👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
I’m Janusz Kania. I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia but I am currently residing in Mexico.
My life has taken a few strange turns – by day I work in the hotel industry, but I coach powerlifters on the side.
In the past, I was the head coach of the Melbourne University Powerlifting and Weightlifting Club’s Development Squad and the head coach at Strength and Fitness Australia. I plan to make the return to full time coaching in the not too distant future.
My own PRs are rather middling – in competition my best lifts were 222.5/150/257.5 as a bright-eyed underweight junior in the 93kg class, but due to several injuries and set backs from issues I developed from a long history of boxing training (and some very dumb training decisions), I have not competed in several years.
This is one of the things that lead me to coaching – helping others reach their potential and avoid the traps on their powerlifting journeys.
The accomplishments and PRs I am most proud of are those of my lifters including but not limited to:
- IPF Asia and Oceania Deadlift and Total Records (74kg Men)
- IPF Australian National Deadlift and Total Records (74kg Men, 63kg Women)
- IPF Australian Champions in the Open, Junior and Sub-Juniors (84kg Women, 93kg Men, 74kg Men, 120kg+ Men)
- IPF Mexican National Champion (66kg Men)
- IPF Mexican National Squat and Total Records (66kg Men, 74kg Men)
- WP Junior World Champion (120kg+ Men)
- IPF Sub-Junior Squat World Record (93kg Men)
- IPF Sub-Junior Asia and Oceania Squat & Total Record (93kg Men)
Every single PR from every single lifter I have ever coached.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
My schedule is quite erratic and given that I am not in a position where I can seriously think about competing again as my training is a lot more general these days.
Sometimes I can train four days a week, sometimes only one or two and for a limited time. My focus at this point is more to just not get any worse, so I’m keeping to a rather flexible schedule but still focusing on movements that will carry over to the competition lifts.
Part of the reason I ended up getting continuously injured was that I never really laid the foundation to be throwing around heavy weights without significant risk.
My mobility was (is) terrible, I didn’t carry a lot of muscle on my frame, and I just focused on putting as much weight on the bar as quickly as possible.
So my focus now is more on improving the quality of my movements and trying to gain more muscle. When time permits, I will probably be training more like a bodybuilder, but for now a typical training day for me might look something like:
- Highbar Squat 1×1 @ RPE8, -20% 3×6
- Paused Bench Press 1×1 @RPE8, -20% 3×8
- Meadows Rows sets of 12 until I get tired and want to go home
- Ab Wheel 50 reps in as few sets as possible
- Stretching and mobility work
Because I struggle to be consistent with my rest, diet, and other things due to my work circumstances, autoregulation has been an invaluable tool to ensure that I can still get in good quality practice with the barbell and not burn myself out trying to hit X weight for Y volume.
While I would definitely prefer to have a bit more structure and I prefer my athletes to have more of a structure because it allows me to track metrics and manipulate training variables with a little more certainty, this is still helping me stay on top of my mobility and hypertrophy goals despite interruptions.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I make a point of never losing sight of the end goal and making sure I can relate everything I am doing to the realization of that goal. Knowing exactly why you are doing what you’re doing goes a really long way especially when training becomes a grind.
I also think keeping momentum is more important than anything else in the long term, and being able to allow yourself to drop the weights, drop some volume and just get in some quality movement is crucial to not burning out.
People fetishize intensity when it comes to training, but training hard sometimes just means training consistently.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As previously mentioned, my training is going okay. My mobility is making noticeable improvements and I have gained some muscle.
Over the next five years, I would like to compete in powerlifting again, but that is definitely a long-term project given how broken I am.
If I had to, I would say my plan for this is broken into three phases:
- Get healthy – focus on my mobility and stability, be able to hit the positions I need to comfortably and without pain
- Get jacked – focus on gaining as much muscle on my frame as I possibly can
- Get strong – shift my training focus back to competitive powerlifting
If I could go back to when I started powerlifting, I would tell myself to be patient and work through a similar plan to the one I am being forced to follow now out of necessity – build that foundation before chasing weights on the bar.
Incidentally, this has greatly influenced how I coach my athletes now and I take a particular interest in coaching beginner and intermediate lifters and helping them navigate the pitfalls of these nascent stages of their development.
Somewhere in there I’d also like to open my own powerlifting club.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
In terms of day-to-day recovery and rest, I try to keep to a consistent sleep schedule and rack up at least eight hours of sleep as well as at least eating enough calories so that I do not die. The more on top of my diet I can be, the better I feel in and out of the gym.
I also find it important to have sufficient downtime and properly decompress from day-to-day stress. Ideally, I’d just spend all my time outside of the gym in a cool dark room eating pizza and drinking chocolate milk while watching children’s movies.
In terms of injuries – In the years that I was powerlifting I suffered a laundry list of injuries including but not limited to:
- Two hip tears
- A hamstring tear
- Three pec tears
- Facet joint sprains
- Medial, lateral and bicep tendonosis in my arms
- Shoulder impingement in both shoulders
- A shoulder labrum tear
As previously mentioned, a lot of this had to do with my training history before Powerlifting and how I approached Powerlifting when I first started.
I think the key for me every time I have suffered and injury has been to never lose sight of the long-term goal, and see the injuries at the setbacks as opportunities to work on things that still get me closer to that endpoint.
If a facet joint sprain keeps me from loading up weight on squats and deadlifts, I will use that as an excuse to hammer variants of the competition lifts that force me to use lighter weights and maybe shift my focus to hypertrophy. I don’t see it as a setback so much as an unexpected chance to start another phase of training.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet is pretty flexible. I make an effort to eat at least 200g of protein a day and get in as many carbohydrates as I can around training times without blowing out my calories, but outside of that I do not really follow any hard or fast rules.
I eat what I want but I am mindful of my calorie intake and my training demands. I don’t drink alcohol, and I don’t take caffeine outside of competitions.
In terms of supplementation I take a multivitamin, vitamin D and creatine. My favourite brand for all supplements is Bulk Nutrients.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Being jacked and strong because it is cool and good. That, and being part of the powerlifting community. It’s a really lovely community and just being able to participate and in it is motivation enough for me.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Be patient, build your foundation, understand the difference between what you can do and what you should do.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes! I am currently taking on online clients. I work primarily with powerlifters, but I take on folks interested in strength training and general fitness. I make a point of being very contactable and working as closely with my lifters as possible and as they require.
For those interested, I have created a handful of free program templates for beginner, intermediate and advanced powerlifters, which can be found here.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?