15 Questions for TC Luoma

By February 24, 2012 Interviews

TC Luoma is someone I have tremendous respect for. In fact, I consider him to be one of the most influential individuals in the history of Strength & Conditioning. He’s had a tremendous impact on spreading “non-bodybuilding” strength training methodology with more of a strength, power, functional, or joint-friendly flare to it. Where other publications would have ignored the various writers and article submissions in their quest to promote hypertrophy-based, traditional training practices, TC saw potential and gave guys like me and methods that don’t fit the “bodybuilding-only” mold a chance.

I’m certain that had I submitted my first article, Dispelling the Glute Myth, to other sites or magazines, I wouldn’t have heard back from them. But TC saw potential and agreed to post the article, and two-and-a-half years later the hip thrust is popular around the world. When I think of it, a vast majority of what I’ve learned today as far as strength & conditioning practices are concerned come from reading TNation. I recently reached out to TC to see if he’d conduct an interview for my blog and much to my chagrin he agreed. Here’s the interview:

1. Hi TC, thank you for agreeing to conduct this interview. First off, what does TC stand for, and why do you go by “TC” instead?

 

Well, if you go to Wikipedia, or at least the last time I checked it, it suggests that the “T” stands for the descriptor, “Ten-Inch,” and the “C” stands for, well, use your imagination. Seriously. That’s what it said on my Wikipedia entry. Kinda’ makes you doubt the authenticity of some of the other info, doesn’t it?

Anyhow, TC is just the two initials of my first and middle name: Terrence Christian. I’ve always preferred to be called TC and I’ve always used it as my pen name.

2. I’d like to know how you stumbled into the fitness field. Were you always a fitness nut or did a job just fall into your lap?

 

I’ve worked out as long as I can remember. I remember wanting to start lifting weights when I was ten years old but my mother wouldn’t let me – she said it would stunt my growth. So it wasn’t until high school that I started lifting in the basement. I also read the earlier Weider Magazines and somehow thought I was the only one who liked Arnold and Frank and the rest of the California bodybuilders because nobody I knew in real life in Michigan had ever picked up a weight or even knew who those guys were.

I remember hearing that Arnold was going to do a book signing in a nearby town when I was growing up and I drove a couple of hours to see him. I’d stood in line for about an hour, finally got to the head of the line and some woman started talking to him about some business proposition. He took my book, signed it, and never even looked at me. I was seriously bummed.

 

I finally met him when I got into the biz, but it wasn’t the same.

Anyhow, years later, I hooked up with a bodybuilding photographer named Ralph DeHaan. He worked for all the mags and when I told him I write, he said he always needed articles to go with his pics. I tried writing one, sent it to MuscleMag, and they bought it. Then I sent one to Muscular Development and they bought it.

I started sending articles to mags all over the country, including some in Europe. Pretty soon I was writing 15 articles a month. I got to know everybody in the business, and then I hooked up with George Snyder and Bill Phillips and started writing most of their magazine, Muscle Media 2000. Within a year, they made me editor-in-chief. A few years later after Phillips decided he wanted to go mainstream, I left and hooked up with Tim Patterson, who had the weird and wonderful idea of starting a website called “Testosterone.”

3. It seems that those Muscle Media days were bitter-sweet times for you. Looking back, what important life-lessons did you learn from the experience?

 

That everybody in this business has something seriously, seriously, wrong with them. Dat’s a fact, Jack. I learned that business, almost invariably, will eventually exploit people, resources, or the environment. I learned that lots of money, earned very quickly, corrupts people as few things do. I learned that most people climb the corporate ladder by being sniveling, obsequious little worms. I learned that many girls, given enough money, will take their clothes off and do wonderful things, especially in Vegas (Bill used to take groups of us there for recreation).

And those were the good things I learned.

Nah, just kidding. I made a name for myself at Muscle Media 2000, earned enough money to put a down payment on a nice house in San Diego and honed any writing skills I had by writing tens of thousands of words in articles (both under my name and ghost writing for others), books, pamphlet, and ad copy. I also met Tim Patterson, which later turned out to be a very good thing because we started Biotest and T Nation together.

