Have you been keeping up with Muscle and Fitness Magazine? To be honest, I haven’t. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t have; my backside has gotten a tad less firm since I left UC Berkeley. Well, if you’d caught a glance of M&F, while you waited at the checkout to purchase a Twix, you may have read about Juggernaut Training Systems. JTS Strength is a relatively new gym founded by Chad Smith. They opened in 2009 and have been on a tear helping athletes produce stellar marks in (get ready for the list): Football, Track and Field, Jiu Jitsu, Water Polo, Swimming, Soccer, Baseball… okay there’s more, but as you can see JTS has become a massive resource for strength and conditioning training. Chad has built an excellent team that’s producing great results.
As for Chad, he and I competed together at the University of California, Berkeley. He received All-American honors as a thrower and continues to compete as a weightlifter! Most recently, he set the American Record for the squat in his weight class. 905 lbs! BOOM! There’s a video of his record setting lift below.
Aside from the gym and his own athletic pursuits, Chad recently completed two books, The Juggernaut Physical Preparation Manual and The Juggernaut Method: Strength, Power and Speed for the Lifter and Athlete. To top it all off, he serves as a Strength & Conditioning consultant for some of the top DI Universities in the NCAA.
I tracked Chad down to uncover info on how he did it, JTS’s mission, and just how much more I have to lift to catch up to him in the gym…
What’s the Story? How did you start this massive endeavor?
Juggernaut began when I decided to pass on an Assistant Coaching position at Cal. Strength and conditioning had long been a passion of mine and when I decided to stay in Southern CA, I was approached by my physical therapist about the idea of opening my own facility. We had never formally discussed my interest in S&C, but I’d mentioned in passing while I was lying on the table getting treatment. From these conversations though, she knew I had a vision and trusted me to execute it.
Juggernaut prides itself on working against convention. What’s the problem with traditional S&C’s approach?
There are numerous issues I have with many different strength and conditioning protocols, ranging from the use of gimmicks for novelty’s sake, inappropriate loading protocols, bad technique, lack of a comprehensive plan, and the list goes on. Too many coaches are only thinking within the context of the weight room, not understanding that everything an athlete does in the course of a practice (sprinting, jumping, hitting an opponent, etc) impose a stress to the body in the same way that lifting a barbell does. This lack of foresight leads them to overload the athlete in the weight room because they are not crediting the stimulus they receive in practice as something that can enhance their abilities. For example, we train lots of volleyball players who are jumping for dozens or hundreds of times in practice each day, so why then would I continue to have them perform more jump training in their physical preparation? Instead they need to strengthen the musculature that is responsible for jumping, correct muscular imbalances and train for explosive triple extension without adding further stress to the knees in landings (i.e. Medicine ball throws, jumps onto soft surfaces). I think where Juggernaut sets itself apart is in our examination of how the athlete actually moves within the context of their sporting contest and that we think about the long-term development, as opposed to just short-term results.
You work with the most dedicate athletes. In fact, you are one. What advice would you give those who want to get in shape but can’t dedicate the same amount of time to getting “Jacked.”
If someone is pressed for time, they need to focus on movements that will provide them with the most ‘bang for their buck,’ which are going to be compound barbell lifts, sprints and jumps. If someone only had an hour 3x/week to train, they could perform a dynamic warm-up, sprints or jumps and a squatting, pushing and pulling exercise. That, in addition abs each session will provide great results.
I read a couple of recipes in your “Jacked Cookbook-Breakfast,” one included 8 slices of Turkey Bacon! I love Turkey Bacon as much as the next person but wonder, do these meals get less intimidating as you continue to workout?
(Laughs) well those recipes are actually what I eat and since I’m 6-1 315 pounds, they could probably be scaled to other people’s size. Like anything though, it takes time to work up to. I train lots of high school guys who are trying to gain weight and if I told them in 1 day to go from their regular diet, to the way that I eat, they might last a day or two and then give up on it. You need to increase (or decrease as the case may be) your intake steadily. The same thing goes for training, to tell someone to put 500 pounds on the bar, when they’ve never even done 300, is foolish, you need to progress steadily over a period of weeks, months and years. Training is a marathon, not a sprint and needs to be part of your lifestyle.
Any nutrition advice for those looking to lean out?
The most important thing that people can do when trying to lean out, is to avoid eating carbs in the morning hours. A great breakfast for fat burn will consist of proteins, veggies and FATS, because the body’s hormone levels in the morning don’t react well with carbs. Fats need to be a key part of your diet too, obviously though they need to be the right type. Oils like Olive and Coconut oil, as well as natural peanut butter, avocados, and almonds are great sources of good dietary fats. Keep yourself no/low carb prior to your training for the day, just focusing on proteins, veggies and fats and then after training eat proteins and carbs from good sources like sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice.
Do you have criteria for those looking to train with you?
I’m happy to work with anyone who is serious about working towards his or her physical goal, whatever that may be. Certainly the overwhelming majority of our clients are competitive athletes, ranging from high school to the professional level.
I deadlifted 308lbs a couple of months ago. Tell me, what’s your max? Just checking to see how I compare…
You’re a stud, Brook. I have deadlifted 785* pounds in a meet and am looking to go over 800 at my meet in December.
What are you thankful for?
I’m thankful for my family and their unwavering support of my goals. I was adopted at birth and couldn’t imagine being raised by a more perfect family. My dad and brothers are all great role models for me as I try to grow into a man of God and eventually a husband and father.
I’ll have a video of my challenge deadlift later…I only have 477lbs to go to catch up!
I’m going to eat some protein.