Monday, June 8, 2009

Documentary in the news

Here is the article that hit the local rag this weekend. Not a bad telling of the movie.

Local filmmaker reveals reality of bodybuilding

An Adrian Township man made a film documenting his journey to look like the muscular men in fitness ads only to discover it’s not a functional lifestyle and such ads can be deceptive.When Stuart MacDonald began filming “I Want to Look Like That Guy,” he was almost 43. MacDonald initially lost about 10 pounds, replaced it with lean muscle and then stopped working out for about five months. He put the weight back on again and then some. He weighed 204 pounds and had a 44-inch waist at the time. MacDonald decided to do something about it, he said, and who better to learn what it takes to look like the guy in the ad than from the guy in the ad?So he enlisted the help of Jeff Willet, who owns and operates Jeff Willet’s Powerhouse Gym, 137 S. Main St., to aid him in totally transforming his body. Willet has won numerous state and national titles and the 2003 overall Team Universe Championship, which earned him the status of International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) Pro Bodybuilder.In six months’ time, MacDonald was able to pack on muscle and decreased his weight, waist size and body fat percentage without using drugs, steroids or growth hormones. After the transformation, he weighed 154 pounds and had a 27-inch waist and 6 percent body fat. MacDonald, now 45, described the film as a “very dramatic documentary.” During the process, he said he broke his toe, injured his bicep and got sick twice, including getting a serious case of strep throat. Besides being the owner of Boomerang Studios, an advertising agency and video production house in Adrian, MacDonald is also a magician, runs a haunted house and is an on-call firefighter for the Adrian Fire Department.“No one realizes how much dedication it takes to look like those guys (in the fitness ads),” he said.In the film, MacDonald said Willet warned him that looking that lean comes with intense, personal sacrifice.Willet said this is not a “how-to” film. He said the films paints the reality of bodybuilding.“It so clearly validates what I do in my career,” he said.MacDonald said everything about fitness is oversold and overhyped. Willet said fitness is based on the physiology of how people burn fat and build muscle. All should train more similarly than differently, he said.Willet said MacDonald was willing and able to persevere. “He did exactly what I asked him,” he said. “That’s why he looked the way he did.”MacDonald said the body images portrayed in the ads are the reasons why young boys are getting started using steroids and young girls are becoming anorexic or bulimic.“The ideal is an illusion,” he said. “It’s OK to walk around with a few extra pounds.”Willet said people coming into the gym thought MacDonald was doing something special.MacDonald said he was working his tail off. He said his body fat percentage is now about 20.What MacDonald said he is most surprised to have learned from the experience is how the flexible the body is and how fast fat goes back on. He was also surprised to learn how hard it was to live that way.“I was not prepared for that kind of lifestyle,” he said.Willet said most people aren’t willing to do what it takes. “(MacDonald) surpassed my expectations at how well he did,” he said.MacDonald said the process was scientifically documented with the help of Adam Coughlin. Coughlin is an assistant professor and the department chairman of exercise science and physical education at Adrian College.During MacDonald’s intense regimen of diet and exercise, he learned the first thing to go was his mind, as his focus turned to food and his meals.He said he also became very emotional. “Things set you off for no apparent reason,” he said.Another hardship for MacDonald was his lack of energy.“I had enough energy to get me to 2 (p.m.).” MacDonald said just weeks before he competed in a bodybuilding competition — the Michigan National Physique Committee state championships in July 2008 in Detroit — he was visiting with his mom and couldn’t eat any of her birthday cake.His mom thought he was wasting away, he said.MacDonald recalled a time when he did stray from his diet.“As soon as I had a burrito, I started to feel normal,” he said.During a video confessional in the film, MacDonald said that after eating the burrito he could feel the fluid filling up around his midsection.He said in the film: “But it’s getting scary how hard it is to get as lean as I need to get for that photograph to show you how hard it is to look like those people in those photographs. It’s a lie. It’s a complete lie. Nobody can live like that and eat like this. Nobody can do it and function. These guys are starving themselves to near death.“You’ve got no life. You’ve got no energy. You may look great, but you’re not going to feel great.”A couple of times MacDonald needed to do “damage control,” he said.Willet said he had to push MacDonald to be “bodybuilding lean.”“For most body types, it’s not functional to be that lean,” he said. In the film, Willet echoes that sentiment and added, “So you’re kind of fighting, working against every natural instinct that there is right now, and this is where your mind has to take over and take your body to a place where it doesn’t necessarily want to go. “It’s uncomfortable. But that’s what’s required to get in the type of condition you want to display on a show stage. This would not be necessary for someone who wants to simply be healthy and leaner.”MacDonald said the reason they decided to do the competition is to have an ending point where he could be judged by his peers and see how he measured up.He received second place in the men’s lightweight class and third place in the men’s masters division.“To have an extreme physique, you have to have an extreme lifestyle,” Willet said. “It is possible to do this drug free. Drugs have driven the image. It’s possible, but it should come with a warning to compete at this level.”At the conclusion of the movie, MacDonald said there isn’t an easy way to transform the body. Fitness models in ads are usually photographed after months of training, he said.“Once you research the sport, you recognize the people in the sport who are in the ads,” he said.A trailer for the film can be viewed at DVDs can be ordered at

1 comment:

  1. Any chance I could have a copy of the movie sent to me for review on my bodybuilding blog ( )