On this episode of the Get Better Project I get to speak with Dave Lipson of ThundrBro!
Resources and links mentioned in this podcast
“My dick was in the dirt… and now I’m pain free” – Dave Lipson
Questions for Dave Lipson of ThundrBro:
A lot of times the conversation will get so interesting that I end up not using all of these questions, and that was totally the case with Dave.
Where did you grow up?
– How did you get into CrossFit and what about it drew you in?
– What was your turning point to get out of competitive CrossFit?
– What are your current fitness goals?
– What is Thundr Bro and more importantly… how did you come up with the name?
– How would you explain your diet habits?
– How often do you “cheat” on your diet?
– What’s your favorite cheat meal?
– Do you take any supplements and what do you like best?
– What experiments have you tried in the past (diet, training modalities, recovery, etc) that did or didn’t work for you?
– You’re great at being charismatic in the spotlight, was that natural or learned?
– What aspects of your current journey are the most fun?
– Have you ever been injured?
– Do you ever feel like giving up? And if so, what keeps you going when you feel like quitting?
– What do you do in life outside the gym (work, family, business, etc.)?
– When someone asks you about advice on getting to the Games OR competing in bodybuilding, what do you tell them?
– Is there anything that you think is important for listeners to know that we didn’t already talk about?
– How can people find and follow you? Self promotion!
Full Transcript of the Show
Joe Bauer (00:39):
Hey guys. Welcome to the get better project. Where in this interview, I am going to be talking with Dave Lipson. Dave Lipson is actually the guy that got me to jump over to CrossFit from doing endurance style sports and just lifting weights in the gym. We were both personal trainers in New York city and he one day said, Hey, you gotta try this CrossFit thing. So I gave it a shot and never really looked back so many years later, we’re here today and I’m excited to interview Dave. Who’s gone from a professional baseball player to a high level CrossFit athlete. And then after getting injured now has headed into the bodybuilding arena. And Dave is a very smart individual, which is why I’m excited to talk with him today about his program ThundrBro and how he got into it. And what is the deal with all this hypertrophy training that he’s doing? So basically muscular growth. So without further ado, we’re going to jump right into this podcast with Dave Lipson of thunder row. Enjoy Dave Lipson.
Joe Bauer (01:52):
How’s it going, man?
Dave Lipson (01:53):
God, man. How are you doing? Thanks for having me on.
Joe Bauer (01:55):
Yeah, you bet. You bet. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually seen her talk to you. So man looking big, looking good.
Dave Lipson (02:04):
We’re getting there. It’s a long, long process, but a Couple, couple of pounds every year.
Joe Bauer (02:10):
Heck yeah man, I don’t, I don’t know if you know this, but you were actually the person that motivated me to get into CrossFit way back in New York city.
Dave Lipson (02:20):
I had no idea.
Joe Bauer (02:22):
Yeah, man, I had I’d been introduced to it before, but I never had actually been pushed over the edge until, until big Dave Lipson said, you should try this for one last time and I gave it a shot. So thank you for that.
Dave Lipson (02:36):
Oh, you’re welcome. I hope it’s been a good journey.
Joe Bauer (02:38):
It’s been a great journey and I think that it’s interesting how things continue to evolve. And I’m excited to talk with you today about how things have evolved for you specifically. So man, uh, like I’m interested actually, and I think a lot of people having listened to podcasts and following you on Instagram, things like that would love to know where you grew up. And like, I think that a lot of people know that you’ve played professional baseball, but like where, first of all, where did you grow up?
Dave Lipson (03:08):
Um, so I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut. It’s, it’s pretty close to New York city. You know, it was like 45 minutes outside the city, typical kind of a tri-state area. Um, my mother, she’s a school teacher for 35 years. My father’s a rabbi than a rabbi now for almost 40 years. And uh, yeah, pretty, pretty great upbringing. A lot of, a lot of good, uh, influences and parents coaches, uh, you know, good people to give me, uh, give me guidance as I was, I was growing up in a really, really nice town Norwalk, like, uh, a great community, but growing up, playing baseball there, like I still talk to some of my old teammates and stuff from like literally. And, um, it was, it was a fun place to grow up.
Joe Bauer (03:54):
Nice. Does your family still live there?
Dave Lipson (03:57):
I’m sorry. Was that, does your family still live there?
Dave Lipson (04:00):
Yeah, I mean, my, my family is like, everyone loves Raymond. Uh, my sister lives like shouting distance from my parents. Uh, they all, they all do the same thing work at the same places in the same block. Um, they are very much stationary and from the time I was 18, although I loved growing up there, I knew it was, I was, I was going to leave and probably never come back. And that’s what I did. You know, like left, went to college, did baseball for a long time, then crossed it, brought me all around the country. I personally like, uh, I knew that I wanted to live in some places that had a scenery and an actual, like physical beauty that I’d always dreamed about being around. So we lived out in San Diego for a while. We got to do the beach thing. Now we live out in Colorado and we’re out in the mountains and this is our dream is just to be around some like really the raw beauty of the country.
