Young Gunz: 7 Fitness Dudes You Need to Know About

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I know, I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in far too long. I’m terrible. I’m the worst friend ever. Don’t hate me, okay? Like, pwetty pwease?

Trust me, I with I could be writing more on this site, but as it turns out, writing three books at once is a draining endeavor, and my efforts to add more hours to day have—as yet—been unsuccessful.

For those who don’t know, I’m working on several projects, the most ambitious of which is a hardcover book being published by Harper One, an imprint of Harper Collins. The book sold at auction in late April (for an advance valued at over one meeeeelion dollars, thankyouverymuch), and the manuscript is due on September 15th.

That’s all well and good, and we sure as hell appreciate the advance; but the reality is that my co-author Adam Bornstein and I were given about five months to write a 400-page book that needs to debut on the best-seller list in order for the publishers to even begin making back their investment.

No pressure.

As you can imagine, most of my time has been spent furiously writing—not to mention flying back and forth between NYC, LA (where Adam lives) and San Francisco (where HarperOne is headquartered). Oh, and dieting down for photoshoots, and still trying to run three businesses.

Now, I’m not complaining; this is the life I signed up for and I am loving every single minute of it (except security lines at the airport; no one likes that shit). Still, as much as I’m enjoying riding the wave of momentum and sprinting recklessly towards all these finish lines, I do lament the lack of time and energy to blog frequently.

The hard part is over in a few weeks, and I’m hoping to get back to the life I used to be accustomed to—you know; traveling less than 24 days out of a month, sleeping more than 5.5 hours a night, and even writing frequently.

In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to expose you to as much amazing fitness information as humanly possible—and it dawned on me that exposing you to some new fitness people might be the best way to do that.

To that end, I’ve written two posts doing JUST that; and today, you’re getting the first one.

In this article, as the title implies, I’m going to introduce you to seven up and coming fitness dudes that I think can help you in various ways.

Now, before we go any further, let me define up and comer: someone whose blog is either recently established or it only beginning to make headway into the larger fitness scene.

I got a lot of recommendations for this list, and for obvious reasons, I can’t include everyone; especially if they don’t meet the definition above. Further to that, I decided to only include people that I’ve actually met.

So, if you’re one of my fitness friends and you didn’t make it onto this list, it’s probably because you’re already Big Time. Or you haven’t bought me dinner. Either one.

All set? Great, let’s get on with the list.




It makes sense that I start with JC, since I wrote about him recently. For those who missed the post, JC was kind enough to ask me to write the foreword to his book, LGN365, which was released very recently. So, if you haven’t read that, get all clicky with it.

That aside, Nashville, Tennessee based coach JC is on this list for a few reasons, not least of which is that he provides excellent content. His snarky stuff on supplements and marketing alone is enough to earn him a spot, but his training information really is top notch. He talks about everything from reverse pyramid training to increasing size.

Perhaps more importantly, JC is willing to share a lot about his life and history, including some painful stuff. Because of all this, JC has been crushing things, and has been featured in Forbes and written for Zen Habits. Add to that the fact that he’s a fine writer, and you can see why I want you to know about him.

 Follow him on Twitter.

As an aside, in New York City last November, and ate BBQ on the first day he was in town. The second day, we had Mexican. And the third day ate wings and watched football. I was on a bulking phase and JC doesn’t really believe in clean eating, so it was all good.



Speaking of eating BBQ in NYC, let’s talk about my buddy Roger Lawson, who has made the trip to New York to eat ribs with me no less than three times. So, right there, you know he’s awesome.

Currently residing in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Rog Law—as he’s known to friends and readers alike—is an uber-trainer who cut his teeth in the Strength & Conditioning world by nabbing the high coveted intern position at Cressey Performance. Spending a year studying under Eric Cressey for a year will learn ya a thing or two about a thing or two, to be sure, but Lawson has had his own awesome ideas rom the outset of his career—which is why he’s blowing up.

