Interview with Lee Priest (from nuclearnutrition.com)
LEE PRIEST. IFBB PROFESSIONAL SINCE 1993, HAS ACHIEVED AND ACCOMPLISHED MORE THAN ANY BODYBUILDER CAN DESIRE. MEETING WITH LEE HAS ALLOWED ME TO SEE THAT HIS RECOGNITION AND POPULARITY IN THE SPORT OF BODYBUILDING HAS NOT MADE HIM OBNOXIOUS OR COCKY AT ALL. DESPITE ALL THE PRESS LEE RECEIVES FOR HIS "OUTSPOKEN" COMMENTS, HE PROJECTS A MODEST DEMEANOR AND A HUMANE EXISTENCE. LEE DONATES MONEY TO HOMELESS SHELTERS AND CHILDREN AND FILLS HIS HOME WITH RESCUED ANIMALS. HE REGULARLY HOSTS DINNER PARTIES AND BARBECUES FOR HIS FRIENDS STOCKED WITH ENORMOUS SUPPLIES TO FILL EACH GUEST FOR A WEEK. I’M SURE THIS IS NOT THE PICTURE YOU IMAGINE WHEN YOU THINK OF LEE PRIEST. HERE IS A GUY WHO IS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW TO ENJOY HIS SUCCESS, HIS MONEY, HIS FRIENDS AND HIS FAMILY.
WITHOUT QUESTION, WHEN THE WORD HARD-CORE IS MENTIONED LEE PRIEST’S NAME IS NOT TOO FAR BEHIND. AT 5’5’’ AND AN OFFSEASON WEIGHT BETWEEN 285-300LBS (STILL SHOWING ABS!!) ONE COULD EASILY ARGUE THAT POUND FOR POUND; LEE PRIEST IS THE BIGGEST MAN IN THE SPORT. I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT DOWN WITH THE MAN KNOWN AS "THE BLOND MYTH" AND DELVE DEEP INTO HIS THOUGHTS ON BODYBUILDING COMPETITION, NUTRITION, TRAINING AND PHARMACEUTICALS…
LEE I HAVE TO TELL YOU, SEEING YOU EVERY YEAR COME IN SHREDDED AND HUGE AND STILL PLACE BEHIND PEOPLE LIKE DILLET AND RAY MAKES ME LOSE ALL HOPE THAT BODYBUILDING WILL EVER BE A TRUE SPORT. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHY YOU GET PLACED BELOW SOMEONE LIKE SHAWN RAY WHO HAS NOT GAINED SO MUCH AS 5 POUNDS OF TISSUE SINCE FIRST TURNING PRO BACK IN 1987. I MEAN, IF WE TOOK THE TOP BODYBUILDERS FROM 1987 AND HAD THEM SOMEHOW COMPETE TODAY, NOT ONE OF THEM—EXCEPT FOR LEE HANEY---WOULD BE ABLE TO COMPETE AT EVEN LOWER CALIBER PRO-SHOW. BE HONEST AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I don’t know? Some people say it’s the height thing with me only being 5’5’’, but Shawn is only 2 inches taller than I am. They say he’s got the perfect symmetry, and I really don’t feel my symmetry is any better or worse than his is, but mass wise I have a lot more mass than Shawn does. I think it’s because he’s black that he places ahead of me, I mean I am not racist, but if you look over the past 3 years, the I.F.B.B. has stood for the International Federation Of Black Bodybuilders…
(LEE WAS WAS LAUGHING HISTERICALLY AT THIS POINT AND TOTALLY JOKING, MOCKINGLY IMPLYING THAT REVERSE RACISM IS THE CAUSE OF HIS PLACINGS, SO PLEASE DON'T EMAIL ME COMMENTS THAT LEE IS A RACIST...HE WAS TOTALLY JOKING)
I also think, with Shawn, since he’s been around so long, he walks on stage and automatically gets placed in the top 5. The same thing happens with Flex. Now with Flex he almost always deserves it, but on occasion he has come in less than sharp and still gets placed high, hell sometimes he even wins. Remember the Iron Man a few years ago when Aaron Baker looked ******* insane and he lost to and out of shape Flex? I honestly think the judges are too lazy to sometimes even look up to see who is actually in shape and who isn’t. If an unknown comes along, like Marcus Ruhl, and he is the best on that day, he should win. Yet they place guys who are known and not in shape ahead of him, and this poor guy is left wondering what the **** he has to do to get a fair deal. Again I think it goes back to the judges being too lazy, they know someone like Flex is entering a show and they automatically place him in a top spot before they ever even see what he looks like.
THIS IS TRUE, BUT THE BIZARRE THING WITH SHAWN IS THAT HE IS NOT IN THE LIMELIGHT ALL THAT MUCH, ALL HE DOES IS ONE SHOW A YEAR.
I guess we just have to put it under the category of the Bermuda Triangle or Rosewell…..No one is really quite sure why these mystical events occur, but they do…
THE OTHER DAY I GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH A GUY WHO SWORE THAT HE "KNOWS" THAT YOU USE 1 GRAM OF TEST PER DAY 365 DAYS PER YEAR. HELL EVEN MY EX-PARTNER BORRESEN WOULD GO AROUND CLAIMING YOU USED 3000MG OF GEAR PER DAY. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THESE AND ALL OTHER OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS THAT ARE CONSTANTLY FLOATED ABOUT YOU, PARTICULARLY ON THESE INTERNET BODYBUILDING BOARDS?
Oh well the experts on the Internet bodybuilding boards…well they know everything now don’t they. In fact, I go on the boards just to find out what I am supposed to be taking in case I forget. Lord knows that one would be foolish not to listen to guys hiding behind a computer that use more gear than a stable of race-horses and all they have to show for it is a 195lb. piss-poor physique shriveled nuts and a nice case of gyno. The fact is when it comes to training, diet and drugs; I’ve always been honest and tell people what exactly I do. And when I tell them that courses for me are something like 2cc’s of deca and 2cc’s of primo a week for 6-8 weeks, they tell me bullshit 2cc’s, more like 2 bottles. What can I say, some guys go way overboard, but I don’t. I hate needles and I’d much rather just get fat and train heavy in the off-season.
Last year at the Ironman, people complained about my condition and said I was through, but the fact is, is that I did that show totally natural just to prove I could do it. Sure I was 15lbs smaller and not as hard, but I still looked pretty good. I’d like to see the other guys do a show naturally. Oh I forgot, Ronnie Coleman is the Natural Mr. Olympia…
ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT I HAVE FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT YOUR COURSES HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST AND THEY ARE LESS THAN WHAT STATE LEVEL COMPETITORS USE. OF COURSE IF I HAVE MY WAY, THAT WILL ALL CHANGE
Like I said, I hate needles and hate taking the ****. I use 3 or 4 compounds ( primo, winstrol, clen and maybe some gh) all in small amounts during my precontest training because it helps me keep my size and helps me recovery
WELL WHAT DO YOU DO IN THE OFFSEASON THAN?
