up and I was just fried all the time and I would three or four hours a night and just be tossing and turning and it was awful.
[0:18:12.5] RT: Okay, something I want to add real quickly though. You were saying that you were just a small dude genetically, maybe you’re not genetically gifted to train hardcore and all the stuff. I mention this guy a lot on the show because he’s on the other continuum, Bud Jeffrey’s. Big guy in terms of just overall mass.
He was 400 plus pounds at one time, squatted a thousand pounds from the bottom position wearing only a belt and he was this huge dude, just a big dude. Lots of muscle, lots of fat, all that stuff. Even he said, “Training balls to the walls till you bleed from your eyes all the time is not intelligent.” He even said that. For himself, he applies that to himself. I just want to make sure nobody brushers that off as if like, “Oh well I’m the incarnation of Thor on earth, I don’t know anything about that.”
No, not exactly. Bud’s idea was what he told me was having those hardcore training sessions every now and then are great because it is good to push yourself every now and then, it’s good mentally to put yourself through that stuff, it’s all great. But he said, “At the end of the day, if you’re able to train at a 100% effort, 105% effort, only for weeks at a time before you burn out versus…”
[0:19:24.0] JF: That’s all it is, you can only go for a few weeks and then you’re done.
[0:19:27.1] RT: You’re cooked because whether or not you’re still able to go to the gym, you’re definitely not training at that same intensity level. You may think you are but you’re not because you’re eventually, like you said, CNS, your central nervous system starts to get cooked, injuries, the body can’t really adapt and recuperate with that type of training over long term basis.
He said, either that’s what happens so it’s very short term and you burn out or you can kick it back to 80, maybe 95% but someone in that ballpark and you can keep it going for months on end and maybe in the short term you don’t maybe make that exact same jumps and progress but overall, you’re going to be way ahead of the dude that’s busting boards over his head and sniffing salts and all that craziness.
[0:20:13.0] JF: Without a doubt.
[0:20:15.3] RT: Trust me man, I was there, I was where you were at and I love when you said Rocky montage, I’m laughing because yeah, I remember that right? I remember that. It catches up to you man, and it did with me, it got to a point where I was maxing out on strength, endurance events, strong man events, barbell partial lifting, all the same workouts, all at the same time and you can only redline so much stuff at once and all of a sudden I went from performing certain things one week to the next week, not even being able to do half of that in terms of some strength endurance feats.
Like carrying loads for distances and wondering, “What the heck’s going on?” And you get so caught up in it because I don’t know if the testosterone makes us blind or what but you’re just so in the game, you’re not the coach, your view point is different and it’s real easy not to realize it. Like you said, it’s like, “What am I doing here man? I’m running myself ragged, I’m braking down, am I getting paid to do this?”
Even if it’s just for the love of it, I just want to be really strong or really enduring, whatever it may be. This is not the way to do it because I’m going to just kill myself here within no time at all. My lifespan is going to be next to nothing. It’s a fine line man, I think it’s a fine line and actually, I’d like to get your input on that. Between pushing yourself hard enough and being I guess a wuss. How do you judge that?
[0:21:36.5] JF: There’s plenty of real world examples right? That you don’t need to go anywhere near that hard. You can look at the muscular development of male gymnasts and even female gymnasts, they’re not going to practice every day and hitting smelling salts and turning up public enemy or slayer and whether doing muscle ups. There’s plenty of real world, even a guy who does physical labor, he gets stronger and bigger but he’s not carrying bricks to failure the way we would be doing a workout .
You don’t need to do it A. I don’t want to get too technical, there is something called RPE, rate of perceived exertion, things like that. You should just know when you’re in the gym, you’re going to train hard. The thing is this, I had this discussion a long time ago, probably a decade ago with Jim Winler and we were talking about how initially you do need to make all those stupid mistakes.
You need to train to failure and train too hard, that when you can know what too hard is, otherwise you can’t really know right? It’s really hard to explain to somebody, “Oh only go to 85%, leave a few reps in the tank.” Very hard to judge if you’re a newbie and you’ve never gone too hard.
I think people do have to go through that part of a journey for themselves because you and I, it’s hard to explain it to them, we can have a discussion and make the warnings but until you experienced it, how do you know what failure is? Most people are going to learn it the hard way through experience and once you know that, you’ll know what it feels like, you’ll experience what Ray and I just talked about where after three weeks, you can barely sleep, you’re dragging yourself around all day.
Then you know, “Okay, I don’t want to do this for the rest of my training days.” Then you dial it back to 80, 85% and you’ll know, you end the set where you’re not shaking the first rep looks like the last one, albeit maybe a little bit slower than the first rep and that way you continue to train forever without getting injured, you don’t have to — I don’t recommend using any extra psyche for sets.
Don’t turn on your favorite song and go nuts and head-butt the wall and stuff like that. That’s competing, that’s not training. You can do that let’s say once a month, you guys set aside, or even once a week, that’s a little much but if every Friday you guys have a competitive workout and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, you train more chill, more 80, 85% with the pearl jam playing on the stereo or to the slayer, something like that.
You can’t compete that often. At elite levels, people don’t compete more than once a week. Baseball, you know what I mean. Something intense like that. Weight training is pretty intense, if you’re competing on squats with a bunch of guys, that’s pretty intense, that’s more like a football game, you don’t play football more than once a week.
A pitcher doesn’t pitch more than once every five days. When you’re training or doing something physical, that’s that intense, you do have to back off. I feel like I’m talking in circles here. I don’t know if I’m answering the question or not.
[0:24:33.4] RT: No, you’re answering the question, I think you made a good point and when you said, to a degree you kind of have to make those mistakes just to understand where your own rate or perceived exertion or efforts that ideally you don’t want to do that when you are doing an exercise that has a higher risk of being injured. Maybe like squatting or deadlifting or something like that. You just got to — it’s challenging. You got to kind of watch stuff.
I find strength endurance type of events. Let’s say, taking a sledge hammer to a tire, maybe carrying like a medley where you’re carrying and dragging things. I find with those because you’re not going max out crazy in terms of the load itself per se, like a maximum one rep effort. I find you can go a bit crazy and let loose with those fields really good and you don’t tend to burn yourself out very much because they tend to be short periods of time.
Again, it’s not like it’s a one rep kind of deal, you’re moving, you’re using your entire body, feels awesome and again, now I’m talking in circles, you tend not to burn out from doing that and you kind of satisfy that urge to lay that all on the line.
[0:25:35.9] JF: Yeah, I agree 100%. If we’re going to get into specifics, I agree with you where if there’s anything technical, any kind of big barbell lift, an Olympic lift to power lift. Anything with a speed component, a jump, you’re going to stay way far away from failure, you want to do those super fresh, I have guys, if they’re squatting for five, it’s probably an eight rep max.
Those are really clean sets, I don’t like doing maximum sets. Even just because of the fact that A, if you’re lifting over 85%, you’re getting maximal fibre recruitment from the get go. You don’t need to go to failure and B, there’s a huge injury risk. C, you just want to focus on mastering that exercise. You don’t need to do that on things like that. Then like you said, further down the continuum, if you’re doing a high rep set of pushups or invested rows, you can go to failures.
