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John Robert Cardillo

John Robert Cardillo

John traveled the world to learn the best training and nutrition principles and trained alongside top pro bodybuilders at Gold's Gym California. He was a student of Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus and Medx Fitness machines, and the pioneer of hi-intensity training. John developed the HIT3 Training System, which transformed his physique to win countless bodybuilding competitions at just 18 years of age! He was also the first bodybuilder to utilize Faradic Electric Muscle Stimulation in his training and intermittent fasting during his competition prep. John’s SHREDDED Nutrition Diet helped him build one of the most shredded physiques of all time. His diet program incorporates fasting and nutrient timing to help athletes build lean muscle while losing body fat.

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Brains and Brawn - The John Cardillo Story - Catching The Iron bug

To have a successful career in bodybuilding, it takes more brains than brawn. No one's a better example of this than Canadian bodybuilding champion and business entrepreneur John Cardillo. A self-made man who at age 15 and weighing just 122 pounds, decided to start weight training to get bigger with the hope of making his high school football team. Within a year, he packed on 40 pounds of solid muscle and made the starting lineup of the team! To improve his performance on the field, he started weight training. This is also when he started reading about Arnold Schwarzenegger who became one of his role models. Each workout motivated John Cardillo like nothing he'd ever experienced. He loved training so much that he decided to replace playing football with lifting weights! 

At age sixteen, John decided he wanted to be a bodybuilder and so his journey started. He went on to become one of Canada’s best bodybuilders at the time, a successful fitness entrepreneur and now a writer and educator of his training systems. 

Catching The Iron Bug

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you developed your passion for weight training? 

A. As a young boy, I was thin and had a hard time gaining weight. In grade eight, I liked watching NFL football and I decided I wanted to play football in high school. I started reading Sports Illustrated which explained that football players spent their off season lifting weights. So I decided to go to the YMCA to lift some iron get to help me make the football team. I was really determined and made the starting lineup and we won our district championships that year!

Q. Who made you get into bodybuilding?

A. Arnold Schwarzenegger! I started reading muscle magazines about Arnold and the incredible physique he had. My focus switched from playing football to weight training for bodybuilding.

Q. How much did you weigh in your best competition shape? 

A. The last time I competed I weighed 228 pounds and was in the best shape of my life. I was just 23 years of age.

Q. In that time frame you gained over 100 pounds of muscle? 

A. Yes! But it's important to clarify that my body was also growing naturally as I was getting taller and maturing through puberty etc. But the weight training was key in getting bigger and gaining muscle.

Q. Can you give us a brief history on your early success with bodybuilding? 

A. I entered my first bodybuilding competition at 17 and to my surprise won the Ontario Junior Championships. The following year I decided to enter the Senior Ontario Championships for experience, and surprisingly I won. Which was really cool because I beat guys double my age who I looked up to. To this day I’m still the youngest to have ever won the Senior Ontario Bodybuilding Championships.

Q. Did you have a coach or a trainer? 

A. Not a formal one. I did have a trainer for 6 months, who introduced me to Hi-Intensity training. I also started reading workout literature on Arthur Jones about hi-intensity exercise. That changed everything for me. Before learning about Arthur Jones’s training methods, I was training 6 days a week; sometimes twice a day. Which really left me tired and not making a progress. After switching to Arthur Jones' methods of shorter hi-intensity training, I started making incredible improvements in muscle size and strength.

Q. You made more improvements by training LESS? 

A. That's correct! Jones taught me how to attack each muscle by training to absolute muscular failure. This meant that I didn’t have to do more than a few sets for each body part. He also had me cut my training back to 3 days a week. Each workout never lasted more than one hour.

Q. Can you tell us more about Arthur Jones?

A. Arthur Jones really was a genius at what he knew. He was the inventor of Nautilus Fitness machines and Medx equipment. His training literature and exercise machines revolutionized the bodybulding and fitness industry. When I was 16, I decided to travel to Florida to meet him and be trained by him. The experience changed everything about my training. He taught me the raw basics of hi-intensity training and how not to waste time in the gym. I incorporated his hi-intensity method into my bodybuilding workout routines. I really respected Arthur Jones and stayed in touch with him until he died. 

For more info on John Cardillo, check out his website at johnrobertcardillo.com or right here at Muscle Insider at John Cardillo.