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An Interview with TrueProtein Sponsored Athlete and Prep Coach Ken “Skip” Hill

Shelby

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An Interview with TrueProtein Sponsored Athlete and Prep Coach Ken “Skip” Hill

If you’re part of the online bodybuilding community, you’ve probably heard of Ken “Skip” Hill. He’s the owner of IntenseMuscle.com (home of “DC” training on the ‘net) as well as an accomplished competitor and bodybuilding prep coach. Skip not only gets himself into freaky condition (with outstanding consistency), he also does it with all his clients.
I had a chance to talk to Skip recently about his life and bodybuilding, and what he’s learned along the way. Never at a loss for words, Skip’s turned out to be a very insightful interview. Without any further ado, let’s get to know Ken “Skip” Hill


STATS
Age: 40
Height: 5'8 (5'10" in heels)
Offseason Weight: 215-220
Contest Weight: 198

SS: How did you get into weight lifting?
Skip: In retrospect I got into weight lifting because as a young kid I had self-esteem issues. I just wanted to look better and be muscular from a young age. I took to working out at 14 years old after my mother brought home a copy of Muscle and Fitness at the tail end of the 8th grade. By the time I showed up for 9th grade, the kids were all whispering and pointing. I was the big fish in a small pond. To them, I was huge.

SS: Why bodybuilding?
Skip: I ask myself that often. I was really good at most every sport I took on but particularly good at baseball. I caught for years. Why I gave up baseball for the lucrative sport of bodybuilding is beyond me. I think that it just came down to the fact that as good as I was at baseball, and I did love it, I just had this odd passion for bodybuilding and being in the gym. It served sort of therapy for me or something. In fact, it still does to this day.

SS: When and why did you first decide to compete?
Skip: I first competed in 1990 at 20 years old. I had planned to compete since I was 17 but my self-esteem issues would allow me to sabotage myself and I always came up with some lame reason for "pulling out" of the show. My first show was the Kalamazoo Bodybuilding Championships in 1990 and the Michigan NPC has kept very good records over the years on their website so I was able to check my old scorecard from that first show a few years ago. Quite a trip down memory lane.

SS: Tell us about your competition history, and also your competition future.
Skip: I will touch on it but the truth is that as open as I am online with a lot of my personal information, I just don't talk much or promote myself much when it comes to competing these days. I actually prefer to keep it a bit under wraps when I do decide to do a show because it seems that as soon as I do say something, I get put under the microscope and it started to get a bit stressful, to be honest. I would top my best condition and then wonder how in the hell I was going to improve on that previous best. These days I tend to keep my shows more private other than the occasional pic after the show is done. I try to let my client's condition and track record speak for my abilities when it comes to my reputation as a prep guy primarily because my client's are far better at this sport than I am. I am a mediocre bodybuilder that can get into ridiculous condition. If it weren't for my ability to get to an extreme level of conditioning, no one would know who I am as far as a competitor. lol I am a good state and regional bodybuilder but I will likely never do any real damage on a national stage unless I outlive everyone else and do the master's 90 and over in 2060. I might then get a pro card. :)

SS: What bodybuilding accomplishment are you most proud of?
Skip: I don't know that I take much pride in any one aspect of bodybuilding at least as far as competing is concerned. I am weird when it comes to that because I see the contest as sort of an after-thought to what I truly love and that is the structure of the prep on a day in and day out basis. I can't think of a win that I am terribly "proud" of but I can think of different things within bodybuilding that I am proud of. I am proud that I am known for getting into great condition and I am proud when I stand on stage and see my kids in the audience. I think a lot of my pride these days comes more from my business and being able to pass on my knowledge to others and watch them do well. There is no question that my business and the reputation that I have built is something that I am most proud of.

