It is said that one hour talk with a smart person is worth a lifetime of reading! That is exactly how I felt, taking this interview with Jordan Syatt- a strength training and nutritional consultant, and a competitive Powerlifter! Take the time to read what he shared with us, and I promise you that his words will light a fire inside of you. A fire that will drive a desire to learn more, to know more and to workout more! No matter how what I say to describe Jordan, words would just belittle the great person and expert he is! That is why I will just let him introduce himself…
Ines Subashka: Introduce yourself.
Jordan Syatt: Thanks for having me, Ines! It’s always a pleasure getting to know and work with other coaches on an international basis.
My name is Jordan Syatt and I’m a strength training and nutritional consultant. I am the owner & operator of www.syattfitness.com and I specialize in fat loss, mass gain, and athletic performance.
For those who are interested in credentials, I am Westside Barbell certified, have interned under Louie Simmons and Eric Cressey, and I am studying Health Behavior Science at the University of Delaware.
Additionally, I am a competitive Powerlifter with personal best lifts of a 415lb Squat, 250lb Bench Press, and 405lb Deadlift at a body weight of 132lbs.
Fitness aside, I am an avid traveler and a huge practical jokester. I tend to have entirely too much fun wherever I go and I’m always up for a glass of nice whiskey.
IS: How long have you been lifting weights? How did everything begin?
JS: I first began training at 8 years old when I joined my town’s youth wrestling program. Most, if not all, of my training was strictly bodyweight, but those training sessions were the spark which ignited the fire and got me interested in the relationship between training and performance.
When I entered high school, at 14 years of age, I beat a 17 year old for the starting spot on the varsity wrestling team and concurrently began weight training. From that point on my passion has revolved around training, nutrition, and performance, and learning how to optimize all three in order to achieve various goals.
IS: Have you been involved in some other sports before that?
JS: Throughout my childhood my mother was very good at getting me to participate in a variety of sports.
Because of her I competitively played soccer, baseball, basketball, and wrestling, not to mention the numerous sports I played on a recreational basis such as hockey, football, lacrosse, and tennis.
IS: How do people around you accept what you do?
JS: I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by people who sincerely care about me and support my lifestyle.
I know many people have serious issues in regard to their friends and family not accepting their chosen career path. I am lucky enough to say that the majority of my friends and family wholeheartedly support me in any and all of my endeavors.
IS: Do you have a nutrition plan that you follow? If yes, do you meet disapproval from you friends?Or do they understand why you eat the way you do?
JS: While I don’t follow one specific diet, I tend to eat fairly “clean.” In other words, the majority of my dietary intake comes from whole/unprocessed products such as fruits, vegetables, and various meat/protein sources. I don’t meticulously track my calorie intake, but I do have a very good idea of how much protein and energy I take in each day.
That being said, I allow myself a fair bit of leeway when out with friends and family so as to enjoy my favorite “unclean” foods. My mother’s pineapple upside-down cake is a personal favorite.
On the other hand, when preparing and dieting down for a competition my diet becomes much more rigid. I track my calorie/macronutrient intake and become less lenient with my food choices. While I don’t allow my nutrition to negatively impact my social life, it definitely makes me stand out amongst my peers, especially in a University setting.
IS: Do you take supplements and what is your opinion about them?
JS: I consistently supplement with:
– Whey & Casein Protein Powder
– Fish Oil
– Vitamin D
– Calcium – I am lactose intolerant so I don’t eat dairy
I’m totally fine with supplements – If they are scientifically proven to be safe and effective and they make life easier…why not?
I think the major issue with supplements is when individuals attempt to use them as a primary means of achieving their goal. Nothing beats proper training and nutrition – nothing!
In fact, a recent study investigated various supplements and their effects on fat loss. The authors stated “There is no strong research evidence indicating that one specific supplement will produce significant weight loss (>2kg), especially long-term.” You can access the study here
IS: What advice would you give to people struggling with their diets? What tips help you stay on track?
JS: This is a tough question because there are so many individual factors that come into play. However, if I had to pick a couple of things that have really helped me and my clients, I would say:
1) Find a diet that you can maintain in the long-term! If your current eating patterns are excruciatingly difficult to follow, make you feel like an outcast, and/or simply aren’t enjoyable, then stop! This is not conducive to long-term success and will suck the fun from your life.
2) What works for your best friend might not work for you. Different people have different needs, preferences, goals, schedules, and lifestyles. Find what works for YOU!
3) Be open to being wrong. Many people unconsciously associate their diet with their ego. They become attached to it and believe that their diet is unquestionably correct. With new and improved research constantly coming out we must all be open to the possibility of being wrong in order to make necessary and appropriate changes.
