davedraper.com home

First Things First

Before you get distracted by all the great options you're about to find here, please sign up for Dave's free weekly newsletter so he can continue to encourage and motivate you toward your fitness goals.
Chris M writes:
"You blend plain-spoken wisdom, motivational fire and wry humor into a weekly email jolt that leaves me itching to hit the gym. Whether I'm looking for workout routines, diet tips or a friendly kick in the butt, the Bomber comes through every time." ... Read more...

Getting rid of arm fat

Can you get rid of cellulite on the arms by doing aerobic activity every day and lifting weights? Does this stuff really go away if one works hard and long enough on a daily basis?

Let’s just say that no other plan of attack will work better… or at all.

You face a monumental problem if the loose skin on the back of your arms becomes your only focus and reference for achievement. Your regular smart training and right eating will continue to improve your health day by day. Be confident of this.

Building muscle is our most important exercise achievement. Train to build muscle, and fat burning will follow. Sometimes training intensity has to be increased if we want to see more impressive improvements take place. Where moderate exercise is healthy, it might not be enough to affect the changes you seek.

You might consider increasing your set-to-set pace or the amount of weight you use in each exercise or the level of input in each set and rep. Supersetting exercises is a most effective training method for muscle building and fat burning. Try HIIT-style aerobic training (High Intensity Interval Training) for more dynamic fat burning and cardio health.

As the triceps change in shape, the muscle will help fill the space in the back of the arms. I think that will change the feeling for you and should help you enjoy your arm shape.

Dave


Cellulite on the arms

Can you ever get rid of cellulite on arms and body by doing aerobic activity every day and lifting weights? Right now it seems like the more I work out, the more ‘baggy” my arms are getting, yet I know I am getting stronger. Does this stuff really go away if one works out hard and long enough on a daily basis?

Let’s just say that no other plan of attack will work better… or at all. You face a monumental problem if the loose skin on the back of your arms becomes your only focus and reference for achievement.

Your regular smart training and right eating will continue to improve your health day by day. Be confident of this.

Building muscle is your most important achievement. Train to build muscle and fat burning will follow. Sometimes training intensity has to be increased if one wants to see more impressive improvements take place.

Where moderate exercise is healthy, it might not be enough to affect the changes you seek. You might consider increasing your set-to-set pace or the amount of weight you use in each exercise or the level of input in each set and rep. Supersetting exercises is a most effective training method for muscle building and fat burning. Try HIIT-style aerobic training (High Intensity Interval Training) for more dynamic fat burning and cardio health.

Keep your training fresh and interesting, but don’t change it too often. Never give in, never give up.

Dave


How to get single-digit bodyfat

Reducing body fat, losing lower abdomen fat and maintaining lean mass while cutting: How do I do it? I need single-figure bodyfat percentage to show my abs off.

Have you tried chanting to Zeus?

This small miracle requires lots of time, patience, courage and perseverance mixed generously with leg raises, rope tucks and hyperextensions and some aerobic exercise.

Of course, the perfect application of your basic musclebuilding movements from squats and deadlifts to barbell curls and dumbbell inclines are a must.

Don’t forget to combine volume- and power-training sufficiently. There’ll be no turning back, letting up or laying off… ever.

Now, about your eating habits and nutritional plan: Start with slabs of protein, smaller meals frequently throughout the day… mmm… Why don’t you have a seat, sit back and relax… it might be the last chance you get.

Dave


Drop the protein to lose weight

As I’m trying to get leaner, should I lay off the protein before and after workouts? I’m getting about 250 grams of protein per day and part of that is 50 before and 50 after the workout. I’m trying to lose the fat and not the muscle. I’m wondering if the protein was causing more harm than good.

The last place you want to reduce your calorie consumption is through protein calories.

Your protein calories comprise only 1,000 of your daily total intake. I recommend that you maintain the anabolic environment (sufficient complete proteins, essential fats and nutrient-strong carb foods) and continue to train smart and hard.

Let the training build the muscle and the good food provide the energy and ingredients for muscular gains over time. Think of gaining muscle rather than losing fat.

You might drop your intake of the least valuable foods throughout the day, depending on how much food you’re taking in each day. Keep the pre- and post-workout meals… maybe… I hate to say it… perhaps, possibly, if you must… cut them in half.

Gasp. No, nevermind! Forget I said that.

