After a successful college career as a long distance runner, Dave Palumbo, at age 22, began training with weights to look good at the beach. 14-years-later, Dave's physique resembles a science project with massive amounts of muscle hanging off every square inch of his body - hardly your average beach-body.
In fact, Dave's average bodyweight seldom falls below a superbly conditioned 285lbs (he has been as high as 315!) and it is with this physique he has been trying to claw his way to the top of the bodybuilding world. Following a win at the 95 Junior USA Championships, Dave embarked on a quest to turn pro.
He showed remarkable perseverance as he continually narrowly missed his chance - a testimony to the quality of competitors at the time. At both the 02' NPC Nationals and 03' NPC USA Dave placed 2nd in the super-heavyweight class. He continues to pursue his dream of turning pro.
Despite having never won a pro-card (Dave has attempted this 18-times over 9-years), Dave has become one of today's most popular bodybuilders, with mass appeal second to none.
Editor of RX Muscle, and prolific seminar speaker and guest poser, Dave is consummately professional in his approach to bodybuilding and believes the public should be given value for money.
His underpinning philosophy is to educate bodybuilding enthusiasts by disseminating the truth about the political, and performance enhancing, side of the sport.
Dave is now a member of the federal prison system, but will be back in five-months time to re-assert himself as one of the biggest, most muscular competitors of all time - and to speak the truth.
[ Q ] Hi Dave. You are one of the most massive, and popular, bodybuilders in the world. Are you able to make your living from bodybuilding despite not yet winning a pro card? How do explain your popularity?
- I make a living from the sport of bodybuilding because I have found a niche for myself. I have established a reputation as a competitive bodybuilder who is also an educator.
People respect my knowledge because I LIVE WHAT I PREACH! I am probably more famous because I haven't turned pro - to the minds of many I have become sort of a people's champion.
[ Q ] Please provide some background on yourself (age, height, current weight, and contest history). Also, at what age did you become a bodybuilder, and what was your motivation for doing so at the time?
- 36, 5'11", 285 lbs.
I became a bodybuilder at 22 years old after finishing up a successful college career as a long distance runner. I started lifting weights to look good at the beach.
1995 NPC Jr. USA Champ
2002 NPC Nationals: 2nd place, Super Heavyweight
2003 NPC USA: 2nd place, Super Heavyweight
[ Q ] What are your current competition plans? What are your long-term bodybuilding goals?
- I won't compete until the end of 2005. Long term, I'd like to be an ambassador for the sport. I'd like to institute change and help get more rights for the athletes. I will also continue to write
[ Q ] What has been your best moment in bodybuilding so far?
- Guest posing ANYWHERE is always the greatest high!
[ Q ] You are renowned for consistently stepping on stage in shredded condition. How do you achieve this?
- Conditioning is really the only variable you have control over when you step on stage. I don't want to give up on that.
[ Q ] What is your view on aerobic training? Is it necessary in the off-season in your view?
- I do not think its necessary, off season. When too much
- is done off-season, and then it's time to start dieting for a contest, the body doesn't respond as well.
[ Q ] Describe your current training regime. What are your favorite exercises? What do you consider to be your strongest muscle-groups?
- My legs are by far the strongest. I have
- 800lbs for 4 reps and I have
- 600lbs for 8 reps. I train each body-part once per week.
[ Q ] Describe your present diet. What changes are made during the pre-contest period? How much additional weight do you gain in the off-season? What is your off-season strategy?
- I eat 8 times per day (50g protein, 20g fat, 30g carbs per meal).
Pre-contest, I cut the carbs back to 15 grams per meal, and I up the fat to 30g per meal.
Sources of fat include: olive oil, cashew nuts, almonds, all natural peanut butter, egg yolks, and salmon.
I've actually designed a protein shake called, PALUMBO'S ANBOLIC ELIXIR. It includes a unique protein blend consisting of whey and egg protein complexes with a rich variety of essential fats.
