Close and Personal With Bodybuilding Legend Skip LaCourUnder Burn Fat/Fat Burning, Hybrid Muscle Interviews, Motivation/Success, Muscle Building Nutrition, Nutrition, Recent Posts
Interviewed by Elliott Hulse
Today I’d like to introduce you to Skip LaCour who has established himself as a leader in the bodybuilding world. In his passionate effort to propel training, nutrition, supplementation, and mental strategies forward, he has authored ten books, produced six videos, and has frequently contributed to several international magazines. He has accomplished all of this and more while simultaneously becoming one of the world’s best drug-free bodybuilders. After reading his HIGHLY recommended new eBook Simple Bodybuilding Nutrition, Skip was kind enough to answer some questions for us!
SL: To make it to the elite level of drug free bodybuilding, you must have a combination of very good genetics, an extraordinary work ethic, be consistent with your training and eating habits, and be intelligent in your approach to training and eating. I believe I had ALL of those components working for me—and that’s why I’m known around the world for what I do and have been for such a long period of time.
If you do not have all of those components working for you, you can still build an admirable physique. You just may have a challenge getting to the elite level.
I had a decent amount of size when I was younger, great shape to my muscles, was strong and athletic. So, I don’t have a “Skinny Skippy” story to tell you.
I do have a story to tell of effective and efficient eating strategies—regardless of what your genetic conditions may be. I can help you make the most out of what you’ve been given—and find ways to overcome what you weren’t. And, that should be everybody’s goal: Become the very best YOU can be. You simply MUST NOT make your journey of toward great physical development a contest between you and other people.
I also have a story to tell of effective and efficient mental strategies. I have a story to tell of work ethic, longevity, and dedication. Those qualities are oftentimes far more important than the specific training or eating strategy a person chooses.
I didn’t even start bodybuilding until I was 27 years old which most people would think is too old to get into bodybuilding and progress as far as I did as a competitor.
EH: That’s some great advice which leads me to my next question. You’re also involved with personal development and your MANformation personal development for men. I’m wondering if the lessons you learned from bodybuilding carry over to the rest of your life? Or, did you take the personal development skills that you teach and apply them to becoming a champion bodybuilder? Which came first—or did they develop together?
SL: I’ve been heavily involved in personal development even since the age of 21. That’s when an employee I managed at my job took me to a Zig Ziglar seminar. That seminar changed the direction of my life.
Many years later, I really started studying the work of Tony Robbins. I became such a great student of his work that he put me in one of his infomercials as an example of success that ran on television for years.
In was in those seminars and workshops that I made of the ambitious goals and specific plans to become the best drug free bodybuilder in the world, help others achieve their personal goals both inside and outside of the gym, and make my living doing what I love to do. At that time, I was a manager for a large grocery store chain.
After I retired from competitive bodybuilding, I became a motivational speaker and conducted seminars about self-improvement. My seminars evolved into my MANformation courses.
When you become more aware of the Alpha Male Leadership characteristics that I outline in my MANformation courses; appreciate how they can affect the quality of your life; learn how to adopt them into your own personality; and practice these skills, you’ll have more options in life. “Options” are all the things in life you REALLY want—and they are far more than all of those things in life that you merely settle for. Money, power, and relationships/sex are examples of the options in life many that men want, want more of, or a better quality what they already have.
MANformation a combination of all of my life experiences—including bodybuilding. Especially handling everything that comes with putting your opinions “out there” as a leader.
In many ways, MANformation is my personal story striving for success in life. It is a culmination of what I learned from the great peak performance coaches and motivational speakers I studied under—and then translated those lessons into my own life. It’s my journey figuring out how to effectively deal with the up and downs; good and bad; high and lows; and everything else that life inevitably put in your path.
My MANformation Alpha Leadership Strategies audio courses have “struck a nerve” (in a good way) in thousands of bodybuilders at every level—from beginners all the way up to advanced competitive bodybuilders.
EH: That course sounds life changing. It’s on my wishlist now and I’m looking forward to learning more. Switching gears, what is the main variable that needs adjusting if you’re a hardgainer and have trouble putting on muscle? What would a hard gainer adjust compared to someone who has more fat to lose?
