Podcast Episode 37: Jason Poston on Global Fitness, Training, and Blood Sugar
IFBB physique pro Jason Poston is busier than ever, representing the sport around the world and sharing the details of his training and life with his fans. He gives an in-depth look into his 17-year lifting history, how he broke into the fitness industry, his wild experience with becoming a type-1 diabetic at age 28, and how everyone could benefit from "eating like a healthy diabetic."
Listen To Podcast Episode #37
Episode 37: Jason Poston on Global Fitness, Training, and Blood Sugar. IFBB physique pro Jason Poston is busier than ever, representing the sport around the world and sharing the details of his training and life with his fans. He gives an in-depth look into his 17-year lifting history, how he broke into the fitness industry, his wild experience with becoming a type-1 diabetic at age 28, and how everyone could benefit from "eating like a healthy diabetic."
Publish Date: Monday, February 19, 2018
Behind The Scenes Photo:
Behind The Scenes Video:
Ep. isode 37 Highlights & Transcript ▼
- The secret of gains: Egg McMuffins?
- Fitness (and Fitstagram) culture in Brazil
- Leg and butt training in Brazil: "Women are not afraid to lift heavy weight. They're doing heavy squats. You see a lot of them doing proper forced reps."
- The exploding Chinese fitness culture: " They're building their fitness world. You're going to see more bodybuilders, you're going to see better and better CrossFitters. You're going to see all sorts of better fitness people coming out of China."
- His initial disappointing experiences with his fitness heroes, and how it inspired him to be a better ambassador for his sport
- How Jason's mom provided him with his initial fitness and bodybuilding inspiration
- On Flex Lewis and Greg Plitt, and how they helped him figure it all out
- "I never wanted to be a competitor. I never really dreamt of it because I didn't think it was possible."
- His 17-year lifting quest: "This is a marathon. You have to be patient."
- On talking to people during his workout: "You could say, yeah, there's a time to focus, but there would be nothing to focus on if it wasn't for the fans. There would be no point. There would be nobody watching. The fans are always first in our small industry."
- 2011, the year he lost all his weight and discovered he had type-1 diabetes
- "They prescribed me insulin. I was walking down the hallway, and I felt amazing within like five minutes. They said, 'Go eat some food," and they told me exactly what to eat. I went downstairs, ate, and felt like I had energy for the first time in seven months."
- "I immediately gained 15 pounds back in one weekend. I got to, I remember, I was like, Alright, 160, here we go." One sixty then turned into 180. I gained 30 pounds back in 30 days." Six weeks later, he's back on the stage.
- "What was just a hobby and a way to live a new life with a disease, that work ethic, I think, and dedication, just helped me rise to the top."
- Why he got serious about YouTube vlogging: "Your best followers, your most loyal clients, your best friends, your best family are always the people who want to hear more."
- The secret to health and performance: "Eat like a healthy diabetic."
- How he radically changed his nutrition in response to his diagnosis
- His experience with ketogenic dieting: "It's a very taxing, detailed diet lifestyle… If you don't know what you're doing with keto, you could not like it. I think everyone should try it. Do it right, though."
- Why he misses in-person personal training
- His competitive future in classic physique
Nick Collias: Welcome to this here Bodybuilding.com Podcast, episode number ...
Heather Eastman: 30-something?
Nick: I have no idea. How old are you?
Jason Poston: I am 35.
Nick: Let’s say it's 35. Episode 35 with Jason Poston and Heather over here. Jason is IFBB physique pro, ProSupps athlete, secret Egg McMuffin connoisseur…
Jason Poston: [Laughs.] That's coming out now, huh? I had McDonald's for the first time in like 10 years, and you put it on social media. Now you eat it every day.
Nick: Hey, it’s not so secret, obviously. I share that secret obsession with you.
Heather: He loves his Egg McMuffins.
Nick: What's your variety of Egg McMuffin of choice?
Jason Poston: That's why they're amazing, you can switch it up. You can make it versatile. You can put Canadian bacon, or if you don't want any meat on it, you could just do double egg white, get the protein gains in there.
Nick: Egg white? You don't get the yolky ones?
Jason Poston: You can.
Nick: Oh, okay.
Jason Poston: But if you're trying to fit your macros, bro.
Nick: You're trying to fit your macros into an Egg McMuffin wrapper…
Jason Poston: And you need to get rid of the four grams of fat from the yolk.
Heather: He's a big fan of, he'll do, he calls it his double-stacked Egg McMuffin, where he gets two, throws away the bun on one, and then stacks it on the other.
Jason Poston: So it's like a Big Mac, basically, of Egg McMuffins.
Heather: I used to.
Jason Poston: We have similar Egg McMuffin traits here.
Nick: Also, you are a global bodybuilding ambassador. I notice you have been traveling a lot recently, down in Brazil, Dubai, China, I saw you're sending videos from all over the place.
Jason Poston: Yeah, that's since September. It's been amazing. When you grow up in the fitness industry and you look at some of these other guys traveling, the bigger names in the industry, you kind of want to be like them and see what it's like, so it's been about a year and a half, maybe two years of traveling. What I've realized is that it looks glamorous, but it's work, just like everything else. You're appreciative to be able to get out and sniff different air everywhere and meet different people, but you also have to learn how to travel, you know what I'm saying?
Nick: Yeah, it's a skill, for sure.
Jason Poston: Especially when you're an athlete. Then you have to get your meals in, stay hydrated. Some countries don't have the necessities that we take advantage of here in the United States. It's a learning lesson. You tend to just learn how to adapt, you improve your work ethic. You also learn a lot. You learn so much about other cultures.
Nick: Sure. Brazil looked pretty wild. That was quite an event you were heading down into. What was that?
