Aaron Baker
February 3, 2003

Aaron Baker, retired since 1998, has decided to come back into the world of pro bodybuilding by entering the 2003 IFBB Ironman Pro. In this interview, Aaron, who is two weeks out from the show, and is very depleted on carbs, talks about various issues in his life, and the upcoming show. Here are some quick questions with Aaron, whom has a lot of other qualities in life besides being a pro bodybuilder.

Aaron Baker, interviewed by Ron Avidan.

  • So I hear you are going to compete in the 2003 Ironman Pro? Is this true?

      Most definitely.

  • Did you take care of your 2003 IFBB Pro Card info & dues?

      Yes I did. The check is already in the mail or already there, as it was sent out last week. Being out of the sport, I really did not know what the deadline was, but Wayne was very understanding on this issue. I had a good long talk with Wayne on many issues, and we cleared things up.

  • Why come up and compete in another pro show?

      A lot of things. Basically, it's just unfinished business. It really does not have to do with anything but myself. I feel I have a little bit more to give. I am at a point in my life where I do everything artistically, which is things that I do well, and that part of my life is just really blooming right now. There is a spot that only I can fill. And I am back doing it.

  • Does going back to pro bodybuilding accomplish anything?

      For me it does, because it is about me. It is not about the sport. It is partially for my fans. I know a lot of them give me a lot of support, and they have even after I retired. I just was not aware of it until I met a lot of them face to face. I think with my art resurgence, I did a couple of exhibitions on stage lat year. When I retired, I did not retire from training, so even though I pro wrestled for about three years, and was running my principle training business, I still trained hard and trained regularly, so I did not fall into the category of the typical pro that retired, and every time you see him, he is looking more and more retired. Which is going to happen eventually, but it is not going to happen now. My heart in the gym is still very much alive.

      I have been walking around for two or three years saying "No, I am still retired", because everyone that I came in contact kept saying to me "Are you coming out of retirement". I kept saying no, and they kept saying "No, you have to be. Look at you". And I said "No, I'm retired. I'm retired". And I really was legitimately and seriously retired until I decided maybe two weeks before the 2002 Olympia that I would make a return to the stage. I don't like to use the word 'comeback' because really, I never really went anywhere. I never stopped training, I never stopped wearing the same wardrobe, if you know what I mean. The tights still fit.

      I was still basically Aaron the bodybuilder, just doing another vocation. That part of me never died. And with the popularity of the Masters nowadays, I really have been encouraged by a great many of my associates and close supporters. There is also a market that I never really capitalized fully on, so with the market still there, with my passion still there, with my body still there, there is no reason why I should not, as long as I have the desire to do it.

  • You are 42 years old now.

      Let' see, I just had a birthday in November, so I guess I am.

  • How is training these days? When did you start? How often?

      I am still training heavy. I listen to my body a lot. Most weights that I push are just about what I pushed before I retired, even though I am approaching old man status here. I still train quite heavy. Two weeks before the show, I still did a 455 incline, six or seven reps, for somebody that is depleted. I started training for the show the beginning of November, after Halloween.

      Ultimately, I prefer to double split. There are some things that are a bit different this time. You have to realize that it has been 4 years since I did the full regiment and everything, and I was maintaining a training business up until three weeks ago. I was training clients, and then training yourself. I was working out once a day then. I prefer getting it done at one time, but ultimately I prefer double splitting. It really depends on where my body is, and what it will allow me to do. If I am firing blanks by the evening, it does not make sense to mope around and go and have a really crappy session that does not serve me in any way. Not allowing me to get a pump, or not allowing me to get at least an aerobic session, or make full use of the time. So I will opt to do something more constructive with it.

  • Is it different training now than before since you are divorced?

      Yes it is. There is a vast difference between making the meals yourself, and having some of them made, with a two career household before. It never was to the point of me having all my meals prepared back then, as I did some cooking myself. But before I was married, I was single all those years and competing since I was a teenager, and as a bachelor, I was never above cooking. I can cook, I am ok with it, so is there really a major difference?

  • Who is your training partner now?

      I train alone more often than not, because my schedule varies. But I have been around the country, and have had some great training partners.

  • What is your diet like?

