Last Updated on May 14, 2021


Tad “The Diet Coach” Inoue is an IFBB Professional League judge, Nutritionist and Professional Diet Coach with over 28 years’ experience helping clients from all over the English-speaking world. Tad has been in the bodybuilding and fitness industry for over 33 years competing as an athlete, helping other competitors in figure, bikini, men and women’s physique and bodybuilding, as well as judging IFBB Professional League contests and working in the media for the NPC Newsonline, Ironman Magazine, Flex magazine and

In addition to being a Top Intellifluence Fitness Influencer, Tad has expertise in nutrition, diet, exercise science, health and wellness and mindfulness training. Tad writes and speaks on positive mindset and nutrition and has hosted several podcasts and video shows over the years that focus on the fitness industry and its topics.

Can you tell us a little about your background including how you got your start in Influencer Marketing?

I’ve been in the bodybuilding – in the fitness world for about thirty-three years, since I was fifteen so just sort of surreal turning forty-eight this year. And to think I’ve been doing this stuff. Competing and then coaching athletes for so long it’s kinda hard to even sometimes reflect back on that. But I started back as a competitor and then became a coach. I studied this stuff in school: nutrition, exercise, and science. And then I just naturally started to work in the field twenty-eight almost thirty years ago as a coach and as a trainer. But then I went towards moving towards doing what I felt was my core confidence and what I was most excited about, which was working with nutrition, all the diets, and then of course the mindset stuff. I just love everything to do with mindset and mindfulness there’s days. Especially there day there’s a lot of really great research on neuroplasticity  and stuff like that, which I’m totally into.

I just am enthralled by it and I can see how how closed tied to my own practice and some of the athletes that I work with with how much it influences their results and their lives. So over the years of getting involved in all this stuff is just sort of blends itself naturally. I became an IFBB judge so I judge shows and I’m so involved in the hierarchy of the industry and so it kinda – and having been in this for so long I’ve worked with so many athletes and top prods and amateurs. Literally thousands of athletes over the years and it kinda lends itself to having a pretty good reputation. Everybody knows me as Mr. Positivity, Tad’s happy bubble.

I write meditations every week and I call it Tad’s happy bubble and so I’m kinda known for this. So it sort of naturally lends itself to me sort of companies approaching me wanting me to vouch for their price or represent their price. And I really kinda shied away for many years because I didn’t want to be known as one of those guys or gals that sort of those athletes that would just sign on to anything cause there was so much kind of crap out there that you know, you see the athletes and you know okay they don’t really – that’s not how they built their physic. I don’t want to give anybody that impression. But I do – I have represented parts that I absolutely believe in and I always maintain that I have to like it, love it, and use it before I’ll ever recommend it or anything like that. So I got fairly selective but that’s kinda how it sort of evolved. And then nowadays it seems like it’s a whole nother genre of marketing that is so very powerful, especially in social media. When you have an audience then I think the way the internet is set up, the way we do things with social it’s just set up this way now that you can develop an audience and become somebody who people want to listen to. Just like somebody would – I remember for like years before we had social media and stuff, for years every time I’d go to a new gym within a couple of months I’d have a dozen new clients because I always looked the part. And then automatically he first questions people ask “what should I eat” or “what should I do” so they’re really asking the same questions that this kind of marketing lends itself to. Just not in the space where you’re interacting personally if that makes sense. That’s kinda how it evolved. Just me being in the position that I am.

As a matter of fact I was at the movie theater, I took my daughter to see a movie this past weekend. It was ant man wasp and I love all those superhero movies and stuff. And I go in and we get our tickets and we go to the guy who takes your ticket at the gate. That kinda thing and he says “oh” – he’s an older guy too and he looks at my daughter, she’s nine and real tiny, and he goes “oh you’re with grandpa this week” . I’m like so having been in this industry so long it kinda flashed me back because sometimes I’ll go to shows and people go “oh yeah, you know when I first started doing this I remember I was following you” and I’m like “wow man you’re making me feel really old”. *laughs* But I am old so it doesn’t matter. But that’s kinda how it evolved. Just me really sort of being so entrenched at the contents. I’m at Olympia every year, I work that. I’m at the Arnold, I work that. I’m at all these other shows with my athletes working with them and then I’m like so you’re in this industry. The body building industry/fitness industry as you probably know it’s a lot tighter knit community than people think.

There’s a lot of fans, a lot of people watching it. But the core group of people that run show that are involved in some of the decisions that are made in the industry, they’re supplement companies. All those things like I know all those people just about and they’re really, you know it’s a small group of people. It’s like maybe a thousand people total instead of thousands like it might be in other industries. But you kinda get so big because in some of those circles it kinda lends itself naturally to me sort of doing this kind of thing. Although I will say that I don’t know if I’ve ever been very good at it. *laughs* I think I just – I always try to speak from my heart and what comes up organically. So that’s why I’ve taken only very few companies that I really felt really a passion with too.

