Congratulations on getting on the EliteFTS Q&A staff. What was your reaction when Dave asked you to join the team?

I’ve been reading the site for a while, but we have our own training studio business, and in the past couple of years, it’s been about a hundred-twenty-five miles an hour, every single day. So my online presence, and my publicity for myself and networking and getting out there definitely suffered because I was in the trenches. After training and getting great results with myself and my clients, and competing, and getting email and messages from people online – from guys and from girls – about what I was doing and how I was combining the things that I was doing, I really became much more confident and realized that I had something to offer that would help a lot of different people.

Dave saw my log, and he thought I could be of help to at least some of the female readers who have more than one set of goals, so we kind of threw it out there, and I’m totally grateful for it.

Introduce to the readership and tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Juliet Deane, and I’m a graduate of Kean University with a degree in Physical Education and Health Teacher Education. I had my first job opportunity in teaching, but I decided not to take it, trying to figure out exactly where I wanted to go in the health and fitness industry. I went on to get my CSCS certification, and I’m also certified as a Russian Kettlebell Instructor and USAW Olympic lifting coach. I did that in Colorado Springs with the Olympic coach out there, which was a great experience. I even went out to Westside and trained with Louie Simmons, which was an awesome experience also.

I just kind of really wanted to try fitness for a while and try to decide what I really wanted to do with it. Even physical therapy on the side. I wanted to see health and fitness from every angle. The training seemed to be what really grabbed me. It was where I got the most charge out of what I was doing – helping people, changing peoples’ lives, and then seeing all those changes right in front of my face. It was just very powerful.

What kinds of clients do you work with?

I do some young teen groups, to Wall Street guys, to housewives, to some high school and college athletes and figure competitors, and even competitive powerlifters. We’ve definitely had a surge in that in our facility lately. It’s a really broad spectrum of clients that we work with.

Where’s your gym located?

We’re in Morganville, New Jersey, which is in the central part of the state, right around the Freehold/Marlboro area.

What was it like being a figure competitor?

Being a figure competitor, I’m a walking, talking billboard of, “If I can do it, you can do it.” I really preach that a lot to everyone I work with – to my friends, my family and my clients. It was a huge challenge for me. I did it because I knew how difficult it would be – the dieting, the training, and the process of getting up there and getting on stage. I learned a lot about training, about myself and about how to get results. I continue to develop different training methods to show people they can get results like I did. There’s more than one way to achieve that. You can be strong and get the figure look. You can do more conditioning stuff and still get that look. It’s definitely about your journey and your process. More and more people are realizing that they’re capable of it if they have the right guidance and the right coach. They can do it too, and I share that with all my clients.

You went into this with a powerlifting background. Talk about having that background in figure competitions.

An advantage of powerlifting is the drive that you learn from training that hard. You learn how to really mentally push yourself, whether it’s through a max effort lift or whatever, you’re going to learn how to mentally push yourself through the process of getting on stage. There’s definitely a mental toughness factor that came with that, that was really, really helpful. Also, the form and technique. When you’re powerlifting, you’re not just tossing weights around. You don’t just move ahead blindly. You’re very strategic with it. You move in waves and you progress yourself steadily, and you need to do the same thing for figure preparation. You need to be strategic, and you need to plan ahead, and that form and that body awareness for all your movements really needs to be there. You could take two girls and give them the same guide and training program. Take one that has terrible form, or really hasn’t had the opportunity to learn about form, and the other one is just spot on, and has somebody being that extra eye for her, and they could have totally different bodies. Powerlifting really gives you that body awareness, because you don’t lift that kind of weight just heaving it around. There’s a definite advantage of knowing how to lift, and knowing the mechanics of each lift. It definitely plays a role in getting the best results out of your figure training.

When was the last time you competed as a powerlifter?

It’s been about a year. Things have been a little bit on hold with the studio expanding. That’s been a blessing, but it’s been a little bit of a setback from a competitive standpoint. Not that I’ve stopped training or eating clean for either sport, but I definitely couldn’t make a competition a priority at this stage of the game. So it’s been about a year, and I’m definitely looking to get into one in about six months or so.

The last competitions I had in both sports were only a couple of months apart, which is kind of part of the experiments I’ve done with my own training, to see how I can pass that on. Training for strength and symmetry and being lean and not really sacrificing all your strength. Something that’s interesting is that I was able to keep my power lifts in my figure training all the way until just a couple of months before. I had a meet just a couple of months out from my figure show. After the meet, I tapered them down a little bit so I wasn’t straining as much, because my body was a little depleted, so I didn’t want to risk injury. So I still kept the movements in, but I wasn’t max effort straining or doing anything to that level. I did a lot more metabolic training and conditioning.

Into that figure show, my strength didn’t suffer and my energy was pretty good. After the figure show, I took a break from the power lifts for a little bit. I did a lot of bodyweight training, a little bit of rehabilitation stuff for some things that felt a little beaten up, and when I came back to it after six months, really straining and max effort lifting, all my lifts were within 95% of where I’d left them off, which just blew my mind. The transfer over of the different style of training I did kept my body grinding. I would just find a different movement – even if it was a pushup or repping out twenty pushups of chin-ups. Some of the bodyweight exercises like hamstring curls or glute-ham raises and things like that, that I did a lot more volume with, completely transferred over to my powerlifting. I’m six weeks, right now, into a powerlifting cycle for the first time in over six months, and I’m blowing my rep numbers out of the water right now from the condition that I got from following up my figure prep with high repetition, grinding tough bodyweight exercises.

