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Summer's Here: Don't F'in blow it (Your physique, that is...)

Sunday, 30 May 2010 12:56


Although I started this blog with the sole purpose of providing information on improving athletic performance, every now and then I stray from my target audience and help the "masses". It's summertime and let's be honest; everyone wants to look good on the beach, in the club, at the barbecue, etc. Even my NFL football clients ask me for tips on "lookin' good" during this time of year! So I figured Memorial Day Weekend would be the perfect time to provide some invaluable summer training information!

Since this website is full of training tips and nutrition advice on becoming muscular and athletic, I decided to put a different spin on this blog post. Since I've spent the past 8 years telling you what you should do; this blog post is dedicated to giving you my TOP 5 List of what not to do this summer! These are things I see and hear people doing every single summer in an attempt to look better with their shirt off; but the reality is that the common mistakes I've listed below are surefire ways to RUIN the hard-earned gains you made all year! After reading this blog post, please send it to as many friends as you can so we can finally put an end to people blowing their physiques every summer! So here we go...


#5 - Stop training lower body


Many guys will stop training legs (if they even trained them in the first place) during the summer to "focus" on their upper body and "beach muscles". After all, no matter how jacked you are, speedos just aren't tasteful! Since most guys' legs are covered in their bathing suits, they figure they'll hold off on training legs during the summer months. There are many reasons why this is wrong (especially if you're an athlete), but this is the worst thing you can do, even if you want to "focus" on your upper body. Anyone who has touched a weight knows that lower body training makes your upper body grow and look better! Exercises like squats and deadlifts trigger your body to secrete more anabolic hormones than almost any upper body movement, while burning a boatload of calories in the process! Want your upper body to be muscular and lean, as well as in proportion with your lower body? KEEP SQUATTIN' & DEADLIFTIN'! Period.

#4 - Go on a low-calorie diet


Unless you are a complete genetic freak, a low-calorie diet will not get you shredded! A low-calorie diet will make you "a smaller version of yourself" by burning muscle along with the fat you lose! Proportionally speaking, you will look the same as you did before your diet, but you will be a smaller version of yourself (which really sucks). Basically, you will be the "skinny-fat" guy at the beach, much like the picture of David Spade above. (And before you try and make yourself feel better by saying, "Yeah, but David Spade still gets tons of hot chicks!" Don't kid yourself; David Spade is rich & famous, your not. Looking like David Spade, without the money & fame, doesn't get you Heather gets you sand kicked in your face at the beach!

#3 - Perform long, steady-state cardio


DO NOT replace your sprints, prowler pushes, barbell complexes, etc., with long distance running or hours on the elliptical to "get shredded" for the summer. Like "#4", these activities will break down muscle tissue. Once again, this is a great recipe if you want to be the "skinny-fat" guy at the club!

#2 - Focus on high-rep (pump) training, especially right before going out


The ALL-TIME biggest summer myth is doing "tons of curls and push-ups" right before you go out so you have a pump. You may look great during the drive to the club, but once you get there you will be smaller!! Think about it; even the greatest pumps only last for about 20-30 minutes after your workout is completed. What happens to the pump after this? The blood temporarily pools out of the muscles, making you temporarily smaller than before you even worked out! Your body obviously goes back to "normal", but your "small period" is actually 1-3 hours after the workout...(the exact time you're tryin' to pick up chicks at the club!)

Wanna have a real pump - all day, everyday?! Lift heavy ass weights! That's right; lifting maximal weights creates myofibrillar hypertrophy, aka, REAL MUSCLE! (I refer to this type of muscle as "real" because it's actually made of dense, contractile tissue. High-rep training does not develop this type of tissue.)


Although performing heavy, 1-3 rep sets doesn't give you the immediate "pump" of a 20-rep set of cable flyes; it's residual effects are far superior! Those that train heavy probably know the feeling of getting a "pump" hours, or even a day or two, after performing a max-effort exercise. This is due to an "active" nervous system...and eventually this "pump" will just be due to the fact that you're jacked from liftin' all those heavy ass weights!

#1 - Drink beer or sugar-filled cocktails


Even if you "only" drink on weekends, beer and "fruity cocktails" can add thousands of calories to your diet, which will turn you into a bloated mess all summer! Obviously, the best thing to do is not drink at all, but I'm not naive. It's summertime and even the most dedicated athletes may have a few drinks here and there. If you are going to drink, the "best of the worst" is clear alcohol...and stay away from mixing them with soda, fruit juices, etc. The universal meathead drink of choice is Vodka with club soda (and a lemon/lime if you wish). If you switch to this drink, you'll notice a huge difference the next morning when you wake up -- you'll be much less bloated, along with less of a headache (if any), due to a fraction of the calories and sugar contained in fruity cocktails and/or beer!


So there you have it; you now know what NOT to do this summer! Avoiding the above activities, while training like an athlete or a badass, will definitely help you turn some heads this summer!

