[0:00] Kimera Koffee/Giveaway
[2:17] Harry's Razors
[5:15] Who is Jujimufu
[6:55] Why Jon calls himself Jujimufu
[8:51] The Jon's Story
[12:06] How Jon started out in bodybuilding
[14:29] Jon’s take on bodybuilding as the best functional approach
[15:56] Jon's Typical Chest Workout
[17:19] Following a Workout Split
[21:49] Jon's Routine on Acrobatics
[23:42] Issues with switching between Bodybuilding and Acrobatics
[25:20] What is an Acrobatic Workout
[26:27] Where does Jon go to do his workout
[29:50] How To Teach Someone the Backflip
[33:29] Jon's Diet
[35:25] Jon's Breakfast
[39:21] Jon's Actual Job
[42:27] Where is Jon as far as fat is concern in his diet
[44:41] Jon's Supplementation
[49:34] How Jon takes his coffee
[53:00] Other Biohacks that Jon uses
[58:12] Jon's best trick for gaining flexibility quickly
[1:05:00] Does Jon do deep tissue work
[1:07:03] What is Acrobolix
[1:12:16] End of Podcast
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So, speaking of razors, the guy who I am about to interview also needs a haircut. You will find out if you look at the picture of him and the video of him, which is quite shocking, and extraordinary, and amazing. It's over in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/acrobat. Let's chat now with the great Jujimufu.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“If I go two weeks without like doing much bodybuilding, I'll notice my physique will sort to flatten a little bit. And when I start to implement more of the bodybuilding-type methodology, the first few workouts are kinda crappy, and then all of a sudden, boom, I'm just like ‘Wow. Man, I look, I'm looking good,' you know. There's a small turnover time, but the trick and the art of it is to make that switch as fast as possible. “When I fix my sleeping with one biohack, one supplement, one little trick at a time until I got this like blackbox formula down, my sleep is one of the biggest advantages I have.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: Hey, everybody. I want you to meet my guest whose name is Jon Call, but he also goes by Jujimufu, that is J-u-j-i-m-u-fu if you wanna look this guy up. He's known as The Anabolic Acrobat, and he is a 5'11” beast who weighs in at about 230 pounds of solid bodybuilding muscle, but he does back flips, and these crazy feats of performance. You know, I've seen him hosting supermodels overhead while in the full splits, he takes hot baths in giant vats of smart-drug infused coffee, you may have seen him on the Kimera Koffee website, he does weighted barbell splits with hundreds of pounds, jumpin' on a trampoline underwater. If you look on his Instagram page, there's one caption that shows his grocery shopping. I don't know if this is what you're eating in one day, Jon, or what you're eating in a week, but it's 10 pounds of chicken, 8 pounds of beef liver, 2 pounds of codfish, 20 hard-boiled egg whites, 48 pasteurized egg whites, 9 whole eggs, 2 bags of spinach, 5 pounds of broccoli, 2 bell peppers, 3 large onions, 1 bulb garlic, 12 cups of rice, 10 pounds of potatoes, et cetera, et cetera.
And there are videos of you on Instagram and YouTube accomplishing pretty unthinkable, insane, and entertaining feats that combine, what I would say extreme strength with extreme flexibility. So you are one of the more interesting athletes I think I've ever had on the show, Jon.
Jon: Oh. Well, thank you. (laughs)
Ben: Yes. We're gonna find out how crazy you really are. Okay, but the very, very first question I have, like the burning question for me is this concept of Jujimufu. Why do you call yourself Jujimufu, and what does that mean?
Jon: Okay. So, how old are you, Ben?
Ben: I'm 34.
Jon: Alright. So you remember America Online?
Ben: Oh, yeah. AOL. You've Got Mail.
Jon: Yeah. Okay, so I was trying to come up with a screen name on that, and if you've ever tried to come up with a screen name on a messenger that's been used, it's gonna put a number at the end of it, okay. So, I sat there, I was a 14 year old kid and I sat there for half an hour trying to come up with something no one else has thought of before, and I guess I just wasn't very creative. I kept picking, (laughs) things that people have already gotten, I was like, “I don't want a number at the end of my name!” So I got frustrated just put Jujimufu, and it like logged me in. I was like, “Okay. I guess I'm Jujimufu,” and I just started using it, and then people started to get to know me as Jujimufu when I started using that screen name, and I just never changed it.
Ben: I was actually hoping this was some old African tale, some mysterious wounded warrior, tale of a strange word that you found on a random continent that wound up defining you, but it was just an AOL screen name, huh?
Jon: It was just some crap a 14 year old kid made up and never changed.
Ben: (laughs) You know what? My handle on a lot of forums, and even my email address, I sometimes give out is W-h-o-s-4-1-0-s at AOL dot com, [email protected], kind of an old, defunct email address, but I used to be a tennis player, and I wanted to find something on AOL that would be tennis related, 10sne1 was taken, right, 1-0-s-n-e, the number one was taken, so I did whos410s, and thought that I was quite clever, but…
Jon: Yeah! So imagine if you had just stuck with it.
Ben: Right. Exactly. I would be know…
Jon: You wouldn't be Ben!
Ben: I would be known as “Who's-for-tennis”, not Ben.
Ben: This would be The Who's-for-tennis Show. Anyways though, there is a crazy video on your Instagram page of you as this super skinny kid trying a backflip, and then like the next part of the Instagram video, you are this, who you are now, this huge bodybuilder, ripped bodybuilder, with long hair and a beard, doing a backflip, doing several back flips, and with quite a bit of style. So, I'm curious. What is the Jon Call story? What's the Jujimufu story? How'd you become who you are today? A skinny kid doing backflips in your garage, to a huge body builder doing these crazy feats of flexibility.
Jon: Okay. Well, it's just a story of progression. So, when I was 14 years old, my first experience to fitness was through martial arts, taekwondo. And I did taekwondo, and I thought I was a bad ass. You know, after about a year I was close my black belt, I thought I was (cha-ching sound effect), and then I saw all these videos online one day, I was like, I just found them. They were the tricking videos, people doing acrobatic tricks, which are basically the martial arts of flips, twists, kicks that are all aerial, stylized.
Ben: And that's actually what it's called, right? It's called tricking.
Jon: It's called tricking, and I saw those videos, and my head exploded. I was just like, “They were good,” and I was like, “I am not cool anymore. I am a loser.” I'm like, these, that's what I wanna do. I was like, “I wanna do that. I don't want to do martial arts the way I'm doing it. I wanna do that.” So I just started going out in the parks in my backyard, teaching myself. I download these .mpeg files, and Pause-Play through 'em to see what the guy was doing as slow as I could, and I'd just go out try it. Now, I was a slow learner, but I taught myself how to do it.
Ben: Were you using like a trampoline, or some kind of like a pool, or something that would shield you as you fell trying to trick? Or were you just basically keeping your fingers crossed you didn't break your neck?
Jon: Yeah! No. I mean, I found that if I did get access to a gym, or have access to a mattress or pool, most the time that stuff just kinda screwed me up. So I just had to, you know, I just did it on hard ground, and I got into weight lifting around the same time, maybe it was when I was 18. So I was interested in using the strength training to increase my tricking performance. I was like, “No other tricksters like lifting weights.” They're just a bunch of like kids who treat it like skateboarding, just like, they just do it. I was like, “What if you lifted weights and did it? Would you be better at it?” ‘Cause all professional athletes lift weights, right? So I got really interested in relative body weight training, really heavy deadlifts and squats, trying to keep my body weight down.
Ben: Trying to keep your body weight down?
Jon: Yeah. I didn't want it to get too big.
Ben: So you weren't trying to put on a bunch of mass?
Jon: Yeah. I was trying not to put on mass, I was trying to get as strong as I could for my size, 'cause the bigger you are, the harder it is to flip in the air, man.