Now on his own, Lawson trains everyone from housewives to athletes and is dedicated to sexification on a global scale. In other words, like me, he wants to help people get hot. Roger has been published on Livestrong and in Men’s Fitness, and has a podcast with JC.

Rog recently signed up for my business coaching program, and, ya know…one thing led to another—and all of a sudden, we’ve created an awesome program together. So, yeah. Be on the lookout for a super awesome program coming from Rog and I this October. It’s going to be the most fun one I’ve every worked on. (SPOILER ALERT: think zombies)

In the meantime, check out his website and follow him on Twitter.





robOne of my NYC fitness brethren, Rob and I met at PEAK Performance, where we both train…and, occasionally, wrestle. He always wins, because he’s a bad-ass who wrestled at the University of Michigan.

When he’s not rolling around with dudes, Sulaver runs his business, Bandana Training, out of PEAK, and is one of the go to experts for the literati and the glitterati. Rob works with authors and book agents in addition to models, athletes, night club owners, and the rest of the New York City elite.

In addition to all that, Rob was recently involved in Men’s Fitness’ Transformassacre, an 8 week body transformation program where he helped Shaun Myers drop 8 pounds of fat while gaining simultaneously gaining almost 5 pounds of muscle.

Although he’s been in the industry for years, his blog is in its infancy, having only launched in June of this year. Despite its newness, his site is quickly gaining ground, and becoming on of the top resources for hormonal optimization through manipulation of training, nutrition and sleep.

For all things hormones and badassery, check out his site, and follow him on Twitter.




anthonyI decided I needed to put Anthony on this list as soon as possible, because by the time you read this, he may not be an up-and-comer anymore, but rather will have firmly established himself as an authority.

My first introduction to Mr. Mychal (pronounced “Michael”) was a T-Nation article, which laid out some incredibly well-written and well-thought out ideas for including single arm floor presses for the purposes of building a bigger upper chest. That being a weakness of mine, it caught my eye. Since then, Anthony has been published on T-Nation several times, as well Greatist and a number of other places.

We began corresponding, and finally got to meet this March, in Columbus Ohio, where we were both attending the Arnold Classic (note: he wrote about this here). I spent the entire weekend with Anthony and his girlfriend talking about everything from training and injury recovery to business and football. Being from Pittsburgh, he’s a Steelers fan, but I have forgiven him for that.

He’s a great guy with great ideas about injury rehab and prevention, but tons of stuff about training for every goal. In addition, he’s got some keen insights on nutrition; he recently ran an experiment where he ate anything (and everything) he wanted for 10 days, gaining and losing 21.4 pounds. In fact, he also wrote a guest post on cheat days for me, which I’ll publish shortly.

Finally, Anthony’s interest in fitness extends beyond aesthetics and fully encompasses athletic performance—including his own. He does something called “tricking,” which basically means flipping and other gymnastic moves. (Think parkour with less running.)

Here’s a video of Mr. Mychal doing a backflip:

Mychal runs two blogs—one for general training and one for tricking. Check out both, and follow him on Twitter.



Another T-Nation writer, Ben Bruno probably doesn’t belong on a list of up-and-comers, since he’s pretty well-known; nevertheless, he’s a guy that you need to know about, and I suspect some of you don’t, so here we are, mmmkay?

Big Ben and I first met here in NYC at the PEAK Performance seminar in June of 2011. Three weeks later, I was walking home from a training session and literally bumped into Ben on 7th Ave, despite the fact that he lives more than 300 miles away in Boston. He was down for a visit, and thankfully, we’re both very sturdy, and neither was harmed in the collision.

New York City, by the way, is no foreign land for Bruno—he spent four years living here as he completed his undergrad coursework. At Columbia University. Where he graduated with honors. So, to say Ben is a smart guy is probably an understatement. To say he is as smart as he is strong is probably more fitting, because this guy is a straight up beast.

