Transformations, PR’s and 12 Bananas!

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Uncategorized


The Men’s Fitness video crew stopped by Renegade Gym on Saturday to shoot some footage of Sean Hyson’s amazing transformation and his attempt at a new PR in the squat. Sean is the fitness editor at Men’s Fitness magazine and has been taking the train out from New York City to train at Renegade Gym on the weekends for over a year now.

On top of that we also had a visit from one of my favorite guys in the entire fitness industry, none other than the owner of Monkey Bar Gym, Jon Hinds. For those that don’t know, Jon is a 46 year old white dude who can dunk a basketball, walk on his hands and perform numerous other displays of supreme physical fitness. He’s also a Pan Am games winning BJJ black belt, and one of the all around coolest, nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

While he was in town he was staying in Brooklyn and yesterday morning just decided to buy a bicycle, on a whim, and ride it from Brooklyn, through the Bronx to meet us at Yankee Stadium, while wearing flip flops, no less.

And no shirt. He just bought a Jeter shirt from a street vendor and threw it on to get in to the Stadium.

Dude is the definition of chill.

And he eats twelve bananas a day.

TWELVE BANANAS!

Back to Sean Hyson…

Ten weeks ago he decided he wanted to get really serious and do a transformation story. So I put together a 12-week training and nutrition program and we got started. So far Sean has lost 30 pounds of bodyfat, while simultaneously putting a half inch on his arms and improving all of his lifts.

This Saturday he was attempting a new PR in the squat, looking to put four plates on for the first time ever. Again, I will repeat the fact that he has lost thirty pounds over the last ten weeks and is running sprints, jumping rope and doing fasted cardio several days per week. Still, he was able to increase his strength dramatically in ten weeks, through an incredibly high level of dedication, discipline and attention to detail.

We will cover his transformation and training/nutrition program in more detail when it’s all done and we have the before and after pics in two weeks. But for now I think the video below speaks for itself:

While Sean was squatting, a bunch of us were doing pin pulls at the next rack down. I worked in with my brother, Jared, Hinds, and my good friend and Renegade Gym member, Lieutenant Paul Miller of the NJ State Police.

I’m still doing my best to stay smart and not go too heavy on anything. I need to just get healthy and stay healthy. However, the cameras were rolling and the adrenaline was pumping so I jumped up almost 200 pounds from the last time I did rack pulls a few weeks ago. None of these sets were incredibly hard, though, so I told myself it was all smart and safe. Even though a 200 pound jump is never remotely smart or safe.

Again, I am keeping the reps high on my warm up sets in order to ensure that I am totally warm and ready for my heaviest sets and also to induce fatigue (the opposite of what I recommend for most people) so that my heaviest sets aren’t as heavy as they would be had I done less warm ups. Right now it’s working quite well and I feel good.

I worked up to 545 with the following progression:
135 x 10
225 x 10
315 x 10
405 x 8
455 x 8
495 x 10- I think. Maybe I got 8 or 9. I can’t remember. This was going to be my heaviest set so I pushed it.

But then Paul did this weight for five reps:

This was a huge milestone for Paul as it was the first time he’s had five plates on the bar. At 46, he’s bigger and stronger than he’s ever been and has been making insane gains in size and strength the last few months. So congrats to the big man for that awesome new PR.

Anyway, after watching Paul do that I couldn’t NOT do another set ;) So I threw on another quarter and did 545 for a few reps:

Without all the warm ups, and if I was really going all out I think I would have had 600 in me. Which isn’t great, but isn’t bad for where I’m at right now and I’m happy with it.

Probably the most impressive performance on the rack came out of Hinds. Until Saturday he hadn’t touched a barbell in 15 years, as he does the majority of his training with bodyweight only.

Still he worked up to 405 for 12, which I thought was awesome. I know that if I hadn’t touched a barbell in 15 years I’d probably only be doing 225 or so.

For some reason we didn’t catch it all on video, but trust me; he got 12 reps.

Finally, Jared finished up with 495 for 12:

After that we messed around on the glute ham and did some tire flips:

After that we had a challenge on the log clean and press.

I wasn’t going to train at all on Saturday since I had already trained three times that week and done a couple days of hill sprints. I also woke up at 4:44 in the morning so I didn’t have a ton of energy. But once I felt the intensity and the adrenaline I made a last minute game time decision to get in on it.

However, I really had no intentions of pressing the log, considering that I had pressed on Friday, and my injured shoulder and all…

But, of course, I continue to make testosterone influenced decisions in the heat of battle.

Paul beat everyone on the log with 20 reps so I had to jump in and see if I could beat my buddy. That would only be the right thing to do…

After that a round robin style tournament of tug of war broke out, with the finals coming down to me and Sean vs. Jared and Brian.

All in all it was a great day, tons of healthy competition and a lot of fun.

And that’s what training should be all about.

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