Q: What got you started with weight training?
JF: I was a painfully skinny kid and always hated that. It tortured me and really affected my self confidence. My cousin was dating a pro wrestler who was absolutely enormous and he was the one who got me really into it. I wanted to be just like him so I started hitting the iron. Unfortunately I was doing a lot of the wrong things and wasted a lot of years before I discovered the right way.
Q: What is it about weight training that you love so much?
JF: I love training hard, getting stronger and making progress. I love lifting heavy shit. I love doing what so many people don’t have the heart, dedication or balls to do. I love competing with myself and with my training partners. I love unleashing my pent up anger and aggression couple times a week at the gym. I love how it all makes me feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
Q: What adversities have you had to overcome?
JF: I have some of the worst muscle building genetics imaginable. Neither of my parents is over 140 pounds soaking wet. So I had that working against me from the get go. Then after I had gained my first fifty pounds of muscle I got really sick with tuberculosis and nearly died. I had to be rushed to the hospital to have my lungs drained and then was on bed rest for six months. I shriveled down to nothing and was even smaller than when I started. But I battled my way back, regained the fifty pounds and added another thirty plus on top of that. I just wanted it and nothing was going to stand in my way.
TH: What are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
JF: Deadlifts and clean and presses are my favorite exercises by far. Next would be a tie between squats, military presses, dips, weighted blast strap pushups and 1 arm rows. I also love strongman exercises like tire flips, car pushes, keg lifts, farmers walks and the like.
I hate most isolation exercises and machine exercises with a passion. I like heavy, compound free weight and odd object lifting. There is no torture that I could imagine that would be worse than being forced to go to the gym every day and do leg extensions, cable flyes, leg curls, concentration curls, and those types of exercises.
Q: What has been your favorite weight training or bodybuilding moment so far?
JF: Definitely getting all the great feedback from my book Muscle Gaining Secrets (http://www.MuscleGainingSecrets.com/ ) and hearing all of the stories from those that I helped. I know how frustrating it can be, not knowing who to listen to or what to believe so it really makes me happy to hear that people are getting mind blowing results with the program and are avoiding a lot of the pitfalls that I fell victim to. I got in this business to help people and did so with hundreds of people in my own gym but now with Muscle Gaining Secrets I am able to help thousands and it really makes me happy.
Q: What are your tips for the beginner, intermediate and advanced bodybuilders?
JF: Contrary to what most people say, beginners shouldn’t use high reps. They don’t have the control or stability to safely perform high reps. Also when you are trying to learn a new exercise you don’t want to be doing twenty reps where the possibility of form breaking down is much greater. You want to stick with five reps so that each rep will be done with perfect form. I don’t recommend that beginners go above eight reps for at least their first six months of training.
Beginners should do full body workouts three times per week.
I don’t believe that most people should do more than 16-24 sets per workout, train for longer than 45 minutes or lift weights more than four times per week; and three is usually better for the drug free lifter with average genetics and recovery ability.
I believe in using predominantly big, compound exercises like presses, chins, dips, rows, squats and deadlifts. I believe in lifting heavy and always following the progressive overload principle. I believe in keeping a training journal and always trying to beat your previous performance.
I believe in carb/ calorie cycling but I also believe that high protein intake is overrated for building muscle.
I believe that everyone should do some kind of cardio/ energy system work to keep lean and stay healthy and in shape. Cardio also increases your appetite and helps allow you to eat more muscle building calories without getting fat.
Advanced guys need to be more concerned about recovery than beginners and intermediates do, so I recommend that they do even fewer sets and take time off even more frequently. Also, contrary to what some coaches recommend, I think some advanced guys would be better served to do slightly higher reps than newbies and intermediates. Whereas newbies should stick with five’s and intermediates should focus mainly on sets of 5-8 reps, advanced guys might be better off lifting in the 8-12 range more frequently just to stay safe and injury free.