Meet The Press
Our TC Luoma: The man behind the Dog
by Chris Shugart
Last Friday, I was walking through Testosterone headquarters when I spotted Brock Strasser flying toward me on his in-line skates. As usual, he was completely naked. "Morning, Brock," I say as the pink blur zoomed past me. "Morning, Chris. Just drying the Androsol!" he said as he landed a flawless 360.
TC's in his office sitting crossed-legged on top of his desk. He's wearing his "thinking cap," a pair of Monica Brant's panties he filched backstage at the '97 Fitness Olympia. This is all part of his usual Friday morning ritual used to "summon the muse" before he writes the Atomic Dog column. I decide not to bother him.
Tim's all excited because he just finished yet another kitten jigsaw puzzle. This one has two kittens playing with a ball of yarn. "I think I'll put this one beside the squat rack downstairs. That would be cool, huh?" he quips happily.
"Yeah, boss, uh, whatever you say!" I reply, thinking of how the one of the Persian kittens watching the goldfish that hangs over the bench press was already affecting my poundages.
Later that day while rifling through my prized collection of Menudo memorabilia, I realized that most readers don't really know the real people behind T-mag. Some may even find my morning stroll through the offices, well, a bit unusual. Most people probably had no idea that Brock was such a gnarly skater or that Tim adores kitty cat jigsaw puzzles. As for TC wearing panties on his head when he writes, well, you've probably guessed that already.
To help you get to know the gang a little better we've decided to do a series of interviews with the staff. What's that? You don't give a rat's fuzzy ass about us? Okay, then you can skip this article. But if you've ever been curious about the folks that run this show, then you'll enjoy the interviews. We'll start off with none other than editor-in-chief Terrence Christian Luoma, "TC" to his friends and fans, "Terry" to his wife, and "that beady-eyed creep fondling the corsets again" to the girls that work at Victoria's Secret.
T: Let's hear some background info first. I understand English isn't your first language. So you weren't born in the States?
TC: I was born in Canada where they don't really speak English. No, no, my parents were from Finland. In fact, my older brother was born in Finland. Everybody spoke Finnish in the household so I learned Finnish and English concurrently.
T: So when do you come to the States?
TC: We moved to Detroit when I was three or four. My father was a tool and die maker for the automobile industry. My parents and I became citizens when I was about 12 or 13.
T: So what first drew you to weight training? Did you play sports in high school?
TC: I was a real geek. I don't think I even learned how to play baseball until I was 12 because my parents, being from Europe, new nothing about it. But really, I was just a nerdy kid. I even read a whole set of encyclopedias! After a while, I started to develop and ironically became pretty good at baseball by the time I was in high school. Still, I was really gangly. At 16, I was 6'2" and weighed about 155 pounds.
T: Is this why you turned to weight training?
TC: Well, I was always freaking out over these Marvel comic books like Spiderman, the Hulk, X-men, stuff like that. I thought to myself when reading, them, "This is how you're supposed to look!" I remember my brother had gotten a weight set. He'd used it for a few weeks, didn't make much progress, but I was always goofing around with it down in the basement. My mother wouldn't let me lift weights regularly, though; she said it would stunt my growth!
T: At 6'2" already and she was worried about stunting your growth?
TC: No, no, she used to tell me that when I was younger, about 10. So I would sneak a few weight workouts in when I could. I started to read these Weider magazines with some giant named Arnold in them and I knew this was something I wanted to take up. By the end of high school I had gotten up to about 170 pounds, but at my height that's still extremely thin, obviously.
T: Did you ever aspire to get on stage and compete or were you just trying to get girls?
TC: I sort of thought of that, but I just had no inkling as to what was really going on. I didn't know anything about steroids and I never dreamed these guys in the magazines used them. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't looking like them. Deep down I guess I knew competing wasn't in the cards. At my height I knew I'd have to weigh more than I was genetically able to. I'm 230 now and I'd pass as a football player, but I'd have to weigh 270 to look like a pro bodybuilder. I'm not crazy about that idea anyway.
T: When you went off to college what did you major in?
TC: I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a writer or a physician so I took classes in both areas. I ended up with a BA in English language and literature and a BS in microbiology. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I still thought about going to med school and I also thought about going to grad school to be an English teacher. I had an English professor I really liked and even though he was a mean son of a bitch, I respected the hell out of him. He offered me a job as a grad assistant. So believe it or not, I went to grad school in American literature and was teaching classes in English composition.