Jason Poston: Brazil? That was the first expo. If you look at the Brazil expo, it's called Brazil Trading Fitness Expo, they approached me back in March about appearing at that. I was super stoked to do it, because I know, based on all the social media, Brazil is my second country in following. I just love it there.
Nick: So you have been before?
Jason Poston: Yeah, this was only my second trip. I went to Rio, which Rio and São Paulo are completely different.
Nick: They're like different countries almost, people say.
Jason Poston: Yeah. We tend to think, when we see cities, I think people do that to us, too. They're like, "So, how far are you from L.A.?," and you live in Dallas. You're like-
Nick: Or Boise.
Jason Poston: Completely different, very long way, can't really drive that, at least too often. São Paulo is more of a nightlife, party-type, industrial business city, and then Rio is more of the tourist attraction.
Jason Poston: It was great. You look at different countries and how they're absorbing fitness. I think even more so, some of them, than the United States, because we have our luxuries here. We have access to bad foods and we have all the things that we can get super easy here that allow a lot of diseases, a lot of the overweight issues here. In other countries, they don't have that. There's not as much fast food, they walk everywhere, they ride their bikes everywhere. Maybe certain countries have restrictions on cars, too, so you can't even have a car, unless you hit a lottery, unless it's a necessity for work. You could work 10 miles from home, they're like, "No. You can still take a train or ride a bike."
It's great to go to Brazil and see the first year of an expo just completely mad. You have an expo here in the States and some of them can be a little bit smaller. They just did it right. I was really proud of Brazil. It was a party, the booths were absolutely amazing. They put so much into the makeup and presentation of these booths, for the fans. Yeah, it's a business too, but they want to make it an amazing experience, where these people come and they're seeing these people who inspire them, they're learning, there's education, there's seminars, all sorts of stuff.
Nick: In terms of people knowing you and being familiar with you, did they totally bring it, like you couldn't believe how well these people know you?
Jason Poston: Yeah. Brazil, I was prepared. That's a concern, when you first start traveling, like, "Are people going to know me? Am I going to be a loner, just standing at a booth all by myself?" But it's pretty cool. When you work your butt off and you play your part on social media as well, putting all the stuff out there daily to inspire people and educate, and then when you show up in a country and you actually have people waiting there for you, who know your stuff, and you talk about the McDonald's Egg McMuffins and stuff, it's pretty cool. Brazil is definitely the biggest country as far as following. I don't know if you guys knew, but Brazil is the biggest on Instagram.
Nick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Heather: Really? I did not know that.
Jason Poston: More people on Instagram than any other country.
Nick: Wow, I didn't-
Heather: I do know that they're seeing more and more figure and bikini competitors coming out of Brazil.
Nick: Yeah, that I've heard. I've also heard that Brazilian gyms have a special butt section, like there's a whole section of the gym that's just butt machines, and they're butt machines that you don't have in the states. These are these sought-after places.
Heather: I'm going to have to research this.
Nick: Did you encounter a butt mecca?
Jason Poston: Write that down for me, too. Yes, we catch on trends from other countries. We're always learning from each other. America does not have the butt training skills that Brazil has.
Heather: That feels like a throw down.
Jason Poston: Yeah, a butt-off. No, they've been training glute-specific, leg-specific workouts. Females there have been welcomed as more muscular many more years than the United States. One of my good friends, Juju Salimeni, she's on TV, she's a TV host, she's extremely popular there, and she's also got legs bigger than mine. She's in Playboy right now, but she still has a small waist, very muscular glutes, muscular legs, and the girls have been training since ... They start lifting weights when they're 10 or 12.
Nick: Doing what kind of stuff, though, that maybe American trainees aren’t doing?
Jason Poston: Time under tension. Females are not afraid to lift heavy weight. They're doing heavy squats. You see a lot of them doing forced reps, where they all have trainers. The trainers will help them lift more weight by doing a proper forced rep. Just look up the Brazil women leg training videos. They're insane.
Heather: Oh, I will.
Nick: So they're just limping around from leg day training?
Jason Poston: Yeah, their facial expressions ... They're just super into it. They're not afraid of the pain. Brazil really idolizes the body more, a look. I feel like United States, we're a little bit more holistic when it comes to performance and don't necessarily base everything on looks. They're just all about, "Hey, I want to look like my favorite fit model."
Nick: And they have the nutrition part down to a total science, those high-end athletes there as well, I'm imagining? It's a big fruit and beef area, but in terms of ... What is nutrition like when you were down there?
Jason Poston: Food, a lot less salt. They don't put sodium on anything, which I love salt. I'm not one of those people who watches salt. I have different reasons. I had to put salt in everything, which isn't a bad thing. Everything's more fresh. There's not a lot of preservatives. You don't feel like … there's sauce on so many different things. The regular Holiday Inn I stay at had a massive buffet. You're not really used to seeing that at a Holiday Inn here. The hotel I stayed in here in Boise, actually, they had the powdered eggs. You won't find any powdered eggs, you'll find very little artificial sweeteners in Brazil. At the end of the day, I miss my American food. There's no place like home, but we have so much extra we don't need to be offered here. We have too many Starbucks with too much sugary pastry options right there.
Heather: I'm with you on that.
Jason Poston: I feel like we have too much to offer.
Heather: I was going to say, don't attack my Starbucks!
Jason Poston: Oh, no.
Heather: I like the coffee part, but I agree with you on the pastry shenanigans. They have this new one out that's a zombie, where they just had it for Halloween, a zombie frap something, and it had pink whipped cream on top that looked like brains.
Jason Poston: Yes.
Nick: We need the Brazilian one that has a little whipped cream butt on the back of it.
Jason Poston: Uh-huh, yeah. And their whipped cream would be …
Heather: Real cream.
Jason Poston: …natural. They wouldn't have the sprinkles. You could see, obviously, she's American.
Nick: But Brazil is a place that maybe we do have some fitness association with. You were also in China. What's China like, from a fitness perspective right now.
