Former NFL Football Player, Marc Megna, Interview

Born and raised  in the blue-collar, working-class town of Fall River, Massachusetts, Marc learned the importance of hard  work and dedication at an early age. Involved in sports since he was six, Marc  excelled in baseball, basketball and in particular football.

His passion and  drive on the gridiron throughout his high school career served notice to  college scouts that Marc was the real deal when it came to the game. Marc  received a scholarship to a Division 1 school and later earned such prestigious  titles as 3-time Conference All Star and 2-time All-American. Once college  ended, Marc went on to a successful career playing professional football.

Marc now works as a  personal trainer and CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) in Miami Beach, FL. His time in professional sports served  him well and educated him on the importance of proper training as he now trains  a long list of clients – from fitness  enthusiasts to professional athletes and celebrities.

1. How and when did you get interested in fitness and training?

As a child, I wasn’t very athletic, let’s face it I was never picked to play on any teams. I was lazy, very out of shape and had the self-esteem of a wallflower. One summer my grandfather took me to the local boys and girls club to teach me how to weight train. It was strange but I felt better after each training session and I was hooked on the feeling. The next summer I begged my mother for 1 thing as my birthday gift, a 1 year membership at the local gym. Until this day I will tell you that decision changed my whole life (way to go mom!). Fitness and health became a priority, it was my ultimate escape. My freshman year in high school something happened and my body caught up to my work ethic and the rest is history. With my new found confidence and athletic ability, I wanted to play every sport I could including Football, Ice-hockey and Baseball etc. I loved to move and be active. Eventually I focused on just one, Football. I was offered a full scholarship to play ball at a great school and became a two-time All-American athlete. I ended up getting drafted by the New York Jets and played in the league for a few years. I was coached by NFL greats like Bill Parcels, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Dick Lebeau. Toward the end of my pro career I was training with a group of teammates based on programs I had designed. One of my teammates turned to me and said you should be getting paid to do this. It was like the light bulb turned on. I can continue to do something I love and get paid to do it! SWEET!
I went on to get certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and have evolved into the foremost strength and conditioning coach based in Miami. I have been fortunate to have trained and studied under some of the top strength coaches in the world like Mike Woicik, John Lott, and Pete Bommarito.

2. What do you think is the number one thing keeping you motivated?

I have always wanted to be different and I can’t stand the thought of being ordinary. I have been fortunate to be raised by a wonderful woman who constantly drilled me regarding the value of hard work. My mother always told me if your going to do something do it right. She has always told me to live my life and never settle for less than you deserve. She keeps me motivated.

3. Did you make any mistakes as a beginner dealing with training, nutrition, or both?

I don’t believe in mistakes I believe in learning experiences. A mentor of mine taught me that fitness and health should revolve around your intentions. If your intentions are to lose weight than your program should be tailored to that goal. If you goal is to add mass than follow a mass building program. I think most of us can agree that health starts on the inside and the foundation of your inner health can sculpt you any way you desire. When I finished playing pro-football i was all over the place. I overtrained to say the least. I would swim 1-2 hrs a day, run for 45-1hr, lift weights 1 hr and the do some sort of boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai in the evening. I was obviously trying to fill the void of 8 hr practice days. My nutrition was a mess as well. I under ate and it showed. I went from 250 lb Linebacker to 188 weakling. It took me a couple of years to realign my body. After several months on solid program I got back up to 210 and felt strong once again.

4. What training routine has worked best for you?

I have followed many different styles over the years. Currently I am on a 6 day spilt with 1 day of active recovery. 1 body part each day and some HIIT cardio or dynamic drills mixed into a separate session.

5. What types of cardio do you do?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and steady state. I try to do HIIT 3 times weekly using different machines (ie Treadmill incline sprints, Versa Climber, Jacobs ladder, every once and a while I throw in some rowing) I will add in some steady state on active recovery days or before a shoot.