T: How'd that turn out?
TC: Well, I met an evil painted woman?
T: Uh oh.
TC: I just started blowing off my classes! I started staying in bed when I should've been going to class. I knew I wanted to get out of Michigan, so after the first year of grad school was over I moved to New Mexico where my brother was living.
T: You've said before that you've had a pretty wide variety of jobs during college and after. Give us some examples.
TC: I was always trying to make ends meet. Plus, if what I was doing didn't make me happy, I'd just change the scenario. I was an apartment manager in college so I could get free rent. I was also working as a security guard at night and teaching English. At one time I was an armored car guard; I worked at the Ford Motor Company at the stamping plant; I was a short order cook, busboy, landscaper, and I would even work summers as a mailman. I even did a stint as a male model! I was a used car salesman; I sold ads for the Penny Saver? I just did everything I could!
T: When did you first get paid for writing?
TC: In Albuquerque I became a technical editor for a defense contractor. I would work with engineers and come up with these manuals that could predict kill ratios for atomic bomb explosions, things like that. Eventually I was writing manuals on how to take apart nuclear missiles.
T: Oh, that's real comforting. So you're still lifting during all of this?
TC: Yeah, I had never stopped. Training was always the one constant in my life.
T: How did you break into bodybuilding magazines?
TC: My wife decided to compete in bodybuilding so we figured we'd get some pictures taken. The owner of the Gold's Gym in San Diego told me about a guy named Ralph DeHaan who was the chief photographer for Muscular Development at the time. I called him up to take some pictures of my wife. When we were doing the pictures, he told me that when he sends the pictures to the magazines, it would help if he had an article to accompany them. That way they'd use the pictures immediately and he'd get paid a lot faster. So he ended up giving me a couple of people to interview. I interviewed a female bodybuilder named Heather Tristany, sent it to MuscleMag, and that was the first one. I did another one the next week. I remember getting my first check; it was like 200 bucks.
T: When did it first hit you that you could write about bodybuilding for a living?
TC: After about a year, I had hooked up with most of the magazines as a freelancer. The average pay was only around 150 to 200 bucks, but I was able to crank these things out quickly. All they wanted me to do was interview these bodybuilders, write about their routines, and try to make these meatheads sound intelligent. I was working for Musclemag, Muscular Development, Ironman, Women's Physique World and several other magazines. I was doing three or four articles a week. Multiply that out over a year and that's not too bad, so I decided to try making it full time.
Anyhow, I remember going to cover an Olympia competition for some European mag when I was free-lancing. After the contest, they had this big dinner party, and seated a few tables over was Bob Kennedy, Gino Edwards, photographer Gary Barlett, and a bunch of fitness babes in evening dresses. Now, I had been doing quite a bit of work for MuscleMag, but I had never actually met any of the staff. So, I took a deep breath, muscled my way through the crowd, and went over to introduce myself.
They all stopped talking to look at me and I said, "Mr. Kennedy, I'm TC Luoma." This was met by a blank stare. I clarified my intro a bit, "I'm TC, the guy's who written five articles in the current issue of MuscleMag." So he looks at the girls, winks, and then says to me, in a really loud voice, "Well, keep up the bloody good work!" at which point, all the fitness babes started laughing their asses off. Man, was I embarrassed! Which is why I'm real sympathetic to new writers, now that I'm an editor-in-chief.
T: How did you meet Bill Phillips?
TC: I'd heard of a new magazine coming out called Muscle Media 2000, published by some guy named Bill Phillips who I'd never heard of. So I wrote him a letter and sent some samples of my work, but I didn't hear back from him. Soon after, I was visiting George Snyder, a guy who's been in the magazine business for millions of years, in his office in Venice Beach. Apparently he'd formed a partnership with Bill Phillips and I wasn't aware of it. Well, on his desk was an article by MET-Rx founder, Dr. Scott Connelly.
So while George was talking on the phone I looked through the article. I started laughing out loud! I told him it was most obtuse bullshit I'd ever seen. Who was going to understand it? So I told George, if I were him I'd rewrite it. He asked me if I could do it and I told him, "You're damned right I can."
T: So making Scott Connelly sound like he's from this planet landed you an editor job?
TC: Well, Snyder told Bill about me and they were thrilled that I had a science background. Bill contacted me and asked me to write for the magazine. In the first issue I had one article and in the second, I think I had four or five. After 8 or 10 months of me doing that, they offered me the editor-in-chief job.
