Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Interview with Jason Pegg - Part 1

I interviewed EFS powerlifter Jason Pegg. This guy talks or writes...so I had to break up this interview into 2 parts because it is pretty valuable stuff coming from a guy that can get under alot of weight; have a sense of humor; and can withstand alot of BS in his life.

Who on earth is Jason Pegg, you ask? Is he some guru, some expert, some know-it-all ready to tell you its his way or its crap? Jason Pegg is part of an elite team--literally...and he is a regular guy like you and me. Back from a dramatic stint with the US Military, Jason joined Elite Fitness Training Systems to lift the heaviest weights possible and conjure up as much learning experience a man can take from some of iron's smartest people, as well as some simple--yet effective business advice from his mentors. As a guy starting up in the fitness business, Jason is weathering the economy and creating his angles in an effort to get his personal training and fitness business running successfully.

JOHN: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me. Why don't you begin by telling me and the readers a little about yourself----how you got into power-lifting competition, how you got involved in Elite Fitness Systems, and just a brief history on your involvement with iron?

Jason: As for a bit about me? Kind of hard to guess where to start. I'm assuming you don't want me to start at birth, unless you don't want people to read past the first question! Right now I am (trying) to work as a personal trainer/strength coach. I live in Muncie, IN, with my wife of 5 years, Dannielle, and my two sons Gunnar, 5, and Corban.

I originally got into powerlifting in high school. We had a guy, Mike Jones, who came into our program and was a DB/WR coach. He was a little guy 5'9, 170 or so, but was strong as hell. He was my introduction to powerlifting. He had a powerlifting team at the high school he went to, and continued to do it when he was in college. He would take us to do an "Indiana High School State" meet in the spring as an extension of our weight training for football. There were a lot of kids there that had suits, and wore bench shirts, etc. We didn't even have belts! When I went to college to play football, powerlifting kind of went away. I came back to it while in the Army, and have been with it mostly, anyway, ever since. I had to do some different stuff while in the hospital, as it was almost a year before my arm worked right.

As for getting involved with EFS, I'm not sure exactly what brought it to fruition, but I feel extremely honored that it happened. I know that Dave was looking for some people to fill some niche spots he was looking to fill in his training logs. I don't know why they picked me over anyone else, but I am very fortunate to be in the place that I am with them. Dave and Jim have been very good to me, and it has provided me access to some great opportunities and great people that I wouldn't have had access to otherwise. The knowledge base of the guys there is amazing, and everyone is more than willing to help. Being a part of Team EFS is a HUGE deal to me.
JOHN:  I think it’s important that people have mentors in life, but at the same time you have to forge your own path. Based on your influences and beliefs, what makes you different than other power-lifters?

Jason: My Mom and Dad were huge influences on me as a kid, much as they are for anyone. My Dad was huge when I was growing up. He worked in the auto industry, so his job went as car sales did, and he was laid off sometimes. Rather than sit around and mope, he was always out doing something to help make ends meet. He was pretty self sufficient with a lot of things as well. He would rather chop wood for the fireplace than pay the gas bill, go kill animals and eat them as opposed to buying stuff at the grocery store, etc. I still don’t think he has ever paid for an oil change or to get the brakes done on his truck. He also didn’t bullshit you when you asked his opinion. I can remember after a high school football game we won big; he was riding me about missing tackles and blocks. He was never a dick about it, it was never a "you suck" type of deal, but when he gave opinions that were usually confirmed the next day in the film room!

Mom was the exact opposite. That was always awesome. Like most moms, no matter how bad you sucked or fucked something up, she gave you a "good game” compliment. It was good for the psyche if nothing else. She also got out of a shit job when I was in high school. She went back to college as an old woman and now works as a nurse in a neurologist’s office. That was hugely inspirational, even now as I am getting ready to restart college as a 30 year old man.

Dave Tate is another one, especially now. He has proven that you can run a business with no formal training in it. He could be an asshole and not talk to people, because I know he doesn't really have the time, but he still does it. Jim Wendler is another guy. Lives his life as he wants to and isn’t worried about what anyone thinks or says about it. I can’t lie John, this is a hard question. I would have to really sit down and think about it. There are so many guys who do things that seem to work so well for them.

As for their influences on my lifting? I would say that the work ethic is there. They also helped infuse a large dose of reality to it for me as well. If I’m hurt, or sicker than a dog, or something else is going on, I’m not scared to take a day off. It doesn't bother me. I know that missing workouts kills some guys. I also try to remember that there are a million ways to get strong, and one isn't necessarily better than the other. I am probably one of the few guys who realize, and it is starting to really sway toward this type of thinking, but that you don’t have to use maximal weights to get stronger. If more guys realized this, you would probably see a lot fewer sore shoulders and backs.

JOHN: I just started reading more and more from Dave Tate, maybe in the last year and a half, and I have been more and intrigued with his business development from what I have read. I noticed you said you are "trying" to work as a personal trainer/strength coach. What types of obstacles are you running into? What business tactics have you picked up from Dave and Jim from EFS?


Jason: Right now, my biggest obstacle is trying to find clients! Hahaha. I know it sounds lame, but the industry is big here, and they have been laying off left, right, and center. I don’t want to be, nor can I afford to be, that guy that starts out great, training people and getting results, but goes off half cocked and runs into a shit storm in 6 months. I can focus what I'm good at, and pass along the stuff that I suck at, or don't want to be good at to the guys I have on the team.

As for Jim and Dave, and what I’ve learned from them? When I was talking to Jim about it, he gave a standard “Wendler” answer. Almost verbatim, it was "fuck business. If you sell a good product, people will buy it." I know that this is VERY oversimplified, but it brought to the forefront something that is pretty important. Don't sell a shit product. You might see some good sales initially, but once people figure out that its shit, you're done. Just look how some of these 'revolutionary" products and programs go. Marketing will only carry it so far, but as the saying goes, “you can't polish a turd”.

I almost feel bad about admitting it, but Dave has taught me so much simple shit. Things that for whatever reason seem to be what you would think as common sense, but I was completely unaware of. They have been on all sorts of different levels, but so many of them I'm thinking to myself while we're talking "How in the hell did I not know that??" It was expressed to me when I was talking to another guy on the team as "learning." I guess he was right, and I'm showing how long it has been since I’ve been in an environment where some concepts were so completely foreign to me.

Other than that, one of the biggest things that Dave has done, along with a couple of other guys, is turning me on to Alwyn Cosgrove. It seems that right now, everything I read from him I should be paying for! All of his concepts and ideas are amazing. I have actually implemented quite a few of the things that Alwyn and Dave have recommended. I would have been deep in a hole had I not known about these things now. I can't lie. I'm as lazy as I can be when the situation allows for it. One thing that I learned when I was in the Army is that, on the lowest imaginable level, there are only two ways to do anything. The smart way, and the hard way. I like to use the smart way as much as possible, especially when you consider that I learned this lesson the hard way!

All of the things that I am taking from these guys are simple things, but in the end, they end up being HUGE. I am very thankful that I have these guys behind me as I dive into the business side of this. I'm also fortunate these guys give like they do.

JOHN: What is your best lift? And is it your favorite?

Jason: My best lift is far and away my squat. I’ve hit 915 in competition, and don’t think I'm anywhere near where I could end up, assuming everything goes as it should, and I don’t run into any major injuries. Is it my favorite? Hell no! Squatting big weights the right way is hard. I would rather do some pull downs or something like that. Those are easy. I'm kidding. I wouldn't say that I have a favorite exercise. I could tell you my least favorite exercise.
Stay tuned for Part 2....


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