50th Mr. Olympia Anniversary Interview: Behind the Scenes w/ Ben Tatar
Interview By Chris Wilson
Coach Chris: Hi Ben “Tatar-Monster” and thanks again for your amazing pictures and unequaled enthusiasm for the Mr. Olympia. This year was the 50th Anniversary of the Big O, what made it bigger and better than in years past?
Ben Tatar: I will list 10 things that made this years Olympia bigger than in years past:
1) There were more booths than any Olympia, ever! In fact, this year’s Olympia had more booths than the Arnold! There were so many booths that you couldn’t even see them all in one weekend!
2) There were more champions, stars and models at each booth than other years.
3) This year’s Olympia had NEW supplement companies that we have never seen before!
4) The older greats were all there this year! (The industry grows because all the true old champions stay in the industry even as new ones are welcomed!) Even Lee Haney, Sylvester Stallone and even Arnold Schwarzenegger attended the 50th.
5) Every year the Olympia adds new events and competitions.
6) It is better because it has a lot of history and has been in existence for over 50 years.
7) I approached the 50th Anniversary smarter than past events. I used my time more efficiently.
8) I had more fun in Las Vegas than past years! I had so much fun; I didn’t even go to bed on Saturday Night.
9) I have so many crazy stories that I can’t write here, so email me at moc.liamgnull@retsnoMrataT to hear some.
10) What can I say? More booths, models, old stars, new stars, new companies, new competitions, Arnold and the fact that I went all out created a big weekend like no other.
Coach Chris: As in previous years, there is always a debate about WHO got robbed on stage and WHO got a lot of unnecessary hype. Can you share with us your opinions about the 2014 results?
Ben Tatar: I figured that Phil Heath would win before the Olympia even started. The “After Party,” at XS was named after Phil Heath. The Sandow Trophy (The Mr. Olympia 1st place trophy,) was at his Gifted Nutrition booth and headlined after him. At his booth people would get pics taken with it. The whole event just had Phil Heath’s name on it. I know, there was a lot of hype about Kai Greene winning, but I just think a lot of people wanted Greene to win since he’s an entertainer!
Many people were ready for a change and feel that Greene’s ATTITUDE could take bodybuilding to a more exciting level. Others are strongly against Greene and look at his antics as unprofessional and degrading to the sport. For example, Greene bumped Phil the night before the Olympia and a lot of people were smack talking Greene. I try to stay out of that. LOL. However, Phil gives back a lot to the sport with all of his charitable endeavors such as The Make It Fit Foundation (for Autism). Phil I think is still the man and champion for at least one more year.
Coach Chris: What was more fun, hanging with the 275 lb shredded BEASTS or taking pics with the 100 lb hotties?
Ben Tatar: Interesting question. It’s so different. The models and I always get along really well. I also love reconnecting with the champions who I have already interviewed. Over the last fifteen years of being in the industry, it has been amazing how much socializing with them has changed. It’s different since I bond with them all in ways that are unique. However, I will say that going into this event, it was different than in the past.
In the last few years, social networking has changed drastically. Ten years ago, it was all about the phone and websites because models or shredded monsters didn’t have a Myspace or a Facebook. If bodybuilders or models wanted to be promoted, they would need to solely use magazines or the internet. Fifteen or even ten years ago, I was one of their only connections for fame. Back then the turnover with models and pro bodybuilders wasn’t as high which allowed for more of a “reunion” type of feel during every single event.
Today social media is different because social media is about people wanting followers on Instagram or on their Facebook fan pages and there are many other apps. This makes social media different because most people are posting things for thousands of people to see or watching thousands of their friends’ postings. If someone isn’t your best friend, social media usually isn’t one on one private conversation based. If you look at the Critical Bench fan page, you post, and tons of fans click “like”, share or comment!
In addition, changes in social media have led to a greater turnover rate of models and monsters at the supplement booths. I suspect that the supplement companies are looking for people with larger and different followings to endorse their products. As a result of this, I went into the 50th Olympia knowing less people than I did at past events. This also means that many of the 275lbs Monsters and models who I was meeting, were new to me and the industry. Despite, the changes in social media, I made it all work and I had a kickass time! It’s usually more fun meeting the booth babes than it is meeting a 275lbs shredded beast for the first time, but I still can’t generalize because I know so many of them in different ways.
