Hey everyone, i am very lucky to be able to publish this interview we had with Jason Ferruggia, the dynamo muscle building king! If you look past the dodgy facial hair and his ‘relentless’ energy drink tattoo, this is a person you should listen too if your a hardgainer as he has been there and done it himself. I’m telling you now this guy puts in some hard graft to get himself where he is today… Stacked and Jacked! But it wasn’t all plain sailing as this interview reveals, enjoy:)
Me: Could you give us some background knowledge about yourself?
JF: Sure. I have been within the fitness industry for nearly 15 years. In that time I owned my very own private training facility in central New Jersey for ten years where I worked with over 500 clients from over 20 sports and all avenues of life, helping them develop, stronger, faster and leaner.
I’m the head fitness adviser for Men’s Fitness magazine where I additionally have my own personal monthly column named the HardGainer. I also write for numerous other publications such as Men’s Health, Maximum Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, and MMA SportsMag. I’ve written four books and continue to do fitness consulting, training and lecturing on a regular basis.
Me: What got you started with weight training?
JF: I used to be a painfully skinny kid and constantly hated that. It tortured me and really affected my self esteem. 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 incorrect things and wasted lots of years before I realized the right way.
Me: What is it about weight training that you love so much?
JF: I enjoy training hard, getting stronger and making progress. I love lifting heavy stuff. I love doing what many people don’t have the heart, dedication or balls to do. I love rivaling myself and with my training partners. I love unleashing my aggression a few times a week at the gym. I love how it all makes me feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
Me: What adversities have you had to overcome?
JF: I have many 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 when I had gained my first fifty pounds of muscle I got really sick with tuberculosis and nearly died. I needed to be rushed into the hospital to get my lungs drained and then was on bed rest for half a year. 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.
Me: What exactly are your preferred and least favorite exercises?
JF: Deadlifts are my favorite exercise, by far. Next would have been a tie between squats, clean and presses, military presses, 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.
Me: What’s been your favorite weight training or bodybuilding moment so far?
JF: Definitely getting all the great feedback from my book Muscle Gaining Secrets and hearing all of the stories from those that I helped. I know how frustrating it can be, being unsure of 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 many 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 the book I am able to help thousands and it really makes me happy.
Me: What are your tips for the beginner, intermediate and advanced bodybuilders?
JF: Contrary to what many 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 need 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 3 times per week.
I don’t think that anyone needs to do a lot more than 16-20 sets per workout, train for longer than 45 minutes or workout more than 4 times per week; and three is usually better for the drug-free lifter.
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 do believe in keeping a training journal and always trying to beat your previous performance.
I believe in carb/ calorie cycling but I also think that high protein intake is overrated for building muscle.
I believe that everyone should do cardio 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 suggest that they do even fewer sets and take time off a lot 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 could be better off lifting in the 8-10 range more often just to stay safe and injury free.
Me: Is there anything else you would like to say?
JF: I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to your readers and hope that everybody will check out my website, www.MuscleGainingSecrets.com
Thats it folks im affraid, he is a busy man, but a lot of valuable information and ideas on how to gain muscle for skinny guys. Although it is targeted predominately at hardgainers if you have hit a plateau in your training and still want to pack on more muscle Jason’s ideas could really help you as well. His book does teach you a lot of things you won’t hear from other people, even i found some golden nuggets of muscle gaining goodness. Never stop learning about training, exercise and nutrition. You can never know it all.
Thanks for reading!