Interview With Bodybuilder Marc David
No Bull Bodybuilding Program
Can you give us some background about yourself?
My name is Marc David and Iím the author and creator of The NoBull Bodybuilding System. Iíve been involved in natural bodybuilding for over 17 years and tried nearly every supplement, program and read all the glossy magazines. When I first started, there was very little information available. Now with the Internet, thereís almost too much information and itís just as confusing if not worse!
In high school I weighed a mere 135 lbs but today, after 17 years of trial and error and putting together my own system with principles that work and cutting out the B.S. that does, Iím able to maintain a weight at around 185 to 200 lbs with ease.
And I want desperately to tell other people how I did this as quickly as possible without all the T.V. gimmick smoke and mirror parlor tricks you see today.
I started my fitness business to help educate people about proper nutrition and training. I distinguish myself from all the other Ďfitness gurusí by being the NoBull - NoHype - NoBull Muscle Guy. Somebody you can come to without any prior knowledge of fitness or bodybuilding and get a simple education without a lot of hype and the need for a science degree. Somebody who would help guide [you] depending on [your] goals.
What got you started with bodybuilding?
Right from Day 1 when I became aware of my own body. Iíd say around age 15 being skinny bugged me. At first, I had a Sears weight set in my closet. Just your plastic weights filled with sand and I did some stuff. Random stuff, at random times. I think it had some book with exercises but Iím not sure. Anyway, I can remember being desperate and wanting it to happen NOW!
At that point, bodybuilding was part of my life. Not organized bodybuilding, no structure yet but the feeling, the desire the wanting to change my body started to grow. It was at 18 when I got serious. I had a Soloflex as a birthday present at 18 because the closest gym was quite a drive. My awareness of supplements started too. BCAAs were my choice and I felt they were responsible for any of my growth.
Then I joined a gym, went to college, worked out there... And it wasnít until my late 20ís that I got SERIOUS and took all the years of messing around and figured this stuff out.
When I went from 140 lbs at age 26 to nearly 200 at age 32Ö I knew I found the fundamentals that worked. And because I had made all the mistakes people are making today, I know how it feels to be frustrated, overwhelmed and running around looking for answers.
The ONE thing that literally saved me was something Dave Draper said in his book, ďBrother Iron, Sister Steel.Ē
"There are no secrets. You simply have basic God-given genetics, body chemistry and bone structure. And provided the attributes of discipline and determination, you apply yourself full bore, and your body potential emerges, slow and sure."
- Dave Draper
What is it about bodybuilding that you love so much?
Seeing the changes in myself, getting stronger, and the muscle actually getting bigger. Bodybuilding has and always will be a vain sport. Itís about looks. I love the feeling of being healthy, itís euphoric. Not a runnerís high but the feeling of being young. If there is any way to keep feeling like your 18 and invincible, then bodybuilding and lifting weights and staying active is that magic formula.
Iíd like to say that keeping myself challenged physically is something I love. It seems like every year I get a bit stronger or more able to do something that once was difficult. Many people spend years getting to know themselves mentally but I find that bodybuilding allows me to do both. I know my own limitations, my mental roadblocks and things I must overcome in a mental state at the same time, I know what feels right and how every single part of my body reacts and how it should feel.
As you age, knowing how things should feel is one cheap method of early detection. If a problem starts to develop, being so in-tune with your body allows you to catch some things really early. Even before blood tests or high end monitoring equipment.
What adversities have you had to overcome?
Being skinny and frustrated and not knowing how to or thinking I could build muscle. Seems to be quite a common theme among the under 180 lb crowd. Injuries that would sideline a normal person without the drive to push past them, learn about healing methods and keep on making progress. Not having the time to workout on a consistent basis. Plateaus and general boredom.
The biggest challenge wasnít myself or my own ambitions but finding good mentors to listen to who helped me out, brought me up the rungs of the ladder and passed on knowledge to me. In that respect, Iíve tried to do the same thing with my entire NoBull Bodybuilding philosophy.
Iíll tell you the truth. The biggest adversity I face every day is the fine line between giving away too much information and running a business.
