Legendary Fitness Guru John Basedow on his Transition from TV to YouTube [INTERVIEW]

Fitness guru, actor, news reporter, host and creator of “New Media Stew,” Christmas rapper and Urban Dictionary’s definition of immortality — these are the numerous hats that “Fitness Made Simple” founder turned YouTube convert John Basedow wears on a daily basis. Diving into the digital content scene in 2009, Basedow created his YouTube show “New Media Stew” to  provide entertainment, humor and positive change to his fans in an ever-changing media world.

How did you originally get into the fitness field?

I got into fitness because I wanted to change my own body. I was actually at a down point in my life where I had been on a TV show, I was in debt, I was oddly shaped. I was shaped pretty much like a bowling pin, a big wide middle, long skinny arms, long skinny legs. I had less direction than I normally would, and I just felt terrible. I just had a big “L” on my head like a loser, and I said I got to still do something to get my mojo back. So what I did was I tried to investigate and try all the different media high fitness programs from the nutrition plans, the diet, the workouts, the exercise equipment, the pills and potions that promise to build muscle and reduce fat.

And that’s what I did for about over a year. I was trying to get in shape, and after a year, I had nowhere near achieved the type of results for the effort that I was putting into my training. I got to the point where I just wanted to throw up my hands and quit. Like, this is the body nature gave me, so many people think this is what I’m stuck with — but I hate to quit. So, I said I’ll go over the whole thing that I did in the past, see what worked to some degree, what didn’t work at all, what might work if I tweaked it. I had this one ah-ha moment where I said there’s not one approach to fitness; you really have to cover what I call the fitness triangle, which helps you get the ultimate structure, your ultimate physique. And that’s the three sides: being time-conserving, lean muscle -building workout, a fat-fighting nutritional meal plan, and supplementation to help maximize the results of your gym and your kitchen effort. And what happened after eight weeks of following the program? I ended up getting those tight six-pack of abs that you see in the commercials now that you saw in the commercials back even 10 years ago and be able to maintain all that.

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep working out and maintaining this regime on top of all these other things that you’re involved in?

It’s hard. When you start following a fitness lifestyle, there is always a cosmetic component of why you get started in fitness, but the beauty of leading a fitness lifestyle is it creates a ripple effect. The cosmetic benefit is just the tip of the iceberg. When you start following a fitness lifestyle, there is a ripple effect that affects every aspect of your life: physically, emotionally and mentally. What I mean by that is the confidence benefits you get in realizing that you can reshape your body. That is empowering and helps you go after all your goals. If I hadn’t changed my body first, I certainly would not have the confidence to go on TV shows that I’m on now and starting a YouTube channel from scratch. Knowing that, you can take control of your health. Practicing a fitness lifestyle is the number one preventive thing that you can do to avoid or lose the complications of most types of serious medical problems, certain cancers, osteoporosis in women, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

How did you transition from “Fitness Made Simple” into new media?

The reason why “Fitness Made Simple” stopped in 2007 was one of our major outlets for “Fitness Made Simple” was Adelphia Media Sources, who went bankrupt and were divided by Time Warner and Comcast all over the country. In one day, from December 31st of 2006 to January 1st of 2007, we lost all of our Adephia systems, which was 95 percent of our coverage. It was like walking on earth and all of a sudden the earth just falls apart, and it has nothing to do with you.

Starting in 2007, I tried to see what I could do to salvage things, but when you don’t have any broadcaster, you can’t salvage things. Then all of a sudden in 2009, I ended up just coming across Twitter and saying, “Maybe I should get involved in this.” I had heard something about Ashton Kutcher challenging CNN, which was a global worldwide news entity, and having a race with them to see who could get a million followers first, and he actually beat them. When I saw an individual beat an entity like CNN, I was like, “This is amazing. This is a whole new world.”

