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Q: Hi David, thanks for taking time to sit down with us to chat today! What’s new in your life?
DD: Thank you for having me. Life has been a huge adjustment ever since leaving the Marine Corps back in June last year. Adapting to the civilian world all the while still keeping up my training intensity was rough at first, but definitely is in the upswing right now. I am currently going to school online at the University of Phoenix for Multimedia telecommunications. I also got certified as a powerlifting coach, and I am going to be opening a gym with a partner for a personal training strength and conditioning establishment.
Q: I know this past fall you had surgery on your bicep, how has recovery gone and what have you done to get back to where you are now?
DD: My bicep tear was my first surgery injury. I was nervous at first because I didn't know how long I would be out for. After talking to some close friends and vets of the sport I found that the bicep tear is a pretty common injury doing what we do. It took me about a month before I was doing movements with the bar without weight. I slowly added weight as time went on with the addition of rehab and physical therapy. Within 7 months I was able to compete at my 1st meet where I pulled 705 lbs. on the deadlift. It's more a mental thing now that I have to get over. Being able to load the bar and not think about the injury.
Q: Your last competition was the Detroit Relentless meet, what is your favorite part about this meet?
DD: Wow, I don't even know where to start. Relentless Detroit/Minnesota are meets like no other. I always tell everyone, it's lifting with a purpose bigger than us. There is no hunt for a trophy, award, or climbing up the rankings. Of course the lifts do count, but we are there to put on a show for heroes. Those heroes happen to be young children of all ages with various different conditions and illnesses that have put a shortened clock on their life. They are fighting every day just to wake up and we are blessed to be able to have an opportunity to put a smile on their faces. This is the only meet where people and children are allowed all over the stage to cheer you on. It doesn’t matter if you have 5 lbs. or 500 lbs. on the bar. The children all cheer the same regardless. Then at the end of the weekend, we count up all the money that we have collected through donations and present it to the kids. It’s an amazing, life changing, priceless event that I highly recommend ANYONE to attend at least once.
Q: You’ve had a great comeback and are hitting some amazing numbers. I know you were last ranked 6th in the nation in the raw bench press with 600 lbs. What are your goals with your bench press and do you intend to work your way up that ladder?
DD: Reaching 600 lbs. raw on my bench press was always a goal of mine, but never was the main one. I always have bigger goals that I wanted to accomplish and left that as a side goal. Relentless Detroit presented the opportunity for me to focus on that goal and finally knock it down which now plays a huge part in the next phase of my career and mindset. I want to continue to chip away edging myself closer to a 650 lb. bench press, but at the same time, with my bench press being in the 600 lbs. now, my squat in the 900's and getting my deadlift into the 800's I will establish myself as a threat for the top seat on the raw charts in the full power overall total. I am an extremely competitive person with the upmost respect for all my opponents, but I’m hungry. I am on a mission that I have never been more motivated to accomplish in my life. I am hoping for big things to come.
Q: Are you going to be competing and focusing solely on the bench press this year or will you be doing any full powerlifting competitions?
DD: That was a hard decision to make, but going over the rest of the year with my coach we came up with a smart game plan. I am getting more and more hooked on raw lifting, but I am still competing in single ply. The Mr. Olympia being a single ply event, I didn't want to take away from what could potentially happen there by inserting more raw competitions before that. As of right now I am on a weight loss program to get me back into the 308 lb. weight class where I originally wanted to be to break the records there. I want to be a solid lean 290-300lbs. Then, I am going to do a possible warm up full power single ply meet in June at the San Jose Fit Expo, which would basically be a spot check and the beginning of my training prep for the Mr. Olympia.
Q: I know the ultimate goal is to break some records at the Mr. Olympia this year. What are the current records and what kind of training are you implementing to get you there?
DD: The current record for the All-time single ply full power 308 lb. weight class is a 2529 lb. total set by Alan Best back in 2011. I want to come in and take the torch to a new level before I try to do the same in raw. I am actually going to add more volume to my training. Getting my body ready for a long grueling meet. It's obviously essential to have that quick explosive power, but if I don't have the ability to recover quickly after each attempt handling big weight with the bar, then I'm not going to be able to accomplish what I’m setting out to do.
Q: When prepping for meets do you have a specific nutrition regimen you follow?
DD: To be quite honest no, and I believe that has been my kryptonite. I have been able to eat clean and keep myself down in bodyfat, but not anywhere near what I could be if I watched it more. Now that I got a strong woman on my side, she is on my butt about eating strictly so that is already in the process of changing.
Q: How has supplementing with HMB helped you in your training and reaching your goals?
DD: Without a doubt, HMB has helped on all different levels. Most effectively with my recovery and endurance. I can tell the difference when I don't have it in my system and when I do. HMB is something that will always stay in my system that has helped with strength, endurance, and recovery touching all sides of my training.
Q: What is your favorite part about competing in powerlifting?
DD: It's a like a family reunion every time we meet up and compete. Outside people might think it is a harsher environment then what it really is, but I love being along side some of the greatest in the world in their respected weight classes and killing the platform together. We feed off each other. I just love playing out all of the results of months and months of dedication and hard work in my craft.
Q: If you could give some advice to someone who wants to start competing in powerlifting what would it be?
DD: Definitely don't get hooked on one program or method. Definitely find a veteran who knows the ropes and start smart. I see too many young guys come in and all they are worried about is lifting big weight and letting the proper form and technique go out the door. You are just going to end up hurt and it will come back to haunt you as time goes on. My coach had to grab me quite a few times to tell me to slow down and be patient. If you want to compete for a long time in this sport then you have to think that way and not in the moment.
Q: Any other shout outs or info you would like to share with everyone?
DD: Big shout of to the team of people who have helped me become the lifter I am: Coach Tronske, Steve and Shelley Dension, Tom Moormiester, Mario Paccione, Leroy Walker, Dave Foster, and my fellow Marines who have had my back while I was trying to make something happen while still being in. Also shout out TEAM HMB for being one of the best sponsors I have and ALWAYS taking care of their athletes.
Thanks David for all the updates and wonderful advice. We wish you the best with your powerlifting season this year and look forward to seeing you break some records.