SS: How has your training style developed over the years?
Skip: I am known for nutrition and supplementation and not so much for my training knowledge but after training for 27 years and applying a lot of the same principles to my training as I do things like nutrition and supplementation, I have a lot of things that I do for training that aren't terribly orthodox, either. I used to do the same type of high volume work that was popular in the 80s as that is when I started training and I was getting my information from the only place that you really could get it: the muscle rags. I overtrained big time and I did that for years. My favorite split was the 3 on 1 off rotation that Lee Haney did with Rich Gaspari. If Rich did it, I did it. The split was back/chest, legs, and shoulders/arms. For some reason I never really got into heavy training back then. It was more pumping and "getting a pump" and that sort of thing. When I finally started training heavier and with lower volume, my gains started to take off, relatively speaking, and I started looking more like a bodybuilder. When I arrived in Denver in 97 and started training again, I kept my training more low volume and heavy and was making solid gains. I felt at that point that I needed to make my training as efficient as possible as I had a family and a job and just didn't have a lot of time to blow in the gym. If I was going to be there it damned well better be time well spent and be productive. These days I still prefer to train with low volume but I use a more progressive approach with volume as it will grow each week before taking a rest week and starting the cycle all over again. You will have to check out the DVD for that one. Yes, that was a shameless plug.

SS: What do you consider your best and worst body parts?
Skip: I would say that my calves and forearms are my best body parts and my dick is probably my worst. Yes, I have issues.
Seriously, my worst body parts are probably anything connected to my shoulders because my biggest structural obstacle is that I am narrow. Narrow shoulder structure keeps my back narrow and makes my waist look wide, etc.. It is a burden I have carried forever but one that I still continue to improve on. Even as I move past 40 years old I am still improving my shoulders and back development so it is just something that I accept. Where someone else may have less than impressive legs, my legs are decent. We all have our areas that we have to work our asses off just to try to have them be average.

SS: Do you train them any differently (both strong and weak)?
Skip: I do, yes. My arms are pretty good so I don't train them much, at all. I mean, I still train them but I don't train them with any priority and I don't train them heavy and hard. I train them for a few sets at the end of a workout for a pump is pretty much it. My back I have to be careful of because of recurring disk issues for years. I am in a place right now where my back is very healthy and very strong but I don't do deads so that I don't injure the area again for the 5th time. I can do stiff legged deadlifts but not regular deads. If my back is tight when I go in, I don't gamble. I take it easy on it and that is the game when you are 40 and have trained for so long. I want to keep training so you have to make changes when you would otherwise not want to.


SS: How has your diet style developed over the years?
Skip: This interview better get posted or I am going to think that Shelby is trying to scam me out of my methods.
My diet style has changed quite a bit, considering I have been doing this a long time. I mean, I remember when there were no such things as cheat meals or shitloading or skiploading, etc.. You just ate the same bland foods for week after week and month after month. It was some kind of retarded badge of honor or something. When I got back into training after arriving in Denver, things changed dramatically because I had daily access to the online bodybuilding community and we were discussing all sorts of new things with diet and supplementation that didn't fit the typical mold for what was supposed to be done. I had questions for years about things that no one could seem to answer and I never had the chance to debate and discuss with anyone that really knew what the hell they were talking about until I found the online world of bodybuilding. That is where I met Troponin (Justin Harris) as we were both basically starting out at the same time on the same board (bolex) in 98 or 99. After getting the chance to not only discuss some of my ideas but to get to put them into practice to see how they worked, I started to think more and more outside of the archaic box that was built for dieting and supplementation. Shitloading was introduced to me in 2002 and I anxiously grabbed ahold of it and I am glad that I did. If I owe anyone a massive debt of grattitude (and I owe many, to be honest), it would be Zilla from Bolex for being so free with his information about Shitloading and trusting me with something that he had put so much time into. To this day that was my biggest break because without it, I would not have had a ball to play with.

SS: Tell us how you got started in the contest prep business and what that’s like
Skip: I touched a little bit on this in the last question but I basically was spending a lot of time on the boards and trying to research different ideas and things in my head with diet and when I started competing again in 02 I got a lot of attention not only for my condition but for the method I used to get into that condition: shitloading. I was getting so many questions via pm's and email after that show that I started to wonder if there might be a chance to charge for that information. I started out doing it for a few bucks here and there and had no idea that it would blossom into such a huge business some 10 years later. I slowly started to build my reputation and track record and even though it was hard work and there were many bumps in the road along the way, I am still floored that this pays for my beautiful home, feeds my 4 kids and puts diesel fuel in my big yellow tractor. Anyone that has worked with me will tell you that I am passionate about what I do and I am fully invested in every single one of my clients. You can have the biggest money making idea there is but if you aren't passionate about it and truly love doing it, you won't make it work.