Especially sound like inverted row, there’s zero injury risk, the worst is going to happen is maybe you start bucking your hips a little and at that point I’d tell you to end the set but it’s really not going to fry your CNS, it’s not going to break your back or anything like that. Further down like you said with the conditioning stuff, if you throw that in as a finisher or an off day.
Certainly you want to push that, if you’re trying to push up your conditioning, yeah, you need to push those sled drags and things like that to the point where it is burning and you are kind of almost screaming in pain but that’s a different type of thing than squatting for a five rep max with your eyes bleeding.
[0:26:56.7] RT: Yeah, exactly. Again I mentioned sledge hammer just because something about smashing things kind of lets your inner berserker out. Yeah, it kind of gives you a fix for some of us, I don’t know, I find some guys and gals, they just kind of need to kind of get that released in their training.
Yeah, you got to be intelligent man. Again, that’s why I ask, how do you know that fine line because you got to know how to push yourself but do it intelligently and you made a good point in terms of competing. Guys that compete, they’re not competing on a daily basis.
[0:27:30.2] JF: Right.
[0:27:32.0] RT: They’re not putting it all on the line, that’s just not the way it works. Anybody who is listening closely probably notice you referenced to music, I like that, 80% put on some pearl jam. Who is an audiophile? Yeah, if you guys know anything about J, you know that he is, he actually loves music and he’s a freak when it comes to music. I like that.
Okay J, next question, I’m wondering if you could share a story, a time in your training when you had a breakthrough moment. If you could take us back, tell us the steps that you took and what exactly was it that caused that. What was that light bulb moment that caused you to realize that this is what I need to do and that’s what led you to some good success?
[0:28:09.0] JF: It’s hard to pinpoint one, I would say when I first got introduced to — I’ve probably got to cheat and give you a couple of different ones. Obviously I told you I was doing the high volume body building stuff for years and then I discovered lower volume stuff. All around the same time within a few months, this is when I first started making progress when I discovered Mike Mentzer, Dorian Yates, Stuart McRobert, John McCalum. It was lower frequency, much lower volume and I started employing all that kind of stuff and I got great results.
Now, what happens is when anyone does that too. I was training too hard, it was more of a high intensity type of training and I don’t want to say that that’s the be all, end all either. But it was smarter training than what I was doing. That was a huge breakthrough and I took that and got great results and I gained a lot of size and strength for a few years but then that became something that I had to get away from as well. Then I went back in to another phase where I was just kind of lost and trying all these different things for a while.
Nothing was working, I was about a two or three year phase and then when I discovered power lifting, then I got back on track again and really specifically, west side for a while and then I got in to more of a traditional Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski kind of purification. Lifting heavy which I hadn’t really lifted heavy like that and adding in the volume work, the assistance work. That was a huge breakthrough for me.
That was probably the best results I got when after doing west side a few years, I smartened up and I started tapering back the intensity and not going so hard and the volume was kind of a moderate volume. I had gone through my high volume phases, as my low volume phase. I found the ideal moderate volume that worked for me and kind of like we did, what we just discussed previously, that 80, 85% intensity.
That was really the biggest thing for me. I guess I’d say over the years, I can’t point to one particular instance but it’s just sometimes, honestly probably in the last few years where I just really realized that I’m still not paying enough attention to being 38, 39, 41 now. I need to warm up way more, I can’t go heavy all the time, I need to put the bigger exercises second or third in my program versus putting them first.
And listening to my body was a big thing. I would always have, because I do like to train hard, I would go in and I would always try to beat last week’s performance and not going as nuts as I used to but I would still try to do an extra rep, maybe throw an extra few pounds on the bar or whatever. I just realized I couldn’t do that anymore.
I had to rotate exercise as much more frequently, not track PR’s as much and just be a little smarter and just kind of have those punch the clock workouts and realize, “Look, after 27 or 28 years, however long it’s been of training, I’m not going to set PR’s in a regular basis, I just got to go in, punch the clock and do the work. I can be okay with that.”
[0:31:09.8] RT: Yeah, again, I mean I think a lot of us when it comes to our training it’s like the highlight of our day, it’s a Rocky montage of the day.
[0:31:18.5] JF: Yeah, exactly.
[0:31:21.3] RT: Again, guys don’t understand things, don’t misunderstand what we’re saying here. We’re not saying to go in and not put in the effort, that’s not what we’re saying, we’re saying we go in and put in the effort but do so intelligently. You can maximize the training life, you don’t want to end up all jacked up man and then you can’t do anything, that’s no fun either. To really get results, there’s a thinking that you can just force the results and that’s not really the way it works.
People see like for example powerlifting where the guys are lifting maximum weight, going balls out and stiffen the smelling salts and go — the reality is, the day to day training is exactly what you described, they go in, they do the work, it’s like a work kind of deal. Get it done, come in the next day and when you say that powerlifting gave a lot of results, it’s interesting because Perry Raider, the creator of Iron Man Magazine way back when.
He had said that most people would benefit the most if they train like a power lifter. Because it forces you to use the big compound lifts and if you use the assistant exercise and you put in some volume that gives you the bodybuilding kind of pump. Really focus on form and it’s just very intelligent, methodical kind of approach to your training.
A lot of people would benefit whereas, with bodybuilding, people get caught up sometimes with the illusion of the draw of these weird exercise with weird angles and they don’t realize that when guys do use some of that stuff. Again, it’s an addition to the main stuff right?
[0:32:48.1] JF: It’s after they’ve been training for 10 years and their 225 and ripped.
[0:32:51.9] RT: Exactly, it’s like the icing on the cake or the window dressing, it’s not their main meat in the meal. Main course.
[0:32:59.3] JF: It’s funny because a lot of times people will throw out bodybuilding training and say, “All you should do is do a low volume power lifting,” which isn’t the case, that’s the case for a beginner. I remember sitting, having dinner with Dave Tate and having this conversation years ago about how Dave said how you’re going to pump up bone, if you have no muscle, there’s no need to do pump work.
What’s the point of it? You need to get under some heavy weight, get the basics down but after that, you’ll actually get better results and not be so injured all the time if you do add in the pump work, the sets of 10, the 15 reps and then the lower stress exercise is like a dumbbell press or inverted row versus just always hitting the big barbell moves. But as a beginner, I think that’s a waste of time for the most part.
[0:33:42.3] RT: Man, that’s so interesting, you can’t pump up bone. That’s really good man, I actually like that. And Arnold, if you read what Arnold talked about, he said, when he first started training, he needed to get his body up to 250 pounds is what he wanted to do first. He did that through power lifting, Olympic weight lifting, all the main core lifts, big heavy lifts, big weight.
People don’t realize that he was doing all that stuff and winning various competitions and whatnot way back when. Then he talked about moulding the muscle and he said, when it comes to moulding the muscle, you got to have a muscle there to mould right?
[0:34:13.4] JF: Right.
[0:34:15.0] RT: Again, it kind of goes back to what Dave was saying and what you were saying, what we’re talking about right now. If you haven’t developed just that overall bulk of that muscle with the main core lifts, with some serious weight to build intelligently work your way up there and you’re just doing a bunch of pumping exercise as well. Good luck, you’re wasting time.
You’re going to shape a tiny muscle, that’s great and if that’s what you want, that’s great but for most guys it’s not what they’re looking for. Anyway, we’re going to go to a break guys, we got Jason Ferruggia on the show from JasonFerruggia.com, hold on to your dumbbells, we’ll be right back.
