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Darren Meade Interview

Article care of www.star-interviews.com

Don 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 haven’t asked.
Darren Meade: There’s so many. Perhaps the one that astounded me the most is that all these products we buy, Fat Burner’s, Protein, Meal Replacements and so on are not initially developed under the auspiciecies of what’s 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 isn’t 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 weren’t 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 limo’s 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 wasn’t as free flowing, man my Dad was right.

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. Don’t 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. I’ve 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 it.

Don Lemmon: Favorite music album of the year so far and what do you listen to most?
Darren Meade: I’ve been clubbing allot this year so I’ve 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 love anyhow?
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 realize....
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 Gibson’s character in Conspiracy Theory but here me out. Let’s say you’re 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. Doesn’t 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 Nazi’s put forward and it was so powerful it controlled a nation. Don’t 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 photo’s 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 he’s printed as Chris Lund would say “that’s 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.... Any comments?

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 “don’t have any true friends in town…and that from their heart of hearts they are good people” run there’s 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 hadn’t 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…I’M SORRY TO ANYONE WHO MADE THE MISTAKE OF TAKING THAT STUFF

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 you relate?
Darren Meade: Don I wish I could I am a middleweight competitor. There’s 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 cheesecake.

Don Lemmon: What type of aerobic schedule do you keep? Do you go for speed, time or distance?
Darren Meade: I’m 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 are doing….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. I’ve 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.

Visit Darren at www.brionherbs.com

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