Josef Rakich is a personal trainer and social media personality from Auckland. New Zealand. He’s made a name for himself as an online personal trainer, and aims to help people reach their fitness goals.
Growing up, Josef was the skinniest kid in school, and always avoided weight training classes during Gym Class. As he grew older, his passion for weightlifting was sparked in his late teens, when he made use of a free 2 month gym subscription.
Fast forward to today, and Josef has built a strong fan base on social media. He’s also used this route as a way to find clients for his in-person and online personal training classes. He still loves to work out hard when he’s not training and always tries to improve his look.
This is Josef’s story:
|Full Name: Josef Rakich|
|Weight||Height||Age||Date of Birth|
|175 - 185lbs (79.4 - 83.9kg)||5'10" (177.5cm)||39||November 9, 1980|
|New Zealand||Personal Trainer, Sponsored Athlete||2010|
|Weight||175 - 185lbs (79.4 - 83.9kg)|
|Date of Birth||November 9, 1980|
|Profession||Personal Trainer, Sponsored Athlete|
“The gym gives me a natural high, I look forward to going every day. Just seeing results is enough motivation in itself to keep me going, setting goals and accomplishing them and working towards that ultimate physique.”
- Qualified personal trainer
- Developed a strong social media following
“Don’t talk about it, be about it!”
Growing up in New Zealand, Josef was always very active and played a variety of sports. He played soccer for about 11 years – scoring goals for teams in the 1st Division and the New Zealand Premier League.
Another of his favorite sports during this period was skating. He performed at a professional level in the sport, but gave it up as he was receiving too many injuries on a regular basis. He suffered from internal bleeding in his knee cap, as well as many serious lower body sprains.
He says that the first time he saw a weight, was when he received 2kg dumbbells at a childhood birthday party. Josef didn’t really like the gift, and he used both dumbbells as a door stop for his bedroom.
At school he says that there was an obligatory weight training class as part of his P.E (physical education) classes. He used to hate the class because he was the skinniest person there.
Josef only really became interested in bodybuilding when he was in his teens. His mother won a free 2 month gym pass, which she gave to him when he was 17.
He went down to the gym with his friends from school who trained there, and they trained biceps and chest everyday. He had no idea about bodybuilding technique at this stage, but he loved working out.
As time went on, Josef noticed that he was improving his physique rapidly, so took a keen interest in the sport- reading books and watching as many videos as possible.
Creating His Physique
When the 2 week free trial expired, Josef decided to join the gym and and sign up for a subscription. After many months of teaching himself the basics, he developed a real love for bodybuilding.
This passion for the sport allowed him to really immerse himself in the lifestyle. He continued to work out hard – upping his personal best every month.
As the years passed, Josef created an enviable physique and built a high level training routine. He loved working out so much, that he decided he would try and help others to build their best physique.
He studied for a personal training qualification at his local college, and immediately began to find clients. Around this time, he also set up a website where he could attract an online clientele.
This business was very successful for Josef, and it became his full time profession. He says that he has always considered bodybuilding shows, but he gets a lot of satisfaction from his personal training.
“Chest is one of my favorite muscles to train and nothing gives me a better pump than a set of heavy dumbell chest presses.”
Josef trains each main muscle group once a week , and abs and calves twice a week (depending on his muscle soreness.)
When he hits the gym, he likes to spend around one hour training. He doesn’t usually stick to a firm rep range; going heavy with low reps for 4-6 reps or light for 12-25 reps (depending on the exercise.)
He chooses this approach because, in his words, “muscle hypertrophy is caused by overload, weight is one form of overload, repetition is another form of overload.” He enjoy mixing it up and seeing the results in his physique.
No Breaks Throughout The Year
Josef also chooses to avoid breaks in his training. He trains consistently every day, and has never taken more than 2 weeks off – even for holidays. He chooses to include two one week breaks per year, to maintain his central nervous system health.
“The gym always comes first, nothing gets in the way of the gym. This one time I cut my palm/finger open with some glass and needed some stitches; the nurse told me to have 2 weeks off from the gym to let it heal, it was literally impossible for me to keep away from the gym for that long. I was in there the next day training back and ripped the wound open again. But hey, at least I got my back workout in!”