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[0:35:54.2] RT: All right guys we’re back with our guest. Jason Ferruggia from the Jay Ferruggia show. That podcast, highly recommend you guys go check it out, some great information. If you like what he’s putting down right now, he’s got a podcast that comes out. How often do you come out with shows Jay?
[0:36:07.8] JF: It’s been all over the map, I think the first eight to 12 months we were two shows a week and now I’ve been scattered a little bit but we’re going to get back to at least a solid once a week.
[0:36:19.1] RT: Yeah, that’s good information guys. It is, it’s real good stuff. You talk about a bunch of interesting things, the early shows were cool because you would try to determine exactly how to — what is it that we’re going to do here on the show. You had a bunch of stuff on the go in terms of topics and subjects and whatnot. It’s a good time guys.
The Internet’s amazing man, podcasting’s amazing, YouTube, all of that stuff because there’s a lot of guys can just put out whatever they want, so you get a lot of stuff that’s not the greatest but then you find stuff like yours right? You find stuff like yours it’s like, “Damn, I could just tune in and listen to this for free, are you kidding me?”
Anyway, pretty cool. All right, question, if you could recommend one training resource for our listener, what would it be? It could be anything. Equipment, book, course, what would you recommend?
[0:37:04.1] JF: I’ll probably have to give a shout out to my buddies Joe and Smitty and then not just because they’re great friends of mine but I think their STRENGTH book and accompanying DVD series is fantastic. I can’t think of anything better than that, it’s really good stuff.
[0:37:19.5] RT: Yeah, they got a lot of great stuff, I’ve picked up a variety of their other products, everything from the warm-up, they had one product. Recharge, I think it was called recharge. Great little program, gives you a variety of five to 10 minute little warm-ups that you can use prior to working out, after working out, before going to bed, just to help recuperate and get you prepared for training or to help and elevate some of the soreness from training.
That’s just one little product they got and they got a whole bunch of them. The great thing is, they got a proven step by step system they explain to you very well. Whether you’re a trainer or somebody who is just doing it as a hobby. Everything you need is pretty much there. Really good resource.
All right, so you’re in Cali, you’re not too far away from Tinsel Town, you got to know what I’m referencing in this next question pretty easier and you’re doing your thing Jay, you’re doing your training and all of a sudden you pick up a funk and it’s not what’s coming out from the speakers, from the stereo when you’re training man.
You catch a whiff of something man, I walk into the gym, you’re just like, “Damn Ray, maybe you should have stayed in Hali and I’d stay over here on the west coast in Cali and things would have been fine but what’s up with the funk man?” I’m like, “Dude, don’t even worry about it, I’ve been getting this since day one, just take these keys and let’s go outside.”
Walk outside in that beautiful California sunshine, you got the one and only DeLorean parked outside looking fresh and clean, not smelling some fresh and clean and we got a full tank of hot garbage but if you could hop in and go back in time knowing what you now know. How would you structure your training to get the best results in the shortest period of time but also set you up for long term success?
If we could pick like one or two to drill down on and that you’ve been actually touching upon this during the whole show, go for it man. Let’s make this formal here.
[0:39:06.7] JF: Wow, well, I got to say, my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious shit Ray. You know what I’m saying?
[0:39:15.8] RT: Yeah, not just smelling, you’re going to see it too.
[0:39:19.8] JF: Anyway, funny weird note, my brother is a kid who was terrified of Doc Brown, I have no idea why.
[0:39:26.0] RT: He’s a crazy looking dude man, that guy looks like he stuck his finger in one too many sockets right? Electrical outlet.
[0:39:32.5] JF: For sure. We used to actually torture him, anytime a van would be near I would tease him and tell him that was doc brown coming to get him. This is mine.
[0:39:41.1] RT: Yeah, with free candy and hugs.
[0:39:45.3] JF: Anyway, if I could go back, I would do — I probably tried a million different training systems and splits and all that over the years, I would go back, what I would do is basically what I do now. I do a four way split, I train four days a week, about 45 minute each, upper, lower, my fourth day. Basically I’ll take you through what I would do and what I really recommend and what I like for myself.
I have a heavy upper body day which is push focused. I would warm up a lot more and I would do kind of primer or pre-fatigue exercises first so I might do ring pushups or dumbbell presses before I press the bar and I would definitely train sub maximally I would go nowhere near a failure. Leg day would be the same type of thing where I would always hit — I got this from Louie Simmons years ago and I would hit glued hams or even nowadays over the last few years I have something barbell glut bridges, barbell hip thrust before I do any kind of squat or dead lift or trap art or dead lift or anything like that.
Then finish up with bodyweight, pump stuff on each of those days. Again, Sub maximally, Thursday or Friday would be an upper body pump day, a little bit more pull focused and that day’s going to have some less stressful pressing exercises to probably just pushups, dumbbell presses, things like that. Then Saturday, depends on where I’m at, what time of year it is, it could be a second leg day but that’s a lighter leg day with bodyweight stuff, walking lunges, step ups, glut hams, hip thrusts, swings.
A little more conditioning base, lower rest, higher reps and that could also be, if it’s the summer that tends to just be an arm day because I’m going to be running sprints a lot more and what not during the spring and summer. It could be like a fun little pump iron day and some abs and whatnot. The biggest differences from day one would be for more frequent rotation of exercises. For me I found that that was one of the biggest things I got from west side was changing things up a lot.
Even though I trained stupidly, that I do believe is one of the keys. I learned that from Larry Scott. It seems like a hundred years ago when he said, “One of the keys to not getting injured is changing things up all the time,” and used the analogy of tennis elbow and golf elbow.
[0:42:02.2] RT: Yeah, makes sense.
[0:42:03.6] JF: Common over use injury. His thing has always change the workouts and that doesn’t mean for someone listening that you should randomly go in and use the instinctive principle or whatever it is where you just randomly mixing shit up. You should know exactly what you’re doing but for example, I have a movement pattern. If I know I’m doing rows, it could be as simple as doing pronated grip which is a palms down, row one week then I turn my hands 45 degrees the next week, the neutral grip the next week
Then supinated palms up grip the next week and I might vary where my elbows are, they might be out, They might be tucked at my side, just things like that, it’s still the same, very similar exercise and movement pattern but it’s just making small changes. I might put fat grips on the dumbbells, I might change on my 30 degree to a 20 degree. Things like that are very important.
You know what that also helps with is you don’t go into the gym all the time and try to set PR’s on every exercise. It actually helps prevent you from burning out, if you’re switching things up a little bit more frequently, you’re not comparing last week and then four weeks in a row, you’re trying to go up in reps or weight, that’s when you end up getting destroyed which is what we talked about earlier.
Certain exercises you can keep in there longer. This could become a complex discussion but to keep it simple, the more complex the exercise is, the more difficult it is to learn and the more soreness it causes, the longer you can keep it in your routine and I found that all my years of training myself and clients that the lower body adapts a little bit slower so you can keep lower body exercises in the program a little bit longer.
