Craig Titus: The Hardest Working Man In Bodybuilding!
One of the most popular bodybuilders in the world, Titus has been featured on nearly 100 covers and is now a featured writer for Muscular Development. Find out what is next in 2004...
Craig Michael Titus, born January 14, 1967 in Riverview, Michigan is the oldest of three children. Titus was active as a child participating in football, rowing, and wrestling (a sport he excelled at). In 1984, Titus became the Michigan State High School Wrestling champion in the 132-pound weight class. Wrestling introduced Titus to the positive benefits of weight training which eventually led to bodybuilding.
When Titus first started lifting weights, he was motivated by bodybuilding legends Mike Christian, Lee Labrada and Samir Bannout. But it was eight time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney who told Titus he had the potential to make it in bodybuilding.
"In 1991, Lee was training Evander Holyfield at a World's Gym in Houston, Texas. He noticed me in the gym and took the time to give me some advice and the rest is history," Titus said. "I recently spoke with him during the GNC Pro Show and informed him that he is a class act and the real reason I continue my quest to be one of the best bodybuilders in the world."
One of the most popular bodybuilders in the world, Titus has been featured on nearly 100 covers and is now a featured writer for Muscular Development.
Currently living in Las Vegas, Titus is vigorously preparing for the 2004 season and continues to be one of the hardest working man in bodybuilding with endorsement contracts from companies such as Home Bodies Home Gyms, Pinnacle, and Apex Fitness. He also maintains a full guest-posing schedule and still finds time to volunteer in his community.
[ Q ] When did you realize you could make a living at bodybuilding?
CG: In 1991, I competed in the Ironman/Ironmaiden Bodybuilding Championships in Fontana, California. After winning the overall title, I was shooting with various magazines at Gold's Gym, Venice. At that time, I realized there might be a career in this sport.
In 1993, I walked on stage at the USA Championships in Santa Monica California, placing in 4th. After the show, I was swarmed by photographers wanting me to shoot for their publication. I realized that the exposure itself could launch me into a great career in bodybuilding and this could lead to other opportunities as well.
One thing new pros have to realize is you have to go after what you want, you cannot just sit on your ass and hope things come to you.
[ Q ] Do you still remember the first magazine cover you appeared on? How about your first feature article?
CG: Absolutely, Musclemag International, (Nov 93), issue #137. The first article that featured me, "Man on a Mission," was also in Musclemag International back in 1991. This was an exciting time in my life and career.
The weird thing is, Kelly and I have never appeared on a cover together. I've done photo shoots with dozens of fitness models but never my wife. Kelly is featured on the cover of the swimsuit (Feb 04) edition of Ironman Magazine and I'll be on the cover of Muscular Development in a few months. Maybe this year, we'll be featured on a cover together.
[ Q ] FLEX magazine and others have featured athletes from other sports on their covers. While this may help the overall sales of the magazine, do you feel this is an insult to bodybuilders?
CG: ABSOLUTELY! In my opinion, a true bodybuilding magazine like FLEX should be proud to feature pro bodybuilders on the cover. There are dozens of
IFBB pros available for covers and I just don't believe using wrestlers increases sales.
As a matter of fact, a percentage of bodybuilding fans are offended! I have received dozens of e-mails from fans wanting to know why I haven't been on the cover of FLEX for a while and why they feature wrestlers? These e-mails come from true bodybuilding fans--the people that purchase FLEX and they are not happy. I told them to send the letters to FLEX so they could read first-hand what their readers think. People subscribe to FLEX because they love bodybuilding, not wrestling.
I don't want to offend my buddy Triple H. However, I think he would agree it's not a wise decision to put a bodybuilder on the cover of a wrestling magazine. I would love to do more work for FLEX but they seldom use me. I now shoot for Muscular Development, Muscle Magazine International, and Ironman. I want a publication contract and I'm negotiating one at the present time but there are a few more kinks to be worked out before I sign the dotted line.
Again, it is my opinion that IFBB pros should be the only athletes used on the covers of bodybuilding publications.
[ Q ] The two biggest IFBB competitions, the Olympia and Arnold Classic will be televised on Pay Per View this year. When you retire from competition, do you have the desire to become a commentator? What unique perspective would you bring to the viewing audience?
CG: This is something that has definitely crossed my mind. I've done a lot of work in front of the camera so God knows I'm not camera shy. As a veteran competitor, I would be able to deliver a creditable and honest perspective to what bodybuilding is all about.
Nothing in my career came easy. Many pro bodybuilders are genetically gifted and contest prep is much easier for them. This is not my case so I would be able to convey to the audience the hard work and tenacity necessary to succeed in pro bodybuilding. I'm also a very good businessman so this gives me the opportunity to put another spin on the sport.
