How David Sandler Bridges The Gap For Incredible Performance!

David Sandler's expert interview - His extensive expertise has helped many achieve their goals for greater performance. Find out how he does it.
Article Summary:
  • David's goals are to bring more science into the world of exercise and athleticism.
  • David has made many television appearances on National Geographic and other channels.
  • David's main focus when he is training athletes is explosive power and speed.

  • How David Sandler Bridges The Gap For Incredible Performance!

    David Sandler is a man known for his methodical and research-backed methods for getting sports performance and physical development results. Sandler has established a niche for himself as a physique specialist and strength and conditioning coach in an ultra-competitive market fueled by a near-universal desire to look good and perform better. And with a major part of his research focus being directed to uncovering and applying "the art and science of the before and after" you know his is a multi-faceted and extremely detailed, results-driven approach.

    Co-founder and president of StrengthPro Inc - a sports performance enhancement company with a major focus on strength and conditioning - and head of the International Physique Professionals Association (IPPA) - a "fitness organization dedicated to promoting the science and application of improving physical appearance by integrating scientific research and practical applications of exercise science and sports nutrition" - Sandler lives and breathes sports science research and its varied applications for the performance athlete and aesthetically inclined alike.

    Being an ex-elite athlete himself - with, among other athletics credentials, a 3-victory reign as U.S. National Bench Press Champion - Sandler has combined his love of competition and fostering positive sporting outcomes with a strong academic bent to become one of the country's most recognizable and sought-after strength and conditioning coaches and consultants.

    During a 6-year stint as Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Sports Science at Florida International University he applied his skills to the development and direction of the University's Strength and Conditioning education curriculum. His educational focus has continued.

    In talking with Sandler about his work it is near-impossible to come away from the discussion without some form of useable knowledge steeped in scientific method and tested and verified in "real-world" settings. That is, perhaps, what he is best at: taking hard science and disseminating it in a way that reaches a wide cross-section of people.

    This is best exemplified through his many television appearances - the National Geographic channel included - where he breaks down serious scientific rationale into user-friendly and easily-digested morsels of information. Sandler calls it "bridging the gap."

    For physique and sports performance adherents, Sander also has a lot of cutting edge information to share. His seminars are always packed, and to be credited by his IPPA means you are at the educational forefront of your respective industry, that you have the skills and knowledge needed to create waves in the competitive corporate fitness world.

    In the following interview I sought to mine Sandler's extensive expertise and knowledge base to uncover several of his research-based insights. During our conversation we also discussed his various roles and how he has used his background to help others achieve their own goals, whether business or performance related.

    David Has Had Many Television Appearances Where He Presented User Friendly Scientific Rationale.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    David Has Had Many Television Appearances Where He
    Presented User Friendly Scientific Rationale.

    [ David Robson ] As head of the International Physique Professionals Association what are your main objectives?

    [ David Sandler ] Basically the intent behind the IPPA is to give some science and credence to what people really want from exercise and that is to basically look good. There is probably not a person on this planet who honestly can't look in the mirror and say, "You know what? I would like to look better."

    Whether it's a little bigger or leaner we all have that vanity side, if you will, and while most people see this as kind of taboo talking about it, at the same time, it is what everybody wants. So we formed an organization that would look into the science and understanding of what it takes to look good for television and for bodybuilding or figure competition, or to look good in a wedding dress or on the beach, and to support that with science and support the training methods that these guys and gals have been involved with for so long.

    A lot of organizations would take a look and say that it's not important, they don't know what they are doing, or they are all using the juice. Instead, we take a deeper look and say, "Let's find out what they are doing and get a better understanding of it and see whether we can apply that to the general population that wants to look better." So we are trying to give this educational and scientific look into what people really want: and that is to look good. We call ourselves the guys who are responsible for the art and science of the 'before and after'.

    [ DR ] How broad is your definition of what looks good and what does not in terms of physical development?