      The usual staples, nothing really spectacular. I am not having ostrich flown in or nothing like that. I have meat, fish, turkey, all of the above. Believe me, when you are dieting, it is very easy to get sick of the same thing. I remember eating something going "Oh boy, this is delicious, I can eat this every night." Two weeks later, I am like 'Oh God, I can't smell it. I am leaving. We have to go get something else now". Especially, the leaner your body gets, the more sensitive it gets. I find that a lot of your senses get heightened. When my body gets this low, and my body fat gets way down, my sense of smell gets really acute. I can smell bubble gum, when someone is chewing it across the room. I definitely rotate my foods quite a bit. Fish, beef, turkey, chicken

  • Which routine will we see? The Batman routine, the Dark Angel routine?

      You are asking me about a character, about what character I am going to use? Characters are for exhibitions for me. That is definitely my niche, I really live it. It's so me, and it is so amazing how all of my roots come from them. I may do them all. I am going to do some things you have seen, and things you have not seen. I am an artist.

  • An artist?

      Yes, and I am really excited about that, because I draw and sculpt and paint, and a lot of people were not aware that I am an artist. Maybe they were aware of some things, but not that I sculpted. Even I was not aware how much talent in sculpting that I have until I actually sculpted the Batman mask back in April 2002. And I had a week to do it.

  • You also like to draw cartoons?

      Yes, mostly comics and that of the arts. But even that's something that I will definitely expand on with more training, because that's truly who I am. Sometimes you have got distractions in front of you. Most artists are about as orderly as a chicken coop. It kind of goes with a particular type; left side brain, right side brain, whatever you want to attribute it to. But it terms of characters, I am sure you will see both. You may see a revision of the Dark Angel, you will see Batman, you might see characters that I never done before. I've got sketches all ready, and costumes that I will bring out perhaps, but that is what I do. I have seen other people do it more and more lately, but I am sorry. Nobody does it better. When I say that, I mean it that it kind of flows through me, so it is something that I have had a passion for a long time, and now I am really embracing that part, so I am more excited than ever. I feel like a have a lot more talent at my disposal because I have kind of ventured in, and realized there is much more of a well to draw from.

  • So are we going to see Angel Hawk on television?

      That has been one of my dreams since I was a kid. I have been a fan of drawing, the comic genre, the animation genre. I am a really big fan of all of that. You put me in a room with another artists or another collector, and you can watch us start chattering like two high school cheerleaders.

      I created Angel Hawk. I designed it, named it, actually made the costume myself. Sculpted it by hand, and that was the first thing I ever sculpted like that. It was a really big deal for me. It was a real sense of accomplishment. It was really fulfilling. I got such a rush out of that. And having it come out the way I wanted it to, because it I wanted to design it so that the costume would look good as a guest posing performance outfit. But at the same time, if I need to turn it into a comic costume or a movie costume, I could still have some latitude. If I wanted to add tights, or whatever. Originally, I drew it with the big angular wings, that basically would retract and go away. This stage of my life, I am realizing that I am not a bodybuilder, I am an artist that body builds. I intend to going to art school.

  • I see you are into martial arts?

      Yes, I have had martial arts training, Tae Kwan Do, and wrestling. I still have a passion for it, but now, I do most of it for television and movie roles now. I used to sword fight twice a week, but that entailed staff fighting, open hand Chinese staff, European Broad Staff, you name it. That is another one of my major passions.

  • So do you have hair on your head or not these days?

      No, I am still clean shaven, and will be at the Ironman.

  • Do you have any tattoos on you?

      No, never had. You know, it's funny because as an artist, I have always been able to draw since I was very young and I enjoy making pictures, but not necessarily on myself. By the time I considered drawing as a career for a brief moment, I was already a bodybuilder. In that respect, I really looked at it as a tattoo might hide the definition. I am from the old school, so back then, the judges may have taken off points, or they did really did not applaud it as much. Now, things are far more liberal, and tattoos will not subtract from a superior physique, and if it does, then something's wrong.

  • In 1998, you placed third at the Ironman? That year, you did not make the top 15 at the Olympia. What's happened?

      Yes, at the Ironman I was third, and by the Olympia, I was actually going through a divorce. Five weeks before the Olympia, I moved out and moved into a hotel. The next five weeks before the Olympia, I was doing the best I could through everything. I got through it. My decision to retire after the show, I believe, that is was a culmination of many things at that time. Right at that time, I was tired at a lot of things. I needed a break. That's why when I did retire, people were asking me 6 months later 'When are you coming back?'. Well, I never will say never, because you never know what you will do under the right circumstances. So I just said 'I was really retired with no plans in the back of my head in coming back'. But I was not foolish enough to say what I won't do like "Oh no, I will never come back, and screw them, and screw this, and all of that". I am not that type of person, but deep down, I knew I had enough of a passion to admit that anything is possible. With my career, if anybody deserved to take a break, I think I had earned it.