Fitness is my passion but itís also my income source. I made a promise from Day 1 to educate people, to help them reach their goals quickly and without the hype. To be the person that I wish I had at 18 when all I had at my disposal were muscle magazines.
In the latest Batman movie the Joker said, ďIf youíre good at something, you donít do it for free!Ē Thatís true from a business survival perspective and itís hard for me to accept. Iíve always loved giving away as much knowledge and information for free as I can.
What are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
The standard answer is that they have no favorites or least favorites. But I am biased and after 17 years of weight training, Iíve gotten to know what I like and what I dread doing.
My favorite exercises include:
∑ Pull ups
∑ Front squats
∑ Leg press
∑ Barbell lunges
∑ Push ups
∑ Seated dumbbell curls
∑ Triceps push-downs
My least favorite exercises include:
∑ Front squats
∑ Bench press
∑ Dumbbell shoulder press
∑ Ab exercises (pretty much all of them)
I know.. EVIL list of exercises. A lot of bodybuilder will tell you they have no preference. Hogwash. You canít be in the Iron Game for years and claim you like everything equally.
Legs are the worst for me because Iím good at them, they are my best body part and itís because I hated doing them so much that I gave forth a lot of attention and effort to doing them correctly. But itís 50% of your body and pushing yourself to the limits on an arm day is not even in the ballpark compared to an intense leg day. No other body part do I have to think about for half my day before I hit the gym to get ready for it as I do with legs.
Dead-lifts are a wonderful exercise but the setup isnít fun and they are something that just takes it out of you. Itís another exercise that I do pretty well at given that I donít much care for them.
Ab exercises just arenít fun to me. Donít like them, never have. I think itís because I canít SEE the fruits of my labor until Iím under 10% body fat even though I know core training and ab work has helped me in countless other exercises for stability. Iím like anybody else in that regard, I want to SEE some results of my hard work. I donít walk around at 10% or less body fat so it gets obscured and that makes me crazy!
After years of heavy work, my shoulders do have some tendinitis and while Iím actively working on that and itís better, itís still not a walk in the park to do shoulder work. Strangely enough, my shoulders are quite well developed.
My least favorite exercises turn out to be my best body parts.
One thing I can say for sure, that while I have my favorites and least favorites, I hit all my body parts in some fashion (usually direct but not always) and I keep it consistent. I donít let things I donít like dictate my workouts. I will avoid movements that physically hurt me at the time but I get the job done.
Itís hard to have worked out for over 17 years and not have some favorites.
What has been your favorite bodybuilding moment so far?
When I went from 145 lbs to 190 lbs in a matter of 6 months and didnít put on too much body fat. That was my ďah-haĒ moment and I got it! I understood all these fundamentals and exercises and how it all came together and it reflected itself in a 40 lbs lean body mass gain.
At no other time, not squatting 315 lbs for the first time, not benching 355 lbs, not doing 100 push-ups in a row.. was there a better time than when I put on solid lean muscle to achieve the look Iíd always dreamed of since 15. All that stumbling around, all those mistakes, seemed very insignificant when I hit my look and my target weight that in my mind, was some unachievable goal.
Even today, nothing compares to that single moment in time when all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Now itís easy. I just do what I did again and Iím continually making progress.
The feeling was sort of the same when I breathed underwater for the first time in a Scuba class or I balanced on my bike without training wheels. It was at that moment, that you knew you could do this and repeat the process over and over.
Another favorite bodybuilding moment is when somebody has read something I wrote, a report, the NoBull Bodybuilding program, a blog post and it's literally made a significant change to their life. Maybe they lost weight, gained some muscle or got some great news from their doctor. It's truly a fulfilling feeling when you can help somebody out improve their life and make things better for them and their family. If a mom or a dad gets to stick around on this planet to be a parent a bit longer because of some support they received from me, it's a very significant experience for me as well. I really want to contribute something to the World we live it.
What are your tips for the beginner, intermediate and advanced bodybuilders?
When it comes to tips, there is thousands. I could go over nutrition, training and all the tips in-between but hereís something to think about.
