3 super legit fitness youtubers you need to follow!
by Alec Enkiri | 3/19/21
Check out my re-usable training templates! Designed to take a trainee from beginner to advanced lifter while maximizing muscle and strength gains!
Today I want to go over 3 YouTube channels that I recommend that produce top quality, highly informative content (gold standard type stuff!). And I'm going to do this a little bit differently from how I've seen other people do this sort of piece. Personally, my own training goals are quite varied. I kind of train for a little bit of everything so that ultimately I can be as well rounded as possible. I do have specific areas of focus, but in general I want to be a beacon of overall fitness, and that entails absorbing information from many different realms.
So today I'm going to highlight 3 guys who are, in my opinion, top tier in their own respective realms. We're going to check out a strength guy, a hypertrophy guy, and lastly, a performance guy, and since I'm biased to explosiveness and power training that performance guy will be a guy who trains similarly to that style. Now, obviously this list is not comprehensive and there are a few other YouTubers whose content I also recommend, but for today we're just going to start out with these 3! So, let's just dive right in!
This article in video format on my YouTube channel!
I'm just going to spoil this one right off the break - it's fucking Jonnie Candito of CanditoTrainingHQ! I've been watching Jonnie's content since fricking like 2014, man, back before I made actual YouTube videos, when I still had a "real job" and just posted the occasional big squat on my own YouTube channel. And I watched this motherfucker eat 100 chicken McNuggets and squat 225lbs 445 times, 445 reps without leaving the gym, which is just absurd. Today Jonnie is an elite, world class powerlifter. He squats over 600lbs, deadlifts just about 700lbs, and is making a push to crack 400 in the bench press, all at about 180-190lbs body weight, which is insanely impressive.
Jonnie Candito eating 100 chicken McNuggets and squatting 225lbs for infinite reps.
Along with that, he is a technical master, at a minimum, on both the sumo deadlift and the low bar back squat. His YouTube content these days is somewhat sparse, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that because he's not just making content simply for the sake of making content, and what he does put out is solid fricking gold. He recently had a discussion on his channel with another elite level powerlifter about why the current powerlifting rules for the bench press should be changed, and how what's currently going on with that lift is not really within the spirit of powerlifting competition. This is a conversation that, when I was still doing powerlifting competitions, you'd get booed out of the gym by powerlifters if you even suggested that there's something "wrong" with the bench press and the rules need to be amended so that was a brave, but important video for him to make.
In recent history Jonnie has also highlighted other very talented, incredibly strong lifters on his channel, such as Ray Williams, Ashton Rouska, and Dan Bell, which is always nice to see from someone who has a platform like him. He puts out fantastic information about how to train specifically for building strength by using new and emerging information regarding RPE, or rate of perceived exertion, as well as information about how to program for powerlifting and strength training in general. He has a very good video about how to improve your grip for deadlifting; he also occasionally highlights awesome accessory exercises to improve your squat and deadlift, like belt squats, Platz squats, reverse hack squats, and snatch grip sumo deadlifts, and I use several of these exercises myself now as well as with some of my clients.
Jonnie had a bad string of injuries a few years ago along with a back injury that he had to overcome in order to get back to elite level powerlifting and the training required for that, and he was not afraid during that time period to admit that he had the injury in the first place, which is not easy to do on social media for someone like Jonnie because people love to injury shame - "oh he only hurt himself because he's stupid or he doesn't what he's doing." Never mind the fact that when you're training for world class performance, ya know, sometimes shit happens - but whatever I digress. But because he was bold enough to talk about it he was able to put out a slew of fantastic content regarding his rehab and how he ultimately came back from the injury and some of the things that helped him the most in being able to do so.
So just overall his content is really, really good. He's been in the YouTube game and the strength training game for quite some time now. He's very experienced, he's very smart, he keeps up with current best practices, and he isn't afraid to evolve and experiment with new concepts and new ideas, and he just in general he knows what he's talking about when it comes to building massive strength, more so than 99% of the people who post shit on YouTube and Instagram, even a lot of the ones who are known as "strength guys." So if you are looking for a top source, a highly reliable source of information in this regard, look no further than Jonnie Candito. I'm sure you've already heard of him, but if you haven't then you need to go subscribe to his channel right now because you're missing out on a hell of a lot of knowledge if you aren't.
Next up is our hypertrophy guy! Here I had a bit tougher of a time deciding on who the top pick should be for this video, but ultimately I decided to go with Dr. Mike Israetel of Renaissance Periodization. Dr. Mike got his PhD in sport physiology from East Tennessee state university, he's currently a professor in the strength and hypertrophy masters program at Lehman College, and he's been consistently putting out fantastic, informative YouTube content for just about a year now. Prior to that it was mostly brief exercise demos on the RP channel, but these days Dr. Mike gets on front of the camera multiple times per week and covers a whole assortment of topics related specifically to hypertrophy training, but he also discuses strength training, injury prevention and management, and nutrition.
Personally, I look to him mostly for advice on muscular hypertrophy as that seems to be his main passion and his true forte, but all of his lectures are incredibly informative regardless of the topic. Dr. Mike is the guy who has talked extensively about the stimulus to fatigue ratio (SFR) and its relationship to RIR, or reps in reserve on any given set in a training session. Basically his whole thing here is how can we create the absolute most stimulation for muscle growth, within a training session or across a training block, with the minimum amount of fatigue accrual - the greatest stimulus to fatigue ratio. The greater your SFR is the longer your mesocycles can be, the longer you can accumulate volume, and the more you are essentially optimizing your time spent in the gym - you are creating more hypertrophy per unit of time spent training.