[ Q ] How difficult is it having a wife in the same profession? Is contest preparation tough to go through?
CG: Absolutely not.
Kelly is my best friend and my heart! The reason that Kelly and I have no problems being in the same profession is because we complete each other. She is the one girl that I've met that truly understands me and I don't have to act any different when I'm with her. Kelly's personality doesn't change which is good for us because I get short and aggravated and she keeps me calm.
One thing that I have noticed in this industry is men get very insecure if their girlfriend or spouse is better in her sport than he is in his. Kelly is the best fitness athlete in the world right now and I am so proud of her, it's crazy. I want nothing more then my wife to win every show she enters.
[ Q ] What would you be if you were not a bodybuilder?
CG: Definitely a fighter, be it pro boxing or Ultimate Fighting/King of the Cage. I absolutely love the whole warrior mono-a-mono thing! When I watch Arturo Gatti fight and walk to the ring to the same song that I've posed to (Thunder Struck – by ACDC) I get really fired up! Or when I watch Tito Ortiz kick some butt in the octagon, it's such an adrenaline rush!
I think that's why I wrestled all through school and hung out at the boxing gym working the heavy bag and sparing with actual fighters. I was so consumed with wrestling, I never went the boxing route.
[ Q ] What was the main reason you did not compete in the 2003 Mr. Olympia?
CG: It's very simple. After taking third at the
2003 Night of Champions, I only had five months before walking on stage to compete again. That's not enough time to make the kind of gains I need to move up into the next tier of athletes like Dennis James or Dexter Jackson.
I just do not want to keep getting called out with the same guys. Since I've been competing I've made gains absolutely every time I said I would. Now I'm telling you that I will move up into the next tier of pros! So I took a full 10 months to prepare for the Arnold Classic where I hope to catch these athletes.
Only time will tell but don't be surprised if a few more guys place behind me on March 5th. Two names that come to mind are Gunter and Marcus Ruhl. I'm reluctant to say Gunter because all of sudden he's one of the guys placing ahead of me, strange but true.
[ Q ] What's the "beef" with King Kamali?
CG: The fact is that there is no more beef. Early in King's career, he ran his mouth and it just got a little too personal for me. However, in his defense, you tend to grow out of that sort of thing as you obtain more wisdom. I've beaten him the last three times we've competed so to be totally honest with you, I don't think he'll beat me again so why bother thinking about him when I have bigger fish to fry!
On another note, I would not want to be in his shoes right now after all the derogatory remarks he made after I beat him at the 2003 Night of Champions. He stated on his web site that something fishy was going on at the show. He said that the only people backstage at the show were associates of Pinnacle Nutrition and IFBB Officials insinuating that Pinnacle bought my placing.
He even went so far to say that I give the IFBB money from my parties and this helped my contest placing. I've even heard that he said some of the main judges pulled out of the judging panel because they wanted no part of the corruption. Of course we know all of this is absolutely fabricated to make one feel more secure with themselves, but this is really not good for the sport, nor is it good for Kamali.
Sometimes athletes just cannot admit when they've been beaten and will make up every excuse in the book. Unfortunately these excuses he has made will not be taken lightly. Because of Kamali, the new IFBB rules were put into effect to keep athletes from taking away the integrity of our great sport.
[ Q ] If it was up to you, what one thing would you change in the IFBB?
CG: Good question. I used to be one of those guys who always thought that more prize money should be offered. But, now that I'm the CEO of Emperor Entertainment and the promoter of the IFBB After Parties, I realize how hard it is to accumulate steady sponsors. Notice I used the word accumulate.
You see it's easy to get a sponsor on board for one or even two events, but to keep them on board for the long haul is really difficult. For instance, the supplement company EAS used bodybuilding to get filthy rich and build their foundation, then they turned their backs on the sport and no longer sponsor the very industry that made them rich; that's foul!
At this time, Kelly and I are blessed and doing well so I really can't say I would change much.
[ Q ] What's a typical day like for you?
CG: Off-season, my day begins at 8:00 am with my first meal followed by my first training session in my home gym. From 10:00 am until 1:00 pm, I'm in my office working on party promotions, making sure rent is being paid on time on our properties, setting up our appearance schedule, and running our web sites. We're in the process of rebuilding Kelly's new web site and we've just started training clients in our home gym. Besides preparing for the February-March competitions, I'm starting a new web site called www.Promuscle-worship.com.
The site should be up and running by April 1st. As a member you'll be able to check out your favorite female bodybuilder on line and have her pose for you in the privacy of your own home. Later we're going to add men to the roster but for now it will be specifically female bodybuilders.
At 1:00 pm, I take a 2-hour nap--a crucial element of adding mass. Around 3:00 pm, I go through my second training session. I love split training because I can train without holding anything back since I only have one body part to do.
