How We Do It At Renegade Gym

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Today I have part 1 of a recent interview I did for my buddy Craig Ballantyne.

Craig Ballantyne: Jay, why don’t you give us a little bit of background about who Jason Ferruggia is? Some of the readers may not be familiar with your stuff, so just give us the Renegade Strength Coach background.

Jason Ferruggia: Sure. I’ve been training people since the early 90’s. In 1994 I opened up Renegade Gym in New Jersey with the money I had saved up. I was actually still going to school at the time as well. Since then I have specialized in getting guys bigger, stronger and faster and have worked with a lot of high school, college and professional athletes over the years as well as a ton of regular guys who just want to do the kinds of stuff we do. Whoever I train trains for performance first and foremost. So in essence we all train like athletes.

Aside from running the gym and training people both in person and online, I write for a bunch of different magazines and am currently the chief training adviser for Men’s Fitness. I also have a number of e-books and training products out, all of which can be found on my website,

Craig Ballantyne: Cool. It’s a really awesome training environment that you have down there in Jersey at Renegade Gym. Do you want to give folks a run through of your gym? For a lot of people listening it would be like their dream gym to ever own or train at.

Jason Ferrug gia: Like I said, basically everyone trains like an athlete or at least for enhanced performance. So, we don’t have any mirrors or machines, and obviously no juice bars or TVs. Only stuff that’s going to build REAL FUNCTIONAL strength and conditioning.

We have:

  • Barbells
  • Dumbbells
  • Gymnastics rings
  • Trx straps
  • Kettlebells
  • Heavy tires
  • Ropes
  • Sandbags
  • Macebells
  • Sledgehammers
  • Sandbags
  • Indian clubs
  • Sleds
  • Prowlers
  • Medicine balls
  • Plyo boxes
  • Monkey bars
  • Power wheels
  • Bands
  • Chains
  • Bumper plates

All that kind of stuff – real, unique and functional equipment that you won’t see in a public gym.

NO cardio machines. Our cardio would be the sled or the prowler, something like that. I also advise everyone to run sprints once or twice a week on their off days. There is no better form of cardio or conditioning or energy systems training. Whatever you choose to call it.

At Renegade everyone trains in groups, so it makes for a great competitive environment. It’s a lot more fun than training alone or one on one with a trainer in some stuffy gym.

It’s real high intensity. We’ve got hardcore hip hop and heavy metal cranking, so it’s a whole different experience than just going to a sterile public gym and listening to Britney Spears and doing the hammer strength machine and sitting on the bike for a half hour.

Craig Ballantyne: Sounds like you guys had a great workout in there last Saturday when the Men’s Fitness video crew was in. Can you tell us a little about that?

Jason Ferruggia: Yeah, we did. Sean Hyson, the fitness editor at Men’s Fitness has been coming to Renegade for quite a while now. And he recently decided that he wanted to do a 12 week transformation. So right now we’re ten weeks into it.

I wrote him a diet and a training program. He’s lost 30 pounds of body fat so far and in that time he has also increased all of his lifts dramatically, which is pretty impressive,  especially hitting a new PR on his squat Saturday, which was 405….

It’s a huge PR for him. That’s incredibly impressive considering that I have him sprinting a couple days a week, he’s jumping rope, and even now towards the end here to get ready for the pictures he’s even doing some extra conditioning a couple mornings a week.

So, he’s doing a lot of stuff. For his squat to go up that much is really a testament to what hard work and dedication can get you, because Sean has not missed a workout, hasn’t cheated on his diet, hasn’t missed an hour of sleep, hasn’t had a sip of alcohol; nothing. He’s been incredibly dedicated and has really been following things to the letter.

This Saturday, as you mentioned, we had the Men’s Fitness camera crew in there filming. Sean hit the big PR and then we had a tire flip contest with a 500 pound tire for time. We had a bunch of guys doing rack dead lifts, which was fun. We had a challenge on the log clean and press. We had a lot of PRs set, A LOT of good healthy competition.

Also, our friend John Hinds from Monkey Bar Gym was in town. He had a great day in there, which considering that he hasn’t touched a barbell in 15 years it was very impressive that he pulled 405 for 12 on a rack dead lift. So, it was definitely a lot of fun.

Craig Ballantyne: Let’s go back to Sean’s transformation. Where did he start it, was it 10 or 12 weeks ago?

Jason Ferruggia: It’s 10 weeks now.  He’s finishing up his last two.

Craig Ballantyne: What are his results in terms of fat loss and muscle building over those 10 weeks?

Jason Ferruggia: Well, we haven’t tested his body fat again, but on the scale he’s down 30 pounds and his arms are actually up a half an inch. So, I think if he’s lost any muscle it’s very little.

The fact that all his numbers are going up; his one rep numbers on his squat, bench press and dead lifts are going up, and all across the board, even on his assistance exercises on a dumbbell press or a chin-up, everything is going UP. So, I don’t think he lost much muscle if any.

Like I said, he’s down 30 pounds on the scale and he looks 1,000 times better. He’s way leaner, he’s got veins ripping down his arms now, so it’s definitely been an impressive transformation.

Craig Ballantyne: What was he doing before? Was he was just screwing around, training maybe three days per week, not serious, eating junk & drinking a lot?

Jason Ferruggia: Sean is very into training, so he was serious, but his diet wasn’t anywhere near perfect. He was doing zero conditioning. I remember 10 weeks ago when I first had him push the prowler I thought he was going to die after two times. I was making fun of him the whole time.

Conditioning wise he was not in great shape at all. He was strong, but his diet was not great. He really had to bring up his conditioning, so that’s helped him a lot. He feels a lot better, and like I said, he looks 1,000 times better.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

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