What Others Are Saying...

  • " Not only is Sean a great nutritionist, but he's an excellent strength coach. I've coached athletes with him on multiple occasions. The most impressive attributes I've seen in him is his integrity, work ethic, ability to work with athletes and desire to be the best coach possible...."

-Luke Richesson. Head NFL Strength & Conditioning Coach for Denver Broncos


Interview with the Expert: "The Golden Eagle" Tom Platz

Quick Hit Summary

In this “Interview with the Expert” we have the privilege of being joined by bodybuilding legend Tom Platz, aka “The Golden Eagle” and his wife, Dr. Cha. Topics covered include his experiences as a bodybuilder, one of his secrets to success during the '80s and proudest moment as a competitor. Dr. Cha also shares why she can't stand the word "diet" and a few other thoughts.

A Little Background…

In this edition of Interview with the Expert, we have the privilege of being joined by bodybuilding legend Tom Platz, aka “The Golden Eagle” and his wife, Dr. Cha. This interview holds a special significance for me. Although I never competed as a body builder, my passion for training was inspired by those who did; As I’ve written elsewhere, seeing images of bodybuilders from the 1970’s and 80’s, as well as the movie Rocky IV, served as the initial soil and water in which I grew my desire for physical perfection. Like many, I was in awe of The Golden Eagle’s physique. Although he’s best known for his phenomenal legs, his upper body was pretty dang impressive in my opinion.

Tom has always been more than just a bodybuilder, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Nutrition from Wayne State University, a Masters in Fitness Science from Michigan State University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from the University of California. However, enough of me rambling. Let’s get straight to the show!

Mr. Platz, Dr Cha, on behalf of the readers here at CasePerformance, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us. It’s a true honor to have you with us today.

[Tom Platz]: You’re welcome. The honor is ours.

Mr. Platz – First off, tell us a little about your background… Did you participate in any ball/team sports while growing up or was bodybuilding your first and only love from an athletic competition standpoint.

As a child, I played little league baseball. In high school, I was active in football and shot put in track and field; however, it was always my dream to be a professional bodybuilder since the age of nine.

Mr. Platz – What were the early years of training like for you as a teenager and later, as a college student?

Weight training was always my life, but you have to realize weight training was also taboo during most of my high school and college days.

Mr. Platz – Upon completing a BS degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, you flew out to the Mecca of Bodybuilding, Gold's Gym, in Venice Beach. What was it like to walk through the doors for the first time?

It was as if I arrived in heaven. It was wonderful! Rather than just reading about the best there was, I was able to train right along side them. The energy and the expectation of success rubbed off onto me.

Mr. Platz – Building a bit off that last question, many famous bodybuilders trained at Venice Beach at the time. Yet, they were all competing against each other on stage. Did this create a hostile/"on edge" type of environment or was there a sense of brotherhood amongst one another?

There was big time camaraderie back then… we trained together, we ate lunch together, and went to the beach together. It was a special club… by the way there were no sun tan beds back then, this is the reason the Olympia is always scheduled in September/October, to allow us to get tan all summer long.

That’s really interesting. I never knew that was why Olympia was scheduled during Sept/Oct.

Mr. Platz – During the height of your career what did a typical week look like?

I typically trained 3-4 days a week. My volume and frequency could be kept at low levels, while my intensity was always maintained at high levels throughout my career.

Mr. Platz – Nutrition plays a large role in sculpting a stage ready physique. There are obviously many approaches out there; Was there any particular method that you found more effective than others during your competition days?

I followed a low carbohydrate diet in the 70's and a high carbohydrate diet in the 80's. In hindsight I believe making this switch, to a strategy that allowed me to fully take advantage of the carbohydrate metabolic pathways, was one of the secrets to my success during this time period.

Mr. Platz – You first retired from the sport of bodybuilding in 1987 and later came out of retirement in 1995. What led you to originally say, "It's time for me to step away?" and later, "I want to get back on stage?"

Basically, I needed the rest, from the stage and tours. It was time to enjoy my home. The main reason I made a comeback was due to endorsements.

Mr. Platz –Was there ever a point in your bodybuilding career where you said, "I finally made it?"