4. You started Biotest and TNation with Tim Patterson out of his garage in Colorado. What was your and Tim’s initial vision for the company?

 

A small correction, Bill Phillips started his company out of his mother’s garage in Colorado. We started Biotest and T Nation out of a small office building in Colorado Springs. Tim, along with Dr. Mike Leahy, were running a medical practice that was built around ART. Tim started building Biotest out of that same building while concurrently running the day-to-day doings of the ART business.

Our first “warehouse,” however, was a former gas station right next door to the ART practice.

Anyhow, we initially wanted to be a better version of the old Muscle Media 2000 had been, before it went mainstream – an entertaining and innovative source of ground breaking information on training, diet, and supplementation that didn’t suffer fools gladly but liked to make fools suffer. Similarly, we wanted to make hugely effective supplements that WE wanted to use; if anybody else wanted to use them, i.e., customers, than great. We’d have our protein cake and eat it, too.

5. Did you ever think back then that TNation would end up being so popular, and how did your and Tim’s vision for the company morph over time?

 

Yeah, I did think it would be as popular as it is. And as far as how our vision has morphed, it really hasn’t. We’re still passionate about training, whether it’s strictly bodybuilding training, or training to be as functionally brutal and bad-ass as the type MMA fighters. We also still build supplements WE want to use. If you want to use them, too, great.

That’s something that kills me. A lot of times people contact us and ask whether we used such-and-such a crappy or inferior ingredient in one of our products and I think to myself, “You moron. Why would Tim or I put some crappy ingredient in a product that we built for ourselves?

6. Do you feel that TNation is the crème de la crème for strength & conditioning writers? If so, why?

 

Absolutely. Just about anybody who’s anybody either started out with us or writes for us now. It sounds bad, but sometimes people ask me about if I’ve heard of some obscure coach and I think, perhaps mistakenly, “Hell, if he were anybody I’d already know about him and he’d be writing for us.”

7. Several years back you wrote a book titled Atomic Dog: The Testosterone Principles. I actually bought four copies; one for me, one for my twin bro, and one for each of my two step brothers. The book resonated with me because I feel that most men these days lack integrity, fortitude, and testicular-power. What’s wrong with our current generation of men?

 

Thanks! That’s really gratifying to hear.

What do I think is wrong with today’s men? Where do I start? Fear. Uncertainty. Lack of identity. Lack of true self worth. Obsession over any perceived slight. A lack of a definition of what true manhood is. Believing that money or material possessions are synonymous with accomplishment. I could write a book. Wait, I have!

8. I suppose you’ve seen it all when it comes to strength training. Since TNation’s inception in 1998 (then it was Testosterone.net) we’ve seen articles from the likes of Ian King, Charles Poliquin, Paul Chek, Dave Tate, Christian Thibaudeau, Dan John, Chad Waterbury, Alwyn Cosgrove, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Michael Boyle, Joe DeFranco, Nick Tumminello, Tim Henriques, Tony Gentilcore, Jim Wendler, Ben Bruno, and even some asshole named Bret Contreras. It’s basically a laundry-list of S&C rock stars. What 3 individuals have made the most significant impact on your training?

 

Man, I feel like a Hollywood starlet who’s been asked which of her leading men was the best lay. This sounds like I’m being diplomatic, i.e., being a slimy politician talking out of both sides of his mouth, but I’ve stolen from all the guys you’ve listed.  Each one of them has things to offer to T Naiton and to me. Otherwise, their stuff wouldn’t have been posted on T Nation.

For instance, I was just doing Bret Contreras glute thrusts yesterday. I’m using some of Wendler’s 531 stuff, too, and I routinely use Christian Thibaudeau’s methodologies, too.

I will say that Poliquin was the first to make me radically change my approach. Before Poliquin, it was 3 sets of 8 for not only me, but virtually everyone who lifted weights. (Bret’s note: I think Charles Poliquin, and possibly more so Ian King, influenced strength coach practices more than any two individuals in S&C)

9. Speaking of strength training, how do you currently train? Are you a bodypart split guy, a lower/upper split guy, or a total body training guy, and what are your goals?