6. What is your training routine like?

It depends what my goals are. For photo shoot based work I like to hit 1 body part per day doing up to 15-20 sets for each body part, sometimes more. I do lots of reps with the heaviest weight I can find but always making sure I maintain proper form. I’ll mix steady state with High Intensity Intervals for morning cardio sessions. When not prepping for a shoot I do more sprints, swimming, and basketball.
Sample Routine:

Day 1: Chest/Back/Abs
• Flat Bench 2×12, 2×10, and 2×8
• DB Floor Press 4 sets x 8-10 reps
• Incline Dumbbell Press 4 sets x 8-10 reps
• Standing Cable Flyes 4 sets x 12 reps
• Elevated TRX Pushup Feet on Swiss ball
• Towel Pull-ups 3 sets x 12 reps
• Lat Pulldowns 4 sets x 10-12 reps
• Hammer Row 4 sets x 10-12 reps
• Dumbbell Rows 3 sets x 10 reps
• Reverse Hypers 3 sets x 12 reps
• Hanging Leg Raises 4 sets x 12 reps
• Hanging Windshield Wipers 3 sets x 20 reps
Day 2: Legs/Shoulders
• Back squats 4 sets x 10 reps
• Sumo Deadlift 4 sets 8 reps
• Reverse or Forward Lunges 4×10
• Single Leg Deadlift 3 sets x 12 reps
• Glute and Hamstring Raise 3 sets x 12 reps
• Military Press 4 sets x 10 reps
• Plate Front Raise 3 sets x 20 reps
• Lateral Raises 3 sets x 12 reps
• Upright Rows 3 sets x 12 reps
• Rear Delt Flyes 3 sets x 12 reps
• Barbell Shrugs 4 sets x 15 reps
Day 3: Biceps/Triceps
• Straight Bar Curls 4 sets x 12 reps (rest pause, 10 to 15 more)
• Close Grip Curl Bar 4×10-12
• Dumbell Hammer Curls3 sets x 8-12 reps
• Towel Kettle Bell Curls 3 sets x 8-12 reps
• Weighted dips (I try to go as heavy as possible) 4×10-12 reps
• Close-grip Bench Press 3 sets x 8-10 reps
• Dumbell Tricep Extensions 3 sets x 10-12 reps
• Bodyweight Tricep Press
• Band Tricep Pushdowns 100 reps in 3 sets or less
Day 4: Sprint Work/Conditioning
• Sprint warm up
• Sprint mechanics (I learned this stuff at the performance center where I work. Great stuff)
• Build ups (Using each phase of sprint mechanics to increase speeds)
• Gears (Alternating speeds at 15 yard increments)
Day 5: TRX Suspension Training Circuit & Abs
Perform as many sets of 10 reps you can in 10 minutes.
• TRX Single Leg Squat (perform on each leg)
• TRX Inverted Row
• TRX Chest Press
TRX Circuit 2: Perform as many sets of 10 reps you can in 10 minutes.
• TRX Suspended Lunge (perform on each leg)
• TRX Atomic Push-Up
• TRX Power Pull
Perform as many sets of 10 reps you can in 10 minutes.
• TRX Rear delt T
• TRX Rear Y, Face Pull, W
• TRX Body Weight Tricep Press
• TRX Bicep Curl
Perform 4 rounds or 15 reps each.
• TRX Ab Pike
• TRX Alternating Knee Tuck
• TRX Overhead Hip Tilt
• TRX Side Plank Lift (R and L)
• TRX Ab Pike Alternating Knee Swing
• TRX Side Plank Lifts Right and Left
• TRX Overhead Hip Tilt Right and Left
• Reverse Decline Sit-ups 3 sets x 12 reps
• Straight Bar Roll-outs 4 sets x 12 reps
• Weighted Sit-ups
Day 6: Rest
Hard to do but I do place a great deal of significance in proper recovery. After all you don’t get your best results in the gym you get them with proper recovery.

7. What are your top 3 favorite exercises?

Back squat, Dead lift, weighted Pull-ups

8. What is your favorite form of cardio?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and steady state. I try to do HIIT 3 times weekly using different machines (ie Treadmill incline sprints, Versa Climber, Jacobs ladder, every once and a while I throw in some rowing) I will add in some steady state on active recovery days or before a shoot.

