Fitness books, magazines, and programs have been going around for a long time. Everyone involved in exercise has at one point or another opened up a magazine and read a list of exercises to do for a specific muscle.
Most programs are no secret. They're fairly simple and straightforward, not much different than following a recipe on how to make a certain soup- same ingredients, just a different name.
But it is possible to deviate from conventionality, and come up with a completely original program. I'd know.
Back when I was 21-22, as I embarked on what seemed an impossible mission, I endeavored to build up the body naturally. Everyone, and I mean everyone, I know that worked out always mentioned using supplements and steroids. But I felt I had enough understanding and scientific knowledge to just do so by means of how I approached my workouts and diet.
I actually pulled out paper and created my own systematic program that, theoretically, based on the laws and principles I knew and taught, would work and achieve that. The look I was going for was ripped, but big. Not too big though. There were too many meat heads who looked sloppy. I wanted to be aesthetic to promote my business and to lead my clients. This was officially in the summer of 2000. I labeled them A, B, and C, the workouts, and had at least 3 different workouts per muscle group.
As I thought, it worked. All naturally, repeated following of the system did work fast and effectively. I tweaked it months later, adding a ripped phase and other minor manipulations. One of the big reasons I got so into it was not only so I could change my own body, but also to help all the clients I was meeting and training. I used the same techniques on them. In the spring of 2003, after a few years of success managing companies and training hundreds of people, I sat down to begin my first book. I was 23. I included the depth and comprehensive details and approach of my program in it.
It was unlike any program I ever saw in that it was comprehensive and extremely detailed. Most programs seen anywhere were always just five exercises with sets and reps with little manipulation or depth. My program (s) were extremely detailed and different each week.
By the end of summer 2003, I had published my book, and began seeking representation in California because I knew that was where the bigger market was. I attracted interest from a manager/agent, and decided I should give it a try and take my first trip to the west coast.
They were credible, and saw potential in my work, but I declined to sign an agreement that had me putting up a monthly fee each month with no guarantees. Common rule says that authors should never pay agents up front, especially hundreds of dollars a month. This was in October of 2003.
I returned to the east coast where I ran my business and kept selling my book by myself, but I knew it had more potential if I could get it out on the LA market. So in late 2004, I relocated to LA in hopes of getting face to face with someone that can help me.
I did make the connections, but everyone said I should turn it into and make a video. They said books were too detailed and people would more likely buy a video. While I had contemplated a video at the recommendation of a client, the book was the first step. The program mainly featured in my book is called "Ripped to the Bone". All the artwork in it, from the cover photo, to the interior black and white pictures demonstrating the exercises, to the body sculpting "poses" I used throughout the book were all built around that program- that look- the look that following that program creates, the program I originally created with such attention to detail and application of the laws and science of exercise.
This was very deliberate. It's very simple- marketing. I can have a revolutionary program and concept, but if I put a big bulky guy on the cover, or a person too muscular, I misrepresent the results my book and program are meant to achieve- the photos had to line up with the program and the results one can gain by following it. It's simple, but a little rare to date in recent years of fitness authorship. Most if not all books at the time and before were "color" with someone smiling on the front. Mine clearly was way different with intense and serious poses in black and white. I did this deliberately, not only because that is how I train, but it is also nothing like anything out there- it's art. I never got around to video production, but I still put a book deal at the top of my goal list, and after a year, I returned back east, progress achieved.
Suddenly, around I'd say a year or two later, these infomercials began popping up on TV late at night. Honestly, at first, I barely paid any attention to them. I was so busy going to the city, training clients, and furthering my education, etc that I had no time to analyze, and I had moved onto other artistic projects and entrepreneurial endeavors, and new book projects. Yet they seemed to be reoccurring at an alarming rate, and I couldn't help after around the 3rd or 4th night to know the marketing similarities between it and my book. It was very uncanny. Almost too similar. But I still had no time to waste and more important things to focus on. As it continued to keep showing again and again and I started listening to the infomercial and focused more in detail on how they were marketing and selling it and what the program was, it did cross my mind for a second that it was IDENTICAL to my book, the photographs in my book, and the programs in my book, especially Ripped to the Bone. By now, it was 2007.
