Zane Watson after 4 months of guidance from John Cardillo

Zane Watson is one of my favourite Canadian Body builders, today. As an avid fan I have followed him on social media and in bodybuilding magazines for the past 3 years. His Instagram posts are my favorite among all bodybuilders, because He pulls no punches, and shows exactly how he trains. Everyday I look forward to his new posts.

Zane is a true sportsman and always demonstrated professionalism by acknowledging the gyms he trains at in his Instagram posts. In Early spring 2019 I started noticing Zane was posting some of his training sessions at a new gym in his hometown of Hamilton Ontario called Bodypro Gym. He was very complementary of the array of equipment that the gym had.

I noticed in several of Zane’s Instagram posts that he was being trained by someone I had never seen before or knew of. The snippets of video that Zane posted feature Watching Zane Watson Trained a trainer who was pushing him beyond what seemed normal. The level of intensity of these workouts looked like something that I had never seen before). This trainer was hovering over Zane, micromanaging each repetition. I couldn’t believe how hard Zane was training. I kept up with what Zane was posting on his Instagram and every few weeks he posted these insane workouts with this guy pushing him.

In mid summer, I decided to call Bodypro Gym to inquire about the cost of a day pass and more specifically when Zane trained. I was told he trained mid morning and a day pass was $20 or $110 for a month’s membership. I made the drive from my home Mississauga to Hamilton to checkout this gym and see I could catch Zane training.

When I arrived at Bodypro Gym I was given a tour of the facility by young enthusiastic fellow who seemed unusually excited about the gym. He told me that he used to be a member and liked the gym so much that he applied for a job. Touring the gym, I could see why. The gym was unlike any other I had seen before, with hundreds of pieces of equipment set up in body part sections.  Including, Back area, chest area, arm area, Dumbbell studio and a leg area with what seemed like at least 15 leg extension machines. The tour thoroughly impressed me. Now I realized why Zane was training here. This place is the best equipped gym I had ever been in; even Better than Golds in California! Truly a workout playground!!

The only thing that was missing was Zane, and the young fellow did not know when he would. be present

Instead of a day pass I decided to join for a month. This place was certainly worth the one hour drive!

Excited about getting in some good workouts, I decided to make the trip to Bodypro 4 times a week; Training twice during the week and on Saturday and Sunday. In my first couple of workouts, I did nothing more than try a set or two on as many pieces of equipment I never had seen or used before while still getting good workouts, especially on my quads and hamstrings. The leg area had more than a dozen different leg extension machines, a row of 15 leg curls, another row of leg presses, at least 8 different hack squat machines and a row of power racks for squatting. I thought I had died and gone to Leg Heaven!

One week went by and I was certainly enjoying my new workout experience. But where was Zane? Every time i checked in, I would ask the club receptionist. The answer was always the same. No one knew!

Finally on my second week at Bodypro Gym, on a Saturday I got lucky. There was Zane, on a stretch machine, stretching his upper body and chatting with a blonde lady who was with him in normal clothes. I decided to skip my planned workout and hang around this part of the gym to see what he was working today.

The gym wasn’t very busy for a Saturday and I wasn’t quite sure whether Zane was doing a real workout or just stretching.

About 20 minutes later a guy shows up in a black Bodypro Gym Tshirt and sweatpants and greets Zane with a warm smile. Zane shakes his hand and said “How you doing Johnny”. He responds “Great, you ready for back today?” “Yep” Zane says. Then the female goes over to Johnny and hugs him, and they talk for a bit as Zane heads over to the chin-up bar and starts doing some hanging stretches.

I decide to go over to another member who was resting between sets and make small talk and asked him who were the people Zane was with. He replied that he thought it was his mother, who comes to film his workouts and John Cardillo, the owner of the building. It looked to me that he was the one training him in the videos Zane posted.