Nothing! Or almost nothing. I typically will do one mass course consisting of deca and primo in the amounts I mentioned before for 6-8 weeks and then I’ll have 4-6 months clean depending on when my next show is. I really don’t give a **** if people believe it, but that’s the truth. If it helps them to justify why I am a pro and they are not, they will believe that I walk around with a blatter pack of test on an I.V. drip all day long. Remember that article on the web last year called the Dead Pool?
DON’T YOU EVER WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DID A COUPLE OF MORE AGGRESSIVE MASS COURSES DURING YOUR OFFSEASON? CHRIST, YOU’D PROBABLY COMPETE AT 230LBS. SHREDDED AT A HEIGHT OF 5’5’’(WHICH WOULD EQUATE TO 250LBS. IN THE BODYBUILDING MAGAZINES SEEING HOW THEY ALWAYS LIE ABOUT THE COMPETITORS WEIGHTS)….THAT WOULD BE INSANE
Yeah, when I hear the amounts others are using and the amounts I’m supposed to be using, it makes me wonder. Especially since the little amounts I use now have resulted in good gains. But then you run the risk of falling into the "if 2 work then 4 must be better" and where does it stop?
THAT STATEMENT HAS SOME VALIDITY, BUT I THINK YOU ERROR ON THE SIDE OF BEING WAY TO CONSERVATIVE. THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN ABUSE AND PROPER USE OF LARGER AMOUNTS AT THE RIGHT TIMES. MY OWN THOUGHTS ARE THAT YOU DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOME OF THE NEWER TRENDS AND NEWER TECHNOLOGY THAT COULD MAKE A REAL CHANGE IN AN ALREADY FREAKY PHYSIQUE
I am though…(laughing) Look see, as we speak I am eating 2 hotdogs and a diet mountain dew…That’s my heavy cycle
WATCH OUT NOW, WITHIN 3 DAYS THERE WILL BE RUMORS ALL OVER THE INTERNET THAT LEE PRIEST EATS 30 HOTDOGS AND WASHES IT DOWN WITH A CASE OF DIET MOUNTAIN DEW…..
I know…..sometimes I start rumors on myself, just to see how fast these ******* idiots spread them…I had an ingrown hair in my head that was removed last year and within a few days I was getting calls from my friend in Texas saying he heard I had brain cancer..
WELL THEN YOU SHOULD GET A BURIAL PLOT NEXT TO ME, BECAUSE ACCORDING TO BORRESEN, I’M DYING OF BRAIN CANCER…..
LET’S GET BACK TO BORRESEN FOR A SECOND. WHEN I FIRST MET HIM HE SAID THAT YOU AND MILOS (SARCEV) WERE DOING THE BRITISH GRAND PRIX AND SPECIFICALLY WANTED TO TALK WITH PAUL ABOUT HIS THEORIES. IS THIS CORRECT?
No, I didn’t even know Paul. Milos and myself were eating ice cream and apple pie after the contest and Kerry Kayes came into the restaurant with some of the guys from Chemical Warfare (his company). They sat at the table next to us and Kerry (who Milos and myself knew well) introduced everyone to us. One of the guys was Paul. I think we spoke 5 maybe 10 words to him, we mainly spoke with Kerry the whole time.
THAT’S FUNNY, CAUSE THE STORY I GOT FROM PAUL, WAS THAT HE WAS SITTING WITH YOU AND MILOS AND YOU WERE PICKING HIS BRAIN AND KERRY CAME IN AND INTRODUCED HIMSELF TO YOU GUYS AND YOU TOLD HIM TO KINDLY LEAVE YOU ALONE AS YOU WANTED TO ONLY SPEAK WITH PAUL….
Sorry, but it just did not happen that way. But look at the source.
BACK TO BODYBUILDING, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THIS OFFSEASON AND UPCOMING CONTEST SEASON?
For the offseason….EATING! Actually I only have 2 months left before I start my contest prep for the NOC
ARE YOU GOING TO DO A MASS COURSE BEFORE THAT?
I don’t know….don’t push me (laughing) Have I got enough time to do one?
WELL YOU HAVE 8 WEEKS BEFORE YOU START YOUR CONTEST PREP AND THE MASS COURSE WOULD ONLY BE 4 OR 6 WEEKS….
I might then….I might…If I am a good boy, I might….Then I’ll do the NOC and Mr. Olympia. So if I have time I will do the mass course you map out for me, then I will go into pre-contest for the NOC. Then I have about 2 months off and then start dieting again for the Mr. Olympia.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY OF EATING IN THE OFF SEASON FOR LEE PRIEST. (ACCORDING TO PAUL IT’S GOBS OF INSULIN AND 30 BIG MACS) AND JUST YESTERDAY, I WAS SENT AN ANONYMOUS GOSSIP COLUMN THAT CLAIMED YOU WERE SPOTTED EATING 2 LARGE PIZZAS BY YOURSELF. BUT I THINK YOU ARE A SLIGHTLY MORE RELIABLE SOURCE ON THE MATTER
Well seeing how I don’t like pizza all that much, that story is pretty much shot to ****. When I go to a place like McDonald’s I’ll typically order 2 hamburgers, small fried, a shack and 6 chicken nuggets. I never eat large amounts at any one sitting I just eat what I want all throughout the day, constantly picking at food. As for insulin use, I’m hypoglycemic and cannot use insulin and have no desire to anyway. If you want I’ll give you my doctor’s number and he can show you my blood sugar tests.
WHAT ARE YOU WEIGHING RIGHT NOW?
Well I just got over stomach flu last week, which made me lose 12 lbs., so I’m currently 242. Getting back to the ridiculous claims about people seeing me eat in a restaurant, I’d love to know who the **** they are seeing because I rarely go out to eat. To me it’s hit the drive through and go home.
YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT A FIXTURE AT THE "FIREHOUSE"?
**** the FIREHOUSE! The food sucks, and it’s overpriced. It’s where the "IN-CROWD" goes to be seen eating their chicken breast and rice looking like fat bags of **** and gossiping about people like me. You ever notice that there are always 20 out-of town wannabe bodybuilders wearing spandex tank tops bloated and holding 40 pounds of water trying to be noticed?