    [ DS ] Well, people have different definitions of what they think looks good. Some people find those bodybuilders up onstage too big and for some people their definition of good is a marathon runner-type physique, skinny. So there is no one uniform definition of what looking good is, so to that end, we don't have one single direction or philosophy.

    What we do is go in with the tools to show people who want to look better in line with what they feel looking better is. So it is not just one methodology of training, not just one aspect. It is the aspect of building muscle, decreasing body fat and becoming healthier.

    [ DR ] Do you work with trainers and athletes?

    [ DS ] Yes we do both. We offer a certification for trainers. The idea is to give the trainers a greater toolbox so they can work with what their individual clients' needs and offer a better prescription for them. But at the same time, we have people who just want to attend the workshops to get a better idea of what they need to do to train themselves. Ultimately, though, we are a certification organization that certifies individuals in getting a better understanding of how to develop physiques and get people looking better.

    We Have People Who Attend The Workshops To Learn To Train Themselves Better.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    We Have People Who Attend The Workshops
    To Learn To Train Themselves Better.

    [ DR ] With the many certification organizations operating today what does the IPPA offer that others do not?

    [ DS ] I'm involved in a lot of other organizations and am on advisory boards for others; this is why we created this one. This is the only one we know of, the only group, which is really looking into that aspect of physical appearance. Because most of the organizations out there are looking at sports performance, general health, cardiovascular health and so on, or from a rehab or injury perspective. We are also about physical appearance, about how your body image and general physique goals can be achieved.

    [ DR ] Do you work much with bodybuilding athletes?

    [ DS ] Yes and we get a lot of figure competitors. The bodybuilding-type folks are those who have been coming to our workshops so far. I think part of that is because this is the group that sees the most value in it (looking good) right off the bat. However, ultimately we want to bring in the other trainers that are certified by other organizations and say, "This is what we do."

    Instead of looking at it from the, "I want to be a better football player" aspect, we look at the "I want to look better" side. So certainly bodybuilders and figure people can come and learn what they have to do to develop muscle quality, along with fitness competitors as well. We can address all of their issues and we also look at dietary needs.

    They are also for people who just want to get a little leaner and for those who would like to compete in bodybuilding. We do cover things like contest preparation, water management and diet and we do an extensive look into supplements and the type you should be using. We don't do it specifically for bodybuilding and figure and so forth, we do it for the general population as well. But we do look at those competition aspects for somebody who is interested in getting onstage.

    [ DR ] Your StrengthPro organization is touted as a leading authority of improving sports performance. In what ways does this organization differ from the IPPA?

    [ DS ] Well, at StrengthPro we are really a couple of consultants that do sports performance testing and research in sports performance. And that is where my television work came from. The IPPA is a stand-alone organization that is specifically designed for certifying trainers in this physique application.

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    [ DR ] As far as what you are able to provide as an expert and authority, do you approach your seminars and classes from more of a research perspective, or is it based upon practical applications arising from "real world" experience?

    [ DS ] I think that I have kind of found myself a unique niche. And probably why I've done so much television and so forth is because we have always talked about bridging the gap between science and practice. As a former athlete and strength and conditioning coach myself, and as a former researcher and professor at a university, I have tied this research versus practice together.

    I purposefully tried to create this niche for myself in television where I can research and explain it in layman's terms to reach the viewers. And I've done everything from the more scientific National Geographic to, recently, this show called Manswers - a guys' TV show where girls bounce around in bikinis. And I get to give scientific information on stuff like that (laughs).

    What I try to do is do what everyone talks about doing, which is bridge the gap. So I, myself, am a practitioner. I am constantly in the field training people, myself included, as well as doing the research on the side. So I don't have a real job per se. I do have some personal training clients and some athletes I work with, consulting for teams, and I still do the research testing of equipment and the education side. So I don't have one thing I do right now. Again, the purpose is really to bridge that gap; take the information that's out there - the detailed science - and put it into a form in which the average person can use it.

    The Purpose Is To Put Detailed Science Into A Form For The Average Person.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    The Purpose Is To Put Detailed Science
    Into A Form For The Average Person.

