M&F: Can you recall the first time you saw your picture in a muscle magazine?

TT: Yes, I can! I think it was back in 1978 when I was competing as a teenager. It wasn’t a feature article or anything; it was just a picture of me in a competition. And I’d gotten started in bodybuilding in the first place because I saw a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover of Muscle Builder, which is now Muscle & Fitness. That turned me on to bodybuilding more than anything else. When I first saw my picture in a magazine it was tiny—you probably needed a magnifying glass to really know it was me. But there was my name, evidence that I was able to accomplish something.

M&F: You were Nationals Champ in 1986. Do you think you reached your potential as a bodybuilder?

TT: Certainly not. I had a vision in my mind of what my physique should have manifested into, and I touched maybe 25% or 30% of that. It was my mindset back then that limited me from going any further. When I turned pro there was something stopping me from getting to that next level. I think I created a false wall that stopped me somewhere along the way.

M&F: Is there a connection between your bodybuilding background and your motivational speaking and writing?

TT: Absolutely. As a teenager I got my first Harley and started running around with a bunch of bikers. And what changed that was focusing on what I needed to do to become a champion bodybuilder. I started under- standing that I could be more and that I didn’t have to be limited by my own beliefs.

M&F: You wrote the book 7 Rules of Achievement. Of those seven rules, which one is most important?

TT: The most important thing is action. Without action, which is the seventh rule, you can have everything else in place, but if you don’t do any- thing about it, you just blow it. There’s a big difference between doing and knowing. If you have a desire to do something—even if you don’t know exactly what—and you take action on a consistent basis, you have a very good likelihood of succeeding.

For more TIPS Check out Tom’s motivational tips series, Max Mind Set, at muscleandfitness.com