Jon: (chuckles) I mean, that's the hard part, is having all that mass and jumping in the air. So I was trying…
Ben: The more muscle you have to carry, you have to cool, and you have to move when you're doing a backflip.
Jon: Exactly. But in my mid-twenties, I said to hell with it. I'm done tricking small. It's not getting me anywhere. I'm not happy doing it just by itself. And so I started implementing bodybuilding training methodology.
Ben: And so when you say you implement bodybuilding training methodology, at this point, you we're tricking, you're skinny, you had a little bit of a background in taekwondo, did you start into straight-out body part splits? Were you doing like powerlifting? How did you go about getting swole, so to speak?
Jon: Body part splits is primarily what I did and eating right. So, I started training for a pump, instead of a prime. So when you train for a prime, it's like you're trying to, it's like one-rep max, you know, really heavy. When you're training for a pump, you're trying to get that muscle engorged with blood and nutrients so that it expands. So I started training that way, and the best way to do it was isolation training. So I had never done isolation training until my mid-20's. I was like, “That's it, I just gonna,” it's like the first time I ever did a bicep curl, so it’s like I’m gonna start curling, do bicep curls, tricep extensions, all these exercises I used to think were useless actually weren't for building muscle.
Ben: Right, and then, I don't know if I told you this, but I used to be a bodybuilder. So I weigh about 175 now, and I used to be at 215, and I was a skinny kid, but I actually wound up not doing body parts splits. I wound doing full body, right, like deads, squats, push-press, cleans, et cetera, and I would do a four-day-a-week, full body split routine, and then do like my high intensity interval training, or my sports, you know, I played a lot of basketball, and tennis, and stuff like that. I would do those on the in-between days for the fat stripping component. But you personally found like this body part split worked out well for you to put on massive amounts of muscle?
Jon: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, my arms…
Ben: Is that what you do still?
Jon: I'm sorry. Yeah. I'm sorry, but it's just like I can do all the deadlifts, and pull-ups, and, burpees, and whatever other compound thing you can think of in the world, and my arms will not grow.
Ben: Until you do curls?
Jon: My arms and my chest, yeah. Yeah. Until I started doing like, you know, all these fancy curls with bands, and using machines, and the same with my chest. I had to get away from the bench press. I think the bench press is a very sorry exercise for building chest muscle, for me personally. I mean, I bench press until, you know, forever and my chest wasn't growing until I started doing, flyes, with cables and stuff, and getting a really good stretch in there, and isolating it. So I had to start doing that type of stuff and it worked. It worked really well.
Ben: It's really interesting seeing you trick online, seeing you do all these backflips, and twists, and the way that you move, it's very functional. And I, playing devil's advocate here, do you ever wonder if isolation of body parts, 'cause I know some people who are listening are also wondering this, would be not as superior for you it, or not as advantageous as doing like, functional movements, your CrossFit-style movement, stuff like that. What do you have to say to people who wonder if the bodybuilding approach is the best functional approach?
Jon: I don't think the bodybuilding approach is really gonna increase your functionality too much, I mean the crossover there is…
Ben: Oh, I know, yeah, what I'm saying is like it wouldn't, like you can swerve in like a bicep curl or a leg extension is as functional as, say, like a deadlift or a squat.
Jon: Well, see that's where I was before I started building muscle. I was that kid who wanted to stay lean, and small, and trim so I could trick. So I avoided all that stuff. So, obviously, I had to start doing that to build muscle, and when I made that decision, I made the decision to sacrifice some of the functionality of skills 'cause…
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. But I mean, obviously it's working for you because you've put on an enormous amount of muscle, and I'll link, by the way, if you guys are listening in and you wanna see some of the more impressive videos of Jujimufu, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/acrobat where I'm gonna have all the show notes and all of the links to his, his Instagram page, and YouTube, and everything.
But what does, like you talked about how bench press doesn't work for you Jon, what would a typical, for example, like a chest workout look like for you?
Jon: Well, I would actually start with bench (laughs) just 'cause I do like it, you know, it's fun, but, I mean, if I would move to, there's a flye machine most gyms have where it's like one where you can do reverse rear delt exercise on it as well.
Ben: Yep, yep. The pec deck.
Jon: Yeah, the pec deck. I'll load up on that and do sets of 10 to 20 reps, you know, three or four sets of that. I'll move on to Hammer Strength lever machines 'cause I feel like I can actually hit my chest pretty good on those compared to a standard barbell bench press. I'll do standing flies with the two stacks. I'll do something called the hex press, which is you stick two hexagon dumbbells together and you, there's a certain way you do the movement to press it up in order to activate the chest. Everything is related to, if I'm trying to build the chest up, this is a hypertrophy workout.
Jon: I'm gonna always do movements that isolate it, that I can actually feel the chest working in, and it's just pretty standard, plain Jane, bodybuilding methodology. That's the way they train.
Ben: Right. You attack the muscle from a variety of angles. High amount of sets, typically a high amount like high volume, moderate weight type of training.
Jon: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben: Do you have a specific split that you use? Like are you like chest on Mondays, bicep, triceps on a Tuesday, legs on a Wednesday, with core? Or how do you split things up typically?
Jon: Well, my answer a couple of years ago would be different than my answer now. So, a couple years ago, I was still interested in building more muscle, I was still growing, and, just to contrast right now, I'm as big as I wanna get, to be honest, Ben. I don't wanna get any bigger. I like my size. I'm very happy with my shape and everything I have going for me, so this is the first year I think I've actually been able to go through and be like, “You know what? I'm not gonna bulk. I'm just gonna maintain 'cause I like it. I'm just gonna have fun.”
Ben: And for people who may not understand that when you say you're not going to bulk, can you explain what that would mean, if someone were bodybuilding, the difference between like a bulk phase versus cutting, et cetera?
Jon: Well, bulk phase is you're just eating a hell of a lot of food, and pushing massive amounts of weight and trying to grow. And a cutting phase is you're not eating enough food to maintain your body weight, and your body is being stripped of its fat as you try to preserve the muscle mass.
Ben: And you would go through cycles of that during the year, where you would bulk for a certain period of time, and then cut at the times that you wanted to have the lowest body fat percentage, and appear to be the most ripped?
Jon: I used to do that. Yes, but now I'm just sort of in a maintenance phase for the past year and a half now. I'm really happy with where I'm at, but your question regarding how I would arrange a split. So if I was trying to grow still, my split was, I would really overload my weaknesses. So my genetic weaknesses are arms and chest.
Jon: If I do not work those muscle groups out regularly still, like hit 'em a few times a week, you know, some isolation workouts, they just melt. They just completely melt off my body. I can see a visible difference in the mirror, like, if I'm not hitting 'em. My back, my legs, my butt, all that stuff, it's just, it's not going anywhere. It's just gonna to stick around. My shoulders, they're good. You know, I don't have to really train them regularly in order to keep 'em. So my split would be to focus on my weaknesses, you know, Ben?
Jon: So, I would be doing arms three days a week, chest three days a week, really focusing on recovering those. And then everything else, I would just kinda fit it in as I wanted to.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So you've got three days of the week where you're doing chest and arms 'cause you've identified those as your weak spots, and then you work in the other body parts just basically as you see fit.
Jon: Yeah. Pretty much.
Ben: Gotcha. Interesting. And are you primarily using like Nautilus? Do you use free weights? Do you use cables? Is it a mix of everything in the gym?