No, in bodybuilding you realize in your quest for perfection that you will never get there. You will always be better than yesterday, but worse than tomorrow.

Mr. Platz – Looking back on it, what would you classify as your proudest moment as a bodybuilder?

I have to admit, winning the 1978 Mr. Universe at the age of 23 overwhelmed me.

Mr. Platz – What are your thoughts on the current state of bodybuilding?

There are definitely a few things I really like about it today… For instance, my good friend Dorian Yates opened up the door for big beyond belief, and now Phil Heath has open up the next door for symmetry, size, quality and professionalism.

Switching gears a bit here, during the late 90's another major event took place in your life, you met and eventually married your wife, Cha.

Tom Platz & Dr. Cha enjoying a fine dining experience. Image posted with permission.

Dr Cha – I know your background is in whole food nutrition. With this background, what did you think of Tom's approach to nutrition. Was it rock solid or need a bit of tweaking?

From what Tom’s told me, while he was in college, he had the right mindset for whole foods. Well, you might say he had no choice (he was broke). For instance, he ate whole chickens. When he started to make some money in bodybuilding, he started eating chicken breasts only, missing out on the health benefits I feel are present by eating other parts of it. Like most people, getting older was blamed for aches and pains – this is not necessarily true. His eating lifestyle definitely “needed tweaking” when we got together in 1998.

Dr. Cha – I know you have some interesting thoughts on the word "diet." Can you share those with us?

I really do not believe in “diets”, the first three letters of the word sort of turn me off. Recently, I have noticed some people have paid attention to this saying ~ and are actually using it in their own websites, articles and teachings.

Dr. Cha – I love that line and I have to agree – It’s about following a whole food lifestyle; not some sort of DIEt. What is your philosophy with respect to maximizing health through food?

My belief on this is best summed up in the words of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) who said, “The doctor of the future will give no medications, but will interest his (or her) patients in the care of the human frame, in diet (foods) and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Mr. Platz, Dr. Cha – Although I'd love ask a 100 more questions, you've already been more than gracious and I'd hate to hold you up all day long! Thus, on behalf of the CasePerformance community, I would like to thank you for joining us here today. Keep up the great work and for those wondering, where can they find/follow you?

[Tom Platz]: Sean, we both want to thank you for inviting us to be a part of the CasePerformance Team. We love what you and your current team are doing, educating and allowing people, who read the site, to have choices. We noticed CasePerformance doesn't solicit just popular data, and we applaud you for this!

2014 holds several new projects for us. One of which we’re extremely excited about. We’re revamping our private 5-year-old Facebook group and taking it online, end-December / early-January 2014. www.PlatZinum.com. Both of us have websites which are being updated TomPlatz.com will be upgraded in early 2014 and AchievExcellence.com will be upgraded in Spring-2014. Currently, we offer 2-4 days of 1-on-1 consultations for training and eating lifestyles. You may reach us at tomplatz@tomplatz.com or ae@achievexcellence.com. We also have several items for sale in CafePress.

Sean, again, thank you for inviting us to join the CP Team. We are honored.

The feeling is mutual! Look forward to sharing your knowledge and experiences here at CasePerformance.

Click Here to find out "Why we do, what we do."

Written on January 18, 2014 by Sean Casey
Last Updated: January 21, 2014

This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice.Please check with your health care providers prior to starting any new dietary or exercise program. CasePerformance is not responsible for the outcome of any decision made based off the information presented in this article.

About the Author: Sean Casey is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in both Nutritional Science-Dietetics and Kinesiology-Exercise Physiology. Sean graduated academically as one of the top students in both the Nutritional Science and Kinesiology departments.
Field Experience: During college, Sean was active with the UW-Badgers Strength and Conditioning Department. He has also spent time as an intern physical preparation coach at the International Performance Institute in Bradenton, FL. He also spent time as an intern and later worked at Athletes Performance in Tempe, AZ. While at these locations he had the opportunity to train football, soccer, baseball, golf and tennis athletes. Sean is also active in the field of sports nutrition where he has consulted with a wide variety of organizations including both elite (NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars) and amateur athletic teams. His nutrition consultation services are avalable by clicking on the Nutrition Consultation tab.