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An Interview with TrueProtein Sponsored Super Heavyweight Big Dave Smith

Shelby

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I’ve known top amateur bodybuilder Dave Smith for about half a dozen years now, mainly from his presence on the internet message boards and also his affiliation with DC training as well as True Protein | High Quality Nutrition and Protein Supplements
Dave is a no-bullshit kind of guy with a very strong work ethic and a physique to back it up. He’s also hella’ strong – faring very well recently in both the “Bros Vs. Pros” Squat challenge as well as the deadlift challenge. One look at his physique and you can tell that he’s spent plenty of time under a lot of very heavy iron.

Despite a few setbacks in recent years, Dave is 100% back on track and will be making some major noise in some shows later this year.


Without any further ado, let’s get to know Big Dave Smith.




STATS
Age: 25
Height: 5'9 on a tall day
Offseason Weight: 270-275+
Contest Weight: last time 233. This time whatever gets me inside out lean!
SS: How did you get into weight lifting?
DS: When I was younger, I always thought being big was cool. I developed acne at around 13. It was like the before pictures in the proactiv commercials. I didn't wear cool clothes and didn't fit in very well. In 9th grade, there was going to be an all day pool party at the end of the year. I never had a cool self image, so I decided to get in shape. I did cardio everyday after school for an hour, then lifted weights in my basement for an hour without a break for 3 months straight. 7 days a week. I showed up to the pool party with an 8 pack. Teachers kept staring at me like "WTF is THAT!?" It never made me cool (even to this day, ha!) but I was hooked.

SS: Why bodybuilding?
DS: Right around when I was 16, I opened up a FLEX magazine and saw the article on the teenage national champion. I saw he was only 171lbs and I was well over 215. I thought "why not me?" When I reached the end of the article, I realized he lived 10 minutes away from where I did. It was Brett Feldman. A year later we met by chance. I trained with Brett and Kraig when I did the Teen Nationals myself.

SS: Were you always a pretty big guy? Always pretty strong?
DS: Yes, but I don't even know. I started training hard immediately, so I don't know what my genetics are really like. I was always strong. Even when I was 15, I'd sneak into the weight area at the gym on days where I didn't train in my basement and train legs. I could put 8 plates on each side and hit 10-15 reps. In 10th grade I would do leg extensions and leg curls back to back with no rest between sets for 6-8 sets each. I thought supersetting meant until all the sets were completed... so I would do 12-16 sets to failure straight through because I just didn't know any better.

SS: When and why did you first decide to compete?
DS: When I saw that FLEX magazine article with Brett. I assumed only California people did this kind of stuff. When I saw he lived 10 minutes away, it gave me the confidence.

SS: Tell us about your competition history, and also your competition future.
DS:
2003 NJ Gold's Classic- 2nd SHW
2004 NPC Teen Nationals- 2nd SHW
2006 NPC PA Championships- 2nd SHW (I looked terrible)
2008 NPC Pittsburgh Championships- 1st SHW
2008 NPC Indianapolis Championships- 1st SHW
2009 NPC GNC Anderson- 3rd SHW (bad year in general)
...planning on the 2010 Eastern USA and Border States. Hopefully a national show in 2011.

SS: How has your training style developed over the years?
DS: I was always a volume trainer. I made good gains initially, but that's to be expected. When I moved to Indianapolis in 2006, I emailed Dante Trudel and started with him in 2007. I've been low volume/DC style training ever since. I have my ups, downs, and plateaus... but with DC training it's almost sure that you'll keep gaining in the long run.

SS: How has your diet style developed over the years?
DS: : In terms of bulking, I tend to keep my foods clean. I usually eat when I'm hungry, which is often. I try to get a minimum of 300g of protein everyday with an arbitrary amount of carbs and fats. I usually don't grow every well unless I can get in at least 400g+ protein though. The carbs and fats I go by instinct. As far as leaning out, early on I couldn't handle the swing of the protein/carb diets with almost zero fat. I would go hypo all the time and confuse that with hunger pangs. I started the 2008 year working with somebody who favored the protein/carb style, but he let me eat some fats. Long story short, I didn't like the relationship because I was making no progress. I secretly switched to a keto diet about 3 weeks out and started to drop dramatically. It was like the clouds parted and everything was going to be okay for once. I felt great as long as I had my refeeds. I weighed in at a soft 248 at Pittsburgh, but was retaining water for travel related reasons (I had been awake for 2 days straight because of 3rd shift work and driving, etc). Three weeks after the Pittsburgh, I went into the Indianapolis weighing 233. I still had some fat to lose, but looked 10x better. It'll be hard to convince me to diet with heavy carbs again.

