Interview – Avinash Jithender

Introduction

Avinash has been around the gym for a while now. And by ‘a while’ I mean for about 13 years. And like a fine wine, this beast is only getting better with age, but I don’t mean like wine, I mean like Godzilla. Avinash is a veteran bodybuilder, a no nonsense nutritionist, and plain old school when it comes to building muscle and burning fat. I’ve known Avinash to overcome failure and downtime to the highest degree, and he has ‘lifted’ himself out of the gutter and into a lifestyle of fitness knowledge and training in a big way. When you look to Avinash for muscle building advice, he isn’t going to bring out fine measuring instruments to figure out your body fat percentage, and then tell you to eat Chia seeds with blueberry cereal with low fat skim milk for breakfast. He will bust your ass at the gym using the oldest and most reliable method in the book. Weight training. Avinash is also a certified AMFPT, and currently pursuing his certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

I’ve trained at the same gym as Avinash for about 4 months, and I’ve always seen his crew working the weight rack and machines, day in day out, nothing complicated, nothing newfangled, and always sticking to the basic muscle engaging movements. Once you see the way Avinash looks and trains, you know his method works, and how.  I got to interview Mr. Jithender and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading his views on training.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I was born and brought up in Hyderabad. I am a Personal trainer and Nutritionist. I took up Personal training as a career after working 11 Years in the IT industry. I have been into full time personal training since 2013.

When did you start training and why?

I have been lifting for 13 years now. Bodybuilding started for me as rehab from alcohol. After being treated for Liver damage and Pancreatitis, I started hitting the gym just to keep my mind away from booze. Things changed dramatically as I knew very soon that bodybuilding is what I will do for the rest of my life. This would then turn into an obsession and very soon became my career.

What kind of workout do you do? Do you only workout in the gym or have you tried other forms of workout like Crossfit and outdoor cardio, bench workouts etc.?

I always believed in short duration workouts like 25 to 30 minutes of intense weight training. I am not a big fan of cardio. If I do cardio, it would be 30 to 40 minutes of steady state on a treadmill. I haven’t tried Crossfit either. I have been doing what worked best for me i.e. high intensity weight training.

In your opinion, what would you say is the biggest negative aspect of youth around you who want to train and transform?

I wouldn’t say negatives, but there are all kinds of questions kids have these days. Everyone’s looking for a shortcut to shred or bulk. There are no shortcuts in this game. You have to bust your ass every damn day to get results. You can’t expect to eat crap all your life and then shed in the so called “12 week plan”.

What would your advice be to youngsters who want to improve their bodies, put on muscle, and overall be fit and strong?

First – make a commitment to yourself that you want to do it. Understand that your body is like a machine and it can breakdown anytime. Putting on muscle or losing fat comes next. The key here is nutrition. You are what you eat. Train in some capacity everyday, doesn’t have to be weight training only. Everyone is different and like different forms of training. Make changes to your lifestyle. You cannot achieve something without sacrifice.

How important are supplements in your training? Should everyone take supplements?

No one has to take supplements. That’s why they are called supplements. Primary sources of food will always win it for you. Having said that, supplements like whey protein, creatine and essential fatty acids are helpful. I personally use whey protein more for convenience as I am always on the go and its easy to get in a meal that way. My choice though would be real food. A good pre-workout is helpful too although not necessary.

If you had to select three mandatory supplements for regular weight training, what would they be? What does each one do to your body?

Whey Protein – Muscle recovery, 
Creatine – endurance and muscle volume (not my favourite), 
Omega 3 – numerous benefits like heart health, hormone production, fat loss to an extent, 
Coral Calcium –  Improves function of nerve cells, muscle and bones

What are your goals for fitness and body? Have you ever competed on stage? Where will you go from there?

I never competed and I don’t think I ever will. I have trained athletes who compete but that’s about it. My next goal – I would like to get into research now. I have a few subjects in mind but haven’t started work on it yet. The Muscle Garage gym may soon be a reality so fingers crossed.

How has your life changed after you started working out?