Over the last year or so, Ben has become known for his innovative variations of exercises, which often include combining movements movements (like a hip extension and a row), or using equipment like landmines and ValSlides. Originally, he came up with these movements as a way to stay strong while recovering from surgery which precluded traditional exercises, but now they are used the world over by people who are either looking for something new, or want to be able to load heavy weight without a lot of issue.

Here’s a clip of Ben killing 12 reps with 285 on a deadlift variation (note the RFS t-shirt):

Clearly, even when filming demos, Ben doesn’t pull his punches when it comes to weight. He’s also a hilarious guy, and because of that, we’ve become great friends, often traveling together and crashing on each others couches whenever possible.

As a complete aside, Ben has probably the best, funniest, and most honest way to tell his story about how he got into writing in the fitness industry. When I asked him he said, “well, I thought, I like writing, and I like working out—maybe I can just write about working out?” As they say, the hallmark of a genius is being able to explain something simply.

Check out Ben’s site, and follow him on Twitter.




I’m including Brian for a few reasons. Firstly and most importantly, he’s a good trainer with good content. Secondly, when I polled my Facebook readers for suggestions for this list, his follower blew up my page with hilarious frequency. Obviously, he sent them over, but to have such a responsive client base is the mark of a guy who is changing lives (and how has a fair deal of business acumen).

Brian and I met in Portland in May of 2011, when he came out to meet for a drink with Nate Green, Jason Lengstorf and myself. Brian didn’t actually have a drink (he had to get up early to train), but he provided great conversation and insight.

A serviceman in the Air Force Nation Guard, Brian is originally from Wisconsin (and a Packers fan) who now lives in Portland, where he runs his training business. Appropriately called Boomer Fitness, Stecker’s company caters to the baby-boomer crowd. He accept clients in person, of course, but also has a ton of articles on his site for everything from maintaining strength as you age to exercises to alleviate arthritis.

Check out his site, and follow him on Twitter.




Ah, my good friend Mr. Howse. Of all the people on this list, I’ve known Chad the longest, having first met him when he traveled to NYC from the Cold White North of Vancouver, Canada to visit a girl. It didn’t work out with the girl, but Chad and I hit it off great and have been friends ever since.

Chad is a real man’s man—he enjoys a solid bourbon, the occasional high quality cigar, and punching people in the face. Seriously. Before he got into weight training, Chad was a competitive boxer, and has the stories and conditioning to prove it. Just to cement his position of the manliest man on this list, he’s written several pieces for the Art of Manliness.

Although he still boxes for fun, Chad transitioned into training several years back, after finding weights and adding 45 pounds of muscle to his frame. Given that transformation, it’s easy to see that this guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to gaining some muscle.

Mr. Howse wrote a guest post for me a while back, and he’s got a fantastic ebook called the Power Howse Challenge, which boasts a 12-Week program that will increase strength and size while boosting your work capacity and turning you into a freakin’ machine (just like Chad).

Check out his site, and follow him on Twitter.



All right! There you have it – SEVEN up-and-coming coaches who are all incredible what they do. They have a ton of content on their respective blogs, and each can help you in their own unique way—and keep you busy while I’m working on new stuff. Again, these guys are about to explode, so I suggest you get on their rocket ship before it takes off.

Now, before I close, I just want to remind you that I have limited my list to people I actually, know, have met in person, and have spend time with at length. While this is obvious is the best way to vet someone, it’s also true that it muddies the waters of objectivity—you always want to recommend your friends, right? Well, that may be true. Thankfully, this is a blog, not a Paper of Record, so I don’t need to worry about being objective.

Still, if you like this list or hate it, drop a comment and let me know.

Anyway—on to the ladies!

That’s right; I’ve got another piece fully detailing five up-and-coming women in the fitness industry, all of whom are as smart as they are strong as they are beautiful. So, really, you can’t lose.

Let’s get 50 COMMENTS on this post, and I’ll post the new blog tomorrow.

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

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