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Darren Meade Interview
Article care of www.star-interviews.com
Lemmon: What directed your attention to the industry
itself as a profession and how did you originally see
your part in it?
Darren Meade: Well to be honest my direction in the
industry actually came about from Lee Labrada. Back
in 1991 Lee had given me a call about a gym he was going
to be opening with a then unknown Dr. Connelly in Costa
Mesa California. Lee asked for me to provide him some
demographics of the area and to scout possible locations
which I gladly did as a favor to Lee. A few weeks later
Lee called and asked if I would like to manage the gym.
I told him no because at the time I was the General
Manager of Operations for a medical company and I enjoyed
the fact that people seemed shocked that a competitive
bodybuilder had a corporate job. The fact of saying
I manage a gym was not appealing. Lee told me that they
would match my current salary and to at least meet Dr.
Connelly before making any decision. I did and Dr. Connelly
told me if I made the gym successful he would bring
me into other opportunities as well. If it was anyone
other than Lee I would have said no but I said Yes and
the rest is history.
Don Lemmon: Your 5 favorite websites are:
Darren Meade: Drudge Report, Get Big, Consumer Lab,
FHU, Thiemes Connect (Of course your site as well)
Don Lemmon: Got a secret you want to share about
the supplement industry? Tell us something nobody knows
but only because they havent asked.
Darren Meade: Theres so many. Perhaps the one
that astounded me the most is that all these products
we buy, Fat Burners, Protein, Meal Replacements
and so on are not initially developed under the auspiciecies
of whats in our best interest. In other words
the products are developed to fit within a certain price
point. Not the best product possible. I also hate to
be the bearer of bad news but small companies that do
not own their own manufacturing facility cannot truly
offer a high grade product. The reason why isnt
that they do not want to, it is that you have to buy
your raw materials in large bulk to get good pricing.
Similar to the price break you get when you buy 5 pound
or protein versus 2.2 pounds. Small companies just cannot
buy the materials they need in large enough quantities.
Because of this they are forced to use the lower blends
or grades of materials.
Don Lemmon: What's the hardest and yet easiest part
of dealing with the sport?
Darren Meade: The hardest part of the sport is trying
to discern who your friends truly are. In one moment
a person is saying hi and excited to see you and then
a week later you learn what they have said or are saying
behind your back. Usually it is someone less talented
than yourself who is merely trying to impede your progress
because they know you are better than them. The easy
part is once you realize this they become insignificant
in your life.
Don Lemmon: Have the people around you changed since
you got started? Those who werent supportive,
suddenly are or vice versa?
Darren Meade: Wow, I think the easiest way to sum this
up is something my father told me long ago. Son
you will have allot of acquaintances in your life but
your lucky to have one true friend and blessed if you
have two. I never really understood that for a
very long time. Don as you know during my MET-Rx days
I was surrounded by people in the sport who I thought
were my friends. Well it turned out allot of people
were my friends because I often picked up the dinner
tab or had the limos at the shows, or they simple
pretended to be my friends because they wanted a contract
or were trying to keep the one they had. The funniest
story would be after I left MET-Rx I was at the Arnold
Classic and ran into a group of acquaintances
who I thought were my friends. These were people I cared
about, had leant money too had them over to my house
for dinner and told me they would do anything for me
as I approached they nervously scattered. It turned
out as I found each of them later that they had been
told to not speak with me because I no longer was a
part of MET-Rx. The people I traveled with and cared
about turned their backs when I was no longer in a situation
to help them. I also had a marriage dissolve because
the money wasnt as free flowing, man my Dad was
Don Lemmon: 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 asked?
Darren Meade: Yes I believe bodybuilding is healthy
as long as with anything it is not done to an excess
and your life is in balance. Last week I was at a tradeshow
and saw Jack Lalanne. Here he was at 86 years old demonstrating
exercises you can do on a chair to stay fit. So I hope
to be able to still work out like Jack at 86 and hear
that age old question, how big our your biceps.
Don Lemmon: 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 looking in?
Darren Meade: Hmmm, I think your trying to get me in
trouble. Dont worry, I will not fail you. Actually
on this question I believe you have two answers. (1)
This person may be a true go-getter and simply worked
harder, or had a better presentation. (2) Or it may
simply be the age old adage it not what you know but
who you know. In any event I believe everyone is where
they are in life from their own decisions and actions.