Then, naturally, more information became revealed about it. The company that launched it was out of LA. The trainer in it was out of Santa Monica, where the agent I talked to in 2003 lived. It was released sometime in mid-late 2004, so they say, even though I never saw a commercial for it until 2006. It was interesting. I never saw anything or heard of anything like it before- except in my book. And I mean it was IDENTICAL. The story behind it came to be that the trainer in it "created" it. He was behind it. As if he sat down and thought it up on his own. This could not be true for several reasons. First, on the company YouTube videos of the making of the video, the company ceo and executives approach the trainer with the idea, in detail. So it could not have been his idea.
Second, even though I consider my personal program 100% original, there really isn't anything original about the concepts they are selling in it. The principles have been known for a hundred years. I just happened to synthesize them into my own original system that I had never seen before. I didn't invent muscle confusion, but I authored my book and invented my program, used my own marketing scheme, and artwork, art style, etc.
What was original was the concept, a concept I wrote my book on at least 2 years before, and how it was marketed. Keep in mind that before 2004-2005, the truth is that this company really truly hadn't had much huge success. They clearly knew what business they were in and were striving, but had never had a huge hit. And they had been in business ten years just about. Imagine that, living and breathing your business in LA for ten years and no big hit, until now- the year after I shopped my original book, concept, marketing, and program around town.
From what I heard, it was doing well on the market. Anytime you put that many infomercials on air, youre going to sell. They have the sales phrases and heart trigger sales pitches people can't resist, along with shipping and handling deals. I still couldn't care because I had really moved onto new endeavors.
Then, around late 2007, the phone rang out of the blue. It was my agent informing me of an audition for some workout video. It sounded good so I went, and after three auditions landed a role in which ironically became Cathe's version of the video, entitled "STS:Shock Training System."
The coincidence didn't hit me. I had clients, was full time studying, acting, modelling, and writing new works by then. I just looked at it as another job, a good one, and I was to do my best. That is, until I saw the written program behind it. It was so identical not only to p90x, but to my book programs,especially "Ripped to the Bone." 90 days, shock the body every time, detailed reps, sets, and rest, etc. Believe it or not though, I still didn't believe it. I really might have been in shock. It all hit me at once. I thought it was far fetched just because it was too obvious..but somewhere deep down underlying all the piles of things in my life, I couldn't help see it had to be true. But there was nothing I could do about it. I had moved on.
So time went by and I continued with my own business in early 2009. By then, the infomercial vid had became an apparently massive success. No surprise. I knew the concept and the marketing scheme. I created it for that very reason. To get people ripped, naturally, by way of my book program, and through marketing black and white photos of me, a ripped, natural looking trainer/guru- not too big that it would turn off girls, but not too small it would turn off guys.
By the time 2011 rolled around, I was fairly sure and finally convinced as more and more details emerged with the popularity of the program, that it was indeed my book and my program, and my marketing, art, etc.
It hurt to look when I researched. Almost like opening up a bandaid of a fresh wound that required stitches. I was kind of hoping that it wasn't true, that something would convince me that it wasn't true and that the company did something clearly unique that convinced me it wasn't mine and was all a coincidence. I didn't want to do it, but I had to see for sure. And sure enough, everything pointed to the fact that it was too similar to my original book and program to deny.
I didn't really become bugged actually until I saw them "taking credit" for it flamboyantly. I know it's advertising, but that is really what motivated me to come out on it. I didn't care that they ripped off my work, but to take credit for it when it's not the case, and also their own making of the video clip proves it.
I've concluded three things. One, I'm glad my book and program helped and inspired the video that helped so many people. Two, I don't care about the money; I know I created it. And three, I know that it is my book, like a novel or script turned into a movie, a script, with another actor placed in the lead role, who took, stole, and ran with it, in a desperate attempt to feel success for the first time in his life, and a company that would do anything for the sake of glory and greed, even steal and rip off someone else's brilliant idea, and original program and work of art, and take credit for it.