Jon: It's a mix of everything, and honestly, one of the things that I think is kind of advanced knowledge, and a lot of people don't see it this way, but I never would keep the same exercises. I would never like put together a program and be like, these are the exercises I'm doing for the next twelve weeks or so. I would never do that because, I mean, even for just like getting a pump in your muscles, you go in one day and a tricep extension will feel good, and the next day it's like I can't seem to really feel the muscle, what's wrong? And so what I would do is, I realize that your body doesn't respond to an exercise the same, every single workout throughout a week. So I might have to change the grip, I might have to move from a swivel hook handle to like a straight bar handle, or like use double rope handles. And it's just, I always, I still do that, I'll go in, and I'll just kinda, people think I have like ADHD or something, I'm just screwing with all these cable attachments all the time…
Ben: That's funny. I actually…
Jon: But then I'll find the one that works.
Ben: Yeah. I remembered the same thing when I was a bodybuilder. You would walk in and you would do like, let's say a rope tricep pushdown, and you realize, like you can feel within the first couple of sets, it's really not hitting the area that you wanna hit. So you'll twirl around, and you'll grab a bar, you'll put that on there instead, and do like an overhead tricep extension. Maybe that doesn't work, so you put a plate on your back and try and narrow grip tricep, push up or something like that, and, yeah I think it a big, big part of bodybuilding, 'cause I know a lot of people may not realize this, is simply hitting a muscle with as many different apparati, from as many different angles as possible, until you actually get that feeling of that growth that you're going after.
Jon: Yes! Yes! Exactly!
Ben: Yeah. So I'm curious though for you, 'cause you've got a really unique program because you're doing freaking, like, full body splits, backflips, front flips, acrobats. How do you actually merge anabolic training, I guess like bodybuilding, with tricking? Like are you doing your body building workout, and then going and doing like an acrobatic workout? Are you mixing the two in some kind of a concurrent training method? I mean, what is your routine look like once you throw in the acrobatics?
Jon: Okay. So, I'm gonna rewind here for a moment and go back a few years. Let's say you're trying to build both. Then what you have to do is build one to a higher level, and then switch to the other and build it to a higher level. So you have to use periodization in order to make gains. So you might be primarily bodybuilding for four months out of the year, with just a little bit of mobility work and some light acrobatics here and there just to kinda keep things fresh. And then you just completely cut that and switch to acrobatics, with just a little bit of bodybuilding here and there just to maintain. So there's a really heavy periodization element to building this stuff over the years.
For what I'm doing now, again, I'm just kind of maintaining what I have, because I'm very happy with the current balance of my skill sets, it's not really good representation of how I've built it 'cause how I've built it was that periodization I just described, and what I'm doing now is basically: what do I need to do in the next two weeks? I have to go to an expo, I have to perform tricking, I have to do this, so I'm gonna to be working on that. I get back, I'll be like, “Okay, what do I have coming up next?” I have a photo shoot, or I want to do, I have some idea for a video I wanna shoot, so I mean for that, I'm gonna up the volume of the bodybuilding to kinda get my body to kind of beef up here for a couple weeks, and then cool off on the acrobatics. So it's basically as an as-needed basis now.
Ben: Do you get concerned about when you switch to acrobatics from a big focus on bodybuilding, do you lose muscle? Do you maintain muscle? Do you find that to be an issue?
Jon: (laughs) That's the hard part, man. That's why no one else is really doing much of what I do is because it (cha-ching sound) your head.
Ben: You mean because as you practicing backflips, you're worrying about your arm slowly shrinking?
Jon: Yeah, yeah, yeah! Knowing it'll screw with your head. It's like two steps forward and a step backwards every time. You're always losin' some (censor) that you've gotten to new a level. It's like crap, you know. It'll screw with your head. It's like I just built my deadlift up, and now I'm just going (cha-ching sound), flush it down the toilet while I switch to tricking over here. But you just have to be okay to know that you probably, really didn't lose it. You just lost your ability to express it.
Ben: Right, right. You mean in terms of the size of the actual muscle itself?
Jon: Oh Yeah. Because, I mean, if I go two weeks without like doing much bodybuilding, I'll notice my physique will sort to flatten a little bit. And when I start to implement more of the bodybuilding-type methodology, the first few workouts are kinda crappy, and then all of a sudden, boom, I'm just like, “Wow. Man, I’m looking good,” you know.
Jon: There's a small turnover time, but the trick and the art of it is to make that switch as fast as possible. You have to know exactly what you're doing, and it's just from experience, what works. So the trick is the quick turnaround time when you make the switch from one emphasis to the other.
Ben: What does an acrobatic workout actually look like? Like what do you do?
Jon: Okay. That's a good question. I like that. Let's say, and it's interesting because most of the people who are primarily indoctrined in the fitness world, or bodybuilding, or strength sports, they're really, the way they see things is really heavily ruled by a sort of quantification. So everything is like numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers. But the acrobatic workout for something is really interesting 'cause all the athletes do it this way: they walk in, they warm up, they just kinda feel things out, and they just start working on whatever goal they have, or just kind of throwing things, just trying stuff. And if they really want something, they're working towards it, or they're just kinda feeling it out, and so a workout for me would include some basic universal mobility exercises to loosen up, some jumps, I try to feel my body out to see where it's at, do some basic moves, and then I just kinda go with the flow. I don't count reps.
Ben: Are you like in a gym, or do you go to a park for this, or are you at like a, whatever, a trampolining facility? Like where do you go?
Jon: Well, I recommend people go to a gym with a plyo floor, but it's so hard to find one.
Ben: What did you call it? A plyo floor?
Jon: Yeah. It's plyometric flooring, so it's like springboard. It's not a trampoline, it's what, if you ever watched gymnasts tumble in the Olympics, it's what they're on. It's that floor they're on.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I know what you're talking about.
Jon: Okay. Yeah. It gives you a light spring. It's not like a trampoline, but it's really the best environment to train in because, I'll tell you what, going on the grass and like finding someone had broken some glass out there isn't very fun. But, you know, you do what you gotta do.
Ben: Yeah. So you go in, you do your dynamic warm-ups, and then what are you doing from there?
Jon: After I kinda like start doing the dynamic warm-up and moving body, I'll start with, easy, easy moves a backflip, an aerial. You know, some basic kicks, and I just try to feel out where my body is…
Ben: And to clarify, moves that you would consider to be easy, a backflip and aerial, I suppose some people might get a little bit intimidated by it, but that's for you, that's your warm-up? Those are your easy moves?
Jon: Yeah, yeah. Those are my easy moves.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha.
Jon: And then I'll move on [0:27:43] ______ , and I'll just go from there. I just, you know, I'll take it back, the only thing that I count is rest periods. I make sure that, 'cause it's easy to get carried away, you'll just keep going at it, and going at it, and trying, and then, you'll stop, and you'll just kinda walk around in a circle and wait 'til you catch your breath, and you recover a bit, and you'll just go right back into it, but I found that forcing yourself to rest for an arbitrary amount of time, like three to four minutes every now and again during one of these acrobatic sessions is, it'll completely revolutionize your results. And I tell people that! They'll be trying to learn a backflip, for example, and they'll try it, try it, try it, and then I'll tell 'em, “Stop. Go over there and do nothing for a few minutes and come back,” just like do nothing, just like don't do anything. I know you're not like winded. Like you're not like out of breath. You're not like physically tired, but you need to give your nervous system like a reset button, and it's gonna be about four minutes. And then you’ll come back, try it again, and it's a world of difference and…
Ben: That's interesting. I've experienced that, for example, while slacklining, right. You'll slackline for about 10 minutes, and then your brain suddenly seems fizzled, and you just have to walk away, and stand on the grass for a little while, and sit down, and relax, then you go back and, even though it didn't seem like you were tired, it turns out that your brain, or your nervous system, was actually fatigued.
Jon: Yeah. Kinda like something like juggling.
Ben: Right. Right. So if a backflip is an easy move, what would be considered a difficult move?
Jon: Well, it depends on the skill level of the person.
Ben: Well, for you let's say.
