By Juan Rojas
Most of you reading this got into fitness one way or another and had to learn the basics of training, nutrition and supplementation. This could have been through personal research, through a book, or through a personal trainer. As you learned more and more, chances are there was somebody whose physique, strength and/or capabilities you admired. Somebody who inspired you to be your absolute best and who showed you that with hard work you can achieve your goals. Oftentimes, the people who inspire us are not necessarily people we see often. Thanks to modern technology, they are often people we learn from through avenues like YouTube, Instagram and magazines. Can you think of one person you have always admired ever since you began your fitness journey? Now imagine that you got to hang out with them and train with them for a few days! Well, that was one of the things I was able to scratch off of my bucket list.
Earlier this month I got the opportunity to be able to train with somebody who I have looked up to greatly ever since I started what I consider one of the most important journeys of my life. When I was 18 years old I became fascinated with bodybuilding. I was a very overweight kid all my life and at 17 years old had developed a severe eating disorder and was 140 lbs. at 5’7”. As I began to obsess with this beautiful sport of bodybuilding, I stumbled upon articles of a man they called Mountain Dog. He opened my mind to everything that I was doing wrong with my training and nutrition. I was under the impression that to put on muscle you had to eat endless amounts of protein and all the food in sight, that supplements were the most important part of seeing results and that moving weights was what made bodybuilders look the way they were. John’s articles and videos showed me that it was quite the opposite. That the body could only utilize so many nutrients at a time, that the quality of your food matters and that contracting muscles under heavy loads is what stimulates growth.
Throughout many years I have admired and looked up to John as he is known as a great family man, business man, bodybuilding coach, bodybuilder and human being. I have had the privilege of working with John in the past writing some magazine articles and I had the privilege of learning from him and world renowned coach James Seals Sr. as I trained in Ohio for a few days. These 2 gentlemen were kind enough to allow me to join them in their intense training sessions at American Barbell and I could not be more grateful. They even asked me what body parts I wanted to train and rearranged their whole training schedule around what I needed to work on. It was one of the best experiences of my life. We got to absolutely demolish some weights and I even got to spot John pressing 135 lb. dumbbells!
Apart from just training with John and James for a few days, I got to meet the John Meadows that is behind the social media and magazine cameras. He was a true gentleman and somebody I look up to even more now. We got to have the best sushi I have ever had in my life at FuGu Sushi and some delicious lemon ricotta pancakes from First Watch. A small breakfast restaurant in Ohio that offers locally grown foods prepared in a delicious manner.
John has been a huge influence in my life for almost a decade now and here are the 5 most valuable things I have learned from him:
1.Persistence mixed with hard efficient work will lead you to greatness. John did his first bodybuilding show at the age of 13 and had the dream of being an IFBB pro bodybuilder ever since that age. John kept coming extremely close to winning his pro card in many occasions. He could have quit at one of these points, but he kept pursuing his passions and got to obtain his IFBB pro card and even place extremely well at a few professional shows.
2.You can be a bodybuilder and still be successful at many other things in life. Oftentimes people think that to be a professional athlete you cannot do anything else in life. That your entire life must be devoted to this and you cannot have a family, a career, a job etc. John has had and continues to have an amazing family, many successful businesses and still manages to be an amazing pro bodybuilder.
3.You should not focus your attention on factors you cannot control. You think you have bad genetics? That you can’t burn fat, or you can’t build muscle? Who cares, because you can’t control this. You have to play with the cards that you were dealt and make the best situation out of your current state of affairs.
4.Listen to your body. So many people neglect listening to their body and they just continue to push until their body breaks down. Listening to your body is crucial in order to live a long healthy lifestyle and be in the best possible shape. I learned from John that if you are training, and an exercise is not feeling correct, or you feel like you might get hurt doing something, to move on. Your body tries to tell you many things but you have to listen to it.
5.Always be kind to others. If you take a look at John’s social media accounts or if you ever send him a message, he is always willing to help. John takes the time out of his day to educate others on health, training and nutrition. Many people including myself will never forget this and this fuels me to help others as well who may ask me for help.
Getting to spend time with John Meadows training and talking about life is an opportunity I will always be grateful for. Make sure to check out the training videos below! The amount of things I learned in terms of my fitness journey and overall life are priceless to me. Make sure to check out John on Instagram at @mountaindog1 , on YouTube as MountainDog1 and his website where he was an amazing subscription service at MountainDogDiet.com.
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.