Entrepreneur Spotlight:Bill Phillips Is A Champion Building Other Champions

Here is a short bio of Bill Phillips ( a condensed version of the Wikipedia article): Although the post is features a condensed version of the Wikipedia article, I have chosen not to edit out any items that might cast a bad light on Bill Phillips and will discuss why later in this post.

Born in September 1964, Bill started bodybuilding in 1982, then moved to Gold’s Gym Venice beach (known as the Mecca of bodybuilding) in 1983, remaining until 1986, a period during which Phillips admits to steroid use. After not succeeding as a bodybuilder, the 21 year-old Phillips moved back to Colorado and began his publishing career.

On November 11, 2005, Bill married Amy Molen, an anorexia survivor and a success story from his documentary.

In 1985 Phillips’ soon to be flourishing publishing empire, Mile High Publishing, began with a small newsletter teaching bodybuilders how to use anabolic steroids. The newsletter was written and printed in his mother’s basement. Funded with $185 he and his brother had made from mowing lawns, its original name was The Anabolic Reference Update.

In 1992, Phillips moved out of his mother’s home and dramatically changed the publication’s format and its name to Muscle Media 2000 (usually referred to as “MM2K”). The magazine grew rapidly in popularity, partly because of its frank discussion of the underground aspects of bodybuilding such as the use of and even how-to smuggle steroids, and columns by controversial writers such as The Steroid Guru Dan Duchaine, and Editor-in-Chief TC Luoma. At the time every other bodybuilding publication was completely devoid of such “taboo” subjects.

Phillips also stated that MM2K would independently laboratory test every prospective advertiser’s supplements and ensure they met nutrient label claims before he allowed their advertisements in the magazine. Such assurances and the new-found candid way previously taboo subjects were openly covered appealed strongly to many bodybuilders, and accordingly Phillips gained their trust.

In MM2K Phillips highly endorsed MET-Rx (a meal replacement supplement), and this relationship with readers helped it become the highest selling bodybuilding supplement ever at that time.

It was later revealed however, that Phillips and the creator of MET-Rx, Dr. A. Scott Connelly, were in fact business partners, and the endorsements clever marketing. This partnership also included bodybuilders Lee Labrada and Jeff Everson. It was around this time that Phillips began working with convicted felon James Bradshaw. Bradshaw was considered at the time to be the largest steroid dealer on the West Coast, grossing over $40,000 a week. This eventually would lead to Bradshaw serving four years in a Louisiana prison, where he educated himself on marketing.

It was Bradshaw who reportedly convinced Phillips to market MET-Rx heavily in the Natural Supplement Review, Phillips’ supposed unbiased review of numerous bodybuilding supplements. He also had the idea for Phillips to give the Review away for free to readers of Muscle Media 2000 providing the MET-Rx with addresses of potential buyers, and a large amount of advertising. Sales of MET-Rx rose exponentially. Bradshaw and Phillips had stumbled upon a very successful method of marketing to bodybuilders, and they, and original investors Everson and Connelly, got very wealthy. Their partnership was short-lived however.

Phillips and Connelly had an agreement that distribution of MET-Rx would be controlled, and that they would not sell it to retail outlets in order to keep supply low during the period of high demand created by the advertisements in Muscle Media 2000. Connelly however, had other ideas and began selling it to mainstream distributors and department stores. Phillips believed this move lessened its appeal to bodybuilders, and destroyed the “mystique” of the product. The two parted ways, and as part of the settlement, Phillips was legally bound not to mention the name of MET-Rx in his magazines (thereafter he would refer to it as “the leading brand”). But by then Phillips had his eye on another venture that would eclipse MET-Rx altogether – EAS.

Phillips acquired Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS) from founders Anthony Almada and Ed Byrd in 1996. He promoted the company’s products through heavy editorial-style advertisements in MM2K, and led by flagship products like Myoplex (a MET-Rx copy), Phosphagen and HMB this would eventually put him at the forefront of the nutritional supplement industry for more than five years.

By 1995 Phillips was a multi-millionaire, and was well known in celebrity and sports circles. Athletes like José Canseco would contact Phillips for advice on steroids, and he also consulted with celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, John Elway, Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore.

In 1997 Phillips was eager to expand his empire beyond the bodybuilding industry. MM2K changed from targeting the hardcore bodybuilder to the more mainstream exercise participant, and the July 1997 issue saw the magazine redubbed simply as Muscle Media. While Muscle Media 2000 at its peak had a distribution of 500,000 copies per issue, the change in direction alienated many traditional readers, and sales numbers reportedly declined sharply afterwards. Publication finally ceased in 2004 after the EAS company was sold a second time.

In 1999, Phillips sold his majority interest in EAS (though he remained on the Board of Directors for a number of years afterward) to a private equity firm and concentrated on his writing and on promotion of his books through his publishing company, High Point Media. In 2004, he completely sold his remaining interest and is no longer involved with EAS.

Phillips’ more recent work, Eating for Life: Your Guide to Great Health, Fat Loss and Increased Energy!, offers his plan “to help inspire and guide even more people to improve their health and lift their quality of life to new heights.” His forthcoming book “Transformation: Now and for LIFE” is scheduled for release in Spring 2008.

In February 2006 Phillips announced his “Great American Transformation Experience” (GATE) with a goal to transform America’s fitness from world’s worst to first within 10 years.

Phillips has also received many honors for his work, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s highest award. He was also honored by Paul Newman and by John F. Kennedy Jr. as one of America’s most generous business leaders. The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce honored Phillips in January 2000 as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. Phillips was also chosen to help carry the Olympic torch on its relay across the United States for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Now lets me tell you why I chose to leave all references of conduct that would be considered inappropriatte expecially by todays public that (thanks to congress and Major League Baseball) have a higher awareness and knowledge of the danger of steroids. Let me first state that I in no way condone steroid use. I am glad that we as a country are no longer sweeping it under the rug. Many after reading this Wikipedia article would form an automatic negative opinion of Mr. Phillips. No one is perfect and unlike many others that have made past mistakes, Bill Phillips has turned things around and is now one of the largest contributers to the Make A Wish Foundation. Bill Phillips could have chosen to leave the public eye when the focus on steroids increased, given his past. Bill Phillips chose to stand up and create some good in the world, that I am sure many would argue far outweighs any mistakes he may have made in the past. Also although it is not an excuse, at the time of Bill Phillips mistakes steroid use (although underground) was much more widely accepted especially in athletic circles. Bill Phillips is on a mission to change the fitness of a nation and I for one support him. He not only is focusing on building peoples bodies, he wants to build their minds and spirits as well. I would urge any one to enroll in his Transformation program.

About Doug Greathouse (aka Captian Arcimedia)

  • Bill Phillips is the man! You look at all he has accomplished for himself but more importantly in the way that he has helped so many other people change their lives as well, he is an inspirational guy to look up to. Thanks for sharing the video!

  • I have followed Bill’s work for almost 20 years now and think he’s by far the most knowledgeable supplement genius of all time.