Ripped To Shreds! Interview with Jason Hardy
This interview has been long overdue as this is something I have been dying to share. I’ve known Jason ever since the 6th grade while going to school with his sister.
It wasn’t until about 9-10 months ago, however, that Jason and I connected again and started discussing everything fitness. It was during that time that I got to see one of the biggest transformations to date. When first talking with Jason, he was sitting around 10% body fat and in his transformation was able to drop all the way down to 4% body fat… Simply incredible.
Jason’s journey is an inspiration to all of those around him and I am excited he is now sharing his story with you. Get ready to be inspired! Jason, take it away:
Name: Jason Hardy
Current Weight: 175
What motivated you to change your body and the way you look?
When you grow up playing sports your entire childhood, you are forever engrained with the mentality of an athlete. I don’t care how far removed you are from your playing days—you will always think you still have it.
I thought I still had it…until the summer of 2011. My pants didn’t fit, I weighed 20 lbs more than I did in college, and I was completely out of shape. It pretty much hit me at once. I knew I needed a change, but the task was daunting. Change my diet, start doing cardio, and….hit the weight room. Pretty much all of that scared me. I loved fast food, despised vegetables, couldn’t stand cardio, and was intimidated by weights. Walking into the gym I felt like an elderly person at Best Buy. I wanted to make healthy sustainable changes, but I needed something to jump start the process…
How did you get started in fitness?
In September of 2011, I was in the midst of traveling and adventuring when I decided to buy a bicycle and a ride from Vancouver, Canada to the Mexican border. The main reason I did it was to spend time alone and in nature with God, but a secondary benefit was that it would kick start my journey into the world of fitness. After completing the bicycle trip, I decided to ride the momentum and finally put a weight lifting plan into place.
A few weeks later, I watched the movie “Crazy Stupid Love” on a plane. I love Emma Stone. I think she’s great. I would very much like to take her out for a drink someday. Now, I know that the chance of that happening is one in a million (so I’m telling you there’s a chance), but if it ever does happen, I want her to think I look photoshopped. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. From then on, being “photoshopped” became the joke between my roommates and friends about my motivation for working out.
What is your favorite workout routine? And what workout routine works best for you?
When I was trying to gain size, I preferred a four day split (Legs, chest, back, shoulders/arms). For size, I like focusing on individual muscle groups (and not supersetting). It’s hard to fully work out your back when your biceps are drained or your chest when your triceps are exhausted.
My favorite routine is for cutting/maintenance— a 3-day split (chest/bi, back/tri, shoulders/legs, core every day) done twice per week with 1 day off. My plan revolves around circuit training. On chest and bicep day, I do a chest exercise followed immediately by a bicep exercise followed immediately by a core exercise. Repeat that 3 to 4 times and you have one circuit. I do 3 to 4 circuits per workout, followed by 5 to 15 minutes of sprints or interval training.
What does your diet look like?
My diet is pretty consistent. I have a few guidelines I follow, but I’m not one to add up calories.
- As long as it’s quality food, I don’t think twice about eating it.
- I am not afraid of carbs, I consume 60-80g simple carbs post workout
- On days with multiple training sessions, high carb meals are a must
- I eat frequently
- Cut down on sugars and sodium
- Get at least one gram of protein per lb of body weight
- Drink at least a gallon of water per day
I work out every weekday morning at 6:30am, come home and drink a whey protein shake with simple carbs while I make breakfast.
- Breakfast consists of 1/3 cup steel cut oatmeal, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of turkey bacon and a banana.
- Greek yogurt, granola and an apple for a snack before lunch.
- Lunch is usually a sandwich or a chicken/veggie/brown rice stir fry.
- Snack before dinner is a protein shake (they are my dessert, I love them) and some fruit or hardboiled eggs.
- Dinner is usually a chicken and vegetable stir fry.
- Before bed, I will have a banana and a casein or protein blend shake.
(Note from Dennis: Jason is a walking example showing you that counting calories is a waste of time. If you eat the right foods at the right times, your body will naturally burn fat.)
If you could pick only five exercises to do, what would they be?
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Pull Ups
- Barbell Squats
- Machine Rows
What is your preference when it comes to doing cardio?
High intensity interval and sprints. I play soccer 3-4 days per week and softball once a week, so I focus my training towards fast movements and short bursts of speed. I want to be able to out run and out last my opponents every single game. I’ve actually been able to do that recently. It feels really good to have my training pay off in games.
What supplements do you take?