Joe Bauer (04:54):
Oh man. I, I cannot agree more. I think that being out in the country is, is where it’s at having lived in a van for the last year and a half. How, how long did you play professional baseball for?
Dave Lipson (05:05):
So I played from 2005 to 2009. Um, and uh, this was like a bounce around the minor leagues quite a bit. The after my college career was over, um, you know, I played in a couple of different organizations all around the country. I think I went to almost every single major, minor city.
Dave Lipson (05:27):
Um, so when people are like, Oh, I’m from this, you know, sitting in Iowa, I’ve probably been there once or twice before. Um, let’s give you a minor league baseball as you travel a lot. Uh, you got a lot of time on the bus to, uh, talk to your Dominican teammates or, um, you know, uh, read, read books, watch videos. So I became quite a movie buff cause I blocked lots of movies on the buses, like long 13 hour bus rides. Um, and did quite a bit of reading. That’s where I originally started studying strength and conditioning and um, you know, study, get my CSCS just going from city to city on bus rides, trying to crack away at this like 800 page textbook.
Joe Bauer (06:05):
Oh yeah, man. So what, at what point did baseball end and then you personal train for a while before finding CrossFit and that was in New York city. What then led you into CrossFit? So baseball to personal training to CrossFit?
Dave Lipson (06:23):
Yeah, I think, um, you know, when you’re, when you’re an athlete and you, you play the sport for a while and you’re lucky enough to play at a high level, what usually ends up happening is like there’s a big part of your identity. That’s connected to that sport. You know, I remember from the time I was eight years old, I was going to be a baseball player. That was it. I was going to be a professional baseball player and that’s what I was going to do. And, um, and I was lucky enough to get to play at some of the higher levels and for a really long time. And then when you’re done, it’s kind of like, uh, if you ever seen the movie Zoolander before, it’s like that moment where Zoolander looks in the puddle and he goes like, who, who am I?
Dave Lipson (06:57):
You know? And, um, I was, I was pretty fortunate that I fell into strength and conditioning before my career was over. I really started getting into it when I had an arm injury , uh, elbow surgery that I started learning about it and doing myself and even training some of my teammates in the last couple of years of my career. So I knew that as my career was winding out, I kind of knew I was going to end up as a strength and conditioning coach.
Dave Lipson (07:21):
Um, because I just, I recognized that I had a bit of a knack for it. You know, I like doing it myself and I loved showing it to other people. So, um, I was kind of in my last couple of years of being on the fence, whether I was going to go back and play another season when I started training people. And by the time that I was ready to end my career, I had already had a path set where I had a job lined up. I had some really good experience. I had some good mentors to learn from even treating any conditioning coaches and it taught me, um, that were going to give me opportunities to continue to kind of learn from them. Um, and that, that eventually turned into a much longer, more fruitful career than my baseball career.
Joe Bauer (07:59):
Yeah, absolutely. And then how long did you personal train before finding CrossFit and going like head over heels into that?
Dave Lipson (08:06):
I mean, I love, I love personal training. Like that is the for me. There’s nothing better than getting to work one-on-one with an athlete. Um, getting to actually read them, get to know them on a more personal basis. I think that’s, you know, in terms of what I enjoy as a trainer, that’s my favorite thing is being a one-on-one. I started, I found CrossFit, you know, probably around 2008 or I started kind of dabbling in it and that was group training. And what I did was I just started doing CrossFit with my individual athletes. Um, so I started showing my private clientele. We, you know, we do some workouts, um, especially in New York where it’s kind of hard to run a group of anything. Um, it was easy for me to kind of do that on a one-on-one, but then as you know, more and more people wanting to come and train, I, I knew that I was gonna eventually have to like get out of that training space and be able to train a group. Um, so we went and, uh, we moved to San Diego, we opened up a gym there, we went to Boston, we opened up a gym there and eventually we landed on online training as the best option. Um, because you know, with online training, your gym is kind of limitless and you have a lot of opportunity to share good information with a bunch of people.
Joe Bauer (09:17):
Oh, heck yeah. So when, when you were in CrossFit and being competitive CrossFit athlete, at what point did that turn from? I can do CrossFit sustainably and then I can’t do CrossFit sustainably anymore. I need to look for something different.
