Whether you’re a recreational gym lifter, wanna be bodybuilder, athlete or aspiring fitness model, you can benefit from strength & conditioning training. Brandon Richey is an expert in this area of fitness. The Kettlebell master recently answered some of our questions about training, supplements and diet. Today we’re bringing you an interview with Brandon Richey.
For those who maybe haven’t came across your blog, youtube or heard of you, give us a brief run down of who Brandon Richey is.
Sure, I’m a self employed strength coach with a love for lifting, running, and competition. I enjoy training athletes of all kinds for a living and I also happen to be a big movie fan. I’m also a self published author and have a blog that keeps me busy 24-7. I love helping folks and I’m always open to learning new ways of obtaining strength and athletcism in an industry that I’ve been in now for over 13 years.
How did you get started within the fitness industry?
I started in the fitness industry right out of college. After graduating from the University Of Georgia in 2000 I got on doing some personal training for a Gold’s Gym in metro Atlanta. I continued on working and learning more and more about how to train people.
I eventually got back on to the strength and conditioning staff at UGA for the football program and gained additional learning and experience with training some high level athletes. The experience of learning on the job was challenging, but incredible at the same time. The daily grind forced me to learn and soak up as much as I could in regards to coaching athletes.
What led you to the strength and conditioning side of things, as opposed to bodybuilding or fitness modelling?
At the time I was looking for something different in terms of training and to be honest I was looking at where I thought I could potentially earn a better living. I got on working for a company that trained athletes to get the high school kids ready for college, and the college kids ready for the pros.
This training environment seemed to be perfect for training large groups of people at one time which to me seemed to be more financially stable. However, that was just the model that I grew accustomed to and I also loved training both myself and my athletes in terms of athletic movements.
Do you draw any comparisons between the world of bodybuilding and strength, or do you see them as separate entities?
Oh I definitely see an overlap. One of the biggest influences on me getting into this industry was Arnold Schwarzenegger. As it turns out Arnold did a great deal of powerlifting and could deadlift and bench press a house before he ever started in on the process of serious shredding for a bodybuilding competition. He’s a tremendous athlete. There is no doubt a big crossover point between the worlds of bodybuilding and strength.
We’ve previously interviewed the deadlift world record holder, Bendikt Magnuson. Who were some of your ‘idols’ within the strength world when you were first starting out?
Oh wow, very cool and congrats to Bendikt Magnuson. Yes, one of the most amazing guys I looked at in the world of strength was a guy right from my hometown of Toccoa, Ga. Paul Anderson. If you’re not familiar with Paul he is arguably the strongest man to ever walk the face of the planet.
Paul won gold medal in the 1956 Olympic games in Melbourne Australia and did it after suffering a bout of the flu and having dropped over 40 lbs. prior to the competition. He later became known as the “King Of Squat” and could squat as much as 900 lbs. for 10 rep sets!!!
That was truly an amazing individual. I’m sure Bendikt Magnuson has heard of Paul Anderson. I would highly recommend everyone looking him up.
Who do you still follow from the strength world?
I don’t really follow any particular individual too much today. Although from time to time I’ll reference guys like Arnold, Paul, and of course Herschel Walker since he’s a fellow UGA graduate.
Talk us through your current training split.
The current program I follow for myself is fairly consistent although I may change it up from time to time. For me these days I have to engage in what gives me the most “bang” for my training time.
I typically follow a 3 day training routine which includes both a strength and conditioning component. Mondays are typically my heavy lift days. I typically warm up with some dynamic warm up drills followed by a couple of 3 minute bouts of jump rope.
After this I usually end up squatting and deadlifting. If I have time I might throw in some steps, reverse lunges, pistol squats, etc.
Typically on Wednesday I will do a half hour of conditioning involving footwork drills, plyometrics, etc. and then follow this up with an upper body type of workout with bench, pull ups, shoulder presses, rows, etc.
On Friday I generally devote the first half of the workout to conditioning and devote the second half to kettlebells, bodyweight, etc. It’s a good mix up for me. I’m also a Muay Thai practictioner and will try to get in a couple days of training with that as well.
How does this differ from when you were first starting out?
Not a whole lot other than the fact that I would train more on a 4 or 5 day type of split and I was training with a lot more volume. Once again that has more to do with the time factor.
What are some of the big no no’s you would advice newbies to avoid, that you’ve learned from experience?
Not that I ever step foot to train inside health clubs anymore, but when I do I tend to see a lot of guys and girls neglecting the foundational lifts consisting of squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. I think the few times I’ve been in clubs these days I tend to see a lot of folks engaging in only single joint movements such as arm curls, leg extensions, tricep extensions, etc.
Now don’t get me wrong these lifts server their purpose, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to make these the staple of one’s training program. These should come as secondary and even then people are still better off emphasizing moving in patterns rather than too much restriction one might get from a machine exercise.
Without getting to bespoke to an individual, what beginners routine would you recommend to a newbie looking to build strength?
I kind of touched on this in the previous statement, but deadlifts, squats, and bench. However they should work to master these with absolute flawless technique. Additionally I think it’s absolutely crucial for trainees to master their own body resistance before attempting to move resistance under load.
You’re a master of the kettlebell. What is it about training with these that you find so appealing?
Earlier I mentioned the importance of practicing to move in patterns. You see this is what makes kettlebells so valuable. I often see a misrepresentation of how the kettlebell is supposed to be used on the internet and even TV.
For instance, the basic kettlebell swing lift is essentially like a deadlift, but it’s a continuous movement involving the flexion of both the knees and hips in an attempt to create momentum to swing the bell from between the legs up to just shy of chest level.