YEAH, IT’S ******* SAD. BODYBUILDERS’ WONDER WHY THE GENERAL PUBLIC DOESN’T ACCEPT THEM, YET THERE ARE SOME THAT PRACTICALLY WALK AROUND WITH NEON SIGNS AROUND THEIR NECKS SAYING "NOTICE ME". UNFORTUNATELY BODYBUILDING ATTRACTS A LOT OF INSECURE PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE BIGGER ARMS. GETTING BACK TO GEAR USE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT IN TERMS OF THE SPORT AND WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING?
WELL ACCORDING TO SOME OF THE RUMORS ABOUT YOU, YOU STARTED USING GEAR WHEN YOU WERE 13 AND IT STUNTED YOUR GROWTH, WHICH IS WHY YOU ARE ONLY 5’5’’.
Well the fact is, I did my first cycle at the age of 19, which was 2 cc’s of Solay Deca a week for 8 weeks. As for my growth being stunted, I’m the tallest in my family. My mom is 5’4", my sister is 5’3’’ my father is 5’5", my grandfather’s 5’3’’ so there goes that theory.
WHAT IS YOUR TRAINING LIKE? I KNOW IT DIFFERS DRAMATICALLY FROM THE WAY I FEEL IT SHOULD BE DONE, BUT I’D LIKE TO HERE IT FROM YOU.
Well, I normally like to keep it heavy if I can, unless I’m injured and have to go light which I hate. I like to do between 6 and 8 reps per sets and a minimum of 16 sets per bodypart, sometimes 20 and for legs even more….but that’s because I’M A ******* ANIMAL (jesting and laughing ).
YOU GOT IN TROUBLE LAST YEAR FOR MAKING THE OBVIOUS STATEMENT THAT THE JUDGING IS SUSPECT DUE TO THE FACT THAT CERTAIN JUDGES SLEEP WITH THE COMPETITORS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE. FEEL FREE NOT TO COMMENT, BUT WHERE THE **** DO THEY GET OFF FINING YOU, WHEN IT IS PRETTY MUCH COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT AT LEAST ONE RATHER BODACIOUS AND HOT FEMALE JUDGE HAS SCREWED MORE THAN A FEW BODYBUILDERS. EVEN BEING OVERHEARD TO SAY "I DON’T CARE WHAT FLEX LOOKS LIKE, I ALWAYS PLACE HIM AHEAD CAUSE I THINK HE’S SO GODDAMN SEXY!" WHERE THE **** DO THEY GET THESE JUDGES? A STRIP CLUB?
Well that’s a good question. I wonder where some of these judges come from and why they are judging. I’m not trying to put anyone down, but some people are qualified to be judges like Mike Katz and Albert Beckles, and some have absolutely no right whatsoever. Nowadays, a lot of the judging is done even before the competitors hit the stage because they expert that a person will be in shape. And god forbid you express your thoughts and it rubs a promoter or official the wrong way, the next thing you know, you’re marked down 4 slots before you even step on stage. To me one thing should have nothing to do with the other. Professionals don’t behave that way. If policemen behave that way they are fired or suspended, if businessmen behave that way they are sued for discrimination. But not the judges. I could tell you dozens of stories about some of the judges, but I cannot afford the fines. (laughing)
WHO ARE SOME OF THE BODYBUILDERS OUT THERE THAT IMPRESS YOU
I’ve always liked the freakier types of physiques. Tom Platz, Phil Hill, Eddie Robinson, Mohammed Benazzizia and of course Dorian. I really liked Dorian because of his work ethic. You could see that he busted his ass when he trained. The guys today give you every ******* excuse in the world not to train and use nothing but machines. Although bodybuilders don’t get a lot of money, the money they do get often makes them lazy. If you look, you can see that some of the pros looked better and trained harder when they were amateurs fighting to win a pro card.
WELL EVEN ARNOLD WAS NOTORIOUS FOR TRAINING 3 MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR AND THEN NOT TOUCHING A WEIGHT FOR THE REST OF THE TIME, AND IF YOU SEE PICTURES OF HIM IN HIS "OFF SEASON" HE’S A SCRAWNY AND SOFT 200LBS.
Right. I can respect Arnold for what he accomplished, but to me I really admire and respect someone like Dorian because he always worked hard and busted his but in the gym every day. Now days, I see some of the top pro’s training and it’s a joke. As soon as the set starts to become uncomfortable they stop. They never push themselves to the point of real pain or discomfort. You never see them crawling out of a gym after training. They look like they just woke up from a nap. It’s sad to see when someone has genetics 10 times better than Dorian, but trains 30 times less hard. They are satisfied with less than their best. To me, my best is all that matters….I would be disgraced even if I won the Mr. Olympia and new I only gave it 70% my best. There’s no honor in that.
HOW DO YOU FEEL DORIAN WOULD FAIR AGAINST RONNIE COLEMAN NOW?
I think Dorian at his best (1993) would easily beat Ronnie. Dorian might not be as symmetrical as Ronnie, but all over he was more complete and in better condition at his best.
THIS YEARS N.O.C. WAS A ******* JOKE. HOW ON EARTH DILLET WON IS ANYBODY’S GUESS. THE FACT IS, THAT RUHL WAS 15LBS. BIGGER AND IN BETTER CONDITION AND YET HE GOT STUCK IN FOURTH PLACE. WHAT DOES THIS GUY HAVE TO DO TO GET A FAIR SHAKE.
I like Paul alot and he’s a friend of mine, but I’ve seen him look a lot better and Marcus Ruhl looked incredible. People say that Ruhl’s shapes not that great, but to me his shape is no better or worse than Dorian or Nassers and he has as much mass and in great condition. It goes back to the judging and the lack of consistency. If you notice, they’ll sometimes place a freakier, less symmetrical bodybuilder first and then give second to a symmetrical physique, then give 3rd to another freak etc. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason half the time and people like Marcus Ruhl pay the price. To me it’s worse for the women because they are constantly having to guess at what the judges are looking for. I feel sorry for them.