Dave


Going back to the gym, need to lose weight

I am a mom who has been in shape and a regular gym rat until a year ago. My last beautiful child, the third, is now 18 months and sorta did me in. I am now what they call obese. Ugh! I am going to back to the gym this week and was wondering if I should do only cardio for the first 50 pounds, and then add the weights. What do you think?

Any and all efforts will be of value at this point. The key is to consistently reapply — rededicate — your past training knowledge and experience to your life today. Things are different — age, body chemistry, hormonal balance, viewpoint, conditioning — but one thing is the same: what must be done. Doing what must be done, however, will accomplish your goals.

Typically, the first weeks are hard, but we endure. The continued weeks are harder cuz disappointment and despair tend to take us down; we want results now and doubt they will, in fact, ever take place. Truth is, they are progressing and will continue and we must be stronger than everyone else, stronger than before.

The trick is to establish confidence and an attitude of gratefulness for knowing your needs and the way to go, and the ability and willingness to go that way. Invest the time and effort — the payoffs are guaranteed for life. Tough being tough.

I wrote a book, Your Body Revival — Straight Talk for the Overweight — that deals with your dilemma. It’s the best book on the market for the determined overweight: direct, motivational, routines for all levels, eating schemes and tips and hints we need to digest.

Cardio is important; building muscle is far more important. Hit the streets walking or the stationary bike for starters, along with mild weight training with an eye on more aggressive weight training as soon as next week.

The key to your weight problem is made of iron.

Dump the sugar and snacks, up the protein instead. Eat regularly, eat enough and eat wisely.

Brother Dave


Can’t shake this extra weight

I have been training and eating healthy for many years and almost have this fitness/nutrition formula down except for one problem. Here goes: I am 5’6″ and weigh 125 lbs. I take in 2000 calories per day, broken down into 6 meals of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat.I train 4 days a week with two 30-minute sessions of cardio. Once in a while I will eat a bowl of ice cream or some pizza. I then do extra cardio, but the problem is I can’t seem to shed the extra calories that I consumed. What is the problem here?

First and most importantly, in my opinion, you are at a fine edge according to your specs… 5’6″ and 125 is right in there. You may be striving for something you already have.

The occasional ice cream and pizza shouldn’t present such a problem. On those infrequent days that you indulge, plan a tough weight workout later that day or on the following day to take advantage of the carbohydrate load… pump, strength and endurance will be up and ready for action. This resembles, in fact, a popular training technique put forth by highly regarded training experts: carb up and blast the weights according to a methodical scheme.

You’re living a good life and following a good training scheme. You could raise the protein intake (up to 40%) and lower the carbs and wouldn’t mind losing some fat ingestion as well.

Consider shorter and more intense and frequent cardio sessions (HIIT… High Intensity Interval Training) to suit your training needs. Three or four 12 to 15 minute HIIT workouts will outdo the 30-minute slugs for athleticism and muscularizing. Tough at first, but invigorating and pleasing once you adapt.

Do you weight train hard enough? Have you considered sprints at a track to fight stubborn fat? Have you checked the balance of your hormonal system (via doctoring and blood tests)?

Look at your weight workouts for clues to your fat control and fat-burning muscle development. But again, consider that fact that you might already be at your goal and for some reason, just can’t see it.

Best to you for persisting and fighting for the cause…

Dave


35 and can’t lose weight

I’m 35, female at 5’6″ and 125 and cannot lose weight. I have several areas of fat, almost rolls, that I can’t get rid of. I only have treats such as ice cream or pizza once in a while and can’t understand why I can’t make any progress. It’s frustrating after all this work! What can I do?

You are at a fine edge according to your specs… 5’6″ and 125 is right in there, can even higher, depending on muscle mass.

The occasional ice cream and pizza shouldn’t present such a problem. On those infrequent days when you indulge, plan a tough weight workout later that day or on the following day to take advantage of the carbohydrate load… pump, strength and endurance will be up and ready for action. This resembles, in fact, a popular training technique put forth by highly regarded training experts; carb up and blast the weights, according to a methodical scheme.

Consider short, intense and frequent cardio sessions (HIIT… High Intensity Interval Training) to suit your training needs. Three or four 12-15 minute HIIT workouts will outdo the 30-minute slugs for athleticism and muscularizing. Tough at first, but invigorating and pleasing once you adapt.

Have you considered sprints at a track to fight stubborn fat? Have you checked the balance of your hormonal system via lab tests? Are you certain your calories are on track (via journalling)? Do you drink alcohol regularly?

Look at your weight workouts for clues to your fat-burning muscle development, but most experts believe the answer to fat control lies in the kitchen.