SS: Tell us about your association with DC training
DS: I started seeing the ridiculous progress that Steve Kuclo and Justin Harris were making using the training system. When I first moved to Indianapolis, I was living on less than $1000/month, so money was tight. It was a rough first of couple of years there. Around the turn of 06 to 07, something just clicked. I saved up the best I could and asked Dante to train me. Justin always seemed like he was ahead of the ballgame in terms of efficiency and general intelligence... so I trusted what was going on. Everything Dante says flat out makes sense. I mean, can you really argue with anything he says? It's not easy. I started in the upper 230's (rather soft) in the off-season with him. In less than 4-5 months, I was in the 260's and leaner. I had never been that big in my life. I've been hooked ever since. I've never been this strong and I've never felt this healthy. Some of the lifts I started with were pretty funny when compared to now. I remember using 40lb DB's for seated hammer curls. I just recently used 100's.

SS: Tell us about your association with TrueProtein
DS: After making progress with Dante, he made the offer to sponsor me. To this day he has NO IDEA how much I value their help. When he made the offer, I was still living on less than $1000/month. I knew the exact price per pound of every meat in every grocery store in town because I had to. I never paid more than $2.50/lb because that was out of my price range. Protein powder was only affordable here and there. Their sponsorship allowed me to avoid collecting loose change for proper nutrition! Since then I've had some major ups and downs, but they've always been there to help. I actually got a French Bulldog two days before surgery and named him Dante (DoggCrapp seemed inappropriate).

SS: What Trueprotein supplements do you use regularly?
DS: I like their Ion-Exchange Whey Isolate, chocolate flavored waxy maize, 3 a day multi vitamin, cissus, milk thistle, Buzz Saw, NO-RELOAD, BCAA's, and fish oil. I'm sure there's other stuff I've used, but I don't need to list their entire website. If I need it, and they offer it, why use anybody else?

SS: Anything special around workouts?
DS: Buzz Saw and NO-RELOAD are my standard pre-WO supps. For post-WO I usually take in 150g waxy, wait 15min, drink 75g whey isolate, wait an hour, then eat. I eat a huge meal before almost every workout loaded with rice, EVOO, and about 12+oz of chicken or fish.

SS: What do you consider your best and worst body parts? Do you train them any differently (both strong and weak)?
DS: Best area of development is my lower body. I've always been able to force myself to train them with intensity. I consider arms and chest my weakest areas. Chest has always been weak, but will need some special care now. I had surgery December 7th to re-attach the pec tendon. The tendon and pec major tore completely in October. It's been a battle since. I can only choose certain exercises right now due to ROM, discomfort, and strength. I wasn't even sure if I could step on stage again because of the length of time between the injury and surgery, and due to the appearance. It actually looks great considering what happened. I did my first set of pullups after 9 months last week because the stretch felt dangerous on the pec tendon. Arms also have been a weak area. I tend to not come to full extension for biceps anymore and use a lot of negatives. They're coming along though. For all bodyparts, I like to train heavy with compound movements. I hate BS exercises. The more basic, the better.
SS: You recently competed (and did pretty well) at the “bros vs. pros” squat challenge. Can you tell us a bit about that? Also, you’re getting ready for the deadlift challenge next – tell us a bit about that as well.
DS: The experience was awesome. I had no idea what to expect. I practiced with 405 for 17 the week before, but stopped short on my practice set because my belt was cutting off my air supply. I thought "Why the hell am I using a belt? I never use one for anything anyway." I had taken most of December and January off from training because of my pec surgery. One thing that was surprising was I couldn't get my arms behind the bar at first because of the stretch position in the pec. I had only been training with squats for 2 months leading into it and didn't even think to show up at this thing until a few weeks before. What really ate me up was knowing that there would going to be some shallow squatters and that the judging would be a bit biased. I didn't want anybody to question my lifts, so I went in knowing that I was going damn near ass to ankles on every rep. I worked the night before until 3am, got 5 hours of sleep, and left with no breakfast (because I'm smart like that). I got there so early, I had time to eat at a little Italian restaurant, come back and still was the first person there. Once it began, my anxiety kicked in and I got all nervous. I slammed 3 scoops of Buzz Saw about 30 minutes before my lift. A lot of the fatigue I had went away. I wound up with 24 reps. I wish I had another month or two under my belt though. My squat got better after contest.
YouTube - BigDaveSmith1184's Channel

For the deadlift, I'd like to get 6 plates a side for a solid 7-10 reps. That would give me the confidence to go in and pull 5 plates for a solid number... which is the weight I think they're using. I love deads. You can't cheat at all. It either went up or it didn't!

