Interview with Dan the Powerlifter and Porkchop

  • Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Current Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Height: 5’6″
  • Weight: 250-260lbs.
  • Age: 32
  • Quote: “You gonna eat all that?”
  • Favorite Cheat Meal: I eat whatever I want, but my current favourite dishes are Korean Pork Bone Soup, and Momofuku Ramen Noodles, which has pork belly, pork shoulder, and a poached egg.
  • Websites: www.powerlifter.me, www.youtube.com/jungleawayoflife

You have had a pretty amazing transformation. How long did it take you to change your body and what was your diet like that took you from 120 lbs to 264 lbs.? Would you have done anything differently?

dan-powerlifter-1At the beginning, I ate a lot of Hamburger Helper after reading a forum post back in early 2000 by Clint Darden of what he ate to get his weight up. I stacked that with meatball subs, milk, lots of white jasmine rice, store bought weight gainer powder and any food my parents made that had a lot of meat in it; they would sometimes cook meals that were more veggies.

If I could go back and start again knowing what I know today, I would switch out the Hamburger Helper and store bought weight gainer powder with more home cooked meals. And I would make my own gainer mixes. Basically I would try to avoid artificial flavours, preservatives, and sweeteners as much as possible.

What are the best and worst things about such a dramatic transformation?

The worst is the mounting food bills! I’ve had to go into slower growth or maintenance modes in the past, just to make other more important bills, but because of that I’ve become a master of bulking on a budget.

The best is the strength gains. When I first started bench pressing at about 20 years old, I couldn’t even do 90lbs. But by sticking to my diet and training plans, I’ve been able to reach one of my long-term goals of repping 315lbs. Also the things I’ve learned through bodybuilding and powerlifting like perseverance, discipline and critical thinking have permeated and enriched other areas of my life.

I really enjoyed your website tell us a little bit about it and what people can expect when they go there.

They can find my how-to articles, tips and recipes for strength and mass building from a hard gainer’s perspective and firsthand experience. I also have my training and diet log on there where you can get progress updates on any new plans I’m trying out. The latest experiment is switching from Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 for Powerlifting 3/5/1 program back to the Conjugate Method, Westside Barbell. I’ve come across some things during the switch that will be featured in an upcoming article.

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Tell us what you have been doing recently, your new job and your future plans.

Lately I’ve been getting some things together for my Drum & Bass album that’s coming out on a UK based record label. There will be a limited vinyl release of 250 copies along with an mp3 download option. You can preview some of it on my other website www.profanebeatz.com.

At the beginning of July, I landed a much better and more demanding job doing technical support for a national Canadian corporation. I’m working on settling into this new role and balancing it with my other ambitions.

I noticed from some of your videos you train in your apartment. Are there any limitations that you have run into and what equipment are you able to use?

I try to be a good neighbour so I’ve changed my deadlift style from when I used to train in a garage powerlifting gym. I’ve gone from dropping the bar to lowering it slowly to minimize noise. I used to feel space was a limitation, but I’ve been able to get creative with strength bands and the rest of my equipment. Plus my condo just got a universal cable gym for even more options.

Tell us about your dog Porkchop. How long you have had him and what are your favorite things to do together?

dan-powerlifter-3Porkchop is an English Bulldog and almost four and half years old. He loves to nap all day and play his version of fetch, which involves catching the ball and then chewing on it instead of bringing it back. He’s the best.

You have quite a YouTube following with Porkchop’s videos how did that come about?

I think it’s mostly from having the channel since about 2008.

What did your routine look like when you were starting out as opposed to now and what program are you currently running?

At the start I was doing a typical 4 day bodybuilding split that looked something like this:

  • Day 1. Chest and triceps
  • Day 2. Back and biceps
  • Day 3. Rest
  • Day 4. Shoulders and traps
  • Day 5. Quads, hams, and calves
  • Day 6. and 7. Rest

Right now I’m maintaining strength and muscle mass while settling into my new job. I’m training 2 days a week. One for upper and the other for lower. I work up to a max triple or five and then do an accessory movement that I hate doing.

What are the biggest mistakes you see in beginning weightlifters?

The biggest would be not eating enough. I often hear, “but I eat all the time” and then when they breakdown what they eat and add up the calories and macros, the truth comes out.

You seem like you have your diet really nailed down. How long did it take you to dial in your nutrition? And how important of a role do you feel nutrition plays in your personal performance?

For bulking it did not take long. I used to read bodybuilding magazines and in one of them it had a guideline on how much protein, carbs and fats to eat to add mass. It took many years of consistency, but it worked without much tweaking. Nutrition is vital for my personal performance. I can recover faster and have more productive training sessions when my diet is consistently on point.

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It looks like you’re a very good cook. Who taught you to cook or did you learn more out of necessity? What suggestions would you give to other guys out there who don’t cook their meals and only focus on the lifting aspect?

Filipino dishes I learned by watching my parents. The rest is self-taught by just looking up recipes and watching cooking shows on T.V. or YouTube. I have five star tastes but a three star budget so learning to cook was necessary and I’ve grown to enjoy it. Recently I’ve looked into chef colleges to further my skills.

What motivates you?

The adrenaline from lifting heavy and the feeling of beating a personal record.

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