Mr. Universe Dave Draper
Bodybuilding, weight training, nutrition �
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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

Draper Interview, 2001
for the website

What is your age, weight, height, body fat percentage: Now, at it's best, at it's worst: And what were your last two training sessions like as well as your last couple days of eating if you wouldn't mind.

I was born April 16, 1942, I'm 57. I'm 6', and my weight is consistently 220. I'm guessing bodyfat percentage about 8%. At it's best 3 1/2 % at 215 in a hydrostatic tank something over ten years ago. My heaviest bodyweight was 250 in the 60's and no bodyfat testing was done. If I had to guess, probably 15%.

Started with abdominals, 15% incline crunches with 10lb weight behind the head, 1 set, 200 reps, legs hooked over Smith bar for stability and maximum contraction. 20% incline leg raises, 4 sets of 30. Then on into shoulders, chest and some back.

I did the following supersets:
Flat dumbbell press, 5x15, 12, 10, 8, 6, supersetted with close grip/undergrip overhead pulldown, 5x10-12

Hammer shoulder press, 5x10-12, supersetted with widegrip pulldown, 5x10-12

Smith Press behind neck, 5x8-12, supersetted with seated lat row with a long pull, 5x10

Finished with one arm dumbbell rows, 5x8, supersetted with dumbbell pullover, 5x8.

The next most recent training session started with midsection - rope tucks supersetted with hanging leg raises, 5x20-25 reps. Then I went into arms.

Following triplesets:
Wrist curls, 5x15-25, followed by thumbs-up curls, 5x8-12, followed by pulley pushdowns, 5x15-18

Standing bent bar curls, 5x8-10, supersetted with lying triceps extension, 5x12-18

As we are going on vacation, I threw in some legs:

5 sets of leg extensions 10-15 reps, followed by 5 sets of leg curls 10-12 reps, followed by standing calves, 5x15-25 reps

Squats, 5x12, continued superset with standing calves

These are not necessarily typical training routines, but they're not far from my norm. They 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 PR's and afford the body the benefits of heavier, mass training. Good for the fun of it.

We have to remember that these are answers to an interview; this is what I do after 35 years of professional training, done to suit my desires and needs and curious enjoyment for weight training. It's not what I would recommend to the students young and old requesting information on how to build their body. It's what I enjoy doing and works for me today.


Meal one:7am. Protein drink (16oz nonfat milk, banana, ice, 2 scoops of Bomber Blend protein powder, tsp. peanut butter, 2 raw eggs, tsp creatine), cup of coffee, bran muffin. I train in the morning, this also serves as my pre- workout drink.

Meal two: Immediately after my workout, another protein drink similar in composition to the above.

Meal three: 12:00. 8oz hamburger patty, sm red baked potato, 4 oz cottage cheese, 12 oz milk.

Meal four: 3:00 pm, same as above at noon. Boring, huh? Been going on for at least 10 years.

Meal five: 5:00pm, fruit, cottage cheese, small protein drink - some variation thereof.

Meal six: 8:00pm, roasted chicken, green salad, vegetable, milk.

Meal seven: 9:30pm, small poptop tuna from the can, 2 tbls cottage cheese.

Throughout the day, several liters of water are consumed. Vitamin/mineral am and pm. Sometimes whole wheat bread, more tuna from the can. Life goes on.

No need to list day two; it's the same as day one. Where's the ice cream?

I suggest not having two large carb meals in a row unless they are the first two meals of the day and to sandwich 'later in the day' carb feedings in between protein feedings. In other words, if you don't have time for a follow up protein meal later, don't do the carbs. Follow these rules but act on instinct. Let me ask you, what is a good pre and post workout meal plan?

As you can see I'm a protein fiend. Have been for 35 years. I instinctively tend toward the Zone diet, I have really tried no fad diets, why bother?

Pre and post-workout meals for me are always protein drinks. There is often a Ripped Force pre-workout thermo drink.

Habits I would assume come into play. How long after a session should You wait to eat? How long prior to the workout do you eat then? It's funny because physiologically, exercise on a full gut (i.e. swimming) isn't sensible. But then alot of people workout immediately following their meals and they are just RIPPED.

