The Standard For Success: An Interview With Natural Bodybuilder Skip LaCour

by Tom Venuto

Skip Lacour has been a leader in natural bodybuilding for more than two decades. Now an entrepreneur and a much-sought after peak performance, leadership and success coach, Skip will always be remembered by we naturals as a legend in drug-free bodybuilding who not only drove himself to massive success in the sport, but selflessly helped others succeed through his prolific motivational writing and speaking. For years, he has inspired and empowered all kinds of people – from bodybuilders to executives – to realize their personal potential.

Skip’s success was a huge motivator for me in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when I watched him climb to the top of the sport and it was a real honor to finally meet him recently in California after being a fan for so many years.

I’m thrilled that he agreed to this detailed interview that shows you what it really takes to be a champion in bodybuilding, and how anyone can become more successful in any area of life, not just by working harder, but also by raising your standards and developing the mindset for success

Tom: Skip, it’s a real honor to have this opportunity to speak with you because I’m sure I’m not the only person who considers you a legend in natural bodybuilding. You’re a Musclemania champion, Mr. California, 6-time heavyweight national champion, a two time overall winner of the Team Universe title, which many people consider the pinnacle of natural bodybuilding, you’re a bodybuilding magazine writer, a magazine cover man and a leader in bodybuilding education – as well as in personal success coaching. I’ve been reading your magazine articles and buying your courses and videos since the 1990’s and I’ve been in the audience and watched you up onstage more than once at the Team U in New York. So I just want to open by saying thank you for inspiring me and thousands of other natural bodybuilders for all these years.

Skip: Thank you, Tom. I really appreciate your kind words.

As I look back now, I can see more clearly just how active I’ve been for so many years. When I was going through my journey, however, it was just a day-to-day process that stacked up over time. It was one workout; one meal; one contest; answering one email; conducting one coaching session; writing one book; and producing one DVD or audio seminar course at a time. All of those accomplishments accumulated over time even make me stop and take notice from time to time.

It’s a real honor for me to have this opportunity to speak with you too, Tom. I’ve noticed your huge presence through the years in bodybuilding, general fitness information, and over the internet. Your name would even come up from time to time among the regular people who attended personal development seminars. You’ve had a tremendous impact on so many people. You’ve proven yourself to be an outstanding leader by communicating your message to the mainstream masses, as well, as the more “hardcore” fitness market. Congratulations on all of your success.

Tom: Thanks Skip. Let me start by going back at least a decade, when I bought your “Skip LaCour Daily Training Journal.” That manual walked your readers day by day through the pre-contest life of a champion bodybuilder and that’s when I first fully really realized that the level of dedication and discipline you put into your craft when you were competing was nothing short of other-worldly. Could you explain to us why you took things so seriously and why you were always striving for 100% effort and perfect compliance??

Skip: Just like a lot of people, I grew up as a little boy always wanting to be great at something in life. When I was younger, I put my focus and effort into being a great athlete. I remember one day back in the fifth grade when I practiced signing my autograph over and over again. That was the day I created the unique “S” that’s in my signature today.

I’ve done many things in my life but, when I stumbled into bodybuilding I immediately knew it was that one thing in life I was going to be great at. The way I approached bodybuilding was very hard work that required a lot of sacrifice – but I loved every minute of it. These days, I sometimes ask myself “How else could a person have done something so long at such a high level unless they absolutely loved it?”

The “next level” for my bodybuilding efforts came when I decided to quit my regular, secure job of 15 years to pursue being a full-time bodybuilder. I set out to be much, much more than just a bodybuilder. My plan was a to be a world leader by example, teacher through information products, competitor, and supplement company spokesperson. I “burned the boats”, so to speak, and left myself no other option other than to succeed.

Everything that I had learned during my years studying personal development, peak performance, and motivation, I applied to becoming successful at my bodybuilding, training, and coaching efforts.

Bodybuilding and teaching others became my identity, passion, career, hobby, and obsession.