Jon: For me, anything that has to do with like what's called a swing through or a misleg, which means you would do one move, and then without putting one foot, putting your both feet back on the ground, you would go immediately into another move. Those things are really common in tricking, a lot of combinations of moves that'll just kinda like flow from one move to another in these fancy ways, and for a large guy like myself, that's the stuff that you lose when you gain a lot of size.
Ben: Right. Right. That ability to explosively transition from, whatever, like landing a backflip, straight into a different exercise.
Jon: Right! Exactly. Transitions.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So if somebody did want to, let's say, learn how to do a backflip, how would you learn how to do a backflip? Or how do you teach someone, or what would be your recommendation of someone, you know, let's say, I. Can't do a backflip, wanted to learn how, I don't necessarily care about having a barbell pressed overhead as I do it. I just want to backflip.
Jon: Yeah. I have really good advice for that, actually, and I feel pretty strongly about it. What I recommend people do is, first, Ben, I got a question. Have you jumped today?
Ben: Have I jumped today?
Jon: Actually did a jump…
Ben: You know, I haven't actually jumped today. But yesterday, I've done some box jumps.
Jon: And the day before that?
Ben: I probably at some point jumped.
Jon: Okay. But how many people do you think out there who lift weights or are into fitness actually jump every day?
Ben: Probably not as many as should, I'm guessing would be the correct answer to your question.
Jon: (laughs) I asked this question at exhibitions where I teach people how to do a backflip.
Jon: You know, these short, little seminars, and I ask, “How many people actually jumped up today, just like jumped up in the air,” and it's hilarious how many people don't do that. It's like four people out of like 30 will raise their hand.
Ben: Wow. Surprising.
Jon: Like, “Ha! Nobody jumped!” (laughs) So, if you wanna learn a backflip, you gotta start jumping. Just jump up and down. I mean, it doesn't require like an insane vertical to backflip. It's really, all it is is you just jump up as high as you can, you pull your knees up, and you just roll over at the top. It's an extremely efficient movement. It doesn't require any extraordinary feat of athleticism. It just requires that you get comfortable jumping up and down.
Jon: And then, you have to actually watch videos of it because, if you don't watch other people do it, like over and over again, it's sorta like brainwashing yourself. You have to watch videos of people doing it, and you don't realize it, but it's getting stuck in the back of your mind. So it takes about three or four weeks of watching backflip videos every day and just jumping up and down before you just wake up one day, and it's just like, it's that feeling you get when you wake up out of sleep and a problem has been solved. You know, that common thing everyone experiences. You'll just wake up a bit like, “Oh, wait. I think I can backflip.” You'll just feel it. It's amazing. It's like, “I think I can do it,” just, you'll wake up one day.
And then what you have to do at that point is very particular. You have to get a spotter. So this is someone, you don't get a mattress, don't get a trampoline, don't get a pool, don't jump off a higher platform, all that crap will screw with your head and kinda set bad habits. You have to get a spotter, and it's just someone to stand next to you, and there's a certain way they do it. They just hold one hand on your back, one hand on your hamstring, and you just jump up, and you look backwards, you throw your arms up, you pull your knees up, and this person just throws you over.
Ben: And you are using that spotter to learn how to do a back flip? Or after you already are doing backflips?
Jon: To learn.
Jon: So you're using the spotter to protect you, to get over fear, because that's the biggest problem. After you familiarize yourself with the technique enough by watching it, the fear is gonna be reduced enough to where you can actually chuck it. And in order to chuck it, you have to have a spotter there, because when you do chuck it, and they spot you, and throw you around, you do it three or four more times, and you can do it on your own.
Ben: Yeah. Interesting. And I'll put a video, by the way, for those of you who wanna know, I'm taking some notes, and I'll put a video on how someone should spot you to do a backflip, if those of you know who are visual are wondering how this actually looks. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/acrobat and I'll put some videos over there.
So, Jon, in addition to doing the tricking, and in addition to doing the bodybuilding, I know, based off your Instagram page, that you're into food, and you obviously have to maintain a certain amount of mass. So, tell me about your diet. What you eat, how much, and when. And do you follow a special dietary, like, timing protocol or anything like that?
Jon: Yeah, My thoughts on nutrition are so complicated these days. I don't even know how to answer. (laughs) It’s just a question [0:33:57] ______ .
Ben: I mean, bodybuilders, right. It's complete bro science. You guys geeked out on nutrition more than just about anybody on the face of the planet.
Jon: Yeah, you can overcomplicate things, but, I mean, for me, I wake up, I'll eat breakfast, I'll eat another meal before I workout, typically, unless I'm tricking, then I might skip it because I like to do acrobatics on a…
Ben: You wake up first thing in the morning and have breakfast? You don't do like an intermittent fast or anything like that?
Jon: No. I mean, my opinion of intermittent fasting is that, this is my personal opinion, it's good for people who want to lose weight, it's good for people who are into business lifestyles, or any sort of lifestyle that isn't really high performance athletics. I don't think it's the best choice for a high performance athlete, that's my opinion. So, I think it has a lot of health benefits to it, so respectfully, I see the purposes of it, but I don't think it really has a great place in bodybuilding.
Ben: Okay. And I would imagine, I mean, because for me, like I did the reverse, right. So I went from a lot of body mass to basically getting as skinny as I could for Ironman triathlon. And that was one of my key ways that I stripped mass, and fat, and everything off my body, was morning fasted workouts, where I would go out for like two or three hour long bike rides with maybe some water, some electrolytes, a little bit of amino acids, and that would be it.
Ben: So, you're starting off with breakfast to maintain an anabolic state. What are you eating in particular for something like breakfast?
Jon: Few eggs, some beef, potatoes, onions, and I do use a juicer, so, vegetable juices.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha.
Jon: I believe strongly in that.
Ben: And are you doing like a certain amount of protein? Are you one of those believers that the body can absorb, you know, X amount of protein at a time? Do you not care about that and do you just shove as much protein as you can down the hatch for breakfast? Or what are your thoughts on macros, or timing of macros, or protein intake?
Jon: I don't count macros because I've done calorie counting, I've done macro counting, and you end up counting the carbs in a can of green beans, you know, it's just like a [0:36:14] ______ , but a can of green beans isn't the same thing as fresh kale. You know, okay, it's not the same thing. The macros in a piece of beef jerky is not the same thing as the macros in a piece of salmon. There's a million other things in food that are very, very important. I tell people to focus on food, not only because of the hundreds of thousands of compounds that you aren't counting that actually matter, but also because everyone is different. Some people, I mean my wife is allergic to like seven different things, you know. If she was counting macros, she'd be, you know, she's allergic to soy, tomatoes, wheat, I mean, eggs. It's hilarious. I mean, oh no, it's actually sad, but it's crazy.
Ben: I was gonna say she might not be laughing if she [0:36:56] ______ .
Jon: Yeah, yeah. No. It's just absurd. So, if you just count like these four numbers, PCF and calories, then you're missing so much. So I focus on foods and how I eat is more instinctive based on how I feel. So I've never counted macros when I cutted, I mean, in the past 10 years when I was cutting or bulking, I just went by how I feel. I believe strongly that if you're cutting, you should feel hungrier more often than you should feel full, and if you're bulking you should feel stuffed to more often than you should feel, you know, hungry, and if I'm maintaining, like I have been for the past year and a half now or so, sticking between 228 and 238 pounds easily, I just eat when I'm hungry, eat before I know I have to do something, and just, you know, that's it.
Ben: Now do you try and not eat certain foods, like paleo, for example. Do you avoid grains and dairy, or do you, for example, avoid gluten or anything along those lines?
Jon: Yeah! I focus heavily on foods, so I'm really like, I believe certain foods are good for my body, personally, and certain foods are not. So, I find that I don't tolerate whey protein concentrate very well, or milk, anything that has a lot of lactose in it, I try to avoid. I use heavy whipping cream in my coffee, for example.
