Brandon Smith – age 33, 5'9", 220 lbs. – is a resident of Dallas, Texas, and is the founder and CEO of Purus Labs and Formulife, Inc. He trains at Wylie Boxing Club, 24 Hour Fitness, and various places on the road. Let's learn more about this businessman, father, and athlete!
Q: What got you started in lifting, and what were your first memorable lifts?
A: I was always fascinated by bodybuilding magazines, from an extremely young age, and dedicated myself to working out at the early age of 14. My most memorable lift, at least that I can recall, would probably be when I finally hit 405 on bench for a clean double. I can also remember 275 x 5 on power clean and my first raw 500# squat in college, while playing football.
Q: How did you discover weight training?
A: Through the magazines and traditional football workouts in high school.
Q: Did anyone influence you or serve as a mentor?
A: Bill Lane was an extremely influential person in my quest for knowledge and instruction for both working out and nutrition/supplementation. I can remember him giving me my first box of protein shakes when I was in the 7th grade, the old school MET-Rx vanilla MRP's that tasted nothing like vanilla! He steadily provided me with supplements (MET-Rx, Advocare, AST) throughout my entire middle and high school career. I'm truly appreciative for this.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Competition. I love competition, and I love winning. I enjoy the arduous journey and the final high; it's addicting. This drive spans my entire life, from my work, to my athletics, to my family.
Q: So many people are content with an ordinary life; is your love of competition where your drive comes from?
A: People describe me as intense, passionate and even eccentric. I'm not exactly sure as to the how or why I became this way; I just know that I'm never satisfied. This is most certainly a double edge sword, but it's also what has gotten me to where I am today. I have a fear of being normal; therefore I do everything in my power to not be. I guess this could be the precipice for my drive you could say. I'm a diehard competitor through and through, after all, who doesn't like winning?!?
Q: What activities do you do outside of the gym?
A: I coach youth sports with my kids and have for five years. I think I'm on my 10th team currently. I coach football, softball, and basketball. We're currently the reigning softball champions and returning Super Bowl champions. When not tied up with practices and games, I enjoy riding my UTV and going to the lake.
Q: What kind of advice would you give to beginners who are looking to become better lifters?
A: Consistency, that's the only thing that absolutely has to be adhered to for lifelong results.
Q: What about nutrition? How much do you eat, grams of protein per day? Do you count grams, macros, etc.?
A: I think this can become encumbering. You definitely have to monitor macro intake, especially protein, but it doesn't have to be so rigorous and finite; I think this is a recipe for failure. Have a target PRO/CARB/FAT for each meal, essentially, your daily total divided by five meals.
If you have a good understanding of the protein, fat and carbohydrate values for most available foods you enjoy, then you will have an easy time selecting and piecing together food-varieties to achieve these totals. For instance, I know in order for me to hit my macro totals for the day, all I have to do is eat 6-7oz of any lean meat, 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 1/2c cottage cheese, or 10 egg whites to achieve my protein totals. It's just as easy for carbohydrates; 1cup oats or rice, 1 bagel, or 6-7oz potatoes gets me there.
Q: Do you believe supplements are the be-all and end-all or do you pay attention solid foods as well?
A: I definitely favor solid food, but outside protein powder, I do also consume quite a few oral supplements for micronutrients and ergogenics, such as preworkout powder (Purus Labs Condense+NOXygen), cognitive aids, amino acids (Purus Labs AminOD) fish oil, herbal testosterone support (Purus Labs DPOL), melatonin, multivitamin/multimineral, and herbal glucose disposal agents (Purus Labs SLINshot).
Q: So, where do you land in the IIFYM versus clean eating argument?
A: I land somewhere in the middle, but not ambiguously... I will explain. Losing weight is definitely nothing more than a science equation, expend more energy than you consume on a daily basis, and you will drop weight. However, I don't think it's as simple as the IIFYM fans see it. You can't argue food consumption purely from a weight loss standpoint. I think we all would agree that eating 3000kcal/day of whole, clean, micronutrient dense food will be much better off than eating 3000K/day of McDonald's.