 

I’m a push/pull guy. After all these years, after trying everything, it’s what makes the most sense to me and what works best for me. I lift 3 or 4 days a week and I have to confess, I’m a grinder (even though Christian and Tim are trying to cure me of this habit). I like extended sets, drop sets, multiple no-rest, make everything burn so at the end you have to drop the weights and make an ugly face until the pain goes away. It’s just my nature. Otherwise, I don’t feel like I worked out.

I also work the Prowler one or two days a week, along with riding a modified mountain bike up and down the local thousand-foot “mountain.”

My goals right now – and they may change in a few months, such is the nature of the beast – is simply to get as strong and conditioned as I can while remaining essentially the same weight. I have virtually no cartilage in my left knee – the result of a football injury – and I find that I can keep the nagging pain away if I stay reasonably light.

10. Here’s a random question. Have you ever noticed that many “gurus” in S&C seem to get really strange over time? What’s up with Gurus Gone Crazy?

 

I know, I know. Here’s what I often tell new writers. “Here’s how it will be. You’ll start writing for us. You’ll gradually grow to be very popular and make a lot of money. You’ll adore us. Then, things will change. The fame will affect you. You’ll star to castigate us for not treating you like the star you are. Your shipment of Anaconda and Indigo-3G will be a day late and you’ll threaten to sue us. You’ll leave, thinking you don’t need us, and at least 5 out of 10 times, you’ll fade into obscurity and spend your days in the park trying to teach pigeons how to Bulgarian squat.”

11. What irks you the most in regards to article submissions by prospective contributors, and what sort of writers and articles catch your eye?

 

The thing that bugs me is guys who submit articles without having studied the T Nation site. They send me articles on stuff that we’ve written about the week before. They’ll send me articles that are too simplistic for the Parade Magazine that comes bundled up with the Sunday paper. I don’t get it.

As far as what catches my eye, I usually defer to one thing, and that’s if the article makes me want to try whatever it is they’re writing about. If I’m interested in it, chances are the readers will be, too.

12. Do you have any advice for upcoming S&C writers?

 

Don’t get too immersed in studies. Instead, use experiential evidence. In other words, studies aren’t the end-all and be-all. I read them and they’re fascinating to me, but studies are often poorly designed. They’re often overlooking or missing certain intangibles. For instance, I bet if some researchers took a group of test subjects and decided to test Westside barbell’s methodologies on them, they wouldn’t get nearly the results that the real Westside does. The real training has intangibles that the research would lack, like being screamed at by a bunch of guys who look like stone killers, or having heavy metal music blasting out at 110 decibels.

Studies are great, but if you depend solely on studies, you’re just writing book reports. A literate high school kid could do the same thing. I prefer guys who read stuff and then test it out themselves.

Similarly, I sometimes get PhD nutritionists writing for us who simply can’t, because of their formal education, make a deductive leap about something. They’ll stammer that the research hasn’t proven it yet, and while every piece of evidence points to a certain conclusion, they’re unable to make the small leap. You want to smack them on the head.  Hell, this sport or activity or passion, whatever you want to call it, was built on deductive leaps.

13. Word on the street is that you’ve just written a new book titled Manhood and Other Stuff: The Testosterone Principles II. Is this correct?

 

Oh, finally, my reward for doing this interview! I get to plug my new book!

Yes, that’s true. The alleged national campaign kicks off in April, but the book is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both hard and soft cover. Like the first book, it’s about manhood.

As far as what it’s about, I’ll just give you the synopsis I just sent to the publishers. It’s probably a little longer than you expected, but what the hell, we’re not killing any trees here:

This book is about manhood, and, well, other stuff. But let’s address the manhood thing first.

And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the type of manhood that worships monster truck rallies and nacho fries and fast cars; that paints its bare chest green and sits in the subzero stands of Lambeau Field with a hunk of plastic cheese on its head while bellowing like a gutted Klingon; that communicates largely by grunting, belching, or telling fart jokes.

You know, all that stereotypical crap.