Whatís more important, nutrition or training? At some point we all hit that crossroad and ask ourselves what we really should focus on.
Vince Gironda used to say, ďBodybuilding is 80% nutrition.Ē Heís right. At some point, thereís only so much a person can do tweaking their nutrition where itís not going to make any significant difference. While nutritional is critically important I do believe like others, thereís a time a place for manipulation and it depends on your level of expertise.
A beginner should learn the basics of nutrition. Most beginners have awful nutrition plans in place and that is critical to their success. They come to most trainers with messed up plans, eating all kinds of stuff in no particular order and yet want to do the most advanced and hardcore routines with questions about what supplement to take. Getting nutrition in place is the most important aspect for the beginner.
Iíve seen some pretty weak workouts by people who have fantastic diets and look amazing. And the reverse is also true in that Iíve seen some people who's workouts harder than anybody else and they canít control their eating so they look like they just joined the gym.
Intermediates and Advanced athletes with nutrition under control should focus on tweaking their training programs. Look to increase the intensity either by progressive overload or progressive resistance. If your nutrition is in order, then give yourself a challenge and spark the growth with a different routine or a number of other variables to modify the intensity.
Where do you stand on the use of steroids and supplements?
I'm a natural bodybuilder by nature but that's MY choice so this is going to be an interesting question and one I've got a strong stance on as well.
Steroids are something of a choice that seems to befall almost every serious bodybuilder I know that is looking to get bigger. The nature of the beast is that we're never big enough, strong enough or fast enough and always looking for the secret way to pack on more muscle or get six pack abs. As a group, bodybuilders seem to experiment with just about anything if something seems to have any positive proof it might build muscle or burn fat.
"Young bodybuilders, if you're not taking them, don't. If you do, you'll wish you never did. They'll eat away at the foundations you're trying to build before you build them. As a pro, well, the weight's on your back and you know where the rack is." - Dave Draper
My take on steroids is this... it's your body and you choose to do whatever you wish with it as long as your choice doesn't infringe upon my freedoms, endanger others and you are of sound mind and legal age to make an informed decision. If you are in a natural, tested bodybuilding show and are doing things to avoid detection, you are a cheater. When you take steroids and then enter competitions where it's illegal to do so and take measures to avoid being caught, you are nothing but a cheater. I have no respect for people like that who know the rules and try to get around them to beat out people who follow the rules.
If it's not a tested show, well then... fair is fair and that choice is yours to make. Although I've see a few natural bodybuilder enter non-tested shows and place in the top ten. Which is quite an amazing feat and deserves a lot of respect.
I'm not a steroid pusher and I don't encourage the use. It's not something I've ever used or considered using. I preach natural bodybuilding and do everything I can to help people learn about it and find mentors for it. If they choose that path, I simply say it's not in my primary area of expertise and I cannot help them. Which is 100% the truth.
I absolutely love being accused of being on something illegal. It means I'm doing something right if people think I'm packing enough muscle that nobody could ever get that way naturally.
My stance on supplementation is a bit different from the current crowd of supplement haters today. So I'll make this as simple as possible.
Nutrition and training play about 97% of the total progress you will experience at any given time. That last 3% can be made up with proper and simple nutritional supplementation. By this I mean, once you have your ducks in a row, your nutrition is optimal and your training is at peak performance, you can experience some progress with the stuff on the market today. Not all the stuff but some of the very basics.
It saddens me when I get e-mails from kids and adults who don't know the first thing about their nutrition but they have a $400 list of supplements they want me to evaluate and tell them all about. While the industry is regulated, the claims and the actual results are not. There's a lot of deception in the $24 billion dollar a year supplement industry. With some education on how to evaluate them, what to use and what's appropriate for you as an individual, it can be helpful and not a drain on the bank account. Spending $100 or more a month on supplements when you skip meals and train inconsistently is money just thrown away.
