AnaSCI Interview: John Meadows (MD Training)


Registered User
Oct 31, 2012
Interview by: tri-terror

John has burst back onto the bodybuilding scene the last few years and had a huge impact. Both in terms of his placings and his diet and training methodology. John is the creator of the "Mountain Dog Diet", as well as "Mountain Dog Training". Last year John nearly won his pro card at Master's Nats taking a much debated 2nd place in the Heavyweight Division, and engineered Antoine Vailant's prep for Canadian Nationals where he turned pro last year.

OK John here are some questions for you:

TT: Your training style has been picking up steam lately with a lot of praise online, and comments on your training videos. What do attribute this success to? I mean why do you think people like it?

JM: Results. People who are after muscular hypertrophy do well with this program. The other cool thing is the increases in strength that occurs. This was a little surprising to me, but it makes sense when you think about the explosive style reps we use and the accommodating resistance work we do. What didn't come as a surprise was all the compliments on people's joints feeling better. Exercise sequencing and using certain range of motion on certain exercises are what drive this.

TT: From what I have seen/read about your training, I would characterize it as high intensity/high volume(you know us bodybuilders have to label everything!), how would YOU classify it?

JM: I would call it a periodized layering system. When I say layering, I
mean attacking the muscle with a certain rep range, technique or goal. For example, 5 sets of 5 is a system, but if you also did other types or reps, rep ranges, etc, it would only be a layer. My system basically uses 4 layers. A pre-pump layer to drive nutrients into the muscle and get the muscle engorged with blood, an explosive layer designed to create maximum muscular tension throughout the entire range of motion, a supramax pump layer designed to get the absolute most blood in the muscle you can, and a stretch layer in which you use an exercises that applies some stretching to an already pumped muscle. The order of these layers are very important and feed into each other logically and intelligently.

TT: I know that overtraining is kind of a buzz word today and many people are worried about it. What are your thoughts on overtraining, and how do you recognize if in fact you are over doing it?

JM: Overtaining is real, overreaching is real, but all the people worried
about it, shouldn't be, because they don't usually train hard enough to
even think about overtraining. Many people have poor nutritional habits, stressful lives etc, so may not feel great, but that's not because the training system isn't well thought out, it is because they are lazy in other aspects. Training and nutrition should compliment each other. You can't think of them as seperate entities.

TT: I tried to piece together a MountainDog routine from your articles and failed miserably. I don't think I had the right combo of exercises and volume. For someone who want's to try out a little MD training before they pull the trigger to hire you, what you suggest they do?

JM: Go to T-Nation or right here at AnaSCI in my forum. You will find sample routines for most bodyparts, . You can also join my website for a few bucks a month and get a ton of routines that I picked out of various programs for people to try.

TT: In your training you have three phases if I'm not mistaken, where you slowly ramp up the volume followed by an ending period of more HIT style I believe. Could you talk to us a bit about how you set those up? Like the length of each phase and approximately how much volume is in each one?

JM: The periodization part is easy. Work your sets up over 2 to 3 weeks. Crank hard for 6 to 8 weeks, then bring sets back down.

TT: Let's talk about peri-workout nutrition a little, as I think that is a
big part of what you are doing so guys are not getting sore and recovering quickly. What kind of guidelines do you have regarding the macros surrounding your workout and what kind of products do you like/prefer?

JM: Safely increasing training frequency is a very good thing for
hypertrophy. In order to do this, you must have optimal recovery though or it will catch up to you fast. I have experimented with about every possible combination of supplements ever created..haha. I was always left disappointed. Last year I began using a supplement that contained casein hydrolysate and branch cyclic dextrin. In a day or two, I simply ceased getting sore. I thought I wasn't training hard enough, or doing enough, so I literally annihilated myself but still couldn't get sore. I a little soreness is ok, we need an inflammatory effect to get the ball rolling on the processes that lead to hypertrophy. Heck I was insanely sore for basically 20+ years of my life and still managed to grow into a top national heavyweight. However, the way I do things now, has allowed me to make the most pure gains than I have in YEARS, so I am thrilled and will keep doing it. It is also to remember that training and nutrition should match. The intra protocols I set up are for people training with my style. They fit like a hand in a glove. If you do shorter routines, say a 30
minute HITT session for example, I would greatly modify the protocol.

TT: How does the pre, during and post workout nutrition actually work? Or rather why does it work?

JM: You eat a small meal far enough out so that it's not heavy in your
stomach. You want a little carbs and fat too. Carbs will get an insulin
response going, but the fat will control how quickly glucose enters your blood and prevent your pancreas from making a huge insulin dump. So for example, 4 oz of chicken, 1/2 cup of oats, and 1 tbs of almond butter 60-90 minutes from training. You start to sip your intra drink 5 to 10 minutes before training to get the nutrients into your blood where mechanical tension from training hard, and insulin production will both result in nutrients being shoved into muscle tissue via Glut-4 translocation. After you are done training, there is no need to rush and guzzle a drink or whatever. Your intradrink did it's thing so just go home, cook up some beef and rice when you are ready and then chow down.

TT: Do you modify anything workout related when it comes to pre-contest or does it stay pretty much the same?

JM: The last week I tend to back off volume some, and also slow down on the high intensity techniques like partials and drop sets. We also don't want anybody shooting for PR's in their ripped state, so basically we try to stay in one piece, and not do anything dumb and get injured.

TT: I'm going to be a little selfish here and ask a question for myself! But I think many others could gain from it too. That little part of the back around the lower traps area, between the shoulder blades. I need to bring that up pronto! Do you have an exercise that will hit that area?

JM: Go to my Youtube page (mountaindog1) and look up prone shrugs. BOOM, there you go:
Prone shrugs against rack for mid back and lower traps - YouTube

TT: What is your favorite muscle to train and what is your favorite
exercise for it?

JM: Legs and squat variations

TT: What is ONE supplement EVERY bodybuilder should have in their

JM: Hydrolyzed Casein or Whey for their intra drink since I am only
allowed one.

TT: I'd like to thank Mr. Meadows for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions for us.