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Meet the Press
An Interview with Lou Schuler


T-Nation: Lou, how'd you get into the fitness journalism biz as opposed to, say, the lingerie model journalism biz?

Lou Schuler:

T: T-Nation readers know that most pro-bodybuilders don't know much about training and diet because with their genes and drug use, well, they don't have to. How about these purdy male models on fitness mag covers? Do they know their stuff?

LS:

T: You know, the hardcore crowd has always poked fun of the popular fitness mags. I'm guilty of this myself. But then I got to talking to the various editors and writers and found out that most of them really know their stuff. Problem is, that "stuff" doesn't always make it into the magazines. Is there a higher-up at these mags squashing the more advanced stuff or demanding that the info be watered down?

LS:

T: Fair enough. Now, I know you probably didn't have anything to do with this when you were at Men's Health, but do you know why every single cover is a black and white shot of a 30-something year old dude with great abs? I haven't been able to tell one cover from the next for the last several years!

T: Okay, let's get into the training and diet stuff. I have a theory that those who've struggled with fat or have a tough time adding muscle make the best fitness writers and trainers. I don't want to hear advice from genetic mutants and guys who can eat anything and not gain fat. Do you agree and have you struggled yourself?

LS:

T: What does your typical training week look like these days? How about diet? Any general guidelines you try to follow?

LS:

T: Cool. Let's talk nutrition. Diet foods are selling like low carb hotcakes, people are spending millions on fat loss supplements, and everyone I know is on a diet. So why are Americans getting fatter and fatter?

LS:

T: I don't know. While they may not know about frequent small meals and timing issues, I gotta think that most people know what's bad for them and what isn't. My guess is that conflicting diet info confuses the lay person and he just says "screw it" and eats a doughnut. Or maybe we're all just genetically programmed, opportunistic pigs when it comes to food? If so, then isn't the key simply self-control?

LS:

T: Sounds like good advice. Now, I remember when I was a kid there was only one fat kid in every class. (I think I was that kid in the 5th grade!) These days half the class is fat and there's only a couple of fit looking kids in each grade. We know more about health and fitness than ever before in history, so why are kids getting so damned fat?

LS:

T: There was a survey conducted a while back in Australia that showed that girls whose parents "deprive them" too much of junk food as kids often rebel later in life and get chubby. So what's the solution here? How do we keep our kids fit without giving them "issues?"

LS:

T: Sounds like a good compromise. Now, what's the most disturbing trend you're seeing in the health/diet world right now?

LS:

T: Kinda scary. You're becoming known as a media watchdog on issues dealing with health and fitness. Does the media do a good job presenting this kind of info?

LS:

T: If I went two hours without… never mind. Let's not go there. Speaking of low carb diets, has this trend been positive or negative?

LS:

T: Excellent point. I've often said that keeping a food log alone is a great diet, because people tend to avoid eating junk they couldn't log anyway—like a pizza buffet.

Let's talk training. It's easy to spot where newbies are screwing up in the gym, you know, like never training their lower bodies and sitting backward in the pulldown machine. But where do you see experienced lifters messing up? What mistakes do "advanced" gym rats make that hinder their progress?

LS:

T: What about dietary mistakes among experienced trainers? See any common problems among "advanced" guys?

LS:

T: Good point. You once said that a motivated exerciser or dieter can make just about anything work. You described this as a "dirty secret of the body-changing business." What do you mean by that?

LS:

T: Are there any secrets to staying motivated when it comes to exercising and eating right? In your years in the biz, have you noticed any patterns among those who stay with it for life compared to those who can never stay with it for more than a few weeks?

LS:

T: Any other dirty secrets of the body-changing biz out there? I'd like to hear a few "things you can't say in a fitness magazine" statements, if you have any.

LS:

T: I guess that's the advantage here at T-Nation: It's easier to crank out detailed, more complex articles on the Internet.

Now, you seem to be a political junkie like many of us around here. Any thoughts on what the government can do for health/fitness issues, if anything?

LS:

T: What's next for you, Lou? Any cool projects in the works?

LS:

T: Sounds good, Lou. Thanks for the interview!

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