Stan McCrary
February 7, 2003

Stan 'Curly Top' McCray, was invited to the 2003 Arnold Classic. It is his 3rd trip in a row to the great event. Find out more about Stan, Topamania, and what he is up to in this interview. Here are some questions with Stan.

Stan McCrary, interviewed by Ron Avidan.

  • So are you going to compete in the IFBB Ironman Pro?

      No, I am not going to do the Ironman this year, I am just going to compete in the Arnold Classic, the San Francisco Show, and some of the European Tour contests.

  • So why do you want to compete at the Arnold?

      Because that show receives a lot of exposure. To me, the Arnold Classic is bigger than the Olympia. It's a first class show, and I like the way that Jim Lorimar puts on the show. They really take care of the athletes there.

  • How did you get an invite to the Arnold when others did not?

      I was very fortunate. Jim Lorimar told me last year that if I put on a first class showing that he would give men an invite this year too. So I am fortunately in being able to participate in the Arnold for the 3rd year in a row. I am going to go ahead and have fun, and try to come to the show in the best shape I can be. I am going to put on a good show.

  • I have heard that some people say you do not deserve to be in the Arnold this year?

      Really? I work hard, and I try to have a good attitude, put on a good show, and have a good personality. I also have a lot of fans who want to see me there, and for the ones who don't want to see me there, that's their problem.

  • You placed 15th last year at the Arnold? What can you do to place higher this year?

      My thing is just to try to come to the show in the best shape that I could come in. Really, it is up to the judges in where the place me. But I really do not care about the placing. I just want to go there, and have some fun. I am going to do it for the fans, because I like competing. I want to do well, but all I could do is to come into the show bigger and better than last year. You will see a better Stan McCrary then you did last year. I am going to diet a little harder this year too.

  • What other shows have you done?

      The last show I did was the Australian Pro show. In 2002, I did the Arnold, Australian Pro, the San Francisco, and the Austrian Pro.

  • When did you start dieting?

      I started my diet 15 weeks out from the Arnold Classic. I plan to come to the show much tighter also. I plan to weigh between 250 - 255 pounds. I am also going to have a different routine than last year too.

  • What have you been doing lately?

      I have been busy. I have been marketing 'Topamania'. My T-shirts, my video, my CD-Roms. I was also very fortunate to have been able to sign a nice contract with Muscletech, as of January 1st. Also, I was blessed to find a nice girl that I love and adore very much, IFBB fitness pro Cynthia Bridges.

  • Cynthia Bridges? How did you meet Cynthia?

      I have known Cynthia for a few years. I have always been a fan of hers for years, and I talked to her at the 2002 Jan Tana, and liked her. At the GNC Show of Strength, things went well, and hopefully, it can be even better this year. Even with a long distance relationship. Eventually, I will probably move to California.

  • What is Topamania?

      Topamania is my training style. My training style is heavy weights and high reps. Most people when they train, they train with heavy weights and low reps. I do the opposite. I train with heavy weights and high reps. As I increase the weight, I increase the reps. I also implement giant sets, supersets, tri sets in my workout. My style is very unorthodox, but it's works very well for me. It's a totally different style from anybody else. It gets me the most out of my training. My philosophy is that I train with my shades on as not to look pretty, but it helps me to be focused. Because when I am training, I get into the zone. I take it very seriously. A lot of people in the gym get distracted by the pretty women, but when I put the shades on, I zone everybody else out. It is just my style.

      Lee Haney was my mentor and is an advocate of good technique, and I learned from him. His training partner was Ty 'Ropeman' Felder, and he was a very strong guy for his size. He weighed only about 180 pounds, but he was stronger than Lee was. What I did was incorporate Lee Haney's style and Ropeman's strength into my own style, the Topamania style.

  • Where were you born? How tall are you?

      I was born June 10th, in Miami, Florida. I am 5 feet, nine inches tall, and I weight 270 pounds. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Tell me about your family life? Were you married? Kids? Siblings? Religion?

      I was married for eight years before. I got a divorce in 1998. I also have two lovely daughters, T'Erica who is 16, and my youngest is Tyler, who is 8 years old. They are my two biggest bodybuilding fans. I have one brother and three sisters. My religion is Baptist.

      My mom Mary, and dad Leroy, met in a small town called Fort Valley, Georgia, about 100 miles from Atlanta. I was born in Miami, but when I was three years old, we moved back to Fort Valley. I was raised in Fort Valley, and went to Morris Brown college in Atlanta, where I played football and ran track. I graduated Cum Laude. I have lived in Atlanta ever since.

  • What started you into bodybuilding?

      While working and trying to get onto the Dallas Cowboys football team, I got injured. They put me on waivers, and they put me into a rehab program, and one of my fraternity brother named Jonathan Williams told me that I should get into bodybuilding, because I have good genetics. I went to the gym, and I met Lee Haney.

      At that time, Lee Haney was a three time Olympia winner, and Lee said that I had good genetics, that I had the potential to become a pro bodybuilder. So I watched and studied Lee, and when I had to opportunity to train with him now and then, Lee would let me train with him. So Lee became my mentor, and that was my start in bodybuilding. Lee opened up a gym in Atlanta, and I became the manager for it. For the 1991 Mr. Olympia, me, Lee and his training partner Rick all trained together. That was my motivator right there, Lee Haney himself. Because of Lee Haney helping me, I was able to gather valuable information and able to advance a lot farther in bodybuilding.

  • What was your first contest? How did you feel?

      My first contest was the 1988 Mr. Atlanta. I joined the gym in March, and the contest was in May, and I won the show. I was nervous, but it felt good to win. After that, I did others, but in 1993, I did my first National show, the North American, and I got second. I did the North Americans again in 1994 and got 2nd again. In 1995, I won the show with perfect scores.

