Before I start I would like to apologize for the smudges on the pictures taken immediately before and after Ernie's posing performance, they were taken after I had oiled him up and I must have accidentally gotten some on the lens of the camera. I would like to dedicate this article to my grandmother, who passed away 4 days later because of complications following an embolism in her leg. May she rest in peace.
Sunday, April 18th. It's the last day of the Easter holidays, and today the Expo in Brussels is abuzz with the preparations for the Semi-Finals of the IFBB national bodybuilding championships, and the Heracles Cup, a second-level international competition.
My friend and I had promised to pick up the day's main guest-poser from the airport that morning. No one less than Mr. Ernie Taylor, top-10 Olympia competitor and probably the best pro bodybuilder on the circuit in the competitions that followed the Olympia. We were told he would arrive shortly before 1 PM and we arrived at Brussels international airport around noon, only to find there was no flight coming from Amsterdam (his flight went from Birmingham over Amsterdam) at that time.
Slightly at a loss about what to do now, we were moving towards the escalator to go to the information desk upstairs, when a voice behind us posed the question "Does either of you speak English?" We turned around and staring back at us was an inquisitive Ernie Taylor. Apparently we were given the wrong time and his flight had arrived earlier.
Once we had arrived at the expo, Ernie had to set up at the Flex booth to do his thing for a while. About an hour before he had to go on stage, we retrieved him and took him to the dressing room to get ready. As he was preparing and warming up, we got to talking, at that point mostly about bodybuilding. I helped him oil up and I got to take a few picture of him as he was warming up.
We then took him backstage. As the fitness competitors came off stage Ernie was announced and burst on stage and gave a performance I have seldom seen. I don't care what anyone says, the best poser on the circuit is Ernie Taylor. Laced with splits and high kicks, the crowd rose to its feet and flashbulbs fired like a legion of fireflies.
When he walked off stage, the announcer (Belgian IFBB president Julien Blommaert) said "let's hear it again for Ernie Taylor", Ernie jumped back on stage, started posing again and to the tunes of 50 cent he jumped into the crowd and posed for the fans for well over 5 minutes. I have never heard a crowd of 1200 people go that loud.
There was a surprising consensus among athletes and audience alike, this was the best show they had ever seen. I could only agree. I high-fived Ernie as he came off the stage and congratulated him. Backstage, everyone wanted to get their picture taken with Ernie, but unfortunately Ernie was extremely tired (he had been up since 2 AM and had a bit of a cold) and only a few people got the chance to pose with Ernie.
Once back in the dressing room, Ernie granted us some more pictures and gave us a few poses as well. Earlier that day he had already given both of us a signed autograph for free, and he even insisted paying for dinner after the show when we drove him by a local fast food restaurant cause he was hungry. My friend said jokingly "hey there's a bunch of people out here who want to get a picture with you".
Ernie's face turned to a horrific expression, and then he realized it was a joke. A smile appeared and he said "you're a funny one". After the show we went for some food and then drove him to his hotel. Because he was so tired, conversation had been limited on the way over, but this time he was quite talkative.
We taught him a little French and Dutch and explained the language situation in Belgium (we have 3 official languages) and got to talking on various topics. I swear, Ernie is the nicest, friendliest and most intriguing pro I have ever met.
Apparently, like us, Ernie is also a motorcycle fanatic (he owns a 2003 Yamaha YZF R1 and can wheely it for up to 2 miles) and he is a devote practitioner of the martial art Muy Thai. Back at the hotel, Ernie granted me this interview, after which we parted.
[ Q ] I'm going to start off with some of the less interesting questions, just some odds and ends some of our readers are usually interested in before I get to the more serious questions. What are your favorite body-parts?
Ernie Taylor: Back... legs, legs and back. I like training legs and I like training back.
[ Q ] What about exercises?
ET: My most favorite is the
leg press, I love the leg press.
[ Q ] Favorite food?
ET: My favorite food would have to apple crumble and ice cream.
[ Q ] What sort of supplements do you use?
CNP Approved (His sponsor)
[ Q ] Anything in particular you would recommend?
[ Q ] What are your off-season and competition weights?
ET: My off-season weight is probably around... (pensive, converting stones to pounds)... 265 to 270, and my competition weight is about 240.
[ Q ] How many weeks out do you start your diet?