SS: Tell us about getting IntenseMuscle.com started and what that’s like
Skip: IM is something that I am very proud of, as well. I was basically doing contest prep at another bodybuilding site and the owner of that site was a scammer. He would make up a new company every now and then and take orders and rip people off so when I found out what was going on, I rounded up the good mods that I had brought in and we bailed. Winnie and I started IntenseMuscle.com over the course of about 2 days and that was in February of 04 and it has grown consistently ever since. I owe a huge debt to the guys that make up the team at IM including Dante, Sweatmachine, Kidrok, Homonunculus, Massive G, Winnie and Creator. These guys have been there from the very start and for the last 6+ years have not wavered. The board is what it is because of the loyalty of these guys.

SS: What Trueprotein supplements do you use regularly?
Skip: I am not huge on supplements in that I don't need to use 10 things everyday. So, the few that I do use I feel are very important. I, of course, use the TEAM SKIP protein that I put together way back when so that I could have a great protein drink that would work well for me during my contest preps. My favorite TEAM SKIP flavor is easily premium chocolate/orange. Chocolate coconut is a close second, though. I also use Augment in my workout water and I also combine BCAA powder in my workout water with the Augment. I use ALA on my Skipload days and I like their yohimbine HCL if I am dieting. That pretty much covers it right there. We are currently discussing putting together a Skiploading type of supplement to work on Skipload days but I won't go into detail about that right now as it is still in the planning stages. It looks promising, though, and is a combination of some things that I have been using, myself, on Skiploading days with great success. More to come on this in the near future.


SS: What does your family think of your bodybuilding endeavors?
Skip: My kids probably secretly wish they had a dad that didn't shave his legs, wasn't so tan that he gets cavity searched at airports and doesn't have to drag his chicken and broccoli in a ziploc bag to a school function in his pocket. I think they see the differences between myself and "other dads" but they are so used to it because I have been doing this for so long that it is quite normal to them.

SS: If you could go back and change anything in your bodybuilding past, what would it be?
Skip: Loaded question. I would probably have started using steroids at 9 instead of 12.
I have few regrets in life whether it be bodybuilding or anything else. I don't look at things and think "damn, I wish I would have done this instead of that" but I can say that I think I would change what most all of us would change and that is to be more logical when I started training years ago. I am very calculated and analytical so most of my decisions in this sport have been well thought out so I can't think of much else I would change. Even when I make a mistake with my prep like I did in 09 for the Jrs I don't really regret it. I was off by about 12 hours and I learned a ton because to that point I hadn't shown up on stage "off". I also learned that after having to move into a much bigger house 4 weeks before a show (4 kids and 5 bedrooms) and having a teenage daughter that was run away at the time is reason enough to not do a show. lol Sometimes, like with other people, my pride gets in the way and I get stubborn and insist that I can do something when it should be quite obvious that I should change my plans. I was lucky to not get sick after that show due to all of the stress that I was under. Thank God my wife is a rock. At the same time, she told me if I ever do a prep like that again she will leave me for a college kid. Bitch.

