West Coast Update With Eric Broser - Rashaad Brooks
By Eric Broser
I met Rashaad Brooks at Gold’s Gym, Venice and immediately noticed two important things. First was that he had great genetic potential for this sport, as he has naturally great lines, a small waist, beautiful V-taper and well-shaped muscle bellies. And second, that he was humble, passionate and hungry for knowledge! We became instant friends, and, in my mind, I had hoped that one day I could take him fully under my wing and coach him into the pro ranks – and beyond. Happily, my wish came true as I have been preparing him for the NPC USA Championships for the last 9 weeks (as I write this), and I consider it a blessing to work with such a tremendous athlete – and even more importantly, a true gentleman. I do not know where he will place in his first attempt at earning IFBB status, but after you read this interview, I am sure you will feel just as I do – that Rashaad is already a champion!
Eric: Such a pleasure to be doing this interview with you for GASP! Let’s start with the basics. Where are you from, and where do you live now?
Rashaad: I’m honored to do this interview with you Eric. I’m from Los Angeles, CA and still live here.
Eric: When did you start lifting weights? What got you into training?
Rashaad: I started lifting at 14 years old (off and on), but began training seriously, and with purpose when I was around 21. I was always a lean/skinny kid but got tired of that look and wanted to build some muscle through weight training.
Eric: What or who got you interested in competing? Did you have a mentor in the beginning Are there any bodybuilders that you look up to and perhaps try to emulate?
Rashaad: My friend Moe Burgess got me into competing. Moe was definitely my mentor at the beginning of my journey and continues to push me to this day. As for bodybuilders I admire and look to for inspiration I would have say Frank Zane, Rich Gaspari, and Lee Labrada. There are so many in this sport that I admire and respect as athletes, but I really associate with Rich and Lee, mostly because they have smaller structures similar to myself. When it comes to Zane, I just love his mindset and perspective towards health and fitness in general.
Eric: You and I were first introduced at Gold’s Gym, Venice (which is sadly now closed). For most of us who were lucky enough to train there, it was an honor and privilege. What was it like for you to step through those doors each day and to pursue your passion amongst some of the very best in the sport?
Rashaad: Yeah bro, it’s so sad what is happening to the Mecca. I just pray it comes back. I’m truly blessed to say I have personally seen its last days, for now at least, and got the opportunity to train there. I remember walking through Gold’s doors that first day and literally feeling in awe of the place. I felt the incredible energy immediately. I walked around the whole gym and couldn’t believe how amazing the Mecca was – with so many rooms and the variety of equipment. I remember saying to myself, “even the old people look good here!”
Eric: When it comes to competing, you have chosen to make your mark in the Classic Physique division. What made you choose this path as opposed to open bodybuilding?
Rashaad: I chose classic because it emulates old school bodybuilding - the “golden era.” Plus, I assessed my own physique as I was progressing and realized that I don’t have the genetics or structure for the open class. Trying to hold that much mass would destroy my lines, which I am not willing to do. Maybe one day I could compete in the 212-division, but that’s the highest muscular bodyweight I think my genetics would allow me.
Eric: I believe 2020 marked your first victory in the NPC, correct? How did it feel to hear your name called as the victor?
Rashaad: Yes, my brother, my first NPC victory occurred this year at the NPC Cal State. It felt so incredible to have my grind and effort rewarded fairly.
Eric: As I mentioned, you and I met at Gold’s and quickly became friends. Every time I saw you, I tried to push you and make sure you were giving your workouts your all. However, right after your win at the NPC Cal State you asked me to coach you for the USA. This was a thrill for me because I always felt as if you have pro potential and I wanted to help bring it out. How has this prep under my guidance been different than what you have done in the past?
Rashaad: Yes, we connected instantly, and you always to the time to drop some
on me in the gym - and I’m thankful for that. Under your guidance for the USA, I learned some more things about my body, which certainly was for the better. I’m used to doing six meals training days and five on rest days, but you bumped me to 7 and 6 respectively. Right away I noticed that I had more energy, my muscles remained fuller, and my metabolism started flying. I am definitely coming into the show with both better conditioning and more mass.
Eric: You are without a doubt one of the hardest working and most passionate athletes I have ever known/worked with! Please tell everyone out there what drives you – what makes you bust your ass every single day.
Rashaad: Thanks man - I do my best to always go “balls to the wall” when at the gym. But the straight up truth is that I just love training. I fell in love with it immediately because of results. With consistency and intensity comes gains. When I see people, who knew me when I was younger and very skinny, they always ask how on earth I go to the point I am at now. I just tell them that once I started, I never stopped!
Eric: What do you love most about this sport? Aside from creating an incredible physique, what has this journey done for your life in general? How has it impacted you?
Rashaad: As for this sport I love that it helps build character and just gives you a better attitude about life all around. I also love the people and the energy in the gym. It’s like a big brotherhood, where we all push and support each other – which I just love. I feel like the sport itself welcomed me with open arms, and that I was made to train, diet and be onstage showing my results. I know I belong.
Eric: This has been a very difficult year for all of us. The fact that you are even competing is a testament to your ability to overcome adversity. How have you managed to navigate through everything that has been thrown at you in 2020?
Rashaad: Brother, oh my Lord - this year been a total rollercoaster. The NPC Cal State was postponed twice, but I refused to stop. I think that the real key for me was that no matter what was thrown at me I always remained positive and did not let anything really stress me out. Remember, there is always a solution to any problem. You may have to just work harder sometimes for what you want, but if the opportunity is there, you must take advantage of it and make it happen!
Eric: As we do this interview, we are still about 10 days out from the USA Championships. It is obvious that you are by far in the best shape of your life, so regardless of where you place, you are already a champion – at least, that is how I see it. Whether you turn pro or not this year, I know in my heart that you will soon be a proud member of the IFBB. Tell us what your goals are for the future. What does Rashaad wish to achieve in the sport?
Rashaad: Honestly Eric, more than anything, I just want to help, inspire and motivate people while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Eric: I know what an incredibly gracious person you are, so I am sure you have some people you’d like to thank. The floor is yours…
Rashaad: Thanks coach, you’re amazing as well. I want to thank my good friend and brother, Moe Burgess, for bringing me into this community/sport and accepting me with open arms. I want to thank Jay Cutler and Dave Bourlet for allowing me to be on their platform (Jay Cutler TV on You Tube) and giving me so much exposure. I also want to thank them for doing so much for the sport. And Eric, I also want to thank YOU for being an amazing friend, brother and of course, my coach. Thank you for all that you do and imparting all of your knowledge. We're just getting started!
Eric: Damn right, we are just getting started!