JP Fitness Summit 2010: A Highly Biased Review

2010 May 22
by Alan Aragon

Another Year Elapsed…

…And I’m left to ponder it through. The JP Fitness Summit helps me contemplate my personal universe. It’s also a barometer for where I’m at in this whole fitness industry thing. Are folks benefitting from the information I dish out? Apparently so. Am I enjoying the hell out of it? Yes.  Therefore, everybody wins. The best parts of the Summit are the new & old friendships that get cultivated, and of course the memories that linger like sweet perfume (well, most of them).

The Attendees & Organizers

Let me just clear the air for a second and give credit to the beating heart of the JP Fitness Summit:  The vets & the admin. The Summit simply wouldn’t exist – much less run smoothly – without Nick Bromberg & the crew being on top of all the operations. Jean-Paul Francoer (founder of the JP Fitness Forums) gets credit for starting the whole thing. A unique aspect about the JP Fitness Summit is the Mahlership (named after veteran member John Mahler), where charitable individuals pitch in to build a fund that facilitates attendance for those who wouldn’t have had the means to make it there. This past Summit, enough funds were raised to sponsor 6 attendees. What other conference has this sort of selfless outreach? None that I know of.  

The Speakers

First up was Lou Schuler, whose trademark is a really sharp sense of humor and wit. He has a way of tying fitness and non-fitness concepts together that’s very unique and engaging. This time around, he drew parallels between the journey of a fitness professional and the  monomyth (also called the hero’s journey) as described by writer Joseph Campbell. I’ll admit straight away that I’m a hopeless fan of Lou’s talks, so I was captivated the whole way through, despite a deficiency of caffeine in me at that early point in the morning.

I was up after Lou, who quite eloquently introduced me in this clip. I discussed a variety of nutritional topics which included marconutrients, the placebo effect (demo on Lou with a parody of a strength test, depicted above). I ended off with a case study of a talented natural bodybuilder named Kelechi Opara, who I recently prepped for a contest without succumbing to any of the typical bodybuilding bro-dogma. As usual, I got a real rush out of presenting, and I had a blast interacting with the audience.

After me, in arguably the toughest spot (right before lunch) was my long-time friend Ryan Zielonka. He discussed his personal story and the lessons learned while going from extremely overweight, to maintaining a healthy/fit body composition – and most importantly, a healthy perspective. You could hear a pin drop while Ryan spoke; his narrative style was poised and polished. Although most of the crowd was ravenous (well, at least I was), no one shifted an inch in their seats as they listened intently the whole way through & asked lots of questions afterward.

Bret Contreras hit the fitness conference stage for the first time in his career, and did quite well considering this fact. I sensed some freshman jitters at the beginning of his talk, but I feel like he held it together and finished strong. He presented some great concepts, sound justifications, and innovative progressions for glute work. I got a chance to talk to Bret for about 2 hours straight at the airport while we waited for our flights to arrive. I must say that this guy has a truckload of knowledge in a wide range of training aspects for various sports. Bret is a true student of the game, and I see nothing but good things happening for him. He’s got a knock-out sense of humor, too.  

Nick Tumminello simply wowed the audience with his highly informative and eye-opening presentation on myofascial release. Nick’s extensive speaking experience really shined through in his flawless delivery. People were just in awe, eating up his information & insight. I’ve seen endless amounts of presenters at various conferences, and Nick ranks up there among the very top. It was really a treat to have him in the lineup this year. Nick and his lovely girlfriend Alli are a very classy couple that hit it off instantly with the JP Fitness crowd.

Post-Workshop Nutrition

One of the unique aspects of the JP Fitness Summit is that the attendees and the presenters are all on the same playing field. The speakers don’t huddle up together in their own corner the whole time while the audience keeps their respectful distance. It’s quite the opposite. Everyone has a blast hanging out & having fun throughout the entire weekend. Aside from the lecture & workshop, it’s really one big party.  This is an annual thing, so start saving your pennies for next year’s event, which I’ll be speaking at again. More than the opportunity to present educational material, it’s the fellowship and camaraderie with the attendees that keep me returning to the Summit each year. I hope to see more of you at the next one so I can put some faces to the names I’ve known online for so long now.