When a person makes a big decision like that, blocks himself in with no other options, and totally commits their lifestyle to it, they will eventually be successful at some level. There’s no doubt about that.
Skip LaCour Interview With Tom Venuto

Tom: Could you give us some contrast now by describing what you think is the difference between the type of effort that must go into building a championship level physique and the type of effort someone needs to simply lose some weight, get healthier and look fitter? I think that understanding this distinction would be very valuable to people with both types of goals — serious bodybuilding and general fitness.

Skip: When it comes to earning the healthy and attractive body that you want, your success will be determined by your training, eating, mindset, and lifestyle organizational habits.

Those components are the same for both men and women. Those components are the same if you’re young, old, or somewhere in between. And, those components are the same if you are just trying to be healthy and get into good shape–or a competitive bodybuilder striving to win national-level bodybuilding contests.

These physical, mental, emotional, and psychological factors for success are the same for everyone trying to execute those factors–no matter how different their ultimate goals may be. Talent, ability, determination, focus, organization, mental and emotional flexibility, resilience, and enthusiasm are just some of those factors that a person must use enough of to reach their goals.

No matter what your goals are, a person will need to obtain and utilize all of the same resources that everyone else has available to them to achieve success. Examples of these resources are time, energy, people to support and help them, and money (to afford food, supplements, a gym membership, and expert coaching).

So, no matter what a person’s goals are, they need to manage their habits and resources in order to reach those goals.

Here’s what separates a champion bodybuilder from a person who simply wants to lose some weight and be more fit: It’s their “standards” or how good “good enough” is when they are pursuing their goals.

A person who wants to become a billionaire must live his life at much different standards than the person who is satisfied with making $100,000.00 a year. Heck, he must even live his life at much different standards than that of a millionaire. Whether you make $100,000.00 a year, one million dollars, or one billion dollars, you can still be a “good person” who “works hard”. But, it’s your standards in so many obvious and not-so-obvious areas of your life that will determine your level of success.

When it comes to person’s fitness goals, the standards that they establish and execute on a consistent basis in each of the many components of physical development will make the difference their level of success.

The higher the goal you hope to achieve with your health and body, the higher the standards you must establish and execute. And, you must do so for a longer period of time.

Tom: I’ve noticed a “dumbing down” of nutrition and training advice in the fitness industry lately, where instead of telling their clients to raise their standards, push themselves harder and become more disciplined, many trainers are saying, “stop taking it all so seriously, don’t worry about eating so clean all the time, and stop being so neurotic over the details.” Is this going in the wrong direction or is this a positive move to help the average Joe be realistic and keep life in balance?

Skip: I’ve noticed that too! I’ve thought about this a lot. I attribute this to one of two things: One is the “I want it now with as little work as humanly possible mentality” that’s gone overboard in our quick fix, short attention span culture. And, the other is the explosion of the interent creating an explosion of experts and gurus into fitness information market. Before, all you had were books in the bookstore and infomercials on late night television.

I believe some of the “dumbing down” is an honest attempt by some experts to teach the most efficient ways to reach your goals–while being just as effective. Look, I certainly understand the value of efficiency. There’s no need to train for three hours a day in the gym if you can get the same or better results in just one hour. There’s no need to cut out the spices and condiments from your food because you mistakenly believe that suffering through a meal with no taste at all will get you into better shape faster.

With all of that being said, there are only so many things you can get away with doing and without doing – and still “look good.” If you are going to lower your standards, you are more than likely going to need to lower your expectations too. You can’t lower your standards -and still expect outstanding results.

I think that mental approach is dangerous. It like a new employee approaching his boss and asking, “I’m committed to becoming the highest-paid employee in this company as soon as possible. Can you tell me what is the LEAST amount of work I can get away for the MOST amount of money?”

I understand where that employee may be coming from but, with so many mental and emotional factors that contribute to a person’s success, that’s not a good attitude. You should be WILLING to do whatever it takes to succeed–but the get right coaching and instruction so you won’t NEED TO.