ET: Probably around 8 weeks.
[ Q ] What is your best memory in bodybuilding?
ET: I would have to say achieving my pro card in 1995. Or the last two shows I did last year, the
British and the
Dutch Grand Prix, where I placed second. That was pretty special, since those were the best placing I've ever had.
[ Q ] For a long time, and probably still, you were known for your remarkable trademark triceps. Now recently you've had to trim them down, for purposes of symmetry. Have you ever regretted having to do that?
ET: No I haven't, from the day I started getting marked down, and I am still getting marked down now, I have done a lot. I've worked with Stuart Cosgrove, he's a physiotherapist who works with a lot of bodybuilders and pro boxers, three or four times a week, depending on how often I can see him. Deep tissue massages and the like. The right one is perfect, I still need some work on the left.
[ Q ] Still, I imagine it must have been a hard sacrifice. A lot of fans recognize the triceps as a trademark thing.
ET: Well, I've stopped training triceps and they are still pretty big. When I first stepped on the stage at the Night of the Champions in 1997, where I finished third, they were about 5 - 6 inches bigger than what they are now and they still look good. But if it makes me place higher, then I'm pleased with that. I'm happy.
[ Q ] You are currently one of the best posers in the business. How much effort does it take to stay original?
ET: I take it as it comes. It takes me about two weeks to knock a routine up. By ten days out I do it, say, every other day. I think it up in my head and then I try to do it without the music, and if I can do it without the music, then I'm confident I can do it onstage with the music.
[ Q ] Some of the moves you do though demand a lot of agility. A lot of pro's these days are extremely agile, for the size they are. I mean, I'm about half your size, and I already notice its increasingly difficult to maintain my agility. Does that take a lot of effort to maintain?
ET: No, probably because of the other sports I do. I do Muy Thai boxing. I do that on Wednesday, every Wednesday. And that acts as a
cardio workout for me. That burns calories, I enjoy it...
I used to compete in fighting, but I just do it as a workout now. We do two hours in the gym on Wednesdays. That's how I stay agile. I've been doing that for the past two years. That's where I get it from. So I bring a little bit of it to the stage.
[ Q ] Yes, I noticed. A lot of kicks in your routine, that's becoming pretty trademark as well isn't it? You've had an incredible season at the end of last year with 10th at the Olympia, 2nd at the British and Dutch Grand Prix, where everybody agreed you should have been first, what are your aspirations for this year ?
ET: Well I already did the
Arnold classic in March, but I wasn't carbed up enough. I was way, way, way under-carbed. Which was my own fault. I didn't eat enough food, I didn't eat enough carbs. I was told on the phone by Milos Sarcev to just eat, eat, eat. He tried to drum it in to me, but I suppose when you are in your room alone it's a bit hard.
I mean, you look good, you think you are in condition, and then you end up looking flat. My sponsor came to me and said you look perfect, but you need to eat, you need to continue to eat. 3 days of carb-up and my body changes completely.
One minute its fantastic and the next day its even better, but if I stop eating then I take three steps back. It's my own fault. So placing twelfth, or whatever I got there, it really didn't bother me, because it was the worst, to myself, that I had ever looked.
If they had placed me last it wouldn't have bothered me, because I messed up. I burnt out. Basically I had already qualified twice, so I should have just left it at that.
[ Q ] You are obviously one of the top bodybuilders of the moment, and many feel you should be able to crack top 6 at the O, with ease. If you succeed in bringing you're A-game, do you think you could accomplish that this year?
ET: I believe so. If I can get my game together, if I look like I did at the British and the Dutch Grand Prix, definitely 100%, easy enough I could place top 6.
In my mind, if I look as good as I did at those competitions, which is not impossible, I can do that pretty easy, and the judges don't place me lower, then that's not my fault. I've done my own work, I've done my job, and I know in my own mind, and everybody else knows, I should have been in the top 6. There are many times I should have placed higher, but once its judged, its judged.
There is no use complaining. It doesn't help. You just get back in the game and you try and do better next time. And the thing with me is, is that I'm a fighter. You mark me down, I come back a little better. Mark me down again, I come back even better. That's all I have to do, I just have to keep coming in better, and better and better. That's what I've learned from all the other top guys.
[ Q ] There's a lot of people out there not getting the placings they deserve though.