    [ DR ] What is your current role at the annual Arnold Sports Festival?

    [ DS ] This is year seven for me. I am the chairman of the educational content that is part of the Arnold Sports Festival. So I actually run an event called the Arnold Strength Training Summit, which is a continuing educational event for certified trainers. So certified trainers will come to the event and get continuing education credits for their certifications.

    [ DR ] What kind of information will you be passing on to these trainers that they do not already have?

    [ DS ] We like to say that we are cutting edge, meaning we bring in speakers and people who are doing new things in the field and are looking at better ways to work out and improve. In the case of the IPPA we are delivering physique and bodybuilding information, but on the other side our regular track of lectures looks at sports performance.

    Here, we talk about power, agility and strength and so on. So we are running multiple events. We are doing a kettle bell certification there as well. So what I do is house a whole lot of different kinds of content, educationally speaking.

    [ DR ] It is mentioned in your online bio that a major focus of your research is on strength and power development. What have been some of your recent findings in these areas?

    [ DS ] Recently the stuff I have found would relate more to my television work. I've had different groups that I have worked with in this area, especially some of the Special Forces agents, as well as athletes. Some of the newest information that I have found is really the importance from a speed/power standpoint of converting eccentric loading to a concentric action. In layperson's language that would mean the act of being more explosive, having faster feet and having greater overall power.

    My Recent Work Relates To Being More Explosive, Having Faster Feet And Greater Overall Power.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    My Recent Work Relates To Being More Explosive,
    Having Faster Feet And Greater Overall Power.

    [ DR ] And you would use plyometrics training as a way in which to achieve this?

    [ DS ] Yes, for the eccentric loading, plyometrics would be the application, but the focus would be on the eccentric load, speeding up the eccentric load time and minimizing ground or hand contact time which means making a faster transition between negative and positive, so to speak.

    [ DR ] And this focus on speeding up the eccentric load time can also be applied to weight training?

    [ DS ] It could be applied to everything to some degree. I've done research with senior citizens. In fact, I spent four years doing research when I lived in Miami on senior citizens improving their power to reduce fall-related injuries by speeding up eccentric loading and increasing speed of activity. And I'm talking 75- to 95-year old senior citizens where we were actually doing explosive training.

    [ DR ] What was the point of this research?

    [ DS ] Well with the seniors, it was research for university projects so there was both group and individual training. It was over 800 seniors that I trained over the 4-year period, so I've got an extensive amount of data on that. Now I work in consulting, so I've got a couple of NFL teams and a couple of pro athletes where I just do the consulting work rather than actual training. Obviously these teams will have their own strength coaches. But I do have some athletes that I work with individually, and I do the explosive training with them.

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    [ DR ] Over the years there has often been much confusion on exactly what roles strength and power play in athletic performance. Based on your research, to what degree are both of these components necessary for optimal performance development in sports that demand explosiveness and strength?

    [ DS ] Well, my view has changed on this. When I first started competing and playing football - and I was a power lifter - strength meant everything. If you were strong, you were able to just keep on rolling and take everybody out. Nowadays, the difference between the strength and the ability to apply the strength has gotten so much harder because everybody's getting faster.

    So what we have found - and this is not really brand new - is that speed truly does kill in that sense, and to be more explosive makes every bit of difference. In fact, you are finding more teams now that are looking for better ways to build explosive power.

    One of the things we have found is dropping bodyweight. Instead of trying to get really big and thick and huge, take an offensive lineman in the NFL and drop 15-20 pounds of bodyweight off him and he moves faster, and when he moves faster, his impact is greater. Net force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. So if you drop mass and increase acceleration, your net force increases. Or better yet, increase momentum, then that mass multiplied by a greater velocity means you are going to create much more power when you hit somebody.

    So whether you are an MMA fighter, an NFL football player, or just someone who plays weekend tennis, if you move quicker you get to the point of attack faster, and you can beat your opponents.