Here's a funny story, actually, a sad story. Bill wanted Connelly to write this newsletter about MET-Rx every month, but Connelly was a hugely lazy bastard. He wouldn't write a single article, so I had to write the entire thing, for 3 years, including his columns! And he never even cared enough to look over my work, even though it had his name on it! I didn't feel good about it, but I had a mouth to feed; namely, mine.
T: Speaking of newsletters, wasn't Muscle Media 2000 a little newsletter in the beginning?
TC: Yes. I'd seen the newsletter, the Anabolic Reference Guide, but I'd never paid much attention to who wrote it at the time. Once Bill hooked up with Scott Connelly and had the financial power of MET-Rx behind him, they decided to put out a full fledged publication in order to push Met-Rx sales.
T: And then Phillips and Connelly broke up, Bill acquired EAS, you guys took the mag to number one and lo and behold, Bill decided to go limp noodle on us and change everything! What the hell happened?
TC: I only have theories. I had come back out to San Diego to take care of my mother who was dying of cancer. I got a fax saying I was no longer editor-in-chief, no explanation. He still wanted me to work on the new mag, but not as editor — just a writer. That was the last time I had any communication with him whatsoever.
TC: Yeah. I can only theorize about the rest. Bill's primary motivation wasn't just money. It was more about respect and power. He liked the Hollywood people; he loved knowing Stallone and sports celebrities. Given that he was in bodybuilding, he could never really gain their respect. Bodybuilding was just too much of a weird subculture for them. But if he was the executive editor of a fitness magazine that had wide-range appeal, then he would garner more respect. Then he could be on the TV shows, be stopped at airports by fans, and hobnob with the Hollywood people. I think this was primarily his motivation.
T: So were you still working for MM2k when Bill built the "Great Purple Palace," i.e. the new EAS/MM headquarters?
TC: That's when it started to get creepy. I left soon after that.
T: Creepy like how?
TC: After Bill built this extravagant palace, this tribute to himself, it started to get weird. All of a sudden, you almost had a class system. The people on the first floor weren't allowed to come up to the second floor. There was even a secret boy's club up there with pool tables, cigars, and a refrigerator full of beer and only a few people were allowed to go in. They had a full-time masseuse, a full-time chef, a giant movie theatre, waterfalls and plants everywhere. It got too corporate. They wanted you to wear a tie! That's not bodybuilding!
T: All the disgruntled MM2k readers really don't know what to think of Bill. I mean, this was a guy who wrote a steroid book, talked about banging all the cover chicks, and came off as a tough guy. Now we have this Anthony Robbins wannabe, Body-for-Life guy. We're wondering, who's the real Bill?
TC: The real guy is nothing like he appears. He's actually a very shy guy. When you shake his hand he has a really limp handshake and he looks at the ground. Only when he's surrounded by his high-school buddies where everyone laughs at his jokes does he get loud and boisterous. But he was always intrigued by those Anthony Robbins types. He loves success stories.
T: People like to paint him as evil incarnate in the bodybuilding community.
TC: You know, I think he started out with the best of intentions. You know how they say absolute power corrupts absolutely? Well, that's sort of what happened. I mean, he goes from a poor kid working out of his mom's garage to making a personal income of anywhere from twenty to thirty million a year in only five years. He was a young guy and this sort of affected him. He started thinking he could get away with anything and basically started believing his own press.
T: I was a big admirer of Bill back when you were with MM2k. He was self-made, he looked good, and he seemed to enjoy going against the grain. I think things changed for me when he wrote about breaking the mirror off his Lamborghini. Then he says, "Don't worry, it was the blue one, not the red one." I was like, give me a fucking break!
TC: I told him that! I said I think people would prefer to know that you're a regular guy. They like it if you're successful, but not overly successful. I mean, the readers are driving Fords and shit and you're driving two Lamborghinis! I also told him that I didn't think readers liked too many pictures of him in the magazine, either. He shrugged his shoulders and laughed, but didn't pay any attention to me.
T: Did it hurt him?
TC: Apparently not! The hardcore Muscle Media fans didn't like that shit, but you can't say it caused his downfall. He sold the company for a huge profit and he has a book on the best seller list.
T: After you left Muscle Media, I heard that you were going to quit the bodybuilding industry and become a sports writer. That right?