*Edit* - Dave recently completed the deadlift challenge and ended up with a very impressive 22 reps with 405. Here’s a clip:
YouTube - CLIP0019.AVI

SS: What are your best gym lifts to date? (any lifts, any rep range.. just list stuff you’re proud of or whatever)
DS:
Deads- 7 plates for 1, 6 plates for 6, first time I pulled 6 plates for 1 I was still in high school and used only chalk.
Stiff Legged Deads- 5 plates for 8
Squat- 5 plates for 10, 4 plates for 24
BB Military- 3 plates for 6
Bench (I will never do this exercise again)- 405 for 6, 455 for 3
BB Curl- 185 for 6

SS: Have you ever considered competing in powerlifting?
DS: You couldn't pay me to powerlift! I'll never flat bench again in my life. I hate 1 rep maxes unless it's an occasional deadlift with a double overhand grip for shits and giggles. They're a different breed. I'd rather try strongman contests because at least it's more athletic and the lifts look fun! I'm buying/finding a tire to flip in the yard for a class I want to start teaching (caveman training).

SS: Are there any particular bodybuilders (professional or otherwise) that you look up to, either in terms of physique development, training style, or just general character and personality?
DS: I've always like Dorian Yates. He relied on his intelligence, intensity, and genetics to beat the field. Tom Platz of course because I don't think anybody will train that hard again. I tend to think MMA guys are cooler than bodybuilders. I'm a big fan of Bas Rutten (seriously, have you seen this guy!?). In general I go with the attitude that nobody is above or below anybody else. I like certain personality traits, styles, physiques, but in the end you have to find who you are yourself. If anything there are certain guys I don't like because they are a bit full of themselves.
SS: Where do you see yourself (in terms of bodybuilding) five years from now?
DS: Honestly I don't think like that anymore. Once I tore my pec, I made peace with the fact that I may never step on a national stage or ANY stage again. I didn't know what was going to happen. I'll take every year as it comes. If life gets in the way, that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'd really like to make top 5 at nationals some day, but I'll be happy to make it to this year's shows and just keep learning and improving.

SS: If you hadn’t found bodybuilding, what do you think you would be doing with yourself?
DS: MMA and competition Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I already have been involved in training. After the pec surgery I almost thought to ditch bodybuilding and take a stab at it. While bodybuilding, I'd like to go back to BJJ soon (after the pec feels good enough). Over the next 10 years or so I'd like to slowly get to blue, purple, brown, and black belt. In retrospect, I wish I would have wrestled in high school. With or without bodybuilding, there will always be something mentally, physically, or artistically to do. I couldn't imagine myself being a normal guy watching American Idol and drinking cans of coke with my fast food dinner. There's a lot of living out there to do!
SS: Do you have a steady training partner? Do you prefer training with a partner, or alone?
DS: I hate training with somebody on a regular basis. I've never met somebody who has the same mindset in terms of training. I never like to compromise either, so the person would have to do my exercises all the time. Training with somebody on occasion is fun. Franco Datillo and I would train together here and there. He would be stronger than me by a few reps on one exercise, and I'd beat him on the next. That was great. I can get distracted easily with chit chat, so it's just easier to let me put on my headphones and go by myself. You can also get into rhythm during a session that can be broken. Half the time I can't even hear my own music because I'm not paying attention to it. Training partners are good if you need some motivation, but I've never needed that.

SS: Can you give us a sample Dave Smith DC leg training workout? Exercises, weights, sets, reps, the whole enchilada. Maybe your most recent leg workout?
DS: I used to train my legs in Dante's recommended order... but my hamstrings are so big that I turned it around. I know my quads are good, but I want them to be freakish. Dante recommends calves, hams, then quads. I'm going to do it quads, hams, and then calves until my quads show some mirror improvement.

