Hey Reddit. You’ve got John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein here. We’re both long term fitness buffs who have been studying, experimenting, and mastering the fitness industry for as long as we can remember.

John: I’m the founder of Roman Fitness Systems, through which I've helped thousands of everyday people achieve and surpass their fitness goals. I’m also the fitness advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno (the Incredible Hulk), Gary Vaynerchuk, and one of the “20 best fitness experts” according to Huffington Post.

Adam: I’m the former editorial director of Livestrong.com, fitness editor of Men’s Health, and have had a hand in thousands and thousands of fitness articles over the years, reaching over 100 million readers. Hopefully you’ve seen one.

Together, we just wrote a book called Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha. Our friend /u/GovSchwarzenegger wrote the intro to the book, some of you may know him just as “Arnold”. The book covers everything we think is needed for men to become the best versions of themselves possible. We talk about how to eat better, train better, fuck better, and generally live an unreal life.

Also, we’re confident when we say there is a significant chance that you are unwittingly suffering from artificially low testosterone levels. Your life will be better if you fix this.

As a little gift for welcoming us into your house, we thought we’d offer the intro to our book, written by Arnold himself, to anybody who emails [email protected] today.

Ask us anything! We will be live in about 45 minutes at 12pm EST

Comments: 416 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

John_Romaniello55 karma

Since @GovSchwarzenegger is on this thread, I'll ask: I once heard that you and Franco used to put cherry pies in a blender and drink them. Is that true?

GovSchwarzenegger177 karma

I think Franco sometimes exaggerates a little. I don't ever remember blending pies. I do remember using pie-filler from time to time when we were filling out.

But what normally happened with the pies was we would be dieting down, before a competition, and we would go splurge. We were depriving ourselves every day, and eventually, Franco and I would snap, and we would end up at the House of Pies in Santa Monica. We would each eat a whole pie, and then people would be shocked that we looked better the next day. I talked to Men's Fitness about this, and apparently it is a trend now. We were just going to go insane without the pie.

John_Romaniello24 karma

Giving up pie is hard; but I think eating it is better than drinking it. Although I think we should try it. Why not?

claudioe152 karma

What is best in life?

John_Romaniello165 karma

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

A best-selling book would be pretty sweet, too.

GovSchwarzenegger510 karma

That's my line.

John_Romaniello67 karma

Ah! Correct. I should have added attribution.

Correction: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women." - Arnold, as Conan.

ephdot48 karma

One of the things I enjoy most at the gym is chatting with some of the older bodybuilders who have been at it for decades. They all have fantastic stories about back in the day. In honor of the recent passing of Arnold's mentor/friend, I was wondering if Arnold would like to share any anecdotes about he and Joe.

John_Romaniello17 karma

That's a great question. @GovSchwarzenegger, any stories?

jeb93633 karma

Why do so many guys skip leg day?

John_Romaniello123 karma

Because it's hard, and a lot of guys are pussies.

mbair128 karma


John_Romaniello46 karma

Arnold, of course, for the sheer power. But I also like Zane for symmetry.

And, I think one of my favorites was always Franco; as a short guy, I liked that compact look. And his upper chest was amazing.

GovSchwarzenegger137 karma

All of the short guys love Franco. I should get him to come answer questions.

John_Romaniello62 karma

True or false: everyone under 5'8'' reminds you of Franco?

Adam_Bornstein18 karma

Is 5'8 really considered short?

John_Romaniello51 karma

It's not tall, I'll tell ya that.

bumptious9622 karma

What is the easiest way to increase my testosterone right now?

John_Romaniello32 karma

Easiest way to address diet and training; specifically, eat more fat. Especially saturated fat.

While a lot of people are scared of sat fat and cholesterol, it's hugely important - cholesterol is actually a precursor to all sex hormones, including test.

Eat more fat!

itmcb5 karma

Recommended amount? I'm doing IF with ~100g of fat/day four days a week on off days.

John_Romaniello9 karma

1g per pound of LBM. It may mean you have to reduce protein in order to stay in your caloric allotment

itmcb2 karma

that's going to be ~160g! This will be covered in the book right?

