Hello everyone, this here is the first of many interviews I will be doing at HLPP. Of course, it is only right for me to interview my own personal mentor, Bobby Congalton. Bob has not only helped me with training and life, but continues to do so daily with dozens of other high school teenagers. You can find his website at 1rmperformance.com.
JP: Tell us a bit about your background in fitness. Sports played, Degrees earned, how you got into your profession, personal records, etc.
I started lifting when I was 13 years old in my high school gym back in good old Ridgefield, New Jersey. My interest in training started way before then when I found and tried to rebuild a small universal gym in my attic at 7 years old. I remember I only getting the leg extension side to work and messing around on it before I knew what a leg extension even was. Days when I would stay home sick from school, I remember watching reruns of world strongest man as well as the exercise shows they use to show on espn 2. You can say I’ve been into fitness before I even knew what fitness was.
As an athlete I played football and ran track/threw javelin. For me, knowing that every pound heavier and millisecond faster I lifted a weight would translate to improved performances on the field and on the track. Every time I trained, I entered with that mindset. I believe it has a lot to do with building the work ethic and intensity I carry with me.
As far as degrees earned, I graduated with my undergraduate degree in exercise science, and my masters if exercise physiology and nutrition. Outside of school, I’m constantly spending time reading the works of Louis Simmons, Cal Dietz, Mel Siff, Bryan Mann, Verkashansky, and other god fathers of S&C. From the movement side of things I’ve spent 3 years on the DNS train, going to about 11 courses over the past 3 years. Besides DNS I’m always trying to find courses relevant to what I do!
In the gym, my best clean is 335, best squat is 455, best deadlift is 545, and my best bench is 445.
JP: What role has fitness played in your life?
Fitness, is one of the two rocks in my life. First family, second comes training. It is part of what makes me who I am. It has helped shape my mind, my body, and personality. Training and family are two most consistent things in my life.
JP: What is your final goal for your gym?
It’s hard to say I have a final goal for my gym. I have a vision of what I would like things to be but no final goal. I like to set short term goals, work to accomplish them, and then set new ones. All of which help bring the business further and further along.
JP: What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?
Westside barbell book of methods. The book kicks ass and has a bunch of practical applications. I’m in the process of reading a book that might be better than that, but I’ll see when it’s done. So far this book has allowed me to see where the top strength coaches today came up with their program ideas.
JP: What are three books you think every person should read?
Westside Barbell Book of Methods by Louis Simmons. Super Training by Mel Siff. And to change it up, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frank
JP: What is your philosophy on nutrition?
Keep it simple. There is so much information out there that it’s easy to get confused.
JP: Can you give us three tips for people looking to start working out/training?
- BE A STUDENT! Learn how to move well, especially under load. It’s so common for people to start training again for the first time after not lifting in years, load on some weight and lift. However, the way they were moving the last time they trained in very different than how they’re moving today.
- Take your time getting back into it. Training isn’t something that improves over night. It’s a journey. Rushing your progress and trying to make up for time off in a day could certainly lead to injuries and brutal soreness that might keep you out of the gym tomorrow.
- Join a gym or train with someone that connects to who you are and what you want to become.
JP: How about any tips for people looking to break through a training plateau?
Move the bar faster! Or start adding more variety into to training. I really struggle to believe that plateaus really exist. For me, the times in my life that my maxes haven’t improved its because some sort of crappy movement pattern has shown itself, life dumping a load of work and stress on me, or I haven’t done a good job of keeping variety in my main lift and accessory lifts.
JP: What are some non-fitness related things you like to do that help contribute to your healthy life?
Taking trips home to Jersey to be with my family to connect me and remind me of why I am who I am. Backpacking in the backcountry of national parks being disconnected from society and life. Surfing. Beach volleyball.
JP: What, in your opinion, are some activities people can be doing (other than eating good and training) that could contribute to living a healthy life?
Get outside and spend time in nature. This doesn’t mean a walk through a park, but actually being deep in the woods away from most humans and away from technology. We are such a connected society that we never actually get a chance to let our brains wonder and explore what is actually in there. I love being in the backcountry of a national park with my phone out of range and my brain wondering wherever it wants to go.
JP: Last question.. Favorite movie ever?!
Without even thinking twice, Rocky 4. I would watch this movie before football season, before track season, to motivate myself to train hard and to stay motivated with life. A close second is Ghostbusters 2.
Thank you Bobby for your time and for sharing your knowledge. Not a lot of people are willing to share what they know and where they got their information from in the fitness world, so it is a true testament to your character and your goals. For anyone interested in his personal training/strength and conditioning services, go to his website and email him (firstname.lastname@example.org). Go ahead and follow all of their social media pages as well.