Coach Chris: You’ve now attended your share of Mr O’s and Arnold’s, where does this years event rank?
Ben Tatar: My favorite Arnold of all time was the 2011 event. My favorite Olympia of all time was the 2009 event. The 2009 Olympia was better than this one because it had a lot more star power. You had Stone Cold Steve Austin, Trish Stratus, John Cena, Batista, Hulk Hogan, Carmen Electra (just to name a few,) and tons of bodybuilders & fitness models at every booth. Back in 2009 the bench press contest was on the main stage with easy viewing.
There were also fewer fans in attendance which made the 2009 event easier to network. The economy was stronger back in 2009 which meant that the companies and the city of Vegas was peaked. Also, since the industry was strong, I was seeing people who I have known for a long time at all the booths. 2009 I think was the best year for Olympia’s to date.
If I had to rank them, here is my top 10! Starting in at number 10:
10) a. 2013 Olympia– I jumped off the tallest tower in Las Vegas& United States, and I did well in the World’s greatest athlete contest. The reason these other cool things happened was because the Expo wasn’t the best.
The 2013 Olympia Interview with Ben Tatar can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/ben-tatar-2013-olympia-interview/
10) b. 2008 Olympia– This one wasn’t as good as the 2013 Olympia, but I have to mention it because the weekend was crazy! I really put the Tatar Terror on this event! Also, it brings back so many powerful memories since so many old friends were there.
The 2008 Olympia Report with Ben Tatar can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/2008-olympia-pictures.htm
“Ladies & Gentlemen…We have another TIE”
9) a. 2010 Olympia– This was a special time because I saw Mike Westerdal and I also saw my Grandparents in Palm Desert right after. The reason it gets number 9 was because the actual event wasn’t as good as other ones.
Another interview with me: http://www.criticalbench.com/2008-Arnold-Expo-Report.htm
9) b. 2012 Arnold—The 2012 Arnold ties the 2010 Olympia for the 9th spot. This event was way better than the events before 2005. This event was also way better than the 2011 Arnold and the 2008 Olympia. The 2012 Arnold was special because my relationships had grown, I made forever deep friendships, the big stars were there and I had an incredible weekend! This event seemed ideal while it was happening on all cylinders. The issue with the 2012 Arnold when I look back in retrospect was that a lot of the people who I loved in the industry would never return!
The Ben Tatar 2012 Arnold Interview can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/tag/2012-arnold-sports-festival/
8) 2013 Arnold—This was big because it was the Arnold’s 25th Anniversary. The 2013 Arnold (The 25th Anniversary,) was similar to the 2014 Arnold. There were great after parties, charity parties and great times with friends. I met lots of great friends, saw old ones and the parties were incredible. The 2014 Arnold was a little better than the 25th Anniversary because I made more history.
The Ben Tatar 25th Arnold Anniversary Interview can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/ben-tatar-interview/
7) 2014 Arnold—I set an all time record for doing 40 pull-ups wearing a 50lbs vest, and I competed& succeeded in the Arnold table tennis contest. A lot of my records set at this event are hung in gyms and restaurants all over. I did private charity events with Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, Ed Russ, and the after party was outstanding!
The Ben Tatar 2014 Arnold Interview can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/ben-tatar-2014-arnold-interview/
6) 50th Olympia Anniversary–This year’s Olympia was big as you can see in the first question. I was going all out in pool parties, at XS, Freemont street, flying helicopters, hanging with greats, more babes than ever and freaks everywhere.
5) 2007 Arnold—-The 2007 Arnold was big because the fitness industry was better. It was a time where the industry was more about being HARDCORE and a paradise to men. It wasn’t about making as many events as possible to make more money. I had been enough times to where I knew how to play the Arnold, I saw close friends who are no longer alive, and it was just a more badass time. I was screaming in excitement a lot at this one.
The 2007 Ben Tatar Arnold Report can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/arnold-classic-2007.htm
4) 2006 Arnold—This one was great because it was new to me! I walked into the Expo and I saw all the Pro Athletes, Models, Pro Bodybuilders and everyone who I have ever interviewed. It was like attending this paradise and covering it for Critical Bench. At that moment, I knew I was living my dream. I was off the wall getting high on supplements and shaking. I was amped on excitement the whole time, and the whole event was a huge memory.