Dave


Why do I always lose muscle?

I have been training a while. I like the look of the past, the 60s and 70s. I think I’m about 25% bodyfat and want to get lean, but I can’t. I always seem to lose muscle instead of fat, causing me to slim down to a smaller version of myself and I don’t like it.

You share the same predicament with 90% of all bodybuilding enthusiasts and participants: how to gain muscle and lose bodyfat at the same time.

We all have this target – it is bodybuilding in its simplest form.

I have limited information about you, but my gut feeling is that you, in your quest for leanness, are sacrificing muscle size and muscle growth. I suggest you hold your bodyweight; use it to work hard and go for muscle mass, density and permanence.

Train each muscle group two times per week – once won’t do it unless you’re well along in your development. Throw in another 2-3 days of intense cardio. You need a rock-solid six-month musclebuilding stretch, without being overly critical of definition.

Then assess your progress and reevaluate your goals. This six-month input will be most productive, I have no doubt.

Let logic be your guide. Seeking leanness and building muscle mass at once basically requires contradictory processes.

For this phase, I suggest red meat and well-placed carbs to give you a training advantage and insure greater muscle response.

We always see bodybuilders stall their musclebuilding process and cease to grow at all, looking for abs or cuts or definition prematurely. Trim down next season. Let’s stand back for a moment.

What’s the rush, anyway?


Breakfast on the tuna and water diet

When doing the three-day tuna and water plan, what exactly would be the best option for breakfast? Straight-up tuna as well?

Straight-up tuna is the breakfast choice when intentionally practicing stoicism for disciplinary purposes.

For getting lean and dietary goals and strong training, your first meal could be Bomber Blend and water. Coffee without cream and sugar works. As you become more familiar and intense with your training endeavors, Bomber Blend is a great and inexpensive dietary resource — quick, energizing and nutritious breakfast, pre- and post-workout meal and interlude meal.

But the straight-up answer to your question: Tuna and water means tuna and water. Done.

Carry on… God’s speed… Dave


Need to lose 100 pounds

At 5’8″, I’m over 300 pounds now and things are getting scary. I just don’t know what to do about it! Everything I have tried has failed. I’m ready to do something about it and want to lose 100 pounds before next summer.

No news to you, but you have some serious corrections to make to assure you live a long and happy life. The weight, of course, must be approached through exercise and proper eating.

There is no other way short of crazy surgery and if possible, you don’t want to go there. What you need to do is basic and requires will power, consistency, devotion and time. I sum it up in six words: Eat right, train hard, be strong.

If you don’t have the time or, I dare say, the energy — and possibly, the enthusiasm — to apply yourself to the deeds, it won’t happen. You want to drop 100 pounds, though 50 would make a big difference. It can be done with your long-term attention.

Your diet must be corrected and you’ll apply both medium-input aerobic exercise and hard-input weight-bearing exercise. Train consistently three to four days a week with weights and three to four days of aerobic exercise on any days.

Train to build muscle, not to lose fat. In time, with your attention to a quality diet, the fat weight will diminish and the muscle will increase. The wonderful plan takes hard work, discipline, courage and purpose… worth every penny and minute of investment.

I wrote a book titled “Your Body Revival,” with a sub-heading, “Straight Talk for the Overweight.” Take a look if you’re willing.

God’s might… Dave


Overweight, lose weight, gain muscle?

I am overweight (male, 300 pounds at 5’8″) and I know it is so difficult trying to gain muscle while losing fat. My doctor is concerned because of high blood pressure and triglycerides, and suggests 75 grams of protein per day, which is a struggle because I am a vegetarian. I eat plenty of pasta and grains.

Without meat, you will still find substantial sources of protein in eggs and milk products and Bomber Blend (my fav),. I’d be looking to get 200 grams a day, but at least try for 150. Your doc and I don’t agree about protein intake… the research doesn’t solidly support either of us, as is often the case with nutrition, unfortunately.

Lower your useless carbs. Drop 10 pounds slowly — save the muscle — after any initial water weight is lost.

There are numerous diet alterations, medicines and even supplements you can take to lower blood pressure and triglycerides. I have no expertise in that area, but I suspect weight loss will take care of this with no need of medicine.

It is possible gain muscle and lose weight at the same time, particularly at this bodyweight. Choose a favorite four-day-a-week bodybuilding routine and train with zeal. Don’t look for power gains, and don’t train to get ripped either. Be strong and patient. With added attention to diet and consistent hard-yet-no-pressure training, things will fall into place — more muscle, less body fat, lighter, improved chemistry and lower BP.