    One of the things I have learned over the past couple of years on the sports science shows I have done is that most sports are over - literally you are out of the play - in less than two-tenths of a second. So that means if you can't move fast and be in the right place - not just move but get into the right position - in less than two-tenths of a second you have been beaten, which means now you are playing catch-up. And this applies to any sport.

    If you are a tennis player and you fail to move within two-tenths of a second, you have missed a shot, or you are out of position. What we have been trying to do is speed up everybody so it literally all happens in less than two-tenths of a second, and you will see better performance overall. Put it this way, if I can't make you a better tennis player, I can make you get across the tennis court faster. And if you can do this, you have more time to set up for your shot.

    If You Can't Move Fast Enough You'll Be Beaten In Less Than Two-Tenths Of A Second.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    If You Can't Move Fast Enough You'll Be
    Beaten In Less Than Two-Tenths Of A Second.

    [ DR ] And what is the correlation between reaction time and correct positioning? How do these two performance-factors work together to ensure an athlete is both quick off the mark and precise in their movements?

    [ DS ] Well with reaction time, it is a reaction to a correct movement. I think a lot of us react much faster than we think. It's just whether or not we can make that first movement after the reaction and be in the right position. And I think that's where the real key is. A lot of the time we see that people can move, but if they are not in the right position it doesn't really matter.

    You often hear, "I saw it coming but I just didn't get to the right position," like when defending a goal or when a tennis ball goes past you, for example. So it's not just about improving reaction, it's about improving reaction with the first step. And so just doing reaction training alone might make you react quicker, but it's still not going to put you in the right position. A lot of coaches focus on reaction but don't focus on reaction with position.

    [ DR ] When the stimulus is presented it is a case of simultaneously processing where to move while moving within those two-tenths of a second?

    [ DS ] Yes, so, to see or hear the stimulus first you have to have the repetition of noting that stimulus, but then you have to work on developing that explosive movement more quickly.

    Baseball is a perfect example. You can't ever hit a 90 mph ball if the fastest balls you have seen are 60 mph. It's just coming at that 50 percent greater velocity. So once you have seen the 90 mph balls for enough repetitions, you start to get the feel for how fast things are coming. Now we need to get that speed element back up in terms of being able to move your muscles fast enough to make contact with the ball.

    And that's in a perfect situation, because in baseball, for example, the ball doesn't come across the plate in a position you can swing at, otherwise a pitcher would be out of business. So what happens is now, after you add reaction and speed, you need that ability to add the unexpected. And that's where, if you can focus on being in the right body position and making that first move, you will be able to hit the unexpected because a sport is never the same twice.

    [ DR ] How long does it take to enhance reaction and initial movement in athletes who have already established certain neural pathways for the ways that they react and the speed at which they react?

    [ DS ] Well, it is a long process, and I don't have any exact numbers because every situation unfortunately becomes different. Obviously, the more training you have one way the harder it is to break that routine and that movement. The question then becomes how can we improve on the habit? So what I do is, instead of working technique and then slowing things down, I speed things up. Rather than slow things down to fix technique, why don't you speed things up and then try to turn the technique into the right kind of movement from that?

    In other words, if you slow everything down, what kind of slow helps you to get faster? None, right? I can fix your arm action but if your feet aren't moving quicker than they normally are, it doesn't matter what I do with your arms. You have to get there. So I focus on getting there. If your technique is a little crappy and if I can get you moving faster, it is easier for me to clean up your technique than to get you faster after I've slowed you down.

    [ DR ] Many coaches - those in the martial arts, for example - would say it is best to slow down an athlete's movements in order to encourage better technique and reinforce more effective learning of a specific sequence of movements. What do you say to that idea?

    [ DS ] Well, if I slow you down as someone watching with a naked eye, I can see you better. The problem is that it doesn't help, so what really has to happen is that these coaches need better technology to help them. The one advantage I had being on television was that we had access to what they called phantom cameras, extremely high speed cameras, so you can slow the movement down and really see what is happening.

