You Already Knew That


Prospect firetruck 3It just wouldn’t be a party if I didn’t get at least a dozen random fitness related questions from strangers, family members or long lost pals. Kinda like the exchange I had with my old friend Kevin last week…

“Hey Jay, good to see you, buddy. Glad you’re here, I have a couple questions for you.”

“I probably don’t have the answers, but fire away.”

“My shoulder’s been killing recently right here, when I bench press. Here, feel this clicking thing it’s doing,” he says as he places my hand on his shoulder.

Another party; another guy placing my hands on his body. For once I’d like to meet a lingerie model with a supraspinatus tear. Or a pulled pec.

“Feel that? What do you think I should do?”

“How bad does it hurt?”

“Pretty bad.”

“I’m gonna go with stop bench pressing, then.”

“Oh man… I was hoping for another answer. I love benching.”

“But obviously it’s screwing up your shoulder. You can probably go back to it eventually but for now you have to eliminate whatever is causing you pain.

That would be the first logical step. See how it feels when you drop the bench and we’ll take it from there.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

Kevin already knew the answer but he needed to hear it from me.

At another recent soiree I was approached by a young guy named Rick who I hadn’t seen in a year, when he asked me how he could get bigger. He said he’d been training for the last six months but with little to no progress. I inquired about his current training program and he said he had been following some of my stuff online and in the magazines.

“Well, that’s a start. What exactly are you doing?”

“I do bench, curls and pushdowns three days per week. For legs I run on the treadmill when I’m done.”

I sat with a puzzled look on my face, trying to recall when exactly I had written such a training program. Finally, I concluded that I hadn’t and it was he who was mistaken… at least I hoped.

I told him to drop the pushdowns and add in chins, dips, military presses and cleans or rows for upper body work. I allowed him to keep the curls because I’m nice like that.

He was done with the treadmill and was going to learn how to squat and deadlift, I insisted.

“Train three days per week with an upper body pull, an upper body push and squat or deadlift variation. Finish up each workout with a few sets of curls or loaded carries and you’re done. Eat an ample amount of healthy food tand report back to me in a year.”

Had he done what I said he would have gained an absolute bare minimum of 10-15 pounds. Yet, here he was standing before me, the exact same size as last year.

“So what’s been going on with the training?” I asked.

“Uh… it’s good.”

“Have you been doing squats and deads?” I obviously knew the answer.

“Well, I tried them, like you said. But they were just so hard, ya know? I like to look forward to going to the gym and getting a good pump. I wasn’t really getting a great pump from them. And I felt them in my back a lot. So, ya know, I didn’t want to get hurt.”

“Yup… I know.”

“I mean, I trust you and all, and I’m sure I would have gotten much better results if I did what you said, but… ya know.”

“I do… I do.”

Later that night a guy named Chris approached me and asked me how he could get ripped for a trip he had planned to Hawaii in March. His training was pretty good. He was actually running sprints instead of jogging.

The only problem, I concluded, was his diet. When probed, he admitted that there were tons of starchy carbs being stuffed down his pie hole on a daily basis. I very simply told him to cut those down a bit and he’d lose the fat.

“So you really think it’s the diet, huh?”

“Yes, it is. You can’t out train a bad diet. And you’re proving it to yourself right now. Change the diet and your body will transform.”

“Yeah, you’re right; I know that.”

You see, most people know more than they think. They have at least half of the answers. They just need me to confirm it for them.

Don’t believe me?

Try this 10 question pop quiz and prove it to yourself…

What’s the best thing to drink all day?
A) Water
B) Soda
C) Yoohoo
D) Irish car bombs

Which foods are better for getting leaner?
A) Green vegetables
B) Bacon
C) Bread
D) Chocolate mousse

What’s the best exercise for your triceps?
A) Dips
B) Pushdowns
C) Extensions
D) Kickbacks with soup cans

Which exercise helps you get leaner, faster?
A) Sprinting
B) Jogging
C) Walking
D) Knitting

Which exercise helps you build muscle faster?
A) Deadlifts
B) Concentration curls
C) Leg extensions
D) Ankle inversion/eversion with stretch bands

What’s the optimal amount of sleep you should get each night?
A) 8-9 hours
B) 5-6 hours
C) 3-4 hours
D) Who needs sleep?