The explosion of the internet has made more and more fitness experts and gurus available. The threshold of what it takes to get your message out to the masses has been lowered significantly. Years ago, you had better be committed to your profession if you wanted to be successful. There was a lot of time, energy, and money you had to risk to get into business, have your book printed, or have an infomercial on television. Heck, now you can have a nice web site to sell an ebook and support it with YouTube video in a matter of day. All for a cost of less than $100.

I believe some of these experts and gurus sincerely believe that you only need to do so much to “look good”. Those experts believe that their methods are effective while being intelligent and efficient. But, what they don’t make clear is what is their exact definition of “looking good”. Does the expert make that clear to his potential student? Does that expert even know himself?

A fat person who has been inactive most of their life can dramatically improve their level of health and fitness eating just twice a day. I agree that a person can reach a certain level of success using that eating theory–especially in the short-term. If that person thinks they are going to become a national champion drug-free bodybuilder using that approach, they are going to be sadly mistaken. And, the challenge is not going to be because of their inferior genetics or because “everyone else” uses illegal drugs and they don’t.

I believe some fitness experts are simply exploiting many people’s quick-fix mentality. These fitness “marketers” understand that, a lot of the time, if a person just takes any action at all they’ll make improvements. So, if that’s the case, make it as easy for them as possible. Hell, if they’re that lazy they more than likely won’t even read the ebook they bought. If they don’t like the ebook and want a refund (which the marketers are betting they won’t take the time to do either), it didn’t really cost them much to deliver the product anyway. All-in-all, it’s a good gamble on the part of the unscrupulous fitness “marketer”.

When I think about it, there’s one other category of fitness experts. Those are the ones who are extremely ego driven. Sure, they are giving you information but their number one motivation is being important. Experts like these just try to be different for the sake of being different. This should come off loud and clear when most of their material discusses just how great they are. I certainly understand the need to establish yourself as an authority with a certain level of credibility but, after so much of that, the focus should be on how to help the student reach their goals.

Tom: The first course I ever bought from you was a book called THINKING BIG and it was about the mindset and psychology required to be a champion bodybuilder. You actually built a major portion of your career around the mental aspects of bodybuilding. What made you go that route and what was the outcome in terms of client results and your own results?

Skip: I realized very early in my bodybuilding and training journey that a person’s level of success was not solely determined by the training strategy or nutritional program they adopted. All you need to do is look around and see all the people with great bodies using different strategies.

I also chose to believe that great genetics or physique-enhancing drugs were not the determining factors in a person’s level of success either. All you need to do is look around and see people with great genetics who squander their opportunity to be truly outstanding. All you need to do is look around and see all the men who are taking drugs and look terrible.

Now, I want to emphasize that I used the phrase “chose to believe” for a specific reason. I realize that many people who struggle with their health and fitness efforts tend to “choose to believe” just the opposite. They believe that people with great bodies are simply more genetically gifted that they are and/or use physique-enhancing drugs. That choice they’ve made is having a tremendous impact on how well and how consistently they execute all of those physical, mental, emotional, and psychological factors for success I previously mentioned–whether they realize it or not.

I’m not implying that a person doesn’t have genetic limitations. I’m not implying that physique-enhancing drugs don’t help those who use them. What I am stating is that jumping to those conclusions before you have exhausted all of the resources that are available to you will prevent you from becoming the best YOU can be.

I built my teaching and coaching career around the mental aspects because that’s what I 100 percent believe makes the biggest difference in a person’s level of success.

Tom: Honestly, was it ever tough to sell bodybuilders on the mind in bodybuilding concept in a sport where everyone seems more concerned about which supplements to take and what’s the latest bicep building strategy?”

Skip: I’m not sure if I ever thought about how tough it was because I had such strong beliefs about what would help my students the most effectively. Maybe I was just too naive to notice any resistance.

To be an effective leader, I refer to the famous line in the movie Field of Dreams that starred Kevin Costner: “If you build it, they will come.”