    So we have taken the movements that the best athletes in the world have done and slowed them down and figured out what we need to do to make them faster.

    The problem, though, is if I slow you down so I can see what you are doing wrong then I am slowing you down. So my thought is simply that we need to get better at looking at things and use better tools, unless the technique is completely terrible. But I think, and would say with most of these martial artists for example, don't slow the guy down. Fix the technique while he is continuing to improve his speed. But it is easier said than done.

    Having Access To High Speed Cameras, You Can Slow Down The Movement To See What's Happening.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Having Access To High Speed Cameras, You Can
    Slow Down The Movement To See What's Happening.

    [ DR ] Do you sub-divide or classify different kinds of strength and power, and training components in general and have your athletes train for these accordingly?

    [ DS ] We do what we call a "needs analysis," and I do this for everyone. I will say that with the IPPA, we break down what is going on and go by need. Need for something like looking good is relative. If chest is lacking, then that's the part you are going to work on, same with arms. If you have small calves, then put calves first. I think many people are afraid to do certain things because they feel it is out of the conventional way you are supposed to do it.

    When it comes to muscle-building, people always work the biggest muscles before the smallest muscles. Well, if your biggest muscles are big enough and your smaller muscles are lagging then they should go first. Your biceps might not be growing, but your back is big. Well, do your biceps before your lat work and watch your biceps get bigger. Some people are afraid to do that.

    I do the same thing with sports performance as well. I ask, "Where is the real problem that exists here?" Is the problem in the strength? Is it the mechanics or the speed? I look at a lot of these folks who do a lot of static balance training. What part of any sport is static? In what part of any sport are you not moving?

    So we need to look at what is going on. Did this person fall because they had bad balance? Or maybe we just didn't get their center of mass in the right spot because of how fast they are moving. So all we do is a minor little change in the body position and away they go, instead of doing a ton of balance training. So the approach is not just, say, that we are going to look at the needs, but to really look at the needs. You have to have a critical eye, but you also have to take your time and really look at what is broken.

    Now, granted, when you are working with a whole team, your hands are somewhat tied obviously. I can't go down with 30 athletes and fix every little thing that is broken, so it tends to be lumped together when you work with a whole team. If I work with a team of 12 basketball players I have to do the same thing for all 12 and hope that I fix all that is broken, which is kind of hard. But with an individual I can zero in on it.

    [ DR ] Bodybuilders have traditionally used hypertrophy training to create muscle size. How important is power training in terms of building muscle mass?

    [ DS ] As much as I like variety of training, I'm not so sure that power fits in as well as other people think. I think from the motor recruitment side - getting muscles more involved - power training can be somewhat effective; only somewhat because the bottom line is in true explosive training.

    You are not doing a whole lot of recruitment of slow-twitch muscle fibers, the fibers which hypertrophy effectively, if you do hypertrophy training. And that is one of the things that bodybuilders have figured out, that in some cases if I slow down the movement I am going to get better recruitment of some of those slow-twitch fibers. And if you can increase the size of them, you can increase the size of the muscle at that point.

    I think one of the negative sides of power training for a bodybuilder is that it tends to bypass some fibers. I would say for a physique-type of athlete, it would be good to do a couple of weeks of explosive training once or twice a year. But I think if they focus too much on it, it will be counterproductive to increasing muscle quality. And you have to face facts.

    You have to look at yourself at some point and ask, "What do I really want to do?" I know the typical viewers or readers of a magazine, or, are probably like all of us. They will say, "I want to have a huge, chiseled chest, a huge bench, and I want to be able to run a marathon." They want it all. You just can't.

    At some point you have to look at yourself and say, "What is the most important thing?" If size is what you want, you must focus in on hypertrophy training. And that doesn't mean that if your bench doesn't increase by much that your chest won't get any bigger with some good hypertrophy training. And vice versa, if you want to have that massive bench but don't care too much what your chest looks like, then work to get that bench bigger, or squats or whatever it happens to be.