9. What is your diet like when you are trying to get lean?

My diet is pretty intense and it’s come a long way. I have some great people in my corner. Adele Fridman(
gives me a very detailed and structured plan tailored to my needs and goals. She has helped step my game up and provided me with so much knowledge in regards to achieving optimal body composition. Will Latif at Smartbitestogo.com measures, preps, and delivers my food daily. Our fitness community understands how much time this saves me, it is a fantastic service.
Sample Diet:
Meal 1: 7oz turkey breast, 1 cup collards steamed, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 cup oatmeal cooked, 1/2 tsp fish oil mixed with water and grated ginger
Meal 2: 8oz AAA beef, lemon, ground or chilli pepper, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed rapini and 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, and peppermint tea, 1/2 tsp
Meal 3: 7oz chicken breast, 1 sweet potato cinnamon, 1 cup cucumbers mixed with vinegar, 1 B complex 75 and 1 serving ALA
Meal 4: 7oz halibut, 1 cup cucumbers mixed with vinegar, peppermint tea and 1/2 tsp fish oil mixed w/water
Meal 5: 8oz salmon, lemon dill, 1 cup steamed collards w/vinegar
Meal 6: 8-10 egg whites, basil 1 cup steamed celery mixed with vinegar, chamomile and lavender tea, 1 serving GABA, BCAA, Creatine, Vit C or antioxidant blend, 1 serving omega 3 and 1 serving probiotic

10. What top 3 tips you can give to our readers regarding nutrition?

1. Cut out sugar- If you don’t know why by now your not even in the game. Yes I understand POST workout simple carbs are important. I’m talking about the other 23 hours in the day.

2. WATER- I find most athletes don’t drink enough water and their body suffers and can’t be manipulated because they aren’t hydrated properly. Those who live in humid climates must pay special attention to this rule.

3. Follow a plan and STICK TO IT!- Nutrition is everything. I see so many fit bodies suffer on game day or on stage because they couldn’t remain consistent. Now a days personal trainers can’t even set a example. Its a lifestyle that you must follow because you know it will enhance your quality of life.

11. Which physical feature you are most proud of?

My back- When I was a kid i couldn’t do a single pull-up. Now I can do several. I train my upper, mid, and low back with great attention and detail. Your posterior chain is the foundation of all strength.

12. What supplements do you use if any? If not, why not?

Pre workout I use NaNovapor (fruit punch) and Post workout I use MyoBuild (fruit punch) with coconut water and freshly squeezed grapefruit. I also use Muscletech Proto-type Branch Chained Amino Acids. Fish oil, Maca, geen tea extract.

13. Who are your favorite bodybuilders/models/athletes?

Bodybuilders-Arnold (of course!), Phil Heath- so impressive and a class act. He sets a wonderful example of being humble at all times.
female fitness-Melanie Tillbrook (just plain hot and a fantastic personality as well)

14. Do you listen to music while you workout? If so what kind?

I have been converting you tube links to Mp3’s. Most recently I have converted a collection of motivational and Inspirational speeches that help me focus and remind me why its so important to give every ounce of energy in my body. I often plug my ipod into the sound system and let it play through the whole gym. Most people really appreciate the energy it offers.

15. Who inspires you most?

My mom- she has always been the one to push me and tell me that I was destined for great things. When I get down or feel like not giving it my all I think about what she has gone through in her life. She always found a way to raise her to boys in the most positive way.

16. Do you have a favorite motivational quote?

Be Humble. Arrogance and vanity are not traits to associate with people you respect and think highly of. No matter how good, famous or wealthy you are, stay humble with both feet on the ground.

17. What last 3 tips would you give to our readers to reach their fitness goals?

1.Make a serious effort to be as healthy on the inside s possible- Everything starts on the inside. Remember Garbage in Garbage out!
2. Push yourself- I remember 2 years a go I trained with a friend who was much stronger than me. I was doing reverse barbell lunges with 185lbs. He laughed and said what the heck are you doing. He told me I was much stronger and I needed to push myself. I finished the workout doing 5 reps with 315 lbs. I learned a valuable lesson-If you have good form increase the load.
3. Commit to recovery-If you work hard you must party hard. Party as in focus on the recovery modalities. i.e. contrast bathing, ice, active recovery etc. If you take care of your body your body will take care of you.