[ Q ] Name:
[ Q ] Currently residing in:
Las Vegas, Nevada
[ Q ] What one word describes Larry Pepe:
Multi-faceted. That may count as two words, but that should give you some idea of just how complex I am. (laughing).
[ Q ] How long have you been writing the book?
It took about 18 months, although I could have done it much faster. I wanted to get the interviews with the athletes when they were preparing for a show or very soon afterwards. I felt that this would make each profile that much more exact.
That meant doing the book over a longer period of time. Additionally, new athletes made their mark at various shows, so being patient and releasing it a bit later gave me the chance to add in emerging stars like Gustavo Badell, Mark Dugdale and Will "World" Harris as well as doing updates on Dexter Jackson and Jay Cutler as they made adjustments to their contest prep approaches.
[ Q ] Tell us about the title of your new book, how did it come to be? What made you write the book?
I've always been fascinated by contest prep because I think it is the one time when bodybuilding truly becomes a science. If you ask bodybuilders how to get big, the formula is usually the same.
Eat a lot of protein and quality carbs, train with intensity and consistency and get plenty of rest. But, when it comes to methodically obliterating bodyfat while holding onto all your muscle, everything becomes much more exacting, scientific and individual.
There was no premiere reference source for contest prep before The Precontest Bible. I thought it would be an awesome tool for bodybuilders at every level to be able to learn and compare what the best in the world do.
This gives the reader guidance and ideas to work with so they can maximize their results and genetic potential.
[ Q ] Who is this book intended for?
It's intended for anyone who wants to know exactly what the best athletes in the world do to get in shape. When I first wrote it, my mindset was that competitors would love to have it. The bodybuilders have gone nuts over it!
What's been really interesting to me is that I've gotten great feedback from a lot of non-bodybuilders, male and female, that are using the book for both motivation and information. They also like that they can take a look inside what the best in the business do and get ideas to apply to their own training and nutritional programs.
I've also had bodybuilding fans that don't train much say that they enjoy the info and the photos. There are over 700 photos in the book from the best photographers in the business, so it's pretty appealing to the pure fan as well.
[ Q ] Why should someone buy this book?
Jay Cutler said it best when he told me that he believes that success in bodybuilding is about experimenting and finding what works best for you and that The Precontest Bible is the only reference book where you can learn what the pros really do.
In the words of many pros, the book is "one-of-a-kind." Each book weighs over three pounds with 480 oversized pages and over 700 photos. The book doesn't push a theory or a particular method. If you want to know exactly what 32 of the best athletes in our sport do to get into mind-blowing shape, from the day they start to prepare to the minute they step on stage, it's the only book that can give you that.
The reader will walk away with more ideas, tricks and tips to apply to their own program than they can imagine.
[ Q ] How has the response been to the book been thus far?
The response has been incredible. I've already had twelve top pros, including Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Shawn Ray, Lee Priest, Troy Alves, Kris Dim, Craig Titus, Mark Dugdale, Tom Prince and Will "World" Harris endorse the book. They've called it "the best bodybuilding book ever written" and said it is "in a league of its own." I couldn't be more proud of creating something that those guys think so highly of.
The rest of the meida has been extremely enthusiastic as well. Bob Kennedy and Johnny Fitness of Musclemag told me that they thought it was excellent and immediately placed a large order for the Musclemag stores here in the US and throughout Canada.
Steve Blechman of Muscular Development called me and told me it was a "masterpiece." John Balik and Bill Comstock of Ironman Magazine told me that they thought it was "an incredible piece of work." These men have decades of experience in bodybuilding and I respect all of their opinions. When they tell me the book is that good, I know in my heart that I accomplished my goal.
[ Q ] Who are some of the people in the book?