But with upper body exercise you have to rotate them a little bit more. Just kind of a long winded way of saying change your workout a little bit more, listen to your body, if you go in one day and you’re supposed to do a 45 degree incline dumbbell press and it feels like shit, find something else, do a push up, do a flat dumbbell press, something that doesn’t bother you that day. You have to listen to your body, you have to make some changes.
Those are really the most important things I would say and then just staying away from failure, pretty much most of the stuff we covered and then for me, personally it would be just paying more attention to my off days, getting on the floor at home and doing 30 minutes of mobility on a regular basis, moving more, not sitting as much. Now I have a standing desk, I’ve been standing the whole time you and I have been talking, I stand most of the day.
[0:44:24.4] RT: Yeah, same here.
[0:44:25.7] JF: I spent way too many years sitting a lot, just the small things that you can get away with in your 20’s you don’t notice it and then one day you wake up at 38 or 40 and man, I wish I would have done that differently the last decade.
[0:44:37.4] RT: The last decade.
[0:44:38.9] JF: Yeah. I would certainly be doing mobility stuff on a regular basis, I probably would even maybe taken a yoga class once a week for the past 20 years. Things like that will be smarter because you can’t just go in and pound the iron and then not worry about it when you’re home the rest of the day, you got to take care of yourself.
Nowadays I go, I get a two hour massage, once a week I do two hours in the float tank once a week, I go for cryotherapy and then I have Dr. Mark Chang who is brilliant and a good friend of mine as close by, I have him on call whenever I need any quick treatments or anything like that. For years I had never gotten a massage, In ever did any of that kind of stuff. If I can go back, doing that kind of body care stuff on a regular basis will be huge as well.
[0:45:24.6] RT: Yeah, anybody who is listening, going, “Damn, I don’t have the money for that,” again, you could do stretching at home, you do foam rolling, there’s a lot of self myofascial release, there’s a lot of stuff online you can find that teaches you about that. I mentioned the recharge video set from Smitty and Joe De Franco and it’s basically along the lines of what you’re talking about right now.
Either getting you primed for a workout and kind of activating the muscles that needed work, the prime muscles that need to work in a specific exercise or you just do them and you just kind of work all the kinks and all the tight spots and it’s really beneficial.
[0:46:00.2] JF: Like you said, there’s plenty of resources online. Jill Miller has a bunch of great DVD’s or downloads that you can get and they’re just short little 15, 20 minute yoga routines that you can do and she has some specific if you have neck issues, if you have shoulder issues and the reality is, no matter how smart you train, if you do something physically intensive, you play football, if you fight, if you lift weights heavy, you’re going to get nicked up and banged up a little, you’re going to have something that hurts you a little bit. You got to pay attention, take care of it so it’s definitely worth your while to invest in some of these and put in 15 to 20 minutes a day.
[0:46:29.9] RT: Yeah, I think your recommendation of yoga once a week, I honestly think that’s probably one of the best things, it’s kind of like the ying to the yang or vice versa to smashing iron. Just think, you go from focusing on contracting the muscles and the tendons tight, tight, tight, to doing something that’s the exact opposite. Think about it, yeah, that would kind of put things in balance wouldn’t it? Yeah, definitely put in some time taking care of yourself and I probably just like you had advised doing that fairly often.
Even if it’s short sessions, multiple times a week, I think that’s probably more beneficial than just one session once a week period. I think one long session possibly would be great and then just doing like 10, 15 minutes at home before you go to bed or something like that throughout the day would be a way to go about doing it. Doesn’t really cost much. The massage end of the things, when you finally went and got a massage, they must have had a couple of interesting comments to say after years and years of training?
[0:47:28.8] JF: Yeah.
[0:47:30.4] RT: After years, and years of training. They must’ve been like, “What the heck is this man, it’s a bunch of cow hide, tough as leather?”
[0:47:35.6] JF: They were excruciating for the first couple of months because I was banged up.
[0:47:39.4] RT: Yeah, all solid advice guys. It’s interesting that you mentioned pumping exercises and mentioned, even doing bodyweight exercises and talk about switching your exercises, what Larry Scott said, your former Mr. Olympia, the guy definitely knows what he’s talking about when it comes to training. I guess the question I have for you is, when you’re switching from one exercise to the next like that, when you’re adding some variety and you’re being intelligent, like you said, if it’s a row, you’re doing some form of row.
You’re not just throwing in standing on your head, you’re actually doing something that makes sense. The question I have is, how do you compare yourself to the prior week, isn’t this supposed to be progressive, trying to add a couple of reps or add a couple of pounds or whatever it is you’re doing, if you’re changing the exercise, doesn’t that kind of throw it off or is that’s okay if it’s a pumping exercise as opposed to your main compound lifts?
[0:48:34.5] JF: Fact the west side system, they change everything and there’s some people who don’t like the west side system and that’s fine but they change everything all the time. You never do the same max effort exercise two weeks in a row. That was when I first got that and again from Larry Scott. You do want to track, you do want to make progress but it’s been argued A, it’s not really an argument, it’s a fact that if you try to pursue progressive overload beyond your first few years of training, you’re going to get demolished, you’re going to get injured, you’re going to get hurt and it’s just physically not possible otherwise we would all be benching 2,000 pounds.
You can’t go up all the time. You have to realize is, let’s say for each movement pattern, you pick a few — for your squat, let’s say you have a front squat, a back squat, a safety bar squat and a trap bar dead lift. You know those are the lifts and let’s say you’re tracing a six rep max but again, I don’t recommend a true max. Maybe it’s a clean set of six that with a gun to your head you could have gone nine to10 with but so you track your six rep set of those four exercises and you randomly rotate those throughout the year.
Maybe you rotate them just on a four week cycle and then you repeat. You know that each time the front squat comes up, you’re not going to hit a new PR but over the course of six to 12 months, you’re going to gradually increase, that’s smarter for a guy who has been training for a long time. Then you’re going to get to have things like for example you could set a 10 minute timer and do as many chin-ups or ring chin ups or whatever it is as you want.
You’re not always going to PR on that but that workout may come up for me or for you every three weeks, every six week. When that workout comes up, you just look at your previous performance, your goal is to beat it. If you got 50 reps, maybe you want to get 51 reps, whatever it may be, now you’re not always going to beat it and you don’t want to let shitty form come in, you don’t want to start doing all the stuff we talked about before getting too fired up and all that.
You have these kind of bench marks that you know you want to hit throughout the course of a year. At the end of the year, your five rep squat’s gone up and maybe you track your flat dumbbell press with it. A good one is, let’s say you take 50% of your bodyweight and do as many reps as you can or you do the hundred or as many reps as you can or whatever weight for you for a flat dumbbell press.
You track that, you track your max chin ups, you track your max hand stand pushups, your max trap bar deadlifts. You have these things but you’re not tracking them every single week. Again, I was talking to Joe about how he does that with HHH where they rotate things quite frequently but HHH has his, in his basement gym, he has his kind of PR board just this little white board where he tracks max pushups in two minutes or whatever it is, things like that but they don’t do it all the time.
They might do it once every six to eight weeks. That’s how I do it and then some of the things you don’t really need to track, you’re not going to be tracking PR’s in an inverted row. I just take the inverted row to one rep shy failure and if I get 13 this week and 12 next week and 15 the next week, it doesn’t really matter you know?
