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Dave Draper Interview

Dave Draper of Muscle Beach

DON: What is your current age, weight, height, and body fat percentage.
DAVE: I was born April 16, 1942. I'm 6', and my weight is consistently 220. I'm guessing body fat percentage about 8%.

DON: That makes you an amazing 58! What was the body fat percentage when you were at your best, and at your worst?
DAVE: At it's best 3 1/2% when I was at 215 and measured in a hydrostatic tank something over ten years ago. My heaviest body weight was 250 in the 60's and no body fat testing was done. If I had to guess, probably 15%.

DON: I am sure your training has changed since the 60's. So tell me what were your last two sessions like?
DAVE: Two sessions ago I started off with abdominals. First, 15% incline crunches with a 10lb weight behind the head for 1 set. I had my legs hooked over Smith bar for stability and maximum contraction the entire time. After that I did 20% incline leg raises. 4 sets of 30. Then I was onto shoulders, chest and some back. I did flat dumbbell presses super setted with close grip under hand over head pull downs. Hammer shoulder presses super setted with wide grip pull downs followed. Next were Smith Presses behind the neck, super setted with seated lat rows with a long pull. I finished with one arm dumbbell rows super setted with dumbbell pullovers.

DON: Wow! That's a lot of work. You do not train to failure do you? What about the next session?
DAVE: No, but I do not train without effort either. The next most recent training session started with midsection too. I did rope tucks super setted with hanging leg raises. Then I went into arms. I performed the following triple set: Wrist curls, followed by thumbs-up curls, followed by pulley pushdowns. Next, standing bent bar curls, super setted with lying tricep extensions. And since I was going on vacation the next day, I threw in some legs doing leg extensions followed by leg curls, standing calves, and squats, which I did all as a superset.

DON: Is supersetting a typical routine of sorts for you?
DAVE: These are not necessarily typical training routines, but they're not far from my norm. They all have consistent framework, but vary from one workout to the next to accommodate overload, recovery, injury and mood. Three or four times a month my rep system will change as I perform heavier workouts to approach new goals and afford the body the benefits of heavier, mass training. Good for the fun of it to mix it up too.

DON: Is 'mixing it up' something you would recommend others give a shot or can that be limiting in any way for some people?
DAVE: We have to remember that this is what I do after 35 years of professional training to suit my personal desires and needs while still pursuing my curious enjoyment for weight training. It's not what I would recommend to the students be they young or old requesting information on how to build their body. It's what I enjoy doing and works for me today.

DON: Could you tell me about your last couple days of eating?
DAVE: Hmmm. Eating.

Meal one. 7am. Protein drink (16 oz nonfat milk, banana, ice, 4 scoops of whey/caseine protein powder, tsp. creatine), cup of coffee, bran muffin. I train in the morning, so this also serves as a pre workout energy boost.

Meal two. 9:30 am. Immediately after my workout, another protein drink and meal similar in composition to the one above.

Meal three. 12:00 noon. 8 oz hamburger patty, some vegetables, 4 oz cottage cheese.

Meal four: 3:00 pm. Same as above at noon. Boring, huh? Been going at it like this for at least 10 years.

Meal five: 5:00 pm. Fruit or cottage cheese, maybe a small protein drink or some variation thereof.

Meal six: 8:00 pm. Roasted chicken, green salad, and possibly later, afterwards some rice.

Meal seven: 9:30 pm. Tuna from the can, 2 oz cheese. Throughout the day, several liters of water are consumed. I take a vitamin/mineral in the am and pm. Sometimes I eat whole wheat bread, or more tuna from the can. It's the same most of the time. Life goes on. No need to list day two, it's the same as day one. Where's the ice cream huh? Laughs.

DON: Laughs. I eat boring as well. On my program, I suggest not having carbs at two meals in a row unless they are the first two meals of the day but to sandwich 'later in the day' another carb in between 2 other feedings. In other words, if you don't have time for a protein meal later, don't do the carbs if that's your last meal. I personally follow these rules but act on instinct. Ever follow a fad?
DAVE: As you can see I'm a protein fiend. Have been for 35 years. I instinctively tend toward never really having tried fad diets, so why bother now? Pre and post workout meals for me are always milk based protein drinks. There is on occasion a preworkout thermo genic aid but carbs aren't that important.

DON: How long after a session do you wait to eat? How long before the workout do you eat? It's funny because physiologically, it is said to exercise on a full gut (like swimming) isn't sensible. But then a lot of people I know workout immediately following a meal and they are just plain RIPPED to shreads.
DAVE: I have a pre workout and post workout protein shake within 30 minutes of my training. I probably agree with you in that eating too soon before a workout is not physiologically ideal, but when caught in a bind I eat immediately before a workout and often enjoy it with great efficiency.

DON: If there was one thing you could change about mainstream fitness?
DAVE: The accent on aerobics is if it were the answer to muscle building, fat loss and physical fitness. There is a lack of emphasis on weight training and people are unaware of proper training intensity. People just aren't working out hard enough and doing too much aerobics. Someone out there has told them it can be done faster, with less work. It's the lie everyone wants to believe.

DON: Harder and briefer workouts are good but you are right, the infomercials of today say any old workout for 20 minutes does the trick. It's better than nothing, but no one will look like we do without trying harder. Is this also what would be what you are trying to 'revelate' through your web site then?
DAVE: You can see within my web site text that I'm always trying to encourage the truth. Nothing that we seek here is easy, but it can be fun and fulfilling on a regular basis. Physical fitness, muscular strength and health should be part of our lifestyle, not something to be pursued randomly, vainly. You gotta love it. And it is not achieved through easy exercise nor aerobics. But the rationale is easy. To me, that is the truth.