Jason Poston: They're both just amazing countries.
Nick: It's exploding as well?
Jason Poston: Brazil has always been fit, they will be fit forever. China, we look at the Olympics too. Look at the summer Olympics. You've got two countries that are right chasing our butts, or we're trying to chase them at the Olympics. They're a very athletic country, very competitive. China is, they love knowledge. They ask the best questions, at least the translator does. Some people do speak English-
Nick: It's just the translator who wants to know all that.
Jason Poston: Yeah, it's really hard to do seminars there. They're going to take a lot longer, because they're not a country that necessarily needs to know English. The world is evolving and America's kind of ... We don't want to get into politics here, but losing a little bit of its power. You needed to know English 50 years ago, 40 years ago. Nowadays, China, they're doing their own thing. In the fitness world, they are too. They're new to supplements. With you guys here at Bodybuilding.com, supplements have been around for a long time and Bodybuilding.com has exploded in popularity and in education and on nutrition knowledge. They don't have that there. They don't have a Bodybuilding.com. They don't have the social media platforms, where there's just so much fitness, but it's new, so it's a good time to be in China.
Nick: So are you saying, they ask great questions, just super in-depth training questions? Different than just like American guy comes up to you and just wants to know about what, your hair?
Jason Poston: Look at this analogy. Yeah, Americans, they're going to ask all sorts of different questions. Not to knock our homeland here, they ask great questions, too. Theirs are more technical. Here's an analogy. When I'm in the States and I do an appearance at a supplement store, you kind of just have people standing in line and they really just want a picture, maybe to sign one of your cool pictures for an autograph, maybe take one of your giveaways or sign a ProSupps hat, something, or simply say ‘hi’ and shake your hand. When I'm in China, I'm talking to personal training schools, nutrition schools, diabetes-specific trainer and nutrition coaches, teaching them about what I do and what I've done with my clients. It's a little bit more specific.
Nick: People are coming there to learn something from you.
Jason Poston: They're building their fitness world. You're going to see more bodybuilders, you're going to see better and better CrossFitters. You're going to see all sorts of better fitness people coming out of China, because they just haven't been doing it like we have. I'd say two years, three years in the fitness and supplement world.
Nick: Before you were that person on the other end, when you were the person maybe waiting in line at an expo, who were you a big fanboy of and would you be the guy going up and asking for an autograph?
Jason Poston: Are we keeping it real here?
Heather: Oh, yeah.
Jason Poston: The truth is, I would go see some of my bodybuilders I look up to, and I was usually disappointed. Half the time, 70… I was always disappointed. When I saw the females, they were always so nice. I would just want to see just the girl in a magazine, want to take a picture with her. Women inspired me a lot too, because my mom grew up, when she had a kid she stopped lifting weights, but she was this thin little bodybuilder. That's where I get my metabolism and my ...
Nick: Okay, so she was a bodybuilder, as well, at least recreationally?
Jason Poston: She lifted weights. She liked Rachel McLish.
Nick: Okay, sure. It's classic.
Jason Poston: Yeah, one of the first women, if not the...
Nick: Lisa Lyon and Rachel McLish, right.
Jason Poston: McLish was always on magazines and I remember looking, I'm thinking, "This woman is so pretty. She's beautiful, and look at this muscle." Then my mom would like, "Look, I have muscle!" She's showing me her biceps. I'd be like 10, 12 years old. That's kind of when I got the fascination with ... My mom would always arm wrestle me. My dad was really competitive too.
When I got to the expo scene, when I was a fan, I was just disappointed with some of the arrogance of bodybuilding. I think that's changed because you have the new divisions, physique and bikini, that came in, showed a whole new light. Showed people that were just so happy to be there. They were grateful, because they had never had the opportunity. They had been overlooked by the mass monsters, who this was their world, it was controlled. If you're massive and big, you got a contract, you're in a magazine.
Now, because of social media, personalities are thrown out there. What people stand for, how they interact with their fans, so you have 175-pound generally fit guy with some good abs with tons more followers than the guy who's been spending 20 years of his life dedicated to bodybuilding, because the fit guy, the 175 pounds, is more dedicated to the people, inspiration.
So whenever my career started to take off competing-wise, I was like, "I'm going to be what I wanted my idols to be." I wanted them to answer my questions. I wanted them to spend more time than they had to talking. I wanted them to make me feel comfortable and not so nervous standing next to them. A lot of these guys didn't do that. Now they are, but ... I respect them because there is still ...
I have a lot of friends, Flex Lewis being one of them, he's always there for the people. Josh Lenartowicz, in Australia, I think the guy's just ... In Australia, people love him. He's just so kind. I could go on and on. Early on in expos, I kind of gave up standing in line, waiting for people. If there was one guy, it was Greg Plitt. Never could find him, but ended up shooting a movie with him and working at the same supplement company, so Greg gave me a lot of advice and then on the movie, and then unfortunately after the movie he passed away with the accident. He was probably the only guy that I really idolized.
I heard rumors that he was actually doing well business-wise. He was the first guy to create these membership websites that everyone has now. Everyone's got some type of money-making scheme online now. Some are good, some are bad, but Greg was the first. I was like a trainer, and I'm like, "How can I be like this guy?" Making money with my programs, impacting more people, and not having to necessarily be in the gym, 7 AM, 6 AM until 6 PM.
Heather: Right, that's an issue we run into as trainers. You only have so many hours in the day, so you can only see so many people, versus if you have an online platform, you can reach thousands.
Jason Poston: Yeah, it's great.
Nick: You've been a personal trainer for a lot longer than you've been a competitor as well, right?