Outside of whey, casein and blended protein shakes, I’m a fan of BCAAs (for health benefits and they taste good ha) and glutamine. I have tried micronized creatine from time to time, but never for long… and I take Target gummy vitamins. Ha. But seriously. I never forget to take my vitamins when they double as fruit snacks. The problem is eating just 2…
What advice would you give others just starting on their fitness journey?
The biggest piece of advice is to make LONG TERM goals! A sustainable fitness lifestyle is not founded on immediate gratification. You can and should have short term checkpoints, but set your goals in the distance. Visible results are quicker for some and slower for others, but the results you dream about only come with time.
(Note: GREAT advice!)
What motivates you each day to keep going?
At first it was the goal to get healthy, next it was the goal to get “photoshopped”, now I have found new motivation in soccer. After so many years off, I have fallen back in love with the game and want to push myself and train my tail off to see just how good I can be.
I also wanted to see how low I can get my body fat percentage to. I was 10% on March 1st and got as low as 4.0% on July 3rd. I followed Dennis’ carb cycling program (and customized it for my schedule) and it helped me get to where I did.
Any inspiration quotes you want to share?
“Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” The memes are funny, but the message is true. Leg training is a huge factor in the success of your fitness aspirations. Plus people with big upper bodies and little legs look funny.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Frenetic: Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way: “a frenetic pace of activity.” Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am always moving and just keep going. I’ve always been that way. Oh, and sometimes I’m a little crazy.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in terms of fitness?
Consistency. I am in the best shape of my life and I crave time in the gym and on the field on a daily basis. Also, I eat vegetables. If that’s not an accomplishment for me then I don’t know what else is. I went 26 years of my life without eating them.
What is the biggest fitness “myth” that you hear or see people doing everyday?
People thinking jogging and mild cardio is their best way to lose weight. I watch people come into the gym, jog on a treadmill and leave. Jogging and light cardio is a good first step and a small piece of building a healthy lifestyle, but the best results from a healthy diet combined with weight lifting and interval training.
(Note: Perfectly said. Jogging can be a starting point but you should very soon after transition into eating healthy and going hard in your workouts.)
How do you continue to look so good while working so many hours each week?
Dennis, this is a funny question. I work 40-50 hours per week as a producer at a commercial insurance agency. I am able to maintain my appearance by working out before work when the gym is empty, eating healthy, and staying active in recreational sports leagues at night. I even go running on lunch breaks a couple times a week.
Living with 3 other guys who are all healthy and active really helps. Being surrounded with friends who eat healthy and live actively keeps me on track. Joel is a yoga instructor and trains with me in the garage, JR plays rugby and works out in our garage too, and DJ plays soccer and runs. He also calls me out when he sees me eating poorly. It’s pretty funny and very helpful.
Lastly, it honestly helps being single. Most of my nights can be filled with sports leagues or general fitness activities. I know I’ll have to make some sacrifices when a relationship comes around, but it would be helpful (and super fun) to find someone also passionate about fitness to exercise with.
Any other last words?
For guys trying to put on weight- do not be afraid to eat, and eat a lot. You need protein, carbs and a caloric surplus to put on size. Don’t waste your time in the weight room by not eating sufficiently. You won’t get fat. Eat up.
For girls- don’t be afraid of weights. Used correctly, they are very much your friends. Lift heavy—you don’t have the necessary testosterone to look like a man. Challenge yourself–work hard and you will look feminine and fit. Squats. Lunges. Deadlifts. Compound Upperbody movements. Then fine tune later.
For everyone- Find something you love to train for. When I am doing sprints, I envision being faster than anyone else on the soccer field. Find a training activity that you love doing. One of my friends loves her yoga sculpt classes (yoga that incorporates weights) so we made her a training program that includes two to three classes per week.
Jason’s Advice: Make it fun
I love gadgets and gizmos, so I’ve purchased a few things to make working out more fun for me. If you love shoes, go out and buy a nice pair. If you like clothes, buy some sweet workout clothes. If you love tech, go out and…
Buy a Heart Rate Monitor
One of the best things that I have done for my training is the purchase of a heart rate monitor (mine is a Bluetooth model made by Zephyr). I use an app called “Endomondo” along with the monitor to keep track of my heart rate to track how hard I train each session. Especially with circuit & interval training, it’s all about keeping your heart rate up. My monitor is like my accountability partner; if I have a low average in the middle of my workout, I know I have to work harder the rest of my workout.
Buy an app
I prefer Endomondo, but buy an app that will track your progress and offer features you will use. Many apps, including Endomondo, will track your distance, times, and heart rate if you have a monitor. They also have features like interval training modes that can help you progress and add variety to your routines.
If you found this inspiring and motivational, PLEASE Share it with your friends!
Also, be sure to follow Jason on Instagram at: @hardyfitness