Life is completely different now. I feel healthier and there’s more purpose in life. My vision is to get as many people as I can to stay fit and healthy.

What are the biggest mental battles for an everyday regular guy to go through the struggle of working out?

This battle starts right from waking up to eating the right food. As I said earlier, it’s a commitment and it’s a long term one. Making a start is very important. Once you fall into a routine its going to become an obsession.

Did you every face any downtime or injuries? How did you recover mentally and physically?

Yes. I had a spine protrusion 2 years ago and a frozen shoulder at the same time. Rest is the best remedy during such injuries. I was advised 6 months rest but I hit the gym again in a month and now I am injury free. It’s very tough on your mind especially when lifting is all you do. But then I used to rain in some capacity be it cardio or just seated workouts so I don’t hurt the spine.

How important is diet? What do you eat? How often do you cheat?

Diet is what makes you or breaks you. You are what you eat. Some people are blessed with amazing metabolism and get away with a bad diet. I eat 8 meals a day spaced in 2 hour intervals. It’s the same while bulking or cutting. I only change the quantities. That’s what has worked for me always. At the moment I am cutting so I’m eating 280 grams protein and 200 grams carbs a day. I don’t measure fat so much since its easy to eye ball the serving size. While bulking I go up to 5000 to 6000 calories a day but still keep it very clean. 

What sort of clientele do you usually train?

Well,they come from all walks of life. IT Professionals, Police officers, Industrialists, Pastors and Bodybuilders.

What advice would you give to people who believe that they can only workout in phases and get tired after a few days/weeks/months and never return to it?

As I said earlier, this is a long term commitment and there are no shortcuts. Consistency is the key. So if someone thinks there is a transformation plan that can be followed and that’s about it, it’s false. You have to keep the process going to stay fit and healthy. This is a Lifestyle.

Do you find a lot of negativity in today’s youth? Whether online or in person, do you feel a lot of people tend to put each other down rather than lift them up? How important is that for the gym and training your mind and muscle?

Yes I do. There’s a lot of negativity and unhealthy competition. I believe strong people should lift others up and not put them down. The concept of a fit family hasn’t caught up yet. It is very important to train your mind to eliminate negativity and just do what is needed to reach a goal. I have seen both sides though. So many kids these days acquire knowledge about the sport and share their experiences and talk about it and keep pushing each other. This is really good for the sport.

What advice would you give the people who believe that bodybuilding is nothing but asteroid game?

This is such a sad thing for bodybuilding. Steroids are not going to give you the physique you want unless you bust your backside in the gym and then sacrifice all vices to eat right. So if someone says it’s just a steroid game, they are ignorant. What I’m trying to say is you can juice up all your life but that’s a choice you make. By no means do I disrespect a guy on juice. I’m sure the guys who say this, either haven’t lifted ever in their life or just want to put someone down by saying that. I saw an interesting meme which said – “If you are smaller than me you are weak, if you are bigger than me you are on steroids”. This tells a good story.

Tell me a little bit about Muscle Garage. I’ve seen that you guys focus more on fundamental old skool weight training. What do you focus on when hitting different muscle groups?

Yeah. I thought about Muscle Garage the day I decided to move into full time fitness. My gym will be up very soon with the same name and we are launching a small range of supplements too. The whole idea is not to have any “patented blend” or formula. So what you read on the label is what you will get. Yes, Old Skool it is. At muscle garage we keep things very simple following principles laid down by legends like Arthur Jones, Casey Viator and Mike Mentzer. You can tell by now that the workouts are based on pure intensity and less volume. I do include some unconventional methods too but never get into stunts.

Outro

As you would have read and understood by now, if you want to train old school, and not get swamped by new fads, diets, supplements, glitz, and glamour, you need to head to Avinash. He loves to train to heavy metal too, which was a huge upside to training the same gym at the same time as him and his crew. Heavy vibes in the gym those days. I miss them. 

You can get in touch with Avinash on his social media here:

https://www.instagram.com/muscle_garage/

and mail him here:

avin77@gmail.com