I FEEL SORRY FOR THE WOMEN TO…BUT IT’S BECAUSE THEY LOOK LIKE MEN WITH BREAST IMPLANTS….CHRIST SOME OF THESE THINGS LOOK HAVE 5 O’CLOCK SHADOWS AND VOICES DEEPER THAN JAMES EARL JONES NOT TO MENTION WARPED SKELETAL STRUCTURE AND BULGES IN THEIR PANTS FROM THEIR OVER GROWN CLITS…..TO ME THEY ARE WALKING VOMIT INDUCERS. ALRIGHT, LET’S CHANGE THE FOCUS TO THE WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TRANSVESTITE SHOWS MASKED AS "WOMEN’S BODYBUILDING"
Well there are a few out there that still look feminine, but there comes a point when they go way overboard. Lenda Murray had a nice balance between being feminine and muscular as did Cory Everson and Anja Langer. I look at some of these competitors and swear they are guys who had sex changes or they are guys who couldn’t cut it in the men’s division so they just tucked their dicks under, put on some make-up and compete in the women’s division. I mean on the Howard Stern show they had Nicole Bass on and they made her take a DNA test to prove she is a women. Nothing against her, she’s nice and all, but it’s a shame what she did to herself. The general public looks at her and they don’t understand about women’s bodybuilding so they think she is a transvestite and a man.
WELL COUNT ME IN WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC CAUSE I SURE AS **** DON’T UNDERSTAND IT EITHER. TO ME, A PHYSIQUE LIKE MONICA BRANDT (LAST YEAR AT THE FITNESS O) SHOULD BE WHAT MISS OLYMPIA IS ALL ABOUT. CORY EVERSON WAS ABOUT AS FAR AS THE ENVELOPE SHOULD BE PUSHED IN MY OPINION. FITNESS COMPETITIONS INJECTED KNEW LIFE INTO THE SPORT FOR WOMEN AND YET WE ARE STARTING TO SEE A LOT OF WIDESPREAD DRUG USE EVEN IN THIS ARENA. CARE TO COMMENT?
Tell me about it, I know lots of fitness girls that live on clenbuterol, cytomel, winstrol and primobolan. Then they go around claiming they are natural and put down other women bodybuilders. But then again you have a lot of men bodybuilders and models that claim to be natural and I know who they are buying their drugs from.
ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A CERTAIN WELL KNOWN PRETTY BOY "NATURAL UNIVERSE" WINNER WHO IS ALSO CURRENTLY ON A "BATTLING" T.V. SHOW.
Why yes I am….I guess you can say you are steroid free when you mostly use growth hormone and clenbuterol
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE 1999 MR. O AND HOW YOU SAW IT IF MY MEMORY SERVES ME IT WENT COLEMAN, WHEELER, CORMIER, LEVRONE, RAY, EL SONBATY, DILLET, YOURSELF,( Lee interrupts laughing: you mean there was a white guy up there in the top 10, how did that happen) JACKSON AND SARCEV….. I think that it could have gone either way with between Flex and Ronnie. The only thing Ronnie had better than flex was shredded glutes and to me (and according to I.F.B.B. rules) the ass isn’t a judging point, but ronnie walked around with is posing trunks up his ass. To me when my ass is my best bodypart I’m gonna quite the sport. As for the rest of the placings, 3rd through 8th could have gone in any way and made sense. Granted I was a little more depleted than I should have been, but I was in as good or better shape than anyone ahead of me and pound for pound I have as much if not more mass, but who knows.
LAST QUESTION: ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE COMING YEAR?
Yes…Lee Priest will get screwed no matter what he does and I guarantee no matter how I look at the N.O.C. there will be someone there they place ahead of me.
THAT WOULD LEAVE ONE TO BELIEVE THAT IT MIGHT BEHOOVE YOU TO LISTEN TO MY ADVICE.
(Lee starts laughing before he speaks) What’s that…shave my head and paint myself black? Enter the contest as Shawn Ray? I was thinking for the next Olympia I would paint myself black and put my name down as Shawn Ray seeing how the judges usually don’t even bother to look up to see who it is that they are automatically placing in the top spots.
ACTUALLY I WAS THINKING MORE ALONG THE LINES OF THE MASS COURSE AND CONTEST PREP COURSE I SUGGESTED
I know, but think about it, even if the judges realize there are 2 Shawn Ray’s competing I will probably get placed higher just because of the name recognition.
THANKS LEE, YOU ARE DEFINITELY MY VIEW OF WHAT BODYBUILDING SHOULD BE ABOUT AND IT WOULD BE GREAT TO SEE YOU GET THE PLACINGS YOU DESERVE. HOPEFULLY YOU WOULD BE OPEN TO DO THIS AGAIN SOMETIME.
Dead Man Talking(from testosterone.net)
Lee Priest responds to the Dead Pool
by John Koenig
Here at Testosterone, we don't talk to many pro bodybuilders. We're not really fans of the "sport" and about the only time we hear from the pros is when we've pissed them off. Still, it's kind of hard to ignore them, especially when every other magazine on the market is filled with close up photos of their bulging torsos and smiling mugs. Plus there's always the element of morbid curiosity. How far can these guys push their bodies without becoming permanent roomies with Andreas Munzer and Jeep Swenson?
Being a bunch of sick bastards, we set up a little pool, a Dead Pool to be exact, that places odds on which pro is most likely to be "training with the angels" in the near future. Despite the fake names used by the author, it's pretty easy to spot Lee Priest in the lineup. Priest has made the pool for three years running, once coming in first place, the best he's done so far in a major competition.
It's no surprise that Lee wasn't too happy with that particular title. But instead of busting out his ass-whupping stool, standing on it and blacking every eye at T-mag, Lee was ballsy enough to do an interview with contributor John Koenig. Say what you will about pros, but at least Lee is open about what really goes on behind the scenes. For that, he deserves to be heard.
The Scene: Spring 2000, Arnold Classic Expo. Lee Priest has spotted me in my Testosterone T-shirt and press badge and starts walking toward me. He stops and immediately hits a big double biceps pose. Lee laughs and asks, "Not bad for a dead guy, don't ya think?"
Now there's an introduction! After talking for awhile about all manner of issues in the bodybuilding world, including the first Dead Pool article, he agrees to sit down for an interview. We keep talking about the interview but life gets in the way, including Lee's marriage early in July. The second Dead Pool article is published and this time Lee is upset. He doesn't think the anonymous author of the articles is fair, that Testosterone is hurting bodybuilding and pro bodybuilders by publishing the Dead Pool, and that much of the gossip/news in these articles is just plain incorrect.
His willingness to be open makes him an ideal candidate for a T-mag interview. Here's Lee Priest on a variety of topics.
T: Obviously, you're not too happy about the Dead Pool articles published here at T-mag. Go ahead and tell us what you really think.
Priest: This is the sort of press that gives bodybuilding a bad name. People are wondering now if we're all gonna die. How does the author of those articles know he's any healthier than me? Just because I eat junk food in the off season? Because I get a little bit overweight? My cholesterol has never been any higher than 116. At my heaviest weight (285 pounds) it was 113. The doctor couldn't believe it. My blood pressure is perfect. I have blood work done every couple of months.
