Rutherford has written this guide with the same wit, cynicism, straightforward answers, and wisdom that he has given to his fitness and contest prep clients over the past 20 years, in the training and competition prep industry. Filled with exact ideas for training, workouts, nutrition, supplements, competition costs, as well as what it takes to be a champion on stage.
Describe yourself in five words
Learning, helpful, empathetic, curious, and hungry.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I have skydived 25 times and enjoy Ethiopian food
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
Setting weekly, monthly, six month, and yearly goals. It helps me to keep my mind in a positive place and ‘slow down and smell the roses’. So much of our lives is ruled by fear or intimidation—letting go and trying everything to learn about my self is the goal and I believe the way to find true contentment.
What scares you the most?
Not being able to work and continue to serve others
What makes you happiest?
Having a client give me a call and let me know that their life has been changed through my training or nutrition ideas. “Tom, last night I slipped coming out of the shower and I was able to catch my balance and save myself; without you and your help I would have fallen” and “ I was able to catch my wife while she was falling on the way down, thank you Tom, your training made that happen, I never could have done that a year ago” are a couple exact quotes of my clients that come to mind.
Why do you write?
I have been influenced through my teens and into my competitive career by authors of books that have changed my personal learning and training philosophy. “The truly educated never stop learning” is a literal phrase that rules all that I do.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes I have always enjoyed writing, took many poetry classes in college and advanced writing courses. Bodybuilding on Budget is my first book, excited about it, but, have another in the mix for the next year.
What motivates you to write?
Finding the way to explain something to someone so they finally ‘get it’. That all teaching is, effective teaching that is. Changing the way you teach to focus on the learner’s personal style.
What writing are you most proud of?
I wrote some spoken word poetry on my youtube channel with a video to go along with it. Fear vs. Pride In Our Days is the name of it. And…of course Bodybuilding on Budget my first full teaching book.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I went through a very rough intestinal surgery and complications in May 2021 after a routine hernia mesh surgery. The month in the hospital, two month recovery at home with a large wound vac and home healthcare, the 30 lbs lost and receiving a 13” by 3” scar on my abdominals. This was a defining moment in my life because right there at the hospital on my 11th day with no food or water I decided I would not feel sorry for myself and move on with my life in the best and upmost fashion.
What books did you love growing up?
Growing up I read nothing but Flex and Muscle and Fitness Magazines in my early teens and competition career! Comic books of course, lots of Marvel and baseball cards!
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
That is a good question…kind of morbid but death is a part of life, the only thing that we are ever truly promised during our time here alive. I would hope that it would be filled with the lives of the people I have taught and learned from. The great loves of my life and my passions that made me who I am and who I esteemed to be. A great father would be the best compliment of all.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in Florida and spend my early years there, moving to Texas from 8th-11th grade, coming home senior year with my Mother’s most recent cancer diagnosis. Finishing up prep school at a college preparatory, I headed to FSU. A couple years there, after my step-father’s death, my Mom’s health went severely down hill and I came home to finish off my college with an education degree. She passed and I finished up my BS degree and started teaching. Moved back to Texas to get involved with the famous Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas training with Brian Dobson. Opening up my first gym in a business park, then a warehouse, and finally a shopping center, I began training out of Extreme Iron Pro and Snap Fitness in North Dallas. My son was born in 2013, soon after my Dad passed away. Since then I have been in the health and fitness industry and enjoying every day with my amazing son!
How did you develop your writing?
Through the past 20 years of gym time, I just wrote this book from things I have spoken about to my clients and friends in the same manner and delivery and I speak in person.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing the book has its own challenges…getting the words out and on paper is another. The final editing has been difficult for me because when you read a text you are familiar you brain adds in some of the words that are left out and you read things wrong just like you wrote them.
What marketing works for you?
I enjoy face to face meeting with potential clients, sitting down with them and asking them questions, really listen. Adapt myself to be the best for them and their personal goals.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
No I don’t. After getting on stage in less than a speedo…some of those hesitations are lost.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
Yes, they always have and have given me the push to be more and do more. Many of my clients have become friends. My ex-wife during our marriage would really help me with putting on my tan. My Dad went to every show and I still have one of his films with him screaming for me!