I ended up randomly coming across somebody on Twitter named “iJustine.” I had no idea who she was, and I saw that she had over 500 thousand Twitter followers at that point, and I was like, “Who the hell is this? This is unbelievable; she has more than a lot of shows and networks even have.” I started to see YouTube as the “Lost World.” I started my YouTube Channel at the end of December of 2009 and really started posting videos regularly in January of 2010. Because “Fitness Made Simple” hit so hard, I had become very pigeonholed in that. In my channel, there is next to nothing about fitness. Most the channel deals with a main show called “New Media Stew,” which is pop culture, celebrity news and movie reviews.

What made you decide to focus on pop culture rather than fitness?

I will always have fitness as a huge part of my life. I love it, and it’s not anything I want to escape. But I don’t believe that your first career success should define your entire life. YouTube, as I see it, has unlimited potential. It is going to continue to rethink the media as we know it in ways that we can’t even comprehend yet, and I want to be part of that.  I’m not talking about ways to entertain but to educate and change the world in a positive way as well. I had to start from scratch, and I started focusing my YouTube channel on things that I always wanted to do but didn’t have a chance to do with “Fitness Made Simple.” One of these things was starting the show Media Stew, which has a lot of like, tongue-in-cheek humor.

Just because I was known in the outside world does not mean it was easy to cross over to YouTube. When you are in a new industry, you start from the bottom and work your way up, and it is one of those things that if you want it, you fight for it. Though I’m still new to YouTube, since I started the videos, I have gotten four movie roles and just did a sketch for Comedy Central. I was just on Bravo TV doing an appearance on their show, “Watch What Happens Live” and am doing news reporting with a company called Buzz 60. YouTube has definitely changed my life in a positive way.

This has really opened up so many opportunities for you.

It’s beginning, and I’d like to see a lot more. It’s a hard road to hoe, but I’m always grateful for where I come. “Fitness Made Simple” rose to popularity by being on TV all of the time and the same way with YouTube, it’s all about location and consistency. If you’re not on the front page, if you are not shouted out by the right people, if you are not in the spotlight, if you do not have any sizzle to your steak, I like to call it, you can have the greatest content in the world, but you’re not going to be making any type of impact. However, if you do get to be on the front page, if you do get where those eyeballs are, that’s when magic can happen.

What are your future plans for both what are you kind of looking to both with the “New Media Stew” and “Fitness Made Simple”?

Well, I would like to do more with “Fitness Made Simple.” I would like to do more. We have new products, and we are working with some new supplements, which is great. I want to continue to grow and get more people into a fitness lifestyle, because I want to be able to have a positive impact on people’s lives; that’s one of my driving forces. I like to be able to positively change somebody and have them have the same ah-ha moment that I had with “Fitness Made Simple.” With “New Media Stew,” as I said, YouTube has unlimited potential to educate and entertain you. With “Fitness Made Simple,” I can change in a positive direction, create positive change that I talk about on YouTube, and with “New Media Stew,” hopefully entertain. “New Media Stew” is fun to do because it’s something totally different. It gives me a chance to branch out and do other things that I’ve always wanted to do but did not have the chance to do.

There are so many videos and so many channels on YouTube. What do you feel that YouTubers can get that is unique to your site that a lot of other channels don’t have?

Well, if you go to the playlist, number one, you get the updated information on celebrity culture, pop culture and news with “New Media Stew.” Number two, you get motivation to improve your day and give you that spark that will hopefully change a crappy day into a good day. One of my favorite videos is called “Stomp Out Bullying:  How to Deal With Haters and Bullies.” It basically is just a good message wrapped in a funny package. And you read some of the comments on that video, and you see some people saying, “Wow, I was dealing with this crap, and after I saw this video, I felt so much better because it helps take power out of hate.”

I think you get a lot of positive change from my channel that you can’t get from a lot of other people’s channels. You are extraordinary, and what other people say to you matters nothing, and nobody can embarrass you; nobody can hurt you until you actually let them.

 

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