Jason Poston: Oh, yeah. I never wanted to be a competitor. I never really dreamt of it because I didn't think it was possible. I was like, "I'll never be a bodybuilder. I know I can't get that big." I tried. It wasn't like I didn't attempt to, but I realized quickly my genetics weren't going to work there, but I also didn't think 17 years ahead. I've been lifting for 17 years and training for 14 years. I never thought I would add on 70 pounds onto my frame since high school. These younger generation, these kids don't think that. Think about it this way: That's about five to six pounds every year. I've had good years. I probably have had better years, when I started living the bodybuilder lifestyle, but if you break it down into math, I've added about five and a half, six pounds every year. Long term, that's why this is a marathon. You have to be patient.
Nick: Right. A lot of times your audience is very young, but bodybuilding is a sport that really favors maturity, when you look at guys who are competitive. I'm always surprised when I see Shawn Rhoden and those guys, they're a lot older than a peak baseball player. There's definitely a level of maturity that comes with it. How do you preach that to somebody, though, who's like, "I enjoy lifting now. I enjoy doing this now."
Heather: Yeah, that kid that’s just starting out.
Nick: How do you pace them? How do you envision that growth over the period of years?
Jason Poston: Some people are going to get it, some people are not. You do what you can. My goal, I want people to be successful. It's hard to measure the amount of lives that you've changed. If you looked at that in 14 years, I feel like I've changed a lot of lives, whether one-on-one, even people that I've never met, just random emails or messages. I tend to think young fitness professionals or even just young fitness enthusiasts, that it's just a hobby to you, realize that people are watching you, so what are you telling them?
I say that because, let's give a perfect example here, don't be the guy in the gym that it's all about you. It's all about you, you're not helping people with their form. When people come up and ask questions, you're like, "I'm in the middle of my workout," you've got a shirt on that says, "Leave me the F alone." Whatever. I get it. If you're training for Olympia, that's fine, but I've also seen people who are top five bodybuilders at Olympia, like Dexter Jackson. This guy, training for Olympia, still takes time to talk and take pictures with people at one of the most popular gyms in the nation, at the mecca, Gold's.
So, you could say, yeah, there's a time to focus, but there would be nothing to focus on if it wasn't for the fans. There would be no point. There would be nobody watching. The fans are always first in our small industry.
Nick: Sure. When you've been trying to make it as a trainer for a long time, too, you leave a trail of people who you've worked with behind. Once you get a little bit bigger, you don't want to have just people hating you all over the place. Are you still in contact with people you trained 14, 15 years ago?
Jason Poston: I miss them. Some, yeah. Mostly Facebook, but not ... Sometimes. These CEOs will call me, I always felt so cool training someone that was like a CEO of a company, because I always wanted to own my own company. Looking back, I did. Maybe I didn't have 50-75 employees and all this, but I trained those guys and I learned so much from them. It feels great for them to still message me, text me out of the blue and say, "Hey, man. Hope you're doing well. I've been seeing you on social media. Looks like everything's going great." These are guys I look up to. These are clients that I really ... It was like, alright, their family goals, their business goals. That's another good thing about fitness is that maybe you're not on Wall Street pounding the numbers and you're not a lawyer, you don't have this traditional business life, but don't think that those people aren't watching you and looking up to you, too.
Nick: Right. That's a good point.
Jason Poston: They still call you, they still just lift you up, because you lifted them up. If you did your job as a trainer, you impacted, even those CEOs. I love it because I remember, he was like, "We had a meeting the other day and I brought up something you said during our workout when I was giving up on the abs." He was like, "You said something to push me through and you said something about overcoming all obstacles and it's all a test, look at it that way." He's like, "I applied that to my meeting." I'm like, okay. It all circles around.
Nick: Sure. That was you before, then you started maybe realizing, okay, I could actually be a high-level bodybuilder as well.
Heather: Yeah, when did that transition happen?
Nick: When did you start to mature that way and start to realize, I actually maybe do have the genetics for this.
Jason Poston: I quickly realized that ... Well, it wasn't quickly. I was 29 and I'm 36 now. When I was 29, I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. I was sick the whole year.
Nick: It sounds like an adventure. I think I read that story.
Jason Poston: Yeah, it was an adventure. I'm thankful for everything. I'm thankful for the ups and downs because it really gave me perspective. During 2011, I was so sick. I had lost all my weight that I had put on. We just talked about the five, six pounds a year. I lost all that. I was back to high school weight. I was 150 pounds, maybe 145 pounds, very sick, dehydrated, my lips were cracked, I had so many crazy symptoms going on from my blood sugar being so high. I just wasn't educated on it, didn't know what it was. I finally got diagnosed. They prescribed me insulin. I was walking down the hallway. I felt amazing within like five minutes. They said, "Go eat some food, because we just gave you insulin. You need to go eat this Sub..." They told me exactly what to eat. I went downstairs, ate, felt like I had energy for the first time in seven months. I couldn't have done this interview right now. I would've been like-
Nick: The clouds kind of parted.
Jason Poston: I couldn't even talk, because there's no nutrition. When your blood sugar's super high, you're not absorbing any nutrients. I was alive again, so the first thing I saw was these guys that were competing in physique, and I was like, "That used to be me. I used to do fitness model contests." Before physique, I actually was doing kind of physique, like the fitness model searches. I was trying to get signed and sponsored by a supplement company. I was signed by BSN. I won a BSN fitness model search, and it was great. Hany Rambod was the judge and you won money and then you won a contract with Hany Rambod and BSN, Hany was your coach for a year. Me and Hany always joke about that, because I was so busy with my clients I didn't really want to be this fitness model 100%.
Nick: You don't know what sort of earning potential there is in that or anything.
Jason Poston: There wasn't. There wasn't any.
Heather: The life of a trainer, you have to be there every single week for your clients, so if you're getting pulled away, that's ...