Jon: I'm fine with that. I'm fine with any sort of protein product that's isolate, but I don't do well with any sort of concentrate, or plain old milk.
Ben: Probably because neither the heavy cream or an isolate have many of those actual inflammatory, or potentially immune bothering dairy proteins in them. They're more of either just the isolated fats, or else in the case of whey protein isolate, you don't get a lot of some of the allergenic compounds in the diet.
Ben: So, are you doing whey protein isolate as your main protein? Or do you use like rice, or hemp, or pea, like vegan-based protein sources?
Jon: I like it all, man. I like all of it. Ideally, I think the mix is the best because if you stick to one too much, you will probably notice something is a little bit off if you're just eating one over the other. So I think a mix is definitely the best way to go.
Ben: So, you're waking up, you're having breakfast right away, and then you said you're straight into your workout?
Jon: No. No. Usually, I have a couple hours before my workout.
Ben: And are you working, by the way? Or is your primary job just posting videos of you doing backflips with your shirt off to Instagram?
Jon: (laughs) Yeah. I actually have a job. I work for a small biotech company.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha.
Jon: And I do all the fitness stuff on the side, and actually making as much money doing the fitness stuff as I do with my day job now.
Ben: You are? Or you are not making as much money doing the fitness stuff as your day job?
Jon: I am!
Jon: It’s like I've doubled my income, but I've doubled my work load too. (laughs)
Ben: Now, is that because you're doing like Instagram ads and YouTube ads? Are you getting paid for endorsements? Or how is the fitness actually making money for you or paying the bills for you?
Jon: Well, the plan is I'm writing ebooks. They're very good. That should do very well, and I'm selling and I'm building my brand Acrobolix. For now, the way I'm making money is primarily through expos and seminars. So these fitness exhibitions, there's usually about one a month on average, they pay me to just be a guest, to show up and just be me, just run around and take pictures with the fans, and have fun, and do flips, and just go crazy, and they pay me for that.
Ben: You mean not even to like get on stage and give a formal talk? To just be there on the expo grounds, running around doing stunts, more or less.
Jon: Well, they schedule me for like the short seminars, but sometimes I'll be like, “I don't wanna do it,” or “Move it over here,” you know, they're really flexible with it just because they see the value of me just being there, 'cause, you know, wherever I walk people are spotting me. “Hey you're the guy that does the splits on Instagram, aren't you?” “Hey, you're the guy that lift weights in the pool!” “Hey, I saw you in America's Got Talent!” “It's just like, “Yeah! Yeah, it's me,” you know, I just, I can't walk anywhere. And so they just like having that guy just walking around.
Ben: Right. You're drawing a crowd in.
Ben: You're the freak show, basically.
Jon: Yeah! Yeah! And I get paid for that. And I do seminars where I teach people what I do, and I get paid for that too. So those pay very well.
Ben: So back to nutrition. You said you have your breakfast, and then you have a snack after that?
Jon: It depends. I mean, the breakfast can be pretty big so I'm might, if I'm gonna be lifting weights, I like to lift weights with more food on my stomach. So I'll probably have the meal that I like is cream of rice with protein powder and peanut butter. So it's some fat, protein, and carb, and it's just really simple. There’s no micronutrient value in it, it's just straight up like sugar, protein, fat, you know.
Jon: So that really is a very macronutrient dominated meal, but it works. It just works. Or I might just have chicken and rice with a little butter, you know. But if I'm gonna be doing any sort of jumping or acrobatics, I don't want to eat much before it. So I'd rather actually go into it, risking getting hungry during the session, than be like, “Oh, crap. I feel like I have food babies in my stomach,”
Ben: Right. So workouts, you generally, from a bodybuilding approach, you go into workouts well-fed, you go into more of the acrobatic sessions without as much food in your stomach.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. You mention things like heavy cream and butter, I know a lot of bodybuilders can tend to be fat-phobic. There's kinda like, two lines. There's like, kinda like the keto gains, ketosis, high fat, low carb type of camp, and then there's the higher carb, or higher protein, low to moderate fat type of camp. Do you restrict fat at all? Do you go out of your way to actually get quality fats? Or where you at as far as fat is concerned in your diet?
Jon: I supplement with a lot of fish oil. I do think that's very important.
Ben: Do you take a particular brand or type of fish oil?
Jon: Liquid is the type. The brand, doesn't matter so much as long as it's a liquid because, I mean, if you're buying 15 gel caps, and there's one gram of fat in each one, that's the same as one tablespoon of fish oil liquid. It's just, okay I can see the gel caps are more convenient, but it's way more expensive and I don't want that much gelatin in my stomach from all the gel caps I have to consume to get the amount I'm consuming. I might consume, 30 or 40 grams of fish oil a day.
Ben: Oh, wow. That's a lot of fish oil. Is that kind of due to like, well, explain to people listening in why you would take that much fish oil.
Jon: Why wouldn't you, I guess. (laughs) Just Google fish oil health benefits. It's sorta like one of those things like who wouldn't take it.
Ben: Disaster pants comes to mind. That is one potential reason.
Jon: (laughs) Nah. No, no, no. I don't get the runs from fish oil.
Ben: Okay. I guess the only reason I say that is someone sent me once, there was a company, Bigger, Stronger, Faster, something like that, they make like a shot, or a 5 hour energy style shot of fish oil that looks like a single serving of fish oil, but is indeed like enough for a week, for example. And I got that shot and shot it. I would imagine it was about 40 grams of fish oil and within about an hour, I was definitely cleaned out the back side. So I was curious if it's something you work up to when you do 30 to 40 grams of fish oil, or if you just start doing something like that.
Jon: I guess I just started doing it and didn't notice.
Ben: Interesting. So, the idea behind the fish oil is essentially the nervous system health, the strength gains, or are there a variety of reasons that you take it?
Jon: Blood lipids, anti-inflammatory, disease prevention, heart health, all the above, man.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. So you do a liquid fish oil, any other supplements that you find to be, I mean you're in bodybuilding, so I could be delving down a very deep rabbit hole 'cause I know some bodybuilders take 30 to 40 different supplements, but do you have specific go-to supplements that you use?
Jon: (chuckles) Yeah. I'm one of those guys that's like A to Z, take everything, you know, it's…
Ben: Alright. Well then at the risk of Rabbit Hole-ing too much, obviously, you mentioned fish oil, so I'd imagine that that's a big win for you, but do you have other things that you would consider to be like your biggest wins when it comes to something like bodybuilding?
Jon: You know, maybe, it's sort of in roundabout way for bodybuilding, but I think one of the best supplements out there is actually melatonin.
Jon: Yeah. That one is, first of all, it's super cheap, but it's just, okay, we're living in a world that's completely, artificially made out of all this light, you know. There's light everywhere. Light bulbs, screens, everything. It's just, okay, it's a hormone that you're taking, it's this melatonin. And so it's like, “Oh, but it's not natural,” or it's not good to take long term. Yeah, but we're living in the world that we cannot avoid light. Unless you wanna like move out of the country…
Ben: Well, at least to a certain extent. I mean, you can use like blue light blocking glasses and apps installed on your computer to limit light, but what you're saying is you simply cannot completely get away from artificial light at night.
Jon: Yes, and melatonin is I think just something that anyone living in, you know, any sort of society that's advanced to the point where you have light bulbs sitting around, or TV's, or computers, or anything, everyone just should take melatonin. I think everyone should take it.
Ben: My friend Ray Cronise uses a lot of melatonin. I believe he's actually somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 grams of melatonin that he'll use…
Ben: Yes, grams. And he uses a, I'm sorry, milligrams rather.
Jon: Okay, okay. I was like, “That's like a bottle and a half!”
Ben: But he uses, yeah, he uses like a fast-dissolve under your tongue, you know. I believe it's like a 5 or 10 milligram pill, right, and he'll take several of those that you dissolve under your tongue. Do you use a specific form of melatonin, or a specific dosage?