I just teach people what I believe in 100 percent. The people who are inspired come and I never hear from the people who I don’t because they are perusing the philosophies that suit them best.

I recently watched an online seminar with six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates. For an hour straight, he was asked specific training and a couple of eating and supplement questions. I was thinking to myself, “Guys! You have this incredibly accomplished person with such an amazingly determined mindset–and you’re using this rare opportunity to ask him which one is better: curls with a straight bar or curls with a EZ-Curl bar?”
Skip LaCour Interview With Tom Venuto

Tom: Skip, you talked earlier about the importance of raising your standards and you’ve actually been writing about that for years. That’s a concept I first heard from Tony Robbins, but I think it was you who really made that idea click for me because you applied it to bodybuilding and I could understand and relate to that because you put it in a specific context. Could you explain for our readers what you mean by “raise your standards” and why you believe that’s so important in bodybuilding?

Skip: Sure. Put simply, it’s asking yourself if demanding a little more of yourself in each and every one of all the different aspects of bodybuilding and training could help you reach your goals.

If you only have only five “cheat meals” a week and you aren’t quite as lean as you’d like, ask yourself if cutting them back to only two a week will get you closer to your goals. If you are eating three meals a day and you are not building as much muscle as you’d like as quickly as you’d like, ask yourself if eating five meals a day will be more effective. If you are not able to make the time to eat all the good, clean, healthy meals that you intend to eat every day, ask yourself if getting up in the morning 30 minutes earlier will help solve that challenge.

In the gym, at least ask yourself if lifting “five more pounds”; concentrating on your form and execution just a little more, or limiting your talking to either before or after your session to improve your concentration will lead to better results. Instead of just going through the motions and being satisfied just because you finished your 20 minutes of scheduled cardiovascular training, you push yourself harder and make sure your heart rate is at a certain number throughout the entire session.

I can go on and on with hundreds more specific examples, but I’m sure everyone gets the point.

People who excel at the highest levels have incredible standards – even if they don’t even realize it. I look at what the majority of my Facebook friends are doing and I see they are constantly taking pictures of themselves in the bathroom mirror, taking pictures of their meals, taking pictures of their stocked up refrigerators, posting what they are going to train later that day, and a report back on how that workout went, and more. It’s no mystery why they have amazing bodies compared to the general public who rarely even think about these things–let alone take the time to post it on Facebook. A lot of time these people themselves don’t realize just how much attention they pay to their standards.

Tom: What do you do to protect your self confidence in a sport where the standards ARE so high and where there’s also so much negativity and destructive criticism?

Skip: My 100 percent belief in who I am, what I’m all about, and the message I share with others protects my self-confidence. I understand that people are entitled to their opinions and, at the end of the day, it not about me. I either am or I am not the person who inspires or educates them in way that appeals to them most. As I always say, “There are some flavors of ice cream I like and some I don’t. The flavors of ice cream that I don’t like shouldn’t take it personally.”

All of that AND having enough time and experience dealing with negativity and destructive criticism. I’ve been in this business and in the public eye for over 20 years. You get used to it. You get better at handling it. If I wasn’t able to handle the negativity and destructive criticism, I would have been gone a long time ago. There hasn’t been some sort of criticism that I haven’t heard at least a couple of dozen times in the past. I think after the fifth or sixth time I heard it, I gained the mental and emotional perspective I needed to carry on.

Tom: What advice would you give to our readers about the importance of consistency and persistence in the development of muscle mass and overall bodybuilding success?

Skip: You must always have a “big picture” of what you ultimately want to accomplish with your body.

With that being said, you must realize that your “big picture” is nothing more than knocking down your “daily disciplines”, as I call them, every single day. One weight training session at a time – that consists of one exercise; that has one set; that has one repetition at a time. One cardiovascular training session–that consist of one minute at a time; that has so many hard strokes at a time during that minute. One great meal at a time leads to success. Doing all these things for one day; one week; one month; for several months; for a year; and for several years is what’s going to lead to great results. And, when you consistently knock out your “daily disciplines” you are going to ENJOY the process a lot more. Oftentimes, your level of enjoyment during your journey can supersede you actual results – and you feel like you are winning.

