Chris Aceto Interview
Article care of www.star-interviews.com
LEMMON ASKS: Who was the first person to tell you getting
into bodybuilding was a crazy idea?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Well, my father always told me
as a teenager, "You can't eat the weights"
which I never understood until much later. By that,
he was telling me bodybuilding was a viable path to
being poor. I thought he was the crazy one cause I never
had intentions of being a professional bodybuilder mainly
because I never knew anyone could actually generate
money from looking all pumped up. A few years later
after great success, my coach, Bob Gruskin, the one
and only real guru of bodybuilding told me the same
thing - though he hammered it home over and over and
reiterated my father's mantra that a college education
was the way to go. I went on to Springfield College,
was a straight A student and won my class at several
contests including the Collegiate Mr America.
LEMMON ASKS: What directed your attention to the industry
itself as a profession and how did you originally see
your part in it?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: It was fate to some degree. First,
I worked for Joe Weider at his Muscle and Fitness Bodybuilding
Camp in Los Angeles. I was really young. The first summer
I was there I was only 20. I worked there during the
summer of '87, '88 and 89. Lee Haney and Rich Gaspari
were in their prime, bodybuilding was exciting then.
At least it seemed so to me. During those years, I got
to interact with really good people. Besides Lee Haney
and Samir Bannout, whom I forged a great friendship
with, I got to know Dr Tom Deters and Vince Scalisi.
Tom is, in my opinion, brilliant and really focused.
Really really focused. I am too, so I kinda liked just
being around him. Vince, who is now sort of the co-captain
with Tom, at Muscle and Fitness is a smart guy and truly
genuine. Those camp years got me thinking I'd be involved
in the industry some how, though I didn't have this
overwhelming need or drive to stay in the field. I also
met Laura Creavalle at the camps and, for us, things
LEMMON ASKS: Your 5 favorite websites are:
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: www.nytimes.com I just have to
keep up on what on earth is going on. Course, there's
mine www.chrisaceto.com Why not a selfish plug? I like
yahoo for its variety and ease-of -use and amazon and
Barnes & Noble to see how my books are selling.
(ok. another selfish plug - or two. Oops! Almost forgot.
I like www.flexonline.com too to read the gossip. I
am soooo outside the bodybuilding world I like to keep
up on all the silly things. Makes me feel connected.
DON LEMMON ASKS: Got a secret you want to share? Tell
us something nobody knows but only because they havent
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I was responsible for the bull
market of the 1990's! Well that's why we call 'em secrets
right? I'm a container that's air tight. No secrets
LEMMON ASKS: What's your craziest experience in the
sport or maybe witnessed happen but didn't participate
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: The craziest? Was when A pro
bodybuilder cramped up on stage and soon after another
guy cramped at the USA. This was around 1993. I knew
it was all down hill from there. I mean, I had, at some
time, been advising a few pro bodybuilders and I always
was and have been extremely conservative in all facets
of the sport. When someone almost dies, it's an indication
something mighty strange is going on...something I never
wanted and don't want to be a part of.
LEMMON ASKS: Anything embarrassing ever happen to YOU
when trying to look cool? What?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Without trying to sound too cocky
or arrogant , I 've never put forth an effort to look
cool or hip. I've always just been myself and been pretty
much happy at that with no real need to feel I have
to 'look' or 'act' a certain way. For the most part,
it's kept me out of trouble and stress free. I think
a lot of that may have come from my surroundings. I
was raised in Maine, sort of a quite life, where most
folks just didn't try to look cool. I guess there may
have been less peer pressure in a more rural state or,
at least, there might have been less peer pressure then,
than now. I do remember the one time a drank alcohol
in high school. That was clearly a move trying to look
cool. I was at a party and drank 2 beers and was sick
by the second one. The gross type of sick....
LEMMON ASKS: Your biggest lie ever is:
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: " I never lie" Can't
get bigger than that.
DON LEMMON ASKS: What's the grossest thing you ever
ate? Was it because some one said "Hey, taste this!"
and did you get even? or did you want to try it?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I once ate a pigeion in the Saudi
Desert. It was so bad tasting I expelled it out of my
mouth straigh across the cicrle I was sitting in. A
gallon of ketchup would not have tempered the (lack
DON LEMMON ASKS: What's the hardest and yet easiest
part of dealing with the sport?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: The hardest for the individual
is knowing how to self evaluate. I think all bodybuilders
need some guidance. Even an honest friend to critique
their physique. It's also hard to encourage people to
continue to compete because, to some degree, you are
facilitating drug use. While that is the individual's
own choice, I can't keep a clear concious and say I
don't feel I'm part of the problem when someone, with
great genetics, asks if they have "what it takes"
to be a pro bodybuilder, and I enthusiastically affirm
"Yes! go ahead and go for it! The easy part. There
really is no easy part to successful bodybuilding. It
takes lots of time, lots of effort, lots of dedication
and lots of perserverence.
DON LEMMON ASKS: Have the people around you changed
since you got started? Those who werent supportive,
suddenly are or vice versa?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: True friends will encourage you.
Those not so true will not. It's a nice test of a friendship
to see where those friends go during non successful
DON LEMMON ASKS: I have been asked that 1000 times.
Is professional bodybuilding healthy? Is it something
one can do forever and then tell me, what is your most
frequently asked question and what question makes you
crazy, but you somehow manage to remain composed when
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: "How do I loose weight?"
I get in over and over. And over.
LEMMON ASKS: Is there a job or a gig that you were offered
but passed up in the past that we would find interesting
because it has mothing to do with bodybuilding? Like
bagging groceries or something? There may have been
opportunities I missed, though, looking at it from a
different angle, the things I have done may have worked
out far better than supposed 'opportunities.' You can't
live in the past only look forward to the future.