John_Romaniello3 karma

yup! covered in the book. You can start with .75 if you want to work up to is. (Often a good idea - sometimes guys get digestive issues if they bump fat up too much)

Salacious-9 karma

Grow a pair?

John_Romaniello14 karma

Good advice, but easier said than done ;)

TheImpetuous8 karma

Do you even lift?

John_Romaniello68 karma

I tried it once. Didn't take.

skyscraperdream21 karma


John_Romaniello47 karma

Ah, this is a great question.

It's an interesting story, actually. About two years ago, I got an email from a young guy named Daniel.

It was a pretty simple email: he wanted to know if he could ask me a few fitness question; he cited the fact that he knew I did Q&A’s on Facebook and Twitter, but he had “kind of a public job” and didn’t want his personal business out on the internet. Fair enough. I’m always happy to help and although I can’t answer all emails I receive, he seemed cool so I decided to help him out.

After a few email exchanges over the course of a week, I decided, in a moment of idle curiosity, to Google him. The first result that came back was his Twitter account; the second was the Wikipedia page for the term “Body Man.” I learned two things reading that page: the first was that a body man is a politician’s closest personal assistant, who travels with said politician and generally provides whatever is necessary. The second was that my pen pal with all the great questions was listed under “notable body men” –as one of the special assistants to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Daniel was going to receive priority email response going forward. I didn’t think anything was going to come of our interaction, but as a meathead, it was just cool to be talking with someone who had such intimate access to the Oak. After a month or so of communication, he signed up for my coaching program (essentially, online personal training delivered by email). Daniel became a client—and a great one, at that—and we began to build a friendship.

During our time training together, he’d be traveling with Arnold, and they’d be in the gym together; occasionally, Arnold would jump in and do his workouts with him. Anyway, the upshot is that Daniel came to rely on me as the primary source of fitness information, as well as someone who had a good read on the pulse of the industry. When Arnie finished his final term as governor, he decided he wanted to get back into the fitness game, and re-launch his website with some high quality fitness content—but of course, he wasn’t going to be writing all of it himself.

Given my relationship with Daniel, and his relationship with Arnold (who, I came to learn, liked my fitness content quite a bit), I was the logical choice to start contributing to the site. That evolved into recruiting other experts and writers to the site, and the eventual formation of Arnold’s Fitness Advisory Board. My co-author Adam and I lead the advisory board, and help out with the site quite a bit—which put us in a pretty good position to ask Arnold to write the foreword and feel confident that it would at least be considered.

So, that's really how it all came about!

John_Romaniello16 karma

Hey everyone! Adam and I have to go for a bit and jump on some other projects, but I'll be back to answer some more Qs later tonight.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the questions, and all the interest.

If you're interested in the book, please check out www.EngineeringTheAlpha.com

ddaved7614 karma

If you had to pick one person in the GoT series to fight as your champion, who would it be and why?

John_Romaniello58 karma

Young Robert Baratheon. He was a beast. Would have loved to have seen him at the Battle of the Trident.

fatalaccident14 karma

Do you have canned answers (ones you can copy and paste) for some of your most frequently asked questions?

John_Romaniello44 karma

No. But now that you mention it, I should. Why the fuck am I not doing this?

Thanks for that.

scots13 karma

Advice for a skinny 6', 145 pound guy to increase size without losing definition?

/r/Fitness would benefit tremendously by an "Explain Like I'm 5" post about fitness nutrition.

I understand Low reps w/heavy weight for body building, high reps/w smaller weights (p90x style) for cutting, but with diet being so important to everyone's goals, and different people with different body types having wildly different goals, WHERE TO BEGIN!? Help!

John_Romaniello14 karma

Hey scots,

We definitely understand your frustration. There is a ton of information out there and it's hard to synthesize all of it.

So, my recommendation is this: pick ONE expert to follow and tune everyone else out.

If it's me, just go to my blog (www.RomanFitnessSystems.com) and just click the "nutrition" tag. Lots of stuff comes up.

hawwwwyayyyyy12 karma

roman what exactly is your skin care/washing regime?