Jon: I use 10 milligrams just before bed.
Ben: Okay. So you use just 10, and you take that right before bed. Is it like a capsule, or something you dissolve, or?
Jon: It's just a capsule. And, I also do all the other things too. I'll limit blue light, I'll wear the orange glasses, I'll take a hot shower in the dark, I'll sit in the bed with a candle light and read. I mean, I do all that stuff too. So, you know, to get my body kind of a kickstart for, just because I think you have to do too in order for, so I do both. I'd limit all that stuff so it gives my body a chance to secrete its own, and I just take the supplement too. So it's just kinda like double duty there, and just the sleep quality you get from when you start doing that is, I mean I take a lot of others sleep supplements too. Improving your sleep with a good stack.
Ben: Yep. Now, I certainly have my own sleep stack, and I've tried this approach of using high dose melatonin, alright. Like I've taken as much as 60, and you get, you're little groggy in the morning, but it certainly knocks you out. I get concerned about potentially shutting down endogenous production of melatonin at that heavy of a dosage. And now, I personally use melatonin microdosing. I use a supplement made by a Navy SEAL doctor, or a former Navy SEAL doctor, Kirk Parsley. He has something called Sleep Remedy, and I'll generally take that along with a few capsules of a CBD oil, and that's kinda like my go-to one-two combo stack for sleep. But…
Jon: What's the CBD oil?
Ben: The CBD, it's just cannabidiol. You know, it's like the legal, non-psychoactive form of cannabis extract, you know. But the endocannabinoid system, when targeted correctly, can be extremely relaxing, and you also get a big decrease in inflammation, improvement in recovery, et cetera. So I use some CBD blended, it's a special blend that's got lemon balm, and magnesium, and some other natural relaxants in it. But…
Jon: That sounds interesting.
Ben: Yeah. It is. I'll try and get you a bottle. It's some stuff that I formulate.
Ben: But you talk about fish oil and melatonin, what would be one other, kinda like big win for you from a supplement standpoint?
Jon: Caffeine. (laughs) Does that count?
Ben: I know that in how we originally met was that you're on the Kimera Koffee website, which for those of you listening in, it's a coffee blended with a variety of different nutrients, like alpha-GPC for example, and well, there's four in there: alpha-GPC, and, I should have all these memorized, taurine is one, theanine, is it DMAE, I believe is the final, final…
Jon: Yeah, [0:49:31] ______ .
Ben: The choline molecule? So, are you a guy who is doing high, high dose coffee? Do you cycle your coffee? Or what is your strategy when it comes to coffee? What are you putting in your coffee? How are you brewing your coffee? Tell us about the Jujimufu coffee habit.
Jon: (laughs) Alright. Yeah, I mean, it's, unfortunately, I would say it's a little irresponsible because everyone's got their vices. So…
Ben: Well, there is a photo of you on Instagram taking a bath in a giant vat of coffee, like an actual bathtub full of coffee.
Jon: Yeah. Yeah, it actually tasted pretty good if it was a little warmer. But, you know…
Ben: I assume that's a stunt for you and not something you do as like a daily practice, like a magnesium bath.
Jon: No. No, but the hilarious thing about taking a coffee bath, when you take yours, Ben, is you'll notice that, they say you can absorb caffeine from the skin, now I didn't get a good boost from it when I took the coffee bath, but my skin did feel really tight and firm.
Ben: Well, yeah. You'll find coffee oil as an ingredient in many anti-wrinkle serums, anti-wrinkle compounds where caffeine is something used for that.
Jon: Okay. Yeah. I had to do a little back research on that because I was like, “Why does my skin feel good?” It's like, it was weird, but the way I consume coffee is I just use a coffee, a good coffee brewer and make it pretty strong. I just have as many, I just kinda drink it throughout the morning and throughout the day.
Ben: Do you use stainless steel to ensure that you're not using, you know, with a paper filter filtering out some of the more psychoactive components of coffee?
Jon: Okay, wait. I'm actually not too familiar with that. I switch back and forth from the stainless steel filter to using that and the paper because sometimes they cram so much crap in the little coffee thing that I have to use a piece of paper to keep it from flowing back in.
Ben: When I drink something like Kimera, I actually use a stainless steel pour-over, or I'll use a French press because paper filters, they filter out things like the cofestol and the kahweol, and some of the cholesterols in coffee that have some nootropic properties. And then the paper filters can also filter out some of those nootropics that you get in something like Kimera. So I actually use stainless steel.
Jon: How about the bamboo filters? Those are the ones I'm using.
Ben: I don't know about the bamboo filters. If we have someone listening in, I'm sure we have plenty of smart cookies who listen in would know if a bamboo filter makes a difference, but what kind of coffee maker are you using a bamboo filter with?
Jon: It’s a Cuisinart, just a standard coffee maker. Now it comes with an adapter, slight little mesh that you put in. But sometimes I'll use, instead of the mesh, because you have to clean it and wash it, 7I'll just throw in a filter and I got these bamboo coffee filters from the store. So they're not, they're a little different…
Ben: Yeah, I'll have to look it up because I believe I have one type of coffee filter that does indeed use paper and I think it is the bamboo because you get fewer of the toxins than you do from the paper filters, but I'm not sure if the bamboo filters out some of the psychoactive compounds on the same way that a regular paper filter does. I will look into that, and I will let folks know, or if you already know and you're listening, go to the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/acrobat and let us know. Okay, so we've got fish oil, high dose fish oil, 30 to 40 milligrams, we've got high dose melatonin, about 10 milligrams, you do a lot of coffee and you use this Kimera Koffee.
I'm curious. Any other little biohacks for you? Like, do you use compression socks and compression gear? Do you use any special pieces of sleep gear? Do you self-quantify? Do you take your blood, or saliva, or stool measurements or anything like that? Like any other strange biohacks that you utilize.
Jon: Yeah, I'm pretty sure my life is littered with those type of things. I don't know how much of a biohack it is, but I do sleep with nose strips on every night to help my breathing because, you'd be surprised, even healthy people of a normal body mass size, I mean, I've got more mass, a little heavier, it doesn't matter if it's muscle or fat, it's just it's gonna more weight sitting down on my chest at night, you know. So it's gonna make my breathing a little bit heavier, a little bit hoarse.
Ben: Interesting. Are you a back sleeper?
Jon: I'm a side sleeper, just like most people. And I'll wear…
Ben: So you just use these Breathe Right Strip?
Jon: Yeah! A Breathe Right Strip! And it just totally helps me sleep a lot and breathe during the night. I mean, I know this is kinda going back to the sleep thing, but when I fixed my sleeping with one biohack, one supplement, one little trick at a time until I got this like black box formula down, my sleep is one of the biggest advantages I have over most other people, I think. It's so good.
Ben: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And there's this idea, of course, you're probably familiar with it, like obstructive sleep apnea and how those periods of time during the night when for some reason we quit breathing. Those are periods of time when we lull in and out of our good, deep, restorative sleep. I'm curious, how much the Breathe Right Strip might just be eliminating certain periods of sleep apnea by opening up the nasal cavity. It's actually something, no one's brought it up on a show before about sleeping with those, but I certainly, I personally quantify my sleep, right. Like I wear a ring that tests things like how long it takes me to fall asleep, and how much time I spend in specific sleep cycles. It'd be interesting to put on a Breathe Right Strip and see if it makes a difference, or if there is a difference.
Jon: It might not make a big difference for you, but it makes a big difference for me. ‘Cause I mean…
Ben: I'm curious to try it.
Jon: Right before I put it on, and I mean, breathing out through my nose throughout the day is a night and day difference than wearing the strip, and in fact, I'm actually wearing one right now because I never took mine off last night.