The 2006 Ben Tatar Arnold Interview can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/arnold-classic-2006.htm
3) 2009 Arnold— This was a big one because the fitness industry was peaked in a hardcore state rather than trying to make it more family like to attract more people. I remember getting models booth jobs, did the human barbell, set some records. Everyone I knew was there, and the industry was top notch at this time.
The 2009 Ben Tatar Arnold Report can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/2009-arnold-pictures.htm
2) 2009 Olympia—This event would have made for a great movie if the whole thing was televised! It was at a time when I knew how to master Vegas and the Olympia event. Everyone I knew was there. The event had more star power than ever, and I just had crazy adventures all weekend.
The 2009 Ben Tatar Olympia Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-llzn6Y92w
1) 2011 Arnold– The 2011 Arnold was my favorite one yet. All the people I knew were there. All the stars were there, and everything was peaked to the maximum.
The 2011 Ben Tatar Arnold video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOKwO6VWjrA
In closing, all the events were special and peaked in different ways. At the end of the day, the events on this list and off this list are the best since they are all connected. I’m very grateful for all of them. What a ride! I give a special thanks to Critical Bench for the opportunities for coverage.
Coach Chris: Please project for us where you see PRO bodybuilding in the next 5 years? Is it possible for these guys to get even freakier or do you feel there will be a shift to a more tapered and aesthetically pleasing look, like the Old School muscle guys of the 70s? Less bloated and more appealing.
Ben Tatar: I think PRO bodybuilding is already changing. At the 49th Mr. Olympia the smaller 212lbs pro weight class (the show down class,) emerged. There is also a men’s physique competition as one of the big Olympia headliners. Also, I’m aware that some of the supplement companies have replaced the larger pro bodybuilders for smaller physique competitors at some of the booths.
I remember posting a picture of the biggest bodybuilder in the world, Craig Golias, from the 2014 Olympia on the Critical Bench page and most everyone disrespected him.
We are also living in a time where we are seeing bodybuilders dying before they hit their 35th birthdays. I also think the biggest freaks from 15, 10 and 5 years ago were bigger than today’s top freaks. I think of the biggest bodybuilder lifters I have known such as Greg Kovacs. Greg was 6’4 and 440lbs (Who died last year,) which was much bigger than the stereotypical jacked freak at today’s Olympia of 6’4 340lbs.
None of the freaks at this year’s Olympia were as big as names like Andre Tilt Henry, Jeff Maddy, Jeff Lewis, OD Wilson, Vitor Richards, and strongman Glen Ross from their primes. I think you could make a human bigger, (as that is a mentality where no limits exist,) but I don’t think it’s as universally desired. I think there are more shredded freaks today than there were ten years ago who are over 300lbs, but less who are over 350lbs.
For the more tapered physiques, I think that Old School Bodybuilding is making a comeback, but maybe not like the 70s because it’s not too rare to be ripped at a regular size today. Society is just different. At the Olympia there were lots of people who wanted to see the girls in bikini’s more than the ripped guys competing in the physique competition. FAR more people attended the bikini contest than the men’s physique competition.
The bikini competitions and the female aspect of fitness is what is really on the rise! Even when you look at the thousands of commentators at the Critical Bench page, you often see thousands of people consistently saying things like 1) The Freaks are Gross and aren’t healthy or fit. 2) The ripped guys are called gay and are seen as individuals with inferior complex disorders who don’t lift a lot… I don’t think either side is going to become that popular from a mainstream perspective.
People are interested in other things now with the rise of other sports and styles of training. However, I think everything weight lifting and fitness related will always be popular! People will always want to be strong, fast, jacked and attract! It doesn’t matter if they are a Rockstar, athlete, comedian, philosopher, big brother, little brother, father, coach or any of the above!
People who look healthy and who are strong will always be role models! People who are healthy and who are strong will self actualize! People who are healthy and who are strong will have confidence because they will attract people to them… I think from that angle, the fitness world is evolving! From that angle, the fitness world will evolve! From that angle, the fitness industry will have great surprises every single year. From that analogy, the world of training hardcore and fitness will always be a celebration.
Interview with Eddie Robinson
By Ben Tatar
Eddie Robinson has been on top of the bodybuilding world, powerlifting world and he has been published on the cover of 85 magazines! He’s a great father, mentor, trainer and coach!