But that’s not what I had in mind. In fact, I had this notion of manhood that combines the do-goodedness of the Boy Scouts with some heaping doses of self-determination and pragmatism, sprinkled with a dollop of Testosterone, and seasoned with a few fistful-size pinches of Howard Stern.

From my experience and observations, men and boys are in some serious need of a new definition of manhood. Men by and large don’t have a masculine identity that’s much different from the one-dimensional and infantile masculinity epitomized by professional athletes or by the characters in Hollywood action movies or, worse, yet, television sitcoms.

But there’s a yin to the masculine yang I just described, and neither side is very pretty.

There’s a whole other breed of man who, despite rejecting silly Maxim Magazine notions of manhood, has gone completely in the other direction, only slowing down to do some occasional antiquing. Their balls were either cut off metaphorically by society, circumstance, or disapproving wives who put them in a Mason jar and stored them in the shed behind the pickled beets.

As a result, many kids don’t have fathers anymore; the traditional American family consists of two “moms,” one with a traditional vagina and one with a penis and testicles that acts like a mom. A lot of wives don’t have husbands anymore – they gave their wedding vows to yet another son who, despite being in his 30’s or 40’s or beyond, has to be told what to do and scolded when he’s bad.

The other type of man I described earlier, the beer-swilling, monosyllabic slobs? Oh, he gets married and has kids, too, but he doesn’t stay married very long — if his wife has any sense, that is.

So I wrote the columns that make up this book. Most of the articles are about some aspect of my version of manhood, along with the occasional observation about new developments in science or psychology, along with a healthy dose of popular culture and sex (the “other stuff” referred to in the title).

I’m hoping against all odds that it helps, at least a little bit, to set things right, or at least generate a little discussion and a lot of laughter.

14. I believe that TNation has been the single most influential website in the past two decades in terms of positively influencing the training practices of lifters worldwide. We have you to thank for helping spread sound training methods, and for this you should feel a sense of achievement. What’s your most proud accomplishment in life thus far?

Thanks! That’s nice of you to say.

As far as being “proud,” I have to take issue with that word. Don’t worry, I’ll be brief. I think pride is an immature emotion. It means I allegedly have done something (or even bought something) that I hope will convey superiority over someone else. I prefer the word “satisfaction,” as in what accomplishment has given me the most satisfaction? In other words, what have I done that was truly useful or life affirming?

First, it’s immensely satisfying when I hear you say that my first book helped your brother “man up.” I hear that type of thing a lot and it’s enormously satisfying. Secondly, I’m happy that it seems that I’ve helped spread what is often –not always – a healthy life style. From what I can see, a lot of people are healthier, fitter, able to enjoy life more, and happier because T Nation exists.

That’s very cool.

15. Thanks again for your time TC. I have one last question. My last several dogs were Min Pins, Dachshunds, or Chihuahuas – all small dogs. I imagine that you’re a Pit Bull, Doberman, or Ridgeback type of guy. Am I correct?

 

I’ll admit, I have a weakness for masculine dogs. I have two English Staffordshire Bull Terriers and they’re regarded as second cousins to pit bulls. Truth is, they were originally used for fighting in the pit in England by the coal miners that developed the breed, and they would tie a bear to a wall and have a small group of these dogs fight the bear. Pretty weird, huh?

But this breed has been domesticated over the years. In fact, they’re now called “nanny dogs” in England because of their reputation with children. That’s good, because it’s frowned on when you have dogs that actually eat kids.

Anyhow, I like the dogs because they’re relatively small, but with very thick, muscular bodies. They’re canines with the bodies of bodybuilders, coupled with the athleticism of an NFL running back.  My male, Tommey, was born from the frozen sperm of a champion dog that had been dead for over ten years. I feed him organic meats, vegetables, and Biotest supps. Hell, we should put him on the label of some of our products.

28 Comments

  • David Morales says:

    Thanks for interviewing TC! I miss his old Atomic Dog articles every Friday

  • Derrick Blanton says:

    TC is a bright and insightful writer, and brilliant satirist. His latest book will almost certainly be funny and provocative. He seems like a guy that would be a blast to hang out with. In my naive, hopeful mind I like to think he had little to do with the changes at T-Nation over the last few years.