To relax, we may go eat sushi or simply chill on the couch watching our favorite movies.
[ Q ] Why didn't you endorse Shawn Ray to be the IFBB Athletes rep?
CG: I am not comfortable giving any one person the power to represent all the athletes. Anytime you give one person that type of power, it has the potential to lead to many problems. I feel there should be a panel of athletes representing all of us. This eliminates deceit because everything is discussed in the open and the group makes the final decision.
I feel Shawn has butted heads with IFBB and NPC officials far too many times to represent us. We need a representative that the officials respect and are willing to work within the framework of the rules. With this in mind, Shawn has assumed the position of our representative and I just hope he picks a panel to work with him on all the issues he feels need to be changed.
Personally, I'm pretty happy with the way things are right now, but I would entertain the thought of joining his panel.
[ Q ] Your opinion on the 2003 Mr. Olympia results?
Ronnie Coleman is absolutely the best bodybuilder in the world and of all time! He is on a planet all by himself and I have never seen anything like him on stage or in the gym.
When people were saying it was going to be a close show between Ronnie and some of the other athletes I cracked up--are you kidding me? Any show that Ronnie enters leaves a mighty fight for second. I also was very impressed with Dexter Jackson, which kind of aggravated me because I thought for a second I could catch him with the size thing but now I just don't know; the guy is incredible.
If Dexter had placed second no one could have argued. The Olympia was an extremely well judged show.
[ Q ] Regarding the Olympia Fitness competition, how did you feel when Kelly took second for a record, fifth year in a row?
CG: Ya know, I've said this before and I'll say it again. Kelly has taken second five times and I feel very strongly that she has won the Fitness Olympia at least three out of those five times.
The one show that leaves no doubt in my mind is in 1999 when Mary Yockey won. Another tough one was the 2003 competition. Susie was hurt, her body was way off, and beating Kelly in the routine round was shocking to say the least.
Figure is about the body and Fitness is about being an athlete. Not to mention I think Kelly's body is right up in the top three girls, period. I'm sick of people saying that Kelly wins the routine round because of her gymnastic back ground. No way! Let's not forget that her dancing skills are second to none and her transitions are perfect. The greatest trait Kelly has is her unbelievable ability to suck the fans into her routine.
In many cases, if you ask a fan what they're looking forward to in regards to a pro fitness competition they'll say, "To see Kelly's new routine." That's Ms. Fitness Olympia to me.
CG: In 1991, I had some gyno removed from both pecs and as a result of the surgery, it left loose skin under my right pec and over the years, the skin just lost its elasticity. Whenever I did my front lat spread, a fold of skin would develop leaving a very undesirable appearance.
I went to the same doctor that fixed Evander Holyfield's ear after the Tyson fight, Dr. Julio Garcia. He simply removed the skin and now my chest looks much better without skin folds. I'm really excited about hitting my first front lat spread on stage! The procedure took place on November 10th and it took a full month to recover but it did me some good to just lie on the couch and rest. I was able to get back to training on December 10th.
[ Q ] What are your competitive plans for 2004? What kind of physique can we expect from you?
CG: Originally, my 2004 season was going to start at the Arnold Classic and end with the Melbourne Grand Prix. But, after reviewing the line up for the
Ironman, I've decided to enter. I would have to be an idiot not to compete being that I have a chance to actually win my first pro show. I'm really excited about doing the Ironman and I'm hoping to be at my all time best!
What kind of physique can you expect from me? Full, round, and grainy. Whenever I try to get ripped or shredded, I loose way too much size. I'd rather be dry and grainy with full muscle bellies--kind of how I looked in the first round of the 2003 Night of Champions before I spilled over.
[ Q ] Recently, you have joined forces with contest guru Chad Nicholls. Even with all your experience, what brought you to this decision and what are your expectations?
CG: What brought me to this decision was the out come of the 2003 Night of Champions. In the first round of comparisons, I was full, hard and grainy however, by the third round, right before my eyes, I spilled over and flattened out. I needed to correct these mistakes and that's why I turned to Chad. As soon as he explained to me what happened and why it happened I knew right then that hiring him would only make me better, bigger, and harder than I have ever been before. I will walk on stage at the Ironman no less than 250 lbs., full muscle bellies and grainy. I want to beat Dexter Jackson so bad I can taste it!
[ Q ] You are recognized as the originator of the popular after parties. How did you come up with this concept?
CG: First, I am the originator of the IFBB and NPC After Parties, no doubt. After we moved to Vegas, we realized after the USA Championships, everyone was going to several different clubs. I realized that if I could get everyone at the same club, there was potential to make money. The first party I produced (USA Championships After Party) was a huge success with an attendance of over 1800!