Lets step into the life of Eddie Robinson and learn about his life to the top, what it was like on the top and his secret insights into the whole entire world of fitness. Everyone, Critical Bench brings to you, the one and only.. Eddie Robinson…
1) CB: Eddie most people know you, but tell us about some of your accolades in the iron world.
ER: Hmm, where do I start? Well, I started lifting as a teen when I played football and boxed the Golden Gloves in Akron, Ohio. All through high school I enjoyed pushing heavy weight with the dream to play for Ohio State and hopefully have a pro football career. During that time I focused on strength training and started entering power meets and strong man events, where I set the power lifting platform on fire.
In 1983, I was going for a world record squat of 875 lbs when I injured my lower back and my dream to take the teen world record in the squat had to take a back seat. I decided to take the world record laying down instead. I broke the teen world record in the bench press 220 lb class with a bench of 575 lbs, then two months later I won the Teen Mr. USA.
Later that night after the Teen USA, I got a call from the ‘Master Blaster’ himself Joe Weider, asking me to fly out to Woodland Hills, CA, where we spoke about football and my dream playing for Ohio state to a lucrative contract representing Muscle & Fitness, Flex, and Weider Nutrition.
We sat in his back yard discussing the pros and cons of playing football vs competing and being a spokes model for Weider publications & nutrition. Joe said, “I’ll give you 3 years if your lucky playing full back for Ohio State compared to just getting in shape competing once a year being a spokes person/model for the publications and nutrition lines.”
Joe offered to train me and educate me to be the best of my genetic potential by using his Weider Principles, knowing I already was using the Eddie Robinson principles that earned me Teen Mr. USA, Jr. Nationals where I beat out Shawn Ray and earned my world records in the bench press.
After a few days of discussing my future in the sport and enjoying my time spent with Joe & Betty Weider in their beautiful home, Joe sat me down and offered me a four year contract.
After the week of discussions and listening to Joe’s stories seeing his heart’s passion and dedication to the health andfitness industry, I accepted his offer with honor. Needless to say, my dream of being a pro football player changed gears during my teen years.
In 1986, I then went on to take another record of 575 pound bench to a final lift of 610. I remember Dr. Fred Hatfield telling me,”Damn son, you just broke the world record in the 220 class.” Later that month, Fred Hatfield aka “Dr. Squat” wrote a kick ass article on me for Muscle & Fitnesscalled “Strong Roots, The Eddie RobinsonStory.”
Mr. Joe Weider’s offere was the wind in my sails to go on and win the Men’s Mr. USA, my first pro show the Canadian Cup Gold’s Classic. I then went on to compete in the Olympia, Night of the Champions, Arnold Classic, European Grand Prix.
I also won the Panama Jack World Arm Wrestling Championships. Some of my greatest highlights of my 13 competitive years as an IFBB Pro was being featured on over 85 covers and 360 training articles.
After retiring in 2002, I decided to be a coach to dedicate my time and passion to helping other athletes reach their dreams and to achieve their full genetic potential and teach them to be their best, no matter what the sport or training protocol.
I share my scientific approach to diet, training, and nutrition as I have learned form the greatest legends in the world of Muscle &Fitness.
I trained under some of the best trainers in the industry and I owe it all to Mr. Joe Weider aka “The Master Blaster”,Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus and Hammer Strength and Master of H.I.T training, Dr. Fred Hatfield aka “Dr. Squat” and Founder of the ISSA (International Sports Science Association), and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, world power lifting champion and editor of the Metabolic Diet.
Pasquale also dedicated to helping Olympic athletes compete without the use of performance enhancing drugs. This training and knowledge enabled me to put a mark in the power lifting & bodybuilding world.
2) CB: you have been on many magazine covers. Do you have a favorite?
ER: So many are my favorite. This is going to be a hard one. I would have to say my favorite would be the one on my Harley that Vince McMahon got me when I signed my 4 year endorsement contract with the WBF which is another story 🙂 The two hardcore Flex Magazine covers I did with Rich Gaspari. Then I would have to say the two covers of Muscle & Fitness with the amazing Monica Brant and Jamie Bergman, which were both listed as two of the most popular issues of all time with those magazines.
3) CB: how would you compare thefitness industry today compared to 7 years ago? How would you compare thefitness industry today compared to the 90s? What about the 70/80s?