    I started reading T-Mag back in ’98, when they still made a hard copy physical magazine. Conservative estimate, I have read 90% of their entire article library.

    A few years ago, T-Nation abruptly jumped the shark, abandoning the integrity they had established, and jumped full force into absurd supplement hyperbole. Comical advertorials with ridiculous supplement claims and enormous price tags clearly designed to fleece younger, less informed readers.

    TC was right about money corrupting.

    • Bret says:

      I did too; the hard copy magazines rocked! Derrick, I try to be understanding of some other’s mindsets but I don’t get it. For example, I click on TNation each day, read the article that’s newly posted, and click away. I get more ideas from TNation than any other medium. So many innovative coaches write for them; the most innovative in the biz (and I’ve traveled the world and met world class strength coaches). On a personal level, I’d prefer to write incredibly scientific blogposts each week and target high-level coaches, but I’d never make a penny through my writing, so I usually write to the general public and keep it simple. So I can see why they’d target younger individuals as these are the folks who generally buy supplements. If TNation didn’t make money they couldn’t afford to keep the site going, so I’m glad they do.

      I drink heaps of Grow and Flameout and believe the quality is superior to most of the competition. The advertising methods are the same all over…in all the muscle mags, infomercials, etc.

      In a perfect world we’d all get to be perfectly honest and have as much integrity as possible, but the way I see it we all have to make certain sacrifices in order to put money on the table.

      I’ll quit rambling now, BC

      • Derrick Blanton says:

        I understand that people got to get paid, BC. The irony is that T-Nation for a long time positioned themselves as the antithesis of these advertising methods!

        In fact, T-Nation (Biotest) originally branded themselves as the “keep it real, outside the box” supplement company, and openly mocked Weider, and the “Muscle and Fiction”, Flex empire etc. for their over the top, outrageous marketing duplicity.

        T-mag was straightforward, “We are a supplement company, we make good shit, here are our prices, and oh, by the way the most innovative strength content available for FREE.”

        In my opinion, they generally lived up to their OWN renegade standard for about 10-years, then completely went off the deep end. The run up to to their Anaconda supplement was straight out of a Flex magazine fake article insert hyping some new scientific breakthrough. The prices were exorbitant ($300-400), and they were claiming gains that would dwarf a full-on anabolic steroid cycle. It read as satire, except it wasn’t.

        Alan Aragon wrote a lacerating piece scientifically breaking down the specific claims, which anyone can look up if interested.

        I guess I’m idealistic enough to hope that you can make your bones, and still not lie to people, but maybe this is just an old-fashioned notion. I hope not.

        Sorry if this reads as sanctimonious. I’m honestly not that emotionally involved in the matter..but I do have a compulsive need to speak the truth as I see it. Thanks.

        • Bret says:

          Derrick you’re a stand-up guy so no need for apologies. Alan is a good friend of mine but I feel he and some other folks started a serious “anti-TNation” movement. I can definitely see some of the points made and am not blind to any of it, but I wonder why the focus is solely on TNation and not shared between Flex, Muscle & Fitness, MuscleMag, Muscular Development, Bodybuilding.com, Ironmag, etc.

          I suppose that since I grew up reading these mags I learned to simply ignore what wasn’t important to me and focus on what was, so nothing that TNation did ever bothered me too much in that respect as I was busy reading the author’s articles and getting ideas. Years back I would cruise through the forums too.

          I would be more pleased if folks like Alan and other “TNation haters” at least recognized the fact that through publishing the works of many of the top S&C coaches, they’ve changed the way the world trains.

          Again, I love Alan Aragon, he’s a genius and a very cool dude. But I suppose we just focus on different things. To each his own!

          • Dimitar Mihov says:

            I’m gonna go ahead and reply.
            The difference between Flex & T-nation, is that FLEX has always been what its been (purely speculating, havent read like 200 magazines – but read your posts so far).

            OTOH from personal reading and experience i know what T-nation were.
            The symbol of REAL shit. I mean c’moon, Paul chek fucking blasted out there a long time ago, while at the same time remaining respectful and NEVER EVER judgmental for the “obese” population.
            I learned more biochemistry than in school, while reading articles!!

