I don’t often do interviews on HTS.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, but mainly because it isn’t so easy to come across individuals who push the limits of the human body and are actually hardcore. It’s like trying to find a classy girl in a strip club; a diamond in the rough; a needle in a haystack.
You get the idea.
Many years back, I ran into a guy named Jonathan on a fitness social app called Fitocracy. The lifting numbers he posted were simply outrageous. Naturally, this peaked my curiosity so I reached out to him in order to see if he was for real.
What I found out was that he wasn’t always so beastly. In fact for many years he struggled with a level of weight gain that would give the word “bulking” a whole new meaning.
I see people complaining every day about trying to drop 20 pounds because it’s too much work. Shit, some people even complain when they need to lose 10 or 15.
And yet here is a man who managed to lose over 200 lbs through sheer will and determination. He didn’t have any fancy programs, equipment or magic pills at his disposal. You can think of Jon’s transformation as a real-life Biggest Loser story… except there were no cameras, no hot female trainer screaming in his ear, no supplement sponsors or any of that nonsense.
All he had was himself, and so I decided to interview him. Here’s exactly how he did it…
Note: What lies below is an interaction between two grown-ass men, and is therefore rated Mature. We use sarcasm, dark humor and bad words from time to time. You won’t find political correctness here. Enjoy.
me: What up dude, you there?
Jonathan: Where else would I be at our agreed time bro?
me: Jerking off to sale priced games on Steam?
Jonathan: Nah, I don’t buy many Steam games. Was jerking off to new supplements to be honest.
me: Ah yeah I jizzed my pants when my box of awesomeness arrived a few days ago. Quite the feeling.
Jonathan: You and I are the same. I just got a sponsor too. They sent me a bunch of badass shit!
me: Nice, who’d you get sponsored by?
Jonathan: Well my sponsor is a distributor so I got a bunch of things from different supplement manufacturers.
me: True. Well as long as you got your ass covered on the supplementation front, you’re good to go. Make those gains!
Jonathan: Yeah the amount of stuff I’ll get yearly… I’m pretty much set!
me: Sounds like awesome sauce to me. Alright so lets officially start the shenanigans. And don’t worry about typos/grammar etc., I’ll go through this with a fine comb and edit it before I put it live. Possibly.
Jonathan: Sweet… because I spent more time playing sports and powerlifting growing up than learning grammar.
me: And I spent more time chasing tail than grammar. So either way, we’re about to sounded like FOBS.
me: So first of all, I wanted to big you up for doing this interview. I always look for solid examples that I can showcase to the world and be like, “Look, what you want to accomplish can be done if you aren’t so fucking lazy.”
Jonathan: That’s how it should be.
me: Indeed. So let’s start with your back story. Tell all the peeps who are reading along where you were before you actually took action and turned things around. Let’s hear a bit about your “dark ages”.
Jonathan: Well I had just gotten recruited to play college football. During the summer I tried to get into the Baystate games. It was obvious I was not as good at shot put on a national level as I was on a local level. But I went into football camp riding a pretty big high either way. We were having a scrimmage to decide placement for starters and backups and I was actually destroying their center the whole game. Finally they pulled a guard to let the fullback come through with the ball. I grabbed onto his collar and was pulling back but my grip locked up I could not let go. But I was winning. Then at the moment when I made my final pull to get him to the ground, another linemen smashed into me. I went one way, the fullback went the other.
My shoulder was welcomed to snap city by the mayor himself.
Not being able to play football anymore, do any lifting, or even have mobility in my right arm basically made me lose all sense of self identity. I was no longer what I was brought up to be, what I thought I was, and more importantly what my family thought I was going to be. I went into a severe depression and being from an Italian/Filipino family where food comes in great abundance, I ate my way to 513 pounds.
me: God damn! Now that’s bulking.
Jonathan: Haha. Yeah. I stayed that way for a good 5 years. I started to get fat-related complications as well; pitting edema, water retention, couldn’t properly clean myself and had to have my mom help me at times. I went to the doctor because I had sleep apnea so bad I would wake up gasping for air. I was told if I did not make a serious weight change I’d be dead for sure within a 6 month to years time. You’d think this type of death sentence would do it for most people but still, for weeks after that I did not care. I honestly lost any and all desire to even do the most meaningless shit. It was my family, friends, and girlfriend at the time who basically sat there crying for 3 hours telling me how I needed to do something.
me: So 5 years you stayed that way, and apparently a death sentence didn’t do anything for you… so what was your tipping point? I mean usually when a doctor says “you’re going to die” does it for most people. But what made you tick and say, “Enough of this shit…”?
