Sunday, January 19, 2014

Thinking Fitball, Fitness First With: Jonny Manfre

It happens at the start of every year, with the number vaulting to record-highs in 2014.

A number of would-be warriors and New Year’s Resolution-commits flock to the gym in droves, determined to keep their resolution of getting into ship-shape.

They go on long-winded rants about shredding every ounce of fat in their bodies. They lecture us about lowering their caloric intake and sacrificing the oil-smooth tasting Bud Light for an O’Doul’s or calorie-free drink. They go on and on about and kicking the fried foods habit, going Vegan and chowing down on a steady diet of tasty soy, grass and insects and all these non-fat foods.

The fake faith, the tall tales and promises which cascade from their lips are astonishing.

On New Year’s day, they arrive at the gym in clusters.

 By the time Feb.1 rolls around, and their supposed to be chiseled and flaunting a six-pack and posing with a scalding Maxim Model, there is a search warrant out for them.

All the talk about monitoring the diet, getting more than enough exercise while simultaneously exorcising the bad habits of the past, it all becomes (crickets) (crickets).

We caught up with Jonny Manfre, the founder of

Manfre, known as “The Unit” in those Jersey Shore circles, has cultivated a workout plan along with sizzling fiancée Amia Miley.

The goal is to develop a machete-sharp set of Abs and sustain them. There is a step-by-step formula, helping implement an unwavering commitment to garnering abs.

 Don’t fill out an ABSentee ballot or practice gym ABStinence.

 It won’t work. is bent on flipping you New Year’s commits into gym rats and getting shredding like you never have before.

ZS: A new year always brings in the resolution gym rats...first week of January they are in the gym everyday like clockwork, but then they fade out....what kind of advice do you give. a newly-minted gym rat, some who looking to find motivation to stay in the gym and sustain the do they go about the new life change?

JM: Well, it can certainly be an intimidating time for them entering THE GYM, with all the meatheads and other “scary” people there – especially with all of the social network posts warning them to “stay out!”

Many of these newbie, resolutioners have never been to a gym and don’t feel comfortable there. But that is the good news. 

More often than not, when you are putting yourself in a position that is less than comfortable, you are on the right path to making a change and/or accomplishing a goal.

The problem is that many of these newbies have not really clearly defined their goal, and without a defined goal, their chance for success is greatly minimized. Without a goal, they are wandering.

With a goal, they have set a destination in the GPS for their fitness journey. Plug it in, be on your way, and don’t look back!
SO, my first advice would be to clearly define that goal in detail by way of a goal statement that includes: a date to accomplish it by, the deep down reason why you are doing it, and what you are willing to give up in order to accomplish it.

Secondly, embrace the discomfort and feed off of whatever drove you to make this resolution. Whether it is health related, improving what you see looking back in the mirror, or whatever it is – fuel up and feed that fitness flame and let it burn bright! 
Then take it at a steady and consistent pace. Don’t just say I’m going 6 days a week and then get discouraged when you only make it 2 or 3 times a week.

I’ve worked in gyms, have been in gyms, and have been in fitness my whole life and people who try to do it fast almost always fail.

Set a reasonable goal of 2 to 3 times a week and work up to more from there. Successful fitness is a marathon, not a sprint; a lifestyle, not a hobby. Treat it like so. 

ZS: How do you make the transition, quickly converting fat into muscle? I’ve been pile-driving McDonald’s down at a frantic pace, now I’m trying to look like a cast member of 300. How would I adjust, without getting enamored in all these theories I’m finding on the internet and Juicehad ideologies?  

JM: Well, first off, you can’t convert fat into muscle. It doesn't work like that but you can burn off fat and build new muscle. And as several studies and personal experience clearly show, you can even do both at the same time; particularly if you are starting off in not very good shape. 

When you are starting off it is the easiest to make progress. Simply lower your calories, eat more protein, and workout – including resistance training (calisthenics and weights). How do you reduce calories and increase protein?

 You eat reasonable portions of lean meats, fish, skim dairy products, fruits, protein supplements, beans, and plenty of veggies… pretty much real food or what people would consider eating “clean” or healthy.

 I hate to use those broad terms, because the definition of clean or healthy eating often changes due to new studies and theories.

Using those terms helps to blur the lines of the big differences in eating healthy from eating food that is not fattening. (For example walnuts are healthy but are also fattening.) But in short, eating “clean” is normally effective, at least at the beginning, and is the most simple or brainless way to accomplish it.
To do it the correct way, particularly after you lose the easy weight and start to plateau, you will have to step up your game by keeping track of calories and protein, while making sure to eat a nutrient rich meal plan.

 Don't worry about keeping track of carbs, fats, glycemic index, hormones, metabolism, meal timing, etc; non of that matters! All of those things are noise and distractions from the factors that are within your control and really matter. 

I define all of this, as well as proper calorie and protein intake very specifically in my program, at

The calculations are based on your size and activity level.

Once you take the steps to define your daily protein and calorie target, as well as implement a system to quickly and easily quantify foods (the system I have developed is called 10 to 1 and BEST), you can be freer in the types of foods that you eat.
What I mean by that is you can eat whatever you want as long as you hit your daily targets.

Your workouts DO NOT have to be very advanced or complicated to be effective but you must make them BEST – Better Every Single Time – in order to keep progressing.  

ZS: Explain to me, brother the “fitball” game and how one can watch beloved teams whileworking relentlessly to shed LBs. and thin out?

JM: This Fitball Game I developed, which we’ve been playing most of the football year is great! It pretty much allows the football game you are watching to be your personal trainer, while immersing yourself more deeply into the game because you have a vested interest.
Pretty much, you assign an exercise to each team. Let’s say it is the Patriots and the Broncos...

When the Patriots score, you will do 5 pushups for each point and when the Broncos score, you will do 5 air squats for each point.

 For example: TD+PAT = 7pts X 5 reps = 35 pushups when the Patriots score a TD and extra point. When the Broncos score a TD and extra point, you have to do 35 air squats.  

Obviously, a field goal is 3 pts (15 reps), etc.
Depending on your fitness level, this may or may not seem like a good workout but first off, at least you are getting A WORKOUT and secondly in a high scoring game, this can be an awesome workout!

Even just a 35 to 25 point game could mean 175 pushups and 125 air squats! This may be just a good pump for the more experienced fitness veterans or a torturous, “I’m gonna be sore for the rest of the week,” killer workout for others. 

It is simply a nice way to motivate people to get it in, while still enjoying the pleasurable things in life. 
Do that for the first game of the day. Then for the second game drink a beer or two (for those of age) if you want and snack on some munchies.

In my opinion. life is all about balance. The Fitball routine is certainly better than drinking beer and snacking on munchies through both games, like you had planned!! 

 Follow Jonny on Twitter @JonnyTheUnit on Facebook at and Instagram @JonnyTheUnit