    And that is one of the common things I find with guys, especially with chest and benching. They do the big benches to increase chest size. Well the bench requires the involvement of the triceps and anterior deltoids among other muscles and with benching, if you know how to activate your lat muscles, you can get a better lift by doing that. But when you do that kind of effective bench-pressing for a strong bench, your chest doesn't get the same kind of workout it would by also doing things like pec flyes and cable crossovers.

    Guys are conditioned to hit the gym on Monday and do bench presses. It's international bench press day. What would happen if a guy were to start with pec flyes? They wouldn't, because they don't want their bench to suffer. Well the simple fact is start with pec flyes and you might actually get a bigger chest. And this is one thing we talk about with the IPPA and sports performance in general: there is more than one kind of hypertrophy.

    Hypertrophy is about getting muscle cells much bigger, but these muscle cells have high water content. So it is not just about increasing the density of the protein content within the muscles, it is about increasing the water content inside the muscle cell, so that it bulges out. And strength training does a much better job at increasing the thickness of the protein, but bodybuilding hypertrophy does a much better job of increasing the whole muscle size. At some point, cross sectional area of muscle and strength are no longer related.

    At the beginning, certainly the bigger muscle is going to be stronger but as you continue getting stronger that muscle doesn't necessarily continue getting larger. I was a successful bench pressing power lifter and had a decent-sized chest, but compared to the size of my bench press, if muscle mass was directly related to strength, then I should have been at least 30 pounds bigger.

    At some point the recreational everyday person is going to see benefits doing everything but somewhere along the line you are going to have to say to yourself, "What do I really want?" If that means worrying more about your pecs getting bigger rather than your bench, then that's the move, or the other way.

    It's the same with sports performance. You want to be faster, but then getting much bigger arms and legs doesn't necessarily make you any faster. Unless those muscles contribute to the performance of your speed, they are not helping. There are a lot of professional athletes who want to look good on camera. You know what will make you look good on camera? Being successful in your sport. You are hall of fame bound if your performance is good, not if you have big biceps.

    If Muscle Mass Was Directly Related To Strength, Then I Should Have Been 30 Pounds Bigger.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    If Muscle Mass Was Directly Related To Strength,
    Then I Should Have Been 30 Pounds Bigger.

    [ DR ] How much of an emphasis would you place on performance aspects for a bodybuilder at the early stage of their training, if they also want to train for other sports?

    [ DS ] Well, I always say the more things you try to do the worse you get at any one thing. It doesn't mean you can't be a good athlete and a successful bodybuilder. But you are more likely to be successful if you concentrate more on muscle size and quality than you do on sports performance, so to speak. And there is a fine line; no two people respond the same, as we know. So there is always that decision that somehow has to be made.

    But in the beginning, for people looking to get a bit stronger, faster and better there is a way to potentially do that, but again you are going to have to make a decision as to what your real needs are, what your goal is. But at the beginning I think it is possible to establish a strength-based workout that will increase your overall power and muscle size, a general strength training kind of deal.

    If you want to get more explosive, though, you will have to do some power training, and if you want to get larger, you will have to do hypertrophy training.

    [ DR ] So as general rules, these approaches - hypertrophy and power training - can always be overlaid with strength work if the need arises for this type of training?

    [ DS ] Yes, and again, if I had a pro bodybuilder that was looking to get bigger and leaner, building up some athleticism certainly won't hurt them, provided it does not detract from their muscle density and quality. It is about looking in the mirror at what you really need. Not what you want, but what you need. Hopefully they are the same, but often, they are not. I would like to do so many things, but at the end of the day, there are only so many things I can do. So you have to make the decision and you have to stick with it.

    [ DR ] What degree of importance would you place upon nutrition and rest as strength and muscle-building components?