Jonathan: My mom showed me a VHS tape they had made (because you know crazy Asian ladies hold onto everything). In those videos I saw myself benching 225 for reps at 13 years old, picking kids up and throwing them aside in football and other feats of awesome that a kid my age would never be able to do.
But what hit me the most, and what honestly broke me down enough for me to realize that I was just being absolutely fucking stupid and wasting everything, was I noticed that during those teenage years I was never sad. I always laughed, always had a smile, and even when kids on my team were crying because we lost a championship game for instance, I was smiling and happy. I loved life itself.
“I went into severe depression… and ate my way to 513 pounds”
me: Shit Id love life too if I could bench 200+ pounds at 13 years of age! In fact that’s respectable for anyone 23 or even 33. But I hear what you’re saying. So you just wanted to be happy, and love life again, or was it you were loving life because you were able to do what you loved?
Jonathan: Yeah you can say that. But, I also wanted to be me again, you know? I was sick of hiding out of shame for being hurt, for getting fat, for being miserable and all of that. I just wanted to be who I was truly meant to be. Not some shell of myself that I’d lost. I mean, it’s not like I was addicted to drugs, nor did I do anything to screw with my mind… I guess you could say that I just simply got lost.
me: So how did you find your way back? You watched the tapes and from there was you like, “this has to change” and flipped like a light switch? Or was it more gradual, like starting out with pushups and some running, eventually getting under the bar again and changing your diet etc.?
Jonathan: Oh no, I never do anything gradual. I was taught by my family that if you want something, then you must chase after it with reckless abandon. So I joined a local MMA gym. The first time I walked into the gym, I swear I couldn’t even make it to the fucking boxing ring without being winded. I started attending classes 5 days a week. Mon-Wed-Fri were BJJ (not blowjobs you sicko) and then Tue-Thurs were MMA beginners class.
“After a few months I dropped almost 80 lbs…”
That’s when they started to notice and were like, “Holy shit, this guy is actually athletic!” Then I got invited to attend the advanced MMA class and train with pro fighters. From there on out, I was training 6 days a week, 2 times a day. When I got down to about 350 lbs I was able to do things that people my size should not be able to accomplish… like survive an MMA class without puking, spar for 10 rounds with pro fighters and so on and so forth. Now I totally got my ass kicked, so don’t let any of this fool you but the fact that I was able to just hang in there was a win to me. But the most important thing was that I gained everyone’s respect. Everyone started to pull for me and support me. Who doesn’t love a fat underdog right? Haha.
me: Oh I root for them all the time. And yeah, having a support team behind you is huge. So you went from 500 lbs to 350 lbs just by sheer volume of training. Besides BJJ (which I know personally is hard as fuck, specially when you roll with advanced belts) what did your workouts consist of?
Jonathan: Well, during the MMA workouts we would first “warm up”, and that would consist of suicides. We had wrestling mats so think of wrestling suicides – once you hit the final line you would bear crawl back. Then we would line up in groups of 2 based on weight and do ring pullups. When you were not doing ring pullups you were doing up downs and mountain climbers. This went on for a gruelling 30 minutes. Then once warmed up, we would go through body hardening, which basically means you beat the fuck out of someone’s core with boxing gloves on for 30 seconds. And then they get an equal opportunity to fuck you up.
“I started to get fat-related complications as well… couldn’t properly clean myself and had to have my mom help me”
me: Awesome, reminds me of my old muay thai days.
Jonathan: Yeah, and after that we would do instruction for the day, usually focusing on 1 technique, one counter and one set up. From there on we would spar. My gym was not a bullshit “MMA for fitness” type of gym… I actually trained with pro fighters, one of whom is in the UFC. My BJJ instructor is in Bellator and a few of my other friends are various promotional champs. So basically we trained with headgear, gloves and that’s about it. I was probably knocked out more times than you’ve masturbated.
me: So, like 856 times?
…and that’s only in the past week.
Jonathan: LOL yeah just about that. But because of that, I was able to gain full mobility in my shoulder again.
me: …because of being KO’ed? Must’ve knocked some neurological circuits into place.
Jonathan: haha nah, because of training and not being a complete pussy.
me: hah indeed. So what belt are you in BJJ?
Jonathan: I am a 3 stripe Blue Belt under Rene Nazare. I do not compete with a Gi. I’m a NoGi specialist.
me: Finally, a man with some sense. I practice nogi as well. Or I should say I did, as I gotta get back into it.
