John Meadows Returns Full Interview | Training Shaun Clarida, Biggest Bodybuilding Mistakes, & More

John Meadows Returns For Another Uncut Full GI Exclusive interview

In May of 2020, the bodybuilding world was in shock at the announcement that John Meadows had suffered a heart attack. Thankfully, he made a full recovery. Later in 2020, one of the pro bodybuilders that Meadows trains, Shaun Clarida, earned himself the 2020 Men’s 212 Division Olympia title.

John Meadows, is best-known in the bodybuilding industry as an elite coach, nutritionist, and owner of the supplement brand, Granite Supplements. He has worked in the bodybuilding industry as a coach and contributor has trained other pros like Ken Jackson and Fouad Abiad. Now just under a year after his heart attack and Shaun Clarida’s big win, we reconnected with John Meadows to look back at the entire experience, his recovery, working with Shaun Clarida, and what the future holds.

Over the past few months we’ve released multiple GI Exclusive segments from our interview with John Meadows. Beyond his recovery, we are now releasing the full length interview including additional topics such as the biggest mistake bodybuilders make, lifting heavy vs lifting light, and an analysis of the Olympia 2020.

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Listen to the full John Meadows interview here:

An Inside Look Into Shaun Clarida’s Olympia Training Strategy

John Meadows makes it clear that in Clarida’s case, slow and steady wins the race. Clarida had been making small changes to his training prep year after year. Trail and error worked towards finding the best strategy that worked most efficiently for his body.

Meadows can’t attribute the win to any sort of secret. It was simply persistence. Not only in the willingness to train hard – but also the willingness to think hard. What we mean by that is the ability to stay vigilant on the overall training plan. What can be improved? What isn’t working? What is the ultimate combination of exercises to inch up to that next level?


This is the strategy that John Meadows used on Clarida to bring him to perfection and a Mr. Olympia win. Of course, now that he’s found that perfect combination and physique – where does he go to ensure another victory in 2021?

John Meadows sticks to the same plan. There were still some tweaks that he believes Shaun Clarida can make to further tighten up even the smallest of flaws. Beyond those changes, the key element going into 2021 is intensity. According to Meadows, there is a bad habit of critics believing that intensity needs to be pulled back reaching the ideal physique. That a pro bodybuilder can go “too intense” thus causing a missed mark at the next competition.

John Meadows thinks this is all bullshit. He understands that beginner and intermediate bodybuilders might need to pull back on intensity until they become more experienced. But for pro bodybuilders like Shaun Clarida, he believes that finding little ways to push intensity even farther is the best tactic to guarantee a second Olympia victory.

The Biggest Training Mistakes Bodybuilders Make Today

John Meadows is a former competitive bodybuilder who now helps train pro bodybuilders today. He is deeply involved with the bodybuilding community and works with both veteran and up-and-coming bodybuilders throughout the industry.

That’s why we thought he was the perfect person to ask – what are the most common bodybuilding mistakes happening today? You may not be making all of these mistakes – but it can be a helpful guide for what just might be the biggest oversights the new generation of bodybuilders are making.

John Meadows starts off by stating one of the biggest mistakes he sees today comes as a direct result of social media. He believes that the constant ability to see incredible physiques on apps like Instagram create a warped perception of how bodybuilding really works. More specifically, that bodybuilders now attempt to stay extremely lean all year.


The reality is that in order to improve your physique, you need to go through adjustment phases throughout the year. If you want to build more size, you can’t stay extremely lean for the entire year. You need to go through a bulking phase to help build more mass – then cut it down to a lean look once you’ve achieved the size you want.

Bodybuilders today feel so much pressure to appear lean for social media – that it is actually hindering these bodybuilders’ ability to build bigger and better physiques within a timely manner. It’s slowing down the process towards bigger success.

The other big mistake is one that you might not expect. John Meadows believes that there has been advice growing in popularity within the bodybuilding community. Advice that he believes is actually wrong and should be debunked.

John Meadows believes that young bodybuilders are being advised to train less hard. Due to this, the past few years have produced bodybuilders that don’t train as hardcore in the gym. While it’s true that there is a limit to how far a bodybuilder should push in the gym – Meadows thinks the advice has become over-exaggerated in recent years. This causes bodybuilders to train with less intensity than is needed to succeed in the sport.

The good news is – John Meadows thinks that the newest crop of bodybuilders are starting to amp up the intensity again. Based on the bodybuilders he has seen recently, he thinks a new era of hardcore training athletes is on the way up in bodybuilding.

Wrap Up

John Meadows is a man who can provide rare in-depth knowledge on all things bodybuilding from training perspective. There are far many more topics we discussed in our hour plus interview that could be vital for anyone looking for insight into optimizing bodybuilding training. So make sure to watch our latest full length GI Exclusive interview with John Meadows above!

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