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John Robert Cardillo
John travelled 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.
One On One with Kassandra Gillis
Q. Kassandra, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We are pleased that you will share a bit of background information with our Muscle Insider readers. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A. I’m 27 years old, married and a mother of a five-year-old boy.
Q. How long have you been training?
A. I started training in 2017 after having my son.
Q. It’s obvious that you have great genetics. How was your physique before you started weight training?
A. I’d say I always had an athletic-looking physique, although there was a point when I was a teenager when I was pretty thin. I always had shape to my delts and arms even before I started training.
Q. What motivated you to enter physique competitions?
A. When I started working out, people would take notice at the gym and ask if I competed. I thought it was crazy; I had so much respect for competitors. I never thought I’d be able to stand onstage in a bikini. There was a point in my life I was self-conscious to wear shorts. The more I thought about it, the more I had the urge to give it a try.
Q. What was the first competition you entered, and how did you do?
A. Popeyes Fall Classic in 2018. I competed in Figure and won the overall.
Q. What competitions have you won?
A. Popeyes Fall Classic 2018, South America Olympia Amateur Medellin 2020 (Pro Card win), Chicago Pro 2021, and Toronto SuperShow 2021.
Q. Who has inspired you the most in the bodybuilding world and why?
A. My husband was a huge inspiration to me. His transformation motivated me. He’s lost about 100 pounds. The females that motivated me when I first started were Vivi Winkler, Steph Sanzo, Anita Herbert and Lauren Simpson.
Q. In my opinion, you have a perfectly structured physique to compete in the Wellness division. Is this the division that you want to excel in, or would you consider any other division?
A. Absolutely, Wellness was the look that motivated me to really want to start putting on muscle. We didn’t yet have that category in the IFBB, so I trained and competed in Figure.
Q. What was the first Wellness division competition that you competed in?
A. Milwaukee Pro Show 2021.
Q. You were in great shape at the October 2021 Ms. Olympia; however, to my surprise, you only placed 11th. I had you at least in the top five. What was your takeaway from that competition?
A. I had a lot of people say that, and although I was disappointed in my placement, the judges placed me there for a reason. Like my coach, Chris Gurunlian, says, “Aim for great results without expecting them. It’s not a sport like football, basketball, or hockey where you can simply outscore the other team with your own style of play and succeed. This is a judged sport and in turn, your goal as an athlete and coach should be to provide the judges with what they want to see as only their opinion matters.” We did just that and competed in three shows after the Olympia to continue to learn and improve. This led me to requalifying for the Olympia in 2022 and getting an invite to the Arnold Classic in March.
Q. The next competition I saw you in was in December 2021, when you won the Toronto Pro SuperShow Wellness division. Again, you looked terrific. How would you compare the shape you were in for the Toronto show versus the Ms. Olympia?
A. We had to downsize and come in not as hard. I think I outsized a lot of the girls at the Olympia, because I came down from Figure. It’s been an interesting process unlike any other prep I’ve had.
Q. What was your weight for the Ms. Olympia?
A. 143 pounds.
Q. What was your weight for the Toronto competition?
A. 141 pounds.
Q. What will be the next competition that you will enter?
A. The Arnold Classic.
Q. Can you give our readers an idea of how you train in the off-season?
A. My current training split is solely to improve my posterior chain. Day 1 is glutes and hamstrings. Day 2 is cardio and then repeat.
Q. When do you begin competition prep, and how does your training change?
A. I’m technically always in prep. Although I get a little more leeway and more food, I lean out very quickly, so depending where my body is at, we don’t start cutting usually until around seven to eight weeks out. We’ve found if we start too soon, my metabolism gets going and I come in too conditioned for wellness. This may change as the category evolves, but this is how we currently prep from the feedback we have received from judges.
Q. How do you modify your diet during your competition prep?
A. We just slowly reduce calories and add cardio.
Q. I understand you’re with Team Ballistic. How has that been and what’s your favorite supplement?
A. It's been great! Lots of exciting things happening with this company very soon! My favorite supplements have to be the AMINO RELOAD Peach Mango and the DRY SCOOP Pre-Workouts.
Q. Do you train on your own, or do you have a training partner or a coach?
A. I usually train on my own, but I have a couple of training partners that I’ve trained with over the years, like my good friend Todd. I’m someone who can train on my own. (I started my fitness journey in my small garage downstairs), but you can push your limits a lot more when you have someone there.
Q. What areas of your physique do you think you need to improve in order to win the Ms. Olympia Wellness division?
A. Glutes and hamstrings.
Q. What is your competition weight and where do you keep your weight during the off season?
A. Around 141. I usually sit around 148 to 151 in my off-season.
Q. I understand that you have come out with your own brand of form-fitting jeans. Can you tell us how that came about and how our readers can order them?
A. Yes! We are very close to launching. (Website: KG-Jeans.com/Instagram: KGJeans_)
I’ve been working on this project for about a year now. I wanted to create a jean that I would actually wear. I hate the feeling of jeans, and I find that I’m always in leggings or workout clothes. The jeans are designed for athletes and curvy girls in mind but do fit most body types. They have a four-way stretch and are designed to shape your glutes. They have an elastic waistband to prevent the gap that most girls with bigger lower bodies get.
Q. Aside from the launch of your new jeans, what other fitness-related business ventures are you interested in pursuing?
A. The jeans are my main focus right now, but I do have a couple of exciting things happening in the next month.
Q. What are your competition goals for the future?
A. Placing top five in the Olympia.
Q. Aside from training what other hobbies or projects are you passionate about?
A. Before training, I worked with dogs and animals. I had taken courses to become a dog trainer. I also enjoy hiking and shopping, and creative photo shoots.
Q. If anyone is interested in having you do personal appearances or seminars, how do they get in contact with you?
A. They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on John Robert Cardillo, check out his website at johnrobertcardillo.com, his instagram at @johnrobertcardillo or right here at Muscle Insider at John Robert Cardillo.
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