| Article Summary:
An Interview With Rick Collins
[ Q ] First off I want to say that it is an honor and privilege to be doing this interview with you. So thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. I want to give the readers a behind-the-scenes look at Rick Collins away from all the normal steroid and legal questions.
Well, let me thank you and Bodybuilding.com for requesting this interview. It's fun to talk about something other than steroids or the law! You can find most of that stuff on
www.rickcollins.com anyway. Besides, I haven't followed the "traditional" lawyer's path.
I just gave a talk to a group of law students. It was about thinking outside the box to create a career path which incorporates your unique individuality and interests and makes you passionate about what you do every day.
I love being a lawyer, and doing what I do for the bodybuilding community is a privilege for me. Of course, we should never define ourselves solely by our occupation. We're all much more than that, for sure. So, fire away!
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I Love Being A Lawyer, And Doing What I Do For
The Bodybuilding Community Is A Privilege For Me.
[ Q ] Let's start off with some background information. Can you lay the groundwork for us and tell us a little bit about how you got started in writing, acting, fitness, and the numerous other things you have your hands in other than being a lawyer?
Wait! You forgot to mention my famous Flamenco dancing exhibitions! Just kidding; seriously, yes, I do have a lot of extracurricular interests and a unique skill set. I'm a very creative person - after all, I was voted "most artistic" by my senior class in high school.
Everyone thought I'd be a cartoonist or comic book artist. You can get the idea from this ancient pen and ink relic that I drew a lot of hyper-muscular superhero physiques. It's no wonder I got into bodybuilding. You know, sculpture using your own body as the medium.
[ Q ] Do you still draw?
Not much, except for unflattering and highly detailed caricatures of my law partners in outrageously embarrassing positions. We have a lot of fun in the office.
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Rick Collins Leaps For Life.
In honor of two close friends and a relative stricken with cancer, Collins has created Leap for Life and will be jumping from a plane for the very first time.
[ Check Out The Press Release Here ]
[ Q ] Were you always also into writing?
Absolutely; I love words. Choosing the right words in just the right order is like art for me. I love similes and hyperbole. So, I love to write. I have some unfinished screenplays lying around. But mostly I enjoy writing about social and cultural issues
That's what made writing Legal Muscle so interesting to me. Not so much steroids per se, but how we deal with steroids within the framework of sports, politics, criminal justice, media coverage and American culture.
[ Q ] How did you get into bodybuilding?
I remember seeing a copy of the old Muscle Builder & Power magazine and thinking how cool guys like
Zane looked. A cousin bought me my first set of sand-filled plastic weights. Then I joined a gym, made good gains, and competed in some local shows in New York and New Jersey. My first show was at my college.
I made the rookie mistake of losing too much size and after a long battle onstage took second to a guy who'd already won a title. The school paper made a big deal of it. Anyway, I have various trophies collecting dust at home.
I liked competing, and I have tremendous respect for those who do it, especially year after year, but for me it was always more about challenging myself and pushing my own limits in the gym. I'm still a great fan of the sport.
Being legal counsel to the IFBB is awesome. I used to talk to the late
Ben Weider all the time and I've met Arnold a few times and once talked with him at length in his Santa Monica offices. He's "supah-vantastic," as he might say!
[ Q ] I've heard you're a huge movie fan.
That's an understatement. Don't get me started on that! It could be an interview in and of itself. Your readers can find a small sampling of my favorites on my
[ Q ] I looked you up on the Internet Movie Database. You've been in quite a few movies yourself, Rick. How'd you get into film acting?
I was working as a bouncer and the kid who worked in the coat room had a small part in a movie. He mentioned they were looking for bodybuilder types for a gym scene. I wound up playing a thug who harasses a blind girl, asking "Where you going, blondie?" The movie was the "
The director liked me and cast me in more movies, including as the lead villain in two "Toxic Avenger" sequels. Later, I got my SAG [Screen Actors Guild] card.
[ Q ] What was your favorite acting role?
Probably playing the villain in the "
Toxic Avenger" movies. It was about as much fun as anyone should ever be allowed to have. So many funny stories! I'd wake up every morning on the set and ponder what goofy or terrifying stuff I could do.
Once, I commandeered a second unit film crew and directed the shooting of some footage, unbeknownst to the director at the time. He was initially perturbed, but liked the footage so much he edited it into "Toxic Avenger II" as the ending of the film.
[ Q ] I'll have to check it out on Netflix. Do you miss acting?
I was very serious about it at one time. I was a psychology major in college but was taking a lot of drama courses to work toward a theater minor. I also studied acting for quite a while in Manhattan, and appeared in many stage productions.
I'd love to do more film acting in the future. But most trial lawyers will tell you that what we do uses a very similar skill set. The court room is truly a stage. So, it's hard to miss something you're still mostly doing.