After doing suspended hamstring curls and one-legged curls on the stability ball, I can get up on the glute-ham raise and rep out twenty, and I can’t believe how smooth they feel. It was just about the process of straining, too. Women are so much more willing to strain through a bodyweight exercise they feel safe doing then they are in straining with a bar over their chest. Even if they’re newer to lifting, and they’re straining doing push-ups – even inverted – they’re going to really strain out and squeeze their abs and squeeze their legs and their body to get out those last five reps, but they never would have kept grinding almost to failure with a bar over their chest. It would make them way too nervous. They don’t know how to get that full body squeeze that they need with their whole body lying on a bench. I think that’s been a very instrumental teaching tool also – just learning how to strain. Being able and willing and feeling safe staying under tension long enough to get your whole body to kick in for that movement.

What’s your training philosophy for the average client who has some experience training – maybe a Wall Street guy who used to be an athlete, or someone like that?

Definitely strength and form first. Strength and safety. There’s not a single person that comes in and strictly does just conditioning style stuff. Everybody gets some form of strength lifting done when they come in. Everybody’s going to deadlift and do all of those things. Strength and safety first is my number one thing. Everyone is going to benefit from that. When you train for strength, the other results come. When you’re squeezing all those muscle fibers at once, and doing those big money movements that you get the most out of – you get the most muscles recruited, you get the biggest sweat going, and you’re still going to get those results you’re looking for, like fat loss and muscle growth. What better way is there to do that than a large muscle-recruiting lift? The squat and the deadlift?

After that, it’s definitely about health. I can’t say enough about getting your body to be able to move in all different directions, and to be able to do bodyweight exercises. If I have a man who can’t do twenty good, solid, crisp pushups – which in today’s society can happen more times than not – you’re not touching a bench. It’s not going to happen. The young athletes I have come in are not going to move up to holding weights and squatting with heavy weight on their back until they can do a certain number of bodyweight lunges, keeping their chest up. The bodyweight movements are definitely a huge priority. I think you should be able to do everything with your body that you can before you add all these bells and whistles that people want to play with. There are a lot of things that are functional and can add excitement into your training, but the basics are where it’s at.

Is there anyone on the EliteFTS staff that’s been an influence on you?

Jim Wendler. He’s helped me out in the past with some things, and that segues into what EliteFTS has meant to me. Back when I first started reading EFS – I was powerlifting before I even started reading the site. I just kind of jumped right into it. I had some really great people point me in the right direction, and obviously one of those sources was EFS. I would email Jim and ask him a question, and it didn’t matter that I was a girl, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have huge lifts or that he didn’t know my name. He got right back to me and answered my questions respectfully. He didn’t make fun of the fact that the questions I had at the time were probably very basic, and that was huge to me at the time. Totally huge. I feel like EFS is about strength and being stronger, and not about who you are or what you can do, or that they’re trying to keep the site exclusive to just one group of people, so that was a really great feeling. Jim had a big part in everything.

How has EliteFTS helped your business?

We pretty much ordered everything from EFS. Every piece of equipment for our gym. That, right there, has produced tremendous results with our clients. We use the 5/3/1 program with our clients, we have competitive powerlifters at our facility, and the equipment they’ve supplied us with – the reverse hyper, the glute-ham raises, the adjustable boxes, and we have a couple of Prowlers, the sleds – those things are quality equipment. It helps us keep the look we want, they’re great products, and they help us continuously get results with our clients.

If we come across something and have a question, and we want some feedback or thoughts, the feedback is always there and the network is always there. They’re extremely supportive.

What can we expect from you on the Q&A?

I’d like to provide as much support as I can for female and male lifters – if they have questions for their girlfriends – how to get people involved and debunking all those myths that I hear from my clients all day long and make it a point, through my own actions and leading by example by training for strength but looking feminine – it’s possible to do both. There’s a lot of myths and a lot of fears, so any questions anyone has about getting stronger while losing bodyfat or trying to keep a feminine appearance, I would love to help people do that. It’s possible. A lot of people don’t think it is, but it’s doable to kind of play in both sports to get that charge out of getting strong but not always wearing it on your sleeve.

Any closing remarks?

One thing that everyone on EliteFTS always points out – all these role models for strength – is the importance of looking at your weaknesses. That was just always something I thought was awesome. That transfers over and puts in perspective how much you can learn about yourself through training. Your reliability, your consistency, looking at your weaknesses in the face instead of trying to ignore them and pretending they’re not there. That had a huge impact on me, and I’ve passed that on to my clients as well, and I appreciate that from EliteFTS. That’s something I’ve never forgotten. I read Under the Bar on a plane flight. It was a very smooth, easy read, but certain things in there really stuck with me, and I hope I can pass them along to others, too.