The rewards of training like an athlete

Hope everyone had a fun, safe Memorial Day! I'll be back soon with some BIG announcements, new products and no-holds-barred information on becoming a better athlete!

Keep checkin' back!

-Joe D.



DeFranco's Gym's stance on Brian Cushing's NFL suspension

Monday, 10 May 2010 20:52

Since Friday night, I've kept my mouth shut for one reason and one reason only - because Brian Cushing asked me to...and whenever family asks me to do something, I do it! And yes, I consider Cush my "little" brother from another mother...

Here's the deal:

Friday night I was eating dinner with my girlfriend and 2-year-old niece at a Jersey Diner when I see Brian Cushing's name appear on ESPN's ticker for violating the NFL's steroid policy. I was shocked! But, my first reaction was NOT, "Damn Cush, what the hell were you thinking?!" I immediately looked at my girlfriend and said, "There is NO FU#KING WAY Cush failed a steroid test! This is DEFINITELY a mistake...I gotta call him ASAP!" The reason I KNEW Cush didn't fail a steroid test is because I know Brian Cushing, the person. And I know FOR A FACT that he does NOT take anabolic steroids (even though I just saw it on ESPN). In fact, in all my years of training Cush, we've never even talked about steroids! So, unlike many of Cush's "friends" and "fans" who immediately threw him under the bus (I'm talking to you, Jay Glazer); I called Cush to get HIS story and show my support!

Once I got Cush on the phone, he tells me he's shocked at what's happening, but assures me he didn't fail for steroids. I believe him. Sure enough, the next day the term "steroids" has been replaced with "PED"...BIG DIFFERENCE. Yet, ESPN never issued any official retraction statement. Apparently, they don't think there's any difference between anabolic steroids and a category that's so big (and vague), it includes friggin' cough medicine!?!?

There is a LOT I want to say regarding the specifics of this story, but I'm not at liberty to speak about it because it's being handled by Cush's agent and attorney. So for now, I'm just going to address the topics that have been directed specifically towards me and my gym...

To all the people who said I "turned my back" on Cush when he's down...

Now you know that I called him the second I got the news...and I never doubted him. I called him to support him and get his side of the story.

The only reason I haven't said anything before this was because Cush asked me to "keep quiet" because his agent and attorney are handling the situation and he's very confident the facts will be revealed soon!

Here's a link to an article that appeared in New Jersey's most popular newspaper yesterday. Notice the title of the article, "Brian Cushing's Trainer Stands Behind Him". You may be interested in checking out the 12th paragraph where I say, "I'll goto my death and say Brian Cushing doesn't take steroids." Doesn't really sound like I "turned my back" on him, does it??

And finally, guess where Cush was this morning?? At my gym for two hours. We talked for an hour and he trained his ass off for an hour (as usual). And when my 12:00 crew rolled in guess what happened?? They were all pumped to see him and welcomed him back with open arms. No talk of this "situation"...wanna know why? Because no words need to be spoken when you're family. The guys at the gym know Brian Cushing, the person. They know he doesn't take steroids. They know his work ethic, insane disciple and his obsession with living a healthy lifestyle. No explanations as usual.

Oh, by the way, notice all the pictures of Cush are still on this website...nope, never took 'em down...never even crossed my mind!

To the "haters" who are telling local parents and kids that I "take" and "deal" steroids...

This is something I feel VERY STRONGLY about and it's why I'm seriously considering taking legal action. (And you guys know who you are. If not, I'll give you a BEGGED Cush to train with you, but he knew better...and you thought opening a gym 'just like mine' would be easy, but now you know better...ooops, did I give away too much??)

Every single person who knows me, knows my stance on anabolic steroids and drugs. I HAVE NEVER TAKEN, RECOMMENDED, SOLD, OR EVEN HELD IN MY HAND AN ANABOLIC STEROID OR ILLEGAL DRUG...EVER! This stance on steroids and drugs was instilled in me at a very young age by my father and it will stay with me until the day I die. This is the exact reason I opened up the type of gym I have - a "hardcore", "no frills" facility where we pride ourselves on out-working the competition! Saying that I "take" and "recommend" steroids at my gym is a completely slanderous statement that WILL get you in big legal trouble. Test me.

To the "outsiders" that have said, "The DeFranco Brand" is ruined...

