Interview with Aaron Tippin Singer/Songwriter & Fitness Guru
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (June 11, 2005)
What do boxing and a country signer have in common? Not a dang thing, now make that country super star the one and only Aaron Tippin and you might have something there. In boxing to succeed you have to be skillful and understand the finer points of the ‘sweet science’, and ask any old time trainer and he’ll tell you that you have be in shape. Roadwork, very important to an up and coming fighter, a legit contender or any champion, you have to be able to go the distance, to put it in simple terms, your butt has to be in shape. Stay fit, stay focused and stay driven. So where does ole Aaron come into all of this? One of his main goals in life is to stay in shape and to be healthy so he can do what he does best, play and sing, and this former body builder knows how to do so.
The one thing that everybody needs in life is fitness, cardio, exercise, and a healthy diet. You don’t have to be a body builder, boxer or ball player to be in tiptop shape, you just have to believe in yourself and be relentless in what you do. When country singer/songwriter Aaron Tippin isn’t on stage putting on one of his high-octane shows, or hunting for wild turkey or producing his own wine, he is in the gym keeping himself in shape. Aaron’s hard work and physique have landed him in such magazines as the USA Today, Men’s Exercise, Natural Physique as well as others. As a young boy Aaron was turned on to weight lifting but dropped it for specific sports. In 1984 Aaron began to train once more and competed in body building contests. In 1986 Aaron entered his first contest in The Penny Rile Classic, he placed third in the lightweight class and in his second competition he placed first in the lightweight class. Aaron went on to successfully compete and even since his retirement from the sport he still works out day after day to keep in great shape. As Aaron’s says: “You’re not challenging anyone else but yourself.”
Now there is the musical side to Aaron. For twenty years he as written many songs for many talented artists and in 1991 Aaron debuted with ‘You’ve got to stand for something’. Over the last fourteen years Aaron’s voice, humbleness and entertaining shows can’t be matched. With every show big or small he brings it his all. Singing about good living, good loving and your basic workingman blues, Aaron has hit it big with the blue-collar world and continues to this day to successfully tour and pack the house night after night. With all his success Aaron remains true to his blue-collar roots and to this day he is just your average hometown country boy. Although many readers at this point are wondering why in the hell would I write about a non-boxing topic on Doghouse Boxing, it’s simple. Aaron is one of my heroes in the music world in fact, throughout life, period and his life as a musician and a fitness guru is well worth the read in my opinion. This article is about Aaron’s music and thoughts on fitness and I hope you enjoy what this article has to offer.
Benny Henderson Jr.: First off Aaron I just want to say thanks for taking out the time for the Doghouse readers, what’s going on in your world these days?
Aaron Tippin: Glad to do it buddy, glad to do it. We are cutting a record. Looks like they are going to cut the single in a few weeks, looks like it is going to be a song called ‘Come Friday’ and I really hope it’s going to be a big record for us. We are taking our time hoping we get all the right stuff. Of course we are touring, that’s the usual and this week we have the weekend off and we are rehearsing the new show that means we don’t really have the weekend off we just won’t get paid this week. Well I won’t get paid, everybody else does but Aaron don’t. (Laughs)
BH: How long have you been in the music business and what inspired you to want to play and sing?
AT: Well I’ve been in the business about twenty-years, what inspired to want to sing my occupation that I was in love with ran out on me. I was an airplane pilot, a corporate pilot and I was trying to get on with the major airlines and low and behold the energy crunch came along in the late seventies, early eighties and everything went south and when I saw the airline start getting rid of their senior captions I decided I wasn’t going to make it so I quit. So I started to do what I like to do best and that was picking the guitar and singing a country song.
BH: Was it hard getting started, as far as getting a record deal and getting radio play?
AT: Yeah I think it was. It was five years after I moved up there before I got a record deal. I wasn’t like it happened overnight for me, it was a pretty long process.
BH: What got you into competing as a body builder?
AT: I was twenty-four I guess or twenty-five and my wife finally threw me out and told me to hit the trail and somewhere along after that I realize that if I didn’t straighten out I wasn’t going to make it past thirty. Low and behold I said I was going to go to the gym and start lifting weights and try to straighten up myself and so I did and that’s what got me into it. Now I never intended to compete it just came after a while, it was a natural thing to do.
BH: What kind of regime did you have when you were competing, and give us your thoughts on nutrients and vitamins that you were allowed to take that would help with performance and such.