John_Romaniello23 karma

Good question: I use a skin buffer (Jack Black), an age correcting toner (by Kiehls), a moisturizing face cream (anthony logistics) and an under eye cream (Kiehls). I use them in that order, after a shower.

thevegetexarian41 karma

At first glance, thought this a quote from American Psycho.

John_Romaniello45 karma

It's pretty damn close.

I always use an aftershave that has little to no alcohol; alcohol dries out your face, and makes you look old.

YouHadMeAtDontPanic2 karma

You should do a post on your regimen sometime.

John_Romaniello4 karma

well played.

YouHadMeAtDontPanic3 karma

Phew, was worried that came across sounding harsh. I do think there'd be interest in exploring lifestyle stuff like that in your blog, though you're likely a bit swamped at the moment.

John_Romaniello5 karma

I actually wrote a TON of stuff about this that I'll publish. Having it canned for the blog will make my life easier. I'm glad people are into it.

wwssadadbastart11 karma

How many 5 year olds do you think you could take on in a fight?

John_Romaniello68 karma

Probably none. One time, when I was a camp counselor, a 5 year old camper (LL Cool J's daughter, actually) punched me in the nuts and I went down like a stone. I've since learned to fear 5 year olds.

CoveredWithSores9 karma

I'll place the blame on LL's wife for that one. Momma probably told her to knock you out.

John_Romaniello4 karma

That was my assumption.

Salacious-11 karma

What is the most serious injury you've seen from somebody exercising improperly?

John_Romaniello13 karma

I saw a guy go valgus on a squat and tear his medial meniscus. Pretty awful.

weathermandela11 karma


John_Romaniello10 karma

Here's the song I listen to when attempting to PR:


I attempt at the 1:16 mark.

Zoogles10 karma


John_Romaniello13 karma

A few options:

1) Stop sitting so much 2) do some T-I-Y exercises while laying prone (helps rear delt strength) 3) wear a posture correcting shirt 4) stretch your hip flexors 5) stretch pecs

silderman9 karma


John_Romaniello17 karma

Alas for myself, I must admit, Arnie is the most ALPHA. ...for now.

JRomaniello6 karma

Alas for myself, I must admit, Arnie is the most ALPHA.

...for now.

mstr0pppts2 karma

Two reddit accounts?

John_Romaniello6 karma

yeah, that that on is my regular one. forgot I wasn't logged in as the account created for the AMA!

acaimachine8 karma

If I could eat the same meal, for every meal, forever, what should I eat?

We're lazy around here

John_Romaniello27 karma

Steak and eggs with some veggies on the side.

As it happens, I eat this meal at least 5 times per week.

(i get my organic grassfed steaks from US Wellness Meats)

Flambot5 karma


John_Romaniello8 karma

Firstly, increase testosterone.

Secondly, for increased power, hip thrusts, deadlifts and glute bridges.

Bret Contreras has some great stuff on those exercises.

fitchick1235 karma

do you recommend any type of protein powder, some people say hemp is best while others say to stay away from whey protein. Also when is the best time to consume high amounts of protein?

John_Romaniello9 karma

Hemp and Whey are both great, as is casein. Really depends on whether you have any sensitivities or prefer not to eat animal products.

I personally like whey after a workout, as it doesn't upset me. Adam has a harder time with whey, so he's been using other stuff.

Best time to consume all the proteinz: post workout.

CorkGirl4 karma

What would you choose for your last meal?

John_Romaniello17 karma

Steak and cake.

Adam_Bornstein13 karma

I'm also on the steak and cake final supper. But add in a side of Lou Malnati's pizza. It'll be the first time I ever have meat/dairy together. It's my last meal. Give me a break.

John_Romaniello4 karma

Agreed. No one can fault you for breaking the rules as your last meal.

SirThrocken4 karma

Well, the first review is a positive quote from Tucker Max. I have just reconsidered my decision to purchase your book.

John_Romaniello2 karma

If Tucker gave it a bad review, would you buy it?