What has been your most successful partnership with a brand?

My most successful partnership has been with RedCon1, which is actually this shirt you see right here my RedCon1 shirt. They supply me with all the kid on workout gear and all that kinda clothing. They have a really great line of clothing. But they’re one of my- I used to coach the CEO of RedCon1. Aaron Singerman was one of my clients. He actually, in a previous life before he became successful running several supplement companies and started RedCon1, he worked for Art Muscle and [when he] was there he manned the field at the shows [by interviewing athletes and doing radio shows and stuff]. And he’s brought me in years ago because I was coaching him and was had a relationship and he brought me in to do some of that stuff for Art Muscle. And so after that we sort of had – we built a very tight relationship and I trust everything that he does. So whenever he comes to me and says “hey I’ve got this thing’ I’m always like “I’m all in”. So this probably is one of the more successful ones to date. It just happens to be brand of the year I think by this year. He just knows how to use social media and market. It’s all he did with it. He never – he didn’t do any print ads, didn’t do anything. I think he may do some now but they’re one of the top brands now so it’s easier. But when in the beginning, they’ve only been around for I think for 2 and a half, three years max. Like it’s not that old of brand but yet everybody knows it and they really have built a really great brand and brand strategy all on social media and all on being connecting with influencers. Because that’s what they mainly do. They have tier one operators, they call them tier one operators, and they essentially are just brand influencers that they get commission on the products that they promote and sell. They track it through their fleet system and all that kinda stuff and then they level them up. They reward them for producing more and more sales and stuff.

They reward them and that kinda stuff with incentives and different things. He really knows how to do it so this is probably one of the more successful brands of helping this certain [brand] with challenges they do. They do like The Biggest Loser challenges kinda thing for some of the clients and customers that use their products. And I’ve been their official diet coach to help them do that kinda stuff with some of the athletes and some of the people. So this is probably one of the more successful {ones]. And I use all their products I really do. I really love their products so there’s only one maybe product that I can’t that I must have an allergy to. *Laughs* But most of them they’re more body building type products so the creatine products and protein products and there kind of things. So they’re all kinda of stuff I’ve used and I like it, my athletes used them and I like the quality. In this industry when it comes to supplement it’s very difficult sometimes to ensure you have the best quality because there is like a thousand supplement companies and it’s not really regulated the way say they way food is regulated. It’s kinda self regulated in certain sense. Although the FDA can come in and shut it down if they really want. It’s just not quite as regulated so you kinda have to know your brands and that’s why I’ve very selective with supplement companies because some of them have been known to not be quite so honest on their labels and I don’t like that. *laughs* If it says one thousand milligrams of Vitamin C I kind of expect there to be one thousand milligrams of Vitamin C so to speak. And if it’s not and their notoriously lying on their labels to say – cause they will say a penny here or there. Years ago there was protein spiking, there was all kinda of stuff people were doing to emulate on their protein cause protein powder a commodity.

None of the companies really make any money on their whey protein cause it’s so commoditized They’re lucky if they make maybe a dollar on cap. They’re lucky, so that’s not making any money. So they have to carry it cause they have to. It has to be a port of repertoire products. Otherwise people aren’t going to want to but it cause they buy that product but they might buy other products. That’s just the way that people in this industry sort of buy these products, got to have a protein. So then they’ll tack onto the price. But I know Aaron will always put in really wonderful ingredients. He doesn’t cheat on his labels and I like that. I kind of need that kind of consistency, especially when I have lots of clients that sort of rely on my word as “hey what do you recommend” Cause I have it on their programs. I’ll design their program for them and it’ll have a complete supplement regiment and they’ll say take this much protein or this much or this and they want to know which ones I recommend. So I always have to have something that I use or trust and so RedCon1 is one of the more successful because I can rely on that and because their products are good.

You recently posted about catching up on sleep and addressing some of the things that were causing you sleep issues. You and many other influencers have very busy and dynamic schedules, so can you share some of the things that help you structure your average day and your sleep patterns efficiently?

I have a unique situation. I’ve always had sleep apnea so I have obstructed sleep disordered and it kind of, you know – I have a CPap machine so I use that. But I got into some bad habits.  What I was alluding to in my post as I got into some bad habits of working late, staying up to late, and I have my daughter in the summers so we kind of stayed up watching Super Girl on like Netflix and it’s kind of fun. Just little stuff like that. But I kind of – and I’ll let myself – I’ve always been one of those people that I resisted. I’m like a person of intense liberty freedon. I resist anbody telling me what to do. Then you tell me what to and I’m probably going to walk away *laughs* I’m going to do it my way. But if you ask I’ll usually nine times out of ten offer up my help. I’m free.I’don’t really keep – that’s not the issue. The issue for me is I don’t like being told. I want to- it’s got to be a good idea for me and so sleep is one of those things that I’ve always fought with like both my ex wives about like my friends and they are like “oh you need to get to be a little earlier. This is your problem” and I’m like “well, no no no. and then recently I’ve sort of the busyness of my life and some of the new projects, some of the new things I’m doing I just can’t. I just got to get up earlier and if I don’t get a good sleep – if I don’t get enough sleep then I will definitely feel the – I won’t perform well. I’m not one of those people that’s a morning person.