Tom: I’ve noticed that sometimes people say, “That guy has great genetics” but it’s not a compliment – they mean to take away some of your credit as if to say, “He looks like that only because of his genetics.” I’m curious about how you would describe your own genetics and I’m wondering what you think happens when you take someone with world class genetics AND a world class hard work ethic and put the two together, compared to the guy with world class genetics who doesn’t give 100%.

Skip: One year at the Team Universe when my weight class was walking on stage, one of the competitors behind me yelled “Genetics don’t get you up out of bed to train at 5 o’clock in the morning.” That was a line from an article I had written for Iron Man Magazine. Great genetics certainly are not what made me use my abilities to their fullest for such a long period of time.

The truth of the matter is, if I didn’t have both great genetics AND an exceptional work ethic, you wouldn’t even be communicating me with right now. My perspective wouldn’t matter to you or anyone else. You wouldn’t even know who I am unless I trained in your gym at the same time as you did. One without the other doesn’t make you known all over the world for what you do.

All of the people who started on their bodybuilding and training journeys over the last 20 years who had great genetics without an exceptional work ethic are simply unknowns right now. At least in the bodybuilding and fitness world they are unknowns.

People should only be concerned about how much they are taking advantage of their own genetic abilities and becoming the best they can be. Control all of the factors that I’ve mentioned that you can control – and don’t worry about your genetics that you can’t control. This is all about being the best YOU can be – not yourself compared to me or anyone else. Most people fall way short of maximizing their own genetic potential.

My genetics can only be accurately measured when they are compared to somebody else’s. Compared to the vast majority of people in the world, my genetics are indeed great. But when you compare my genetics to elite, successful bodybuilders, they are just pretty good. There were many people at the Team Universe every year who had better shape, flow, and symmetry to their physiques than I did. I simply outworked them with my conditioning and stage presentation.

I’ve had several people during my career volunteer their belief that, even if I took steroids, I wouldn’t be a Mr. Olympia level competitor because of my lack of great genetics. As with everything in life, nothing has any value unless it is compared with something else.

I will say that I am certainly genetically gifted to have to trained so heavily and for so long without any damage to my body. I had no serious injuries that caused me to miss a single workout in 15 years of competitive bodybuilding.
Skip LaCour Interview With Tom Venuto

Tom: You’ve always been known for your muscle size. Correct me if I’m mistaken but you’re 5′ 10″ I believe, and you’ve competed in the 220 range? At one point you even reported gaining 16 lbs of muscle in one year. I know you could give a whole clinic on this – and in fact, you have – but very briefly what do you feel are the most important factors for gaining mass steroid-free?

Skip: I’m closer to 5′ 11″ and my actual weight on stage in my most shredded condition was 205 pounds. I, myself, didn’t even realize how little I weighed on stage until my final two years of competing. My weight at the Thursday night Weigh-ins was about 216 to 220 when I was in my best condition.

During my last two years, I wanted to get really detailed about the entire process. I wanted to get as much information as possible about what I did so I could be a better teacher when I stopped competing. That’s when I brought a bathroom scale on my trip with me and learned exactly how much water weight my sodium loading/depleting/potassium loading process caused me to drop in just a couple of days.

Sometimes when you go from being in “off-the-charts incredible” shape one year to just being in “okay” shape the year afterward, it can cause what appears to be impressive gains in muscle.

Tom: Sorry, I didn’t mean to dock you an inch of height! I’ve noticed the same thing about stage weight – it’s mind blowing how light you come in on that one day of the show especially if you pull back water. I’ve weighed 182 or so the week before the show knowing I was stage-ready lean, but by the night show on Saturday, after cutting back water and sweating so much, I weighed more like 172. I’m lifetime natural and I got accused of steroid use all the time even though my heaviest stage weight in peak condition was 175-176 at 5′ 8″. Since your competition size was huge compared to other naturals, you must have heard the steroid accusations even more than the rest of us. How did you deal with it or respond to it?