SL: I really don’t like the “hardgainer label” people choose to brand themselves with. The Law of Relativity states that “nothing has any value unless compared to something else.” So, obviously a person has consciously chosen someone with better genetics to compare themselves to when labeling themselves as a hardgainer.
Why not pick someone who has the same genetics potential as you? Why not pick someone who has worse genetic potentail than you? Everyone could consider themselves a hardgainer if they compared themselves to the “right” person (or, in this case the “wrong” person). Hell, there are plenty of bodybuilders at the elite level who I could compare myself to and then brand myself a hardgainer.
I just don’t see the point of branding yourself with such a disempowering identity–especially in bodybuilding that takes commitment and discipline many times a day and every single day. “Well, I am hardgainer—but I’m going to get to the gym and do this training program—but I’m only going to get average results. Well, I’m a hardgainer but I am going to stick to this diet and stay away from all the food that taste amazing—but I’m only going to get average results.”
Look, we all have what we have. Our job is to make the very best with what we have. You do that by following through with the basics of training, nutrition, AND an outstanding mindset.
The less gifted you are, the more you need to follow through with the physical and mental basics and probably do so for a longer period of time.
EH: That’s very helpful, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Do you have any suggestions for losing body fat while training for strength in regards to nutrition?
SL: You can lose body fat and train for strength at the same time. You do not have to make it and “either/or” situation. You must strive to make it an “and” situation.
That takes a lot of focus and discipline in the gym and at the “dinner table”—but I think most people realize that.
What will separate those who succeed from those who struggle are a person’s eating habits. You have to plan your day in advance and be prepared and organized to eat all of your meals. Eating five or six meals a day works. Following through on a consistent basis is the key to success.
EH: Many athletes want to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat to improve performance in their respected sports. Would you recommend that athletes who practice a sport daily eat in a similar way that a bodybuilder would in order to gain muscle and lose fat?
SL: Yes. It works. It’s all about feeding the body the calories and nutrients it needs throughout the day to help it run optimally.
Eating all of your meals every day and getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and good fats is what you need to do. There is no secret plan—although some plans are better than others. Do what works like a machine. Step up and get it done. It doesn’t matter what sport you play.
Now, if a person isn’t committed to do what they must to build the maximum amount of muscle, get their body fat down to lower levels, and be string in the gym, that’s fine. A person just needs to accept that and stop looking for easy answers and methods to achieve success. You either need to raise your standards—or lower your expectations.
EH: Now that’s a great quote! Skip, is there such thing as a perfect muscle building diet?
After committing and following through with just about any diet, you’ll have the practical experience, knowledge, and momentum to make the necessary adjustments to find out exactly what works best for you. It’s a process. The chances are great that you are not going to find the “perfect diet” for you in your first attempt. But, rest assured, you will have good gains if you stick to it. If your diet doesn’t “work” it could very well be your mindset, execution, and consistency that are the problems.
A healthy, mentally flexible person should say when evaluating a diet plan something like this: “That diet I tried for several months had some great aspects to it. This is what I like about it and this is what I learned. I can take what I learned and make adjustments from there.”
Too many people complain about their diets when they should be putting most of the blame on the person they see in the mirror. (When they are standing in front of that mirror by themselves, of course.)
I’m not saying all diets are the same and any diet is just as effective as any other. I am saying that people make their search for the perfect diet far more complicated that it has to be.
It basically all comes down to five different variables, gentlemen: How many calories; How much protein; How many carbohydrates; How much fat; and how many meals are you going to break those calories into throughout the day.
You need to get the help you need to figure those variables out without driving yourself crazy. You need to get yourself a “coach” and shave time, frustration, confusion, and overwhelm.
EH: To really get results with a meal plan do you have to measure your food and count calories?
SL: I think that measuring your food is very helpful at the very start of your physical improvement journey until you can “eyeball” it. I suggest that everyone measures their food for at least a few weeks – just for the knowledge and experience you’ll gain. I, myself, certainly did that at the beginning of my journey. It’s an extremely helpful exercise and lesson that will provide you with insight that will last the rest of your life.
EH: Thank you so much for your time and sharing your insight with us. Hopefully we can do this again real soon. note: If you’d like to learn more about Skip LaCour’s nutrition planning visit the link below.