            And if its like you say gentlemen – the site was BUILT upon that idea. The reason we all liked it.

            Soo… when that changes – it changes the game.

            I still enjoy t-nation’s articles (some of them).
            But i would never even look into their supplements anymore. They’re quality, but quality of some things i dont ever care about.
            And before i get blasted — i have a dear friend who was a pro poker player, and lifts more than doubleweight of deadlifts and squats. HE has the money and has been a pray for T-NATION since a long time.
            He has been a YEAR on the Anaconda, and has a whole section full of Indigo-3G.
            Results? Nothing to really brag about. Getting 4kg of lean mass only to loose 6kg after a month of not taking the supps during summer :).

            Still legends are not forgoten. I have a positive attitude that T-nation will come to its senses and get more CENTERED and GROUNDED again.

  • Echo says:

    Don’t sweat it, Bret, our family has a fat bassett which, if slurred quickly enough, sounds alot like fat bastard which is, ironically, how he is often called for dinner. I refuse to believe our choice of dogs reflects our choice of lifestyle but if painted into a corner I’ll defer to the fact that we got him for the kids!

    This was an eye-opening piece about Mr. Luoma; I have been a fan of TNation from way back and over the years found it invaluable in my quest to lift smarter and heavier in whatever junky basement I happened to be in (and I’m a girlie so the ‘T’ wasn’t always the most important chemical in the mix, so to speak). I do second the notion of Derrick Blanton’s 3rd paragraph however.

    Although I haven’t read either of his books it sounds like something the multitudes of emerging wannabe men stuck in perpetual teenhood could really benefit from. One guy I know who doesn’t need to read a book about how to be a man? The poor shmuck who had to tie that bear to the wall! When I tell my husband about the bear sport it will make him want to clunk together the heads of all the grown men playing dodgeball in the park around the corner.

    • Bret says:

      Thanks Echo! TNation authors have made me a much smarter lifter and a much more effective trainer. Glad to be “paying it forward” these days with my own articles.

  • Great interview guys! I especially liked #12. “Studies aren’t the end-all and be-all.” Some people put too much emphasis on studies. Some people put too much emphasis on “in the trenches” experience (i.e. I do quadruple drop sets for my biceps 5 times per week and my gunz are HUGE!). The answer is ALWAYS somewhere in the middle… so we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on a study and we shouldn’t put too much emphasis “bro-talk.” Each have their place… at least that’s how I see it.

    Danny

  • Ted says:

    Bret, do you know why the editors of T-Nation cut out important information out of the work that is handed in? If I remember correctly, Dan John once talked about this during one of his seminars (they shortened at least one of his articles).

    Personally, I check their website on a daily basis. I read about 85% of their articles and re-read maybe 40% of those. I think it is fantastic for young competent coaches to get their name out there and to just have a place for discussing all things strength & conditioning & nutrition.

    Sadly, I have heard a lot of bad things about them. I have no idea to what extent this information is accurate, but I had three writers tell me they only agreed to publish their work if they tested their Biotest products and wrte positive reviews.

    Does T-Nation pay its writers or do they consider it more of a way of free promotion?

    All the best,
    Ted

    • Bret says:

      Ted, I’ve been writing for them for 2.5 yrs and they’ve never asked me to inject anything about their supplements. They do shorten articles and edit them a bit to serve their audience, but if you anticipate this and stay brief and to the point, then they don’t edit it much. TNation is one of the few sites that does pay their writers which is a great added bonus. I’m very happy to be writing for them at the moment! Cheers, BC

  • jethro says:

    TC suffered a knee injury playing football? Are you kidding me?

    I have the video of the Muscle Media cruise and TC looks like a white Manute Bol.

    • Martin says:

      Really? Are YOU kidding me?

      You’re judging his physique from the Muscle Media cruise from 1996 (16 years ago….)

      Lots of skinny high school kids get injured playing football….

  • Great interview Bret! I was reading TC’s stuff and Muscle Media back in the days and jumped ship over to Testosterone.net from the day it went live on-line..man how time flies! T-Nation really has been a launching board for some many famous and enfamous strength and conditioning/physique coaches!