[ Q ] What was it like working as a bouncer?
I worked at a club which thought it would be a good idea to offer a drink-free-all-night policy. Patrons would pay 14 bucks at the door, come in, get smashed, and start fighting. The local cops called it the "Bucket of Blood." It was like a
Sam Peckinpah movie.
I recall watching one of my bouncer bros wringing the blood from his sleeves in the bathroom sink. We had over a dozen bouncers working on some nights. Those were crazy times.
[ Q ] No matter how big the bouncers are, or how many are working, bar fights are bound to start if you give the patrons enough alcohol. Where did you learn to fight?
When I was growing up, physical bullying was much more tolerated than it is now. I got into countless fights not only defending myself, but even more often defending others. I hated to see a bigger kid pick on a little kid. Maybe that's why I became a defense lawyer.
Anyway, back in those days, basic martial arts classes were different than they are now. Every Saturday morning, we'd all sit in a circle and the sensei would choose opponents to fight each other. You'd fight someone every week. It got pretty brutal sometimes.
If they tried that today, parents and their lawyers would sue the place and shut it down in a week. But it helped provide a certain fearlessness that was good for being a bouncer.
Of course, these days, I do all my fighting in court. I rarely argue with anyone, under the theory that arguing is often what I do for a living, so why should I do it in my spare time?
[ Q ] So bouncing is how you worked your way through college?
I worked three jobs: as a fitness instructor at a local health club, as a bouncer on weekend nights, and as an orderly at a nursing home on Sundays. I needed the money. I have great stories from all three jobs. I just heard one I'd forgotten for years.
The Irish nurse who hired me at the nursing home was the sweetest woman you ever met. She retired to Florida and I hadn't seen her since the late '80s.
Her son called just recently to tell me that she passed away, and that through the years she would always laugh and recount something I did all those years ago.
The nursing home had some insect problems, and I once caught a huge cockroach and tied a long piece of dental floss to it. I walked it down the hallway like a pet on a leash!
[ Q ] That must have freaked everyone out!
Sure, but it made the nurse laugh for 20 years. That's just priceless. It's a blast to entertain people, isn't it? Nursing homes can be sad places, so I tried to brighten things up.
For years after I stopped working there, I returned every year to play Santa Claus for the residents. I can juggle, so I would do some of that while yelling, "Ho ho ho!" and trying to get smiles from people who didn't have all too much to smile about.
Anyway, speaking of freaking people out, my law partner and I do a mental telepathy routine at parties and clubs that totally freaks people out! Even some magicians have been dumbstruck. You'd love it, Matt. We'll do it for you at the
Olympia and the
Arnold, and for anyone else in the Bodybuilding.com community. It's all in fun.
[ Q ] Has your background and degree in psychology been a help to you?
It's helped me in almost everything I've ever done, including trial law. As bodybuilders, we pay so much attention to the body. But the true seat of power is the mind. I believe that most people are capable of so much more than they give themselves credit for.
Too many people allow negative thinking and self-imposed limitations to hold them back. They think they can't, and so they don't. I call it "mental myostatin." Just like the myostatin protein which limits your muscle growth, mental myostatin limits your growth as a person.
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I Believe That Most People Are Capable Of So
Much More Than They Give Themselves Credit For.
[ Q ] You and I have spoken about this before, but I really want people to know the kind of person you are. Having met you in person I can say that you are one of the most down to earth people I have ever met. Can you tell the readers the story you told me about what you did with some of your old clothing?
Oh, so we're sharing all my secrets, are we? Okay, I dug through my closet a few autumns back and found some old winter coats I didn't wear, and I convinced a few buddies to do the same.
We filled a big box and then we all went to the Penn Station men's room where all the homeless dudes congregate and announced we would be doing a coat fitting.
We eyeballed them to see who really needed the coats and judged them for sizes, and had them turn away so they could put their hands through the sleeves while we put the coats on their backs and brushed their shoulders like in a tailor shop.
These guys weren't used to being treated like that. They loved it, and it was a strange and magical experience for us. I plan to do it again in the fall this year. Random acts of kindness are a beautiful thing.
[ Q ] You are quite the writer. I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked your columns. How did you first get involved with Muscular Development?
John Romano saw my online stuff about steroid legal issues and brought me into the fold. Steve Blechman has kept me on as a monthly columnist since 2001. They've parted ways, but I owe each of them a big debt of gratitude.
[ Q ] Can you touch on what your current workouts look like?
I've always trained on a split routine. I base my training on my life, not the other way around, so the days vary based on other obligations, such as work or family. I generally train at a relatively fast pace, but as heavy as I can.
[ Q ] What does your diet look like?
I usually eat small meals every 3 or 4 hours, including lean
meats and lots of
fish and veggies. I drink plenty of
water. I avoid the whites - sugar, rice, bread, and pasta - and I stay away from
salty, greasy, and sweet junk foods and sweetened cereals. I drink a lot of protein shakes.