You can’t PR and everything otherwise you’d be totally fried. Pick the big movements and have three to five different moving patterns. Three to five different squats, three to five different barbell presses or dumbbell press and then you track those. Again, for the bodyweight stuff, it depends, like a split squat, we’re not going to worry about tracking, we’re not going to worry about tracking inverted rows.
Like I said, you just pick and choose and then you have to setup your little board because it is fun to compete and honestly, if I didn’t go up on things, if I was just going in to get a pump and I was never tracking anything, I couldn’t train, it would be so boring and it would seem mindless and useless. I still try just not in the way I did 10 years ago.
[0:52:14.5] RT: Yeah, and having all those different patterns allows you to break that many more PR’s in a way. You’re not just doing back squats and you’re trying to PR in that version of squat, you’re doing back squats, front squads. Whatever other versions of squats or pulls or whatever it may be. It just allows you to consistently PR in a way without burning yourself out which is there.
[0:52:38.2] JF: Let’s be honest, a lot of it is mental too. I’ve been training for 27, 28 years, it gets boring to do the same thing over and over and it’s also my business so I’m constantly writing programs, talking about it. I need more variety than probably a lot of people listening. You don’t need to think that you need all these variety that I do. I’m in a little bit of a different circumstance. If you’ve only been training for a few years then it is fun to just maybe have an A and B week with the front squat and the back squat, you do that 52 weeks a year. I still like a little bit more variety than keeping one big lift in all the time but you’ll need less, the less you’ve trained, the less variety you’ll need.
[0:53:14.4] RT: Agreed. I mean, this is good because like you said, it minimizes risk for injury, keeps things fresh, it also helps you develop a more all-round physique in a way. Not just performance or even looks and come on man, who doesn’t want to look good naked?
[0:53:28.1] JF: Of course.
[0:53:29.6] RT: Pretty much everybody.
[0:53:31.7] JF: I’d be naked throughout this whole interview.
[0:53:33.6] RT: You too?
[0:53:35.2] JF: Yeah.
[0:53:35.9] RT: What the hell. Wait a minute do I have the camera on? Damn, hold on, let me turn that off. Yeah, exactly. That’s always good. All right, that’s some solid information guys and in terms of tracking your numbers, he just gave you some really good info, whether you have a board at home and you see some cross fit gyms and you see it also and Louie’s Westside, the videos in his gym, they got the boards and the tracking everything down or you just track it in some app on your phone or in a notebook of some type.
Like you said, you take a handful of the core movements and then a handful of various forms of those movements. Handful of squats, a handful of presses, a handful of pushes and you just track all those things and you cycle through. As he’s saying, it’s important to remember guys, listen to what he’s saying here. He’s saying, the newer you are, the less variety overall, you’re probably going to need.
The more advanced you are, the more variety you’re going to need and the more you’re going to have to monitor how hard you push yourself because ultimately you’re much stronger once you have more training years in. Therefore you go push your body much harder so you got to kind of watch it there. Solid info man, good advice.
[0:54:43.5] JF: I just thought of one quote for dance guys. Mark Bell said, “How do you set a new PR every time you go to the gym? Do something different every time,” and that’s for guys who have been training 10 plus years. That’s important I think. What he means by doing something different is, you might do a 14 inch box squat, might do a 12 inch, might do a reverse band, you might add chains, that’s guys who are really training a long time that becomes more important to switch it up more frequently.
[0:55:09.8] RT: Yup, it does and I mentioned Bud Jeffrey a lot during this calls but he was a dude that said the same thing. He said, by having a variety of training, whether it’s barbell movements, kettle bells, Indian clubs, using bands, bodyweight, strength endurance, Strong Man, grip, steel bending. He said he’s constantly breaking PR’s and just makes it so much more enjoyable.
Come on man, let’s be serious, a lot of people say, success is about the journey not the destination. Okay but we got to admit, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to actually reach the peak of the mountain which is the PR in a way right? I’m using that as an analogy. The more of those that you get to reach, it just fires you up man, make you want to go after more and more. Anyway, all right, Jason man, we’ve had you on here for quite a while.
We’re almost at the end of the show, I thank you on behalf of myself and the listeners man, you’ve come on, the energy is fantastic, the information is second to none, really good stuff, I really appreciate just the stuff that you’ve been sharing. Guys, re-listen to this episode, good stuff. Listen to this episode again, not just to hear my wonderful voice but to hear his as well and as you’re listening, you’re envisioning us with no clothing on, Jason, thanks for that by the way.
[0:56:24.8] JF: Yeah.
[0:56:26.2] RT: This is going real well. This is getting really weird.
[0:56:29.0] JF: With that dreamy voice of yours.
[0:56:30.7] RT: Yeah, listen who is talking, we got Odin on the other line here. This is getting really weird here but anyway. Let’s kind of rewind here a little bit and get back to not being so weird. Actually no, forget that, being weird is making it more fun.
[0:56:43.8] JF: Yeah, exactly.
[0:56:44.7] RT: Making it more fun right? Pen and paper guys, take down these notes, this is good information, solid information, 20 years plus of doing this, this guy’s learned a lot of things and you heard where he started from. The typical skinny 90 pound weakling kind of story and he’s been through a lot man and he’s taken a lot of others to the promised land as well.
If you’re digging what Jason is saying, definitely check out his show. Jason, before we end it. That kind of leads us to the next question, a bit of a segue there. Where can we find out more about you and just some parting advice?
[0:57:15.1] JF: My main website is JasonFerruggia.com which because it’s hard to spell we have renegadestrengthcoach.com and renegadefitness.com, redirect there. JasonFerruggia.com/7sins, I have a free download that people can check out on the seven biggest mistakes most people will normally make. Pretty cool little info graphic we created that you can check out and instantly apply to your training.
We have the Jay Ferruggia show which you mentioned on iTunes. I have a coffee company which is renegaderoastingco.com. What else, renegadestrengthclub.com, that’s my membership site where you get workouts from me, coaching from me and we also have, we do about four to six live events a year which if you follow us on social and whatnot and on the site we’ll keep you posted on that and that’s about it.
[0:58:08.2] RT: Yeah, that’s about it. Only. All kinds of goodness. Okay, odd man out, what’s up with the coffee company real quick? What’s the story behind that?
[0:58:18.4] JF: A few years ago I wanted to — I had a couple of ideas for different business that we’re kind of not 100% fitness based, a little bit outside of the business and I was looking at investing in a few different things and what’s funny is, I never drank coffee for probably the first 33-34 years in my life then I got in to it a little bit and then I just became obsessed with it and became a coffee snob where I’d only drink really high quality stuff and I couldn’t drink Starbucks or anything that I bought out anymore.
I decided, when I kind of put the feelers out there, a buddy came to me and they said, I got a good idea, do you want to start up a coffee company on our own? I said sure, yeah. Originally I was going to invest, I was looking at food trucks, a bunch of different random ideas and investing in a restaurant and because I do enjoy business, I enjoy reading about business and building businesses but the coffee thing just kind of came along and it was easy and it fell into my lap.
One of the things I wanted to do was kind of build a few businesses that had a kind of philanthropic foundational principle like Tom’s where we give back water, for every bag you purchase we provide one person with clean water for two years because there is close to a billion people on the planet that don’t have access to clean water which means they can’t brush their teeth in the morning, shower, wash their clothes, wash their kids, anything like that. That was kind of the story on that.