As time progressed I realized that I could rent out the club for the evening and host these parties under my corporation, Emperor Enterprises. The purpose of these parties is to provide a social opportunity for athletes, officials, sponsors, and fans to have a good time, enjoy the music, and enjoy a glass of champagne.
With some of the proceeds from the parties, Kelly and I will give money back to the athletes in the form of cash awards. We also offer free admission to IFBB Pros/Officials and NPC Officials to all our parties.
Fans attend our parties to have a great time and meet the pros. Kelly and I do our best to ensure that happens.
[ Q ] How do you plan on taking some of the proceeds and putting them back into the industry?
CG: With the approval of the IFBB, we plan to give out cash awards during the competitions. I don't think there is a show promoter that will say no to me wanting to increase the prize money at their event.
For example, we could pay $500.00 to 6th place or even increase the first place prize money. However the promoter wants to disperse the proceeds is fine with us. Our only request is during the competition, Kelly present the award in front of the audience. This will show the fans and people in this industry that we are giving back to the industry and it will also create a positive buzz for Emperor Enterprises.
[ Q ] A number of years ago, you had a physical altercation with Melvin Anthony and it was rumored that you and Kelly were basically swingers. Now that you both are hosting these after parties, the swinging rumor is starting all over again. Here's your chance to set the record straight.
CG: First, let me point out that Melvin and I are very good friends and both part of the Pinnacle family. I regret this unfortunate situation and we have since moved on.
What was printed in Musclemag International was so far from the truth it was funny. Kelly and I felt it was not necessary for us to respond to a rumor that was so ridiculous. The fact that it was in print we were trying to take home a girl for sexual escapades was humorous to say the least.
One thing I have learned during my rise to the top of this profession is that people, haters so to speak, will say anything to try and make you look unworthy of your position or just plain bad in the public's eye. The haters have said everything you can imagine about me; from me having an affair with Keanu Reeves to Kelly was selling X for me in the strip clubs of Vegas and then being thrown in jail for it.
It's ridiculous. Who knows what they'll say next when this rumors burns out? Anyone who has been welcomed on my home knows that shit is so far from the truth it's not even funny! I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Wow, you guys are nothing like we've been told."
Quite honestly, I don't give a shit what people say about us as long as they're saying something.
I can't stop two-faced gossipmongers from running their lips. Kelly and I focus on being professional and friendly to the fans that support the sport and us.
[ Q ] Now that you have built your own home gym, what are some of the benefits and how does this positively affect your training?
CG: Kelly and I love having our own gym. The key advantage of having our own gym is we never miss workouts. I guess it's changed my training in regards to resting after hard workouts. Recovery is most important for putting on mass and having my own gym helps me to never miss naps after training because I no longer have to travel or sit in traffic so it's awesome.
[ Q ] Give me your thoughts on the following:
Titus the competitor
CG: Tenacity. I will be top five in the world and it will be realized!
CG: A good businessman and excellent leader for the IFBB.
IFBB Judging standards
CG: No complaints here.
Compensation for pro bodybuilders
CG: Just fine in the Titus house!
The state of women's bodybuilding
CG: Hard to say. I have a job for every one of them on my new web site, www.promuscle-worship.com.
Joe Weider's contribution to the sport
CG: He is the reason we have this sport, period!
Janet Jackson and the Superbowl controversy
CG: I don't think it was appropriate but I totally understand why she did it. Her new song is the number one requested tune on the radio right now. Needless to say her next album will go straight to number one in sales. I'm a HUGE Janet Jackson fan.
Providing the most unique prospective of Titus is his number one fan and wife, Kelly, "My husband is the most compassionate man I have ever met," said Kelly. "Craig is someone who takes the time to speak to young kids about setting goals for their future and how important it is to have a life plan. Always encouraging others, he recently wrote to the little girl in Hawaii who lost her arm to a shark bite to say how much he admires her bravery and hopes that he has the honor and privilege of meeting her one day."
"For years, Craig has performed charity work for the Penny Lane Foundation, because he enjoys making less fortunate people feel special and important; especially when they feel hopeless. Most important to me is how special Craig makes me feel. He calls me during the day all choked up to tell me how much he loves me and how wonderful it is going to be growing old together. I am so proud of my husband!" Kelly said.
Look for Craig and Kelly at the Pinnacle booth during most major competitions. "I want to sincerely thank my fans for their support. Thanks to them, I'm able to make a great living doing something I love to do so stop by our booth and say hi or contact us through my web site at www.craigtitus.com or e-mail us at email@example.com or CrgTitus@aol.com," Titus said.
About The Author
Rob Wilkins, originally from Linden, N.J., is a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force stationed at the Pentagon, Washington, DC. Rob is also a Special Assistant for the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) and a recipient of the IFBB Gold Medal. To contact Wilkins e-mail him at Robifbb@yahoo.com.