      But there are many things different about me now, as I had a lot of personal growth since then. I think, unfortunately, a lot of athletes in general, including bodybuilders, and this is in no one in particular, I think that people should do a little more work on the inside while they are doing all the work on the outside. Many of us started for the same reasons. In this sport, it leads us to more confidence, it leads us to a vast number of improvements in our lives, but if you started because you were insecure or shallow or whatever, and grew your body into a nice championship form, but yet you never really looked within, and worked on the inside. Now you are a nice, big shallow, insecure, self centered person. I just believe in personal growth.

  • How is the relationship between you & the IFBB & Wayne DeMilia?

      We are talking about the 'Mad as Hell' article. I was already peaceably retired and everything, and Lori Grannis approached me about an article, and she wanted to do an Aaron Baker - mad As Hell article. I didn't even know what they were going to title it. But when it came out, it had words like angry, pissed, furious - all these synonyms for me being angry. And I remember thinking - hmmm, I was never that mad. If I was just mad, I would of flipped out on one of the occasions that I felt that their was a questionable outcome. But when you put on your trunks, that is a part of the sport, you agree to be judged. You are subjective yourself to be judged by the establishment. Many times I have not agreed, but once the decision has been passed down, I have yet to see a decision reversed because 80% of the audience disagrees with it. It just does not happen. It is one of those things in which I ask myself 'Was I the best that I can be?" There are times when I have been, and there are times when I have not been, and there are times when it just did not matter. Without getting into the climate of the judges, judging is judging. And it is human, done by human. And you will always have someone that is not happy. And to be honest, even if it was done by a computer, you will have people that are not happy.

      So she approaches me with an idea for an angle for an article, and I just want to ask you all the pointed questions that you were hesitant to answer. I noticed you never really said a whole lot, never really opened your mouth. I am like now, gee, and you are surprised. Anyway, we did the article, she asked me some questions. I looked at it then as an opportunity to have a little fun. At the same time, there have been many professionals that have gone on record as being outspoken on numerous occasions, and have said some pretty inflammatory things. I never really gone there. I may have talked about the WBF history and things like that, but even with them in mind, I never really bashed them. It is not about that. The WBF had something they proposed, they had a vision, we tried it, it worked out for a while. There are things in which I had great memories of, and some not so happy memories. Life goes on. But I still have the utmost respect for Vince McMahon, and his crew and his family. They have always treated me well. It was sensationalism anyway, which normally I really don't get caught up in, but I thought 'Ok, I always had to be tactful ever since I came in via the side door into the IFBB after the WBF life."

      So when we did the article, she asked some pretty weird questions, and I thought 'Where the hell are some of these questions coming from?" But anyway, I answered all the questions and dispelled some rumors, and tried to be nice.

      However, I am misquoted, and I said something which came up kind of negative, according to all the fans that read it, and I had a laugh. But it was not like someone had quoted me exactly, and they quoted me far more graphic and far more rude than I said. And when I saw it, I kind of went "No, I would never say that. No, what I meant was this." Because I remember verbatim. I am pretty sharp. When something comes out of my mouth, I remember what I said. Exactly what I said. But it was a little joke here and there. I was going for the laugh at the time. But that's in the past.

  • Any thoughts on the coming show?

      I expect it to be a very good show. I am excited. There are many aspects of hell that I completely forgotten about. Especially these last few weeks. Try continuous urination. Oh, there is a host of things which I go "Oh yeah, I've forgotten about that". You know, there are some funny stuff in getting ready for a show.

  • Anything you want to say to your fans?

      I am excited about coming back and doing the Aaron thing. I just really appreciate the show of support, and all of the fans that I have run into personally, or fans that have written in, or visited the web site, and drop me a few lines, I can't thank you enough or express how much that meant to me. It just really touched me. It's fans like that that kept me in the sport a bit longer than I was ready to stay in. I really hung in there. It's fans like that which kept me fighting the good fight. I am excited about bringing my current flavor into the mix, polishing it up, and seeing what's going to happen. I am excited about how I look, and what I've done. Please feel free to say hello whenever.