Which exercise will help you get faster most efficiently?
A) Sprints
B) Speed ladder drills
C) Over speed training
D) Watching Carl Lewis sing the national anthem on YouTube

Which exercise will have the greatest transference to the playing field?
A) Power cleans
B) Smith machine presses
C) Donkey calf raises
D) Double biceps curl thingy while standing in the middle of the power rack and holding a cable in each hand and holding each rep for a three second peak contraction

Which food helps you build muscle fastest?
A) Eggs
B) Oreo’s
C) Twizzlers
D) Vinegar

What would help you make faster progress in the weight room?
A) Adding more weight to the bar
B) Going from training four days per week to seven
C) Doing tri sets and giant sets
D) Doing drop sets and running the rack all the way down to the 5’s on every exercise you do

If you answered A on the majority of questions you are on your way. You know what you need to do and what it takes to get great results.

Deadlifts

Squats

Sprints

Chin ups

Water

Lean protein

Vegetables

Sleep

Lots of the above will lead to tons of muscle and strength being built and fat being lost.

But you don’t need me to tell you.

Because you already knew that.

Now you just have to do it.

 

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24 Responses to You Already Knew That

  1. Julie December 28, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    Great article. Honest common sense.

  2. Boštjan December 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    I love reading your stuff Jason and I couldn’t agree more. People know what they should do the problem is they just don’t do it.
    They just NEED to hear the same stuff from an authority. Just like they NEED new year’s resolutions to make them feel better about themselves.

    Last but not least in the words of Dave Tate: people NEED to quit looking for the easy way out and BUST ASS IN THE GYM!

  3. Pamela MacElree December 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Just encountered some of the very same scenarios. Nice post.

  4. Brandon December 28, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    Oh man, I was hoping Oreos was the correct answer! damn ;)

    Yeah, good points Jason, most people know what to do they just fail to follow their intuition.

    Knowing and doing are two different things… oh wait… I already knew that!

  5. Bostjan December 29, 2009 at 5:04 am #

    Oreos are the answer. And pop tarts. Just ask Dave Tate. :-)

  6. On a limb with Claudia December 29, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    Chocolate Mousse doesn’t keep you thin? What about ice cream? ;)

    Ok, you know how concrete I am. You mean:

    Upper body pull – pull ups, chins, rows (of all varieties), pull down as well?
    Upper body push – push ups, flys, dips, military presses
    lower body – squat, deadlift, RDLs,
    Finish with arms, or other areas that need work

    Yes? or did I miss it?

  7. On a limb with Claudia December 29, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    PS. I know I’ve said this before – but you should really put together a program for women. Your gals look awesome. And there’s a market here.

  8. Dean December 29, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Anwser D on those were cracking me up! FUNNY stuff that was, Jason!

    Good sound training, wholesome food & HARD WORK! That’s what it’s all about.

    Everyone is always looking for shortcuts, like Jim Morris told me, if it were easy, everyone would have “the look”.

  9. Andrew December 29, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Jay,
    Good article..pretty funny stuff. Read your recent article on TMUSCLE.com — whats your thoughts on Surge Workout Fuel and Anaconda? Have you used it/ tested it on your guys yet? You’re an anti-supplements guy and I respect that because 90% of the shit on the market is garbage. I’ll be looking forward to your personal assessment of these products.

  10. Cate December 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Jason,
    I stumbled across your site by accident one day and that was a stroke of luck. I am a woman who trains regulary with good results but I have learned so much more useful information here than in the top two women’s fitness magazines and now am taking myself up to the next level.. All the old advice with the light weights and the many useless isolation exercises…never going back to that mindset again! The main thing I would love more info about is diet, holding on to muscle while staying lean, and what differs, if anything, compared to nutrition advice geared toward the guys, so I will stay tuned….