TC: I was thinking about it. I thought about starting a little baseball newsletter and building it from the ground up. I like baseball and I thought I could give it a different kind of edge. Beyond that, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I knew I would never want to go back to an office. I would've gone insane.
T: Did you get offers from other bodybuilding magazines?
TC: Yeah, there were several new startups that offered me jobs running their magazines. Blechman asked me to come back to Muscular Development. Pump offered me a job when they were first starting up. But I'd had previous experience with those guys from EAS and they didn't have the same business philosophy as I did.
T: So how did you first get approached by Tim Patterson?
TC: I knew of Tim a few years back because he had come up with Dr. Mike Leahy to treat Bill Phillips with his Active Release Techniques. I thought Tim was Dr. Leahy's assistant! He never said who he was. He just sort of smiled and watched as Leahy did his thing. I talked to him and thought he was a really nice guy, but I thought he was just a cheerful assistant!
T: Tim had something to do with the development of ART, didn't he?
TC: He saw what a great treatment this was and he and Leahy started a clinic in Colorado Springs. You know, Tim even came to the grand opening party of the new EAS building.
T: Oh really!
TC: Yeah, I went over and talked to him and shook his hand thinking, "Hey, Mike Leahy's assistant got invited!" I later found that he was Leahy's partner and that he'd been involved with the Nautilus crowd for years. Later, he told me Ellington Darden wanted to come out with a weight-loss product, like a meal replacement, and he wanted me to recommend a manufacturer. He knew I had helped formulate Myoplex, and wanted my input. Later on he asked me if I wanted to help him come up with a newsletter to help promote Darden's "Perfect Score" product, but I wasn't interested at the time. Our conversations evolved and he finally got the idea to get into the bodybuilding market and try to fill the nitch left by Muscle Media 2000 and appeal to those readers they deserted.
T: So Testosterone was born?
TC: Yeah, we decided to do it the modern way by doing it on the web first where we could reach a greater number of people.
T: Now, you had all these offers from major, established magazines, so why did you decide to go with Tim and his startup?
TC: This was just a great guy! He was a normal guy. After being with EAS I was hypersensitive to ego; I didn't want anything to do with it anymore. Anybody who was going to give me a hint of ego, I wasn't going to work with, no way no how. But Tim was just like a regular guy and he was so enthused about this. Plus he had that name, Testosterone. I just said, my God, that's a great name!
T: You know there's a deep dark conspiracy that Bill Phillips is behind Testosterone. Where does that come from?
TC: Ironically, we did an issue of Muscle Media 2000 a few years back where we predicted the future. Bill predicted that I would be editor-in-chief of a magazine named Testosterone. He thought it would be about cars and women and stuff, but nevertheless, he was close enough! Of course, Tim had never heard of that prediction. It was just an amazing coincidence.
T: Was the plan always to come out with a paper magazine once the Internet had established a reader base?
TC: We weren't sure at first. Most people believe the Internet is the future, but I still think people prefer to read stuff when it's a piece of paper in their hands. Until computers get to the point where they're completely portable, I still think magazines are the way to go. Regardless, we've had more success with the Internet than we thought we would, but we're still going to do the paper magazine, too.
T: How much of the material in the paper issue will be original and not found at the web site?
TC: The paper magazine will probably be 60 to 70% new material with a few reprints from the web. Even the most dedicated reader of our web site still misses a hell of a lot. Not many people sit down and read our site all the way through for several hours every Friday. Maybe we didn't name it a snazzy enough title and some people missed that article and missed some really good information, so we'll resurrect some web articles in the paper mag.
T: What do you see as the major fault of most of the other paper magazines out there? Where are they going wrong?
TC: They have a complete lack of imagination. They have a lack of guts and they have no vision. It's the same thing all the time. Why not take a chance? The only risk is not taking a risk. When their sales drop, they put some more thongs in there! I mean, I love thongs, but I'd feel embarrassed if I had to appeal to my readers by doing that.
T: It's getting to where you have to really search for the articles in most muscle magazines given all the asses and ads. The paper T-mag is really "clean" so to speak, in that regard. The article are all in one spot; there's no "turn to page 245" to continue the article. Plus, there are only four ads outside of the Biotest section at the end.
TC: As far as the ads, we don't want to do this really revolutionary graphics stuff with digitized photography and then accept ads that have a big picture of Paul Dillett with his veins sticking out. We want the ads to conform to our image. Plus we don't want to have other bodybuilding supplement ads in there unless we really believe in their products. It's sort of hypocritical to advertise products that you think are crap. So we're going to try to get some ads from regular companies. I love to get a little ad from Harley Davidson or Maxim magazine, you know, guy products.