ER: Let me start off with the 70/80’s when bodybuilding was breaking ground in popularity worldwide thanks to the amazing greats like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, Tom Platz just to name a few. All had great physiques on different spectrums. Arnold had size and balance.
With his perfect balance and symmetry: broad shoulders, wide back, and small waist he knew how to pose gracefully displaying his strengths which made it impossible to beat when standing next to in comparisons, as his mass stood out of the line up.
The much smaller bodybuilder, Frank Zane, was the only one to beat Arnold because of his flawless symmetry, muscle tone, and balance. Zane brought the word “shredded” to the stage with his signature vacuum pose (arms over head, pulling his abdominal wall to his spine.) That was mind blowing, showing his ripped seratus anterior and obliques.
Sergio Oliva was one of the mass monsters with his famous Olivia arms-over-head pose, forming a V with his fists pointed outward while showing his massive forearms and biceps. All these different body types were pleasant to the eye and all unique individually bringing different looks to the IFBB stage. I recall talking to Joe many times during my visits with him at his Woodland Hills home, drinking coffee on his patio by the pool where we discussed the changing of times regarding the sport. Joe pointed out how the new pros of the 80’s into the 90’s kinda mirrored the old school pros.
Arnold and Zane brought two different physiques and symmetry to the stage, standing side by side same as the late 80’s – 90’s next to the great Lee Haney and Lee Labrada.
I concurred with Joe that it was a mirror of Arnold and Zane, which Joe pointed out and stated that it made a great playing field, because at that time you didn’t have to be a mass monster to win. Zane was the only one to beat Arnold and Labrada second to Haney, even though Zane and Labrada were much smaller in comparison to Arnold and Haney.
It set the stage and proved that anyone big or small could win the Olympia. It wasn’t based on mass, but more of a total package. It was about bringing a work of art to the stage that was pleasing to the eye and was achievable.
The 90’s were the greatest of all time because most every pro athlete had a very lucrative endorsement contract. I was with Joe Weider others were with the numerous nutrition lines. We were all booked guest posings, gym nutrition store grand openings, and attended shows.
We would make a couple grand just signing photos. I’m very grateful and honored to be listed as one of the top 10 pro bodybuilders in the 80’s & 90’s with some of the great athletes such as Lee Haney, Rich Gaspari, Lee Labrada, Mike Christian, Shawn Ray, Gary Strydom, Dorian Yates, and Paul Dillet.
Now to compare that to the last 7 years. You won’t see a physique like Frank Zane in an arms overhead vacuum any longer nor will you see a 176 lb athlete like Lee Labrada placing second in the Olympia anymore. The amazing flawless physiques of the past like Demey, Bob Paris, and Labrada are long gone.
There is only one size and that’s HUGE to the ultimate extreme, where muscle is on top of muscle and even where some doesn’t even belong. It’s now a freak show and is the reason why we now have new divisions such as men’s physique, bikini, and figure that are keeping the sport alive.
I’m going to end by stating, Joe was a genius, he built and empire on the sport and was the godfather. Joe Weider “Master Blaster” sold millions in nutritional products and sold billions in publications such as Muscle & Fitness and FLEX.
In 2002, my world stood still. Joe called me to fly out to Woodland Hills, CA to talk to me about his future in the industry. We sat once again on the patio by the pool. He told me he was selling his publications to AMI. When I asked why, he stated that he saw the future of the sport changing.
With the drop in sales distribution, and the new breed of bodybuilding mass monsters were not quite as marketable and they weren’t increasing the sales to the average bodybuilding enthusiast. I then told Joe,” You are bodybuilding. You lived it, breathed it, slept it, and made it what it is today!
You can’t sell and not be in control of the sports publications!” Joe told me he had to because he’s not in control of the athletes and the sport had gotten out of control. If he was leaving I told him I’m retiring. So I did and decided to dedicate to training athletes as Joe once did.
To educate them on cutting edge diet, nutrition, and training building future champions! I’m “TEAM “V” FULLY LOADED.” Putting the “V” in Victory.
4) CB: Eddie, how do you see the future of the fitness industry?
ER: The future of the fitness industry will always keep growing and changing to meet the times. There are so many great athletes from bodybuilding, figure, men’s and women’s physique, and bikini. It will keep growing by leaps and bounds.
The men’s physique is getting very popular as well as the woman’s figure and bikini divisions. I get more requests to coach men’s physique and bikini athletes than I do bodybuilding here at Team “V” and I feel this shows the current direction of the industry.