Ben: You just forgot to take it off this morning, or are you just [0:55:27] ______.
Jon: Oh, it's just 'cause I like the way it feels. I can breathe better, you know.
Jon: It's just like nose dilation, and it probably helps my voice sound a little less nasally on the podcast too. So, I'm not gonna take it off until I run an errand here in a minute, y'cause I don't wanna be walking somewhere with a nose strip on, but, you know.
Ben: You sound fabulous. All of my guests now are gonna be rushing out to get Breathe Right Strips prior to their interviews.
Ben: There's even one called a Turbine that the Tour de France cyclists. The guy who won last year used this device called the Turbine Nasal Dilator, and it's like a fancy version of a Breathe Right Strip, I suppose.
Jon: You know what's funny about that?
Ben: What's that?
Jon: I'm wearing one now. (laughs)
Ben: You're wearing one of these Turbines?
Jon: I got a Turbine in my nose. It's a little, ugly yellow thing. It looks like a nose ring.
Ben: And a Breathe Right?
Jon: Yeah! So I'm totally like, I can breathe pretty good, Ben.
Ben: Okay. Well, there you go. Then now, do you sleep with the Turbine?
Jon: Sometimes. I sleep with earplugs every night too. I've been doing that for 10 years and that helps, that's a little bit more comfortable. If you wear the Turbine for too many nights in a row like that, it'll just eat your nose apart. It just hurts.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I could see that, but that's interesting that you double up on both of those. And I'll put a link to that Turbine in the show notes for those of you who want to check it out. It's made by a company called Rhinomed, and a lot of athletes swear by these things during exercise.
Jon: It's ugly as sin, but it's pretty cool.
Ben: Do you quantify it all? Do you do any blood measurements, saliva, urine, self-qualification devices? Anything like that?
Jon: You know, I get a blood test done every few months just to make sure everything's looking good because I'm in my 30's and things change, you know, between 18 and 30.
Ben: You take a lot of fish oil and I'm curious if you, when you get a blood test, are you looking at lipids? Are there certain things that you're specifically looking for that are related to either muscle gain, or acrobatics, or anything else?
Jon: I make sure my lipids are good. I make sure my liver values are good. I don't think I look at anything, I don't really look for anything like, it's hard to describe. It's like I just make sure that they look good because you think, “Oh, you're not gonna feel a difference between having a bad lipids and good lipids,” but between the times where I've tested good and the times where I've tested less good because I would do a diet experiment, or stop supplementing with fish oil, and niacin, and all these other things, or I'm bulking, or whatever, I'd see the changes. It really relates to how good you feel, your mood. You just look at your back-end results, if you look back the past few months, are actually related to having decent blood test results. So yes, I do look at that. I think it's important.
Ben: You are one of the biggest, most muscular guys I have ever seen who actually possesses the amount of flexibility that you have. First question regarding flexibility would be, do you have any good tricks, whether it be a stretching, a foam rolling, a traction, a nutrition or supplement? Like what would be your best trick for gaining flexibility quickly?
Jon: Okay. Well, first a little plug. I'm pretty close to finishing an ebook on flexibility that I've been writing for two years, and it has a hell of a lot of tricks, and neat little secrets, and stuff that you're asking about. In terms of…
Ben: Does that have a title yet? In case people wanna search for this after it comes out.
Jon: I'm gonna announce it on my Instagram here in about a week.
Ben: Alright. I'll try and put that on the show notes for people. Okay. So go ahead.
Jon: So the thing about flexibility training is, let me ask you a question real quick. When was the last time someone came to you and been like, “I wanna get stronger,” Ben?
Ben: Happens a lot. I would say probably yesterday.
Jon: Okay. And then, okay, probably yesterday. But then, don't you ever wonder like, stronger for what? Or maybe strong in what?
Ben: Yeah. Absolutely. Do you want…
Jon: What does strong mean? Does it mean…
Ben: Do you want that fast wiry strength? Do you want to be able to tow a truck with your teeth? Yeah. Absolutely.
Jon: Yeah. So, I mean, the word strong implies some sort of image they have in their head of what that means. Does it mean a higher powerlifting total in the squat, the dead, the bench, towing a truck with your teeth? Does it being able to mean, you know, like what does it mean? Okay. So that's the problem people have when they ask me, “How do you get more flexible,” or, okay, flexible for what? What exactly are you looking for? Do you want to be able to do the splits? Do you want to be able to kick high? Do you want to be able to squat ass to grass? And so when you take that question, “How do I get more flexible,” and you put a face on it, like this is what flexibility means to me, this is, actually the skill I want then…
Ben: Okay. So let's do that. You do the full body splits with a lot of weight held over your head, or people, or whatever else. If someone wanted to do the full body split, what would be your top tips for them to begin getting to that point where they can do a full body split like you?
Jon: And this is the fun part where we kinda come full circle here. (laughs) So remember what I told you when you asked me about the backflip? What question was it that I asked?
Ben: How often do I jump.
Jon: Yeah. How often do you jump. So if you want the splits, when was the last time you just actually got into the position? So even begin entering the splits. Because, I mean, think about it, full splits is sorta like a 500 pound deadlift, whereas a partial split might be a 225 pound deadlift. But in order to build your deadlift, at some point, you're probably gonna start the person deadlifting relatively soon, right? So, if it's full splits you're after, you should probably try the splits. (chuckles)
Ben: Right. And are you talking, like when you practice the splits, for example, are you holding for 60 to 90 seconds? Are you doing like dynamic swings to open up those muscle groups? Are you, I don't know, putting some kind of a topical ointment on the necessary joints to improve range of motion? Like any little thing like that you recommend for flexibility aside from just stretching?
Jon: Yeah, yeah. There's a few, well I could talk all day about flexibility. It's my thing, man. But, this kinda comes full circle again too when I was talking about what does an acrobatic tricking workout look like? It looks like a guy just trying stuff. So if you want to be more flexible, specifically you want the splits, then when you do the splits, it's sort of like you're just trying stuff. So you just kind of go into it, you hold it, you stop supporting yourself with your hands, you keep your body upright, oh, there's a little muscular contraction there, I'm having to actually balance and use my leg muscles to flex to keep myself from falling over in this position. Maybe I should look at videos of guys doing the splits to see what their knee, and their shin, and their foot alignment is with both legs. So you try stuff, you practice, you look at the technique, you take rest sets.
So that's one very important thing that I think almost nobody gets right when they practice flexibility training specifically for something a high-end peak performance flexibility like splits, is they don't do rest sets. So they just sit in the split for a little while, and they're like, “Oh, I guess it's,” you know, is it a five minute? No. You do it for a minute, you work, you jiggle around, you wiggle, you get back out of it, you walk around, you rest for a few minutes, you go back into it.
Ben: Now when you say you get into it, and you hold it, and you jiggle, and wiggle, et cetera, about how long are you in a position like that? Like say, for the splits?
Jon: If it's like a weighted split, then not very long at all. It's like a few seconds. It's like up to 10 seconds. If it's a maximum split, it's gonna be similar. It's not gonna be held very long, but you back off a little bit, [1:03:26] ______ .
Ben: And what if it is just a split to try and get better at the splits, right. Like if I were gonna drop into a split right now and I’m gonna do a series of sets of these stretches in a split position, like you say, would I hold each for 60 seconds, get up, and walk away, come back, and do another one for 60 seconds? Or is there a specific time prescription?
Jon: It's pretty close. I mean, it doesn't have to be perfect, but what I would do is I would count for about 30 to 60 seconds at your peak position. So it might take you a little while to, I mean the first set will take you a second to get in and expand and take you like 30 to 45 seconds just to get to that point where you're all the way down. And then you'll hold it for 30 to 60 seconds. And then you'll get out, you'll rest, and you'll just repeat over and over again. So the 30 to 60 seconds would be your time in the top-end position, your full depth.
