After attending the 2015 Arnold Classic I was left with some deep thoughts on the current state of Bodybuilding and the Fitness industry as a whole. This industry has dramatically changed in the last decade, but really made a HUGE leap in transformation in just the last 3 years due to prominent presence of social media--i.e. FaceBook, InstaGram, twitter, and YouTube. These outlets have made certain people (and I use these terms loosely) celebrities, icons, leaders, and individuals young people admire, look up to, and aspire to become.....Now I have no issues with people making a name for themselves and doing positive things to motivate others and be a role model to the masses etc... but when you can literally start a YouTube channel, and do something as idiotic and moronic as doing dangerous eating challenges risking health, or saying the "F word" over and over again, or thinking you know what all pro Bodybuilders "secretly" do and disclose incriminating information out to the public for the masses to think it’s 100% gospel is mind numbing.
As I was walking down the Arnold expo I saw a gigantic line wrapped around the BPI booth, I look up and see the Hodge Twins pictures across the top of a banner. I then see a similar line for another YouTube celebrity known as the BroScience guy, same for CT Fletcher. That was pretty amazing to see, but what choked me up and pierced my heart was immediately after walking past those lines I see Ed Corney's little booth. I see an individual who is pretty much the centerpiece of Bodybuilding. Someone who had the body, brain, and commendable work ethic. I saw NO LINE, I saw no one interested in his historical albums on his table from the 1960's -1990's with candid pics of Arnold, Franco, Mentzer, you name it. I literally walked away choked up trying to comprehend what is going on in this current era.
Some of these Media Celebrities had bigger lines than some of the most respectful, polite, IFBB Pros in our current day state of Bodybuilding, with perhaps more lucrative sponsors or endorsements. I 100% understand it's all about what the masses want to see and hear for companies to spark interest in paying a person to represent their company. But its to the point now that a company doesn't seem to care whether person is negative, positive , moral, immoral, respectful, disrespectful etc... to be a leader or ambassador. That part is alarming, someone with an amazing resume of serving our country, achieving a Masters degree, having Doctorate, winning several overalls, and has a amazing build, great family life, and is extremely admirable will get overlooked for sponsorship over someone who has perhaps..."2 million followers."
Ouch.....all those accolades and accomplishments mean nothing.
I am on a personal mission to spark positivity back into this industry without doing outlandish activities on camera, without using profanity every other sentence, and to give out the best, most honest information I can give, without compromising my integrity, morals and personal beliefs. I also ask fellow competitors and people with interest in bodybuilding to make conscious decisions on who you follow and look up to. - Matt Porter
John Meadows Reply
My response to Matt Porter's Post about state of the industry
Right off the bat I want to say that I agree with Matt. What he observed is spot on, and Matt is a GREAT guy, and I stand behind him as a good man.
I want to add further thoughts on this as well...sorry for the length in advance.
When I surprised everyone WAAAY back in 1999 and came in 4th place at the USA, I thought cool, show me the money..here come the lucrative deals. You know what happened? Nothing. Muscletech flirted with me and then signed Idrise Ward El instead. I went back to my corporate job and just said screw it. I'll compete for love of the sport and go make a real living so this is just a hobby. I continued to compete year after year, and many of you had no idea who I was. I even came back from near death, and NOT ONE SINGLE magazine thought that was a good enough story to print. A man with no colon achieving his best after being minutes from death. That tells you something about magazines right there.
Fast forward to about 5-6 years ago. I was approaching 40 years old, and I knew pretty soon my time window would probably close if I did nothing. I felt I had something special to offer this industry as I think (sorry if this sounds arrogant) a particularly good instinct and knowledge base, and especially sharp training mind. I decided to WORK MY ASS off. I posted tons of free information on forums. I spent a lot of time (typically 10 hours per article) writing for TNation, and major magazines. I got my CSCS, my CISSN....I had baby boy twins...and I still had my corporate job. A typical day was up at 7am and in bed at 2am as I was still coaching too. the day finally came when I could walk away from the corporate world.
I decided to give up a hefty 6 figure salary with fat bonuses to try and do this fitness thing with NO GAURANTEE of income and a family to support. this was scary. I grew up under the official poverty line (under 13k family household income). I didn't want my family to go through that.
I started filming, using social media to spread ideas, positivity, fun hopefully with my weird sense of humor...and continue to learn everything I can about hypertrophy, health..and more, growing my knowledge. I also managed to get better as a competitor..even into my 40's. I approached Prime - I called Aaron and told him what I brought to the table from all the hard work and knowledge I had gained, particularly around supplements.
And just as an example, you know what I have in the works now? CD's will be built from my seminars, I have a pre-workout bar that is all food (it will grow mold) being developed, I have books about to come out..etc. I WORK.
Now this is my journey, this is what I did. Why did I just write all that?
Because I have no sympathy for IFBB Pros or whoever they are if they aren't willing to work a job and bust their ass to GET a following. So I do not give a rat's ass if someone isn't willing to pay their dues and put their time in, and I am sorry but an IFBB Pro card doesn't mean you paid your dues. It meant you were in the right show at the right time.
Now do I think it's crazy that the YouTube celebs have these fanatical followings? Sure I do, but again I do not care. If more PRO's put out helpful information, and did things..like uh build a website..maybe their lines would be longer.
I try to mentor the pro's I work with. We work on social media, how we view training, and just about life in general. I love my IFBB guys. Ken Jackson, Fouad, Shaun Clarida, Andrew Hudson, and many many more....these are guys that are working hard to make a dent and having fun using social media, so the first thing people can do is follow them if they really love the sport. Follow people like this generally speaking. You know what would happen if you approached any one of my guys, they would shake your hand and smile and you would have a great experience. You know what would happen with many other pro's I have met? They would act like you are a bother. Been there done that.
I guess I should be happy many pro's are lazy, as it gives non pro's like me an opportunity to truly educate and inspire, and it damn sure gives YouTube celebrities an opening to do what they do.