[0:59:36.3] RT: Crazy, just like that, did the idea for the charity come first with the idea for the coffee come first, how did that all work out?
[0:59:43.2] JF: It was a couple of different things. I don’t’ know if you’ve ever read, the guy who founded Tom’s.
[0:59:48.7] RT: Yeah, I know exactly who you’re talking about, yeah.
[0:59:51.3] JF: He wrote a book and I can’t think of a name of the book but it was basically, if anyone doesn’t know, Tom’s is a shoe company and every time you buy a pair of their shoes, they give a pair of shoes to someone in need in the third world country. So I thought, “Wow, that’s really cool.” On my own I have always been kind of socially conscious and like to contribute to different things and so I though, “Oh that would really be cool if whatever we got involved with, that could be kind of like a foundational principle to the business like Tom’s does.”
Then the coffee company thing came along and they said, “Okay, well what goes with coffee, water, you need water to make coffee so let’s contact these charities.” And that was kind of the thing and it’s been doing well. Admittedly, it’s not a huge focus of my business because I have so many other things going but it’s been fun, it’s been a learning process and there are some things we’re going to do to focus on a little bit more this year I’ve been bringing on more people to the team to help out a little bit more with that.
[1:00:47.3] RT: Scott Harrison?
[1:00:48.7] JF: No, so that’s charity water, we actually parted with Generosity.org. I couldn’t think of the company there but they are the ones who provide the clean water, they build wells for us in Africa. So I think we’re pretty close, we need maybe a few more sales to getting our first well-built and then we’ll put our plaque on and everything which would be really cool.
[1:01:07.3] RT: Beautiful. That’s a beautiful thing man about — people sometimes talk crap about capitalism but when it’s done right, it’s second to none.
[1:01:14.6] JF: For sure.
[1:01:15.7] RT: Beautiful thing. All right Jay, parting advice for us man and then we’re off in the sunset with your ass less chaps standing naked talking to me.
[1:01:24.8] JF: Yeah, like Prince in the video. My parting advice would be, I’ll share a quick strategy we do with coaching clients in the beginning of the year, I have a small mentorship program, we only accept 20 clients for the year. The first thing we do to kick off the year is kind of do an 80/20 evaluation, which is what we started this conversation with and just simplify everything, I want them to eliminate all the clutter in their life mainly.
Obviously we’ve discussed this as it relates to training but I recommend doing an 80/20 evaluation of your life. You just sit down with a notebook one day and look at all the things you’re doing, how much time are you wasting online on social media, how much time are you wasting, even going to the grocery store, go to the cleaners, going to the trailer, whatever it may be because if you really want to be successful, you need to think, some people think, Only Donald Trump or the Rock can afford to do all that stuff.
We live in a day and age now where there’s apps for everything, you can outsource everything. I try to focus, want to get people to focus in the beginning of the year on eliminating all the stuff that’s a waste of time in their life and get focused on what’s most important. With your fitness, your finances or your business, with your relationships and just set 90 day goals and one goal. Most people have a to do list of a hundred things and nothing ever gets done.
Each day and long term, you should have maybe three things on your to do list and then for fitness, for your mindset, whatever that may be if it’s on development, your business and for your relationships. For those four pillars set one to three 90 day goals and just focus on those and eliminate everything else.
[1:03:03.1] RT: Right back to what you said the very beginning right? The whole eliminate the unnecessary and just focus on the few, yeah, hack away and just kind of keep your focus and your energy. That’s another key thing, when you hack away all the useless crap, it leaves more energy to apply to the beneficial stuff which gets you that much further because you’re able to put in more effort into the proper things.
[1:03:23.4] JF: Absolutely.
[1:03:23.8] RT: Good advice man. Guys, Jay Ferruggia. For the record, it’s not Ferruggia which I tripped up one time in saying that but Ferruggia. I’ve heard it pronounced a zillion and one different ways but Ferruggia seems to be the way that everybody says but it’s Ferruggia okay? JasonFerruggia.com, the Jay Ferruggia Show is the podcast and what else I got to say man, you just heard the man talk for an hour here. If I need to tell you anything else, to go check him out, I don’t know, maybe you need a mallet upside the head. Not that we’d do that or anything. If we would, we would just call that what is it? Anesthesia, that’s all we’d call it right? Before the operation started and I’ll just leave it at that but no guys, definitely go check it out.
superstrengthshow.com, you type in Jason’s name, Jason Ferruggia. Show notes page will come up, you could re-listen to the episode there, download it, there’s social media buttons to share it with friends, we really love it when you do that. There’s buttons to take you to the various podcasting platforms that we are on, you could listen to it there and more importantly, sign up so that way there, shows come straight to you, you don’t have to go looking for them, that’s always great, that way you don’t’ miss anything.
There’s also a button there to leave a review. If anything we’re saying is resonating with you, if you’re enjoying the show, we really appreciate, especially five star reviews guys on iTunes. Yes, it’s self-serving, yes it puts us up higher in the rankings which means more people will find out about it and check it out. But more importantly, we can convince great guys like Jay man, he’s got a lot of stuff on the go, he’s a busy, busy dude and he’s got a lot of great information to actually come on the show because it shows him that we got an engaged audience.
As crazy as it is to talk to me standing here, both of us kind of mirroring each other in the nude and just doing our thing, he’s got to make it worthwhile, he’s got to know that he’s not just talking to an empty room with just me standing here right? That’s one way of showing that there is an active audience and an engaged audience. For all of you who have done that for us, we really appreciate that, keep them coming guys, we really love it. Other things you’ll have on the show notes page, any of the resource that Jay’s mentioned, ways to get a hold of him, ways to get, whether it’s social media or his website, links to all that stuff will all be on there.
Also, when you’re on there, you could sign up with the free newsletter, don’t forget to do that guys. Feedback, good, bad or fugly, email@example.com, let us know what you like, what you want changed, who you want on the show. Bring it on guys, we’d love it, we love hearing all of it, don’t hold anything back, we really appreciate that.
Also, last one is firstname.lastname@example.org Send us your training videos, footage, photos, you name it, we love sharing it with the rest of the gang, everybody loves seeing that stuff, it’s motivating as hell and we really appreciate it. Could be your own little gym that you got setup at home. Like AAA has his own setup as Jay eluded to earlier. Maybe something you doing outside, maybe you hit a new PR, whatever it is guys just send it over, before and after photos, we love getting that stuff.
With that being said, I always say this guys, the only real shortcut is doing it right the first time and the closest you can actually get to doing that is by having a mentor, a coach, somebody who has been there, done that, has taken others to the promised land and is fully capable of taking somebody like yourself there as well.
Jay is a guy that’s done that in spades, not only for himself but for many other people at all levels of the continuum. Whether they’re Hollywood stars as I mentioned, pro athletes or just regular Joes like the rest of us. I highly recommend you guys go check him out. I can’t emphasize that enough. One good tip, you heard him say earlier, he wasted years, what was it? Like five years and you had nothing really to show for it ultimately.
[1:07:00.8] JF: Yup.
[1:07:01.6] RT: Five years guys, a lot of people don’t even put in three months before they give up. Don’t do that to yourself. Get the proper information from the get go and is so addicting when you start seeing those results. Your body wants to change as long as you do things correctly, it will do the things that you ask of it as long as you do them properly.