5) CB: I heard your training different clients with new techniques. Tell us about some of your training methods when it comes to training people? What can clients of yours expect when it comes to training?
ER: Yes, I train clients nationally and internationally with a variation of techniques. What can my clients expect? RESULTS!! My training protocol depends on the person and their individual goals, whether it be weight loss, building, toning, strength training, specific sports training, or competitive bodybuilding, men’s physique, bikini, or figure. I use a cutting edge scientific approach to all levels of diet, training, contest prep, and photo shoot prep.
From carb loading and depletion to water manipulation to being rock hard and stage ready. I give my clients all my secrets that I have learned during my career. My diets are customized depending on the individual by depletion, water, nitrogen, and carb manipulation to keep them looking full without water retention.
These are the same protocols I used to be at my best when shooting my 85 career covers using my scientific approach. Since my teen years and during my career I have trained under the guidance and direction of Joe Weider, Arthur Jones, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, and Dr. Fred Hatfield from 1983 – 2002.
I key on a variation of training protocols from H.I.T training that I mastered from the great Arthur Jones, strength training from Dr. Fred Hatfield & Dr. Mauro Di Pasqual, and diet and Nutrition from Joe Weider along with numerous variations of drop sets and supper sets by overloading and training both the red and white muscle fiber in the same set getting the full benefit of muscle growth and adequate recuperation time.
6) CB: you made it to the top level in bodybuilding and in the world of power! Which world was harder to make it to the top in? How did you train differently for both worlds?
ER: I would say the power lifting was the hardest to be on top. It took intense training, dedication, commitment, and discipline. I had to push my body to new limits of strength to be better and stronger than the day before. To press on with the no holds barred attitude and to excel and be the best of my genetic potential. I was focused and I accomplished it in the Iron Game.
I had the turkey, now all I had to do was carve it. And that I also did. I set the bodybuilding world on fire, displaying the power with grace. Etching the hard earned mass developed and built by punishing the IRON to hells end transforming and becoming a mound of hard earned twisted steel with a hell of a lot of sex appeal.
7) CB: how do you see the future of the industry?
ER: I see a positive future of the industry as the Arnold Classic and the Olympia keep growing every year. It’s good to see the women’s division growing by leaps and bounds with bikini, figure, physique along with the men’s physique which all are keeping the sport alive.
If the sport were to be like the old days with just bodybuilding and fitness, there wouldn’t be a snow balls chance in hell it would survive. Don’t get me wrong, today’s bodybuilders are losing interest and just don’t want to do what it takes to be in today’s bodybuilding line up.
This is one reason why you see the men’s physique growing by leaps and bounds in the amateur world along with women’s physique, figure, and bikini.
8) CB: what was it like knowing Vince McMahon? Name 5 people in the industry that you met who have really inspired you.
ER: It was a great pleasure and experience working with Vince McMahon. He is an athlete at heart and a marketing genius. The empire he made building the WWE and scouting out the best athletes making them into characters was ingenious making it a billion dollar industry.
I feel if Vince McMahon would have concentrated on the WBF as much he did with the WWE, it would be more entertaining and more in demand than today opening the doors for more endorsements and shows. The WBF was based not only on great physiques but showman ship.
The people whom inspired and had an impact on my life were #1 Joe Weider, Arthur Jones, Vince McMahon, Dr. Fred Hatfield, and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale. Most of my career I have been trained under the guidance and direction of these legends in the fitness industry.
It was an education that is simply priceless and it was a great honor becoming friends with these men. Joe Weider was like a father to me since a teenager and had a great impact in my life not only as my mentor and trainer but as a great friend to me and my family.
Joe and I had a lot of great times working together as an endorsed athlete (1983-2002) for Weider Nutrition,Muscle & Fitness and Flex publications. Joe and I always kept in contact and spoke often about the sport and how my kids were doing until the day he died (March 23, 2013).
That was one of the saddest days of my life, as I lost a great friend whom educated me not only in the iron game, but gave me sound advice in life in general.
9) CB: what are your 10 quick tips to a world class bench max?
ER: I will make this question quite simple, as it relates to both power lifting & bodybuilding. Please read below question #10 that starts off with “BALLS”.
10) CB: what are your 10 tips to a world class physique?
ER: I can sums that up in one word, BALLS: Defined as pushing yourself to no limits. Where there is no finish line and no last rep. To have determination, dedication, and commitment. To be the best. Most of all, to program oneself to become the greatest of their genetic potential! If you only set your sights to beat the competition, and when you do, then who in the hell are you going beat?
The answer is yourself. So I always strived to better myself, to beat myself at all times, and to become better and greater than the day before. The tips I got from Joe Weider, Arthur Jones, and the men mentioned above was the fuel to my desire and drive.
My goal was absorb and listen to their words that they spoke with such passion and sound advice to the scientific approaches to diet, training and nutrition and then to apply all their advice to myself! I was a sponge and absorbed all the clinicals and information to set the world of Iron on fire.
To have that “No holds barred” attitude, dedication, commitment. To make my mark and to be “FULLY LOADED” with passion and fire that was handed down to me from these legends above in order to become one.
11) CB: how’s your son and family?
ER: Critical Bench, I appreciate this question most of all and thank you for asking as family comes first. Family is the nucleus for one’s success. If your home life is great, you become great. However, this can be a book on its own for me as I raised two children on my own. Not only am I a dad, I’m a damn good mom also and have had the greatest pleasure watching them grow.
As I matter of fact, right now I’m siting at the Countryside Cougars football field watching my son practice while replying to this interview. My family is great. My daughter is now grown and on her own, so now it’s just Seth and I and I can’t leave out Kelly Lynn, my GF and also a coach, who’s making me shine these days even brighter.
We have so much in common, both helping athletes nationwide reach their fitness goals, aiding in reaching their full body’s potential. Teaching athletes to be the best they can, whether it be on the field or setting the bodybuilding & fitness stage on fire. We currently work with athletes nationwide with TEAM “V” which stands for VICTORY.
We added “FULLY LOADED” as we educate our athletes. Teaching them sound clinical training advice, customized to their body’s genetic structure and having the proper tools to be the best they can genetically be. Making them “FULLY LOADED.”
12) CB: what is Eddie up to these days?
ER: I’m currently active is raising my son Seth, enjoying football games and practices along with working with all my clients at at TEAM “V” which keeps me extremely busy. I am always writing out diet plans, training plans, along with peek week and contest prep. I get great pleasure dialing my clients in for shows and working with these athletes as it keeps me living my dream as I did half of my life on the bodybuilding stage.
I’m also working on numerous ebooks on contest prep, diet, training from A to Z, sharing all my knowledge that I used during my pro career. I’ve been dedicating a lot of my time working on my teamvictoryinc.com site, where I outline all of my diet prep that won me the America, USA along with my 12 year IFBB pro career along with diet and training for power and strength that I used breaking my world records along with training around injuries in which I became accustomed to during my career.
I’m planning on launching this site the beginning of the year, being a full time coach and helping athletes. I will be Skyping clients and helping with their posing routines, visually dialing them in. Most coaches use cookie cutter diets, but I customize each diet to the individual.
Everyone is unique in their own way and need that custom diet and training protocol to fit their body’s needs. I customize training based on my clients strengths and weakness.
13) CB: Give us some inside facts about you that most people might not know.
ER: Hmm my life has been pretty much been public since I was a teen, so I would have to say what most people don’t know about me is, um, that I wear t-back underwear. I kinda got used to the BANANA hammock in my early years, as my legs had a hard time fitting in those tighty whities with my 36 inch thighs.
14) CB: How do you want to be remembered?
ER: To be listed top of the GOOGLE search engine instead of second to Grambling head coach Eddie Robinson. Lol…Well most people will remember me by the covers and the titles I once took; however, I wish is to be remembered for the person that I am. At the end of the day people will forget about the titles and the covers, but will never forget how you made them feel.
My goal is to educate, inspire, and encourage people to be the best they can be, and to do more, to be more, and to become more! To remind people that you don’t have to win to be a winner! The true winners in any sport are the ambassadors who are humble and set a good example of sportsmanship.
To represent and be respected not only for their titles and accomplishments but for the person they are. I don’t want to be remembered for the mark I made in powerlifting or bodybuilding, but for the mark I made impacting peoples life.
The second part of my life isn’t any longer about setting the IFBB stage on fire nor breaking world records, the second and last part of my life will be spent being the best father and mate I can be, to dedicate myself to helping other athletes reach their genetic potential and dreams and to be the best coach helping others reach their dreams.