In calories, my diet is roughly about a third of each: lean protein, healthy fats, and non-junk carbs. That's pretty much how our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate for nearly 2.5 million years, until we screwed it up by switching to a mostly grain-based and heavily processed diet.
[ Q ] Do you have any supplements that you use on a regular basis?
multivitamin. I intermittently use
creatine monohydrate, which works well for me and is supported by lots of research. And, like I said, I'm a huge believer in supplemental
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[ Q ] You are NSCA-CSCS certified. Do you still have clients that you train?
I've been helping people with diet and exercise since I was a kid. I love helping people get into shape as much as I love getting them out of legal trouble.
In the '90s, I co-owned a personal training business called Innovation Fitness. Our clientele was mostly female. Time doesn't permit me to train clients today, other than as test subjects for the program that my writing partner and I created.
[ Q ] Is that program going to be released to the public?
Yes, in the form of a hardcover book from America's top health and fitness publisher, Rodale. It's a 10-week program incorporating what I've learned from decades in the study of bodybuilding and fitness, and psychology, too.
It's a revolutionary system for burning fat, gaining muscle, and building the kind of "True Alpha" attitude it takes to succeed and thrive in tough times.
[ Q ] When and where will it be available?
It will be at bookstores everywhere in August 2009. You can pre-order it now at Amazon. It's called the
Alpha Male Challenge, co-written with James Villepigue, and it's very
motivating for guys to reclaim their edge and be their best.
Men following the program have seen amazing results - more strength, definition, agility, speed and power, as well as more good mental stuff like confidence and willpower.
One client, a lawyer, started at 307 pounds, dangerously out of shape. He lost 12 pounds in his first two weeks. In the full 10 weeks, he lost 52 pounds and over 10 inches of fat off his waist. At the same time, he got stronger, faster and more athletic than ever before. He's now signed up for a triathlon.
[ Q ] If you weren't currently doing what you are doing, what industry or profession would you be in?
If I wasn't a lawyer I'd probably be doing something artistically creative; maybe something in film or television. Years ago I directed and acted in a short comedy film that aired on local cable.
I love the process of telling a story. I also love to do impressions and clown around, mostly when I'm not wearing my "law suit."
I'm happy that I'm not confined to being only a lawyer and nothing else. I appreciate all the other offbeat and creative things I've done and still do. But I feel very blessed by my legal career.
I love helping people and I also love the challenge of thinking on my feet and testing my wits under pressure. I have the opportunity to do either or both every day.
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I Love Helping People And I Also Love The Challenge
Of Thinking On My Feet And Testing My Wits Under Pressure.
[ Q ] Do you have any idols?
Not idols, really, but I admire people who create unique paths to success and happiness. Life is an adventure, and the well-worn path is usually the least exciting.
Take Arnold Schwarzenegger for example. He dominated bodybuilding as Mr. Olympia, then he became a top international movie star, then he became the governor of the state with the largest economy in America. He defied all reasonable expectations by believing in himself, and he didn't let any one thing define him.
[ Q ] Any favorite quotes?
Many. "Courage is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets." That ties into a central theme of the Alpha Male Challenge. I also believe that our true character isn't tested when we win, but when we lose.
Failure is an opportunity to learn and do better. I'm a big believer in second chances. "Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around," is another favorite of mine.
[ Q ] Is there anything in life that you haven't accomplished that is still on your list?
I've had the good fortune to do some very cool things and go to some awesome places. I've stood in the Roman Coliseum and the Alamo.
I've seen the sun forget to set in summer in Stockholm. I was in the delivery room when the two most perfect little girls in the world were born. I've parasailed and ridden horses on the beach. I've gone helmet diving off the coast of Bermuda.
Every guy should attend a party at the Playboy Mansion, which I've done. Every guy should go to Vegas, which I've done, maybe even too often.
I once partied at Siegfried and Roy's old house, which still has the tiger training cages but decorated as a funky lounge with fur-covered furniture and animal skins.
There are some things still on my bucket list, though. I want to write a few more books. I want to do some more film work. I want to travel to Asia and to see more of Europe.
I especially enjoy learning new things! I'd love to learn to surf someday. I also want to jump out of a plane and fly, with a parachute, of course, which I'm planning to do next month.
[ Q ] Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are today?
I am blessed with a wonderful wife and family I love dearly, and with terrific law partners and associates who've allowed me to pursue and explore my dreams.
It's my great fortune to have truly amazing and loyal friends; some I've had for many years but others are new friends who really make me laugh. Many I met through the bodybuilding and fitness community.
I sincerely appreciate all those who ever believed in me, in all of my various eccentric endeavors, and also everyone who reads my magazine column each month or has supported my books. I'm humbly grateful to all of you.