Jason Ferruggia Interview – Up close and personal with the king of ‘No BS’ training
If you’ve been searching for training tips or advice on the Internet for any longer than 5 minutes, there is no doubt in my mind that you have come across Jason Ferruggia’s work in some capacity. He’s the chief training adviser to Men’s Fitness Magazine and a highly regarded strength coach in the world of fitness and personal development who’s been featured on Livestrong and Men’s Health among countless others. Jason’s a personal inspiration of mine in not only his attitude towards life, but also in the way that he writes.
Today Jason stops by to share with us his training/dieting tips as well as the story on how he became the fountain of knowledge he is today.
Thanks Jason, for taking the time to answer some Q’s. First up, how did you get started in your career as a strength coach, personal trainer and successful author?
Jason Ferruggia: I was a pathetically weak, skinny kid growing up, which I hated with a passion, so I needed to do something about it. I got obsessed with training and eventually decided I wanted to make a career of it, helping others who were in the same boat I was in. I started interning in the weight room in college and then training clients on my own on the side.
While going to Arizona State I actually ended up getting tuberculosis and having to come home and spend three months on bed rest. That was when I really cranked up my studies. That spring I started training people and was doing so well and already had so many clients through word of mouth by the time August rolled around that I decided I couldn’t go back. I had to transfer home and really kick my fitness career into high gear.
Along the way I saved every dime I made so that I could buy my own equipment and rent some space for my own private gym.
I got started training people in 1994 and around 2000 decided to start writing on the internet. That picked up pretty quickly as well and I was able to get on some big time sites and into magazines within a year. Eventually that led to me getting my own monthly column in Men’s Fitness and then becoming the chief training adviser to the entire magazine.
Your blog is brutally honest and to the point. Is that something you set out to achieve from the get-go? Why did you choose to be different?
Jason Ferruggia: It wasn’t really a calculated move. That’s just how I am and have always been. That’s Jersey right there. We don’t sugar coat shit. It’s better to just speak the truth instead of dancing around the issues. I don’t have the time or patience for that and it helps no one. I just say what’s on my mind or what I believe in. That may offend some people but for others it will be just what they needed to hear.
What ‘s the most important thing that has kept you motivated over the years?
Jason Ferruggia: I just love what I do. I think that’s the big secret. You have to find something that you’re passionate about, both in your career and your hobbies. Fitness is both my career and my hobby. But even if I were a stockbroker or a waiter I’d still be just as obsessed with fitness as I am.
Every morning I wake up and I can’t wait to train, I can’t wait to get better, I can’t wait to learn something new, I can’t wait to help more people and see some new before and after pics or read some success stories.
If you’re not passionate about what you do to make money or the training system you use to get in shape it will never work for you. The old cliché is true- if you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life.
And as far as training goes you need to find the style that you love and are passionate about. Some people might try powerlifting and hate it so they give up on fitness entirely. Well maybe Crossfit is for them or Yoga or bodyweight only stuff. Find what you love to do and get excited about and you’ll get great results.
Both Muscle Gaining Secrets and The Renegade Diet have been hugely successful. What do you believe are the reasons for their popularity?
Jason Ferruggia: Firstly, I think it’s the simplicity. I don’t try to overwhelm anyone with science or complicated formulas or routines. Secondly, I think it’s just the amount of people who have used them and gotten great results. So the success stories are out there and people share them and the word gets out.
If you’re advanced and looking to gain size you need to pump up the volume. But it usually sucks for guys with less than two or three years worth of training experience.
What are some of the other writers, artists, personal trainers and fitness leaders that have inspired you?
Jason Ferruggia: As far as fitness writers go it was John McCallum, first and foremost. Dan John has picked up where John left off and is an excellent writer. I’ve always enjoyed anything written by my buddy, Dave Tate. Craig Ballantyne is a great friend of mine and inspires me by how productive he is and how much quality content he is able to produce.
My training has been influenced more by Louie Simmons and the Westside Method than anyone else but I also learned a ton from huge influences like Dorian Yates, Kaz, Vince Gironda and Larry Scott, Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski. I love bodyweight training so if there are any books or videos about that subject you can bet that I own them.
When someone says artists my first thought is music. I’d put Chuck D, Eddie Vedder and Bruce Springsteen at the top of my list there. I share their passionate hatred for social injustice and have always been inspired by those guys.
I debunk a lot of gimmicks and scams on this site. Is there anything fitness related that you’ve fallen victim to yourself and wasted your money on in the past?
Jason Ferruggia: Supplements mainly. I calculated it once and it came to well over $60,000 that I had wasted on junk “muscle building supplements” that did nothing. As far as training goes, I’ve experimented with everything but nothing that I could really say was a gimmick or scam, it was just a system that didn’t work for me. Maybe it worked for other people, I don’t know and can’t say. Some probably did.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Now that I think about it I did try gaining size on a no carb diet for about a year or two once. An expert swore it would work for me and I got nowhere. I also tried lifting with slow tempos and that didn’t do anything either.
I wasted time as a beginner on high volume bodybuilding splits. When you’re weak and inexperienced that does nothing for you. But I’m not gonna sit here and say that type of training is worthless. If you’re advanced and looking to gain size you need to pump up the volume. But it usually sucks for guys with less than two or three years worth of training experience.