    [ DS ] Huge. I'm a big fan of nutrient timing. There is enough research now to say definitely without a doubt that before, during and immediately after your workout are the times that you need to get nutrients in. There needs to be a combination of proteins, carbohydrates and a little bit of fat, but not too much, or even zero fat. And there is research to show that it is protein that really makes that big difference. And getting it right before, during or after - preferably all three, but if not, immediately before and after - will help to not only improve muscle size and density but also muscle recovery.

    And obviously the recovery process is the rebuilding of the muscles. So you will always breakdown muscle when you workout hard and create those tiny micro tears and structural damage of the muscle. When muscle breaks down you have to build that up and that process is protein based. So you have to rebuild, and the faster you have the tools to do this, the faster you will recover. Now with heavy duty, the harder you work - and I don't mean the harder you breathe, but the more muscle tissue you recruit and the more damage you do - the longer it takes to recover. So generally the heavier you lift and the greater the volume, the longer it takes to recover. But if you cut back on the weight a little, even the greater volume will still allow for plenty of recovery time.

    I think a big mistake people make when they are lifting to get larger is that they are lifting heavy too often. If you want to get stronger, you have to lift heavier. If you want to get faster, you must move faster. But if you want to get bigger, you have to use more volume and more volume doesn't necessarily mean more weight, it means more in terms of other variables like more repetitions and more repeated exposure.

    So cutting back a little on the weights and getting more reps and sets tends to give the muscles a better chance to recover and build up in size. Whereas for strength, you literally just have to beat the hell out of the tissue, but when you do that it can take a heck of a long time to recover. Doing big tire flips and Atlas stones - strongman stuff - that can take days, if not weeks, to recover from those kinds of workouts.

    [ DR ] So supplementation is very important as well, as far as nutrient timing is concerned?

    [ DS ] What I will say is that there is only one time in your day or throughout your life when you know that a stressful event is going to occur and that is when you train. Why? Because you are planning to workout. So for the rest of the day, I have no idea, I don't know what is going to happen. Any number of things could happen at work or at play. I've got mental stresses that come and go. The only time I know there will be physical stress for sure is when I work out. And I'm the one who controls the physical stress. So if I know what kind of stress is going to happen and when, does it not make sense to provide the right tools to help with the recovery from this stress? And what's the best way to do that? Nutrition. And what type of nutrition? Something that gets absorbed relatively quickly. So while a steak might be cool, what is the absorption time of that steak?

    I've Got Mental Stresses That Come And Go.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    I've Got Mental Stresses That Come And Go.

    [ DR ] And degree of assimilation matters as well.

    [ DS ] Yes exactly. So if I know that I'm taking a liquid type of supplement and it absorbs relatively quickly, even if I absorb a little bit or a lot of it I know that it is going to get there quickly. And those 30 minutes before and after training is known, so I might as well stick a supplement in there. But I don't know how long the steak and potato or whatever else will take to digest. It's super important; I think timing is everything.

    [ DR ] Thank you for sharing your thoughts David. It has been a pleasure talking with you. Finally, what message would you give to an aspiring bodybuilding competitor who is contemplating competition but has not yet made that first step toward this aim?

    [ DS ] What I always say is, "Quit your bitching and suck it up." You are the one who is deciding to do it; nobody has a gun to your head. That's it. Work hard. We all get sore and we all have problems. Everything hurts. For all those figure and bodybuilding competitors who want to stand onstage, it is your ego that puts you up there onstage and standing in front of people in a banana hammock. So don't come bitching if you are not working as hard as you can.

    Are you truly giving 100 percent effort all the time, are you? Are you doing that at every end of the coin? Are you watching what you are eating, trying to get that nutrient timing down, working hard and sensibly during your workouts and going after your goals, and targeting what you specifically need to reach these goals? If you are doing all of this then you might be a candidate. But I don't think anyone on this planet can honestly say that. So quit your bitching.

    We all know that life happens. I don't care if you live at home with your parents as a teenager or whether you have a handful of kids, it can be done. The same thing goes for the woman who has had three kids and won a figure contest. The difference is that those guys have sucked it up. They have quit their bitching, and they have worked hard. That is it in a nutshell.

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