  • What is your best and worst experience in bodybuilding?

      My best experience in bodybuilding was going to the FIBO in 1995 as an amateur in Dueseldorf, Germany, and I had the opportunity to get onstage and pose with Flex Wheeler, Chris Cormier, Dorian Yates, Paul Dillett, Shawn Ray, and all those guys, it was great. My worst experience was getting 15th in the Arnold Classic last year (starts laughing). I thought I presented a good package, and I came in shape. It was a disappointment. My body did not speak to the placing.

  • What did you get the nickname 'Curly Top'?

      When I was in college, me and another guy had the same name. In football, he played defense, and I played offense (full back, running back). His name was McCrary too. And the coach would yell out ' McCrary, get on the field'. So we both ran on to the field at the same time. Then the coach yelled 'I meant Curly Top'. So after that, he started to call me Curly Top. Coach Ax-Handle Lambert Reed from the University of Miami gave me that nickname. He was a real physical coach, like black Woody Hayes.

  • What is your favorite and least favorite exercises?

      My favorites are Legs, squats, leg presses. My worst are calves.

  • What is your best and worst body parts?

      My best is my hamstrings. My worst is my back.

  • What kind of diet do you use?

      I use the staple, high protein, low carb.

  • What do you think needs to be changed in our sport?

      It is too political. Meaning that I think the judges should change just a bit, based on whoever brings out the package on that day should win the contest, not based on names, because a lot of times, a contest can be one, especially in the first round, because the person has a bigger name than the person who has the better shape. And they give it to the guy with the bigger name at the end. Too political. I think the judging is too inconsistent. I don't understand how someone can get a perfect score in the symmetry round when he has a distended stomach and stuff like that.

  • What do you think about the drugs in bodybuilding?

      If they made every contest drug tested, and everyone had to compete drug free, I would be all for that.

  • What makes you happy?

      Being with Cynthia Bridges. (laughs…) She is the best thing that has happened to me.

  • What do you want tell a person who wants to start bodybuilding?

      If you are not willing to make the sacrifices, have patience, if you do not have discipline, motivation, and know about the situations, then don't get into bodybuilding unless you love it. It is a very slow money making sport. Also, don't get into it for the wrong reasons.

  • Tell me something I do not know about you?

      That I love kids, and I love going out to different schools being a motivational speaker for kids. Trying to put them in a positive environment. Just tell them about some of the bad experiences I had so they don't make the same mistakes I did. Talk to them about education first, and to do the right thing. Also, I stress to them how important education is first, and sports second.

  • Do you have any tattoos?

      No, I do not. I have a fraternity brand from when I was in college though. I was in Omega Psi Phi. It's like a Q. When I was in college, the Q's were known for their toughness and tenacity, so I just chose something for my personality because I thought I was tough, so I chose to be a part of them. They were tough and arrogant and outspoken.

  • Did you party a lot?

      I partied a lot when I was in college, but I graduated Cum Lauda. I have a degree in Criminal Justice. I used to be a police officer too. I quit being a police officer to start bodybuilding, because it was a very stressful job. After I did not make it in pro football, I wanted to pursue my degree. I was an office in Atlanta, and also a correctional officer.

  • Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

      Laid back in California, having my own business, enjoying life. Eventually, I would like to move to California.

  • What is your best and worst qualities as a person?

      My best qualities is that I can get along with people from all aspects of life, and my worst quality traveling on an empty stomach (starts laughing….) My worst quality is not being able to kiss ass. Also, trusting the wrong people.

  • What people turn you on and off?

      People who turn me on are honest people. People who turn me off are arrogant and conceited people. Also, people who are compulsive liars turn me off.

  • What do you think the most important thing in life to you?

      Do the right thing. Treat people like how you want to be treated.

  • What was the lowest point in life for you?

      The situation I had in 1995 where I was set up at the airport. I really do not want to dwell on this incident as it is in the past, but it was terrible. I had just turned pro, and it messed me up.

  • What is your favorite television show?

      Bernie Mac. Also, American Idol.

  • What is your favorite movie?

      Braveheart. Also, Collateral Damage.

  • What is your favorite actors?

      Arnold Schwarzenegger, Samuel L. Jackson, and Denzel Washington.

  • What is your favorite actress?

      Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, and Julia Roberts.

  • What is your favorite food?

      Cheeseburger and pancakes.

  • What is your favorite regular drink?

      Diet Rite Cola.

  • What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

      I don't drink alcohol.

  • What is your favorite music type?


  • What is your favorite music artist?

      LL Cool J, Tupac Shakur

  • What is the last movie you saw?

      XXX with Van Diesal

  • What is the last movie you rented?

      Ballistic, with Antonio Banderas and Lucy Lui.

  • What is the last Music CD you bought?

      Missy Elliot 'Under Contruction'.

  • What is the last restaurant you ate at?

      Loneheart Steak in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Do you have any pets?


  • Tell me about your fans, and your new attitude.

      The fans will make you in the sport, whether they like you or do not like you. I have a totally different attitude this last few years. You have to always treat people right, regardless. Even if they don't like me, I am still going to do the right thing to them. Somebody does a bad thing to me, I am still going to do a good thing anyway. It is just the way I am. My main thing is just live a good life, treat people right, and do the right thing. Anything that is negative or something bad, I just don't want anything to do with it. I don't want to be around it. So I distance myself from that. I have kids. My girls look up to me. I need to be a positive role model for people. Whether you know it or not, people see you face in the magazines, on web sites. You need to be nice to everybody, share some positiveness in our lives.

  • Anything else.

      I want to thank Muscletech for my contract. I really enjoy working with them, and they are a very good company to be a part of!