Skip: I really don’t agree that I was so much more “huge” compared to other naturals – especially for my height.

Without a doubt, I was the most successful competitive natural bodybuilder on stage who racked up the most wins in the most highly-publicized contests; who competed in the most highly-publicized shows; who competed for the longest period of time consecutively in those high-profile contests (10 straight years); who has the most coverage in the international muscle magazines for the longest period of time (whereas most of the other natural bodybuilders received virtually none), had the best supplement company sponsors featuring me in their ads for so many years; and collectively has probably had the most visits to my web site since 1997 than any other competitive natural bodybuilder.

But that’s because of how hard I worked on the business side of things and how well I marketed myself – not because of reality. Trust me, there were many natural bodybuilders over the years who were pound-for-pound as big or bigger than me.

My belief in who I am and what I’m all about is what helped me deal with the steroid allegations. And, as I mentioned earlier, you get used to it after the first million or so times you’ve heard them.

Tom: Yeah there are some other pretty big heavyweights in the natural ranks, but at least from the perspective of a “little” middleweight like me – I’ve always considered you pretty damn big! Anyway, on the note of training to get big, over the years I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I thought of your workouts or of Max OT training with 4-6 rep sets. So now I finally get a chance to ask the man himself.

You’re strong as an ox and you had amazing success staying in the 4-6 rep range. My experience has been that in the 4-6 rep range I got superb strength gains but not as much the size gains and my joints started to hurt if I didn’t de-load. I got better size gains and joint relief with a periodized program that alternated the strength and hypertrophy (8-12) range every other workout or went through several weeks of lower reps and then alternated with several weeks of higher reps. I’ve responded really well to high rep leg training too, which I picked up from Tom Platz years ago. I have a theory about this. I think people with a high proportion of fast twitch fibers will get strength AND better muscle size results on 4-6 reps and those with mixed fiber types will do better with both rep ranges. Do you have any thoughts on “different strokes for different folks” with regard to rep ranges?

Skip: I believe all training strategies can be effective in one way, shape, or form. If it isn’t because it is the ideal strategy to give you optimal physical gains, it’s because some component of the strategy helps you with the extremely important mental aspect of bodybuilding and training.

Everyone’s goal is to find out what they feel works best for their body. The only way you can truly do that is through experimentation. Too many people “theorize” about what the best strategy for them is without experimentation. It may be “good” but it may not be the “best”.

I always remind people that even if it turns out that your current strategy isn’t the “best” for you, it doesn’t mean it is totally ineffective. In other words, if the best training strategy for your body is a “10” (on a scale from “1” to “10” and “10” is the very best) that does not mean everything else is a “zero” on scale from 1 to 10. Executing an “8” strategy for a long enough period of time until you find that perfect “10” for will lead to some impressive gains.

Tom: In the “freaky” body part category, there’s the side view of your legs. In the side poses, you blew the competition away. Not only did you show ridiculous width, when you dialed in your conditioning, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many lines separating the outer quads, hams and glute-ham tie ins as you had. I have to believe that’s not just a genetic gift and that you focused and worked hard on that look very intentionally. Am I right? And if so, how did you train to get that kind of size plus detail?

Skip: To truly know what is genetic and what is not when it comes to conditioning (degree of leanness) is impossible. It’s like you would have to live two different lives executing the same level of discipline in each year of each life.

I didn’t learn what it took to look that way and work that hard until 1998. I had won many contests before then. I didn’t repeat that ultra-shredded look until 2002 and 2003. If it was due to genetics, I should have been able to look that way in 1999 (which I came in second place in my class), 2000 (which I won my class but didn’t win the overall), and 2001 (which I came in second place in my class).