DON: Amen to that. I didn't want to put ANY scientific info into my books but it was necessary for those who were confused by these aerobic and volume training theorists. I limited what was written to the basics anyhow as most folk wouldn't understand what they were reading even if they insisted they do. What kills me are the people who ask for 'documentation' yet didn't need it before when they tried their last program and it completely failed on them. That is why I put the 300 page version of the book together none the less.
DAVE: I agree with you absolutely. People are stuck on information as if muscle building and fitness were a great intellectual process. It's instinctive, it's application of the basics. They rules are as old as the hills. Documents are for lawyers and people trying to lie around their fear of failure.

DON: Tell me, what do you feel are the most essential supplements? What's the best for weight gain without getting fat and what are the ones for fat loss that will preserve muscle?
DAVE: I believe in a good vitamin/mineral, protein powder, some good old-fashioned creatine (we have been using this for years even though the magazines just started telling you about it) and presto. That's it. These ingredients are good for either weight gain or fat loss with hopes of preserving and building muscle. Your food intake, training and time invested determine the muscle gained and fat lost.

DON: And eating fat too. I hear creatine is only good for those who weigh more than 200 and others who are starved for nutrition. Do you suggest to eat whole food instead of meal replacements or do you believe meal replacements ARE food? If so, whose do you use?
DAVE: I have always been over 200 and never starved so maybe you are correct. And definitely you should eat food instead of meal replacements or bars. Okay, when caught in a bind i.e. pre or post workout, protein fuel shortage, traveling, bars make for fun snacks at the movies. The good ones seem to be protein drinks pressed into a solid bar. I don't know what they are really. You need to beware of developing such a weak habit though. Meal replacement packets fortified with added ingredients (banana, milk, and even veggies, if this doesn't frighten you) makes a very good minor meal. Two or three of these a day can serve us well if we assess our nutritional needs - protein, carb, fat calorie intake and eat at least 4 real food meals. I steer clear of the sugar laden powders though.

DON: I recently tried a new meal replacement and was let down by it. The ads all lied. Surprise, I know. It was so sugary, I bloated up like a balloon in moments. And so did everyone else who I gave the rest of the packets to. In fact, it led me to craving more sugars. I say these things lead to bingeing.
DAVE: Bingeing is a problem. It has to be absolutely eliminated. This is where discipline becomes scripture. Same with working weak body parts. They simply have to be trained whether you like it or not. Submit to your weakness and you fail.

DON: How do you normally split your body up for working out and what is your idea of rest and recovery session to session.
DAVE: Chest and back. Shoulders and arms. Legs. I generally choose three exercises per muscle group, super setting, pushing and pulling movements. I perform my midsection prior to my workouts for 5-10 minutes to warm-up, focus and heighten my heart rate. I train three to five days a week, each muscle group twice. Normally 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on 1 day off. This works best as my joints seem to tolerate it easiest and I am not getting younger.

DON: What progress has this split brought you or are you simply maintaining your physique these days?
DAVE: Nothing wrong with maintaining your physique after 40 years. I'll take any progress I can get though. I still got a pulse. Laughs.

DON: I limit my aerobics. I do 12 minutes after each weight lifting session to flush my body of exercise debris, but what do you suggest?
DAVE: I like your idea. Some people will require more because of cardio needs (sitting around all day) or because they love it and that's what gets them to the gym - it's their high light. Or because they are so limited in activity throughout the rest of the week, whatever. Aerobics should be done however the person pleases to do them. But not for hours at a time or more than once a day.

DON: What do you suggest to eat the day of a bodybuilding show or a photo shoot to look pumped but not fall flat or deflated?
DAVE: Every bodybuilder is different and their body reacts differently the day of a show or the day of a shoot than would mine. It's very tricky to establish the desired body chemistry to insure muscle fullness at the moment of exhibition. Carbo depletion is practiced 2-3-4 days prior to loading for any event with the carbo loading the last 24-48 hours in my book. This depends upon the condition you are able to achieve in your preparation. Carb loadings would include high carb drinks, ice cream, pasta and even full course meals. It depends on the experience of your previous efforts.

DON: Ok, so even if the same prescription were given to all, it would vary not due to their genetics so to speak but how well they already dieted, trained etc. How about the pump up backstage to look bigger when the judges see you? What about that?
DAVE: Precisely. Pumping up is important and also needs to be done according to feel and instinct. It's good to stay warm, hydrated, and have carbs at hand. Pump up your weak parts, not your strong ones. Remain calm as last minute preparations are made, continually assuring yourself and those around you. Stress and doubt cause emotional and physical restriction - enemies of charisma and muscular fullness. You will flatten out due to stress alone sometimes.

DON: What were the keys to your own personal success?
DAVE: Decent genetics like a figure skater couldn't be a football player, but they could enjoy the sport, closely followed by discipline, intelligence and logical training. Possibly order, determination and perseverance. I don't want to get too corny, but that's the stuff. Do you know how many people with high hopes give up in weeks or months or training? Most.

DON: Thanks Dave. It's true. And this was very cool. Was an honor for sure.
DAVE: No sweat young man!

Visit Dave Draper, The Blonde Bomber at www.davedraper.com

Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How

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