T: Testosterone has a no BS, tell it like it is attitude. It's pro-steroid, doesn't care much for pro bodybuilding, and has a manly, well, Testosterone-ish feel to it. Was all that part of the original vision?
TC: Maybe you're giving us too much credit. That's who we are. That's what we like. It would be great to say that, yeah, this was our marketing plan, but really, it wasn't that clever. The magazine is just us. We don't have interviews with pro-bodybuilders unless they have something interesting to say. We're not fans of bodybuilders. We may admire their bodies, but usually we don't give a damn about their personality or opinions.
If people don't like some aspect of Testosterone or if they want us to become like other magazines out there, then I'm sorry; we're just not going to do it because that's not what we like. We'll do what we can to make the readers happy, but if they want to find out what Mr. Olympia's favorite color is, they're just going to have to go somewhere else.
T: In Testosterone, Ian and Dave Tate are the strength guys, Brian Batcheldor and Brock Strasser are the steroid guys, Cy Willson and John Berardi are the science guys, and Bill Roberts is the chemical delivery systems guy. What "guy" are you?
TC: I'm the least specialized of all authorities: the well-rounded man. I'm in the unique position, as editor-in-chief, of being bombarded by articles and research papers from all over the world, so I daresay I've assimilated more knowledge about this subject — weight training and bodybuilding — than practically anyone else. Of course, how much I've retained is a different subject. Still, by this point, I'm a fair nutritionist, a fair "pharmacist," and a fair trainer. Plus, of course, I handle the content of both the paper mag and the online mag.
T: You've been in this business a long time and helped introduce the public to many new ideas in the realms of training, diet, and supplementation. However, are you involved in the development of any products?
TC: Well, when I used to be with EAS, I was instrumental in bringing some of their stuff to the market, such as many of their protein products. I've also played a part in bringing many of Biotest's products to the market, and Tim Patterson, Biotest CEO [Biotest is Testosterone magazine's parent company], is kind enough to get my "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" on any product before we go ahead and produce it.
T: Are you a crusader for the male sex hormone?
TC: Well, I guess I am. I never really thought about it, but I think I am. I mean, I feel real strongly about it. I think Testosterone captures the essence of manhood, of the joy of living. This sounds incredibly sexist, but I almost feel sorry for women that they can't feel that, that gut instinct, that sheer animal power. There's just nothing like it? as you well know.
T: What's the magazine's stance on steroids?
TC: I think steroids have a valuable medicinal aspect that's all but ignored by the medical industry. This is usually caused by the hysterical musings of the press. These are things that can be used to treat almost any disease. There are very few contraindications for Testosterone. I really think the medical profession should take a second look at it.
T: Isn't the pendulum already starting to swing the other way?
TC: There's been some progress. For instance, oxandrolone has been accepted for use in people who have wasting diseases or for other chronically underweight individuals, and more and more progressive docs are giving steroids to their AIDS patients. And, of course, T-replacement is becoming more prevalent.
However, I think people should be able to get steroids from their doctor, whether they're hypogonadal or not. I think doctors should be able to help a patient reach high ranges of normal physiological levels of Testosterone. Let's say you went in and your Testosterone levels were 450, or mid-range "normal". You should be able to have a doctor help you elevate them to 1000 or 1100, which is high "normal." This would be safe, yet help a person build additional muscle mass, keep his metabolism elevated, and give him more energy.
T: So we're talking in the high normal range?
TC: Sure. Or let's say a 50 year old guy goes in and he's topped out at 500. (I'm just talking total Testosterone here.) But maybe normal for him a few years back was 900 or 1100. So right now he's low. In medicine today, they wouldn't give him Testosterone.
T: Most people see steroids as a black and white issue, but you're talking about safe and sane dosages and not the kind of thing pro bodybuilders are doing.
TC: You know, a person doesn't have to be too smart to take several grams of steroids per week. The smart thing is using modest protocols to maximize your efforts while maintaining your life. That's the cool stuff. Any idiot can take a bucket of steroids; you don't need a doctor or a magazine to tell you how to do that.
T: Since doctors aren't too helpful in that regard these days, do you see anything immoral about going out and getting the stuff yourself?