In addition to the guys I mentioned already, the book also includes the complete contest prep details of:
- Dorian Yates - Profile
- Dexter Jackson - Profile
- Chris Cormier - Interview
- Victor Martinez
- Bob Cicherilo - Articles | Interview
- Rich Gaspari - Interview
- Ahmad Haidar
- Gustavo Badell
- King Kamali - Profile
- Art Atwood
- Johnnie Jackson
- David Henry - Interview
- Eryk Bui
- Johnny Stewart
- Mike Valentino
- Aaron Baker
- David Dearth
- Quincy Taylor - Interview
- Jamo Nezzar - Interview
- Stan McQuay
- Mike Ergas
- Steve McLeod
And the ones mentioned above:
- Ronnie Coleman - Interview | Profile
- Jay Cutler - Interview | Profile
- Shawn Ray - Articles | Profile
- Lee Priest - Interview | Profile
- Troy Alves
- Kris Dim
- Craig Titus - Interview | Profile
- Mark Dugdale - Article
- Tom Prince
- Will "World" Harris
[ Q ] What is included in each profile?
Every profile has seven separate sections that cover every aspect of contest prep. The information is in the same format, and in the same order. This way, readers can easily find whatever they're interested in as well as compare what various athletes do.
There's an introductory section, followed by very, very detailed sections on training, cardio, diet, supplementation, the last week before a show, tanning, posing, flying to shows and a "Finish This Sentence" section where the athletes get more personal about their careers, competitors and what really motivates them.
To give you some idea of how detailed it is, I've included bodypart splits, sets, reps and a special set-by-set workout for their best bodypart. And, Ronnie Coleman's complete, exact workout for EVERY BODYPART as he prepped for the 2003 Olympia as well as Jay Cutler's complete Arnold Classic winning training routines are both included as special bonuses.
Readers will find out exactly when the athlete starts doing cardio, how many sessions are done, the length of the sessions, the type of cardio equipment they favor and the exact settings they use on the machine.
The diet and supplementation section includes the exact meals they eat, complete with measurements in ounces and cups for every food. And each measurement is defined as a cooked or raw weight, to eliminate any potential confusion. Water intake, meal frequency and cheat meals are dealt with as well.
"The Last Week" section may be one of the most critical sections of the entire profile for the competitor. I cover food and water intake and manipulation, carb depletion and loading, training and cardio and other secrets that can make all the difference.
You'll even see the exact meals they eat on the day of the contest to look full and shredded without spilling over and holding water.
There's a lot more, but that should give people an idea of the kind of detail I'm talking about.
[ Q ] Would you suggest women follow any of these training plans?
I think that women can scale down the programs to fit their bodies, as they would with any program. The philosophy that a particular athlete applies to any aspect of contest prep has value to anyone, male or female.
For example, Mark Dugdale told me that he applied an improvised version of his exact dieting philosophy when he helped his wife, Christina, get ready for, and win, her first figure contest where she beat over 50 women.
[ Q ] Speaking of Mark Dugdale, he has said, "This book will go down in history as the most complete and comprehensive pre-contest book ever published." Do you feel this is a fair assestment of the book?
Yes, I really do. That was my goal from the minute I decided to do it. When you have virtually every top bodybuilder in the world disclosing every minute detail of what they do to get into contest-winning condition, I think Mark hit the nail on the head.
[ Q ] How much has been edited from the training & dieting of each profile?
ZERO! I'd venture to say that the book contains more exact and accurate information in one place about what these guys really do than anything else you can read. I made sure to write every single profile within hours of finishing each interview so that my recollection of what the athlete told me and my notes were on the money.
Lee Priest even said that the "detail and spot-on accuracy detail is a first."
I was floored when Shawn Ray sent me the following email after he got the book…
'Larry, I just wanted to say, "Thank you!" Thank you for accurately capturing the essence of bodybuilding from the bodybuilders in their words! We are often misquoted or misrepresented whereas you got the message from the athletes to the readers in plain simple English! Your book is an "Easy Read" for people into fitness and bodybuilding which will enable people around the world to comprehend the in's & out's of our sport's biggest and brightest athletes worldwide!'
Coming from Shawn, that meant a lot to me. I have mad respect for him. With the length and excellence that defined his career, I can't imagine how many times he's been interviewed, so I really felt that was high praise.