Some people say that type of conditioning is the results of all of the consecutive years of serious dieting for contest. I would not know that for sure unless I lived two different lives.

I’m sure every accomplishment in life has a genetic component to it to some extent – even intelligence (which is defined as the ability to pick up patterns more quickly than others). Figuring what patterns work is definitely a sign of intelligence.

Tom: Bodybuilders are well-known for comebacks – even famous ones like Arnold’s return to the stage in 1980 after announcing his retirement in 1975. So are you really retired from competitive bodybuilding or is there a return to the stage in store for you as well?

Skip: I am retired from competitive bodybuilding. I have gotten everything I wanted from competing many times over. In fact, I sometimes think I competed too long and made achieving some of my other goals in life a little more challenging.

Right now, I’m using the same passion, focus, and work ethic that made me an outstanding, international-recognized bodybuilder to make my supplement company, Skip La Cour’s Mass Machine Nutrition, the best one on the planet!

Tom: As a bodybuilder who no longer competes, but who is obviously still living the bodybuilding lifestyle, what kind of condition do you like to stay in year round these days in terms of the look and the weight and the strength, and what kind of training and nutrition does it take to achieve that?

Skip: If you consider all the “daily disciplines” in all the different facets of bodybuilding (weight training, cardiovascular training, nutrition, mental focus and motivation, and lifestyle organization), let’s just say I was a “10” when I was competing at the highest level (“10” being incredibly disciplined and “0” being a total slacker who can’t follow through). I can maintain my current level of fitness with about a 6.5 effort.

Bodybuilding is still a big part of my identity. My appearance and accomplishments are what makes my supplement company what it is – Skip La Cour’s Mass Machine Nutrition. It’s my brand. So, I can’t let myself go. I don’t miss workouts and I always have some degree of abs showing.

Tom: Speaking of still looking good, I’ve watched some of your new videos from this past year and you don’t look like you’ve aged a day in a decade. Is natural bodybuilding the fountain of youth or do you have some other anti-aging secret to share with us?

Skip: I appreciate that comment. I want to believe my sacrifice and dedication for so many years still has some benefits.

I am positive that eating properly and exercise has helped me to some degree remain healthy and look younger. I am positive that never doing steroids prevented me from doing any harm to myself.

When I really look closely, however, I believe that stress is what causes a person to become unhealthy and age more than any other factor besides genetics.

It sounds strange but the demanding bodybuilding lifestyle was not stressful because of its predictability. At any time in my 15 year competitive bodybuilding career, I could have told you what I was doing at a certain time and day two years earlier – and two years into the future. Sure, the heavy training, strict eating, limited lifestyle, and traveling were challenging at times – but not “stressful” per se. For the most part, my life was extremely predictable.

Starting my supplement company has been the most stressful and most challenging endeavor I’ve tackled in my life so far. It was like waking up in the morning and trying to figure out a different 2,000 piece jig-saw puzzle with your financial future depending on your performance every single day for over two years. That’s stress – and that’s what ages a person!

Tom: When you look back on your bodybuilding career, what are you most proud of and how would you like to be remembered by the next generations in the bodybuilding community?

Skip: What I’m most proud of is coming back to convincingly win the overall title at the 1998 Team Universe after coming in a disappointing 5th place in the heavyweight class the year before. Until now with my supplement company, I had never worked harder for anything in my life before.

Tom: You’ve always been a successful entrepreneur – you even turned bodybuilding into a career for yourself in a sport where many people say you can’t make a decent living. I always found that impressive and I’m wondering what’s new and what’s next for skip the businessman?

Skip: I planned to make Skip La Cour’s Mass Machine Nutrition the best and most effective supplement company in the world. I have 20 years of expert bodybuilding and mental strength information that I plan to share with the world on a larger scale than I have ever before.

I also have a passion for helping men become better leaders. Through my studies and my own experiences, I have developed the MANformation personal development program for men. It teaches men Alpha Male leadership strategies. MANformation teaches a man how to lead his own life more effectively – and then learn how to lead others. I have audio seminar programs and other learning material that I offer at my web site.