Jason Poston: Yeah, if you're getting pulled away, you wanted to make up for the money you could be making with your clients. I was tight on money. There was no way back then, in 2007 or 2008, there just wasn't the type of money there is now. That's why you have so many people wanting to do what me and some of these other guys and girls are doing, because you can have a good living now. Back then, it was like, you had to sacrifice. You could shoot, be a fitness model for a couple years, you could travel to New York, L.A., shoot all the time, chances are you were just lucky if you ever could build a career like a Mike O'Hearn or a Greg Plitt. It was all based on the media. If the media liked you ... It wasn't based on if the fans like you, you do well, or the people like you, the public likes you, you do well. No, no, no. This had to do with if the media liked you. If they liked your look for their magazine, I don't even think websites were even still predominant back then.
So I love where we're at now, because this is where you find these diamonds in the rough. This is where you don't have to necessarily be a top-level bodybuilder or be on TV. You don't have to be super famous. You could become famous just based on you, your work ethic, what you bring to the people.
Nick: Wait, you were 145 pounds, how did we get ...
Jason Poston: I got sidetracked there. Yeah, I was 145, so I immediately gained 15 pounds back in one weekend. I got to, I remember, I was like, "All right, 160, here we go." 160 then turned into 180. I gained 30 pounds back in 30 days.
Nick: Body's just soaking it up.
Jason Poston: The skin was just super tight and thin, I was vascular again. That whole time, most people might have given up, but I was still at the gym. I was slapping myself in the face, taking every amount of caffeine just to get to the gym, even though I was withering away. But when I got better, my body just expanded.
Nick: Like in … weeks?
Jason Poston: Yeah, and I ended up being about 5-10 pounds heavier than I was before. I was eating, if you could eat perfect, I was eating perfect. You still have these hopes like, "Oh, maybe I can reverse this. If I eat absolutely raw, organic, and start reading these books, maybe I can do something to regenerate my pancreas to start producing insulin again." That didn't happen, but I was going to try.
In the meantime, taking care of my body so well, there were these physique shows. So I went, did my first show. They didn't have a ton of physique shows in 2011, so there was only one.
Nick: This is like three years after you-
Jason Poston: This is six weeks after.
Nick: Six weeks after? Wow.
Jason Poston: This is six weeks after I was diagnosed, I saw on the schedule there was one show left in the United States for physique and it was Halloween. I went up to Oklahoma, competed, finished top five. Was just happy. You're just happy to even be walking. I was happy, it was confident again. I had lost a lot. I had lost health, money, relationships while I was sick, and it was all coming back to me. What was coming back was only the stuff I needed. It wasn't what I wanted, it was what I needed. It was perfect. Sometimes we want things so bad. We're almost meant to be stripped down of everything because it's like, you want too much. Here's what you need. All I needed was just to eat, sleep, and train, and train my clients then.
The judge came up to me after the show and was like, "Listen, I had you winning. These judges still judge like bodybuilding, but you're the look we want for physique, so keep going." She's like, "Don't get discouraged." She was giving this pep talk. I was like, "I don't need a pep talk, I'm just happy to be here." I was like, "Okay, I'll take that, and I'll remember that, that my look is desired."
The next show, I end up winning in Texas. It was a massive show. That got me to the national level, and then the national ... So in nine months, I turned pro, which is pretty fast in our industry. Then within another eight weeks, I competed in my first pro show and I placed top three. Now, looking back, these are all guys that have been here, to Bodybuilding.com. It was Steve Cook, Alex Carneiro, then me, Sadik Hadzovic was at that show, Michael Anderson, which back then, physique, he was a physique legend at the beginning. He just lost his leg, bless his heart. Who else was there? Anton Antipov, Matt Acton ... These are all the original physique ... This is a packed show, so I placed top three and the confidence just boosted even more.
What was just a hobby and a way to live a new life with a disease, that work ethic, I think, and dedication, just helped me rise to the top.
Heather: We started out talking about diseases in America and this overabundance of food and it's interesting how you took this diagnosis and rather than let it bring you down and crush you, you used that as motivation to, like you say, eat perfectly and train harder. That's something that I think a lot of people could really resonate with it. You can take something that's a disease and actually use that to fuel the fire to get better-
Nick: And to learn skills, essential skills.
Heather: And to learn that food can be medicine, in a way, and it can help heal you, and things like that. That's good to hear, that you took that and turned it into something so positive.
Jason Poston: Yeah. Had I not done that, I probably wouldn't be here with you guys. Let's be honest. If you let things set you back, I always say more than a day. I'll have a bad hour, I'll have a few bad hours. I never let anything ruin a day. I don't let anything ruin a day for me. I've been through different things and I just refuse to lose a day. Like they say, "Win the day." I try to finish every day with a win. That's the way it was with diabetes. Then it just kept going.
Now it's like, once you've accomplished more than you even thought possible, you're kind of sitting there, writing down and daydreaming every morning and night, like, what next? That's the hard part. This industry's great, it's amazing. The hardest part is staying consistent, staying on top, staying known, keeping your ideas relevant that are hot topic. Now with more and more people doing fitness, not to be like, "Oh, this is super competitive," but it is. That's behind the scenes, you see all these fitness models and fitness and professionals coming in and out of Bodybuilding.com, and all around the world. It's a relevant ... Your personality's going to shine so much, but also, at the end of the day, it's almost a challenge, like who could be the most inspirational? Who can impact the most people?
Nick: We've done podcasts with a number of different people who figure out different ways, really different ways of doing that. There are people we've talked to who all they do is post pictures on Instagrams. No captions, no nothing. It's just, "Hey, here's 10 seconds of me working out," and they have two million followers, or whatever. Then there are people who are like, "You know what? I share everything," and that's their appeal. It's hard to figure that out. I've noticed you've been doing a lot more YouTube-sort of vlogging stuff over the last year than you were before.
