Stuart McRobert Interview


DM) How did you first get into bodybuilding?

SM) Born in 1958, in Stockton-on-Tees, England, I have had an almost lifelong appreciation of muscle and might. As a boy, reading Marvel comics and being awestruck by the incredible physiques of the Super Heroes intensified my interest in bodybuilding. Though I was very thin, I wanted to be huge. I started resistance training at age 14, when I got a set of chest expanders as a Christmas present. Thus started an infatuation with resistance training. In 1973, at age 15, I started weight training, in a small "dungeon" gym at a local community center. That wonderful den became the focal point of my life until I left home to go to college in Liverpool, in 1978. Muscles were more important than everything else in my life. Schoolwork, social activities and sports all played second fiddle to the quest to build big muscles. If anything did not help in the quest, it was ditched.

DM) Were you always a focused and driven person?

SM) I flitted from one interest to another until I got into bodybuilding--that was the passion. Then I was very focused and driven. Later on, when I started my own magazine and writing books, I became even more focused and driven.

DM) It certainly seems like a lot to do. How do you organize your day to get all of this done?

SM) I work full time (and then some!) on publishing and writing. I work long days and usually seven-day weeks. It's a labor of love, so the time commitment is no problem. And energy is no problem either. I'm very energetic and disciplined. DM) What is the most common mistake people make when they go to work out?

SM) Copying the training routines of the elite competitive bodybuilders. The elite are both genetically super-gifted and drug-enhanced. (Drug abuse is an enormous problem in the training world, and one that is nearly always either ignored or played down in the mainstream bodybuilding publications.) This means that the competitive elite have recovery abilities that are light years better than typical drug-free bodybuilders. Not only that, but the elite have bodies that are much more tolerant of abuse than are those of "average" people. What works well for the former does not work for the latter. And, in fact, what works well for the genetically gifted and drug enhanced can actually be destructive for typical people--causing gross over-training, injuries, and enormous frustration and disappointment.

I've been through the mill of desperation and misery from following the training routines of the drug-enhanced, genetically gifted elite. Over the years, millions of other people have suffered in the same way as I have. It was this fact that motivated me to provide an alternative approach to bodybuilding--one that really does work for sane, drug-free and genetically typical people. This approach is explained in extraordinary detail in my new 496-page book called Beyond Brawn.

DM) Is there any solution to the drug abuse problem in bodybuilding?

SM) So long as the drug abuse problem is ignored or played down by the bodybuilding establishment, and so long as drug-fed freakish physiques are presented to the bodybuilding public as heroes, and so long as bigger is better in competitive bodybuilding, and so long as drug testing is a joke or non-existent, then drug abuse will be a pivotal part of bodybuilding. The extent of the drug abuse by the really big men would make your eyes pop. And not just from the financial side of things. To make the money to fund this sort of huge drug bill leads some of the big guys to get into crime, gay prostitution, selling illegal drugs, and advising people on how to use illegal drugs. Some of them have spent/are spending time behind bars as a result. And some of them are dead.

DM) What kept you away from that?

SM) I've always had the discipline, integrity and strength of character to avoid truly destructive habits and people. Health comes first. As important as muscle and might are to me, I've never been willing to put my health and even my life on the line in the name of bodybuilding. In this sense, I practice what I preach. DM) Is it possible to keep fit by putting in only a few hours a week?
SM) Yes, but only if you really know what you are doing. If you follow the conventional training advice that is promoted by most gyms and bodybuilding publications, you will get minimal or no progress, and will likely follow the same route to failure that millions of others already have.
To build a terrific physique and level of fitness from only a few hours' work each week is totally realistic. But you need to empower yourself with the necessary knowledge and wisdom. This is where Beyond Brawn comes in. It's a distillation of what I've learned through 25 years of personal experience, and from having had over 300 articles published in newsstand bodybuilding magazines, having authored three other bodybuilding books, and having published an independent subscription-only training magazine for 10 years. Also, for 10 years I've been earning my living by exposing the myths, bull and lies of the exercise world in order to teach people how to exercise responsibly and safely, so that they can develop the bodies they want.

There are five big benefits discussed in Beyond Brawn, and they apply to all types of people interested in improving their bodies. Everyone who wants to improve his body will benefit from bodybuilding--whether he just wants to add 10 pounds of muscle and drop 10 pounds of fat, or add 20 pounds of muscles and drop 50 pounds of fat, or whether he wants to go all the way to develop the best physique his genetic potential will permit. Here are the five big benefits:

1) Time saving
No impractical or unrealistic training schedules. Twice-a-week weight training can build you the physique you want--truly--and in as little as two 60-90 minute workouts per week. You have a life to lead outside of your training program. No pro or semi-pro dedication to an exercise program is necessary.

2) Money saving
No expensive food supplements or personal training are needed.

3) Frustration saving
The training method really works, so you won't experience the frustration, disappointment, and discouragement that most people encounter from conventional training methods.

4) Injury saving
The conventional "no pain, no gain" macho maxim has caused untold harm. The method promoted in Beyond Brawn teaches the responsible and sensible way. No longer will you associate aches, pains and injuries with exercise.

5) Independence
No longer need you put yourself in the hands of instructors or personal trainers, most of whom are woefully unqualified to provide safe and responsible instruction. Become your own personal trainer and take charge of your own training! This can save you a great deal of time and money.

DM) Is it possible to stay fit just by being active...biking, playing sports, etc?

SM) Fit, yes, but not really impressive physique-wise. If you really want a terrific physique, you have to get into intelligent weight training. Of course, I'm talking about drug-free training. Forget the freaky and crazy stuff. Most people would be ecstatic to lose 20-40 pounds of fat, and gain 20-30 pounds of muscle. That can be done, drug-free, in12-18 months if you know what you're doing. This is where Beyond Brawn comes in. It spells out exactly what you need to do, and it provides the nitty-gritty, truthful and responsible information that you won't find in mainstream books.

DM) What sports and physical activities are you interested in besides working out?

SM) I don't have the time to participate in any--such are the demands of publishing and writing, and being a family man, too. (I'm married with two children, aged 12 and 10.) As a boy, I was, for a number of years, besotted with soccer and, later on, golf. I'm still very interested in soccer, and follow the British game very closely.

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