Supplements are like religion. And by that I mean, many people don't need a whole lot of evidence to spend large sums of money on hope. Same with religion. It's faith based for the most part. To many, supplements are faith based and others experiences posted on message board forums. You'd think that putting chemicals into your body, the average consumer would want to know more about them, to be educated, to read up on some studies right? If your doctor told you to take some pills, most of us would ask for a reason, get an explanation or understand why. With supplements, that's not the case. Especially bodybuilders who are willing to experiment on themselves for just hopes and promises. There should be some fact based choices made.
Rarely do I recommend things to my clients. As part of my training, I aim to educate them on how to make smart choices for themselves without telling them to avoid them completely because I don't even do that but rather than list of brand names, NoBull Bodybuilding is aimed at consumer education. In this manner, my clients have a secret weapon. They can make informed choices and the right decisions for themselves.
I do get asked what I think of supplements and people that take them. I'm in no position to judge people. If you want to take them and it's legal for you to do so that's fine. When you take things on a banned substance list because everybody is doing it or you hope you don't get caught, you are cheating. Not just yourself but those who do follow the rules.
My goals as a role model for natural bodybuilding and "The NoBull Muscle Guy" are as follows:
1. To encourage people to understand the basics of nutrition, training and supplementation before making a hasty choice without having the facts first. (Freaking out and wanting quick results are the two worst reasons to embark down this life style path)
2. To educate people on the differences in training and nutrition naturally and with performance enhancing substances. (The ability to recover and utilize protein is just one difference)
3. To discourage teenage drug use for any reason. (I have a 15 year old son and I don't want him using drugs)
4. To educate people that you need to learn and do everything possible with your nutrition and training and be at your peak before even thinking about going down the steroid path. (a lot of people come to me saying they have tried everything when in fact, they really tried)
5. To inform people that steroids are not a magic pill and a shortcut to avoid hard work, determination, and perseverance. (taking steroids doesn't automatically make you huge)
6. To be a visible role model for natural bodybuilding on what can be accomplished by hard work and determination. Many times the biggest limiting factor is our own mind shutting down and not that we've reached our genetic potential. (I've never meet a person yet who's reached their genetic potential)
What are your future goals?
Is this the "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question they ask you at interviews? (laughs) I see myself continuing to educate but doing things a bit different. The times are changing. Websites, newsletters are all great but it's so much better to connect with people on an individual basis. I don't want to be a name without a face. I want to know my clients and I want them to know me.
My future will include video, podcasts, blogs and other means of social media to reach out to the younger generations to help them avoid the mistakes I made as a young teenager just starting out. There's no different today than when I grew up. I mean, I had limited access to information and today, people have unlimited access to information. I've never seen so many blogs go up overnight that spread myths and lies faster than I can type!
Thinking globally and less locally is on my horizon. There's several people in other countries that are coming online and want to gain weight. It's amazing that everybody in the United States is preoccupied with weight loss but countries like India, Africa and China are preoccupied with weight gain. There's a whole world of people that want to know these things and if I can help somebody in another country avoid the mistakes I made, then I need to be there.
Keep an eye out for the NoBull Bodybuilding logo. It took me years to get my feelings and passion into a symbol but I think I've found it.
What is the toughest part about bodybuilding for you?
Going to the gym, without making excuses as to why I'd rather go home and relax. Keeping things fresh is something I do from a physical aspect to avoid injury and a mental aspect to avoid burnout. Building muscle, getting stronger at a certain exercise is easily done with time and close attention to the fundamentals. I'm not confused at all about that anymore.
Consistency is the real key and it's TOUGH!
It's easy to eat properly for one day. It's incredibly tough to do it for 30 days straight when you start to see the smallest results of your efforts. Doing something over and over and keeping true to your goal is tough. I know the reward will be huge but it's still something I struggle with all the time. Going to the gym and just doing stuff isn't fun. I need a plan of attack and in order to do that, I continually have to change. I think as people, most of us don't like change.
As a bodybuilder, I face change almost weekly (sets, reps, exercises, weights) and continually am in a state of recovery and healing. While it feels fantastic, it is still hard work to stay fit.
Tell us about your No Bull Bodybuilding program?
NoBull Bodybuilding is the culmination of over 17 years of trial and error of different training and nutrition strategies. It's a compilation of the best fundamentals from the great pioneers.