SS: If you could change one thing about modern bodybuilding, what would it be?
Skip: How much time do you have? Oh, there are so many things .....
First, I would up the ante on conditioning and make the level of condition that of the national level. I don't like the "fullness over dryness" that is the pros. I think everyone should be as freaky lean as Branch. I am not a huge fan of Branch's physique but I absolutely love his conditioning. I feel like these guys get ripped to turn pro and then they turn down the dial or switch gears for sheer size. I know this won't make many friends with this statement but I am more a fan of how a physique is put together than I am sheer size.
Also, I tire of the way a lot of bodybuilders act and how a lot of people in the sport act including figure and fitness competitors. We perpetuate the stereotype and it pains me that, as a sport or industry, we are laughed at or mocked a lot and for good reason. My wife just cannot stand to talk to most figure women because the conversations are narcissistic and shallow and rarely about anything other than their diet, training or cardio for that day. There is nothing more boring that talking to someone that can only talk about themselves. Or you see pictures on facebook and a figure girl can't take a picture even with their family without turning to the side and pointing a toe or a bodybuilder who has to do the cliche arm flexed pose with some stupid finger point or V sign or some other bodybuilder gang sign. Someone should do a movie to parody the industry and hopefully people would see how stupid a lot of us look. Has affliction gone out of style yet? Ed Hardy? Please, will it ever go away? Fanny packs? Seriously?? Can someone where a Ralph Lauren polo shirt that actually fits?
Egos are vulnerable in this sport and I think that breeds this type of behavior. Sometimes, I look at the grass on the other side and think it looks pretty damned green to sit on a patio with some friends talking about politics, guns or big trucks and eating a greasy burger and washing it down with a beer. Then, I realize that I am just not cut out to be that type of person. I am a happy individual - I feel blessed to have the life that I do but in my old age I am becoming jaded to a degree with the things that go on around me. And those that know me know that I don't keep my opinions to myself.

SS: Favorite thing to do, not related to bodybuilding?
Skip: There are so many things that I do that have nothing, at all to do with the gym. First, I have 4 kids ages 6 through 18 so we do a ton of fun stuff all the time. We snowmobile as a family and it is tons of fun. We like to go up for the weekend to Grand Lake or Steamboat (Rabbit Ears Pass) and we have other white trash friends that snowmobile and it is a blast. My son and I have taken up motocross but it is a bitch. I had no idea how hard it was from a cardiovascular standpoint. Absolutely brutal. I am always reading something. I read a book a month on the toilet. That's right, no the toilet. I am a very efficient person and figured that I don't have a lot of extra time but the time I have on the toilet taking a shit adds up to a book a month. My wife and I go out every single Saturday night for date night and we love to play poker at the casinos in Blackhawk. I love limit hold em. I read books on strategy, as well. We spend a lot of time with family sports with my son playing football right now and he will play baseball in the Spring. My wife and I like to go to the range and shoot and take the kids a lot of the time as they like to shoot, as well, minus our 6 year old. Sometimes we just go out and take the video camera and video people's freaking out to the horn on my truck. It is hilarious and never gets old. Yes, I am juvenile and I make no apologies.

SS: What words of wisdom would you give to beginning bodybuilders?
Skip: Shut the fuck up, read and listen. Respect the people in front of you who have been there and done the work. If you think you have an answer you damned sure don't. I admit that this perspective is because I thought I knew it ALL at a young age and I needed someone to tell me those very things. Had they, I likely would have been put in my place where I belonged. I didn't know shit and it took me years to realize this.
As for bodybuilding advice: I say stick to the basics and keep it simple. I know it is cliche but the simpler the plan, the easier it is to see what works and doesn't.


SS: If someone wanted to get in touch with your for contest prep services, what would be the best way to reach you?

Skip: [email protected]
Or they could find me at IntenseMuscle.com or TEAMSKIP.net
If anyone emails me at the above address and it redirects to [email protected], don't believe it.

SS: Any closing comments?
Skip: I think it is important to note that I would use (and did) TrueProtein products even if I wasn't a sponsored athlete. Not only is it important for me to use the best supplements available to do the best that I can when I compete but my reputation rides on my client's results and it would be absolutely stupid to not demand that my clients use the best products out there, as well. I have been asked if I recommend TrueProtein supplements to my clients because I am sponsored by them but the truth is that I would be sponsored by them no matter. I only have them use TrueProtein products because my reputation is on the line with every single client that I work with and I have worked too hard for too long to have a variable like poor quality supplements get in the way of the progress that a client receives.

Oh, and if anyone thinks I am an arrogant dick, you are right. However, I sleep well at night.

Thanks Shelby.

SS: Thanks Ken - best of luck to you in your future endeavors and thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
 

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Shelby

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the clan
 

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mountaindog1

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Skip - RESPECT. Your no BS straightforward style is awesome man, and your knowledge second to none.