Lots of that Dead Pool stuff is irritating. People say someone is going to die because of the gear he takes, but TC Luoma or anyone else could have a heart attack no matter how healthy they're eating. Look at Wayne DeMelia. He's had one kidney removed, but he didn't take any drugs. He probably used to sit there and say to himself, "Look at the amount of gear these guys take. Look what they do to themselves," but look at him. The Dead Pool writer can't point his finger and say just because this guy looks a certain way he's going to die. There are people at the gym who drink and smoke and have heart attacks in their mid-40s.
T: Are there any pros you think qualify for the Dead Pool?
Priest: Not really. In any sport, if you take it to the extreme, it's dangerous. Is there a Dead Pool for race car drivers, for example? They drive around 200 miles per hour; they could crash and burn, you know. Football players take drugs. They could get tackled the wrong way, hit their head on the ground, break their neck and die. If you're at the elite level of what you do, sure there are risks involved where you could die. You could get hit crossing the street; people go rock climbing and could fall off. Anything you do can be dangerous.
Marathon runners occasionally drop over dead. And even if I die of natural causes people will say, see, it's because of all the **** he's taken! And I'll probably be clean at the time! You can't win, no matter, in this sport. If we get sick or whatever, it's related to drugs, as far as other people are concerned.
T: You stand about 5'4". People say drugs stunted your growth. What's your response to that?
Priest: That's rubbish. I'm one of the tallest in my family. My mother's 5'3", my sister's 5'3", my father's probably 5'6", if that. My grandfather is 5'4" and my great grandfather was 5'4". I don't come from a family of six-foot people! I wasn't born that way.
T: Fair enough. Let's transition to other matters. You're one week into preparation for the Olympia and you told me the other day you lost sixteen pounds last week! How much did you weigh a week ago?
Priest: I think about 236.
T: So this is a different situation from your true off-season program when you get up into the heavier bodyweights?
Priest: What weight I get to depends upon how much time I have between contests. When I weighed 285, it was because I only did one show that year so I had the whole ten months to eat whatever I wanted. I don't necessarily try to see how heavy I can get.
T: But you obviously like to eat?
Priest: I just enjoy food! Life's too short to be on a diet your whole life. Eighty percent of the people you see on diets are always miserable.
T: Your approach has been called "old school."
Priest: Well, when it comes to dieting, when it comes to training, stick to the basics and you can't go wrong. Why try to mess up what's already been proven over and over?
T: I think you're one of the few top pros that really does get big in the off season nowadays.
Priest: I know, people say I'm going to get so heavy I'm going to die of a heart attack in the off season. Think about the old days, when all of them used to get heavy and put the extra weight on. But now, not many do it any more 'cause they always want to be near contest shape. They say, you eat all that food! You're so out of shape you're gonna die! Please. I've seen fat people who can run rings around people half their weight. Just because they're heavy doesn't mean they're out of shape. There are people who eat clean who are more unhealthy than some who are fat.
T: Do you think your routine, training and dieting this way, allows you to make gains without some of the different odd drugs others are using?
Priest: I've always read reports that said I've used insulin, for example. I've never used insulin. People think I have to, to put all that weight on. That's nonsense, I just eat a lot of food. I drink whole cream milk and eat a lot of dairy products. I retain a lot of fluid from that. In the off season I hardly take anything, other than something to keep my joints healthy. The majority of the time, six to seven months out of the year, I'm not on anything. Eat a lot, train hard. Every one of my best lifts have come when I've been off the stuff.
T: But you have to admit you have superior genetics. You seem to respond well to whatever you do to yourself.
Priest: I never had that "a little bit worked, so I'll take more" mentality. Each time I did a cycle, I stuck with small amounts that worked and it kept working. I know people here who are like, 3000 milligrams of this, four tablets of this, two more milligrams of this one… They end up taking six different drugs, so that ends up the very best cycle they've ever done. Then they think, well, I took this much last time, this time I've gotta take more. They keep doing more and more.
T: It sounds like they don't even know what's working.
Priest: No, they don't. People look at me, for example. I've only used growth hormone the last three years, and people will ask me if I think it works. To me, I didn't feel any different when I used it. When I've not used it, I've been just as good. When I've used it I didn't see any dramatic change. Maybe when you get into your thirties, or late thirties, you might feel it more then, but I think the whole thing is overrated, you know?
T: Did you try growth hormone just because you wanted to see what effect it would have on you?
Priest: Everyone was saying how it was great, how there's no health hazard, it drops body fat, does this and does that… but I ended up in the same shape anyway. The only change was I was a few hundred dollars lighter!
I found stanozolol [Winstrol] worked just as good as the growth, you know? People laugh, but a large part is genetics and mind power. I know guys who take drugs who look the same year after year. They use a lot, get puffy, but why bother? You've got to be in touch with yourself. Unless you're going to make a career out of it, why go crazy taking those drugs?
T: I've met guys who aren't competing bodybuilders who say they take phenomenal amounts of juice for long periods of time and they don't even look like they train.
Priest: I like the ones who take a **** load of gear, then they're like, look at Lee Priest. He's five times the size of me, so he must be taking five times the amount. That's why I get so frustrated, sometimes. When I do seminars, I tell people the truth about what I'm taking, and they're like, "Oh bullshit, you're lying!" I got nothing to lie about. If I took 10,000 milligrams of Test and 20 IU's of growth, I'd tell you. I don't give a **** if you know what I take. It makes no difference to me. What I use is what I use, but the rumor sounds more spectacular than the truth.
T: The Internet chat rooms have contributed to that, don't you think?
Priest: Yeah, sometimes I'll go online and say, "I'm Lee Priest and this is what I use," and they'll respond, "You're not Lee Priest." Somebody else will go on and say, "I know for a fact this is what Lee Priest uses." And I don't even know the guy!
T: What do you really use? What are your real cycles?
Priest: Last off season I didn't really do any, but the previous off season it was just Deca or Parabolan, or Deca and Primobolan, two cc's of each per week. That's it. People think I'm lying. The last contest I did, Night of Champions, I didn't spend over $1500 on drugs. I used stanozolol, I used clenbuterol, I used a little bit of growth, and one Anapolon-50 a day. The last couple of weeks I took a bit of suspension, but that's it.
I always laugh when I read these articles where they say bodybuilders spend $50,000 to $60,000 on drugs. You can call us bodybuilders dumb, but I'm not going to spend $60,000 when the prize money is ten grand! Come on!
T: Don't you think there are some people who are really doing that, though?
Priest: Well yeah, but the top pros don't. I'm not going to say what Paul [Dillett] uses, but I can tell you right now Paul doesn't use a large amount of drugs. People think Paul takes these large amounts, but there's plenty of times, like when he was getting ready for the Olympia in '98 (that's when he lived with me), we'd load up a Winstrol shot and it would sit for three or four days, because we wouldn't take it. We were like, "We'll take it next time or whatever." I always hear these rumors about what Paul takes, but I lived with the guy for eight months and I saw firsthand what he took.
T: You've got to admit, though, that he makes some poor decisions in his last-minute preparations.
Priest: One time it was the diuretics; the next it was the insulin. People say steroids kill you. I say, no, nobody has really died from steroid use; it's things like diuretics.
T: What about painkillers like Nubain? Do a lot of pros use Nubain while they work out?
Priest: I know a lot who do. I've never been one to try things like that. When I was twelve I tried a cigarette, that was it. Marijuana I've never tried in my life. I've never really been into that sort of thing. Lots of people have an addictive personality. Like Renutrient or GHB, I've never tried that. People say, "Lee, try it, it's good for this, it's good for that…" I say screw it. They say it's good for your sleep. Fine, sometimes I'll have a Tylenol PM when I have a little bit of pain, but some of these people get hooked on all this stuff. It's just one progression to another. They start taking Ecstasy and that "Special K." I say to them, "What's up with you guys? Why are you screwing around with all this crap?"
They think take this, take that, whatever. I've never had an addictive personality. Me, whenever I'm dieting for a contest, I can't wait to get off the diet, so I can't wait to stop taking **** so I can eat normal food! It comes down to hard work and dedication. It takes years. You can't build muscle overnight. Sometimes you do see guys come in quick, but where are they now? You see them for a second, then they've disappeared.
T: What do you think of Synthol?
Priest: It's ridiculous. I think it's stupid. What happened to hard training, you know? Like that one guy who's in Ironman magazine this month with those 27" arms. How stupid does that look? He has the forearms of a ******* girl and you got these big arms that look ridiculous. Where's your chest, back and legs? Your arms look stupid. His forearms are probably 14". You'd have to grow some pretty good forearms to handle the weight to grow 27" arms.
There's never been a long-term study on that stuff. How do these guys pumping all that oil in know what's going to happen in a couple year's time? It can't just sit there for years and years. Breast implants cause problems and they're in sealed bags. I can't see these oils being good for you, you know?
Everyone wants that quick fix, wants to get bigger overnight. It doesn't happen that way. Again, I hear rumors that I put that stuff in my arms. ****, look at my biceps and triceps. I have striations in them at contest time! I've never used it, but if I did I'd stick it in my upper pecs and my back 'cause that's where people always say I'm weakest.
T: It's pretty easy to spot who's using Synthol when they're dieted down.
Priest: Yeah, their delts are big lumps. Some of the top pros now (who are up there placing in the top three), some of them are getting bigger and bigger in the delts, but there's no definition anymore, no cuts. They look big and full, but that's it. I look like that a couple of weeks after a show when I fill out, but on the day of the show you should be ripped and striated. Then I'll read in the magazines about how "this guy's muscle is so full and round." ****, it's fake! Come on, give us a break.
T: Back to cycles. Let's get specific. When you do a cycle, how long is it?
Priest: When I'm dieting, I'm on the whole twelve weeks of the diet, then I'll be off for a couple of months. Then maybe in the off season I'll be on a total of six to eight weeks, that's it, then I'm off until prepping for the next contest. I'm not like a lot of people who say they're "clean" but they're still taking something. When I'm off, I'm off, that's it. When I did the Ironman and placed sixth, two years ago, I was clean; didn't take anything for eight months. Just went into the show that way.
T: Nobody believed you.
Priest: I know, people told me I couldn't do it clean. I said screw you, I'll show you I can. Now, I was a lot lighter and didn't look as great, but really, I didn't want to do the show anyway, so that was half the deal. But I still looked pretty good, kept a lot of size, but I wasn't as shredded as I normally am. It's more of a mental thing; I was pissed off at people and my mind wasn't into it. I told people who didn't believe me to test me. I'll give you ten grand if I come up dirty; put your money where your mouth is. I say I'm clean.
T: If you lost sixteen pounds last week, a good chunk of that must be water.
Priest: Nearly always is. Whenever I start dieting, I'm going from eating whatever I want to oatmeal, and my taste buds hate it. The first week I'm just picking at food, so I'm not getting more than 2000 calories per day. I go from 6000-7000 calories down to 2000. I'll have a whole plate of chicken breasts in front of me and I'll eat only a half a chicken breast, then pick at the vegetables.
My metabolism increases from the cardio, though, and I get to the point where my hunger pains get worse. So by the second or third week, I eat whatever is put in front of me; I get really hungry. The first week, I can't stand the taste so I'm barely eating.
T: How much cardio per day are you doing right now while dieting?
Priest: Only 40 minutes per day.
T: Do you increase it as you get closer to the contest?
Priest: Depends upon how I look and how I feel. This time I don't need to do as much because I'm not as heavy, but normally the weight just falls off me quick. I'll work up to an hour of cardio. People say I must do too much because I come down in weight so much.
T: You're in the Metabolic Thyrolean ads. Do you really use it?
Priest: Yes. I'm not big on the ephedrine-type stuff, anything that gets you that wired feeling. I always preferred the Thyrolean and the other one they have now. I tried some stuff once and got that jittery feeling, and I can't stand that.
T: Does clen make you shake?
Priest: Not really. The only one that used to was when I was in Australia and using the powdered form. It gave me a little bit of shake and made me cramp a bit in the hands and feet. In Australia they have injectable clenbuterol, too, which didn't give you any of that stuff. The tablets they have here don't have any of that, but they also make you wonder if they're fake. Half the **** around here is fake.
T: Lots coming out of Mexico certainly is.
Priest: Oh yeah. Or has bacteria in it.
T: How long do you think you'll compete?
Priest: I enjoy it. Probably when the fans don't want to see me anymore I'll quit. When I go to a show and I know I'm improved after the last one, I'm okay. If I get to the point where I'm looking worse and worse and the fans say, "He's had his day," I'll retire. Like Rich Gaspari, all those comebacks he shouldn't have done. Quit while you're ahead; why keep coming back?
Like Sammir Bannout, he's a great guy, but lots of people don't remember him as a Mr. Olympia winner. Every time he came back, he was coming in last, not doing well. People will remember him that way, yet he was great when he won Mr. Olympia. Not many people think back to those days.
I wish things would change in the sport. There are rumors going around that they're going to pay Sinbad $80-$120,000 to do some comedy at the Mr. Olympia again. What is this? Say they had the press conference and someone got up and announced they weren't going to have Sinbad. I don't think anyone's going to hand their tickets in! No one's going to see him; it's a waste of money! Like when my wife, Kathy, got the Ms. Olympia prize money breakdown by weight class. It's like $15,000 for first place, $6000 for second, and $4000 for third place. It's pretty disgusting.
If they really pay $120,000 for Sinbad, you're telling me he's going to get $20,000 more than Ronnie Coleman if he wins the show? It's crazy. Guys are training their asses off, almost killing themselves; that $120,000 or whatever it really is, should be broken down and given to the athletes. Look at Mr. Olympia; if you're not in the top ten you don't get a cent. There's normally sixteen in the show, so those from ten down through sixteen should at least get $5000 or something.
T: Why isn't this done?
Priest: They say they don't have the money. They have the money if they're giving Sinbad as much as reported. I don't understand why the guys don't all stand together and speak their minds. I speak my mind and get suspended.
T: Hey, Shawn Ray tried it and it didn't get him a thing.
Priest: It didn't even get him suspended. When I speak my mind I get fined and suspended. Think of it: athlete's meeting, the day before the Olympia, the show is sold out, I don't see why the guys can't stand together and say if we don't get this, we're not going on stage tomorrow. If this happened, you know they'd find the money in an instant.
The Mr. Olympia contract is so one-sided. This year a pro has to pay $175 for his pro card. Then we compete in shows to be eligible to compete in Mr. Olympia. I qualified and did what I had to do to qualify. For Mr. Olympia we have a contract. In that contract we sign away our rights to the TV rights, the internet rights, the Mr. Olympia video, the Battle for the Olympia video, and the Behind the Scenes at the Mr. Olympia video. If we don't sign the whole thing we can't compete and get suspended.
T: Sounds like one big waiver for all the marketing rights.
Priest: And if you don't sign it, you can't compete in the show. Give some of the money being made from the tapes back in prize money. Plus, we have to go to that VIP party the night before. It's ten o'clock at night before the show and we have to get dressed up. It starts late and people wonder why everyone look so miserable and tired. Hey, we've been dieting, we are tired, we have a contest tomorrow, we can't eat anything here, we're up at 11:00 at night, and we should be in bed!
What other sport would do this? Hey Mike Tyson, come here and meet the fans before your big fight tomorrow night!
T: Yeah, that'd be pretty funny, wouldn't it?
Priest: It's ridiculous. They charge $600 for VIP tickets and at our expense we have to go and make sure they get their money's worth. Going to the banquet and cocktail party after the show is fine. The pressure is off, the contest is over, we're more happy and whatever, but the night before we don't want to talk to everyone. We have to be on our best behavior or we'll be fined $10,000 and suspended. If you get sick you have to go to a doctor of the IFBB's choice at your own expense so they can verify you're really sick.
T: Do you think professional bodybuilding is growing, holding it's own, or what?
Priest: They keep running it the way they're running it, it's going to kill itself. People say, if you keep taking the stuff you're taking and doing the things you're doing it's going to kill the sport. It's not us who are killing the sport, it's the promoters. It's crazy.
T: Do you think the judging criteria should be changed, or should the judges follow the criteria set down?
Priest: What criteria? Sure they should follow it. Bring it down to symmetry, mass and definition. People tell me I didn't place because I'm short. Others guys who are short have done well. I've got the size, I come in in shape, I've got the symmetry, so why do some guys who are missing body parts, who are smooth and who aren't as hard, beat me? If they're judging by the criteria, well, I don't see it.
At this year's Night of Champions, people said Jay Cutler was harder in the glutes. His upper body wasn't harder, his arms weren't ripped, and his chest wasn't ripped. What's that all about? If I'm walking in the street and someone asks me to show them my arm, I'm not going to show them my ass! The day my ass becomes my best body part I'll ******* retire!
T: Speaking of asses, is there much hustling/prostitution going on with pro bodybuilders, especially in Venice?
Priest: I think it goes on here all the time, but I've never personally been approached. Well, one time this one guy asked me if I did this or that, and I told him I didn't do that sort of thing. He asked me to pose for him privately and I told him I didn't do that, but if he wanted to see me, I'd be at World Gym and he could watch me train. He showed up, sat there and watched me train arms, then gave me a thousand dollars! I said fine, I've got legs tomorrow if you want to come back. That's the only time I saw him, though.
I hear of guys doing this all the time, going out and posing nude, doing this, doing that. I've a couple of friends who've done it. But that's not me, I'm not into that stuff. Amateurs come out here and they're doing this stuff, buying all the drugs in the world etc. I'm a professional and I can barely afford stuff half the time, so how are these guys doing it? This is where they get all their money [selling themselves]. It goes on all the time, but you'll probably never stop it.
T: What's the oddest thing you've ever seen happen backstage during or before a show?
Priest: Those little ******* cronies running around like they're God. Just treat us like we're professionals backstage. If you're ever backstage at one of these shows, one of these jackasses in the suits who "helps" backstage are like, "Get out, you've got to do this, do that." Give us a break, we're professionals, treat us like we are. They're telling us, "Just get out there, hit your poses, get moving." Listen, if I'm going onstage, I'm putting my oil on. I'm not going out there looking like a jackass for people to take pictures of me that'll end up in a magazine. Give us time.
My wife Kathy, we train together, we live together, at the big shows I'd like someone like her backstage to help me. But we can't have one person, not a spouse, training partner or girlfriend, back there to help us. We have to use cronies. They bring all their friends back there and say, hey Lee, can you pose for pictures? But I can't have one of my friends to help? And they just slap on the oil; they don't give a **** how you look onstage. It's ridiculous. Let us have one person back there we can be relaxed with and talk to.
T: Makes sense. It's a tense time backstage.
Priest: Exactly. A training partner helps you get all this way, then he or she can't go the last mile with us. Photographers running in and out, ******* bimbo whores all over, what's one person going to hurt?
T: Are there a lot pro bodybuilding groupies?
Priest: Oh yeah. Lots of the groupies come from within the industry itself. I'm sure there are some that are just fans, but most of them are in the industry.
T: Back to diet, what are you eating now on this diet cycle?
Priest: Six meals a day. Oatmeal and protein powder before going to the gym in the morning, then after I train I have steak and rice. The third meal can be tuna or chicken breast and vegetables. Then oatmeal and protein powder again, same as breakfast. For dinner, sometimes chicken breasts or tuna or sometimes turkey. Before bed I'll have a protein drink. I make sugar-free Jello with protein powder and put it in the freezer, so it's like a dessert.