AT: First of all when I competed in was amateur stuff I was a drug free athlete. I would use anything you could buy in a health food store and use it. I used to eat amino acids like a nut, one of the home remedies for higher testosterone which I guess some guys on drugs would use injectable testosterone I used to drink Sassafras, Sassafras tea is loaded with testosterone. So it will actually make you stronger, it was amazing, you would be surprised how well it does.
BH: How has your regime changed now that you are older, and how hard is it to stay in good shape being on the road?
AT: I just don’t do as much heavyweight lifting. I’m in an older category, the old guy category so I do more reps and less weight. I’ve had shoulder surgery thanks to lifting heavy so I do more aerobics now and less weights.
BH: There have been some big issues on the topic of steroid usage in sports, first baseball, football and now boxing. Some player’s, boxers, etcetera have publicly admitted to using the muscle enhancer while others choose not to be verbal on the subject. James Toney was just stripped of his title when he tested positive for the steroid nandrolone and was fined, etcetera. What is your take on the matter of steroid use in sports, should athletes be reprehended for using any kind of enhancer, and what are your thoughts on the government stepping in on the situation, I guess the entire matter?
AT: If you’re going to try to sell yourself as the greatest that there is and you’re not out there in front saying that you are the greatest that there is on drugs than you are a liar. That is as plan as simple as I can put it. If you own up to it and say that I’m the greatest that there is on drugs, than I would say ok you are, because when I was a natural body builder that’s what it was, people would look at me and say you’re not as big as him, I wonder why? I’d say because we are not on the same vitamin pack my friend, that was the difference and that was irritating for me at times, the natural guys didn’t win that many competitions till they started they started the natural body building association and then guys started to finally get to compete on their own level and certainly it was more fair. That’s my take on drugs and sports, I don’t think it should be there. Look at Babe Ruth and all that he did, he wasn’t on steroids, he might have been on Jack Daniels (laughs) but he wasn’t on steroids. Now, on the government stepping in on steroids I think it is the saddest thing I have ever saw, man. When the time has come that our congress has to start having hearings on drug abuse in sports, boy we are really in sad shape man, there are bigger issues than drugs in sports. Those guys out to be focusing on the economy, or this energy crisis, or should be focusing on the people in Iraq getting their tails shot off, that’s what congress should be doing and not worrying about some drug-head playing sports.
BH: What work out plan would you suggest to an aspiring body builder, boxer, ball player, or just your average person who wanted to gain muscle and add strength?
AT: Well if you are young and healthy and want to get bigger than you have to use heavier weight and less reps. For anybody who wanted to gain muscle for bodybuilding, power lifting or in just wanting to get big than I suggest them read Bill Pearls ‘Keys to the Inner Universe’, it is an awesome book. It has every exercise you can ever dream up.
BH: In all your years as an entertainer what has been the greatest lesson you have learned?
AT: The fans are your greatest fans.
BH: What about dieting, what kind of diet should somebody include if they wanted to loss weight and gain muscle mass?
AT: I’m a firm believer in the protein diet but I don’t know if I would recommend that to anybody because it drove my cholesterol to the ceiling, but I consider it the most effective diet I was ever on as far as lifting weight and size, protein is the key to building muscle.
BH: Advice you would give to an aspiring singer/songwriter and an athlete?
AT: Love it; be in love with what you do.
BH: Looking back at your career as an entertainer, what have been your highlights and how would you define it so far?
AT: I guess the biggest highlights I have ever had was going to Afghanistan and playing for the troops, that was pretty cool.
BH: Give us your most embarrassing moment that has ever happened on stage?
AT: Left my zipper down in Oregon, they got a little extra. (Laughs)
BH: In your opinion how important is fitness to somebody’s life, as in mentally, physically and so on?
AT: I think it is very important, well it is to me, it is very important.
BH: Your top three favorite songs?
AT: Ah shoot, I can’t do that brother, I like them all. I guess I would rank them with what the fans say, Stars and Stripes, Kiss This, and There Ain’t Nothing Wrong with the Radio.
BH: Is there anything you would like to add or say in closing?
AT: I love boxing man.
I would like to thank Aaron for his time and thoughts for the Doghouse, it was greatly appreciated. For more info on Mr. Tippin please visit his website: www.aarontippin.com
Stay tuned for part two of this fitness series when we get thoughts on muscle and fitness from former boxing champion Paul Vaden.
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