Day 1: Chest/Calves
- Dumbbell Bench Press: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Barbell Incline Bench Press: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Pullovers: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Cable Crossovers: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Seated Calf Raises: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Donkey Calf Raises: 5 sets 8-12 reps
Day 2: Back/Abs
- Deadlifts: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Pull-Ups: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Seated High Rows: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Behind The Head Pulldowns: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- T-Bar Rows: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Crunches: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Cable Crunches: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Oblique Crunches: 3 sets 8-12 reps
Day 3: Biceps/Triceps
- Barbell Curls: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Incline Seated Dumbbell Curls: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Preacher Curls: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Hammer Curls: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Seated Dumbbell Extensions: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Flat Bar Pushdowns: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Rope Pulldowns: 4 sets 8-12 reps
Day 4: Legs
- Squats: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Leg Press: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Leg Extensions: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Hack Squats: 4 sets 8-12 reps
- Lying Hamstring Curls: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Seated Hamstring Curls: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Standing Calf Raises: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Seated Calf Raises: 5 sets 8-12 reps
Day 5: Shoulders/Abs
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Lateral Delt Raises: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Upright Rows: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Front Delt Raises: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Rear Delt Face Pulls: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Jack Knives: 5 sets 8-12 reps
- Weighted Knee Ups: 3 sets 8-12 reps
- Decline Oblique Crunches: 4 sets 8-12 reps
Day 6 And 7: Off
Favorite Free Weight Exercises
Josef’s favorite 3 exercises from his long and intense weekly schedule, are the barbell squat, barbell bicep curl and dumbbell chest press. He says that the barbell squat is “easily” the best exercise for the lower body – working the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings.
When it comes to the barbell bicep curl, he believes that this movement is the best mass builder for the muscle. The biceps have always been one of Josef’s favorite areas to train, but they are the slowest muscle to grow in his body – so he hits them hard.
For his chest, the dumbbell chest press is Josef’s go-to movement. He loves how controllable it is – hitting his chest pectorals precisely – unlike the barbell bench press that hits the shoulders as well.
Favorite Ab Exercises
The abs are one area which Josef has spent a lot of time focusing on. His first exercise of choice for the general ab area, is the weighted roman chair crunch. He believes that no exercise hits his entire abdominal region harder.
Moving on to the lower abs, Josef has chosen the hanging leg raise. He uses this exercise to punish his lower abs while hanging from the bar. He loves holding his body in this position also, as doing so is an isometric tension exercise – similar to the plank.
Finally, to hit his obliques hard, he completes decline twisting sit-ups. He sits back on a decline bench with his legs locked in place, raising his upper body and twisting at the peak of the movement.
Josef avoids cardio. He says that due to the fact he stays lean all year round, he doesn’t need to include much aerobic exercise.
He says that his intense workouts keep him in shape, but when he really needs to cut quickly, he incorporates High Intensity Interval Training.
Bulking and Cutting
Josef includes minor bulking periods during winter, but he stays relatively lean all year. When bulking he makes sure he stays in the single digits for his body fat percentage, but during summer he gets as ripped as he possibly can.
He says that his diet changes very often. He eats a lot of chicken and rice, but he has tried a wide variety of options such as a ‘pizza diet’, where he ate pizza everyday.
When he is trying to add small amounts of weight, he eats around 7 meals a day, but doesn’t see that the number of meals is very important. He breaks his macronutrient needs down, and works out exactly what his meals are offering him – regardless of whether he is eating 3 meals a day or 7 meals a day.
He also sees that timing his meals is pointless. He eats at random times to fit in with his daily activities, and doesn’t care when it is – as long as he hits his macronutrient requirements when he does eat.
Below is one of Josef’s daily meal plans:
- First Meal – Protein powder and oats mixed up)
- Second Meal – Stir-fry (Chicken, brown rice, mixed vegetables, almonds, pizza sauce)
- Third Meal – Stir-fry (Chicken, brown rice, mixed vegetables, almonds, pizza sauce)
- Fourth Meal – Stir-fry (Chicken, brown rice, mixed vegetables, almonds, pizza sauce)
- Fifth Meal – Proats (protein powder and oats mixed up)
- Sixth Meal– Dinner (Steak, chicken and fish)
- Seventh Meal – Casein ice cream + peanut butter
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Fish oil
- Vitamin C
Idols and Influences
One of Josef’s favorite bodybuilders is Frank Zane. He says that the first time he saw a picture of his physique, he knew that he wanted to build a similar body.
As well as this bodybuilding legend, Josef is also inspired by those who helped him reach his goal of being a personal trainer. One such person is Keith – Josef’s boss at the gym he coaches at.
He says that Keith helped him a lot and taught him a number of weight lifting exercises.
What we can learn from Josef Rakich
Transforming himself from the skinniest boy in the school, to the most ripped personal trainer in the gym, Josef has achieved his goals. He has shown us the true power of dedication and ambition in a difficult sport.
He has since made a name for himself as an online personal trainer, and he hopes to help people transform their physiques, just like he did.