ET: Yeah, but eventually I'll get a decent place. My
goal is to make top 6, and I believe I can do that. At my best I can do that. And it would be a great achievement for me, just to make 6th at the Olympia.
[ Q ] Well, you've amazed friend and foe at the end of last year, and I personally think you have a lot of room left for improvement, so I think you can definitely do that and more.
ET: Fingers crossed! (laughs)
[ Q ] And my last question is the classic "do you have any tips for up and coming bodybuilders"â€¦
ET: Don't try and run before you can walk. Take it one day at a time, do it slow. If you rush it, you'll break it. And if its not broken, don't fix it. Have faith when you are preparing for a show. I mean, you look perfect, and then you panic, and you try something different.
Best thing is to listen to one person, and one person only. Don't listen to three or four people. Cause in the gym you always look great, but on the stage it's a whole different ball-game. These people in the gym, they'll say you look great, you look fantastic, you'll win the show. And then you get on stage with all the other guys that look great and fantastic. But if you stick to one person that knows your bodyâ€¦ (pauses)â€¦ well I say one person.
Milos Sarcev knows my body perfectly, and so does Kerry Kayes (sp?). And they're very similar. So they both can stand in one room and look at me and they'll both say the exact same thing. So I've not got a problem with that. So when you are getting ready for a show, listen to one person, and stick to that. Don't change anything last minute. And you'll do well.
If you panic you are going to mess up. And the worst thing you can do is diet for 10 or 12 weeks and the blow it all the last week. Or the last three days carbing up. As or the gym, take your time. Don't let your ego do the training.
Train the muscle, don't lift too big, don't lift too heavy. When you get in the gym, do all that your body allows you to do and don't let your ego do the training. That's basically it.
[ Q ] Well that's all I had. We hope you enjoyed your visit to Belgium.
ET: Very much. I mean I have the flu, but it was great.
- Ernie with my top athlete, Philiep van Nuffel (European and 3 time Belgian champion) with his girlfriend (the lovely and currently pregnant former world fitness champion) Estelle Moreau.
- Ernie with my best friend Denny Seghers.
- Ernie with Muri Dave Idowu, who won the Heracles Cup.
- Ernie double biceps.
- Ernie front lat spread.
- Ernie side chest.
- Yours truly going head to head with Ernie.
- Yours truly going head to head with Ernie again.
- Other pic of Ernie backstage.
- A picture of that "other" guest poser, Philiep van Nuffel.
- A picture of that "other" guest poser, Philiep van Nuffel.
BONUS: Fight Info Update & Poll
Guy Grundy Challenges Ernie Taylor to fight!
By: Guy Grundy
FIGHT PRESS RELEASE - Bodybuilding champion Mr. Australia Guy Grundy has officially challenged English Champion and IFBB pro bodybuilder Ernie Taylor to a boxing match. The problem arose between the two, when Taylor informed numerous people that he was going to "kick Guy Grundy's ass when I see him" The threat stems from comments made by Grundy in his Musclemag column "Muscle Flashes" regarding Taylor's obvious use of site injections into his triceps and quads.
Taylor made his threats last year when he was in Los Angeles preparing for the 2003 Olympia. Taylor took it upon himself to tell everyone except Grundy about his threats. When Grundy was informed of Taylor's comments, he immediately contacted him to discuss the problem like gentlemen; unfortunately Ernie was not interested in resolving the situation like adults.
Grundy stated "I contacted Ernie on three separate occasions to resolve the matter without resorting to violence. I informed Ernie that I was not looking for trouble, but I would not walk away from it if confronted.
|...you will be proven wrong says Guy. Soon enough we will know. Oh yeah, I am VERY SCARED... Have a nice weekend.
Ernie continually stated that we had nothing to discuss and that he would take care of me when he would next see me. On fighting Taylor, Grundy commented "I never had a problem fighting the guy, but I have grown up and thought we could handle this situation like grown-ups.
He needs to grow up! Ernie disrespected me in my own back yard, imagine how he would react if I went into his home town in England and started bad mouthing him to everyone. Ernie, you want a fight tough guy, you got it.
Simply contact me and let's set this up. You have my contact information, use it! Then well see if your heart is as big as your mouth" A fight date is yet to be set, the fight will be available via the Internet and available on DVD.
| Ernie Taylor