DON LEMMON ASKS: Some people think you appeared overnight.
How does it make you feel to see people less talented
or not in as good of shape as you handed something overnight?
Does it give the wrong impression to those on the outside
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Well, when I started coaching
bodybuilders in 1986 and '87 I sort of did appear over
night. What I realize now, that I did not realise then,
was I really had, besides a great textbook knowedge
of training and nutrition via my University degree,
a tremendous amount of natural insight for both training
and nutrition. I think a lot of that came from having
a curious mind and the opportunity to spend time with
Bob Gruskin and many great bodybuilders he made. Of
course, I picked the brains of bodybuilders at Muscle
and Fitness Camp too. Anyhow, when I was really helping
lots of bodybuilders, I don't think people knew what
to think of me cause I was young and probably looked
younger. Those were great days cause training and diet
were more important as drug use was less intense. DON
LEMMON ASKS: Your crowning achievement in life using
what you have achieved so far will hopefully be what?
Oh. I don't think I have a crowning achievement. But
I am happy to have been able to help a few people realise
their dreams and aspirations while maintaining a friendship
with them outside of a strictly 'business' relationship.
DON LEMMON ASKS: Tell me a joke: What do you get when
you cross a Macaw and a Paraqueete? A bird who not only
can hold a tune, but knows all the words.
DON LEMMON ASKS: Favorite music album of the year so
far and what do you listen to most?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I'm not a music collector, but
I like top 40, jazz, and classical
LEMMON ASKS: What is your favorite probably regarded
to as BAD music or an album no one else likes but you
love anyhow? You know, something a bit embarrassing
but you just don't care!
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Classical. I always liked how
it made me feel when I'd window shop at boutiques in
Portland, Maine. And, while I dont like museums, I dig
the classical beat.
LEMMON ASKS: Tell me something about the industry you
are in people forget.... and something they do not realize....
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Bodybuilders forget they got
to retire one day.......Supplement companies forget
to tell people most of their gains are due to hard training,
rest and good ole eating habits. Magazine Publishers
forget to tell you there's nothing too new under the
sun, and People with PhD's forget to tell you they really
copy, steal and usurp information from Muscle and Fitness!
Seriously. That is, bodybuilders, Joe Weider speficially,
was the first person to build science based models for
training and bodybuilding nutrition. He was the first
to discuss negative reps....low and behold! PhDers tell
us the negative portion of the rep is vital in muscle
growth. Joe was the first to tell bodybuilders they
needed more protein....PhDers come out and tell us that
years later. Joe was waaay ahead of his time with this
stuff. I don't like that most PhD-types frown upon training
and nutrition practices of modern day bodybuilders while
they're the ones behind the times. Bodybuilding and
J Weider paved the way for modern day University nutrition
and physiology degrees. They'll deny it, but thats the
truth. Go JOE!
DON LEMMON ASKS: Once that is off your chest, what other
thing would you change about your industry if you could
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: In pro Bodybuilding....hmmm.
I don't have solutions so I can't really criticize.
I'd like to see higher prize money for the men and women
and I'd like to see drug testing. I'm just bored of
dumb ads for supplement companies. The claims are stupid.
DON LEMMON ASKS: Who is the most intriguing person in
your business besides yourself?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Joe Weider. Nobody comes close.
LEMMON ASKS: Tell me the last good movie you can remember
in a long time that you saw in theaters, and the last
video you rented:
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I rented "Meet the Parents"
last night. A good theatre movie? "Chicken Run"
It's about good versus evil and the good wins out.
DON LEMMON ASKS: How often do you see concerts and what
was the last one attended?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I live in Maine Don. Zero. But
if Janet Jackson tour comes here it might be hard to
get a ticket in a theatre that holds less people than
a large apartment complex in New York.
DON LEMMON ASKS: The TV show you most watch is:
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: 60 minutes. Sundays at 7 pm
LEMMON ASKS: When I was bodybuilding, I was around 270
and had abs but wasn't ripped. My next question involves
the scenario that while being that big, people treated
me like an animal, predjiduced me. My family was afriad
I would crush my nieves and nephews... Can you relate?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: My family was likely more worried
with "How big is enough" At one time I weighed
260 when no one else ...or very few did.
LEMMON ASKS: Tell me what you ate yesterday (or today
for that matter):
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: Today I had 3 eggs, hashbrowns
and an english muffin. For lunch I tried to eat a big
steak and baked potato but failed.
LEMMON ASKS: What type of aerobic schedule do you keep?
Do you go for speed, time or distance?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I think aerobics is dumb. I'd
rather eat less or train hard.
LEMMON ASKS: The worst pickup line you ever heard was...
And did that pickup line work?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: "Whats a guy like you doing
in a nice place like this" Not sure if that was
a drunk pick up line or a put down.
LEMMON ASKS: If you were anyone else who would you be
(even just for a day, a good day) or who did you emulate
growing up? Do you still emulate or try to be like them
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: I'm way too unimaginative huh?
I'm still trying to perfect what I got. I guess, in
modern times, a nice role model is Muhammad Ali. He
opposed the war, he lost basically his popularity and
his money. But, he did what I think was right and in
the end, through living up to high moral principles,
he became a icon.
LEMMON ASKS: What did we forget?
CHRIS ACETO RESPONDED: My last chance to plug my books
on training dieting and fat free sugar free cooking.
"The Lite Lifestle" cook book is the bomb!
more of Chris at www.chrisaceto.com
Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How
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