After speaking for a few minutes, Zane was strapping his hands up on the chin bar ready to start doing wide grip chin ups. Cardillo was standing to side watching as Zane pulled himself up until his chin was over the bar and then lowered his body down to a full stretched position. After a dozen or more repetitions, Cardillo moved behind Zane and started to give him counts. “3 more by yourself, you are still strong, pull hard, 2 more, last one, pull, pull.” After the last rep Zane could barely complete on his own, Cardillo took a hold of His feet and assisted him with 4 or 5 more repetitions. At the point where Zane could barely pull himself up at all, Cardillo helped him to the top and Zane lowered himself as slow as he could to a count of 10, with Cardillo counting. After a couple of these negative reps Zane could no longer lower his body with any control. The set was over.

After chin ups, Cardillo hurried over to a Nautilus machine, an exercise that I had never seen before. The machine definitely targets the lats because it replicated a wide chin-up, except that Zane started the exercise with his arms extended up and parallel to his head. He then pushed down on the two round pads as if performing a wide, behind the neck chin up. Cardillo put a pin in the weight stack and Zane started the exercise. Cardillo stood to the side of the machine, offering encouragement as Zane pushed hard on each rep.

Zane started struggling after a bunch of reps, however Cardillo assisted him with a couple more and immediately dropped the weight several plates.  Zane, without rest, continued repping out until muscular failure.

Still With no rest, Cardillo gestured for Zane to lean forward and grab the lat bar in front of him to start wide grip, behind the neck pulldowns. A gain mimicking wide chins, pulling down the bar until it touched the back of his head. Being Barely able to finish 6 reps, Cardillo dropped the weight and pushed Zane through 4 more repetitions until he couldn’t even complete a quarter rep. Cardillo would later explain that the chins and wide pulling he had Zane do was to create “wider wings”.

Without rest Cardillo set up the seat position and weight on the next machine, a Medx Row. Using almost the whole weight stack, Zane struggled to do 7 or 8 repetitions. Again Cardillo dropped some weight and with no rest, Zane squeezed out a couple more. Once again, Cardillo dropped some more weight and Zane grinded out a 2 or 3 more reps.(After that) Cardillo now had him hold each contraction for a few seconds.

Zane’s sweat shirt was now soaked and he took it off. Exposing the thickest upper body that I have ever seen in person.

Continuing with no rest, Cardillo had the next machine ready for Zane, Nautilus Pullovers. Using the whole weight stack, Zane grinded out half a dozen reps. With Cardillo slightly helping, Zane completed more. Then Cardillo dropped the weight again and Zane struggled through a few more reps before ending the exercise. Still seated in the machine, Cardillo had him perform close grip Pulldowns to the chest, (on the front lat pulldown part of the machine). Again to total failure, with one weight drop.

At this point Zane, had still not rested and Cardillo was ready for Zane (to begin) on the Cable Row machine. With what seemed to be about 300 pounds, Zane strapped his hands to the handle and proceeded to do deep long cable rows. Cardillo forcing him to stretch past his toes and holding each rep for a few seconds at the contraction point. After half a dozen hard reps, Zane couldn’t complete another. Again Cardillo reduced the weight and pushed Zane to complete another half dozen reps. Cardillo then had Zane finish off the lat workout with straight arm front pushdowns for one set to exhaustion.

By now Zane looked massively pumped and worn out. But the workout was not over. Cardillo led him the shoulder area of the gym. From a distance I could see him putting Zane through 3 or 4 rear delt exercises and high pulls combined with shrugs for trapezius.

They went to the other side of the gym into the Dumbell Studio to continue the workout. I decided to head there myself and saw that they were about to start biceps. Cardillo started Zane on the Medx Curl machine, Standing behind him, and pushed Zane to do a full contraction on each rep, to total failure. At the end of the set he would have him hold the contracted position for a few seconds. After Zane could not complete another rep, Cardillo had him hold the contracted position while he pulled on the bar, forcing Zane to keep holding the contracted static position. Causing Zane to grunt due to the holds, in excruciating pain.