Based on the fundamentals outlined in NoBull Bodybuilding, men and women will double their results from every workouts and learn how to properly use supplements. At the same time, their results will be accelerated in terms of muscle gain and fat loss.
If there was a secret key to NoBull Bodybuilding it is the attention to the fundamentals. Every program on Earth will work for somebody at some point but when that program gets old, it's the knowledge you take with you that allows you to grow and understand the basics of how to continually challenge yourself.
Unlike other programs that are just a training program, NoBull Bodybuilding is there to help you learn how to learn. So that when you put it down, you know more than you did and you know how to further educate yourself any any aspect of bodybuilding. Much like college, it's not so much the degree but the ability to learn how to learn so that when school is over, that's just the beginning of your education.
NoBull Bodybuilding is extremely versatile as it can be used by those looking to pack on serious muscle and get huge or by men and women who just want to be in good shape. The principles are the same in every case, it's simply the increasing challenge and nutrition that will play a part in how much muscle you want to build. It works for men and women, any age and the results are guaranteed. This isn't some strange program that only works for genetic freaks, it's simple principles applied simply.
If you've seen the pictures of me as a kid, I don't have great bodybuilding genetics; I was 135 lbs in high school at best and never really gain any weight or muscle mass but, if you have the determination to consistently apply the principles in NoBull Bodybuilding, I guarantee you will achieve great results.
The style of NoBull Bodybuilding is exactly how I wish I had the information when I first began. Some people like to read a book straight thru, or as I prefer, more of a question and answer type. I think in terms of question and then I want an answer. Some things I'm not interested in and so I designed the book to cover goal setting, visualization, training, nutrition, supplements, rest, recovery, etc. in an easy to read, practical, question and answer format. If bodybuilding taught me anything it was that I learn thru experience but I think in a question format. I formula the question in my mind and then search for the answer, which is why the book is written in that type of style vs. a dry text book, engineering layout.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Steer clear of absolutists! In my NoBull Bodybuilding program I aim to educate and not dictate. I'll tell you what works and give you plenty of options to further your education.
Those damn absolutists?
They (website, gurus, articles, companies) that tell you if you don't do something precisely like they tell you, you won't get the progress you want. No explanations, no proof or facts, just them telling you how it's going to be like you were a kid living under your parents roof.
Have you heard this before?
∑ if you don't lift heavy, your muscles won't grow
∑ if you do 45 minutes of regular cardio over HIIT, good luck with the fat loss
∑ if you do 15+ reps, it's for endurance and balloon like arms aren't in your future
∑ you must do at least 12 sets for chest, 12 sets for legs and 8 sets for arms
∑ if you train any body part more than once a week, you are over-training
∑ if you don't drink a protein shake IMMEDIATELY after your workout, your body is just using it's own muscle for repair
∑ and the list goes on with the rules you must follow or else you are just blowing it every time you step food in the gym PLEASE... spare me the absolutists.
Listen and listen closely.
The person that says you must do it this way or else...
Is the list, website, CD, book, tape or show that you want to walk away from.
There are rules and fundamentals that generally apply to people like performance nutrition, or recommended rep ranges, weight to be lifted and recovery times.
Fundamental = Of or relating to the foundation or base
Rule = A generalized statement that describes what is true in most or all cases
For example, a fundamental or rule is:
∑ eating 5-6 times a day enhances your metabolism and provides your body with a continual flow of nutrients that is essential to any performance program (weight loss or mass building)
∑ if you don't eat enough calories per day, you will find it impossible to put on weight
∑ if you don't get enough protein to support muscle growth, you will find it difficult to gain muscle mass and preserve the muscle you already have today
∑ improper form can lead to injury. You should know how to do an exercise before attempting to do it
As you can see, that generally applies to us all, no matter our goals or situations.
If you do this, you will keep an open mind and be able to use what works for you, toss what doesn't work and keep learning new things to enhance your performance.
Where can people get a hold of you and where can they find the No Bull Bodybuilding Program?
People can visit my site at No Bull Bodybuilding Program
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Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed
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