Quincy Taylor no doubt had a tough year in 2003. Hoping to qualify for the Olympia, instead he found himself shut out and watched the Olympia for the stands. However, don't count Quincy Taylor out just yet, as he plans to come to 2004 in the spring shows with a physique that will be the best of his career. Originally, it was thought that Quincy was doing the early winter shows, starting with the Ironman. Here is more with big Quincy Taylor.
Quincy Taylor, interviewed by Ron Avidan.
So I hear you are getting ready for the 2004 Ironman?
No, I am not going to do the Ironman this year, for financial reasons. I originally planned to compete in the early Winter shows, but it did not work out. I plan on competing in the spring shows, when I will have more time to get into the best shape of my life. I am in good shape at the moment, but strategically, the early spring shows work for me. But I want to stress that I did not pull out of the Ironman for any political reasons at all, and I will be at the Fit Expo supporting the other athletes and doing a seminar. This year, I changed a lot of things around this year, got rid of a lot of people. My new dietician guy is named Thomas Jacobs, who lives in New York, who also trained Orville Burke.
So what are you going to do differently this time?
Listen to myself, and to listen to others when I know I am right. There are a lot of gurus in this sport that claim to know everything, and they can hit everything on their mark. But when the pressure really gets to them, they screw the whole thing up. They take a lot of chances with me, and have people doing things that are dangerous, and really should not be doing. I was ready for the 2003 Ironman two weeks out. I was ten times more cut then than I was at the show. But I think that you really cannot effectively train a person via the Internet and through pictures, especially in those last two weeks. That just does not work?
I know what I need to do. I need to come in with the conditioning that I had in the 1997 Tournament of Champions when I won the overall there; in the conditioning of the North American, in the conditioning when I won the 2001 USA, that is what I need to have, period.
What is important to you, Symmetry, Muscularity, Conditioning?
For me, it's all conditioning. My symmetry, from what judges and other people have told me, is great. My lines and makeup is fine. Especially for being as tall as I am. As far as size, that is the last thing I need to worry about. That was one of the problems from last year. They wanted me to come on stage over 300 pounds. But that does not mean you are going to win. You have got to come into the show with the conditioning. If I can home in shredded with high levels on conditioning, that is what people want to see. No one wants to see me at 300 pounds without being shredded to the wall. I am in unmarked territory. No one else is 6'4", coming in at 300 pounds, with 3% bodyfat, and has decent symmetry. Most of the guys over 300 pounds have stomachs to go along with it. They look like they swallowed a watermelon. In the long run, I think I will get what I want. I have the determination to do it. No one can stop me. The only things that is stopping me is myself. I get caught up with these image of me coming in big, and that is a mistake. Trying to come in big instead of coming in shredded. Not so in 2004.
So you think you can make it to the top 3 at the spring shows?
I think I can qualify or win the spring show. But boasting about that only fuels everyone else. I think I can make the top three at the shows. I don't see why not? I just need to come in like I know I can.
So how is your new guy Thomas Jacobs going to do it?
He is going to come here two weeks before my first show, and I have learned many lessons myself also. If someone tells me to start eating carbs, or to get rid of more water just by looking at pictures, then you can kiss my ass. So I am not listening to that anymore. Also, you know what it is? I have had a problem with me. I was very afraid of doing things because I have been beaten so many times in the sport for small mistakes, that I really think I need someone here with me in the last two weeks, and walk with me and hold my hand to get it right. And now I am at the point that I look back at the last 13 - 14 years that I have been competing, and I think, what the hell am I afraid of? Nothing! I know what I need to do. I know what I am supposed to look like. Why let someone else tell me what to do when I already know?
Why were you off at the 2003 Ironman?
I felt like shit in the morning. The morning of the show, there were a lot of other factors that really stressed me out to the point that I started holding tons of water. And my body started to flood before I got onto that stage. I was almost in a few fights just that morning alone. While I am not going to name any names, those people know who they are? I am not blaming them at all, I blame myself for being in that situation. Driving to the show with people yelling all around you is just not good. And when I did get to the venue, I had to stop another argument then. This year, I am going to eliminate all of those people. I don't want anyone around me. If anyone started to cause any problems during the final two weeks, I am going to ditch you, and just tell you to stay the hell away from me. If you have an arrogant attitude, or disrespect me in any way, I don't want you around me. If you are not going to try to make things calm, if you want to come to the table bringing stress with you, stay away from me this year.
My training was also off, in my mind. I was doing things that people had told me to do. And they had me training like I was Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie can go into the gym and do things that are just amazing. But Ronnie's been in this game for over 20 years. His body is something else. I am 6'4". My biomechanics does not work like his does. We saw that with Gunter Schlierkamp, they way he changed when he is working with Charles Glass. Because Charles had him training differently because he is taller.