Tom: You’re all over the internet now, You Tube, Facebook and you have more than one website – what are the best places for bodybuilding fans to look you up online?

Skip: for bodybuilding and training information. for Skip La Cour’s Mass Machine Nutrition sports nutrition and bodybuilding supplement line. for Alpha Male Leadership Strategies.

“For social Networking, you can find me on:”

Tom: One more thing Skip – If I’m not mistaken, all of your classic bodybuilding courses – even those ones I mentioned that I’ve had since the late 90’s – are still available on your site, along with a lot of new stuff, like audio MP3s, training DVDs and personal development products. If so, then where specifically can our readers get more info and do you have any sales or good deals going on right now that you can hook my readers and members with?

Skip: Tom, so much of what we talked about in this interview is about the mental and emotional ingredients for success. I know that I’m the best person to come to when explaining those concepts – and having them apply them to the bodybuilding, training, and fitness efforts.

Your students have picked a great teacher in you for the specific training and eating strategies. I’d like to help bolster everything they’ve learned from you with what I’m known for best.

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. Whether they subscribe to my training and eating philosophies or not, I’ve made a special connection with them because of these leadership courses.

I believe the success of this course among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts is because the same people who want to improve their bodies understand how important it is to improve their attitudes as well.

In many ways, MANformation is my personal story striving for success in life. It’s 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.

We talked about a lot of non-bodybuilding topics during this interview that all factored into my success as a bodybuilder: Self-confidence; Believing in who I was, what I was all about, and my message; How I dealt with this challenging situation or that challenging situation; How I developed such high standards, discipline, focus, consistency; How I avoided the opinions of other people who believe the details aren’t important; How I handled the negative opinions of others, and much more.

Those are the character qualities, characteristics, and actions of a true leader – and that’s what you learn from my MANformation program.

And, Tom, what’s been a very pleasant surprise is all the WOMEN who discovered value in this “MANformation” material!

These perceptive women gained an awareness of how things really work within human interactions – and they’ve used that new-found awareness to take control over any situation. The insights they learned in the MANformation material was like giving them a “sneak peak in to the other team’s playbook”.

Many of the women who appreciated the value in these leadership strategies not only used it themselves, they turned their husbands, boyfriends, and brothers onto them!

As for special deals for your members and subscribers, sure I’d be happy to do that: I’m offering my 11-hour MANformation audio course with workbooks, “The Mindset and Actions of a Powerful Alpha Male Leader” at a 20% discount. All they’ll need to do is type in the coupon code – inner – when they check out.

I’ll also throw in three free bonuses: First, a one-hour audio seminar titled “The Top 10 Qualities, Characteristics, and Actions of a Powerful Alpha Male Leader,” and that’s a $24.99 value.

And I’ll also include two free ebooks: “Disarming the Alpha Male of the Group”: 33 Effective Techniques That Will Put You Back In Control.” And “Skip La Cour’s Daily Training Journal”, that’s the same ebook that made an impression on you many years ago. It’s a $24.99 value and I’ll throw that in free as well.

To get the discount and the free bonus ebooks, don’t go to the public home page, go to the special discount page I set up for you at this link:

Tom: Thanks for the offer Skip, we appreciate it. Your contest training journal was a real eye opener for me about what goes into contest prep at the national and world-class level. I’m going to check out your new leadership course myself too as soon as I get the chance. Also, thanks for taking the time do do such a detailed interview. We all appreciate you sharing the advice not just on bodybuilding, but on being successful in life and on being leaders and role models to those around us. Hope to talk to you again soon!

Disclosure: Tom Venuto and Tom have no affiliation with Skip Lacour mass machine nutrition supplements.

About Fitness Author and Fat Loss Coach, Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing ripped 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements. Discover how to increase your metabolism, burn stubborn body fat and find out which foods burn fat and which foods turn to fat by visiting the home page at: