Interview with Steve Cook.
Interviewed by Ben Tatar
Steve Cook has become one of the most popular world champion fitness models in the world.
Steve has appeared on numerous magazine covers (including Muscle and Fitness,) he also won the Muscle and Fitness model search competition. Steve also has a social media following of over a million fans total. Without any further ado here is Steve Cook!
CRITICAL BENCH: Steve, you have achieved some incredible accolades. I will list some huge achievements you have made and tell me what comes to mind.
a) You were the Bodybuilding.com Fitbody Contest Winner:
This really is what launched my start in the fitness industry. It was a fun event that was in front of my home town. Meant a lot to me because of what I had been going through in my personal life.
b) You became the 2015 Olympia Muscle & Fitness Male Model Search Winner! (Every studs dream!)-
Such a big event! Over 240 guys entered that comp and I was so nervous stepping on stage. But I remember being confident because of the amount of work that went into preparing for it.
At the time I was in my last semester at college. 16 hard credits, working 30 hours a week and prepping for that show! I learned so much about hard work in those months. I also signed with Optimum Nutrition (ON) shortly after this comp!
c) You became the Bodybuilding.com Spokes Model Search Winner-
Coming off my win of the Male Model search I couldn’t wait to enter into the most prestigious model search in the industry.
Winning the bodybuilding.com spokesmodel search was life changing!
d) You earned your IFBB Pro Status-
With the popularity of men’s board short categories the IFBB launched its Men’s Physique category. I felt like it was perfect timing and a category meant for me.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, those are some amazing achievements that will forever be with you! Steve, I know that you come from a big family of seven! How do your family members feel about all of your big fitness and modeling victories at the highest level?
They think it’s cool but it’s really no biggie to them. Most of them haven’t seen me compete.
They definitely keep me grounded and remind me that I’m still just the middle child who used to be afraid of the dark – lol.
In all seriousness they really aren’t big on social media or into fitness so they don’t really know what I do. They think it’s cool when they see me on a magazine and that I get to travel to such wonderful places.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: You were a college football player. After your days as a college football player, how did your training change?
The training didn’t change much. What did was my eating habits.
I no longer cared about just being big and strong, I now needed to be lean and toned. I added in more detail work into my training but it was mostly diet.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: Not only are you a top model, but many people don’t know that you can bench press over twice your body weight (420lbs.) Do you have any strength tips for our readers?
Start young lol. Just kidding — kinda. I started very young, lifting with my dad. I would advise people to work a bench press program specifically designed to get stronger. I benched twice a week for many years.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: There are a lot of people out there who are let’s say, “sort of ripped.” Maybe they are strong in the gym, or play sports and maybe they are considered fit to those who don’t work out much. However, they aren’t in condition to get on stage. What is your advice for this type of individual to really get his physique to the next level so he can compete or do shoots?
My advice to them would be to focus on the diet. But to also do it in a healthy way. Slow and steady will always be the best way to change body composition. Start tracking food intake and keep a training journal. Also get with a trainer or coach that knows what they are doing to help give feedback.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: Steve, you have become famous. How has being known changed your life? If you go to a public gym, I’m sure it must be hard to workout without others always approaching you.
Lol that “famous” word always makes me feel silly. I mean I haven’t done anything to warrant being famous. I owe it more to Optimum Nutrition and bodybuilding.com than anything.
It’s always fun to be somewhere and have someone tell you about how you helped them…. I wouldn’t be here without them and I understand that so I love to listen to them. Sometimes it hard to get in a workout but it’s also flattering.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Steve, what are the five main reasons most people aren’t as ripped as they should be?
Here’s the 5 main reasons:
1. They don’t know how to diet correctly
2. Aren’t training hard enough
3. Aren’t supplementing like they should
4. Lack of self control on the diet side
5. Lack of motivation
8) CRITICAL BENCH: What types of changes do you think we will see in the fitness industry in the next ten years?
That a great question. I think you will see a shift back to more aesthetic physiques on stage. I also think you will see the more of a mainstream following as the younger generation is so into health and appearances.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any fancy exercises or exercises that are different that you really enjoy doing? How is your training different from most people in the gym?
I would like to think I tend to concentrate on the details more than most. It can be something as small as curling the wrist out on a certain movement, or focusing on the negative part of the rep that makes all the difference. Training with the great Charles Glass really opened my eyes to how biomechanics plays a huge role in developing a world class physique.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: Well, Steve at Critical Bench we wish you all the best as we know you will continue to surprise the world. In closing is there any message you would like to leave the fitness world and is there anyone who you would like to thank?
I’d love to thank ON, BB.com and everyone out there that follows and supports us. I try to be transparent with the fact that I’m all about doing things for the right reasons. At the core of that is health. Without that core everything else is unstable.
I also believe health and fitness shouldn’t be a competition… everyone has the capacity to be decent shape. Not everyone has the genetics to be a Mr/Ms Olympia but should strive for health.
It’s also something that I firmly believe we should help support others in. Make people feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
By Chris Wilson
What is your “fuel” in life?
More specifically, what “thing” in your life do you think about 24/7 (besides chicks guys) and want to constantly find ways to get better at doing?
I’m not talking about a casual interest in a particular idea, sport, hobby or profession.
I’m talking about PASSION.
Most of us have something that occupies our thoughts during our waking moments and often times even when we’re in dreamland. This doesn’t have to be your career, although if you’re lucky, you’ve found a way to make it your career.
Being passionate about what you do in life can in many ways determine the quality of your life. It can bring about the meaning of your life.
I’m sure you, like me, have occasionally asked yourself the age old question, “Why am I here?”
“What purpose do I serve in the world?”
We can cite men and women in history that just seemed destined to become great at what they did:
Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Henry Ford, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan to name a few.
Did they have a “casual” interest in what they did and just get lucky or did they spend each day perfecting their skills and dedicating all of their time and energy towards that ONE thing that meant everything to them?
I shouldn’t have to answer that. I’m fairly certain that anyone on that level of superior talent worked their tail off to get there. Luck was never an expectation. Hard work was the process.
But besides hard work, these amazing men and women all had something else in common. They were tirelessly and insanely PASSIONATE about what they did in life. Anything that distracted them or kept them from their mission was immediately removed and discarded. Nothing would hold them back from accomplishing their desires.
They also strived to surround themselves with other influential people that they could learn from and help them further their greatness allowing them to maintain and exceed a level of excellence foreign to most ordinary folk.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah…but I’m not an inventor, sports phenom, saint or explorer…”
News flash…Me neither!
But I will tell you what I am. I’m out of control ridiculously passionate about what I do for a living. I absolutely love what I do for work and wake up each day excited about how I can get better and improve at what gives me a true sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in life.
Aside from our family and friends that give us immense joy, there is something else we all need to satisfy our craving to feel valued.
We NEED to be connected to something bigger than ourselves.
Over the years I’ve come across school teachers, coaches, on-line entrepreneurs, small business owners and doctors who possessed the same traits as the legendary figures I mentioned previously.
However, if I listed their names here, you wouldn’t recognize a single one. Does that devalue them or make their passion any less extraordinary? No way.
Their contributions to this world have been as meaningful to their friends, family and community as any 20th century hero.
You see, we are all capable of pursuing and finding passion in our lives. We are all capable of finding something that breaths fire into our soul and makes us want to leap from our beds with excitement.
This is REAL. This isn’t fantasyland talk. I speak from experience.
Allowing yourself to be enveloped by passion for a hobby, skill, profession, trade or cause is one of the most human things in the world. No matter the day, I can always lean against my passion as a source of strength.
In many ways, uncovering your passion leads to the discovery of your meaning in life and your contribution to the world.
Now your passion may not change the world and your name may not be found in historical books, on the $100 bill or in lights at NBA arenas but the fulfillment and gratification you receive from that “one thing” will change your life and those people in your life.
Realizing what your passion is may be one of the most remarkable and rewarding experiences you could ever have. Don’t disregard the things that give you ultimate joy. Embrace them and develop them.
Examine your life today. Determine what just interests you and what ‘FUELS’ you. Casual interests are fine but not fulfilling. Decide today to let your passion consume you and watch your life transform.
I guarantee if you find your true passion and devote yourself to it, the meaning of your life will seem to find you when you least expect it.