Jason Poston: That is a goal, yes. It's a tough goal, man. You have to be comfortable with yourself. You have to be comfortable walking around with a camera everywhere. It's a challenge for me, but I like that. I always do good with challenges. There's also finances involved, too. YouTube channel, I primarily want to put it out there just so I can make sure that all my point is out there, all my points I've put across the web. Instagram is kind of short to do that. You can do it so much, but Instagram's for those ADD people. I think the world, that's the best platform because most of the world is ADD.
Nick: Yeah, you'll more total eyes there, probably, then anywhere else.
Jason Poston: But your best followers, your most loyal clients, your best friends, your best family are always the people who want to hear more. That's just the way it goes. If you're interested in someone, you want to hear more. That's why my goal is ... I know I'm interesting, I know that I can teach people, I know I can transform a body. I just need to spend more time and do more work with YouTube, because it is the hardest platform to build. I'm committed budget-wise, time-wise. It's going to be great. The goal is just to get it up there, where I actually feel like I've got a good amount of subscribers and all that. We'll see. I'll check back with you guys next year. Hopefully-
Nick: That's where the friendliest commenters are generally on YouTube, too.
Heather: Yeah, I've noticed that ...
Jason Poston: Is that sarcasm, there?
Nick: That would be sarcasm.
Jason Poston: Yeah, you have to get used to that.
Heather: Nick doesn't like comments, everybody.
Nick: I think comments should be outlawed, personally.
Heather: I don't mind them. I think they're funny.
Nick: I wanted to run something by you. A personal trainer I was recently having a conversation with and he said fighters and all these different people would ask me, "What's the nutrition secret?," and he always told them the same thing, which was "Pretend you're a diabetic. No matter who you are, just pretend you're a diabetic and you'll get on the right path." I thought, that's a really interesting way to encapsulate it. Somebody who actually is diabetic, what do you think when you hear somebody say, "Try to eat like a diabetic," and what would that mean for people?
Jason Poston: I agree with that. I'm proud of whoever said that. A lot of people are not knowledgeable about diabetes. I was one of them. Yeah, because you have to be so meticulous. Eat like a healthy diabetic because-
Nick: Not like my grandfather.
Jason Poston: Yeah, mine too. If you're counting your macros every meal, you're eating like a diabetic. If you're looking at your plate of food, wondering how many carbs and sugars in there because you have to dose a medication according to that scale, that ratio ... For example, I'm at one unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbs. So if I've got a plate of 50 grams of carbs, that means I'm going to dose five units of insulin. We could get more scientific and more detailed here, but basically food is math to me.
Nick: And sugar and carbs in particular, it sounds like.
Heather: You're not just mindlessly putting food in your mouth. You're actually thinking about it each time.
Jason Poston: You have to. You can't just snack. Life changed whenever I had to start using insulin. Food is just math. You look at a plate of food and you count up the protein and fats as well as the carbs. Diabetes it not just about the carbs and sugars, because protein does have a glucose response. That's one thing I learned early on is my blood sugar was a little higher and I was like, "What is going on here? Oh, yeah. I'm not dosing my medication for protein as well." I don't think it impacts somebody as much as a diabetic, but when you start to understand even fat glucose response, fat assimilation, when it digests seven, eight, nine hours, and my blood sugar starts rising because I had maybe 30, 40 grams of fat in a big-calorie meal, I couldn't understand why my blood sugar was rising eight hours after the meal. Well, you start researching, you're like, "Oh, that's the fat digesting." You have to dose medication according to that fat assimilation response as well.
Nick: Sounds like it could be a pretty tough learning curve, especially for somebody who didn't have that background coming in at 28, 29. Was it pretty hard for you to wrap your brain around that?
Jason Poston: Yeah, because I was so carb friendly. Carbs were my girlfriend.
Nick: You were one of those guys who could get away with anything?
Jason Poston: Hug a carb every day. Every meal. Just eat carbs and protein. Post workout, it was like a whole pineapple, because you just ... Yeah, nutrition changed. I started to embrace healthier fats, eat less carbs. I did three years on keto, on and off in those three years. Of course, I'd have my cheat meals. It was 50 grams of carbs or less every day. On a cheat day, it was 150 grams of carbs in a day, which is ...
Nick: So it's still not Halloween.
Jason Poston: Definitely not like the 20,000-calorie days you see these bodybuilders doing. There wasn't even a 5,000-calorie day, like I'm doing now, because I didn't understand what I could get away with, so I was very conservative with carbs. Now, here we are, seven years as a diabetic, six years maybe, and the medication's improved, I'm more aware of how to control it, so I feel comfortable eating more carbs now.
Nick: What foods has this turned you onto that maybe you hadn't discovered before? Just stuff that's not on your radar. You're like, "How did I not know about this before?"
Jason Poston: The main foods were just the healthy fats. I used to avoid salmon because I was always trying to eat low fat. I would avoid a lot of fats. It's probably what kept me from putting on size. The almond spreads, the nut butters ...
Nick: Oh, yeah. The good stuff.
Jason Poston: Coconut oil, chia seeds, all sorts of great healthy fat options is kind of what ... The biggest change. Less carbs, more healthy fat, and the protein sources ... You do learn as you go. I used to probably drink like four shakes a day.
Heather: That's a trainer diet. That's all you can get in between clients.
Nick: Pull them out of the freezer, the RTDs.
Heather: No, I'm serious. You've got three minutes in between clients and you've got to grab whatever's easy.
Jason Poston: Yeah, exactly. As a bodybuilder, you realize, okay, I need whole food nutrition. Two shakes a day is optimal, but four, you're not going to get the recovery ... It's just not going to be as good as whole foods. More meals, too. After diabetes, you can't eat a massive meal because you could go resistant to your insulin if you eat this massive meal, three meals a day. I started doing the five and six meals a day and it works for me. I like it better when I have small meals, multiple times a day. To me, I feel like it helps my body grow. I also feel more sane, because I feel like I'm eating all the time, and I just love it. I love food, so ...