Chicken and fish is nice…. lotsa salads, remember the salads…

Motivation and encouragement is the key to all this stuff once you have the basics down.

Go… God’s speed… DD


50 pounds overweight and ready to get started

I’m about 50 pounds overweight and have been for at least 10 years. I’m sick of it! I’m ready to do something, but how do I get started?

You’re not the only one with an overweight problem. The fact is, almost everyone you encounter today faces the dilemma. They’re either a little or a lot overweight and probably under-muscled and under-conditioned. The grand and outstanding difference between you and them is you’re courageous, motivated, energized and enthusiastic. You’re doing something about it.

You are ready, willing and able to take the tough steps… so… um… what’s in your refrigerator that shouldn’t be? What’s on your pantry shelf and behind cupboard doors that does not deserve space or accommodation? Pull out a large garbage bag from its handy dispenser and fill it with those items of regret, threat and destruction. When the job is done, drag the bulky plastic container to the neatest garbage pail or homeless center. Let your conscience be your guide.

Squirming throughout the process is part of the exercise. These are desperate little demons of appetite and gluttony and self-satisfaction being exorcised from your body. Once the junk and the devilish habits and desires are exposed and eliminated, you’re free. The way before you will be less difficult, less dangerous and less exasperating.

Now you can turn your undivided attention to the good things of life: weights, protein and the pursuit of happiness.

Dave


Tuna and water diet

I gained too much weight last winter and now I’m in a jam with a lot of summer things coming up soon. But I can’t seem to get myself on track with my diet! So I was thinking about trying your tuna and water diet. How much tuna do you eat per day and can I add something to it each day? Also,
how much weight will I lose on it?

Guess it’s that urgent time of year again.

The extreme application is to think of the tuna and water as a fast without cutting food out entirely. Therefore eat as much or as little as your intuitive, disciplined and hungry (disappointed and irritable … grr) heart desires.

The tuna and water ‘only’ diet is effective in breaking the sloppy habits that weigh us down from time to time. For that reason, strictness is required, almost worshipped to stop the madness. Thus, no margins of leeway are permissible.

The tuna and water diet sets you on the right track and in motion. How you broaden your menu to include more good foods is up to you according to your response and the diet’s effectiveness, your fortitude and your goals. You’re the captain in charge of the craft — try feelings and finesse or guesswork. Although the tuna diet is only for a few days, the real goal is to find a clean eating plan appropriate for you so you can stick to it forever.

Lighten up on the tuna only and bring in the salads-a-plenty and add chicken to the menu. How much one can lose depends on fat to muscle ratio, hormones and other factors, but you should know that loss is mostly water weight and the loss is temporary. This diet is a jumpstart, not the real deal.

Listen to yourself — common sense and intuition are the captains of your craft…

Push that iron with God’s strength… Dave


What makes us fat?

Dave, what really makes us fat? Is it too much carbs or too much saturated fat or what?

The answer to the question is not a mystery nor is it a duel between fats and carbohydrates. Man and woman, in his and her bewilderment, overeat and under-exercise. They eat far too much sugar and bad fats (grease, hydrogenated fat) and not enough protein and good fats (EFAs). They sit when they work, ride when they should walk, are idle when they could play and eat anything to pass the time away. These behaviors (misbehaviors) determine “what really make us fat.”

When will we ever get it right? Who will tell us? Who will listen?

DD


Lose weight with stairclimbing

I’m trying to lose 30 pounds and would like to know if you recommend stairclimbing for that.

Aggressive stairclimbing work, including lots of slow and ponderous reps, can be of real value for leg health and overall weight reduction and toning. Be aware of the knees and overload… the stairs can be a problem.

Dropping 30 pounds will rid you of fat (yes) and muscle too (nuts). Take your time, keep the meals frequent, small and high in protein (fish, red meat, poultry, some eggs and milk products), plenty of salads and vegetables, some fruit and lots of water.

I’d also like to see you doing some weight training in addition to the stair. Choose four or five exercises (dumbbell inclines, pulldowns, bar curls and light-weight deadlifts combine well) and do 4 sets x 10 reps twice a week. Keep the body alive.

Don’t expect the stairclimbing to be the miracle worker. More than 20 minutes at a clip a few times a week is exhausting, bordering on burnout and sufficient. Keep the protein high, the sugar low, cut the aerobic down where and when it’s “too much,” annoying or irritable. Add a protein powder to your menu for pre-workout and post-workout feedings or breakfast or inconvenient feeding times to assure consistent anabolic environment and energy.

