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Hardcore Body Renovator

Those of us who were fortunate to be around bodybuilding in the 1980s saw the rise of one of the most aesthetic physiques ever built. Australian John Terilli took on that decade with a vengeance and stormed into contention against some of the world’s top bodybuilders, including Lee Haney. After a stellar career as an IFBB professional, John retired, perhaps prematurely, before he turned 35 and after claiming the ’94 NABBA Professional Mr. Universe title. Since then he’s devoted his life to the finer points of quality training and eating, using himself and his clients as test subjects for his ongoing research in the field of body-composition alteration.

John’s latest contribution is “Hardcore BodyRenovator—Maximum Growth and Hardness,” a 65-minute DVD that contains his proven methods for achieving size, density and hardness while decreasing bodyfat. It’s part of a series that takes you through the process of sensible training and fat loss and comes with a booklet that lists specific foods and their proportions to be eaten according to six bodyweight categories.

The impetus for the remarkable condition John displays came from shoulder surgery he underwent prior to the production of the DVD. By his own account he had lapsed into pretty bad shape after undergoing operations on both shoulders and was determined to get back into the shape of his younger days.

What makes it all so interesting is the fact that Terilli is now in his sixth decade. Somehow he’s held back the hands of time.

The DVD begins with a visit by Terilli to the office of body-composition specialist Dr. Jarrod Meerkin, who uses John to show how ridiculous the Body Mass Index is as a guide to health and obesity. They also discuss how John managed to put on 13 pounds of muscle in only two days.

After the visit John returns to his kitchen to explain his dietary philosophy and methods of preparing a day’s food. He stipulates the importance of “how to eat, not just what to eat to gain muscle while losing fat.” He provides a number of useful tips for beginners and advanced trainers alike, including the required amount of carbohydrates.

Next John heads to his Broadway Gym in Sydney, where he begins the first of five workouts for the week. Workout 1 is for back, lower back, traps and calves. John stresses the importance of a sensible warmup for the shoulder girdle, lower back and hamstrings prior to attacking the muscles. He takes the viewer through a series of exercises with the accent on “the importance of a controlled contraction and stretching the fascia” for muscle growth. The workout is designed in the traditional pyramid fashion with minimal rest between sets.

Workout 2 covers chest and abdominals. For chest, John stresses the importance of a proper controlled stretch at the bottom of the movement followed by a deliberate contraction, to protect the integrity of the shoulder. During the workout he emphasizes his devotion to high intensity and volume training as the correct balance for achieving his goals. Terilli prefers a rep range of eight to 12 on most exercises, and that includes abdominals, which he works after chest.

In workout 3 he trains arms. With an effusive description of his favorite growth strategies, John takes the viewer through one of his most enjoyable workouts. The fast-paced session should serve as inspiration to those whose training ideas have become stale or whose gains have ground to a halt. John shares his secret to arm growth gleaned from nearly 40 years of training. You may be surprised to hear what he says about light weights for arms, as well as partial movements.

Workout 4 is for shoulders and calves. It’s an informative session with many important facts about shoulder health and how best to maintain it while building the deltoids. The emphasis is on sensible training to avoid injury with an accent on rear- and side-delt exercises.

Workout 5 is thighs, hamstrings and abdominals. Although a strong squatter in his early days, John uses a giant-set, preexhaust approach to his current leg training, which, although arduous, is result producing. Short rests and a deliberate contraction with manageable weights elicit the desired pump and fatigue in the opposing muscles simultaneously.

The DVD concludes with John’s opinion on steroids and the myths associated with them in the media and the community in general. From the outset he stipulates that he does not advocate the use of steroids and provides a balanced discussion, including an interesting comparison of steroids to over-the-counter drugs and supplements and their relative dangers to human health.

“Hardcore BodyRenovator—Maximum Growth and Hardness” makes sense for anyone looking to transform his or her body with tried-and-true as well as new ideas and enthusiasm. It provides a framework for a realistic and workable lifestyle program. Plus, you get to share with one of the world’s bodybuilding legends the sheer enjoyment he shows for his workouts and well-tested, simple-to-follow eating plan.

—Bruce Jones


Editor’s note: John Terilli’s “Hardcore Body Renovator—Maximum Growth and Hardness” is available for $45 at or


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