[ Q ] Of course there are a number of haters out there always looking to bring a good thing down. That said what do you have to say to the following hater questions…
"Larry Pepe is using the book to sell SprayFlex." - thoughts?
If that weren't so ridiculous it would be funny! Let's see, if you include the SprayFlex section in the middle of the book, The Precontest Bible is 488 pages long. Eight of those pages are devoted to letting people know about SprayFlex. That means that less than one page in sixty is devoted to SprayFlex. There are 25 athletes profiled in the book who have nothing to do with SprayFlex.
Now, I will openly tell anyone who will listen that I believe SprayFlex is the best natural product stack on the market and the feedback I get from guys like Troy Alves, Mark Dugdale, Will Harris, David Henry, Johnny Stewart, Steve Mcleod and Eryk Bui only strengthens that conviction. But, to say that I would take 18 months to write a 488-page book to push a product on eight pages defies logic.
Believe me, I could have spent a lot less time and money promoting SprayFlex other ways.
[ Q ] "You must have paid the athletes to be in the book."
Were the athletes paid in this book?
Not one athlete was paid one dime. I've been writing bodybuilding for over three years, judging at the NPC National level for ten and I've competed numerous times. I have tremendous respect for the athletes and they know that.
I'm very, very fortunate to have built great relationships with all of them, and strong friendships with many. They were very gracious to agree to be in the book and I am extremely grateful to all of them.
[ Q ] What do you tell the peeps out there who are looking to buy this book and see someone's drug regime?
There is no way that I would ever put drug regimens out there so that some teenager thinks he has the blueprint to look like one of the pros and goes and hurts himself because of what I wrote.
The bottom line, and a lot of people don't want to hear this, is that the top athletes are where they are because they train their asses off, have tremendous discipline and are consistent over a long period of time.
There are plenty of guys out there using more drugs than many Olympia competitors and they look horrible. Why? While genetics play a huge role, the reality is that many hold a misguided belief that drugs are everything. Wrong.
Proper training, diet, cardio, peaking the last week, water intake and all the finishing touches are the keys to success, and health. All that information is in the book, and then some.
Could I sell more books by including info on drugs? Sure. But when it is all said and done, my personal ethics and need to look in the mirror and smile every day outweigh making more money.
[ Q ] What do you say to the people who think they can get the same info out of a Muscle Magazine?
Good luck. I've been reading the mags for over twenty years and I've never seen the amount of detail in these profiles regarding contest preparation. That was one of the reasons I did it.
There is a sample profile from the book on www.PrecontestBible.com so people can get a better idea of what I am talking about.
Now, let's say that there was the same amount of detail out there in the mags. There are 32 athletes in the book. Would you rather buy 32 magazines for about $200 and paste all those profiles together or have it all in one easy book for less that one-quarter of the cost?
[ Q ] Where can people go to buy this book?
They can go to the website at
www.PrecontestBible.com and order online or they can call the 24-hour, toll-free number at 888-9-RIPPED (888-974-7733) to place an order.
[ Q ] Anything else you'd like to share with the people reading this?
I'd like to thank my family and friends who have always supported me in my efforts. I also have to thank all the great people who participated.
First and foremost, every athlete who gave me their time and agreed to be included in the book. I also want to thank Jason Mathas, Bill Comstock, Mits Okabe, Ralph Dehaan and John Balik for providing amazing photos for the book.
Jason also did a nice job on the book design. And, of course, I have to thank Bob Kennedy, Johnny Fitness and the rest of the Musclemag family for photos and, most importantly, the opportunity to write for the magazine. And to all the fans who have emailed me about my articles in Musclemag and about the book, you'll never know how much I appreciate it.
And, of course, thank you to Bodybuilding.com for doing this interview. It's been fun to be on the other side of the interview for a change!
[ BB.com ] Thanks Larry I appreciate your time and insight into the book. It's a great resource without a doubt and I'd encourage anyone reading this to get a copy, it may be the best fifty dollars you ever spent in this industry.
If you claim you don't have the money - nice excuse, cut the bull and get the book. You'll thank yourself in the end.