Jonathan: I’ve supplemented my NoGi since I live oh.. 1,500 miles away from my gym with judo and catch wrestling.
me: Bad ass. So you went from 13 year old beast, to fat slob, to a meat bag, to an ass kicking machine. Does that sound about right?
Jonathan: Haha yeah, just about. And lets say 19 years old. From preteen to 19. I was powerlifting.
“My mom showed me a VHS tape.. in those videos I saw myself benching 225 for reps at 13 years old”
me: Hah alright, still quite an accomplishment for a teen. Now let’s talk diet for a second. During the time when you were dropping the pounds steadily from 500 to 350, what changes did you make specifically? Did you continue to be Italian and just decrease portions or make radical changes?
Jonathan: no, I continued to eat. I just, you know, did cardio, did work, got beat up and generally didn’t sit around and waste my life away. I started competing in grappling too. Actually I have a video of a 350 lb version of me grappling and slamming a guy on the mat… If I find it, I might have to upload that.
me: So basically instead of seriously decreasing your caloric intake, your just dialed up your expenditure?
Jonathan: Yes. That’s exactly what I did.
me: Well would you look at that, another person who’s living proof of how a negative caloric balance works. This is the first fat loss law I teach in my book, yet people still don’t seem to have a grasp on it and keep asking me about supplements. And as for your video, do upload it. I think it would fit well in here. (Note: The video is below… watch the awesome slam!)
“I never do anything gradual. I was taught by my family that if you want something, then you must chase after it with reckless abandon”
me: Alright so what do you weigh in at currently?
Jonathan: Right now I weigh (mind you I drank like a fish last night) 275 lbs. I’ve started to seriously look at my diet recently, even working with a coach to help me come up with a custom nutrition plan and help steer me in the right direction.
me: Awesome, yeah I think at this point you’ll need a slightly more advanced approach than just plain restriction. What have you tried or are planning to try in the near future (carb cycling/fasting etc.)?
Jonathan: Right now IF (intermittent fasting) while meeting macros. 2x a week carb cycling but making sure they are at least 4 days apart. Usually only on a big lift days although these past few days I’ve been just carb cycling because I’ve been lazy and it’s a good system that works.
me: A little down time is alright every now and then. So are you aiming for a specific bodyweight for performance reasons or just going for a general re-composition to look sexy as fuck?
Jonathan: I want to hit 230lbs and compete in powerlifting/grappling. Once I’m at 230 lbs, I can cut to 227 to meet the 205-227 lbs heavyweight limit and be on the top end without cutting too much and losing strength/endurance. Strength with raw explosive power is all I honestly care about.
“To me personally, having abs or looking sexy doesn’t mean shit….”
me: Respectable. Though I’m pretty sure at 230 you’ll have abs regardless. It’s a product of bad-assery in my opinion. So list some of your favorite lifts… and I’m not talking about logical things here, I mean lifts you truly ENJOY. This would be a safe time to say you like curls (if you do).
Jonathan: deadlifts, squats, overhead press, Viking press… those are the ones I look forward to the most.
me: Not many people know what a Viking press is, care to explain?
Jonathan: Basically, you step under 2 bars welded together that are shoulder width apart and at a slight angle. Put the balls of your feet where your heels should be and you press the weight up. It’s a lot easier than a strict OHP (Overhead Press) but it also kills your delts because it directly attacks all 3 parts of your deltoid. As you are pressing up you lean forward a bit, so leg drive is used but its not as bad as a push press.
me: The plates are loaded on a bar in front, correct?
Jonathan: Yeah the plates are loaded about 3 feet back on that bar, or you can load things on top of the machine if it’s made that way. I’ve seen people lift boats, other people, kegs etc. Most bars alone weigh 80-110 lbs depending on the build and metal used.
me: Nice, I remember seeing these but I’ll have to throw a video up so people can have a visual representation. Also, sounds like fun so I must seek out a place to do it up. So what are your future goals as far as powerlifting is concerned? Any specific squat/bench/dead numbers you’re aiming for while competing at 227 lbs?
Jonathan: Here’s a good video…
Jonathan: And yes, I want to be able to hit 500 lbs RAW bench, 1000 lbs squat with a suit on, and a 800-1000lb deadlift.
me: And what about raw squat and deadlift numbers? People know I don’t give a fuck about suits. Not that I don’t have respect for suited lifts… ok I don’t, but also, I see no relative use for them.
