Mellow Out With Meditation

Last day in my interview with New Jersey based underground strength coach, Jason Ferruggia, we learned the critical mistake he was making when it came to his workouts. Find out in part 7 if you’re making the same mistake, too. 

Jason shares some great tips on meditation and his holistic transformation in part 8 of my interview.  Find out what he does to start out his day with some good heavy breathing!


Craig Ballantyne: Let’s talk about some muscle building stuff. You can talk about what you’ve got going on in terms of how you work with your guys to build muscle. You talked a little bit about it so far, but what are your main philosophies?

Jason Ferruggia: Always get stronger.  That’s the main theme no matter what the goal is.  Again, we stick with big basic exercises. I do a lot of bodyweight stuff.  I’ll have one to three big barbell exercises a week where we’ll usually try to work up to a new max, a new PR.

I do this in a variety of different ways.  I wave it, so maybe three weeks we’ll work up to an eight rep max, a six rep max, a four rep max, and then we’ll “deload” on week four.  Then, the following month we’ll go seven, five, three and “deload”.  The next month we’ll go six, four and two. Then, the following month we’ll do five, three, one.  I’ll do that with two to three exercises a week with a bench squat and a dead lift.

Guys who are getting tested on a lift or guys who just want to improve a certain lift will stick with it longer through that 12 or 16 weeks cycle.  I find you get great results by doing that.  If a guy is just into getting bigger and stronger, they don’t necessarily have to stick with the same lift for too long.

I might stick with the squat longer because you don’t adapt as quickly to a lower body exercise as you do an upper body exercise.  We might switch the upper body max effort exercise a little bit more frequently, so each month we might rotate from an incline press to a floor press to a military press, or something like that.

Again, one to three barbell exercises a week and then the majority of the assistance stuff is going to be all bodyweight or bodyweight plus resistance, bodyweight on blast straps or TRX straps.  Then we do a lot of dumbbells and nontraditional stuff, like the strong man stuff.

All the assistance work is going to be in the 6 to 12 range for the most part.  If it’s a beginner, I’ll keep them lower in the 5 to 8 range. For everyone else, we’ll keep it at 6 to 12.  We minimize the rest periods, usually no more than 60 seconds.

I do a lot of alternating super sets.  Let’s say you do a dumbbell press and then you alternate it with a row, you’re working antagonistic muscle groups to get more results in less time.  That about sums it up.

Craig Ballantyne: That sounds pretty good. Let’s talk about nutrition. How many extra calories do you recommend for someone that wants to gain just a little bit of weight and still try and lose fat at the same time? How many extra calories do you recommend for the real skinny person who needs big transformation?

Jason Ferruggia: I wish I could give you an exact number.  I’ve never been an exact number and formula kind of a guy.  I find that everyone is different.  I know that some guys do have complex formulas that work pretty well, but IT DEPENDS exactly on how much body fat you’re carrying, how much extra activity you’re doing outside of the gym, how old you are and how fast your metabolism is.

I basically just take someone’s weight so I can see their body fat.  I see where they’re at and I kind of just know.  I can ballpark where they should be. I know for people listening or reading this, it’s kind of frustrating because I’m not giving you an exact formula.  But, through experience I can tell when I’m working with someone.

For Shawn’s transformation, I kind of just ballparked it.  I saw where he was at, did a couple of calculations in my head and then I said, “Let’s start with this.” We basically stayed in touch every few days and he told me what was happening. I said, “Okay. We’re going to drop your calories by 200 to 250 a day for the next three days and then we’re going to jack for 500 the next day.  Let me know how that works.” It always worked out pretty well.  Then if anything didn’t work, I knew how to change it to make it work.

So, I can’t give exact numbers.

You could say an extra 500 a day would be an average for someone looking to gain weight and try to keep those calories clean.  If it was someone skinny with a fast metabolism, you could really eat anything.  You could eat pizza and you’re going to have to actually.  It’s really hard to get 4,000 and 5,000 calories just from clean sources like chicken breast and sweet potatoes and broccoli.

So, skinny guys, definitely don’t be afraid to add in some junk food.  I wouldn’t go to McDonalds, but you can eat some pizza here and there, some coconut milk ice cream, throw down a couple tablespoons of olive oil after every meal, things like that.  Just keep the calories clean and obviously, minimize the processed food, the fast food and the fried food.

Craig Ballantyne: Very good. Just to finish off, is there anything else that you want to bring in and recommend in terms of everybody’s whole life holistic transformation? I know that you talked about the center point stuff, the holosync CDs. Is there anything else that you recommend people get in their life, whether it’s yoga, stretching, anything at all?

Jason Ferruggia: Yes, definitely.  I do love the holosync meditation program.  That’s helped me out a lot. I’m a pretty intense person, so it helps me mellow out.  I do that for a half hour a day.  I do believe that everyone should get out in the sun a lot. That helps you sleep better, just getting a lot of fresh air.

People spend so much time inside and that is a lot worse for you than being outside, no matter how polluted the air may be.

You always read reports of all kinds of toxins and chemicals leaching from your cabinets.  Sitting in front of a computer all day is not the healthiest thing.

So, get outside, get your vitamin D levels jacked up to adequate levels with some sunshine.  Definitely, breathe in fresh air.  It’s huge and incredibly healthy.  Go outside and play, run, or even just do some deep breathing exercises outside.

People may argue that effective cardio, like a walk every morning doesn’t burn a ton of calories, but for me I do it just because it clears my head and I got a lot of fresh air.  The first thing in the morning, I’m breathing heavy, and then I just feel so much better throughout the day.  I can think more clearly and I have more energy.

Those two things really have made a huge difference for me and I think they’ll make a huge difference for everyone.  Get some fresh air, breathe deep and get sunlight and meditation.

Craig Ballantyne: Jay, why don’t you tell everyone where they can learn a little bit more about you? You’ve got a really cool blog where you really lay it out there with some exercises and some philosophy and also what’s your best program?

Jason Ferruggia: My blog is, or if that’s too hard to spell, will actually take you there or

Right now, we recently came out with Triple Threat Muscle, which is at  That’s my newest program.  It’s a muscle building program, but it’s also meant to increase your athleticism as well, not just a big bodybuilder type of program.

So, you’re going to get conditioning out of that.  You’re going to get some speed and power work, and you’ll do some fun, nontraditional kind of stuff.  I think everyone will really enjoy that.

Craig Ballantyne: Very good.  Well, thank you very much for being on the call. I really appreciate that. It’s a completely different way of looking at transformations and especially at nutrition.  Any last words, my friend?

Jason Ferruggia: That’s it. Thanks for having me.

Craig Ballantyne: All right. Thanks everybody. This is Craig Ballantyne filling in for Joel with this month’s Transformation Domination call. Bye.