Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PJ Braun Interview

OK, this blog is about female competitors. Never interviewed a male competitor. But PJ Braun is one I had to interview. When I first started training I didn't know a lot of people in the sport. Someone said "pick one or two guys whose physiques you like and try and achieve that". Granted I won't achieve what he has, but PJ Braun is the one who I "picked". Not for any reason other than his physique is the one I was impressed with the most and most wanted to emulate. Then I got to find out how well liked he is by others in the industry. Then I became friends with Jill Crean who is a client of his, and she raved about how good a trainer he is. Finally I was able to talk to and meet him and have come to respect him even more. PJ works with me and women, but the incredible results he has gotten with female clients made me decide I had to have him do an interview. So here is my interview with a sure thing future Pro, PJ Braun.

Q: First, PJ, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. No secret you are A: my favorite male in the sport, so this is a huge honor for me.
Thanks so much man, its an honor for me to be considered someones favorite!!

Q: Can you start out by just telling a little about yourself.
A: Well, I am 29 years old now, I have been bodybuilding since I was 13.I run BRAUNFITNESS which is my training, nutritional consulting business based around meeting the needs of elite athletes.

Q: What got you interested in weight training?
A: I started training when i was 13. My parents were divorced and I never saw my father. I remember my dad was a bodybuilder so I reached out to him to show me the ropes...to make a long story short my dad came back into my life just long enough to teach me the basics. I was so excited to have my dad back and to me he was the most jacked guy I had seen at the time!

Q: Was it something you picked up fairly easy?
A: I did pick it up easy and soon became nearly as strong as my father who had been training for years! I remember him saying to me before he walked out of my life again that, "there will always be someone bigger and better than you" That was the fuel I needed. From that point on I was determined to prove him wrong!

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: When I was 19 I tore my bicep in a powerlifting competition. This devastated me and took me out of the gym for 6 whole months! Then it was another 6 months before I was back to where I was before the injury! I decided to diet as if I were doing a show to see how I would look. I dieted down to a very lean 190lbs (I am 5'10'') and realized I needed more size! So it was back to the drawing board until 2003 when I did the Bev Francis Atlantic States.

Q: Was competing what you expected it to be like?
A: As soon as I got back stage at the show I was amazed at the size of some of the guys. I was not scared at all and was really excited about getting on stage and displaying my finished product. There were 24 guys in my class and I placed 5th as the youngest guy there. Many of the older bodybuilders commended me on my condition which was outstanding at 189lbs! From then on I knew I was hooked!

Q: Can you share your contest history
*2003 Bev Francis Atlantic States- Novice Light heavyweight- 5th place
*2004 Bev Francis Atlantic States- Novice Light heavyweight- 3rd place
*2004 NJ Garden State Classic- Light Heavyweight Open- 2nd place
*2006 Junior USA- Heavyweight- 4th place
*2006 New England Championships- Heavyweight- 1st place
*2007 North American Championships- Heavyweight- 11th place
*2008 North American Championships- Heavyweight- 9th place
*2008 Atlantic City ProAm- Superheavyweight- 1st place and Overall Champion
*2009 Eastern USA- Heavyweight- 1st place
*2009 National Championships- Heavyweight- tied for 11th place
*20010 National Championships- Heavyweight- 9th place

Q: Now the main thing with this interview is your personal training. What got you started training others?
A: When I was in college I originally wanted to be a dietitian but began to get bored with the idea of being in a hospital trying to help unhealthy people. I wanted to take healthy people and get them to be more efficient. Turn them into super humans if you will! lol So I became certified through NASM and ISSA and began training people in my gym.

Q: What do you enjoy most about training people?
A: For me I thrive off knowing I can be influential in peoples lives. I think it goes back to my childhood and not having my dad there. I always wanted to show him that I was special and as I grew older I began to want to direct that focus to helping others. I am not into material things like cars or watches. What really makes me excited is knowing my knowledge is positively changing someones life!

Q: Does it ever interfere with your own training?
A: Never! I am an outstanding multi tasker!

Q: Am I correct to assume you work with men and women?
A: Yes men and woman. For whatever reason I have alot more female clients than men currently, but I do not discriminate.

Q: Do you prefer competitors or people looking to compete, or do you also train people with no intention of competing?
A: I get alot more satisfaction working with competitors!

Q: What all services do you offer with your training?
A: When someone signs up with me I take over everything! I handle the diet, training, cardio supps, you name it, I cover it!

Q: What are the benefits of being trained by a competitor as opposed to someone who has never competed?
A: Well, I think when you go through what a competitor goes through mentally preparing for a show, you know how important each day truly is. I understand that most competitors are somewhat neurotic and anal and because of that I am on top of everything at all times so they have little to worry about!

Q: Are there any circumstances with which you would not be willing to work with someone?
A: Rarely.

Q: What do you feel is the biggest mistake or thing people just do not understand about training, nutrition, etc?
A: Alot of non competitors think that you can just take a pill to look a certain way and that always makes me laugh. I still have clients asking what can I take for this and what can I take for that. In the end its all about nutrition!

Q: I know for me, I was afraid to step into the gym at first, for fear of feeling like I don't belong. I realized there was nothing to be afraid of. Do you think that is a common fear people have, and if so, what would you tell someone to make them realize there is no need for that fear?
A: Yes I find this with alot of women. For the most part there aren't gonna be big scary guys like me in the gym, lol. Most of the people there are just regular people looking to get a workout in. Like the Nike slogan you have to JUST DO IT. This isn't sky diving or bunji jumping! There is no risk! All benefit!

Q: Do you yourself get nervous seeing a client on stage?
A: YES! I always get nervous for my clients. Its funny because I myself am never nervous!

Q: One of your clients, is someone everyone knows I admire, Jill Crean. I think her story is amazing, and I have said when and if I ever grow up I want to be like Jill. I thought her last time on stage she looked incredible, and she has given you so much credit for that. Whats it been like working with her?
A: Jill is a tough case considering her background with cancer. We have to approach things very carefully with supplement s and pay very close attention to her blood work and hormone levels. She is a person who really needs someone very advanced to work with her otherwise she could risk getting hurt or sick. She is a pleasure to work with...a pain at times, lol, but a beautiful person inside and out!

Q: I think the true mark of how good a trainer is, is when their clients go out of their way to recommend them and/or give them credit for their achievements. Fair statement?
A: Yes, a referral is the greatest gift a client can give me!

Q: If anyone was interested in your services or finding out more how can they go about that?
A: Check out my website www.pjbraun.com or look me up on facebook! You can also check out my Qand A on www.rxmuscle.com in the celebrity Q and A forum!

Q: Any set plans for the near future?

Q: Anyone or anything you want to take this time to plug, promote, or anything?
A: Well I just plugged myself, lol so know need for that...Look for more of my clients to be tearing up the stage soon! I always post them on my facebook and you can say many of the testimonials in the training section of my website! Of course I want to thank my sponsor SPECIES NUTRITION, they take great care of me and have really great products!

Q: PJ, again, this is an honor. I am new at this myself, and have my own competing goals, and whenever I am asked what look I am going for, I always say, PJ Braun. So again, thank you. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you my friend that means so much to me. I really appreciate this opportunity, I know you dedicate most of your work to showcasing all the great female competitors out there so it means that much more to me that you have honored me like this!

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