TC: It's not immoral, it's illegal. It's like in the movie, The Untouchables. After Kevin Costner's character busts Capone, a reporter asked him what he'd he do if they repealed prohibition. He said, "Have a drink." There's a good lesson there.
T: I'm going to go through a list of rumors and accusations and you respond. Rumor #1: You've touched on this one already, but what do you say to people who think Bill Phillips owns Biotest and Testosterone?
TC: (laughing) That just leaves me speechless. I haven't talked to Bill in five or six years and I don't know what I'd say to him if I did. That's really too absurd to even discuss. I guess people say that because Testosterone has the same tone as the old Muscle Media 2000, but that's because I gave it that tone when I was there. It's only natural that Testosterone would have that same feel and same philosophy.
T: Rumor #2. You personally rounded up a bunch of hypogonadal guys for the Tribex-500 study and that's why the results were so impressive.
TC: This study was done by Dr. Joey Antonio at the University of Nebraska. I've never been to Nebraska! We gave Joey authorization to print the results of the study regardless of the outcome. People were impressed that the average gain in lean body mass was 6.6 pounds. Granted there were only six athletes in the study, but one guy gained 11 pounds. You don't have to believe it, but just look at those figures. They're worthy of consideration.
T: So someone just pulled that rumor out of their ass?
TC: Like I have time with doing the webzine and the paper mag to round up a bunch of hypogonadal guys! (Laughing) I don't want to even talk to anybody hypogonadal!
T: Rumor #3: You weigh 130 pounds.
TC: Yes, my left testicle does! No, like I said I'm 6'2 and weigh 230. My arms and calves could use a lot more size. My torso and my upper legs are pretty big. By normal standards, I could kick most peoples' asses, at least compared to the average guy on the street. People think I'm an athlete. Now I'm not the biggest guy around; I don't look like a professional bodybuilder. With a few good cycles of steroids, I could probably get up to 260, but it's just not something I want to do right now. I'd have to buy new clothes!
T: You were much smaller when you were at Muscle Media, correct?
TC: Yeah, Muscle Media ran a picture of me once when I was much thinner, probably just under 200. I was under a lot of stress. In fact, I had my T levels taken when I was at Muscle Media when things were bad. It was 10!
T: Ten? Richard Simmons is 15!
TC: I was attracted to his manliness back then! So it's no wonder I was looking lean. But as soon as I left and my life got a little relaxed again, I started putting on weight. This should prove to people that they should keep their stress levels, and consequently their cortisol levels, down.
T: Rumor #4: You and Tim were both busted for importing steroids.
TC: (Still laughing) Tim and I are probably the only tandem in bodybuilding who haven't been arrested for anything.
T: Rumor #5: You slept with Monica Brant.
TC: Oh sure! Still do! In fact, she has a little bungalow out back. I wait until my wife goes to sleep then I go out and nail her!
T: So you want to keep that rumor alive?
TC: Yeah! I like that one!
T: You've been around the supplement industry for a long time. What's out there now that's really getting you excited?
TC: The new delivery systems are really amazing. You know, a lot of things appear to be anabolic, but when you take them orally they don't do squat. But if you can figure out how to get them to their destination by using a transdermal delivery system or protecting the molecule as it goes through the digestive tract, then you're really on to something. Biotest already uses a topical delivery system in its Androsol product and the results are really amazing. Similarly, we've used a rather unique delivery system in our Methoxy-7 product and our Ribose-C product.
As far as what we're working on now, we've got several pretty cool things brewing. For one, we're working on the first "pro-steroid" product. Mind you, that's not a pro-hormone; it's a pro steroid. This stuff will, for all intents and purposes, be an over-the-counter steroid. We're really going to rock some boats with that stuff. Furthermore, we're working on a couple of new categories of thyroid modulating products that should make fat loss pretty damn easy. And, in conjunction with those two products, we're even getting close to developing a spray-on product that leads to spot reduction. In other words, if you've got some stubborn fatty deposits on your body, you spray this stuff on, and, in a few weeks, poof! It's mostly theoertical now, but if it works?
T: T-mag was sort of anti-andro in the beginning, but then Biotest came out with Androsol. The mag still catches hell for that.
TC: First of all there was androstenedione. Aside from crappy absorption and crappy delivery systems, a lot of it converted to estrogen. The older you get, the greater that conversion rate is. Dr. Bruce Nadler, who does more gyno surgeries than anyone else, was practically buying new cars with all the money he made from guys coming in with gyno caused by androstenedione! That's why we didn't like. I was telling people not to use this shit.