Don Lemmon: Your crowning achievement in life using
what you have achieved so far will hopefully be what?
Darren Meade: Honestly Don that revolves around an issue
that is very close to my heart. When I was in my teens
I was homeless for a year living in the streets. It
was the whole nine yards, digging out of dumpsters for
food and at the time my prize possession was a hand
held can opener. I know it sounds crazy, but that can
opener allowed me to buy a canned food, one can of beans
would be two or three meals. Once I had some success
in business and bodybuilding, I was contacted by FEED
THE CHILDREN. This is an organization that brings in
truck loads of food to starving homeless kids here in
the US and abroad. So you can imagine my connection
to this cause. Ive sponsored different truck loads
of food personally and have also been used to help increase
media awareness. It seems the news media finds it a
human interest story to have a former homeless kid become
Mr. North America. Working with the kids really tugs
at my heart strings and my crowning achievement would
be to open centers for the kids to go when they are
abandoned, cold and hungry. My other glory in life comes
from my family Katrina and Devin.
Don Lemmon: Tell me a joke:
Darren Meade: WHO is a joke?Ahh, I wish I could tell
you my truthful response. However I signed a settlement
agreement and would be liable for damages if I discuss
Don Lemmon: Favorite music album of the year so far
and what do you listen to most?
Darren Meade: Ive been clubbing allot this year
so Ive been listening to allot of trance especially
a spinner named Anthony Acid.
Don Lemmon: What is your favorite probably regarded
to as BAD music or an album no one else likes but you
Darren Meade: You know, something a bit embarrassing
but you just don't care! It would be either Neil Diamond
or a new opera singer named Russell Watson.
Don Lemmon: Tell me something about the industry
you are in people forget.... and something they do not
Darren Meade: People tend to forget a very simple and
common thread in life. If all you do is read a particular
magazine or one website you have the possibility of
being controlled mentally. Okay so right now I may sound
like Mel Gibsons character in Conspiracy Theory
but here me out. Lets say youre a big fan
of a certain magazine, website or combination of the
two and you read and follow every issue of this magazine
or visit the website daily and this is your only source
of bodybuilding and nutrition information. Doesnt
sound out of the ordinary, but let me give you the same
paradigm but in a differing subject manner. In Germany
there was a man name Borman who was in control of the
media. He handled the propaganda that the Nazis
put forward and it was so powerful it controlled a nation.
Dont accept only one expert in any field, read
and make your own decisions.
Don Lemmon: Who is the most intriguing person in
your current business?
Darren Meade: Joe Weider still is to me. Here is a guy
who followed his dreams and has attained everything
one could want. What most impresses me about Joe is
he still is enthused about his magazines. The last time
I visited Joe he had photos strewn about on a
large table in his office. He then preceded to show
me a photo of Lee Priest forearm and you should have
seen how excited he was over the shot for an upcoming
forearm article. He still loves what he does even now
after all those issues hes printed as Chris Lund
would say thats magic.
Don Lemmon: What is your favorite movie ever and
video most watched?
Darren Meade: I really enjoyed The Messenger and the
most watched video is Meet the Parents.
Don Lemmon: How often do you see concerts and what
was the last one attended?
Darren Meade: Only 2-3 a year and the last one was Russell
Watson on opening night for the Kodak theater the new
home of the Oscars.
Don Lemmon: The TV show you most watch is:
Darren Meade: Blind Date
Don Lemmon: I tried a brand of protein powder distributed
from Venice Beach only because you supposedly recommended
it and then I found out you did not endorse them. I
got headaches and fits of aggression after trying it....
Darren Meade: Wow
where do I begin. First off I
apologize to both yourself and anyone else that bought,
believed or did anything because of my involvement with
Nuclear Nutrition. The bottom line is I met this guy
and his wife and was 100% conned into believing that
they were quality people. Quickly let me tell anyone
who is reading this that if anyone ever tells you that
they dont have any true friends in town
that from their heart of hearts they are good people
run theres a reason they have no friends. Okay
back to the story. I meet Trevor and his wife who had
a fledgling company. They proceed tell me a story of
how they were screwed over by their ex-business partner.