Nick: You said that you went keto for quite a while. What made you step away from that? I've heard great things about that for people with diabetes in particular, for blood sugar control, but at the same time, it's a pretty demanding way to live.
Jason Poston: Yeah, it's a mental game, for sure. You have the first week that's just so tough, because you're losing weight, mostly water weight, though. You are going to burn a lot of fat, too. I definitely am an advocate for it. If I didn't have a goal to put on more size right now, I would probably be doing a low-carb, mix in some keto days. The definition of keto diet, you reach ketosis, right? I would check very rarely to see if I was at ketosis and I always was, but I probably wouldn't go back to, unless I had to.
Nick: Full ketosis, all the time, right.
Jason Poston: Yeah. It's not that I don't support it, it's just, like you said, it is demanding, it is hard. A week at a time, I think, has its benefits, because you can reach insulin sensitivity in a week. You can really improve your insulin sensitivity, and the next week go to a carb-cycling diet, then the next week go back. For me, I absolutely know the benefits of even living a keto lifestyle. You're going to live longer, you're going to be healthier. It's just that I'm more realistic, too. I did it … I just love carbs.
Nick: I've heard from some people that they say, "Yeah, it's great when you're on it, but coming back from it is really tough."
Heather: Coming off of it is rough.
Nick: I've heard that from a couple of different people. They say your body gets kind of confused with what to do with the carbs at first and you're kind of in limbo. Did you find it was pretty easy to slip back?
Jason Poston: Yeah. I was bloated for like a month. I was holding more water in places you don't want to hold water, because it's your extracellular ... It's not like you're going to carb load and then all of it's just going to go to the muscle and you're going to have these massive muscle swell. You get kind of bloated in parts you don't want to, because you're carb-sensitive. It goes away after about a month, which probably a lot of females are going to hate that. Females aren't going to want bloated face. You need to wean back into a regular carb-friendly diet. Don't just jump right into it, like I did.
Nick: Be patient, though. If it's a month, well, you need that month. It's really easy for people to say, "I switched three days ago. I feel terrible. Something's really wrong. I need to go back." Give it time.
Heather: Yeah, it's an extreme diet, so it's going to have extreme coming off of it.
Jason Poston: Exactly. Just like any sensitivity, you can become sensitive to sodium if you don't have salt in your diet. There's people, my fiance's one of them. She would just stay away from all salt. Then, of course, when she did have salt, soy sauce and stuff, it would ... She would get super bloated and she would feel like she was holding water. I eat pink Himalayan sea salt daily, almost on every meal. I do add soy sauce when I want to. I don't get too bloated from salt.
Heather: It's amazing because your body can adapt to whatever you throw at it. I'm like you. I eat salt on absolutely everything. I have a salt shaker at my desk. I used to be that way, where I'd avoid salt and then get puffy whenever I went out for sushi or whatever, and now just having salt all the time, you don't get the bloat because your body's like, "Okay, this is the new normal."
Jason Poston: Exactly.
Heather: And you can get rid of it.
Nick: When you are low-carb or keto, the salt's crucial, too.
Heather: Oh, yeah, you have to have salt.
Nick: That's one of the things that people told us over and over again. You don't understand, the high salt, that's the difference between feeling good and feeling awful on the keto diet.
Heather: That's when I learned the power of salt, was when I tried keto.
Jason Poston: That's something that they don't know, and they give up, because, like you said, it is a very taxing, detailed diet/lifestyle. Like I said, I'm going to use keto for more strategic reasons, for dieting, for looking better at shoots, improving my insulin sensitivity for a week, because it can get bad on a higher-carb diet. If you don't know what you're doing with keto, you could not like it. I think everyone should try it. Do it right, though. Get a coach, read up on it. I'm sure there's great articles on Bodybuilding.com.
Heather: We have a couple of articles on keto, I think.
Nick: A couple of big guides, yeah.
Jason Poston: Sure.
Heather: Just one or two maybe…
Jason Poston: I'm sure they're pretty good, I don't know.
Nick: You work with a lot of clients still, as well, right?
Jason Poston: Yeah.
Nick: Mostly diabetic, or diabetic competitors, or where's the locus there?
Jason Poston: I'd say like 10% diabetic. It comes in waves. It really depends on how I'm marketing it, how I'm pushing it out there. This year has been tough, traveling so much. Diabetics need more attention, so I haven't really pushed and been able to work with as many as I did like, say, last year, or four years ago. 10% diabetics, mostly male competitors. With online training ... In the gym, you can kind of hand pick, people will come to train with you based on, "Oh, well, she's training with you, so I know I can train with you, too." Women tend to ... If trainer is training other women, they feel more comfortable-
Nick: They need a recommendation. Personal reference, right?
Jason Poston: With online training, you're kind of susceptive to kind of whoever just wants to train with you. All physique dudes want to train with me.
Nick: The check cleared.
Jason Poston: Yeah. Guys that just want to look like me or they want to build more muscle, that's the typical clientele. If I had it my way, I love working with all people, but I love working with weight loss. I love working with house moms, people who devote their whole life to kids, but yet they have one hour, three, five days a week where they're devoted to themselves. I respect the women for that. Of course, more diabetics, but online coaching, yeah, you're going to get what you put out there. If you're putting a lot of ripped pictures of Olympia, then those are the guys that are going to-
Heather: That's who's going to come find you.
Nick: I guess that's true. That's the personal trainer still in you. Do you want to just sneak into a gym and just sort of work for free, actually get that face-to-face with the soccer moms still?
