What up, Renegades? Now, normally when you click on this here site there’s a certain stank that infiltrates your nostrils immediately. It’s the scent of manliness and testicular fortitude that just oozes out of my pores on a daily basis. I can’t help it.
But if you’ve noticed an extra strong scent of testosterone around here this week it’s because of the presence of my friend, Sean Hyson.
Fueled by grass fed steaks, raw milk and the spirit of the late, great Road Warrior Hawk, Sean’s back today for the third and final part of our trilogy…
JF: As the fitness editor at Men’s Fitness, you get the opportunity to work with some of the greatest trainers and strength coaches in the world on a regular basis. And you’ve got quite a bit of in the trenches training experience yourself now. Give me 3 tips you’ve picked up along the way that you believe to be universal truths when it comes to training for size and strength.
SH: Don’t train to failure. At least not more than once or twice in a month, or training cycle. The best coaches seem to be in agreement on this, and when we look back at the strongest men throughout history—from your buddy Arthur Saxon to all the great Olympic weightlifters—they rarely if ever pushed themselves past the brink. Treat the big barbell lifts like a skill.
As with any skill, it needs to be practiced with good technique, and your technique is going to suck if you’re always maxing out. This is maybe the hardest lesson for guys to learn. Like you, I feel like I’m not working hard enough if I leave one in the tank. But I’ve fried myself so many times going to failure. I’ve literally gone from pulling 430 one week to failure to not being able to budge 380 two weeks later. You’ve gotta reign it in.
Make sure you hit two hard sets on each lift. This is a great guideline I picked up from you that I think more people need to be aware of. I don’t believe in “junk volume”—doing lots of sets just to build up fatigue. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, because many have proved it does, but I like being efficient. I think if you can’t get the job done in one or two sets, you’re doing something wrong. There are exceptions of course, such as with beginners, but generally I’d say you should work up to one heavy set and then do a back-off. Or do two heavy sets.
JF: How about one on nutrition?
SH: Nutrition’s really the key to building size. Focus on carbs and not protein. Every guy who wants to get big buys protein powder, but carbs are what really help you grow. I experimented with this last summer. I ate a ton of meat (organic, of course) and got plenty of protein and fat, but I ate grains only occasionally. So pretty much a paleo/caveman diet. My calories were pretty high, but I barely gained any weight. I kept my abs the whole summer, so I know I didn’t add much fat, but I didn’t add much muscle either.
I think we can say that calories determine your body weight, but carbs determine your body composition. So if you want to add size, it’s really as simple as making sure you jam down more potatoes and grains each day. I don’t think fruit is much help when gaining weight—only starches. Granted, you’re going to put on some fat too, but when you cut back on carbs later to get lean, the fat comes off faster than if you cut back on dietary fat.
JF: Good stuff, now moving on to more important topics, where does meeting me rank amongst your greatest life moments?
SH: It’s right up there, my friend.
JF: As it should be.
SH: A little story, if I may, for your readers who don’t know your history as well as I do…
JF: Uh, oh. I will deny anything you’re about to share.
SH: I met Jason the first time in a bar along with some other coaches. We were all talking shop, and Jay suddenly excused himself to walk over to a quiet area and make a phone call. He came back and I asked what it was about.
“There are these two girls down the Shore. They want to have a threesome with me. So, I may leave early. I may not.”
I’m not kidding. This is what the man said. Now, to this day, I don’t know if that debaucherous event ever came to pass, or if he was just kidding.
But somehow I knew I had found my fitness adviser.
Jay is so matter of fact about everything. So direct. You gotta respect that… I think.
JF: It’s all questionable. Let me state for the record that any stories people hear about my single, whore hound, booze fueled nights, while seemingly legendary, are greatly exaggerated.
SH: What about that time…
JF: I think we’re good with that subject for now. Let’s switch gears to a favorite topic of both of ours, old school wrestling. Who’s the greatest tag team of all time? The Hart Foundation? The Road Warriors? Or The British Bulldogs?
SH: Those are all fine candidates but the Road Warriors, aka The Legion of Doom, were unquestionably the greatest.
JF: I wholeheartedly agree.
SH: I don’t think enough people realize what they did for pro wrestling, and they did it themselves. Their gimmick was their own—it wasn’t scripted for them by some TV exec. They were the first team to wear spikes and face paint (or don any kind of post-apocalyptic warrior garb). Their interviews still ring in my ears—Animal threatening that he would “deviate your septums and rip out your goozles.”
JF: You calling to say that to me that every night before bed never gets old.
SH: “Tell ‘em, Hawk! (Sean screams in his best Road Warrior Animal voice) On top of that, those guys were fucking gigantic. They really helped usher in the huge, powerlifter look, with traps up to their ears. There was a time when Hawk could shrug 1,000 pounds! I got to interview Animal last year for a story and it was one of the great thrills of my career.
By the way, his son, James Laurinaitis, plays for the St. Louis Rams.
SH: Well, I’m just mentioning it for those that might not be as enlightened.
JF: The Renegade Army is very enlightened, my friend. With a brain surgeon like myself at the helm, how could they not be?
SH: Are they smarter than me? I don’t want anyone smarter than me.
JF: How could anyone be smarter than you?
Sorry, guys. Sean and I can’t have a conversation without quoting Seinfeld. So what were you saying?
SH: I was just saying that maybe one day James will paint a spider on his forehead and I’ll have to start watching wrestling again…
JF: In the meantime you and I will continue to walk the streets of Badlands, USA, delivering the Doomsday Device to whomever we see fit. Like that time at the STP concert.
SH: Don’t even bring that night up.
JF: You’re probably right. That might not be the best idea. Speaking of music and entertainment, what would be harder for Sean Hyson to live without; Seinfeld reruns or Bruce albums?
SH: That’s like asking which testicle I’d rather part with. I’d really like to keep both, but I can’t live without the sweet sounds of Jersey rock. Bruce has a new album out next and I expect all the little Ferrruggia-maniacs to go out and support it.
JF: Fist pumps, blowouts and an overabundance of bad attitudes can cause anyone to be down on my home state. But Bruce always brings the balance back into place.
For those who don’t know you just celebrated a birthday not too long ago. As a belated birthday gift, I’m hooking you up with the threesome of your choice. What two girls do you choose?
SH: I’m going to veer off the beaten path here. I won’t pick a “Jessica” or other A-list actress or hip-hop video vixen.
JF: No hip-hop video vixen? Then I’ve already lost interest in the answer. But I’ll humor you…
SH: Right now, I’d go with Allison Stokke and Eva Amurri. Stokke is a pole vaulter at the University of California. She’s been Internet famous since she was in high school and a picture of her looking uber fine on the track made its way around the world. To me, she’s the epitome of the hot fit girl that most guys who train would like to be with. She has a healthy, natural look. And did I mention she’s a pole vaulter?
Eva Amurri is Susan Sarandon’s daughter, and an actress herself. Apparently, she inherited her mom’s famous rack, because it’s amazing, and on display in an episode of that Showtime show Californication. But I should stop before I turn into Mr. Skin.
JF: We love that kinda stuff around here. Now, finally I’d like to ask, do ever just sit back and thank God that you know me and have access to my dementia?
SH: Every day, my friend. Every day.
JF: Thanks again for doing the interview, Sean. It’s always a pleasure.
For more about Sean Hyson, what makes him tick, and how he’s giving back to the single, female population of New York City, visit www.SeanHyson.com
In case you missed the first two parts of this interview you can check them out by clicking the links below: