Matt Ogus and Chris Lavado are the two bodybuilders behind the mega successful online community Legends of Aesthetics. I metup with both during the Olympia and here's a typed transcript of the things we discussed - sorry for any typos, on a family vacation and did not have time to edit:
So I’m sure by now most of you know who Matt Ogus and Chris Lavado are – they’re two young bodybuilders who started the YouTube brand and community called Legends of Aesthetics. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know these guys through watching their videos and now hanging out with them at several events. I recently interviewed them at the 2014 Mr. Olympia expo and unfortunately, for only the second time since I’ve been interviewing people I forgot to turn the audio on, so the only audio I have is the audio from the video camera which is all garbled by all the background noise of the expo. Thing is we discussed a lot of important topics, including many I often get ask about by you the listener so what Im going to do is paraphrase that interview here in audio and also paste that text in the podcast post for this episode. So here goes:
So the interview starts with my introducing the show, I got Steve Kleva, recent guest to my right and Chris Lavado to my left. The first question I ask Chris is about how he and Matt advise others and how they wrapped their heads around the whole issue of getting a formal education in something vs. just self-study and going after something full tilt on your own.
Chris says that he thinks you can’t learn how to be optimal and effective by just reading a book. He talked about how it’s all about learning what motivates each individual client and what they actually want. He was then saying how two people may have the same caloric needs, but one may do better with higher carbs or higher fat and the only way he’s personally learned how to make these kinds of decisions is through personal experience working with clients one on one.
I then interjected and said how it’s really important what Chris mentioned about taking into account the whole person and what motivates them and what’s going to work for them in a real world setting. So that prompted me to ask Steve, since I know he really enjoys helping people overcome obsessiveness around fitness. Steve said biggest advice is helping to educate people about focusing on the things that really have a major impact on their results, the core aspects of their training, nutrition, sleep and lifestyle. He feels too often he sees people sweating all the little details while losing the bigger picture. This is something I always hope I convey here on the podcast for as much detail as I go into – I hope you all know that this is purely to provoke thought to help you make informed decisions around you fitness lifestyle, not to make you obsess over everything and sweat the small stuff.
I then moved back to Chris, asking him about a previous YouTube video he made basically challenging the notion that everyone should go to college. Although I have a graduate agree I agree with his response. He said the main reason people go to school is for the bottom line of learning more about something that’s ultimately going to pay their bills and that they enjoy doing. So he says if you can find those two things elsewhere you should go after that. He then went over Matt Ogus’ example where he went to college, got halfway through and realized his coursework wasn’t providing those things for him and he’d be better off focusing more time and energy into the things that were fulfilling to him and paying the bills – namely creating educational content via Legends of Aesthetics and training clients. At this point in the interview Matt walked into things and I talked about how most people see Matt as the poster boy, he puts out most of the videos between the two of them and so some people may often wonder what Chris Lavado does behind the scenes for their business. He mentioned all the work that goes into their online training and also to having booths at events like the Olympia. He said he’s also been putting a lot of time into new YouTube content that he’s doing for their Spanish followers – I thought this was really cool as I increasingly see foreign YouTubes creating non-English content to better support additional audiences who benefit from the other language. Chris said a real important aspect of what they try to do is realize that all their audience members are real people who deserve attention, etc and that was a big motive for the additional Spanish content. Next I asked Steve for his thoughts on Matt’s training saying how he’s likely seen Matt’s training evolve over time originally focusing on bodybuilding and now mixing in powerlifting. I asked Steve what he thinks Matt is doing right to balance the best of these two training worlds. He went on to say the good thing about powerlifting from a bodybuilding perspective is it allows you to basically hit everything and have better goals and structure to non contest season training and also allows he feels have more enjoyable training. I next told matt I’ve had a few listeners contact me about prioritization of arms training and what they should be doing and how one of the tips I give them is to go follow what he’s doing since he’s currently ramped up the frequency and emphasis on his arms. So I asked him to share any pre and post measurements and what the ramped up training in between has been like. Matt said funny I ask because he actually just skipped prioritization of arms. Now he’s focusing on enjoying hitting overhead press prs. But when he was prioritizing he was hitting them 3 times a week, every other day with direct biceps and triceps work. He said he doesn’t have exact measurements but his metric is that previously in the off season his arms were about 17 inches only when he was into the 190s bodyweight wise, but now they’re a little over 127 inches when his bodyweight is only in the low 180s so it seems quite clear his arms have gained some muscle. This led me to ask them about offseason bodyweight and they both said they’re holding about 10-15 pounds less than they did the previous off-season because they realized it was excessive. They encourage moderation – matt was joking he’ll even binge in moderation meaning if he wants to have a big indulgent meal he’ll just eat less earlier that day and go bigger later on. We took a brief break from the serious questions to ask Steve and Chris to troll on each other, but honestly I couldn’t make out the little things they were muttering at each other, I think steve took one crack at lavados eyebrows, but anyways. Then I asked Matt and Chris what their advice would be for other aspiring fitness youtubers or people slowly growing their brand and wondering if they should have a booth at expos like the Olympia – how it can be a tough decision to bite the bullet initially and do it – I was just wondering their tips based on their own transition to this point, doing expos regularly etc. Matt was saying to gauge the kind of presence you have to know enough of your followers would turn out to the booth, both he and Chris recommended probably at least 50,000 subscribers, they said once the two of them reached 150,000 combined there was definitely a huge difference from a business perspective in terms of them being able to predictably draw a crowd at these kinds of events and things. Chris then said there becomes a point where you just have to pull the trigger, the hope is that you can recoup some of the booth costs, but what’s the worst case scenario, you just spend the booth costs, he said it’s importsant for people to realize that most big companies that put up booths at these events are likely losing many thousands of dollars, it’s just something they consider a worthwhile marketing expense. Lavado gave the reminder that events like the Olympia are one way to have a huge event with all the right target audience in one place so if that’s the audience you’re after and all the other aspects just discussed are in place in terms of mindset, expectations, and following, he thinks you should definitely give it a shot. At this point Matt had to step away and so I asked Chris my final question again that so many people see Matt in the limelight, so what is he doing behind the scenes to grow their business, for example so many people want to know when their website legendsofaesthetics.com will be launching finally. He said it’s been a project about 2 years in the making, they originally met with like 10 or 11 different web designers and long story short the one they chose wasn’t working out and holding up to the expectation setout so they had to let that person and a lot of money go, start from scratch, and now they’re looking at just a matter of weeks likely before legendsofaesthetics.com goes live.
Takehomes: why I bothered to share this even though the audio got messed up and why not just about their big following – I always try to bring out the best in what I think my guests have to share based on what I know about them
- It’s ok to go against the grain – formal education not best for everyone - I was actually home schooled for third grade
- it’s ok to stop something you’ve put a lot of work into regroup and decide a better route based on what u know now – matt with college, them with their website, me with muscle detailz tribe, me with my website barbell1.com
- steve being a great example of someone who gets amazing gains by focusing on most important stuff and training his ass off
- advice on realistic expectations in regards to expos and making money – can’t be expecting to get rich quick
- off season weight and also bringing up a lagging bodypart – prioritization doesn’t have to last forever – I now better appreciate how relatively quick noticeable gains can be made with correct prioritization
Those are the takeways be ready for legends of aesthetics.com and barbell1.com
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