Jason Poston: I would love it. I love it. I used to have my power groups and I'd have ... They actually made me stop. I was at Lifetime Fitness. I trained one-on-one, but I was like, "Okay, I can make more money, charge my clients less, by doing groups–small group training," so three to five. Then I trained a whole neighborhood of women that were all in clubs, they played games together, they went on vacations, they swapped each others' kids out, babysitting and whose day it was to take to school. I love their little fitness/soccer mom culture. It was so cool.
Nick: Sure, it's community.
Heather: Then they keep each other accountable. That's the fun part is that you've got this little community that are all going to watch each other.
Nick: Yeah, we talk about that a lot. Different people are in here, like yeah, as much as this is a fitness community here, fitness can really be still a pretty isolated thing for people. The more you can create that community and really make it someplace that somebody wants to go and be with other people, that is crucial.
Jason Poston: Yeah, that's the tough part. That's what separates a top fitness professional from someone who's just doing it. They have to like you. They have to like you, they have to want to show up to the session, you want them raving to the rest of the neighborhood about their amazing workout, about how sore they are, yet you gave them positive encouragement the whole time. Yeah, you said would I want to pop up, I would love to pop up in a gym and just ghost train or undercover train. I think that would be cool.
Nick: Heather could probably make that happen today. Maybe we could do a video of that.
Heather: Oh, yeah. I've been a trainer for 12 years and I still do early morning sessions before I come here.
Jason Poston: Oh, yeah. Put on the fanny pack, put on some nerdy glasses.
Heather: I don’t know if I could ever leave it.
Nick: Pop your collar in your track pants.
Heather: It would be hard to get away from that face-to-face, one-on-one, like you're talking about, be able to actually work with people.
Nick: Yeah, but as somebody who has competed at a high level, you also know that that's a pretty isolated experience, too. That's a whole different thing going on. Does that still hold appeal to you, moving forward, that competition?
Jason Poston: Yeah, I'll always be competitive. It's what drives me. I love ... Win or lose. I'm a good loser, too. I just love the whole aspect of giving it all you have to see if your work ethic and your stamina, determination, and everything, whether it's a physique show, whether it's just all looks, where the body of work is not really measured, it's just the looks. Still, there's so much work you put in, day in, day out. They don't give the trophy for every rep you put in. They don't give the trophy for, "Hey, I didn't miss a workout last year at all. I focused all on my sleep, I improved my sleep pattern. I didn't miss a meal. While I was traveling around the world, I got in all my water, my supplement stack and everything was absolutely perfect." No one gives you awards for that. It's just all on the look. But the bodybuilders know, hey, we may not get the accolades and the trophies for player of the year during the season, but we know the work we're putting in. So I'll compete next year in May, is the goal.
Nick: In physique? Classic physique?
Jason Poston: Classic. This is a whole new chapter for me. I took a year and a half off and I was really just having problems focusing on physique any more. I love it. I still love the division. I see so many young guys accomplishing their dreams, and I'm honored to have been one of the people who helped build that division. Maybe I'll go back again when I'm older and compete master's physique, but right now I just wouldn't feel ... I would have regrets. I wouldn't feel content if I'm 50, 15-20 years from now, sitting in my office and seeing only physique pictures and trophies. I'm so close to that bodybuilding classic physique level that I just want to push and see what happens.
Nick: I've heard from a few competitors that committing to classic physique is kind of liberating, too, because they used to have to lose so much weight to fit into physique …
Heather: Yeah, it’s like the best of both worlds.
Nick: … that now it's like, "Okay, I can finally be a size that feels a little bit more natural to where I'm at."
Jason Poston: Yeah, some people are going … having, they have a heavier natural build. I don't have that. I'm very skinny naturally, very much an ectomorph. Like I said earlier, my mom and my parents were both very slender, had abs into their 50s, even though they didn't eat perfect and work out all the time. I'm going to have a problem putting on the muscle and that's why this is going to be a lot of work, because while I'm telling all these other guys right now that I'm training and everyone online is that to put on muscle is the hardest part. It's not the cutting. The cutting is all mental. The diet is all mental. Yeah, there is a strategy with that too, because you don't want to diet and lose muscle, but right now is just get as big as I possibly can and that's why I'm eating so much food, focusing on rest, cutting down the traveling now, because the traveling hasn't allowed me to put on as much muscle as I wanted this year.
Now that I have a May deadline, I've just written it all out. Month by month, I want to hit a certain weight. All my programs, all my sets, all my reps, everything is strategized to be ready to be hopefully 210 pounds on stage at my first classic physique show. That's the max weight.
Whether I hit the max weight or not, that is the goal, is to be as big as possible, as aesthetic as possible, keep small waist, but then the posing, too. You have to focus on the posing more than anything. I want to bring something that no one has seen with posing. I want to bring something for the ladies to watch and something for the men to admire, just true entertainment, just like what people have been wanting in bodybuilding. I want to see the Kai Greenes out there. He doesn't win, but he's a fan favorite because his posing is just spectacular.
Nick: Yeah, exactly. If it's on, you're going to watch it, for sure.
Jason Poston: Exactly.
Nick: Cool. What are you shooting with us today? You shooting a couple of workouts?
Jason Poston: We got a lot of workouts.
Nick: Chest? Some live stuff.
Heather: They're closing things down for two days. You guys are shooting a lot.
Jason Poston: Yeah. We've been planning this for a while. We're going to hit, for the site, for the website, we're going to be doing chest, shoulders, and I believe one other body part. That's going to be a lot of work in two days. Then also today's live workout would be on Facebook Live for Bodybuilding.com. I'm going to do my back workout.
Nick Collias: Those will probably be all up on the Bodybuilding.com channel by the time the podcast comes out. Jason Poston, thanks for coming and talking with us, man.
Heather Eastman: Thank you!
Jason Poston: Thank you.
Ready for a shoulder workout that will leave you unable to brush your teeth afterward? Hit the mouthwash ahead of time and get ready to get owned by IFBB pro Jason Poston!
Downloadable PDF Transcript