So you are blaming everyone else?
No, it is fair to only blame me. It's my fault. No one else's fault but my own. Whose career is it? It is mine to control. I could of ended the whole thing sooner. No, I know my mistakes. My mistakes was to let other people dictate to me and drive me crazy. This time, I am doing things on my own, making my own decisions.
How have you changed your training and diet for your next show?
Regarding training, I don't go as heavy as I used to go. There is no need for it. Actually, I am working on muscles that I have never worked on before. I am doing exercises that I have never did before. And I feel better. My back is the best it has ever been. Go heavy. That was the advice I was given when some of my body parts were lagging. The advice was to go heavy, go heavy, go heavy. Last year, I was in so much pain from my Sciatic nerve that I could barely walk sometimes. I had to take Celebra at least once a day for a few months before the shows. I feel so much better now because I changed from that heavy style workout. The heavy stuff is good, and it does work, don't get me wrong, but it only works for me to a point. One of my bodybuilder friends close to me had told me that he doesn't go really heavy, and he is huge. Sometimes it is better to lighten the weight and burn the muscle up. I train right now at Gold's Gym of North Hollywood, and Gold's Gym of Thousand Oaks.
Regarding the diet, I haven't changed anything. If it work's, why mess with it?
Is being tall a disadvantage in bodybuilding?
It is both. It is an advantage if I am thick enough and big enough. If I look stringy, it is a total disadvantage. But each year, I get bigger and better. Right now, I am learning how to refine my body, and know what really works and doesn't. What I really want for me is to come in consistently looking the same way.
So were you surprised by your 6th place finish at the 2003 Ironman?
No, not at all. In the morning, I couldn't even hold a pose. I was surprised by the 9th place finish at the Arnold Classic. I think I should of placed higher, but hey, that is bodybuilding. Everybody thinks they should of placed higher. You know, there are guys out here that are just too small to even be on stage anymore, and there are guys coming onto that stage without even a cut on their body. The only cut that they will have on their whole body is on the crack of their butt. It's usually because they have placed very high in the last few shows, and there is no room for the new guys to place better sometimes. You have to pay your dues in this sport. It does get harder and harder every year to train as hard as I do, and do as much cardio as I do, and keep motivated, when you know, no matter how shredded you come in, someone else can come in smooth and place higher than you because they have a bigger name.
Are you surprised to learn that you were not invited to the 2004 Arnold Classic?
Disappointed, yes. Surprised, no. What do I expect? I got ninth two years in a row. They have seen my physique several times. I don't deserve another chance at it, I guess. You can't have the same guys there every year, they are trying to change things up. However, there are some competitors on that list that just go to the prejudging, and have not bothered to make the night show sometimes. But who am I to judge them? I can't think about things that I have no control over. You have to be honest with yourself. A lot of guys can point the finger to this and that, but the main reason I didn't get into the Arnold is because I was probably not good enough. I have to look at it that way, because if I look at it other ways, it will piss me off. Because deep in my heart, I know that there are a number of bodybuilders in that show that I can beat, but the fact that I am not good enough to be in the Arnold gives me the fuel to keep getting better, keeping building myself. The only thing that upsets me by not being invited to the Arnold is the fact that I would love to see myself and Gunter standing next to each other on stage, so I can push myself harder, and whether to know if I am big enough or not big enough.
What made you choose the spring shows instead of the early winter shows this year?
At this point in my career, it is smarter for me to do the spring shows, where I will be ready and qualify for the Olympia. I have stayed in shape for a long time now. I have been 20-30 pounds away from my contest weight all year. If I place in the top three, then that is something I will need to cross depending on the way I feel, but the way I am looking at it, the only way that I am going to get the notoriety that I deserve is if I do more shows. There are other guys who have done a lot of the shows last year, and they placed in the top 12 at the Olympia, and I have beaten these people before. I beat them early on, but I did not get an Olympia qualification because I stopped doing the contests. So I don't want to leave anything to chance. It is harder on my body, but I can't cry about it.
Did any of the judges give you any advice on what you need to do to get better? What about others?
Certain judges told me because they actually care. A lot of the guys have a problem with listening to judges and taking their advice. I don't have that problem. Depending on what judge it is. After the 2003 Arnold, both Bev Francis and Steve Weinburger told me that my back needed to be a lot better, that is was one of my weak spots. I knew that going into the shows, but they said if I can get my back to look better, I can place a lot higher at the shows, and that what was holding me back. That type of advice I can accept. If I can't listen to Bev & Steve who have been in the sport for 20-30 years, then who can I listen to?