By having somebody like I said who has been there, done that like Jay, it just takes care of pretty much 99% of the headaches and frustrations. You still got to get in there, you still got to put in the work that’s for sure. It makes a world of a difference. Until next time guys, train smart, train hard and we’ll talk to you then.
More Specifically in this Episode You’ll Learn About
- Jason shares his love for the physical culture and journey through the Iron Game
- Keep things simple
- Focus on the essentials
- The 80/20 Principle
- Listen to your body
- Know when to push it and when to back off
- “You can’t pump up bone!”
- Make sure to warm up
- Change things up a lot
- Pay attention on your off days and do some mobility work
- Track your training
- Eliminate the things that are just a waste of time in your life
About Jason Ferruggia
Jason Ferruggia is a highly sought after, world renowned strength & conditioning specialist and muscle building expert. He has been training clients ranging from athletes to weekend warriors for nearly 20 years. In 1994, he opened Renegade Gym and has since trained more than 700 athletes from over 90 different athletic organizations.
Jason has worked extensively with firefighters, police officers, military personnel, Hollywood stars and entertainers. But more importantly, Jason has helped over 100,000 skinny guys and hard gainers in 126 different countries build muscle and gain weight faster than they ever thought possible.
Jason is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and host of the #JayFerruggiaShow podcast, which is all about helping you get fit, get focused, so you can live a life worth talking about.
You can connect with him by visiting his site at JasonFerruggia.com
FREE Report – Instant Strength: The one little trick that will instantly boost your strength by 10 lbs or more in your main lifts.
Renegade Strong – get strong and ripped in just 6 weeks
Renegade Roasting Co– The best tasting, highest quality coffee available anywhere. Every bag purchased provides one person with clean water for two years.
Modified Front Lever Hold
Jason Ferruggia Exposed – Part 1
Connect With Jason Ferruggia
Check Out What Others Are Saying on iTunes!
- Awesome PodcastApril 21, 2017 by Brooke Craven from United States
Ray, host of Super Strength Show, highlights all aspects of fitness and nutrition in this can't miss podcast. Ray and his expert guests offer insightful and inspirational advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle!
- Un canal de lo mejorcito en la materiaJuly 17, 2016 by Pipiripiii from Spain
Un canal con contenido muy completo e interesante. Gracias ppr toda la info!
- Informative, deep and instructionalJuly 9, 2016 by Charles M R from United States
That Frank Zane interview!
- awesome fitness podcast and great varietyJuly 7, 2016 by jskoosh71 from United States
Really glad I found this. Lots of care into each podcast, Ray walks the walk and really understands what is being discussed. I really just have one request- stop the Delorean story.
- 51 and going strongJune 22, 2016 by Canvas back from Canada
I used to lift heavy in my late teens and into my 30s and then other thinks like kids,job, house etc took over and I lost motivation. I'm 52 now and starting to show the signs of aging so I thought I better get back at it. It was real tough. Slower gains, easy injuries, slower recovery. Tough to get back into the grove. While searching for some motivating pod casts I came across the SSS pod casts. I listen daily and I can honestly say that it has changed my life. It's more motivating that a gym full of people. I have learned more in 2 months than I learned in 20 years. The host is great to listen to, is very knowledgeable and keeps me wanting more. The guests are great. I look forward to listening. We have a wellness committee at my work and I think I have the entire group as fans of the SSS. Please don't ever stop!
- Physical Autonomy = Personal LibertyJune 18, 2016 by Mrsborch from United States
Ryan inspires me to change my fitness mindset from just doing more reps to creating a body to live the life I want.
- Lucky findMay 16, 2016 by Keith3187 from United States
Stumbled upon this podcast and very glad I did, fantastic guests with tons of evidence based information, highly recommended.
- Tier 1May 14, 2016 by Dragon 1-5 from United States
Truly a great pod cast very informative and 100% applicable.
- Great interviewsMay 5, 2016 by Adamdv18 from United States
Ray has some very interesting guests on here and does a good job of getting some useful information out of them.
- Intelligent, interesting interviewsMarch 25, 2016 by Clown puncher 5000 from United States
Really. Smart guys.
- Killer PodcastFebruary 26, 2016 by RidgeWC from United States
Ray puts out a really great show—every episode is top quality!
- Great work!January 14, 2016 by NotMattDamon from Canada
Impressed by the content and guest - keep up the great work!
- THE Super Strength ShowDecember 14, 2015 by Oastorga from United States
I came across this podcast through another great podcast (the RDella Podcast) and I must say I'm hooked. I like the action items that are revealed for us to do rather than just taking in more info. I especially like that is simple but not simplistic. I'm 58 years young and shows like this reafirm that I'm doing the right thing. I use Kettlebells, Sandbags, Barbells, Indian Clubs and body weight in my training. I don't look like a fitness model but I feel pretty good. Knowing more and refining techinque has been very important for me. The idea is not to just listen but to do something with the information. The format allows that. Thanks for your hard work.
- BOOM!December 1, 2015 by Getusomemore from United States
I listened to the entire interview with Danny Kavadlo while I was cooking dinner. VERY good podcast! I give it a ?!!
- Highly recommend this showNovember 30, 2015 by Altruistic? from United States
I love this show. Thoughtful host. Interesting guests. Since listening it, I have been giving more consideration to the mental side of training. It's a very encouraging show.
- Great show!November 14, 2015 by Rmolson from United States
I started training at the age of 41 obese and intimidated. The guests are an inspiration and encouragement toto keep moving forward on this journey.
- Amazing ContentNovember 13, 2015 by MattTucker93 from Canada
Love listening to this podcast. Amazing information and I always learn something from all the great guests. Thank you!
- Great showSeptember 15, 2015 by unadjective from United States
Some really cool guests that I wouldn't otherwise come across and Ray does a great job getting into their expertise. Almost always wish the show was longer.
- I love thisSeptember 12, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada
Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before. I listen to it while working out or driving etc. Just wanted to tell you to keep doing what you are doing. And would love to see more of people like Mike Israetel etc. Such as Brad Schoenfeld. Anyways love the show, thanks for making it.
- Very professionalSeptember 7, 2015 by Ayrshire Lad from United Kingdom
Always learning something new from Ray and his well selected line up of guests. Sometimes feels a little repetitive as Ray asks all the tried and tested questions to ensure the listener always has a takeaway..its laid back but focused and very professional !!
- I love thisSeptember 3, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada
Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before
- The best podcast in the strength/ fitness industry!August 28, 2015 by Powerlifting101 from Canada
I recommend this podcast to anyone that trying to physically and mental better them self in every aspect.
- Excellent ResourceJuly 25, 2015 by J. Steinmann from United States
Some great interviews with a wide variety of people. I've listened to a number of episodes, and there's always some great information in every interview. If you're serious about strength training, health and fitness, or just want some good life philosophy, this podcast is worth a listen.
- Must subscribe!July 9, 2015 by Roddygo from United States
This is one of the best fitness podcasts. A lot of big names from various backgrounds and Ray asks good questions. He also knows when to ask follow up questions without getting too out of subject and having the guests share some more secrets
- Great Show!July 8, 2015 by Wes Kennedy from Canada
Ray is a great host and has a wide range of quality and professional coaches that have a TON of experience to share with you. Check it out!