Be wise. This is important stuff. Doing stairs only will become history in a short time.

God’s speed… Dave


50 pounds to lose

I’m a 50-year-old beginner who can’t seem to drop 50 pounds of bodyfat. I lift 3 days a week and do cardio daily. What do you think about low carb dieting? Will it work for me to drop that extra sludge and is it safe?

Low carb will do well for you (maybe include up to 75 grams of carbs). It seems to work especially well for people with a chunk like that to lose.

Continue your hard training… it’s the smartest move you’ve ever made and I say that even if you’re a medical doc or a pastor or an Indian chief.

dd


A regular tuna and water thing

I did your tuna and water thing recently and it worked well. Is this something I can incorporate into my routine on a cyclic basis? If so, how often? Are there any issues or concerns I need to be aware of?

The tuna thing can be done regularly for a day or two or three with satisfaction, especially when fortified with some Metamucil for roughage, a high-quality vitamin-mineral supplement and two tablespoons of fish oil. You can extend it by adding salad ingredients and by adding chicken as a second protein source or Bomber Blend in water. Then bring on the red meat. Eggs work well too.

It’s a good plan for tidying up our acts.

Push that iron… and God’s speed… DD


Low carb diet and muscle building

I’m getting frustrated with both building muscle as well as losing fat. What do you think of low carb dieting? I’m getting ready to give up on all this stuff.

A low-carb ketogenic diet works on paper, often works at first, especially for the extremely overweight, is a fascinating study and has provided volumes of material for popular books, but in my mind, applying it is like building a prison and calling it home.

I’m all for discipline and hard work and a menu high in protein and balanced with medium GOOD fat and complex carbs (living, as in fruit and vegetables). Leave the calculator, gram counter and comparison charts in the closet. I think real and wholesome muscle building is bigger than that… like barbells and dumbbells and lifting with passion.

We get small inside when looking for gains on the outside. They come in time if we are consistent in attitude, work, eating and resting… and playing.

Giving up is like turning off the oxygen. Be strong, be grateful, carry on the fight and don’t doubt. The muscle might not be worthy of top honors, but the heart and soul and character are awesome. See ya… dd


Fat burners

I need to lose about 25 pounds. I am working out and need to know of a fat burning supplement. I used to use a product made by Twin Labs-Fuel Burn, I think it was? I cannot use this product because it elevated my hypertension. Is there a recommendation that you may suggest for me?

Truth is a fat burner is no more effective than a few well-placed cups of strong coffee. Take your favorite vitamin and mineral supplement daily, eat small meals regularly throughout the day and make sure the protein is high — red meat, fish, fowl, eggs and milk products. Lots of water, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit.

I say all this, though you know it, because that is all there is. The rest is up to you and the gym. Train very basically, 3 to 4 sets per exercise with reps in the 8 and 10 range. Superset when you can.

Keep a good pace, focus always, train hard and no less than 60 minutes several days at week. If you do cardio, do it aggressively…no slow pedaling.

dd


Lost 135 pounds, need help with excess skin

Two years ago, at age 47 and weighing about 350 pounds, I had a sort of awakening and realized it was sending myself to an early grave. It was painful, but I started dieting and riding the stationary bike and have now lost 135 pounds. My question today is about excess skin, which I have a lot of. Do you know how to get rid of this skin?

First I want to commend you for having acted upon your aching realization and losing 135 pounds. I’m rooting for you and hope you recognize your accomplishments and appreciate them, especially when the road gets bumpy.

We all become fleshier with the passing years despite our strategies to resist the process. You’ve heard this before: Everyone’s different and our predispositions to resuming earlier skin tone will vary.

As you continue to lose weight, be sure to make every effort to retain muscle and build even more. You might at some time consider increasing your training with weights as you decrease your aerobic activity. Apply the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in your aerobic scheme when you feel conditioned for it (give it a few short trial runs — experiment — it’s worth it). The benefits of gaining muscle are many, but one of them, in answer to your question, is that increased muscle takes up space. It’s a good kind of space, and in some areas will help tighten the skin.

Train hard but don’t enslave or punish or overburden yourself. You can do wonders (not miracles) with heart, high hopes, confidence and continued commitment.

The more we train wisely, the more we grow and become and learn about ourselves. It’s a beautiful journey, and I’m glad you’re on it.

Go with God’s speed… DD


Next Page »