To pull this off properly you must understand how to properly hinge at the hips, brace the abs, and come to a full lockout position at the knees and hips at the top of the swing lift. It’s an art in mastering movement with strength. I can tell you that if you are lacking in cardio this lift will absolutely light you up too! It’s a killer and I mean that in a good way!
Where can our readers find some of your killer kettlebell workouts?
I’m usually always updating my blog with regular content and they can also sign up to join my email list for Free to get my training tips, workouts, news, product information, etc. Here is the link if anyone is interested: http://brandonricheyfitness.com/free-newsletter/
Many strength athletes don’t give nutrition much consideration, adopting a ‘see-food’ diet. What is your approach to diet and nutrition?
I have always been a big believer in eating well. To me you put good in you get good out. For me personally I’ve seen this in the improvement of both my own performance as well as my athletes.
How strict are you with counting macros and adhering to daily intake?
I’m not super strict with counting up the grams of fats, proteins, and carbs although I do recognize the importance of protein intake for soft tissue and muscular repair. It’s a necessity. As far as that I adhere pretty closely to the NSCA recommendations of pulling in anywhere from 1.5 to 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight depending on one’s activity level.
I do keep an eye on the protein simply because I get hungry and grumpy like those people do in those Snickers commercials when they transform into some kind of high maintenance celebrity. Other than that I try to just include a variety of fruits and vegetables in my regular intake.
What are your thoughts on IIFYM?
I think you are talking about that whole thing where the body doesn’t recognize a difference between sugars from a fruit and sugars from a Snickers bar. Ha, I don’t necessarily think that’s false, however I don’t believe inhaling a couple of Snickers bars in the place of an apple is necessarily a good thing.
Additionally those other processed foods can also include a lot of other ingredients made to increase shelf life and to even manipulate taste and texture. Even though I’m human and I like to have sugary fatty foods at times for the most part I try to eat good.
As a trainer, what are some of the most frustrating things you have to deal with?
The most frustrating thing to deal with for me is probably the scheduling conflicts of appointments at times. Although I’ve gotten used to this as I’ve gotten older I realized that you just have to tell people no at times. Haha, trust me that’s not easy coming from a Type A guy like me. The fact is though you can’t be everywhere for everyone. Focus and quality is what is most important.
Many trainers these days don’t look like they lift. They undergo a 6 week college course, get a ‘PT’ t-shirt printed and start charging for an hour of training. What advice would you give to someone looking to hire a coach or personal trainer?
I would take on a more comprehensive approach if one is looking to hire a trainer or coach. I would look at 3 criteria consisting of credentials, experience, and communication. To start, I would definitely put some weight on one’s credentials. NSCA and ACSM certified trainers are always solid.
After the credentials I would look at experience next. Experience is important, but it’s still not the “end all.” I mean who doesn’t want a coach with experience right? The fact is though that as good as experience is it can’t stand alone.
The third element is communication. What I mean by this is how does a coach or trainer convey his or her message to the trainee? Do they use coaching cues that are helpful in explaining how the trainee should execute a desired movement during a particular lift or drill? Are they able to explain the “why” within the program.
Tell us about the rewarding side of personal training. What are some of the success stories you’ve had with clients?
Oh I’ve had tons of rewarding experiences. I got to train the #6 world ranked Muay Champion and one of my best friends Jeff Perry for a title fight which he won by ending the other guys career. I hate to see people get hurt, but I was glad it wasn’t my student that got hurt!
I’ve also got a diverse training group. I just recently trained a client for her very first Tough Mudder race. That was fun. I also currently have one really devoted 9 year old figure skater that is looking to get to the highest level of competition. Seeing these folks perform makes it all worth it.
Do you ever lose the motivation to personal train people, or lose interest in training yourself?
Yes. Haha, I know that answer make shock a lot of people, but it’s true. The difference is that it’s always short lived. I mean I don’t believe that any of us are just flat out balls to the wall 24-7 for 365. The good news is that once I have a little down time I always come back hungry to get back into it. As far as training my students I do have tough days at times, but I always push through it and try to forget about me by focusing on them.
How do you overcome ‘tough days’ where you need to train, but just aren’t feeling it?
The older I’ve gotten I’ve realized the best thing to do is to just charge through the doors and start moving. I’ve found out that once you start moving around chances are you’ll start feeling better. This is almost always true.
What are your thoughts on supplements? Talk us through the supplements you use.
I don’t use a lot of supplements and if I do I may have a smoothie or a protein shake simply out of necessity. I try to get most of what I need from the foods I eat although there are some good cheap supplements out on the market for helping with performance.
What supplements would you recommend to your clients?
I rarely recommend supplements to the majority of my clients, but the ones I know may need a little extra boost I will encourage creatine from time to time. It’s been proven to work and from experience I will tell you that I’ve personally seen some mad gains from it.
Food or shake, what do you prefer?
Depends on the time of day. Earlier in the day I like a shake, but later at night I prefer food.
What other projects have you got lined up for the rest of 2014?
I’m currently working on a number of different things. Including this awesome site here with you guys I’m also busy hitting deadlines publishing up information to various other platforms in attempt to spread my own gospel of strength.
I’ve also got audios available on the site in addition to some other digital products that will be available for purchase in the next few months. I’m scheduled to do a presentation for a few clinics coming towards the end of the summer.
My main goal is to work at spreading the presence of the site to help folks like your readers to find new, effective, and innovative ways to train their bodies in order to be as strong and as fit as possible and I try to be as engaging as possible on the blog with my readers to help them through this process.
Where can our readers follow you?
If your readers are interested in getting all the latest information that I have they can find me at the blog here:
They can also find me on Facebook and Twitter as well:
I want to thank Cheap Protein Discount Codes for having me on for the interview today. I always like to close with the line that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart! I hope to do this again soon!