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But there is one goal Timbaland has not yet achieved. He wants to be buck.
Since this past November, Timbaland has embarked on an extensive weight-loss program that has helped him drop dramatically from a bloated 331 pounds to, as of this writing, a husky 222 pounds. Concurrently he is incorporating a protein-rich diet into a training regimen geared to turn body fat into thick, protruding muscles.
"I don't want to be lean and cut. I want to be buck," says Timbaland during an otherwise quiet evening at his mansion. "I just like that look. When you see horses, or animals, like you see a monkey or a gorilla, like, they cut.
"It's a freaky look. When you keep working out, you get to be almost like an animal," he continues. "I like the veins popping out. I love all that."
Improbably Timbaland is even considering entering the Mr. Miami Classic, an annual bodybuilding contest, when it is held this July. If he actually goes through with it, he may very well become the first hip-hop star to flex his muscles onstage in nothing more than a pair of spandex briefs. "I'm just going to do it to compete to shock the music industry," he says. "In the little thong shorts, the whole nine."
Timbaland's journey to physical nirvana began late last October when he met trainer José Garcia at the Forge restaurant through a mutual friend. At the time Timbaland was an overworked and overweight, albeit mega-successful, record producer. He ate sporadically, worked long hours, didn't exercise, and didn't maintain a healthy diet. When he did eat, he consumed food in large portions. Eventually his obesity hastened the onset of health and medical problems such as sugar diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and dry scalp.
"They say that when you're overweight, everything changes," says Timbaland. "In pictures you look older. You looked stressed. Weight does something to your skin; it makes you look crazy." He even recounts how he used to "sleep and snore real bad, to the point where people probably think I'm dying in my sleep. You know how overweight people go [inhales loudly] öNnnnugggghhhh'? And then I'd wake up, but I'd never really get a good night's sleep."
Before meeting Garcia last year, Timbaland had unsuccessfully tried to work out with other trainers. "[Garcia] told me to give him six weeks of my life, and he could make a difference."
Now, thanks to losing more than 100 pounds in less than six months, Timbaland is no longer afflicted by his earlier ailments. Radically transforming himself from a fast-food-nation casualty to a Mr. Universe-in-training has profoundly affected him. "I'm trying to talk to the youth," he says. "I never really saw it. Your outer being is who you are as a person. People say no, but your outside affects who you are inside."
Shortly after he began training with Garcia, Timbaland signed on as a major investor in Garcia's company Physique Nutrition, which sells training supplements. Timbaland also agreed to co-sponsor Timbaland's Physique Nutrition Beach Ball Festival, a concert and fitness competition. The April 10 event, organized by TAI Entertainment, is being held on South Beach at Eighth Street and Ocean Drive.
Billed as "a day of friendly competition between your favorite ösexy' servers," the Beach Ball Festival is atypical of the cheerily frivolous sun-'n'-fun South Beach parties held during the winter season. Employees from 25 of the area's top restaurants, lounges, and nightclubs, including Mynt, Space, Nobu, and Amika, will strip down to their bathing suits, pair up in small teams of six to eight people, and compete in games such as rock-wall climbing, tug of war, dodge ball, and relay races. The day's host will be 1997 Playboy Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt.
In addition to the games, a concert will feature earnest rock band Live, reggae balladeer Maxi Priest, and R&B casanova Joe, as well as promised surprise guests. The public isn't allowed to join in the games but can shell out $20 to watch the spectacle and partake in an open bar. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"It's a day of competition for the hospitality industry," says TAI Entertainment's Alan Roth. But what's in it for everyone else? Roth says it's an opportunity to cheer on and support your favorite nightspot, bartender, and/or server. Also he points out: "Usually when you go to a concert, you pay $25 to $35 to see one act. Here, you get to see three."
In fact it was the Beach Ball Festival that led Timbaland, through Roth, to New Times, offering to talk to us for a story. What made the request extraordinary was that Timbaland rarely speaks to the press, and then only if he has an album to promote.