Interview by V.P. Health and Fitness expert Jill Rudison
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Hi Joey. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from a town called Sugar Grove, Illinois. Pretty much just like it sounds, the sweetest little place on earth.
How long have you been in Venice?
I’ve been in and around venice for 4 years, was living just down the road in the palisades last year and happily established residency in Venice in January 2011.
Tell us how you got into working out.
I was visiting my Grandma, or “Oma” as we call her, down in Florida and my brother decided he was going to the gym everyday. I had the choice of going with him or watching reruns of the Golden Girls with Oma. It was a tough call- I missed out on some laughs, but now I have muscles.
Did you know right then and there that you were destined to a career in fitness?
I didn’t see an angel or anything, but I did get a super-freak-a-leak pump that made me sprout a few chest hairs the next day. I liked the feeling of changing myself, becoming new. I was a late bloomer and a skinny kid my whole life prior. I decided if I was going to do it, I was going to do it perfectly. I trained and ate like a beast, and from 16-18 I put on 90 pounds of muscle. Failure is never an option, so all I do is win.
You recently appeared as a trainer on MTV’s “I Used To Be Fat” TV series. Tell us about that.
That was awesome! I was blessed to train a great kid named Jordan who inspired me as much as I inspired him. His transformation was incredible and the response from viewers has been amazing. Click here for video.
You’re an English teacher by trade. I’d be stoked (and slightly terrified) to come to your class. What do your students think of you? I bet you don’t get a lot of skippers!
I was voted “coolest teacher” for the school yearbook- boom! Everyone hears I teach in South Central and says, “Oh that’s tough! But I bet the kids don’t mess with you.” Kids are kids, no matter where they grow up. They all desire care and direction. They are respectful to me, because I respect them. None of them find me scary ha ha, not at all.
What do you think of the current health & fitness state of America’s youth?
It’s a dreadful abomination. What are YOU looking to do to change that? I want to make muscle and fitness cool again. I want to change young women’s minds about how they define beauty. I want to inspire a positive change in people’s perception. I want to make “Fit” the new Thin.
Whatever happened to the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge? Does that program still exist in the school system? (Did I just age myself? LOL.
Oh yeah, haven’t heard a thing about it since I was a kid. I bet you killed at the pull-up bar arm-hang Jill! Ha ha. I just asked my students, they said they still do it but the stationary arm-hang for girls was put to rest, finally.
Over the years, you have appeared on the cover of almost every fitness magazine and used to actively compete in BB. Take us for a walk down memory lane.
I wanted to go from a cornfield in Illinois to a nationally recognized leader in physical fitness and thereby become the best personal trainer on the earth. At the time, fitness magazines were the main stage for recognition and to build my business. I did my first competition as a teenager to get the attention of the magazines. It worked, and I did my first photo shoot shortly after. However, the magazines would only schedule me based on when my next contest took place. So, I competed to get magazine covers. Once I had my covers, and my training business took off, I was glad to say goodbye to the bodybuilding stage.
Will you ever compete again?
Nope. Never had much of an interest in competition to begin with.
What are some of your current fitness goals?
My current fitness goals rest in my clients. I will always maintain an elite level of physical fitness.
Give the VP readers a glimpse into your workout.
My workouts change daily. I train by instinct now. I don’t lift as heavy as I did when I was in college, but I still train hard as hell. I mix it up. Still haven’t gone without a 6 pack since 6th grade, it’s easy to maintain after 13 years of hard work and a foundation of power-lifting, strongman training.
What is the single-most hardest thing about getting in shape?
It always seems to be the diet. Remember, you can improve your shape from diet alone, but you can’t improve your shape from exercise alone. Diet is crucial.
Are there any insider tricks to the trade you can share with us?
Make a choice and stick to your guns. Simple as that. Success equals commitment, no magic tricks.
Tell us something about dieting that we didn’t know already. Enlighten us.
Hmmm… Gluten can be very useful in recovery after resistance training exercise. “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” -gluten is not inherently evil as many nutritionists argue.
You shared some great advice recently on the video for IUTBF. Can you recap some of that in regards to surviving a family dinner when you are dieting?
Be nice to your mom, don’t get freaky with the mastacholi, and make smart substitutes – Yum Yes Yay!
Tell us something that we wouldn’t know or even guess about you. A fun fact of sorts.
I love Hamlet to the point where I have much of the play memorized. Instead of singing, I say soliloquies in the shower. Is that fun or just nerdy? Nerdy, yup.
What do you think of Muscle Beach? Think it will ever be the great stomping ground it once was again?
Arnold made muscle cool. Once someone awesome comes along and makes it cool and healthy again, muscle beach will enjoy a renaissance era that will endure for generations. I know a guy…
Who inspired you?
My older brother Andreas got me into training and is my best friend. I always looked up to my father and grandfather for their self-sacrifice and faith in God.
What advice or words of encouragement can you offer others wanting to up their fitness game?
Stop reading. MOVE.
Describe Venice in 5 words:
Artistry, Adversity, Destiny, Diversity. Rad.
What is your favorite thing about Venice?
I walked down the boardwalk with no shirt for a photo shoot, a silver-painted man wearing a top hat and scuba mask pointed me out to his friend like I was a spectacle.
What is your least favorite thing about Venice?
The parking on weekends.
What is your favorite spot in Venice to grub?
Anyplace on Washington, because I can walk.
What is your idea of a perfect day in Venice?
Gold’s, Beach, BBQ, Abbot Kinney
How can people get in touch with you for training?
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