4) What works for you at one point in your life might not work for you later on. This goes along with number 3 – be willing to change!
IS: What does sport mean to you and does it change your life in some way?
JS: I am a highly competitive individual and I love the nature of competition in sport.
I think there is a lot to be said for athletes who have the willpower, motivation, and ability to dedicate an extraordinary amount of time and effort to optimizing their performance.
Sport has changed my life in so many ways it’s impossible to single one out over the others. Suffice to say that without sport and competition, my life would be nowhere near as fulfilling and enjoyable as it is today.
IS: Most people think that healthy living is a burden! Did you ever have a time in your life, when you regretted that you work so hard in the gym and in the kitchen , instead of spending your time hanging out with friends and indulging in junk food?
JS: When I was in high school I was thoroughly misinformed. I was heavily involved in “bro-science” and subsequently believed various fitness myths which made my life far more difficult than necessary.
Unfortunately I was that kid who refused to eat ice cream, birthday cake, pizza, popcorn, etc because I thought it was inherently bad for me. I was that kid who would often choose training over hanging out with friends. While I did enjoy this time in my life and had a lot of fun, there were numerous moments when I wished I didn’t care about training/nutrition so I could “be like everyone else.”
My views have drastically changed since my high school days and I now have a much more balanced approach to training and nutrition. I am able to incorporate fitness and fun into a balanced lifestyle while including my friends and family.
IS: How did you came up with the idea to run a website and help people achieve their goals?
JS: The idea for a website was born when I was 18 and thought I knew everything about everything. I was living in Israel and my best friend David told me I should create a website and write a book – I thought it was genius!
Soon thereafter I would discover I knew nothing about everything and was in fact a massive ignoramus.
Several years later following numerous internships, having read dozens of books, and having acquired a significant amount of experience, I found myself amidst my first conversation with JC Deen of www.jcdfitness.com. I had messaged him on facebook and we began to regularly speak about training, nutrition, and various aspects of life in general.
JC, being the generous guy that he is, eventually offered to let me write a guest article, and then he helped me set up and launch what is now www.syattfitness.com.
This all snowballed very quickly and my site is now a bigger success than I ever dreamed imaginable. I work with countless individuals via e-mail and get to see them progress physically, mentally, and emotionally on a daily basis. To say that I am one of the luckiest people in the world would be a colossal understatement.
IS: As a guy that has been involved in the industry what would you tell all the women out there who are afraid of lifting weights because they do not wanna get bulky?
JS: Women (as well as men) need to regularly partake in some form of strength training.
I could review the science and speak for days about how women won’t get bulky through training with heavy weights. However, I’m well aware that no one cares nor wants to listen to me babble about that stuff which is why I conducted an interview with professional female Powerlifter, Jean Fry.
Jean was generous enough to answer numerous questions on the topic of women and strength training and thoroughly de-bunked the myth that strength training causes women to get bulky. This interview is one of my most popular articles to date and I highly encourage everyone to read and share it with their friends and family. You can access it here
Additionally, a recent client of mine wrote about her experiences with strength training and how she overcame much of the dogma associated with women and heavy lifting. You can read about Jane’s success story here
Finally, GirlsGoneStrong is a facebook group and community created by numerous very strong (and beautiful) women. They are extremely supportive and offer fantastic advice. Check them out here
IS: What advice would you give to people who enter the gym for the first time?
JS: 1) Train full-body compound movements such as variations of the Squat, Deadlift, Lunges, Overhead Press, Chin-ups, Rows, and Pushups.
2) Train for strength while consistently aiming to improve through using more weight and/or adding more repetitions. Stick to the lower rep-ranges (1-8) and really build a solid foundation of strength.
3) Don’t forget about your backside! The mirror muscles are great, but train your hamstrings, glutes, erectors, and back just as much (if not more) than your quads, chest, anterior delts, etc.
4) A proper warm-up includes self myofascial release (i.e. foam rolling), and various mobility and activation drills. This can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes depending on the individual and their needs. Prepare your body to train or you will get injured.
5) Have fun! Training is a blast; you’ll inevitably go through good and bad times, but learn to enjoy the ride and appreciate the challenges as they come.
IS: If you had to describe your training philosophy with just a sentence, what would it be?
JS: Science, practice, strength, and a whole lot of fun.
IS: How would you finish the sentence “ I workout because…”
JS: I workout because I want them gunzz! Just kidding 🙂
Truthfully, I workout because I love learning, facing new challenges, and watching myself overcome various obstacles time and time again.
Thanks again, Ines. It’s been a pleasure.
IS: Make sure to visit his website and read his outstanding articles!