- Excellent interviews!July 8, 2015 by another anatomy geek from United States
Ray does a fantastic job of asking articulate and interesting questions. I always really enjoy his podcasts and learn useful info! Keep up the good work!
- has become the best Strength podcastJune 21, 2015 by SuperHuman YYZ from Canada
I think its overtaken superhuman radio and motivation + muscle as the top podcast for those who love physical culture and the iron game. Ray does a great job interviewing, just the right amount of interjecting his ideas and opinions. The guest list is incredible, the who's who, past and present.
- The fountain of youth.June 10, 2015 by rroxanne from Canada
Very good . I love the article. I listened to it 3 times to write everything down. Lol. Bad memory. Oh and love Rays voice.
- just pure MEGA, Pig Iron all the wayMay 25, 2015 by Strongman1981 from United Kingdom
The Super Strength Show is an amazing and extremely informative resource for anyone involved in physical culture. With an enthusiastic and highly intelligent host and a who’s who’s line up of guests, a must for anyone to sit down, eat grapefruits and enjoy. great work chaps
- On another level! Once you hear one episode you will have to hear them all!May 22, 2015 by Chuck Osswald from United States
Super Strength Show starts with top performers/coaches/trainers from around the world and chunks down all the important pieces, directed towards any audience. Ray Toulany is unparalled in his ability to make information easy to understand as well as tease out the unspoken gems. You will be glued to your speakers for the entire episode and find yourself eagerly waiting for more. The care put into each episode is clear with a show notes page that helps the curious learn in any medium. Keep up the great work and thanks Ray!
- A fountain of Strength and training knowledgeMay 14, 2015 by HCF82 from United Kingdom
After searching for an age to find a good strength podcast I discovered the super strength show through Chris Duffins interview and have been hooked since. The format is excellent with some of the best voices in the world of strength and conditioning appearing. No nonsense straight talking, this really should be one of your first resources to go to if you are a coach or an average joe looking to improve in the weight room.
- fantasticMay 10, 2015 by gena_wallis from Australia
i enjoyed your session.looking forward to more staff.Victor from the Youngpreneurs Podcast!
- Well structured, interesting, and informative.May 2, 2015 by TEEJ888888 from Canada
I just listened to the first two episodes of the podcast. It's really good. The questions are solid, there is lots of good advice for lifting and for life, and Ray does a good job at interacting with the guest but keeping things on track and flowing. Ray is articulate and the guests seem professional and smart. Overall, I'm very impressed.
- My top 5 favorite show!April 16, 2015 by mrcdmag from United States
Great show with lots of valuable information! I always have my notebook open and writing.
- Top strength showApril 16, 2015 by Alastair7890 from United Kingdom
Very informative. Top guests
- Great Show!April 10, 2015 by SloneStrength from United States
Well prepared show. Amazing professionalism! Keep up the great work.
- AWESOMENESS CONTAINTEDMarch 4, 2015 by jamie729 from United Kingdom
This is an awesome podcast the format, the guests & the topics disscussed are all truely infomative. No BS contained the show always opens up new schools of thoughts and ideas to the listeners. keep up the good work.
- Subscribe, instantly addictiveMarch 2, 2015 by thebroadkaz from Canada
This show is amazing to listen to it motivates you not only for the gym but for setting and achieving goals in your every day life. Very motivating and positive. Truly helps to get you in the right frame of mind for life and for the gym.
- An absolutely ace show everytimeFebruary 24, 2015 by Tommy Eggleton from United Kingdom
This show is phenomenal! The format and repeated questions for each episode keep the show driving forward, the guests have had ample time to prepare excellent and considered opinions and yet the show never feels like anything but no-BS conversations on building seuperhuman strength and mighty bodies. The host, Ray Toulany, consistently does a marvellous job of drawing out even more from his guests than the material they've prepared and some of the stories that are teased out are superb. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anybody that trains, thinks about training, or simply admires strength sports and bodybuilding in general.
- Great ResourceFebruary 4, 2015 by Velvet Jones81 from United States
For someone new to the strength sports like myself this show has been a great resource. Thanks for doing this show. It has helped a lot.
- Paul McIlroyFebruary 2, 2015 by Paul McIlroy from United Kingdom
I've been an avid aficionado of all things strength and physical culture related for the vast majority of my entire life. As a former world champion powerlifter and trainer of world champions in different strength sports I can honestly say that Ray Toulany's Super Strength Show is an absolutely INVALUABLE resource for those wishing/needing to maximise their holistic understanding of strength, what it is to be strong, why that is important and how to best achieve it! The list of guests reads like a star studded "who's who" of strength and conditioning ROYALTY! Plus, more than anything the interviews are a ton of fun and provide a fascinating insight into the very best in the business and what makes them tick. It was my complete pleasure and privilege to be a guest on this amazing show (episode 37). If YOU claim to be serious about strength training and are not currently subscribed to THIS show, my honest advice is do so immediately...if not sooner!
- Super Strength ShowJanuary 26, 2015 by Joeino from United States
I love this podcast as I seem to pick up valuable information from each guest. Listing to this is a fun and productive use of my time
- Excellent InformationJanuary 26, 2015 by TaylorrrrNB from United States
These guys obviously do their homework, work hard to create an excellent show and know who to interview in the world of strength and fitness! I’m very impressed by what they have created and the quality of what they do. You need to subscribe! TODAY!!
- by Brandon RicheyJanuary 22, 2015 by Great Work SSS from United States
The Super Strength Show is a fantastic resource for all things concerning strength, fitness, and life. The multitude of guests provides tons of information and perspectives that every listener will appreciate. If you’re serious about strength and the physical culture this is a resource that you just can’t pass up!
- Very glad I stumbled across this podcast!January 22, 2015 by rk102 from United States
Great info from big-time guests in the strength and conditioning world. Keep up the great work, Ray!
- Awesome showJanuary 13, 2015 by Bonjower from Canada
The Podcast is the best I’ve encountered in the fitness/bodybuilding sector. The host has a great ability to pull the pertinent information out of his guests. The topics are great and you seem to be able to get useful information out of every interview! Awesome podcast!!
- Do yourself a favour and subscribeJanuary 1, 2015 by GameOverBoss from Canada
The amount of info and resources in the SuperStrengthShow is just incredible. All of this coming from guests that are the best of the best in their fields. Great questions are asked to these guys and some really insightful answers given (along with a few laughs). I hate wasting time and i'm always looking to evolve and refine my training. This podcast has saved me hours of digging through the crazy crap on the internet to find valid info. It has also introduced me to things i would have never thought to look up. Really can’t recommend enough.
- Master SFGDecember 24, 2014 by X-Fab69 from Italy
Awesome Podcast! A whole lot of great and useful information provided by very accomplished athletes and coaches with an extended experience on the ground!
- Charles CDecember 22, 2014 by CharlieConnely from Canada
Very impressed with the quality guests that the Super Strength Show is interviewing. Loaded with with actionable and inspiring information. Great production quality and daily episodes!
- Well done RayDecember 19, 2014 by Matt McWilliams from United States
Wow…Super Strenght Show Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Ray. Keep bringing it.
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