I have been working on my back all this time. You will see an amazing back. I am not trying to come in the same way I have in the past. I am trying to come in and beat the Quincy Taylor for the 2001 USA, when I won the overall. And I am pulling out all the stops right now. I changed a lot of things for this show.
Everybody tries to give me advice, but it matters who gives it to me. Like Lonnie Teper. Lonnie is a friend of mine, looking out for me. I will listen to Lonnie. If you tell me something, I won't get mad. You guys are not tell me that a bodypart is lagging or off to hurt me. You guys tell me this to try and help me.
Do you feel somebody needs to work out and be in shape to give you advice?
No, not anymore. I believe that there are certain people in the sport, especially some judges, that have never trained or dieted in their lives. If you had asked me that question 10 years ago, I would have been like hell, they can't be me nothing unless they have gone through what I have gone through, but after seeing some of the things I have seen, people don't give a damn about how you got there, especially when you are on stage. They know exactly what you are supposed to have and what you are not supposed to have, they know exactly what they want to see. Some of the judges and fans have been involved in the sport for 15-25 years, and you want to tell me that they don't know what to look for, or what bodypart is lagging or not? Sometimes, because of the fact that someone does not work out, there is an honesty level there. Especially if you have been to a lot of contests. You know that when you see something on stage, you know if it is good or not. The guys that have not competed, that is a big part of our fan base. They are the ones that buy the pictures, the videos, the shirts, they can afford it. Many amateur bodybuilders cannot afford to buy a lot of things except for supplements. My wife is my best judge. She definitely doesn't want to see me lose. For me to do well will benefit both of us.
So what did you have for your special Christmas dinner?
Turkey and some vegetables, and that was it. Crystal Lite for my drink.
Can you reflect back on 2003 and bodybuilding?
It was a great learning experience for me. I learned to trust my own judgment, to not do what people tell me to do when I don't think that it is best for me. It was a good thing for me, but it was a horrible year for me financially. Right now, I have no sponsorship contract, and I doubt I will get one unless I place high at these shows. One of the things that blow my mind is a lot of the guys who come into the sport, or have not turned pro yet, they all really think that as soon that you turn pro, they are going to start making a lot of money, but that is not even remotely true. There are some amateurs in the sport that are making more money than some of the pros. It is all about marketability. How am I supporting myself. I have saved up money from the past, and I have several clients that I train.
In this sport, there a lot of people who want to see me do well, and they will give me the advice and help that I need. There has been a lot of people who have helped me in the last couple of months. But then there are a lot of people who want to see me fall on my face also. That is just business.
They say that Quincy Taylor gets angry too easily. What's up?
I do. I have some anger issues. Because of the simple fact that you have to understand where I come from? I am not putting blame on anything, but I grew up in a rough neighborhood, and some of the things that people do in this business is not very manlike, it is some very punkish shit. My anger level is 100 times better than what it used to be. You have to remember that for 12 years, what kind of jobs I had. I had a job as a bouncer, and I had a job working in a prison. Both of these jobs was high volume intense machoness. Constant. But you need to keep the anger in check. I have had some inmate yell insults at you, and even throw poop at you. So if I can handle that, I can handle anything.
What about the fans who write things about you?
The fans. If it wasn't for some of the fans, I would never have been able to do this. Because they are the ones that keep me going. But I also have people that attack me constantly. I don't give these guys a fucking response, I just ignore them. The only time I would respond to one of them is if they decide to put their hands on me or touch me. I won't belittle myself to these people if they want to be that stupid. If a person is that driven to try to upset me that much, then they aren't a fan and are not worth my time. I have plenty of people that stand with me, and are in my group, and will help me out. My hardcore fans care about me. I am a straight up Los Angeles bodybuilder, been here for 13 years. There are not a lot of people in the sport that have come to Los Angeles that has not had contact with me in any way, shape or form, except for the newer guys. I have done a lot of favors for a lot of the bodybuilders.
So I hear you like George Michael? You did a video with him?
Yes, I did a video for him, but it was a promotional video. I met him several times. He is a nice guy. A lot of people are funny about him being gay. I could care less. That is none of my business. Everyone knows that is the business of bodybuilding, there are quite a number of gay people. If you have a problem with gay people, you have no business of being in bodybuilding. But I am not going to pose private for some of the guys, that just is not going to happen. They put my body on George Michael's head in the video. I will do that in a heartbeat again. But I am not gong to degrade myself, it won't happen.
But do people approach you for things like that?
Oh yeah. I also have turned down television shows, like Mad TV, that wanted me to be a gay bodybuilder holding hands with another bodybuilder. I don't care if it is acting, I don't want to embarrass my mother and my family that way.
Do you see yourself as a role model for younger kids?