What else do you do, other than write?
Of course my long history of weight training and competition has always been my rock. Still training three or so times a week now while raising my son as a single father Mon-Fri and one weekend a month. This time has been not only my privilege but my honor. I cook that special little man fresh dinners every night and pack his lunches.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve worked construction, professional baker, flooring sales, online wellness, certified food manager with a cooking company, ice cream guy, nutritional supplement sales, gas station guy, heck, even worked at a cemetery for a couple weeks in my 20’s.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I guess I would choose another high level religion class like I took back at the turn of the century with the Deal of Religion Studies at FSU Leo Sanden “The End of The World In America” it was about biblical apocalyptic pre-millennialism. Got a high B in the class.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I really enjoyed my time visiting in Japan, also really loved Northern New Mexico. I have heard Montenegro is beautiful!
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I wrote this book with a headset using a voice translating software. I like to write in speaking and go back and edit it down. Usually sitting in a little cubby somewhere all alone for a few hours at a time.
How much sleep do you need to be your best? .
Need to get about six to function well; but four minimum if I am driving on the highway on a cross country trip at a truck stop. There is a thing such as getting too much sleep.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
YES, many! My folks always told me to believe in myself and to dream big…that is a big part of
my book. No one can accomplish their dreams or goals without first having a thought and letting that thought grow and spin larger! My ex-wife during our marriage was supportive of me and my bodybuilding career, helping with my tan coats. My friends and clients through the year have been a pushing force also. “That’s my coach, that’s my coach”, I remember a client of mine Pam, who passed from throat cancer after she won the overall in her first competition with me as her prep coach. She was so proud of me for winning the overall at the show she attended…will never forget her voice and smile as she said that with pride
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Being able to help as many people as possible with my words about exercise, nutrition, and overall life-skills. Making some money to help pay for my son’s schooling and being able to extend my career in this industry through writing relevant books to help others.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I am working through all the social media sites, have the book on sale on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel now, and am handing out cards/getting booths at shows to meet and greet. I will be working with Podcast and YouTube book reviewers to help get the word out.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
I wrote this book as an extension of my teachings and personal training to those who cannot get with me in-person at the gym or on-line through video conferencing. Wanting to give the newie to competitions or the gym a set of ideas to base their first (and consequently later in their competition career) off of to save them time, money, and personal energy. It was a great career that I had on the stage over 25 shows, trips to nationals, overall wins…I would like to help folks with things that I have learned to help them reach the best them that they can be. This book isn’t just for those with dreams of competition, no, this book is for anyone that wants to gain health while preserving the most important thing we have TIME. Time is the only thing you can never get back in life; let’s use it wisely!
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
Would have to say the obvious, as a Believer, Jesus Christ. But other than him, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Elon Musk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, my parents.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
NOT VERY GOOD at relaxing. I am always doing something to move forward mentally, physically, or spiritually. I volunteer as a ‘guardian’ at my local church and keep the parishioners safe during mass as well as cook for church events. The gym is a great place to spend a few hours on a free day—get a good workout and some cardio, stop and get a smoothie or what-not on the way home.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I want them to laugh, nod their head and say, “yessss…exactly what I was wondering!”. Want them to leave this book feeling informed and a bit more secure with their fitness or health plans. I would like the people reading this book who don’t want to compete to take on a different view of what they are doing all this work for and find the proper state of mind to continue on with their intentions. The sections about shopping, cooking, and meal prep are CRUCIAL for anyone who is looking to get their nutrition inline, no matter their health goal, saving time and money and doing so on a budget will be a way to have more time for family, self-care, or any other hobby that helps them grow wholly. I pull many ideas into this text about having the correct mindset, thought stream, and spiritual context to living and exercise. I want them to suck every second out of life like I have through whatever they choose to do—me personally I am an expert on the physical body and how to change it to be able to get the most out of life. I ATE my 20’s and 30’s up as a Christian, father, professional, and competitor now sucking the marrow out of my early 40’s; I used/use every second to keep moving forward as a man learning, growing, and changing. I want the reader to do the same!