T: You don't drink four or five protein shakes per day?
Priest: I might have two or three each day. I like food, but I get tired of eating chicken breasts, so sometimes I'll have two scoops of protein powder in water. In the off season, people say I eat a lot of junk food, but when I go to McDonalds I have probably three hamburgers, small fries, and maybe six nuggets, that's it. People think I go there and have ten Big Macs or something.
The thing with me is I don't like a lot of the same foods in the off season. I don't eat large meals; I pick at meals all day long. I may go to McDonalds and have two hamburgers and some nuggets, then an hour later eat some ice cream or something. It's not like I'm eating these large meals and stuffing myself. I eat clean and continuously. Off season I still eat vegetables and chicken and steak, but in between if I have a craving for chocolate, I go and have chocolate! I'm not going to deprive myself when I'm not dieting.
I see these guys who eat at the Firehouse [a popular bodybuilder restaurant in Venice Beach] or other places where the menu is clean, but look at them. They're fatter than me. They're eating clean, but it's like a big act for the public, isn't it? And you got these guys who carry the big ******* water jug around like they're going to dehydrate in ten minutes. These are the jackasses who give us a bad name! They strut around in their little tank tops and their baggy pants and whatever. It's like when I go in public I don't want to look like a fuckin' bodybuilder. I wear normal clothes; I cover up. It still looks like I train…
T: Oh yeah, you look "normal" in clothes. Who are you trying to kid?
Priest: But at least I come across as someone who's okay, not one of these meatheads who have to be recognized, showing their arms off, wearing skintight shirts which show everything. I don't like that crap; I like loose shirts. Even when I'm covered up, the forearms give me away, or if I have shorts on my calves are there.
I don't need to be looked at all the time. I hate it. When I go to the beach I'll go to the far end of the beach. I like being judged on how I look when I'm on stage, but in public I don't like crowds of people looking at me. I get self-conscious.
T: You do a good job in the public eye, for someone who doesn't like crowds.
Priest: I'm always friendly to people. If someone looks up to me or if I'm their idol, I'm going to be friendly. I won't tell them to **** off. After the Night of Champions all I wanted to do was go back to the hotel and relax, but I spent an hour taking pictures, singing autographs, walking through the crowd. It got to the point where at the hotel door I was still posing for photographs!
These people paid their money, came to see me, so big deal, I'll pose for as many photos as I can and make'em happy. You can guarantee the one time I do say no, it'll be like, "I met Lee Priest and he's an asshole!" I've seen some guys get crabby when dieting for shows and tell fans no. Just because I'm dieting, why should I be shitty to the fans? It's not their fault.
T: Any special tricks in the last few days before a contest?
Priest: Last three days before the NOC I went very low on food, then that Friday I ate whatever I wanted. I figured, I cut fluids out, so I can't hold fluids. Whatever I eat is just going to fill the muscle out, and it worked. I suppose it's kind of a mental thing, 'cause you're eating cake and hamburgers and wondering, what am I doing?
T: All this depletion, carbing up and crap the last week…
Priest: I don't carb-up. Sometimes I'm at my best two weeks before the show. I'm full and I'm hard, but in the past I'd think maybe I should get harder, and so I cut back on food. But my metabolism is racing so much 'cause I'm still doing the cardio, and I start eating up the muscle and getting flat. I end up no harder, but flatter. So this time I figured, what the hell, I'll eat what I want the last day before the show. I looked great, so I'll do that again.
T: People say that was the best you've looked so far.
Priest: I think it was. I come in better each year, each body part improves. As long as I do my best, it's out of my hands. If they want to place me high, place me high. There's not much money involved anyway if you win, so it's not like I'm losing that much. The year I didn't compete in the Arnold Classic and I made seven or eight grand in the first two days of the expo selling pictures. Every time I competed in the show all I made was a thousand dollars!
T: But you have to compete to keep your visibility.
Priest: Sometimes you do. Look at Vic Richards. He never competed yet he had that aura. Everybody only judges you on your last contest. You could place second in several Mr. Olympias, but come in tenth at Night of Champions and people would say, oh, he's finished. We are human and don't always look our best. We get sick and our body chemistry can be off. Someone is great, then all of a sudden comes in smooth, and he's a has-been!
If I compete and I'm happy with the way I look, I'm satisfied. I may never win a contest. Some of these guys come in thinking they've got to place here or there to be happy. They take it so personal. Like Flex Wheeler when he has his little tantrums 'cause he came in second in the Olympia. He got second in the Olympia! I'd be happy! It would be just as good as winning.
They have it in their minds it's win or nothing. Come on, they should be thankful they have two arms and two legs and can get up. Many people are much worse off. Just have fun. I treat shows like guest posing. I don't treat it like a, "If I don't win, I'm going to die," situation.
T: Do you get paid when Weider magazines run articles "by you," when they obviously aren't written by you?
Priest: We don't get paid for articles, magazine covers, things like that.
T: You don't get paid for posing for a cover?
Priest: Nope. If you're with Weider, it's part of your contract that you have to do photo shoots and stuff like that. Because I've been with Prolab now for the last couple of years, the photo shoots I do are because I want to get my face out there. Magazine editors tell me they like me, the fans like me, and they sell magazines when I'm in there.
T: Any heroes in the sport?
Priest: Not really, it's more the body parts, like Tom Platz's legs, or Eddie Robinson's arms, but not really anyone I idolized. I used to idolize some guys, but when I met them they were assholes. Paul's a nice guy, Mike Matarazzo I get on great with, people like that. Some of these other people think their **** don't stink. They act like they're Michael Jordan, but they're just cocky-ass bodybuilders. Gives us a bad name. If you want the sport to change, change your attitude.
T: Do you hang with Shawn Ray at all?
Priest: At contests I sometimes see him. Shawn speaks his mind. At least Shawn says it to the right people. Half the people sit there and say this **** around a table, but as soon as someone comes in they're like, "Oh hi, how are you?"
T: If they have an IFBB blazer on, that is.
Priest: Give us a break! It's just crazy. When the Olympia was in Atlanta one time, I went with Samir Bannout. He was Mr. Olympia once, but he didn't even have a ticket to get in! He had to go to Ben Weider's room to get a ticket and they put him in the balcony. He was Mr. Olympia! Shouldn't he get in and have special seating? Mike Christian wanted to get in (we still laugh and give him a hard time about it) but they told him he could get in if he put on a blue blazer and worked security! These top pros have made so much money for you people and you want him to work the door?
T: Thanks for taking the time to talk and for the honesty, Lee.