I’ve always envied morning people. Man I’m like if i could just wake up and want to like hear the birds chirp. But now I don’t really want to do that. I wake up [and] I meditated for forty minutes. And then I want to have my whole ritual of mindfulness and it takes me a little bit to get my vibration going and to get my good energy going. And then when I’m good, I’m good. Then I workout then I’m good then I kind of have my work day. So for me some of it is being consistent with my CPap machine and another part of it is also having a schedule where I really do have to sort of make cognizant plans to say okay I’m going to set a timeline.

That was hard for me, set the limit. Like I said for free is one of my things and I kind of don’t even like to give myself a bed time. Like when I feel tired I’ll go to sleep. But that’s not really the best strategy in my line of work because I set my schedule. So I’ll set me schedule to a horrible one and I got in the habit of doing that over the last year. Part of it was cause I move from the west coast to the east coast, to Pittsburgh. And then in the last year I moved from Pittsburgh, after living there for four years, to here, there Chicago area. So I live in Wilmette, which is the North shore of Chicago. And whenever – I’m like anybody else probably. Change can sometimes be good [and] sometimes not be so good. So just having a new place, new venue, [and] new sort of life of sorts it was a bit of a challenge. But now I’m sort of in a better sort of synchronization with my work and my sleep.

Where do you see influencer marketing headed as it pertains to the fitness and nutrition industries?

I really see it as probably the most powerful piece of marketing in fitness because it’s the nature of what- of why people come to fitness. They want to change their bodies and one of the ways they stay motivated and one of the reasons why they do it is to really show off. To say hey look what I can do sort of to speak and it’s really a self to- well to bodybuilding it’s like it’s very self validating so people – that’s why social media is so powerful and why’s it’s so popular. Because everybody wants the likes, everybody wants the validation from people they don’t know or they know to sat “hey Graham good job. You’re doing great, You look awesome. You are awesome”  If they want to kind of feel that in a very tangible way and social media gives that to them. And one of the way in which this sort if industry perpetuates itself is by that kind of motivation with it’s individuals. So it just sort of naturally lends itself to having an audience. You wanting to build an audience so when it – I’m a big believer in what we intend in this life we do. So you’re intentions- you create you’re intentions whether they’re faulty in terms of like what you co create. Some people end up creating things they don’t really want to create but they don’t really realize they intended to. Like a horrible lifestyle, a bad sleep habits, or not enough money. But to success stories get physiques and weight competitions and changing your body, and losing weight to save your health or whatever it is you do that with intention and you have to create that yourself. You have to put that in your head and this kind of marketing lend itself because it motivates people.

It helps people [as it] gives them hey look there’s an example of what I can do and it sort of tells a story about you. It helps you tell that story about yourself and while I’d love for everybody to tell that story intuitively without that, without somebody being the impetuous for that it doesn’t always work that way always in this life. Sometimes it’s wonderful to have great examples. The first great example I had was my mother telling me that she loved me and that gave me the self awareness of loving myself. We can’t do it without it. We all need an example and I think people fight against social media. They fight some of these things and I kind of – I was in that camp for awhile but now I kind of am not. I see the good and the bads but I intend to sort of always see the glass half full. So the half full glass here is that there is – that it can be such a powerful wave for people to find themselves. Like “hey this person can do this. Her she can do it, her can do it, I can do it..” because we’re all here in this experience together and whether people want to believe it or not  we’re all encouraging each other through the lives that we live. I’d like to do the former but it’s up to us to find it. It’s not up to anybody else to find it for us. And this is a great medium I think for people to find it everyday almost every time you turn your phone one and check your updates, check your news feed. You ca find something to be motivated, you can find something to – and I think it provides a great avenue for people that actually like making a living and actually do something they really really love doing.

I mean I know my mother and my grandparents grew up in the depression and my grandparents did these kinds of things and it was a very different mentality. I can see it now that I reflect back. I do a lot of study on behavior, behavioral sciences, and stuff. And what we know today as what is the truth of us today- our generation today. We’re all about realizing our greatness, We’re all about becoming excellent, we’re all about – and doing it with fun and joy and not being held to certain standards that were once kind of old standards Like you got to work hard [and] you got to put your nose to the grindstone. Yeah, but if it’s not fun it’s not worth it. I;d but into it for one hundred percent and I know it can happen. I mean look at “The Rock” he’s like living the dream, man. Like this dude can do no wrong and who doesn’t love “The Rock”. So I think everybody can be like that. I really do and this is a great way for social media and social media marketing, influencer marketing. What a wonderful way to be able to capture some of that and create a lifestyle. So I think it lends itself completely to it.