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13 Responses
  1. snorkelman permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Any discussion about recording the seminar for podcasting or youtubing? I suppose it may defeat part of the purpose if potential attendees don’t have to pay for the information, but I suspect that making video available (maybe just some if not all) may drive up future interest in attendance.

  2. May 23, 2010

    Snorkelman — I’m not sure that’s gonna happen anytime soon. Also, have you ever seen a Jim Wendler or Dave Tate lecturing clip? I curse more than that, and I tend to crack jokes that might offend sensitive folks. The JP crowd is far from sensitive. I’ll have to temper my delivery style quite a bit to make it palatable for public consumption. Can you imagine the jokes about “The Strap” that were flying around the room after that demo in the pic? There’s also the element you mentioned about removing the need to physically show up to see it. I wouldn’t completely rule anything out though.

  3. May 23, 2010

    Great meeting you Alan! Had an awesome time at the seminar, a great time partying it up with everyone, and an excellent time speaking to you at the airport. Thank God you checked your watch and made your flight. Talk about being down to the wire!

  4. May 23, 2010

    Nice write up, Alan. Between you and Bret I’ll say you both summed the summit up pretty well, so hopefully we get some new faces in on the fun next year.

    Word on the street is that some mysterious figure known as Sexual Chocolate will be speaking. Purely speculation at this point, though.

  5. Bob McDougal permalink
    May 23, 2010


    Any chance you’d feel comfortable illustrating 1 or 2 quick examples of how your prep of Kelechi differed from the typical bodybuilding “bro-dogma?” If that’s top-secret info, I understand 😉

  6. Ray Wilson permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Randy Watson’s entire band will be speaking at next year’s summit? Count me in!!

  7. JLB permalink
    May 23, 2010


    Alan details Kelechi’s plan in the April issue of AARR. Get subscribed, it’s the best ten bucks a month you’ll ever spend. If you’re a trainer or nutritionist, AARR will broaden your knowledge base and keep you up-to-date. Even if you’re well educated to begin with, just getting Alan’s perspecitve on things is worth it, given his experience with various athletes.

  8. Karla permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Nice write up and a true pleasure hanging out with you in person. The presentations this year were exceptional. I really thought that you stepped up this year from last year in content and delivery. Anyone who follows your work would enjoy that presentation because it put so much of your core beliefs into a nice package. We will continue that discussion on maximum potential gains in the future if all continues to go well in my football season.

  9. May 24, 2010

    Bret — Yes, that was nutty, and also a testament to how fun it is haning out with you and discussing bro-related things.

    Rog — I think that would be a great idea! The Summit is known for taking new talent, and effectively chocolatizing it.

    Bob — A couple things different about Kelechi’s prep were that we kept fruit & milk in his diet until the day of the contest. There were a few other things that were non-traditional, but those were two of the big ones.

    Ray — They will definitely be there in spirit, if not in the chocolatey flesh.

    JLB — Thanks for the kind words. Much midnight oil gets burned completing AARR.

    Karla — Thanks for steering me in the right direction regarding presentation content (I took your suggestions to heart). I agree with you that I topped my previous years’ performances. This makes me excited to step it up even more next year.

  10. PolyisTCOandbanned permalink
    May 26, 2010

    I bought the research report. I’m such a science geek anyhow. And not that I’ve been through this body transformation…just lived that stuff so much irl and on the NS boards. Getting the report will be a good signal to noice filter!

  11. May 27, 2010

    Cool, thanks Poly. Enjoy the reading.

  12. Jason L permalink
    July 1, 2010

    In the third P, where you put the archetypal hero’s journey, I believe you meant to link to this page:

  13. July 2, 2010

    Thanks for the correction, Jason. I changed it to the link you provided.

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