Frajer4 karma

I feel like fitness has become a subject that's on more and more people's minds would you agree and if so why do you think that's the case?

John_Romaniello13 karma

Agreed. As to why: I think that the typical Western lifestyle lends itself to poor fitness, so it's becoming more and more a concern that has to be brought top of mind.

Whereas it used to be assumed, now it's something that you need to think about and address.

wigglymister4 karma

for people who are at least intermediate "fitness" people , _________ is the most common mistake made.

John_Romaniello15 karma

One of two things: 1) one not changing programs often enough, or 2) changing them too much.

sphinxriddle644 karma

As a woman, I find my performance is greatly affected by my menses. I find my stamina and endurance suffer, and I can't train nearly as hard as I would when my hormones are stable. I try to still train, but I'll punk out if starts to hurt too much. For example, yesterday, I went for a simple run/walk interval workout. Normally, I could run as fast as a 9:30min/mile, but I couldn't seem to push myself faster than a 11min/mile. Today, I couldn't do :45sec Ball Slams with a 20lb ball, and it's usually a walk in the park.

Is there any reason behind this, and how can I overcome my weaknesses?

John_Romaniello4 karma

As you touched, the reason for it is that you're in a period (pun intended) of extreme hormonal disruptment; it's hard for thinks to maintain a basic level of homeostasis when that happens.

I've had a lot of female clients, and many of them have experienced something like this. the best advice I can give is to rest up and just try your best.

Sorry I can't be more help.

headdragon3 karma

I have been doing the ZAW workout. Between the running and the deadlifts and squats my knees are sore more often than not and it effects my job and other activities daily. The rest of my legs are good to go. Any advice for keeping my knees from getting sore?

John_Romaniello6 karma

Could be inflammation - increase fish oil, take a week off the running, and see how you feel.

thedan893 karma

What are your thoughts on mixing ephedrine with caffeine?

John_Romaniello4 karma

effective for fat loss, but use carefully, if you decide to do so.

ajadams3 karma


John_Romaniello15 karma

Deadlifts and pull ups. You'll hit every muscle and get metabolic.

ironbabe3 karma

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a legitimate "hard gainer"? AND what is the best piece of advice YOU have ever recieved?

John_Romaniello12 karma

Best piece of advice for a hardgainer is to track macros and calories. Try to increase wherever you can.

Best advice I've ever received: try everything, discount nothing until you're sure it's not for you.

fatalaccident3 karma

What question should be getting asked that hasn't been?

John_Romaniello18 karma

"where can I buy your book?" ;)

fatalaccident6 karma

I got 3 copies! Stoked for the book and the free shit. Thanks for the AMA also!

John_Romaniello2 karma

you are a beast! thank you so much =)

weebox2 karma

I'm having a hard time building muscle in my calves, any advice?

Matador452 karma

Favorite cheat meal?

John_Romaniello12 karma

Fried Chicken and Waffles. If you're ever in NYC, go to Southern Hospitality and tell 'em Roman sentcha.


dieselstrength2 karma

How did you and Adam get so cool, handsome, and muscular? :)

John_Romaniello17 karma

I can't speak for Adam, but I personally made a Faustian bargain.

Timbeaux2652 karma

Do you or have you ever used fruit/vegetable juicing as part of your diet? I'm sure it's a good way to get necessary nutrients, but just have no idea where to start(aside from buying a juicer).

John_Romaniello2 karma

I don't drink a lot of fruit or even veggie juice. I try not to drink my calories.

Adam and I both use Athletic Greens to get necessary nutrients - http://bit.ly/Zpl3Is

ShadyMilkman3141592 karma

Since you guys have been in the industry so long what are your favorite and/or best certifications in your opinion?

John_Romaniello5 karma

For general personal training, I like NSCA (CSCS). For nutrition, Precision Nutrition. For KBs, RKCII.

cptstupendous2 karma

I know the formula to weight management can be boiled down to "calories in, calories out" but what are some of the variables at play that can complicate the equation further?