An example I've heard him use before is to think of it as having a certain fatigue allotment per training cycle, and basically once you hit that allotment, once fatigue has accrued to that threshold, you're going to have end the training block and deload because your progress is going to stall at that point. So basically the greater your SFR the more hypertrophy you will be able to create before that allotment is reached. It's a way of optimizing your training essentially; maximizing your time spent in the gym. And I think it's a cool concept and a good way of looking at training with a more enlightened, yet somehow simplified perspective.
In addition to that sort of very interesting information, he's also got a few highly informative video series going on as well that I've been keeping up with. He's got a series about nutrition myths, for example. He recently discussed relatively in depth how the ketogenic diet doesn't actually burn off more bodyfat than other diets, which seems to be something that a lot of people believe, but rather it simply burns an amount of body fat that is commensurate with the caloric deficit that you're able to maintain. Which makes sense and I thought it was a very interesting and informative video overall.
Nutrition Myth - Keto Burns More Fat
He's also got a series on strength training myths, one video I watched recently was a good piece about how you shouldn't deadlift more than 1x per week, and how that's a myth, which I agree with completely. I actually have multiple clients of mine who deadlift twice per week for a good portion of the time with great success! Another myth he's busted is that you need to max out to get stronger, which you don't and that's actually another topic I've touched on before in one of the articles on this website, called Powerlifting is NOT Strength Training (And Vice Versa).
In addition to those sorts of topics he also covers a whole host of other highly informative stuff as well, like how to break through plateaus in your training, how to progress within a mesocycle, when and how to deload, how long to rest between sets, how to plan the different phases of a training cycle, and so so much more than I can possibly cover in just a few minutes. He's a big proponent of training exercises through a full range of motion, which is awesome, especially from a bodybuilder. And he's a science and research based guy too. The about section of the RP YouTube channel says, quote " Our approach is the rigorous application of scientific principles to nutrition and training. Everything we do is built on a foundation of peer-reviewed literature and experimentally-confirmed theory."
And to me, those last 3 words are the most important part there: "experimentally confirmed theory." Dr. Mike walks the walk too. He doesn't just sit in front of the fucking camera and yammer on about optimal training and nutrition strategies. He also trains hard and puts in the fucking work and shows that to us on his channel as well, and at the same time, proves that his theories and ideas also have a practical basis. He's not just a nerd crunching fucking numbers and telling you that you're doing it wrong and he knows better than you. He's also walking the walk and there's simply no real substitute for that. So check out his stuff. It's a great channel and I guaran-fucking-tee you that if you start watching his stuff you will learn way, way more than you ever thought you had left to learn!
And last but certainly not least we need a performance guy! And this one took me some thinking. I really wasn't sure what route I wanted to go here. Originally I figured I had to go with Mr. Train like an athlete himself, aka Athlean-X!
How to "train like an athlete" according to Athlean-X.
Just kidding! I'm not off my rocker yet, but in all seriousness, I had a few channels that I was considering for this and ultimately my bias towards speed and power training is what won the day for this particular selection. Obviously there are many different types of "performance" and I'm subscribed to several great channels that showcase it in some of its different forms, but I'm kind of leaning towards running and jumping prowess here, speed and power training, because that's one of my main passions.
In light of that, ultimately, I decided to go with Isaiah Rivera. Isaiah is a professional dunker, so his training is more jump oriented than speed or running oriented, for example, but the methods he uses to accomplish the goal of jumping higher are pretty much universal to those speed and power adaptations that I frequently discuss, and it would, in reality, only take a small bit of tweaking to turn a "jump" focused program into a speed or general power oriented program. So even if your goal is not to jump higher per se, there are still plenty of golden nuggets to take away from this channel.
And his stuff is great! I discovered Isaiah's channel a few months ago and, other than the obvious specific jump training and dunk practice that somebody who competes in dunk competitions would require, Isaiah focuses a lot on heavy squatting, both front squats and back squats, which is obviously something I'm partial to myself. He also does a lot of power cleans, both from the floor and from the hang. I've seen him incorporate high pulls, which is another exercise that I'm very fond of, as well as trap bar deadlifts, weighted jumps, Nordic curls for the hammies, hip thrusts for the glutes, some lunge variations, and he even seems to regularly incorporate the 40 yard dash into his program to keep the nervous system sharp and just help to build general power and explosiveness in the legs.
In watching his video on weighted jumps he even touches on how he has actually received a lot of hate for incorporating that specific exercise because it's "dangerous" for the knees and back. But he goes on to explain, and this is a quote from him, that an exercise "is bad for you only if you're not ready for it." Which kind of falls completely in line with my assertion of "there are no contraindicated exercises, there are only contraindicated people."
So overall, I just really like the philosophy that Isaiah's channel preaches, and the methods that he espouses for building power and explosiveness are rock fucking solid. It's just a dude doing what he loves and putting in hard ass work on a handful of key exercises while applying and following the foundational principles of power training, and passing those principles onto you, the viewer, as he goes along. So what could really be better than that? And if you stumbled across my YouTube channel or website because of my discussions on enhancing general athleticism and building raw power and explosiveness then Isaiah's channel is going to be right up your alley as well and I highly encourage you to head over there and subscribe!
And that pretty much covers it guys! I really don't watch that many YouTube channels, or that much tv, or consume much media at all really. You can't just throw a bunch of crap in my face and expect to win me over. The time I allot for these things is pretty damn minuscule so I am highly selective of how I choose to spend it, and so when I endorse something or someone it means they're the real fucking deal man. I hope you guys enjoyed this article, and if you did enjoy it please feel free to support the production of more free content like this by picking up one of my training programs! Keep training hard and I will catch you guys next time!