I know they say heart health, brain health, etc., are withstanding, but it simply cannot be this way. If you're concerned enough about your weight to begin a diet, intuitively, wouldn't you be concerned about your overall health? Additionally, it's much harder to control/achieve your macro intake by eating "cheat foods" as your PRO consumption would be limited due to the immense FAT and CH intake form these blended foods.
Q: I have to ask, what's your favorite supplement brand?
A: Purus Labs, of course!
Q: Can you describe your roadmap to CEO of Purus Labs and Formulife, Inc.?
A: I started both companies, so I guess I gave myself the title ha!
Q: How did you become involved in the supplement business?
A: I took my first job with Lone Star Distribution, the second largest sports nutrition distributor in the country. I was selling everybody else's products, so I figured why not sell my own?!?
Q: Do you have time to compete with your responsibilities with Purus?
A: Between running two companies, business travel and coaching multiple youth sports, it's definitely tough to compete. I do good to just get my workouts in each day; however, I have to satisfy my physically competitive nature. Now that I'm done with football, look for me to be competing in my first boxing tournament in 2015. :)
Q: How long were you with the Longhorns?
A: I was with the DFW Xpress semi-pro team for one season, the North Texas Longhorns for one championship season.
Q: Can you describe that experience? Or what was the best or worst part of the life of a semiprofessional football player?
A: The best part was getting to play a full contact collision sport again, at a high level. Getting to play at the new Cowboys Stadium wasn't too shabby either! The worst part was having to totally decondition myself from a stationary bodybuilder back into an explosively mobile running back. Needless to say, there were many injuries along the way!
Q: How much sleep do you get each day?
A: Not enough! I'm very high energy – some would say even ADD/OCD – so I have a hard time sleeping as it is. Additionally, my schedule is so hectic; it's very hard to get the appropriate amount of sleep. I would say I average six hours per night. With my physical and mental stress-load, this is clearly a hindrance. I've often wondered of the gains I could make with a different life. ha
Q: Do you do anything specific for injury prevention or rehab?
A: Stretch and warm up properly. I've had to learn this the hard way.
Q: In which weight classes have you competed?
A: NPC Heavyweight.
Q: Do you have an overall training philosophy?
A: Maximal intensity in the shortest period time. Always train to failure. Do not overtrain.
Q: How long have you been training seriously?
A: Since 14, so 20 years.
Q: What are the three most important movements for people trying to build strength?
A: Any Olympic movements or multijoint compound movements.
Q: Or what is the most important physical characteristic or attribute for an athlete – speed, strength, or coordination?
A: I strive for balance. I want to be – and train to be – strong, explosive, and athletic.
Q: What is the worst competitive experience you've had (injury, etc.)?
A: I've injured everything there is to injure. Between a life filled with playing fullback (including semiprofessionally up until last year), powerlifting, bodybuilding, and boxing, I've sustained quite a few injuries that I never let heal properly. I wish I weren't so stubborn.
Q: You have a great family! I'm a romantic; how did you meet Monica?
A: She was actually a good friend and neighbor, and I hired her as employee #1 at my company. From there, the rest is history! She's my rock at home and the office. Most people wouldn't want to work with their significant other, but we wouldn't have it any other way.
Q: Are you children also interested in sports?
A: Oh, yeah! Savannah is seven and is the star first baseman of the Purus Ponytail Xpress. Tyler is 10 and is the most intense player I have on my Purus Raiders team. I absolutely love getting to coach them and teach them the mental and physical skills they need to be successful in sports and life.
Q: How can people contact you (email, social media, etc.)?
A: Purus Labs on FB and IG. http://www.puruslabs.net
Brandon, thank you for taking the time to share part of your story. Wishing you continued success in the supplement business and, of course, a knockout in your first boxing match!
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