By the same token, a 5×5 style workout where you go shit heavy on everything across the board sucks for guys with more than a year or two of proper training experience. You’ll just get beat up joints. I tried that way too many years into my training career and it destroyed me. But it works great for newbies.
So why do people have that many fitness experts that they listen to? No wonder why no one gets anywhere. They’re all suffering from paralysis by analysis from information overload. Listen to what Clint says or what I say or what Alwyn Cosgrove says or whoever resonates with you and follow the damn plan.
What is your own diet like? Do you stick to a method (such as intermittent fasting etc)? What’s your approach for long term results?
Jason Ferruggia: First thing in the morning I drink two huge bottles of water over the course of about two hours. Then I have some black coffee. I usually eat my first meal sometime between 10 and 12, just depending on the day, how I’m feeling, what time I stopped eating the night before, etc.
During the day I eat a few small servings of protein and veggies. I always get a fresh squeezed juice and usually have a couple servings of fruit.
If it’s a training day I will have some carbs and protein before, during and after training. Sweet potato baby food or fruit is my usual choice. I also have extra sodium on those days and may even just half a half teaspoon of sea salt on its own an hour or so before training.
During the day I couldn’t care less about eating. I’m on the move and always grindin’. But at night I feast. So that means a huge serving of meat, chicken or fish, a pile of Jasmine rice or a few sweet potatoes and some greens. Some nights I will make a healthy pudding with coconut milk, fruit, cocoa powder, and whatever else I feel like throwing in or I will just have some fruit alone.
Are there any KEY diet or training tips that you adhere to and would recommend to my readers?
Jason Ferruggia: Don’t overthink and second guess everything you do. Stop reading so much information. Pick one or two experts who have a proven track record and do exactly what they tell you to do.
I don’t have 47 dentists and 23 accountants and 67 webmasters. So why do people have that many fitness experts that they listen to? No wonder why no one gets anywhere. They’re all suffering from paralysis by analysis from information overload. Listen to what Clint says or what I say or what Alwyn Cosgrove says or whoever resonates with you and follow the damn plan.
An efficient, successful person outsources and delegates as much as possible. Donald Trump doesn’t pour the foundation, put the windows in, make the beds, etc. in his hotels. He has people for that. So you should have someone to outsource your training and diet to if you want to be truly successful.
What supplements do you use if any?
Jason Ferruggia: I take probiotics daily. I use Athletic Greens for nutritional insurance, protein powder for ease and convenience, vitamin D when I know I will be going without sunlight for a few days at a time. Luckily that doesn’t happen too much living in Southern California. I eat salmon 2-3 days a week but on days I don’t I will take some fish oil. I’ve found calcium to help with fat loss and test levels so I will take that for a few months at a time, but not on a regular basis. Some things I rotate in and out, depending on my goals at the time. I also like transdermal magnesium and if I’m feeling beat up from a hard training phase I like systemic enzymes.
What’s a day-in-the-life for Jason Ferruggia like? Give us a run-down of how you eat, train and move on a regular day.
Jason Ferruggia: I get up around 6:30 or 7 and meditate right away for a half hour. Then I floss, brush my teeth and rinse my nostrils with a neti pot. Next I write for an hour. I set a timer and when it goes off I’m done. Next up I do 20 minutes of mobility and go for a 30 minute walk. Then it’s back to answer questions in my membership site. I check email after that then I either train myself or some of the few clients I still have the time to keep.
My training is mainly dumbbells and bodyweight. Due to a long history of back injuries I don’t really squat or deadlift heavy anymore. I do goblet squats and snatch grip high pulls and occasionally some light rack deads or trap bar deads. I train four days per week and the volume is on the higher side. I run sprints at least once a week, if not twice and I’ve recently started doing yoga a couple days as well.
On top of that I have 15 members of Team Renegade on staff and countless business projects, charity stuff, etc. that always needs managing so it’s always a pretty busy 8-16 hour day. I always block out two hours to read too.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Jason Ferruggia: Yes. I’m all about constant evolution and self improvement so my favorite quote of all time is from the great Muhammad Ali- “The man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
What’s next on the horizon for Jason Ferruggia?
Jason Ferruggia: We have several new products coming out this year and are redoing and really focusing on our membership coaching site, The Renegade Inner Circle, and just making it as badass as humanly possible. We are going to be starting Renegade Publishing as well. In addition to that we’ve got a bunch of live events we’re planning, we’re looking for space in Santa Monica to open another training facility, we’ll be flying our contest winners out to train and hang with us at the beach. There’s a lot in the works. It’s gonna be quite a year.
Thanks for your time Jason, is there anything you’d like to add?
Jason Ferruggia: I’d just like to say thanks for having me and I hope your readers enjoyed it. If they’d like to learn more about me they can check out my site at www.JasonFerruggia.com or hit me up on Twitter.
Jason’s training courses
|Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 is the skinny guys bible and is jam packed with tricks, tips and advanced techniques that most people have no clue about.
Click here for Muscle Gaining Secrets
|The Renegade Diet is a new kind of approach to dieting, based on research and millions of years of evolution. It goes against everything you think you know about nutrition and is, quite simply the most effective body-recomposition plan ever created.
Click here for The Renegade Diet