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 can eat immediately before a workout and enjoy great efficiency.

If there was one thing you could change about mainstream fitness, what would it be and what ARE you trying to 'revelate'?

The accent on aerobics as if this were the answer to muscle building and physical fitness. And the lack of accent on weight training and lack of training intensity. People just aren't working out hard enough. Someone out there has told them it can be done sooner, faster, with less work. It's the lie everyone wants to believe. You can see within my website 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.

I hated needing to put ANY scientific info into my books at all but it was demanded. I limited it to the basics as most folk wouldn't understand it anyhow. What kills me are the people who ask for 'documentation' yet didn't need it before when they tried their last program and FAILED. Have you ever tried any of the fads? Zone, Atkin's etc.? What is your take?

No, no fads. 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're as old as the hills. Documents are for lawyers.

Tell me, what do you feel are the most essential supplements? The best for weight gain w/o getting fat and the ones for fat loss while preserving muscle?

I believe in a good vitamin/mineral, whey/caseine protein powder, some good old-fashioned creatine and presto. These ingredients are good for either weight gain or fat loss with hopes of preserving and building muscle. Your remaining food intake, training and time invested determine the muscle gained and fat lost.

Do you suggest to eat food instead of meal replacements or do you suggest meal replacements ARE food? Whose do you use?

Definitely eat food instead of meal replacement bars. Okay when caught in a bind -- pre or post-workout, protein fuel shortage, travelling. Make for fun snacks at the movies. The good ones seem to be protein drinks pressed into a solid. Need to beware of developing a weak habit. Meal replacement packets fortified with added ingredients (banana, milk, raw eggs if this doesn't frighten you) makes a very good minor meal. Two or three of these a day can serve us well as we assess our nutritional needs - protein, carb, fat calorie intake.

I recently tried the Opti Met or whatever it is called. Was real let down. The ads and Anthony at So Cal, the man behind the stuff all lied. It's so sugary I bloated like a balloon in moments. And so did everyone else who I gave the rest of the packets to. Everybody binges or has one food or meal that does them in EVERYTIME. There is also a part of their body they hate or even an exercise they despise and either still do, or avoid like the plague.

Bingeing is a problem. It has to be absolutely eliminated. This is were discipline becomes discipline. Same with working weak bodyparts. They simply have to be trained. Submit to your weakness and you fail.

How do you split your body up and what is your idea of rest and recovery session to session?

Chest and back
Shoulders and arms

I generally choose three exercises per muscle group, 5 sets of each, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 rep range. 75% supersetting, pushing and pulling. I perform my midsection prior to my workout for 15-20 minutes, providing warmup, focus and heightened heart rate. I train five days a week, each muscle group twice, 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on 1 day off. Each workout averages 2 hours.

What progress has this split brought you or are you simply maintaining these days?

Nothing wrong with maintaining after 40 years. I'll take any progress I can get. I still got a pulse.

I limit my aerobics. I mean I do 12 minutes after each session with weights to flush my body of exercise debris, but what do you suggest?

I like your idea of aerobics. Some people will require more because of cardio needs or because they love it and it gets them to the gym -- it's their highlight. Or because they are so limited in activity throughout the rest of the day and week. Aerobics should be done when the person pleases to do them.

What do you suggest to eat the day of a bodybuilding show or a photo shoot to look pumped and great but not flat and deflated? How about the pump up backstage? What about that?

Every bodybuilder is different and the body reacts differently the day of a show or the day of a shoot. It's very tricky to establish the desired body chemistry to insure muscle fullness at the moment of exhibition. Carb depletion is practiced 2-3-4 days prior to any event with the carb loading the last 24-48 hours. This depends upon the condition you are able to achieve in your training over the months of preparation. Carbs would include high carb drinks like UltraFuel, ice cream, pasta and full course meals.

Pumping up is important and needs to be done according to feel and instinct. It's good to stay warm, hydrated, carbs at hand. 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.

What were the keys to your success?

Decent genetics, closely followed by discipline, intelligent and logical training, order, determination and perseverance. 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?