John_Romaniello5 karma

Activity level, your general metabolic rate (determined by hormones like leptin, t3 and t4), hormonal disfunction from stuff like sleep and sleep quality, and your overall conditioning.

slamblog2 karma

What do you think about Maca supplements?

John_Romaniello3 karma

Good for blood flow. I like, generally.

capncrunches2 karma

If I could make one change from a fitness/nutrition standpoint in my life to get the biggest results, what would that be?

John_Romaniello7 karma

Depends on what you're currently doing, of course, but generally the thing that will have the biggest leverage is finding a way to eat that you can life with.

For us, it's Intermittent Fasting.

Diet is 80% of the game, so you need to focus on that.

headdragon5 karma

Intermittent Fasting, as explained in your super hero workout has helped me and my daughter both lose over 40lbs. Just using the nutrition guide. Thanks!

John_Romaniello4 karma

that's fantastic! Really happy to hear that. Congrats on the results =)

Matador452 karma

What immediate actions would you recommend for a skinny fat active lifter who can't seem to get rid of those last inches around the midsection?

John_Romaniello7 karma

I would say look at your insulin management - reduce carbs dramatically, and make sure to increase fish oil. that will help with love handles.

fitchick1232 karma

I've heard if you consume 30 grams of protein within the first 30 mins of waking up it will lead to significant weight loss. This is said to work even if you don't make any other changes to your diet and lifestyle. What are your thoughts on this?

John_Romaniello8 karma

This is a Tim Ferriss thing. So, in the interest of full disclosure, Tim and I are bros.

As to the answer: I think it's a good tip for people who are very overweight; if you have 30+ pounds to lose, go for it. 20 or less, I prefer a breakfast skipping approach.

alwayslearningx5 karma

What is the most delicious way to consume 30 grams of protein in the morning?

John_Romaniello5 karma

Most delicious: 2 strips bacon cooked crispy. 1-2 eggs, over medium.

whynottryagain2 karma

Hey guys, thanks for the AMA.

I enjoy running (10ks, half-marathons). But I also want to add strength and a little bulk. Have you found a program that works for accomplishing both goals of maintaining and improving my run times as well as adding strength?

John_Romaniello6 karma

Honestly, in this situation, CrossFit is probably a good fit in this situation. As long as you find a good CF box with good coaches, I'd say go with that.

fungule2 karma

What are good recommendations for women for cardio and weight loss in general? Besides prowler work as there is no access to one.

John_Romaniello3 karma

Sprints, KB swings, complexes and jump rope. Here's a great blog on the topic:


ddaved762 karma

Adam and Roman, how did you two get in touch and start working together? Were you two friends prior to the book?

John_Romaniello3 karma

Great question. Adam and I have known each other for about 5 years; he was my editor at Men's Health, and then brought me on as an advisor for LIVESTRONG.

aybyyy2 karma

What would you recommend to a female trying to lose "the last 10 pounds" or toning up in general. It's a really frustrating and it feels like exercising sets me back (cannot fight the hunger pangs, so it screws up my diet regimen).

I've been working on this for the last 4 years

John_Romaniello3 karma

Hey abyyy, I actually address this in a blog post:


NOTE- there is a pitch for one of my products at the bottom, but don't feel pressured to buy. Lots of good information in the blog that will help you.

DiegoMo2 karma

Hi. I´m 28 years old and mi size is 1.65 m. A year ago i decided to start on bodybuilding. My chest-back measure is 105 cms, but i feel like i can't make my rib cage bigger. I would like to know if at my age it is possible to expand it, and how can i get the most of it. Thank you, it's a real pleassure.

fandango4202 karma

As a personal trainer, am I correct in thinking I can train women just as hard as I do men? What I mean by that is deadlifts, pull ups, back/front squats, and other compound movements will benefit the female skeletal muscle structure in the same way as a male's?

slamblog1 karma

When are you sending out the bonuses?

John_Romaniello3 karma

We actually JUST got approval to do so.

Anything physical that you get as part of a LAND RUSH order (kettlebell for example) will go out within 3 weeks.