The first is by Skip La Cour who is a true legend of Natural Bodybuilding. He's a six time national champion and one of my mentors. As I mentioned in a blog a few days ago it was a phone consultation with Skip in 1998 that was a real turning point for my career. Another little known fact is it was Skip who introduced me to Paul Delia, owner of AST Sports Science and that started my relationship with AST which was the other huge stepping stone in my career.
I've always had immense respect for Skip and all he has accomplished so his review of our documentary means a great deal to me.
"The movie 'I Want to Look Like That Guy" is an inspiring story that teaches a lot more than being successful at creating a great body. It demonstrates what it takes to be successful at ANYTHING you attempt to do in life. This is a must-see movie if you feel that you 'deserve' success and you just can't figure out why it alludes you. Although the movie does a great job of showing what it takes to look like that guy, don't waste the valuable life lessons it teaches only on that pursuit."
Skip La Cour
Six-Time National Bodybuilding Champion
The other review comes from John Koenig who writes a column called "Stuff I Like" for rxmuscle.com. I think he really nails the overall message of the documentary:
"Film maker Stuart MacDonald asked himself the question thousands have
wondered about: Just what would it take to change my body into that of the
guy in the fitness advertisements? But MacDonald took it a step further, seeking
out IFBB pro bodybuilder Jeff Willet, who is the guy in the ads and owns a gym.
At 42 years old, with a 44-inch waist and a soft physique nearly 30% body fat,
MacDonald must have appeared a daunting project. Nonetheless, Willet decided
he'd teach Stuart how to train, set up meal plans for him, and otherwise guide
him through the entire process. "I Want To Look Like That Guy" is an
entertaining documentary of the roller coaster ride that ensued. MacDonald had
no idea what he was getting into.
I appreciate that Willet's 18-week Phase One was about learning to workout, with minimal involvement in the nutritional end. This comes closest to what the average man-in-the-street thinks those ads are telling them: join a gym, or better yet, buy this piece of exercise equipment (can we all say Bowflex?), follow a simple workout program a few days a week, and bingo, soon you'll be shredded and muscular.
After one week, MacDonald was asking the camera why his body hadn't visibly changed. This sounds ridiculous to anyone in the industry, but remember, most people don't know any better! That's why the ads are successful. He began the experiment at 27% body fat, and a dozen weeks of workouts later was only down to 25%. Of course, a massive cookie binge that 12th week slowed progress down. Sounds bad, but what could be more typical of the average person?
Phase 2 adds the dieting component. Now things get interesting, and MacDonald begins to learn for the first time how involved what he's attempting to do is. Willet lays it all out for him, every meal of each day. As the meal plans change, they are discussed between the two of them, and the actual plan is displayed on the screen. I applaud Willet for providing this much detail.
"It's scary how hard it is to get lean enough for photo sessions. You have no idea, you may look great, but you'll have no life, no energy," said MacDonald into the camera, alone one evening in his home. He was hungry, tired of being tired, and feeling sorry for himself.
At another point, further into the project, co-producer Willet tells Stuart, "You have to feel real bad to look real good! I don't care if you fall down, I don't care if you feel faint... stick to the nutrition!" Willet was tremendous, at times boosting MacDonald's spirits, at other points strongly shaking him up and making it clear he had to stay in the game and be disciplined
or nothing was going to happen. "I'm tired of hearing people make excuses!" he tells MacDonald later in the film when he's hearing excuses.
In a post on Rxmuscle, Willet pointed out "One of the primary points is to illustrate that for the ‘average' person with a job, family and normal life obligations, it is not functional or realistic to achieve and maintain single-digit body fat percentages. However, that is what would be required if you want to look like the guys in the ads. It takes intense personal sacrifice with your diet and
Stuart MacDonald struggles with the aspects of this project all of us deal with. It takes months and months to change the body this much (drug-free, keep in mind). Workouts come and go; one or two cardio sessions per day take priority in his life. Friends and family find themselves on the sidelines; he gets lonely. He's always hungry!
Stu bravely lives his life before the cameras; we see him shave his body, he poses for photos every week; he trains, he learns to pose. His doubts and failures play out before us, and didn't end up on the editing-room floor. Slowly, then more quickly as he dials in the nutrition and remains consistent, MacDonald's body begins to become that of a bodybuilder, right in front of the camera. It's fascinating to watch and listen to him confide in the camera, and to be the fly on the wall for countless meetings with Jeff Willet, who faithfully, consistently provides moral support, motivation, and all his workout and dietary programs.
By the time MacDonald has morphed into an under-6% body fat bodybuilder and is preparing to compete in an NPC contest, the viewer cannot help but be rooting for him to make it.
"I Want to Look Like That Guy" shows that a regular guy can look like the guy in the ad, but it takes a smart, disciplined plan outside the understanding of most "regular guys." Stuart MacDonald made dramatic changes to his physique, and they took many months. This movie clearly illustrates how difficult it is to get into true bodybuilding condition, and exposes the ads selling an image clearly unrealistic for most people to achieve.
"I Want To Look Like That Guy" is entertaining, truthful, and passionate. It's not about training, nor the world of bodybuilding; it's about the very real journey Stuart MacDonald took as he transformed himself."