Ben: Got it. And you're doing something like this every day for flexibility?
Jon: If I was building flexibility, yes. That's what I did. That's how I got my splits since I was like a 15, 16 year old kid. And every night for two hours, I would practice the splits for two hours.
Ben: For two hours?
Jon: Hours, just every night watching anime on VHS tapes. (laughs)
Ben: And you just do the splits, walk away, come back, do 'em again, walk away, come back?
Jon: Yeah, yeah! Just over, and over, and over again. And you'll notice that with sets, when you get back into it and do another set, you can magically go further every time. And people who don't see split training that way, never get to see that magic improvement in a session. Instead they just get into it, hold it for a little while and then that's it. No. It doesn't work that way. Do reps and sets.
Ben: Do you do much deep tissue work? Like do you do foam roller, or balls, or anything like that to work out adhesions or muscle knots that might inhibit flexibility?
Jon: No, not really.
Ben: Really? What about just for general injury prevention? Do you get massages or deep tissue work? Or do you just kinda fly by the seat your pants and keep your fingers crossed you don't get injured?
Jon: I'm pretty sure that most people who get injured like that, or not practicing, they don't have good movement practices. So they have faulty patterns, and if you actually read Kelly Starrett's book “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” so there's a hell of a lot of exercises in the back of both of his books that have lots of ways to restore gliding surfaces, and to release tissue restrictions, and all the stuff, but those are more like, in my opinion, corrective therapy modalities for people who are moving wrong. So actually, the first whole half of his book, which most people skip, is like how to actually squat correctly, how to actually move correctly. You know, not to sit all day on your ass for eight hours because your butt will glue itself to it, you know. So if you just avoid that stuff altogether, if you avoid the damage and you're moving correctly, then where does the damage actually happen where you actually have to be rolling on a ball all the time, you know?
Ben: Now for the people who are doing in, whatever, an Ironman triathlon who are in an unnatural position for five hours on a bicycle, or pounding the pavement for two or three hours, I think you've gotta pull out the medieval torture chamber, soft tissue devices I think, if you're going to be, I would say, moving unnaturally, or with chronic repetitive motion in a front to back direction. I think it's a matter of how many unnatural things you might be doing to your body, I suppose.
Jon: That sounds pretty good. That sounds right. But for what I do, I'm always moving through a full range of motion in all these acrobatic stuff, and all the strength stuff I do. It's not a big deal.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. There are some people who would argue upon looking at you that you might be a freak of nature too though. You may have that going for you as well. What is Acrobolix, you used that word earlier. I know that's thrown around a little bit on your website, which I'll link to, but what exactly is Acrobolix?
Jon: It's acrobatic and anabolic. It's the two words combined into Acrobolix. So it's the combination of aerial acrobatics and bodybuilding.
Ben: So you actually coined a term for what it is that you do, basically. This Acrobolix would be backflips and weightlifting?
Jon: Yeah! Yeah, that's my word. I mean…
Jon: I had to invent something because I was tricking, and I was getting interested in bodybuilding, and putting on size, and all the tricksters were 150 pound kids, and I'm like this 220 pound guy at the time, and I don't fit it anymore. I don't fit in. I mean, what am I? No one else who does the flips and stuff looks like me and no one who lifts weights, and does the bodybuilding cares about flips and stuff. I need, oh! Acrobolix! The word just came to me one day. I was like, “That's what I do!”
Ben: I like it. And you kinda have this sequence on your website. You say, start jumping every day, standing jumps, hop jumps, one-legged jumps, jump rope. You need to jump a lot. Start stretching every day, like you just mentioned. Do stretch kicks, and practice the splits, everything you do every day should be through a full range of motion. That's number two. Number three, you say pick one trick to learn. The backflip is perfect, and obviously, you've got a lot of examples of that on your Instagram page. And then you say go to the gym, get a pump every day, and get strong on the compound lifts: deadlifts, squats, presses, Olympic lifts for muscle and explosiveness. And that's like your system, that's Acrobolix.
Jon: Yeah. Pretty much. I mean, if you just look at it as simply is, it's gonna be, it's just do all that stuff. I mean, and I had talked about periodizing your training during different times a year to focus on one thing more than the other over the long term, but essentially there's a hell of a lot of guys out there who could be doing what I do if they just stretched, you know. Or they just started jumping a little bit. It's just like, just do it! Just try it! Just do the stuff!
Ben: Yeah. Do you have anything that you are working on, besides building up this Acrobolix website and your ebook on flexibility? I know that you're into music, you're into coffee, all sorts of things, but any other little exciting projects that you're working on that you want to let people know about?
Jon: Exciting projects? Well, I'm in contact with many people who work in the film industry. That's pretty exciting.
Ben: So there could be a Jujimufu movie coming out at some point soon?
Jon: A show?
Ben: Or a show. I like it. Well, in the meantime, your YouTube channel and your Instagram page are show in and of themselves, and I mean, honestly if you're listening in, you know what I just mentioned, from Jujimufu's Acrobolix page, to jump every day, stretch every day, learn one trick, get freaking strong on the compound lifts. If you want to get the bodybuilding pump like Jujimufu has, do some of those single-joint type of motions that we talked about earlier in the show, and you too can look like a long haired freak of nature who does backflips, and a lot of crazy things with a barbell, which I will of course link to, and some of my favorite videos if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/acrobat.
In the meantime, Jon, thanks for coming on the show, man. You are one fascinating dude.
Jon: (laughs) Hey, you had some really good questions. I hope that I provided your listeners something new that they haven't heard about, or maybe made 'em want to actually jump today.
Ben: You've inspired me to go learn the backflip, and practice a little bit on the full-body splits. So, if you too are inspired by Jon, or anything you want to pipe in on, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/acrobat, and I will link to everything from the Turbine nasal dilator that we talked about, to high dose fish oil, to how to spot a backflip, Jujimufu's website, his Instagram page, and much more, along with of course, Kimera Koffee, which I know we both drink and that's how we met each other, through that mutual connection with Kimera Koffee. And Jon, thanks so much for coming on, man.
Jon: Thanks, Ben. It's been a good time.
Ben: Awesome. Well, folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Jon Call signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Meet Jon Call, who calls himself “Jujimufu”, and is also known as The Anabolic Acrobat. The 29-year-old, 5-foot-11 beast weighs in at 230 pounds. He frequently posts videos like the one below to his Instagram and YouTube channels, videos showing him accomplishing unthinkable, insane and entertaining feats that combine extreme strength with extreme flexibility…
One caption on his Instagram page reads that his weekly meal prep includes…”10 lbs chicken. 8 lbs beef liver. 2 lbs cod fish. 20 hardboiled egg whites. 48 oz pasteurized egg whites. 9 whole eggs. 2 bags spinach. 5 lb broccoli. 2 bellpepper. 3 large onions. 1 bulb garlic. 2 avocado. 3 jalapenos. 10 lbs potatoes. 12 cup rice (before cooking)…”
He’s been featured on America’s Got Talent hoisting supermodels overhead.
He takes hot baths in giant vats of smart-drug infused coffee.
He does weighted barbell splits with hundred of pounds overhead.
And today, we’re going to find out what makes this guy tick. During our discussion, you’ll discover…
-The surprising story of why Jon Call calls himself Jujimufu…
-How Jujimufu transitioned from a super skinny kid who could barely do a backflip to being a ripped bodybuilder…
-How Jujimufu maintains as much muscle mass as possible while still training for acrobatic performance…
-The nitty-gritty details of Jujimufu’s diet…
-Which exercise Jujimufu does to keep his arms from shrinking…
-Jujimufu’s top 3 supplements, and which specific supplement he “mega-doses” on…
-Jon’s top tricks for gaining flexibility as fast as possible…
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
–How To Spot A Backflip video