Jonathan: Raw squat as close to 1000 lbs as I can get. I want to compete in RAW and geared powerlifting. As for the deadlift… I think I can hit easily 800lbs RAW.
me: Word! I’m looking forward to that. And what are your RAW numbers at currently? I want to follow up and check up on you because a 800lbs pull would be pretty sweet to witness.
Jonathan: 465 lbs bench. 630 lbs squat and 625 lbs regular deadlift.
me: That’s solid. You should be at your goals in no time. I think it’s a pretty sweet transition to witness your past, present, and future goals. Now before we wrap this sucker up, I want to know what you think would be one solid, key piece of advice you could give someone who, for whatever reason, isn’t motivated by jack all.
Jonathan: How about, shut the fuck up and squat. To be honest you are not going to make changes by just sitting there and being complacent with your life. Lift, lift heavy, and lift often.
me: See, this is why we get along. Well, I think that just about does it. I’m fired up personally, but before that do you have anything else you want to add?
Jonathan: Yes, Powerlifting is something that not many people look at anymore with a rise in lol Crossfit Games and people getting all up Oly lifting’s ass. But many people forget that powerlifting breeds strength and raw power. I mean, you do get explosive power from Oly lifting and it can be very beneficial, don’t get me wrong, but raw base power is much harder to attain in my eyes.
me: Agreed and the big 3 lifts are easier to master, meaning you can focus on getting stronger, quicker instead of spending time mastering the complex movement that is the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. Powerlifting is something which is being out-shadowed at the moment and the more people who preach about its awesomeness, the better. Okay. One final question: How much money would it take for me to film you trolling everyone at the CrossFit games?
Jonathan: Would I be able to beat up the Crossfitters that do pullups with terrible form?
me: Oh you mean like the ones in the video below? Ok, but by triangle choke only. (Note: Turn up your volume for the amazing commentary)
Jonathan: Lol. Well which triangle? There is the arm triangle from side control, standing, normal triangle, side triangle, reverse triangle…
me: …don’t make this shit complicated Jon. I’m talking about the one where your nut-sack is directly in their face before they pass out.
Jonathan: haha, then just pay for me to get there and for any food I require and I’ll do it for fun. I hope you’re rich, because I have a big appetite.
me: Shouldn’t you be dieting? I’ll catch you on a fasting day. And I think we should save that for an MMA special interview. I’m all about the choking.
Jonathan: Haha! I like joint locks personally… the more pain the better.
me: You kinky fuck. Haha. Anyways, appreciate you doing this. Most people aren’t comfortable talking about their past, but I think you spilling the beans probably helped more people than you and I could ever know. And they might even enjoy sexual asphyxiation after all that MMA talk.
Jonathan: Hey, if one person can take benefit from this, cool. I just can’t wait for the panties getting bunched up from our Political Incorrectness. But I think people need some tough love and straight truth as it will never go out of style.
Note: Jon is now a co-owner of CrossFit Nac, which means it’s probably the only CF gym I’d ever recommend. In my life.
me: Very true. And hey the more bunched panties, the better. Just be prepared for the fallout. And if people want to e-stalk you, send you hate mail, love mail, or even nude shots of themselves, where can they do so? Are you on bookface?
Jonathan: Yeah my facebook is J0nathanMedina and people can also follow me on SnapChat because I put up some interesting shit from time to time: j0nb1az3
Oh and by the way, if this is interview is coming out soon can you add a link to a project I am doing? I would like to deadlift in the gym as Pikachu, thanks to some 4chan inspiration. (Note: This project is no longer live)
me: Fuck yeah I can.
Jonathan: It will resemble an actual Pokemon battle lol. Any money that is not needed that I raise I am donating to charity as well.
me: That’s probably one of the most creative ways I’ve seen anyone raise charity cash.
Jonathan: What way to better celebrate my reclamation of my life than becoming an internet superstar and making a fool out of myself for laughs.
me: Though let’s not kid ourselves. You’re not fitting inside any sized pokeball, too swole. You need a poke-hall.
Jonathan: Haha, we have to raise money to make a Pikachu onesie costume.
me: I think people will gladly pitch. (It’s for a good cause ya’ll)
Jonathan: I’m only one day in and I have $80… so I think its going places lol.
me: And if they don’t, it’s because they are CrossFit nut-huggers and are feeling offended. I’ll personally donate. We can work out the details soon. Anyways, before we start sending each other naked pics of our pecs, let’s end this awesome sauce. Thanks again for doing this, and I’m looking forward to seeing you pull that 8 hundie large.
Jonathan: Haha, hopefully! That first 800lb pull will be in the video… that’s my goal :)
me: You’ll no doubt reach it. Later dude.
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