In recent times, my weight gain in the off-season has been minimal. I usually go up to 280lbs (the heaviest) and then, for a contest, I come down to 265lbs. Back in the late 1990's, I used to blow up to a relatively lean 315lbs; however, it was just too uncomfortable.
[ Q ] When planning your diet, what is one of the most important variables for you?
- I never combine fats and carbs in the same meal as this causes the body to store more fat. It also kills the appetite when you should be eating smaller, more frequent, protein feedings to boost the metabolism. Above all, protein should be focused on.
[ Q ] Where do you currently live and what is the bodybuilding culture like there? What gym do you train at?
- I live in Seaford, NY (which is on Long Island). I train at Bev Francis Golds
- Gym in Syosset, NY. It's the last hardcore gym on Long Island. They have some of the best equipment I have ever used.
[ Q ] Do you have any bodybuilding-related occupations?
- I do personalized consults with clients; in person and over the internet.
[ Q ] What other opportunities has bodybuilding allowed you to pursue?
- I've appeared in several movies, television commercials, and talk shows due to my hyper-muscular physique.
[ Q ] You completed three years of medical school. Do you have any intention of resuming your medical training? What areas of medicine are you interested in?
- No, I didn't like working with sick people. I enjoy practicing preventative medicine and keeping healthy people, healthy!
Bodybuilding, however, has definitely helped me in my bodybuilding endeavors. It has given me my very own niche. I'm a competitive bodybuilder who can talk the talk as well as walk the walk.
[ Q ] You are also author and founder of SMART personal training. Describe this course and exactly what it entails?
- S.M.A.R.T. Training came about as a response to my frustration with all the existing courses on the market. Not one single course has been significantly updated in the last 8 years. Not one course even bothers to address the new thinking on high protein diets and performance enhancing supplements.
S.M.A.R.T tackles all these issues as well as having the most extensive "hands-on" (in gym) teaching available anywhere (taught exclusively by top national-level bodybuilders).
S.M.A.R.T also happens to be the only personal training certification course that is actually accredited by an American college (DOWLING COLLEGE, Oakdale, NY).
[ Q ] What do you think it takes to become a good personal trainer?
- and a desire to be a great trainer, as well as a good psychologist.
[ Q ] What advice would you give to an aspiring bodybuilder Dave?
- There are many, many, different ways to gain muscle and lose fat, and none of these ways would necessarily be wrong. My advice would be to find someone you trust, and listen to them, and only them. Do not listen to too many different opinions.
[ Q ] You are the editor of your own muscle magazine RX Muscle, which discusses bodybuilding in an open and honest way. Why did you decide to put together a newsletter?
- Training, politics and performance-enhancing supplement issues are often not discussed in an open forum. I think my magazine is truthful with regard to these issues.
People often use anabolic substances in a dangerous way and I would like to educate people to use them properly. The magazine is bi-monthly.
[ Q ] What is your view on supplementation? What supplements do you take and what works in your opinion?
- I think a good quality
- , and an
- supplement are a great start. Add to that,
- (anti-oxidants) and you have the beginnings of fortified supplement stack.
[ Q ] What is your view on the future of bodybuilding? Do you think it will ever be accepted by mainstream society as a legitimate sport?
- No, it will never be mainstream. However, I don't really think that we want it to be mainstream. The "freakish" aspect to the sport is what gives it its appeal. Why would we want to make it acceptable to all the uptight people of the world?
[ Q ] What are some of the things you love about competing as a bodybuilder? Are there any drawbacks to being so massive?
- I love being unique and bodybuilding definitely gives me that distinction.
The only drawbacks to being this big are that I have a humongous food bill and I cannot, for the life of me, find anything to fit me. I, literally wear shorts, and a tank top all year long. In the winter, I throw on a sweatshirt to keep from getting pneumonia.
[ Q ] Where do you see yourself in ten years time Dave?
- I hope to be a successful writer of novels, self-help books, and possibly a movie script or two (all projects containing a bodybuilding undertone, of course).
[ Q ] Is there anything you would like to add or anyone you would like to thank?
- As Shakespeare once wrote,
To thine own self be true!