Interview with John Meadows
April 9, 2012
“Most guys live in fear of overtraining, we don’t. When you sequence your exercises a certain way, totally saturate your body with nutrition around training, and give your body time to rest, your body can do amazing things.”
You’ve competed in bodybuilding from the age of 13, and you’ve been very successful, who were your influences? How did you get started?
When I got started I was motivated just by reading Muscle and Fitness. They had it at a local sundry store where we bought household goods, and I would sit on the floor reading and marveling at the pics. I knew from that age, that I wanted to get bigger and stronger, more than anyone had ever been in my hometown!
As a teenager my football coach started driving me to Columbus Ohio (an hour north of where I lived), so that I could train at Worlds Gym with all the big guys. He knew I loved that, and was happy to help me. I grew up very poor, so this really helped me (didn’t have to pay for gas, or workout at gym). Those guys seemed massive to me. I just loved training around people bigger and smarter than me. I tried to soak up everything I could.
I also at the time was reading anything I could get my hands on by Tom Platz. I heard him at two seminars, and he was without a doubt, the one guy I wanted to emulate.
I read that you used to train at Westside, with guys like Dave Tate, what’s it like to be training with him again?
It’s great. Back in the 90′s at Westside the atmosphere was electric (I’m sure it still is). When Dave and I train, we have that same electric atmosphere, it’s just that the training is different. We push each other to the brink. You can sort of see it in the training videos we put out, but being there you can see how psychotic we really are. It may seem extreme, but there are methods to what we are doing, and a reason for everything. Most guys live in fear of overtraining, we don’t. When you sequence your exercises a certain way, totally saturate your body with nutrition around training, and give your body time to rest, your body can do amazing things.
You’re also working with Antoine Vaillant (one of my favourite pros), how do you manage to push someone at that level even harder? What’s your approach?
My training is geared toward making good people great, and great people even better. My training is certainly not for beginners. Guys like Antoine have bodies that can and will adapt to whatever you throw at it. It’s common sense really, the bigger you get, the harder it is to keep getting bigger right? So with guys like Antoine, he is going to get the full treatment. We are going to blast hard, but again it’s done in a way that keeps you from getting injured, allows for proper recuperation etc. The main thing I would say, is that you can’t do the same stuff over and over again. At some point, this quits working. Keep it simple works great for beginners, for advanced bodybuilders, not so much. We use a lotof accommodating resistance in the form of bandwork (chains are coming soon to his workouts), as well. This is completely overlooked and misunderstood in bodybuilding. Powerlifters are way ahead of bodybuilders in this respect. I plan on changing that though!
You’ve written a lot of great articles on nutrition and digestion, what motivated you to learn about that? What advice would you give someone looking to improve their diet and digestive health? Would you look at removing gluten and dairy, for example?
Well I almost died from an intestinal disorder. I had a disease called idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of the mesenteric vein. Long story short, I ended up in shock and bleeding to death and was rushed into emergency story where I was minutes from dying. I had my entire large intestine/colon removed. After that, I was REALLY interested in how the digestive system works!
Removing gluten is always a good thing. Dairy, if it’s been altered by man is good to get rid of too. Fresh organic raw dairy is great, but is like trying to find a needle in a haystack to find thanks to our wonderful gov’t that cares so much about our health.
Nutrition itself has always been a passion of mine. As I continued to study and read over the years, I began to see how incredibly ignorant I was with my low fat high carb dogmatic thinking, not understanding the value and necessity of fat. Same for cholesterol, I bought into the whole eating fat and cholesterol will give you heart disease baloney. I could go on, but let’s just say mainstream thought is pretty much a big scam when it comes to nutrition.
How do you structure your diet off-season?
I do not track macros, or calories, I just enjoy eating lots of wholesome food, and I do try to eat when I get hungry (which is often). I am not a die-hard eat 6 or 7 meals a day kind of guy, but I have a pretty big appetite, so it seems like I am constantly chewing on something. I typically have shakes for my first two meals during the day because I am so busy with work. I try to keep carbs low during the early part of the day because I just simply feel sharper. At lunch I opt for whole foods such as organic eggs, and a good healthycarb such as Ezekiel toast or sweet potatoes. I usually eat again before I leave work, maybe a few more eggs and some nuts for example. When I get home from work, I usually have some sort of fish or grass-fed beef with some oats. I mix in a nut butter such as almond butter into the oats as this is my preworkout meal usually. The fat slows the entry of glucose into bloodstream a bit, so I don’t have a big insulin dump, and the subsequent reactive hypoglycemia that follows. This gives me a nice steady level of energy throughout a long workout. When I get home I typically have more fish and big plate of rice. I might even have another shake before I go to bed. I eat veggies as often as I can too, especially cruciferous veggies.
Some of your exercises are now staples in my training, particularly the pec minor dip and Meadows rows, do you have a favorite?
Hmm… I have lots of favorites. In terms of just simple exercises here you go:
Back – Meadows Rows or One arm barbell rows.
Biceps – Barbell curls with Grip4orce attachments.
Triceps – After tons of pushdowns and flexing type movements, kettlebell lying extensions are my current favorite.
Shoulders – High rep rear delts via dumbell rear laterals.
Abs – V Ups.
Chest – Incline barbell on slight incline.
Hams – Leg curls (lying).
Quads – Safety bar squats.
Now what I love the most is chain work… squats, deads, and benches all with chains….
How can our readers find out more about you?
You can friend me on Facebook (man that sounds weird), and also “like” the Mountain Dog Diet page. I also have a YouTube channel under the handle mountaindog1. My website is Mountain Dog Diet - John Meadows
My website has an “express” site that is available for a small token monthly fee and contains:
Workouts of the month so you can try out the training style
Interviews with some of the brightest minds in the health and nutrition field
An advanced nutrition article
An article of interest that could be about anything such as recovery modalities, stretching, training, etc.
An “in the trenches type article outlining specific contest prep of various individuals
Plus as a member you are able to email me questions directly, and I will answer them for you, within reason
Not bad for 8 or 9 bucks a month!
I also write quite a bit for T-Nation, so be sure to check out my articles there, and I do write for Muscle and Fitness, so often you will see I have articles published in hardcopy there.
Interview with John Meadows | Propane Fitness