15) CB: in closing is there a message you would like to say to the workout world or any topics that we didn’t cover?
ER: Yes, my message to the workout world would be to train smart and don’t spend all day in the gym. More is not better! During my career, I have learned a lot on what to do and what to not do and by combining what I felt worked best for me by mastering the training protocols and philosophy of Dr. Arthur Jones, Joe Weider, Dr. Fred Hatfield and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale.
By combining a variation of all four of these geniuses H.I.T training protocols and theories into a custom training protocol that worked for me. So I developed what I call my Spartan H.I.T program that worked! It enabled me make incredible strength gains to put on size and dominate the Powerlifting World by taking world records in the bench along with dominating the world of bodybuilding by taking the Teen Mr. Florida, Teen Mr. USA, Teen Jr. Nationals then the Mens Mr. USA, Men’s World Record 575/610 Bench along with my 12 year IFBB/WBF career competing with the best in the world setting the IFBB stage on fire.
By Mastering how to shock both the red and white muscle fibers in one set followed by numerous super sets exercises. This targets both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers which enabled me to get twice as big twice as fast with less time in the gym. You can read about all the training projects Arthur Jones did with me along with other pro athletes such as Sergio Oliva, Casey Viator, that both Mentzer brothers studied and passed down to other pros such as Dorian Yates.
However, My Spartan H.I.T program is just a little different from Arthur Jones training protocol. For $30,000 I agreed to being a guinea pig in a project performed by Dr. Ellington Darden and Ken Hutchins and then relocated and Move with Nautilus to Plano, TX for a 12 week project experiment to get me ready for the Nationals using the training protocol.
I used super slow movement with combination of slow speeds of lifting and lowering weight and general principals of HIT training that was used in the 1960 by power lifters to break plateaus in their strength. This was known as muscle contraction with measured movement (MC/MM) which reduces momentum during exercise. The recommended set to achieve muscle fatigue was between 100 to 240 seconds per set and a workout should last non-longer than 30 min.
Research states that this type of training provides superior results compared to traditional training in as little as 10 weeks. It was hard on my body. During Dr. Darden’s protocol in 12 weeks I lost quality muscle and had serious tendon and ligament strain. If I continued this training regime, it would have destroyed my ligaments and tendons and ruined my career.
Training protocols were training 3 x a week, with workouts lasting no longer than 30 min. Sets were i.e. chin-ups: 30 seconds up 60 seconds down, leg press: 90 seconds down 60 seconds up.
Total training time for the week was 1 hour and 30 min. I was supposed to place in the nationals. The bad news, I didn’t. Good news was it was the quickest $30,000 I ever made in 12 weeks. When I got back to Florida, I got a call from Dr. Arthur Jones asking me what the hell happened.
I drove over to Lake Hellen to see Dr. Jones and while we while we were throwing chickens in his alligator pit, we discussed what Dr. Darden had me doing. He laughed about the training protocol and he agreed in some parts and disagreed in others. I did enjoy being Dr. Arthur Jones experiment training on the new leverage line later to be renamed Hammer Strength.
I agreed to do another project to only use Hammer Strength equipment to get ready for the Mr. USA that I won using Dr. Jones HIT training customized for me using the Hammer Strength equipment.
The Leverage Line later named Hammer Strength was the absolute best developed equipment. It keeps you in the proper range of motion for targeted body parts and is ideal for the HIT training protocol. It was counter balanced and very easy to follow Dr. Jones HIT super-set training, doing 30 second positive and negative contractions and 3/4 rep intervals that worked overloading the muscle. Hammer Strength is also amazing to rehabilitate from injury.
16:) CB: Anyone you want to thank?
ER: I would like to thank my family and friends for always being their giving me strength and the foundation needs to reach my dreams. To my fans that have followed me during my career, if it wasn’t for you my achievement would be worthless.
My fans gave me the fire, drive, and the determination to be the best I could be! Joe Weider and Arthur Jones, thank you for believing in me and educating me by giving me the tools needed. Because of you it enabled me to break records and take titles.
If it wasn’t for Joe contracting me for most of my career, all wouldn’t have been possible and I thank you. My family thanks you for enabling me to fulfill my dreams and to provide for them in the process. Joe, you were my #1 mentor, great friend and are greatly missed!
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