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"I don't know what really broke me as a producer. But people just started talking about me," says Timbaland. "I knew I was hot when girls were like, öYo, your beats are off the chain. Your beats do something to me.' When do girls ever pay attention to beats? That's when I knew, okay, something has changed.
"I had 'NSync, Janet Jackson, all of them biting my style," he continues. For Aaliyah's 1999 number-one hit "Are You That Somebody," he remembers, "I started doing the double-beat style, doing stuff like the baby laughing in the records. They was like, öYo, what is this dude doing?' They love it."
Timbaland is an understandably confident man. Like anyone influenced by hip-hop culture, he likes to boast about his achievements, noting unapologetically, "I'm the most creative dude in this game." The sound of the baby laughing on "Are You That Somebody," for example, wasn't necessarily an original idea -- Prince used the sound on his 1982 top-ten hit "Delirious" -- but Timbaland reintroduced it for a modern audience. Similarly, when he says, "I invented this whole trend of producers being on the record," he forgets that rap producers have been appearing on their stars' records since Marley Marl introduced "The Symphony" in 1988 and Prince Paul did funny ad-libs on De la Soul's Three Feet High and Rising a year later. Certainly, in the late Nineties, P. Diddy and Timbaland took the idea of "hosting" a record -- ladling their own vocal ad-libs and trademark sounds (i.e., Timbaland's double-beat) onto someone else's track to make it hotter -- to the next level.
So why didn't Timbaland become a hip-hop star in his own right? It wasn't for lack of trying. Soon after Missy Elliot's Supa Dupa Fly (The Rain) was released, Timbaland reunited with his old rap partner Magoo and released a catchy hit single, "Up Jumps da Boogie." Timbaland and Magoo's cheery, playful debut, Welcome to Our World, sold well enough to go platinum. But the duo's next two albums sold disappointingly, as did Timbaland's only solo album, 1998's Tim's Bio.
After some prodding from a few mutual friends, personal trainer José Garcia agreed to meet with Timbaland at the Forge. Garcia had a reputation for grooming NFL players such as Miami Dolphins defensive back Arturo Freeman and 2004 Pro Bowl defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (who was traded from the Dolphins to the Chicago Bears before the 2004-05 season), as well as celebrities (whom Garcia declines to name for privacy reasons). He usually charges anywhere from $1000 to $3500 a week for his services, which include training, nutritional information, supplements, and mentoring (for example, Garcia says he talks with Timbaland a few times a day). But when he met with Timbaland, the 34-year-old Garcia had mostly abandoned his personal-training business, save for the occasional client, to focus on Physique Nutrition, a company he formed in 2003 with help from several investors, including Freeman.
Physique Nutrition markets three nutritional supplements: 4-NRG (a fat-burning additive), P-NOS (a nitric oxide stimulator), and Kre-Alkalyn. Of the three, Kre-Alkalyn, a buffered powder version of creatine, has the most sales potential. The body naturally produces small amounts of phosphocreatine. When one exercises, phosphocreatine breaks down into creatine and phosphate, and the energy released helps build muscle mass. Creatine is widely available in supplement form as creatine monohydrate. Its popularity skyrocketed when former baseball slugger Mark McGwire, during the 1998 season that saw him break the major-league home-run record, admitted to using it regularly. But Garcia explains that most creatine supplements have numerous side effects, inducing stomach cramps and liver and kidney problems, particularly when they are taken with liquids. In contrast, Kre-Alkalyn can be safely consumed with liquids. "It is the only patented, buffered form of creatine. It allows you to build up lean body mass, not necessarily to burn fat, and have muscle tone at the same time," he claims.
After the Forge meeting, Garcia and his business partner and wife, Leslie Lorenzo Garcia, drove out to Timbaland's mansion. During an hour-and-a-half interview, the couple gathered a case history from Timbaland and learned about his eating habits, his exercise routines (or lack thereof), and what he wanted to accomplish during the training program.
Timbaland's goals encompassed "more than losing weight, and that's the biggest thing we've done with him," says Garcia. "Losing weight, and then getting shaped up, and having muscle tone. His ultimate goal is to be a bodybuilder and compete, and I told him I could take him there. That's a tough goal. I mean, not everybody can reach that. It's very disciplined and very tough, especially [when you're] very heavy. But he said that's his passion, that's his biggest passion in life."
So the Garcias put Timbaland on a weight-training program that included two hour-long sessions a day. He underwent a series of strength routines, including circuit training (repeating six or more exercises, each one focusing on a different part of the body); lifting weights at a high repetition (or "high reps"); doing "super setting" exercises (or two exercises, one after the other, and usually for two antagonistic muscles such as the chest and back); and undergoing cardiovascular exercises to increase heart and lung efficiency.