  11. Ryan December 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    This is a very good article, Jason…

    it sounds like you gave all of these people the right advice, they just chose NOT to listen to it (though you had me at pause with the guys who were having you touch and feel on their “injuries”…that was odd in a myriad of ways)

    that’s all this is…but what can you do? they’ll get it eventually…right?

  12. John Cortese December 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    Nice post, Jason. People love to make things more difficult than they really are… Just keeping it simple will often yield the greatest outcome!

  13. deb roby December 30, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    (laughs) Deadlifts are hard and hurt his wittle back. Which is why I do them every week and lift 1.5x my body weight (at 57… ).

    Loved the quiz. Yes we DO know the right answers even if we don’t always DO the right answers.

  14. Kathleen January 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    But they’re really large soup cans.

  15. vince January 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    Train three days per week with an upper body pull, an upper body push and squat or deadlift variation. Finish up each workout with a few sets of curls or shrugs and you’re done.
    Jason, just wondering if squatting or deadlifting 3 times a week would be too much for me (a hardgainer) – could I drop it to twice a week ?
    Tks…

  16. Kelly M January 8, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    A bit off topic. Jason, what exactly is the woman in the picture doing? I have seen many people use really bad form with kettlebells, but I have no idea if what she is doing, is a good or bad thing. To me, it looks bad, mostly because she looks to be in a terrible position to do ANY rotation of the trunk, with resistance in her hand, like that. But honestly, I don’t know anything about kettlebell work.

  17. Kelly M January 8, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    This is called a kettlebell windmill, for the obliques. Still looks bad to me, but what do I know. I just know I can find better ways to work obliques.

  18. Byron C January 9, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    At 51 years of age and 225 and much to the displeasure of all the doctors I routinely squat (in the 400′s), deadlift,(in the 500′s) light power cleans due to 2 completely fcked up wrists from 20 yrs of boxing,rugby and such. Never EVER had knee problems,lower back problems whatsoever yet my doctor tells me I should be doing leg ext. instead which are murder for the knees. What a douche. Jason you are the man and there is no fcking thing called a fitness studio!

  19. Josh Fagan January 12, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    No kidding!
    I had high school buddies all ove me over break and at my 10-year reunion. “How do I look more atheltic?” – as they sip their 5th beer. “I want to look like Cushing” – you gotta be kidding me.
    Do you do anything in your life…Have you ever done anything as intense as Cushing trains every day? Do you do anything he does on a regular basis? Ever?
    Ok. Sorry, start with basic compound lifts, squats, deadlifts, Rows, Chinups, Pushes. With his 175 lbs skinny-fat frame he looks at me with the Who-Farted look and says “C’mon man, I’m not a Noob. I need some new stuff dude, I’m past that. ”

    Me with both hands up – “Done!”.

    PS – nice common sense test…I should forward this post to my athletes.

    - Coach Fagan

  20. Byron C January 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Coach Fagan, I laughed my ass off at your post, mostly because it is so true and the fact I have a similar conversation at least once every week. These lazy sloths are not willing to work for anything. I usually end up frustrated and tell them to go hit an intense set of chest flyes and get the fck out of my way!

  21. jasonferruggia January 19, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    Thank you all so much for the comments. Keep them coming

    @ Claudia- Yes, you got it. And we are considering doing that soon.

    @ Andrew- No thoughts yet. Haven’t really tested it out.

    @ Vince- Twice would be good.

    @ Byron and Josh- Great posts!

  22. Raymond- ZenMyFitness February 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I ‘ve been slapped in the face again! …
    I know all these answers backwards but I only do a few of them … I have to ask myself WHY?
    Thanks I’m awake NOW! the trick is now to stay awake!
    Raymond

  23. Matt February 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Jason,
    Another awesome concise article. I would have to add upper body press to your list. It’s an awesome list mate – simplicity is under-rated way too much!
    MC

  24. joe February 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    i found i get better results with my ab electrode thingy