This one actually made me laugh, but I'll address it anyway. I use the word "outsiders" because the only type of people that would make this statement are people that have NO CLUE what goes on inside the four walls of my gym! My gym is a family. And our family knows Brian Cushing, the person. Instead of my "brand" being ruined, it's actually quite the contrary. Today, while all of our haters were on the computer talking shit about us, we were having the busiest day of 2010 in the gym. (That's why I'm writing this at 1:00am, as opposed to a 'normal' hour.) Fifty-eight athletes walked through the doors of DeFranco's Gym today. Athletes ranged from 6th graders to NFL All-Pro's. And guess what...ALL 58 athletes AND parents support Brian Cushing 100%...because they know Brian Cushing, the person. They also know the type of person I am, as well as every other staff member at my gym. THOSE are the people we care about (the "insiders")...not the internet trolls, not the people who hate Brian Cushing because he's a better football player than they ever were; and we sure as hell don't care about any other "outsiders" who spend their days trying to knock other people down because they aren't happy with their own lives!


To conclude, I look forward to when Cush can speak out about this situation because it's being blown way out of proportion by the media. And I sure as hell hope the NFL doesn't strip him of his DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR & ALL-PRO Awards. Cush's "suspicious" test was in September...then he was re-tested numerous times throughout the entire season without ever failing. He EARNED those awards and DESERVES to keep them!

For now, I guess I can take comfort in knowing that he's learned early in his career who his true friends and fans are...and what true LOYALTY is all about.


We got your back, Cush!

-Joe D.




2010 World's Strongest Athlete Contest date has been set!

Sunday, 09 May 2010 21:32


This is the first official announcement for this years World's Strongest Athlete Contest! We've decided to spread the word sooner this year so people have more time to train and make travel arrangements. Below you will find most of the details regarding the contest...I also strongly encourage everyone to check back often for more specific details regarding the actual events and charity info!


-This years event will be held on Saturday, July 17th at 12:00pm at Overtime Sports Facility in Wayne, NJ.

-Once again, there will be FOUR divisions:

High School Athletes (This category includes HS seniors that have graduated and will be enrolling in college in the fall.)

College Athletes (If you just graduated in the Spring 2010 semester, we are still allowing you to compete in this category.)

Professional Athletes (Professional Strongmen & Professional Powerlifters do NOT qualify for this contest.)

Police/Fire/Military Personnel

-If you want to compete in this contest, you MUST register ONLINE on the WSA Website BEFORE June 17, 2010!

-Payment for the contest is due THE DAY OF THE EVENT!! If you don't bring a check or cash, you will NOT be allowed to compete! Period.

-There will be a $10 entrance fee for all spectators.

-This years events are as follows:

600-pound Tire Flip: High School athletes will be required to flip the tire 3x. Police/Fire/Military will flip the tire 4x. College & Professional Athletes have to flip the tire 5x. This is a timed event.


60-Yard Farmers Walk: Athletes will be required to walk 30 yards, turn around a cone, and walk 30 yards back to the starting line. High School Athletes will carry 172 pounds in each hand. EVERY OTHER DIVISION will be carrying 202 pounds in each hand.


Seated Hand-Over-Hand Rope Pull: This event requires the athletes to pull a weighted sled that is attached to a 75-foot rope, hand-over-hand, until the sled reaches them. High School Athletes will be required to pull three 45-pound plates on the sled. Police/Fire/Military will pull four 45-pound plates. College & Pro Athletes will pull five 45-pound plates.


60-Yard Backward/Forward Sled Drag: This event requires the contestants to drag a sled backwards for 30 yards and then turn around and drag it forward for 30 yards to the finish. High School athletes will be dragging four 45-pound plates on the sled. Police/Fire/Military will drag five plates. College & Pro Athletes will drag six plates.


-ALL events will be performed on a FieldTurf surface.

-100% of the profits from this event will goto the National MS Society



I will continue to post info and more specifics regarding the contest on this site as things unfold. But I highly recommend checking out our official World's Strongest Athlete webpage at! This is where you must register for the contest, learn about sponsorships, send in your questions regarding the event, etc.!

This years event is going to be INSANE!! I'll be back with more info soon!

Until next time, take action and REGISTER TO COMPETE NOW!!!

-Joe D.




"Behind the Scenes" - Dynamic / Rep Upper Body Workout

Thursday, 22 April 2010 22:19


Check out "Behind the Scenes" as a couple of our high school athletes perform an upper body workout at our gym!

Here's a copy of the actual workout:


1. Tire Battles: 5x10-20 seconds (Vary time each set)

2. Flat DB Bench Press, palms in: 1xMax reps

3A. Inverted Rows, feet elevated (Thick Double-D handle): 3x10
3B. Underhand grip band pull-aparts: 3x12

4A. Cable Lateral Raises (thick handle): 2x10
4B. Seated DB Clean+Press: 2x10

5. Battling Ropes: 2x30 seconds

6. "Hercules" Hold (w/ entire weight stack): 2xMax time

Check out some highlights of the actual workout...

Let us know what you thought about the workout by leaving your feedback/questions in the comments section below!

-Joe D.


P.S. For those of you that have been emailing me regarding THE LOST SECRETS OF STRENGTH: BUSINESS FILES DVD/CD; I wanted to inform you that they are back in stock on our STORE page!



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