Thank you Shelby for posting!!!

Regards,
JM
 

dropshot001

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thanks for the interview shelby. and skip is a standup guy for sure.
 

JUISEBOY

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Great read.
Appreciate these Shelby. Thanks.
 

Gunsmith

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Love the no bullshit attitude.:headbang:
 

dirkmoneyshot

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I can't believe IM has been around for 6 years now, its crazy how fast time goes. I've always thought it was funny how skip was this big tough guy that told it how it was but anyone who who has communicated with him knows he is a really good guy under that makeup. Always best wishes for skip.
 

Skip

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I am always flattered to gain the respect of people in the industry that are well respected, too, JM. Thank you.

I find it hilarious that the only ones that have anything negative to say about me are the the people that no one knows about. I guess when you don't get any respect it makes you resent the people that are respected.

In fact, I see a local pretender reading this right now. How ironic.

I hear I have been getting mad publicity at Getbig today. lol I want to thank anyone that had anything to do with the getbig publicity because even though I won't ever get a client from getbig (they can't afford me and there aren't any serious competitors there), it is nice to know that I am being talked about. Negative publicity is publicity, after all.

Now, I have to get back to work because I don't get the luxury of sitting around all day doing nothing while my wife works and pays the bills. I have a lot of work to do.

Muah! XOXO :)

Skip
 

Skip

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I can't believe IM has been around for 6 years now, its crazy how fast time goes. I've always thought it was funny how skip was this big tough guy that told it how it was but anyone who who has communicated with him knows he is a really good guy under that makeup. Always best wishes for skip.
Thanks, Dirk. I can't believe it has been that long, either. GAWD, I am getting old. :)

Skip
 

VTliftVT

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Haha Skip, I've never had the chance to interact with you but I always find myself reading your posts here and at IM as well as your blog. I think there is a lot to be said about someone who keeps it as "real" as you do and has that no BS mentality in this industry. Thanks for all you do for our community and good luck with your business and future competition plans....and holding down the family man side of things haha.

I am always flattered to gain the respect of people in the industry that are well respected, too, JM. Thank you.

I find it hilarious that the only ones that have anything negative to say about me are the the people that no one knows about. I guess when you don't get any respect it makes you resent the people that are respected.

In fact, I see a local pretender reading this right now. How ironic.

I hear I have been getting mad publicity at Getbig today. lol I want to thank anyone that had anything to do with the getbig publicity because even though I won't ever get a client from getbig (they can't afford me and there aren't any serious competitors there), it is nice to know that I am being talked about. Negative publicity is publicity, after all.

Now, I have to get back to work because I don't get the luxury of sitting around all day doing nothing while my wife works and pays the bills. I have a lot of work to do.

Muah! XOXO :)

Skip
 
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BigRican

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Awesome interview, and great read on old fucker Skip! Love you brotha, lol!
 

Lenny

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That was a great interview...no BS approach and a sense of humor - I like it!
 

b-boy

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skip.......... man i can't say enough great things about this guy, hes one of those guys that when i see post i gotta read whats he say's. I have learn so much from this guy over the years its isn't even funny. One of the brightest guys in the industry. RESPECT!
 

JonnyO

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Good interview Skip!

For those of you looking for one of the best for contest prep HIRE SKIP, you will get weekly cheat days too!!! lol ;)

I would like to see a picture of this big yellow truck of yours :D
 

snotz

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skip.......... man i can't say enough great things about this guy, hes one of those guys that when i see post i gotta read whats he say's. I have learn so much from this guy over the years its isn't even funny. One of the brightest guys in the industry. RESPECT!
x2, for sure!
 

franky3

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Urbawsexerwed parsloe

Sorry
The Alexander McQueen Faithful Glove Clutch for sure is an attention grabber! Fendi shopping bag
Bye !!
____________________________
Fendi bag :)
 

Skip

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BigRican? I didn't even know you were a member here. I have to pay more attention. Colorado misses you.

My big yellow tractor should be in the DVD at some point. :)

Thank you all for the support.

Skip
 

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