Since I knew what this felt like I wanted to try and
help them. Before long they offer me a percentage of
their company in exchange for my help. They ask me to
help them at the upcoming USA Championships in Las Vegas.
That was the year my friend Tevita Aholei turned pro.
They told me they had a booth, they didnt tell
me it was outside the hall. These two rented a booth
in a tent in the middle of the desert Immediately, I
begin to see that these two need allot of help. I go
and speak with John Lindsey the promoter of the USA
and as a personal favor to me he arranges for their
company to have a booth inside the actual hall. This
may not sound like much but you must remember that companies
like MET-Rx and Bio-Chem spend big money to be inside.
Nuclear wound up with a hell of a deal. I then begin
put together a concept for a magazine called GEAR U.Z.R.
to be handed out at the upcoming Olympia. I also designed
a proper booth to be utilized at the show. At the USA,
all they had was a vinyl plastic sign that said simply
said the name of the company and two wrinkled shirts
with their companies logo, how embarrassing is that.
During the show, I believe they only sold a few hundred
dollars worth of product (which in reality wasnt
much because it amounted to only 2-3 vials of pump-n-pose)
of product. However I struck up a conversation with
a distributor and told him about the concept of GEAR
U.Z.R. and that we would give him a free page of advertising
in exchange for buying a few thousand dollars of product.
Basically he bought 5 times as much as Nuclear sold
during the show. Let me tell you I wish I had never
spoken to this poor guy. He was an honest guy and at
this point I didn't know I was involved with Satan and
people who would simply be incapable of honoring their
word or doing what is right. Okay to make a long story
short I had this magazine laid out and looking great.
During this time my friend who was doing all the graphic
work had surgery and was finishing the job from her
bed. Once the final proof was in and the work done I
received an email from Trevor telling me to fuck off
and that my airline tickets and room at the Olympia
had been canceled. A few days after the email I heard
from my friend who had worked on this project for two
weeks and hadnt been paid. I sent her a check
for her work because she only did the job as a favor
to me. They never reimbursed me. I paid for the magazine
that they handed out at the Olympia. The booth they
used was also from my work and I never received a dime.
The guy who bought all that product was stiffed out
of his ad and to many people I know had destroyed stomachs
from trying that stuff based on my involvement
SORRY TO ANYONE WHO MADE THE MISTAKE OF TAKING THAT
Don Lemmon: 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, prejudiced me. My family
was afraid I would crush my nieces and nephews... Can
Darren Meade: Don I wish I could I am a middleweight
competitor. Theres a strange occurrence for the
most part I am treated very well. The only negative
is usually from a guy whose girl is looking at you and
they become insecure and will say I could look
like that if I took steroids or, I use to
look like you but I was a little bigger.
Don Lemmon: Tell me what you ate yesterday (or today
for that matter):
Darren Meade: Blueberry waffles, Protein shake, Sushi,
Chicken, Eggs, Noodles and half of a cheesecake factory
Don Lemmon: What type of aerobic schedule do you
keep? Do you go for speed, time or distance?
Darren Meade: Im getting older so to stay in good
shape I now must do cardio 3 days a week. I am on the
treadmill and just go fast enough to maintain my target
heart rate for 30 minutes.
Don Lemmon: 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 now?
Darren Meade: I would have to say God. Imagine finding
out all the answers in one day, besides I have always
wanted to know if he really knows everything that you
.I need to know how much explaining I
will have to do *grin*
Don Lemmon: What did we forget?
Darren Meade: Quickly, I would like to simply state
that a little over a year ago when I ended a relationship
with a shoddy so called nutritional company some negative
comments about myself were levied and also statements
about my finances as well. What happened is some one
I trusted and had living with me forged numerous checks
cashed them and then took my car and puppy. At the time
I thought this was a tragedy in my life. Little did
I know that it was a true blessing. I realized to just
what extreme people would go and that I deserved better
than this. Today I live in my new home which looks at
the ocean. Ive been working with a new company
and have been approached to write two new books about
my life and nutritional philosophy. The best thing is
I truly have the most beautiful women by my side and
a lovely daughter. Life is truly great.
Darren at www.brionherbs.com
Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How
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