Squat- 525 x 6
Leg Press- 8 plates x 50 (constant movement, no lockout until the last 20 reps)
Seated Ham Curl- stack x 12/7/5 + hold
Outer Thigh Machine- stack x 60 (constant movement with a few breaths between the last 20 reps)
Inner Thigh Machine- stack x 31 (constant movement)
Standing Calf- stack x 10/6/5 + mini pulse reps until I couldn't move (2 second hold at top, 5 second negative, stopping just shy of the stretch)
*the exercises with slashes are done RP style. The others are done as a single set because I've been having a hard time recovering from training due to work.

SS: How about a sample day of offseason eating?
DS: Lately I haven't been eating as I should. I've been eating around 250-300g protein a day the past few months. For most of the year, it looks like this if I'm gaining...
1- 50g whey, 4-6 slices whole grain toast with smart balance butter
2- all you can eat $8 indian buffet. chicken mahkani with basmati rice.
3- (pre WO) 10-16oz chicken thighs, 3-4 cups basmati rice, 3+ TB EVOO
4- (post WO) 150g waxy, 75g ion-exchange whey isolate
5- 10-12oz salmon, 2-3 cups basmati rice, 3+ TB EVOO
6- homemade protein pudding (75g) or another meal.

*The diet is never the same except for timing of the meals and ROUGHLY the macros. If I cook tilapia, I'm eating tilapia for two days. If I cook chicken, I eat that for two days. It's instinctual often due to daily changes in energy expenditure
*For the last 3 years I've eaten carbs before bed in the off-season because I've burned so many calories from work, training, and grappling that I haven't lost visibility of my stomach muscles. I also save my tolerance for veggies for pre-contest.

SS: If you could change one thing about modern bodybuilding, what would it be?
DS: I'd change the political aspect. I think the people judging should be required to have been up there and winning. Although most have done that, many have not and are VERY weird people! Some of them look like kid-touchers.
or
I'd also change the hocus pocus bullshit in terms of training and diet. The things you hear misguided bodybuilders do in the gym is absurd. Even guys that are pro or top amateurs are BRAINWASHED. "This exercise is going to bring up the inner lower portion of my pecs and this one's going to add striations with no mass and the other exercise is going to add mass but no striations." LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS AND GET LEAN!!! IT DRIVES ME NUTS!

SS: What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to other up and coming bodybuilders?

DS:
1- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Bodybuilding is a serious hobby, not a career.
2- This isn't a sport for lazy people. Genetics are great, but consistancy and intensity are what wins shows.
3- Be intellectually, physically, and artistically diverse (and spiritual if you believe in that sort of thing). You lose friends when you can't have a conversation without mentioning your diet or training. If you couldn't bodybuild starting tomorrow, would you be lost? If so, take a step back and look around. There's a lot cool stuff going on in this world that you're missing.

SS: Any closing comments?
DS: I love my parents, my girlfriend, and my bulldog. Life is great.
I also have a new website coming out soon – the URL is www.nobullfitness.net It's a website for my personal training business. I'm trying to get local clients here for all types of training. I'd like to start teaching caveman training for groups of people, which I think will be attract more people than traditional gym training. I've trained men, women, senior citizens, kids, and athletes. It's all fun.

SS: Thanks Dave, best of luck to you in your future endeavors and thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
 

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Shelby

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Shelby

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w8tlifterty

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Great interview... I always like when dave post. He always seems good guy who doesn't complicate things. Best of luck in the up-coming year! Hope the pec is healing up nice..
 

Big Dave Smith

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That most muscular is not flattering! LOL! My "prep guy" that year, whose name I won't mention (but many of you would know and shake your head), wasn't too great.

Thank you so much for the interview Shelby. That, and thank you DoggCrapp and Homonunculus for everything they've done for me as well.

The photo enclosed was 3 weeks after I got rid of the prep guy and did things more of the way a guy like Shelby, Scott Stevenson, or Mountain Dog would do a diet (although I didn't know who Scott or Mountaindog were at the time).

This video was 4 days out from the Indianapolis, a few weeks after the Pittsburgh. I hope to be about 4-6 weeks "leaner" this year with more development in the arms and lats. I also need to work on posing.

YouTube - 4 days out 2008 Indianapolis
 

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Lenny

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Awesome interview. Big Dave has a great outlook on this bodybuilding thing, thanks for sharing your views!
 

mountaindog1

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Awesome interview - we need more people like Dave in bodybuilding....

JM
 

chris250

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Nice interview...your on your way Dave...good luck this year:D
 

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