From the Medx curls Cardillo was ready for the next exercise on the 45 degree moon bench, with three sets of dumbbells ready for Zane. Zane flopped himself on the bench and Cardillo handed him a pair of 50s. Zane curled both at the same time leaning back, curling as if he’s pouring water out . After completing 3 reps, he could no longer move the dumbbells and dropped them. Cardillo handed him 35’s then gave him the 35s. Zane did a few more reps and dropped them as well. Without missing a beat Cardillo put the 25s in his hands pushing Zane to work harder. Zane did his best to do a few more excruciating reps and then dropped the dumbells. He was done! But Cardillo  was not done!

From the dumbbell curls with no rest Cardillo was already at the next station ready to go. Zane positioned himself over a Scott curl type bench (which Cardillo called a spider bench) doing bent over barbell Scott curls. With very strict form, extending all the way down and contracting right up to the neck. Three barbells were positioned ready to go. Cardillo gave Zane the heaviest one first. Zane was able to squeeze out a couple reps then Cardillo helped him to do a few more and when he could not barely move the bar he took the bar and gave Zane a lighter one. By now Zanes arms were so pumped he could barely move and couldn’t complete even one more rep.  Cardillo helped him with a few reps and now Cardillo was lifting the weight and Zane was slowly dropping it for negative reps. After a few negatives, there seemed to be nothing left in Zane’s biceps. All I heard next from Cardillo was “it’s a wrap, workout is finished”. Zane’s total bicep workout was three sets of excruciating work lasting maybe 5 to 6 minutes. His arms were gorged with blood. He did a double bicep in the mirror and all I can say is that they were huge, cut and full of veins.

Driving home after the workout, all I could think of was, that was the craziest workout I’d ever seen anybody do! Every set, all out, maximum intensity, never stopping between exercises during a body part. Cardillo had him do it all. Heavy weights to positive failure, forced reps, drop sets, negative reps, static contraction holds, and pre-exhaustion sets. Not one set was stopped until Zane had nothing left in him. And Cardillo never had him do a second set of any exercise! This was over the top intensity! After the workout Zane looked totally wiped out.

The next time I went to work out at Bodypro Gym, I asked the receptionist if John Cardillo was there. Fortunately, he was and she led me to an office that he uses in the building. I was curious to ask him some questions about the methodology of the training that he had Zane to do. Cardillo was very gracious in answering my questions

Q) That was quite the back and bicep workout you put Zane through last Saturday. Was that a typical workout you put him through?

A) I’ve just started helping Zane train since his dad passed away. We have increased the intensity of every workout. As he gets in better shape I can push him harder. I think we are at about 75% intensity right now. With a couple of months until the Olympia, the intensity will get ratcheted up every workout.

Q) I noticed that you only had him do one set of each exercise. Why only one?

A) That’s all that is required. Using maximum weight for as many repetitions as possible to failure, followed immediately by forced reps, negative reps and a weight drop, it’s about all that is needed to stimulate growth. More sets would only lead to overtraining.

Q) How did you come up with this type of training?

A) This is how I trained when I was competing. One set each exercise, to positive and negative failure. It’s the only way to train for muscle growth and to continue to improve your physique.

Q) It looks like Zane has really improved. How many days a week does he train?

A) I only train him a couple times a week and he trains on his own a couple more times. I think 4 or 5 workouts in total.

Q) How many times a week would he work a body part ?

A) My preference is that he only work each body part once every 8 or 9 days. However, I think he trains a bit more.

Q) Why so few workouts?

A) My HIT3 style of Hi-Intensity training is the hardest form of training anyone can ever do. After a workout, each body part, and also the nervous system needs extra recuperation time to grow. It’s the rest that causes the growth.

Q) How do you think Zane will look at the Mr. Olympia ?

A) Better than ever!