  • JC says:

    Brilliant interview, Very much looking forward to “Manhood and other stuff”..

  • Will says:

    Bret, thanks a lot. Nice to read about somebody who i respect. But, even more valuable to read about somebody who i respect interviewing somebody that he respects… Inspiring. Cheers!

    • Martin says:

      Agree 100% It’s super cool to see a guy who’s stuff I like to read, interviewing a guy who’s stuff I like to read!

  • Bob Allan says:

    Thanks for a GREAT interview, I love to read TC’s stuff. I am living a more “satisfying” life because of what I have learned from TC and you and the other great writers that have contributed to T-Nation!

  • Mark says:

    It’s amazing to see how T-Nation has grown over the years and I can remember waiting every friday for the new articles. It was really the first site to provide real strength and conditioning information outside of the Weider stuff that was in the mags. The forum back in the day was excellent and full of information. I also agree that Ian King was a huge influence to the strength and conditioning world. He definately had a great impact on me as a strength coach and how I program for my clients. I realize now that they’ve gone in the direction that Derrick mentioned which I might not totally agree with (although everyone has to earn a living and pay the bills so you cant fault them), but on the flip side they have kept their site totally free in an age where any site that offers great content charges a fee to view the material and they deserve a lot of credit for that. The one thing that bothers me a little is that Christian Thibadeau got so wrapped up in the “muscle mag-ish” stuff that goes on there now. Not too long ago he wrote one of the best books on strength and conditioning in the last 25 years and he was a bottomless pit of great information. Not that he’s any less smart now, he still puts out some great content, but I think his talent gets overshadowed by being linked to all the supplement hype. A lot of the other writers who came up with CT have gone on to open their own facilities that have earned national recognition, write for national print magazines, and speak on the perform better tour educating thousands of coaches and trainers each year. I would never tell anyone what direction to go with their lives and Im sure CT is very happy with the direction he chose, but there is part of me that would like to see him up there with the other guys he came up with and get the credit he deserves.

    • Martin says:

      To be fair to CT, I think more people read T-nation than probably attend the Perform Better events (no disrespect to those guys) so he might actually have a bigger platform than Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson (the guys I think you are referring to).
      Alywn is the only other perform better guy I can even think of that has a facility and he was with perform better and had a facility/book before he wrote for t-nation.

      I’ve been to a couple Perform Better events – there are only maybe 200 people there (not thousands). I think CT might actually have the bigger profile

    • Are you referring to Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods?

      That WAS an amazing, and well referenced book.

  • Martin says:

    Awesome interview Bret. Don’t think I’ve actaully seen TC be interviewed before.

  • Paul says:

    I, too, love T-nation and Biotest staples like Metabolic Drive, Flameout and possibly Surge are the best products of their kind – but – the hype with Indigo 3g is slowly killing it.

    Believe it or not, just before reading the comments here I was close to making an order for some, which is a testament to how good their marketing is as trust me I’m sceptical, but if even a regular article writer for them in Bret is agreeing that it’s a con (and I apologise Bret because I know you haven’t even referred to Indigo 3G directly here let alone use the word con – this is just my ‘in between the lines’ reading which may be completely wrong), then I’m going to stay well clear.

  • Mike says:

    Nice interview Bret. Just reading this now — no idea how I missed it first time round. As a trainer and budding writer, this kind of stuff is invaluable!

  • Rikard Dahl says:

    Good interview! Nice to learn more about who’s behind T-nation. It’s a site that I’ve learned much from and for that I’m very grateful but all the BS with the supplements almost makes me wanna join the anti-movement sometimes. Ok their not the only ones selling overpriced supplements with no effect based on completely unsubstantiated claims and with speculative marketing methods. I should really get just as upset when another BB mag does it. But there’s something about the way they try to ride on the knowledge and the good science that is represented in the articles and weave in their supplement promotion into that. It doesn’t feel right and I’m sorry for all the people that waste their money cause they believe it! But thanks to you Bret for being an amazing resource! I got to read your work through t-nation and I’ve really benefited from it (and all the other authors there)

    Cheers!

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