Dave Draper Interview
Draper of Muscle Beach
What is your current age, weight, height, and body fat
DAVE: I was born April 16, 1942. I'm 6', and my weight
is consistently 220. I'm guessing body fat percentage
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%.
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.
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.
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.
Is 'mixing it up' something you would recommend others
give a shot or can that be limiting in any way for some
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
If there was one thing you could change about mainstream
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
How do you normally split your body up for working out
and what is your idea of rest and recovery session to
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
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.
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.
What do you suggest to eat the day of a bodybuilding
show or a photo shoot to look pumped but not fall flat
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.
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
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.
Thanks Dave. It's true. And this was very cool. Was
an honor for sure.
DAVE: No sweat young man!
Dave Draper, The Blonde Bomber at www.davedraper.com
Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How
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