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YOU WERE A GASPARI ATHLETE EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR ASSOCIATION WITH THE LEGENDARY DRAGON SLAYER?
I learned a tremendous amount from Rich. I’m thankful for the opportunity he gave me. I worked my way up in the business with him, gained insights into the ins and outs about how things worked in the industry side of bodybuilding from him. I’m proud to call him my big brother. Rich is always learning and always open about sharing what he’s learned. He taught me about old-school raw training when we met and showed me how he trained, and in turn I showed him my unconventional new-school training ideas. He taught me a lot—about ethics, about how to treat fans, even about how to structure a diet. He was a great mentor.
It wasn’t just about learning from a pro how to be a pro, or about maintaining my status as a Gaspari athlete, which was a great honor coming so early in my career. Rich brought me along with him as he attended to all the aspects of the business and involved me in a way that allowed me to understand how it all worked—sales, marketing, quality control, ordering, shipping, manufacturing, creating a new product and not just slapping a label on something that already exists—all of it.
I’m actually glad to address this, because there were people who assumed that when I left Gaspari it was done on bad terms, when the truth is that it was the natural progression of my career. Neither of us thought I would be there forever.
Rich Gaspari won the 1989 Arnold Classic, along with eight other pro contests, and finished second in the Mr. Olympia 1986–88. He launched Gaspari Nutrition in 2001. Flex Lewis signed his first endorsement deal with Gaspari Nutrition in 2007 and worked with Team Gaspari for six years.