I don't know. All I am trying to do now is to take care of me and my family. But if you are around me, I would try and help people who need it. And even if it winds up hurting me in the long run. I have helped several people in this sport, and I wound up being screwed by them at the end. But not on purpose. They don't do it intentionally. It's just that is the way it works sometimes. You help people, and months later, they want to beat you in a show.
So are you looking for a sponsor?
Yes, I am. However, the companies don't treat us very good. If you have something they want, you bring it to the table. If you don't, you don't. It's all business. Currently, the companies treat us like we are desperate for money, which in some cases, bodybuilders are. Especially the amateurs. They are happy if they get $1,000 a month. That is one of the things that is wrong with the sport. When I was an amateur, I was with Met-Rx. They took pictures of me, had billboards and ads of me, and all I got was some protein powder just for me. I don't want to go back to that. Then people are telling me that a lot of the supplement companies don't believe that having bodybuilder will help drive their sales. That is bullshit. When Lee Priest was with Prolab, their sales drastically increased and their reputation become more known. Supplement companies should support bodybuilders more.
What do you think of people posting pics of you in the offseason without your shirt on?
The way I look at it is something Flex Wheeler told me a while back. He said to me "You never want the fans to see you not at your best". That is why you almost never see of picture of me when I am in the offseason. I don't want people to take pictures of me when I am fat as hell. No photo shoots or guest posing for me if I am not in shape. During my first year as a pro, I gained a lot of weight during the offseason, and came in looking like garbage at a guest posing. I won't do that again. Now, I just gain only 20-30 pounds after the contests and stay there. Any more than that is ridiculous. When you are as tell as me, and you get up to 360 pounds, or more than that, it just is not smart. I am not getting younger, my heart is not getting stronger, you know what I mean, it's just a dumb move for me.
Have you started to work on your posing routine for 2004? Anything interesting?
Not yet, I start that about 7 weeks out from a show. Regarding my posing routine, I don't really do the wild stuff? I really love the way Shawn Ray poses. Melvin Anthony's routines are good, but it isn't me dancing around smiling at everybody. Man, these dancing routines. Soon, all they will need is a top hat, a cane, and some boots on stage too. I am 300 pounds. I am not going to be there dancing on stage. That way, I look at it is that I am big as hell, I don't have to do that. If you are small, then you do that to draw some attention to you. Do you think the hardcore bodybuilding fans wants to come and see me dance. The hardcore fans want to see monsters; they want to see muscles that they never has seen before, they want to see something freaky. That is why Ronnie and Gunter are up there. They want to see slabs of beef hanging from people's back that they didn't even know that could grow there. Am I right or am I crazy?
Do you have a lot of bodybuilders as friends?
No. Don't get me wrong, I get along with a lot of them, I talk to them, I associate with them, but the only bodybuilders that has come over my house in the last year is Melvin Anthony and Miles (Mr. Sacramento 2nd place). Melvin and I get along great, we've helped each other many times. The way I see it, we can all be cool with each other, we can all be cordial with each other and not be idiots, like some of the guys I see posting on the Internet. You won't see me talking crazy shit backstage to people. The stuff I see some guys do, going back and forth to each other, I could never do that. I don't want to disrespect others because then they will disrespect me, and I will look at them differently after that. You have to remember, my Mom might read some of this stuff and it will hurt their feelings. I don't need that. I have enough stuff to deal with all my kids and family than to deal with a disrespecting bodybuilder. Grown men don't play games like that. The thing is you have to remember. We all compete against one another. We all try and take money from each other. We can all be cordial and get along, but it is hard to be real close friends. Because there is always the quote "I am better than you". Most of my close friends are not involved in the sport.
Do people bother you when you are training?
Gold's Gym North Hollywood is a hardcore gym, and I have been training there for 3 years, so people are used to seeing me there. I can't stand when I am training for a show, and some guy comes up there and just wants to talk to me. Afterwards, it is cool but not when I am concentrating. I would never refuse to take pictures with fans, refuse to stand and talk to someone, but only after I finish training. I think that the bodybuilders that refuse to talk to their fans are committing business suicide. If you are not going to be nice to people who come up to you, you have no business being a pro in the sport. Gold's Thousand Oaks is more of a commercial gym, but the equipment there is some of the best I have seen. They take care of me at these two gyms because I am a pro.
Any last message to your fans?
I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year and hope everyone had a Happy Christmas like I had. And if you didn't have one, you should go make one for yourself. Life is really sad and short sometimes, so you have to go out and make yourself happy. If you are not happy with the way your life is going, you better figure out how to go and fix it. I can't complain. The older bodybuilders in the sport that have retired, they were making no money, they were just doing it for the love of the sport.
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