Now, however, we come out with a product that's not androstenedione, it's 4-androstenediol. It doesn't convert to estrogen. Put it in an incredible delivery system, spray it on, and you've got guys who have T levels that are 600 or 700 and it goes to 60,000! And it stays up there for several hours! Used correctly, for only two weeks at a time, there's no reason it shouldn't work like gangbusters.
T: Let's talk about Charles Poliquin and T-mag parting ways. The bashers say that he left because he was tired of you putting words in his mouth about Biotest supplements.
TC: That's bullshit. I don't do that, period. It's funny, but I have freelancers try to pepper their articles with product references — I guess because other magazines make them do it. A lot of the time I'll take the product references out! But we never put words in his or anyone else's mouth about products. That's ridiculous.
Charles left to try other things; start other businesses. We've been friends for something like 7 years now and we're stilll friends, and it's quite possible he may still do some writing for us.
T: What's got you excited in the training arena lately?
TC: I really enjoy Ian's programs. I like the innovative techniques and the fact that he has long term, progressive plans. I've been steadily doing all of his programs, his leg program, his chest and back program, etc. I'm on the ninth week of his arm program right now. Some people try to dismiss his programs, but they just have to try them to see how effective they really are. I'm also still experimenting with my German Volume Training 2000 and that's really working out well. Ian's also got me interested in powerlifting. That's something I haven't thought about much because of my height and body structure, but now I'm really getting into it.
T: Let's talk about diet. While we're at it, let's talk more about your theory of minutia.
TC: It's not really a theory, but a pet peeve of sorts. Minutia means that people sometimes use way too much mental energy on things that matter very little. I get so many letters from guys talking about the most obscure aspect of diet. It's one of those things where it wouldn't make any difference to a person's overall physique unless they were doing absolutely everything else right.
T: So in other words, a guy who's not squatting or not getting enough protein is instead really obsessing over his zinc intake.
TC: Yeah, but more ludicrous than that! It's like the people always obsessing about GH. They say, "I read that if I don't eat my GH will go up." Well great, but if you don't eat your body doesn't have any building blocks to make anything with that added GH. It's absurd.
T: Plus, people that shoot it directly really don't see much in the way of results, right?
TC: Like in our Lee Priest interview, he's used it for three years and says it doesn't do anything for him! Unless you're an old codger, this stuff isn't going to do much of anything for you. The supposed natural ways to elevate GH, well again, that's just minutia.
T: What about all the recent talk about the different protein types? Do we really need to worry about getting casein at this time, whey at that time, etc.?
TC: Like most people, I enjoy talking about this because it's fun and it's interesting, but I don't think it makes much difference. Let's say you had 10 guys who were cloned, genetically identical, and they trained and ate identically except that they used different protein blends. Do you think it would make any difference at the end of the year in what they looked like? I doubt it. As long as they're using some sort of protein blend, I think that's the most prudent way to go. Ideally, a blend of casein and whey, with a little more casein than whey would be ideal.
T: Your Bad Protein article causes quite a stir. So I take it we should avoid soy protein?
TC: I'm always hesitant to say anything definitive as far as nutrition goes, because five years later you'll have a million studies come out showing that you're an idiot. You just have to take the current facts of the day, interpret them, and if you find something convincing, you adapt them. Now, a couple of these isoflavones in soy appear to have estrogen like properties and in addition, actually kill sperm cells. Now they're even saying they kill brain cells. Maybe it's all bunk, but you know, I can live without a little soy protein until I find out otherwise!
T: Where do you see Testosterone in five years? Gonna build a palace with purple pool tables, helicopter landing pads, and an onsite chef?
TC: Jeez, if you see that happening, shoot us! We're building a building right now, but it's just a modest set up with offices and a warehouse, that's it. There's a bungalow out back for fitness bunnies, but that's about the only extravagance. As far as future plans, we just want to have continuous growth. We want to keep on making innovative products and have fun doing a fresh magazine that at least pisses off a few people every issue. We want to make a nice little living and have fun doing it. That's the plan. I just want to live my existence here and not have to wear a tie and work in an office anymore. And so far, things are going great.
T: Well, that should about do it, TC. I expect people would be pretty sick of reading about you by this point. By the way, do you always wear those panties on your head?
TC: Yes, but I change them every day. I'm not an animal.
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