Dave Lipson (09:35):
Yeah. I think that that can probably be different for everybody, for me. Uh, you know, I probably did what most people do and, you know, went all in and said, I’m going to be the fittest man on earth and try to just, just, uh, you know, almost beat myself in the ground with the training, probably trained a little irresponsibly. So I wouldn’t even say that I was doing CrossFit. Um, as a competitor, I was just doing a lot of a lot. And, uh, you know, the CrossFit methodology really is about health and longevity and CrossFit competition about something else that’s about being, you know, being the fittest on earth. So it’s not necessarily, um, conducive towards health and longevity it’s conducive towards performance at all costs.
Dave Lipson (10:16):
So, um, so yeah, it was, it was probably, um, in 2013 and 14, when my body kind of started breaking down a little bit, I started getting some, you know, back pain and shoulder pain and things that would eventually require surgery.
Dave Lipson (10:32):
Um, and, uh, you know, it wasn’t until I was able to, um, completely accept that I could no longer do what I was doing, um, to get what I want, that my mind started to change on things, because I’m very stubborn. I would just hurt myself and go back in the gym and do the same thing and hurt myself and go back to the gym and then feel bad about myself. Cause I couldn’t, you know, deadlift what I once lifted or the spot on the leaderboard, wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Um, when really at that point, um, those were all goals that had kind of been peer pressured into me by the people around me. And what I really wanted was just like, look good and feel good. So, uh, after surgery was when I really started doing some hard thinking and, and landing it onsite idea of, you know, why don’t I try to combine performance and aesthetics so that I can keep training the rest of my life and get what I want out of my program.
Joe Bauer (11:22):
Yeah. And then how did that, like, what, what’s the next step? How did that go in or turn into ThundrBro? And where, where did you get this idea of? Like, I want to study hypertrophy and all this stuff?
Dave Lipson (11:34):
ThundrBro, a funny story. Like honestly, it’s, um, the, the hypertrophy thing. Um, I can tell you exactly like where that came from. Um, after back surgery, you’re, you’re stuck on a couch. It’s kind of like being on a desert Island, you’re there for weeks. You can’t really move. People gotta pick you up to help you pee and you got a lot of time to think. And so I was thinking, you know, when I get out of this situation, because it’s miserable, when I get out of here, what am I going to do with my body? Like I never want to be here again, but when I can use my body again, I’m going to appreciate it more and I’m going to use it the way that I want to use it to get what I want out of it. I started thinking, you know, I want to have a goal, like probably competing CrossFit is not a good goal.
Dave Lipson (12:17):
That’s probably just going to land me back on the operating table and, you know, same thing with like power lifting or Olympic lifting. I love strength, but like, you know, those things, it’s just not, that’s not the path. And I realized that, you know, the first time I ever went into a gym when I was 16 years old and I grabbed a set of dumbbells or doing bicep curls, I was doing it because I wanted a big arms cause I wanted to get chicks. Like that’s what everyone does. Right. And it’s cause I wanted, I wanted imposing physicality. And uh, and I, you know, realized I’d never really pursued that before. Um, and my rehabilitation was so similar to hypertrophy training or bodybuilding where you’re doing slow and controlled movements. It’s, submaximal loads just trying to fortify tissues and connective tissue and muscle to make things bigger and stronger.
Dave Lipson (13:02):
And I really enjoyed that. I said, you know what, I’m going to, I’m going to really give bodybuilding and go, but I’m going to try to combine it with what I know from fitness. Cause I, you know, neither one of those just bodybuilding or just CrossFit, they’re great, but they each have their drawbacks. Um, and I was looking for something sustainable where maybe I could combine performance and aesthetics together. So I started, uh, researching a lot of stuff. I connected with a mentor of mine, Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, who’s the world’s foremost expert on muscle hypertrophy. And uh, he wrote a book called the science of muscle hypertrophy and he’s a very academic guy. He deals with a lot of, you know, scrutinizing a lot of different studies. But from his book that I read and from connecting with him, um, I was able to highlight three different mechanisms that you can use and train factors that correlate with them to be able to get muscles to grow.
Dave Lipson (13:52):
And all I did was take those theories and try to combine them with functional fitness and, uh, and, and more functional movements to be able to try to get both of those things to happen together. Um, I designed a program for myself where I was going to lift 40% of my one rep max for eight sets of eight reps. And that was going to be how I plan to gain my muscle back after a back surgery. And I was shocked at how well it works. I was like, Holy crap. I put on 30 pounds of muscle and I didn’t have to go as fast as I could or lift as heavy as I could. Um, and my back feels better. So, um, so I really was intrigued by it. And, uh, I went to one of my bosses at the time, Dave Castro and Nicole Carroll, and they were asking Camille and I about designing our own course.
Dave Lipson (14:36):
And I said, Hey, I got the perfect idea for a course. We should do a CrossFit hypertrophy course all about how you can combine hypertrophy work with CrossFit that they both immediately shot down. They said, no, we can’t do that. And that’s because, you know, there’s this stigma about how it’s non-functional and it’s really not even true. It’s just mostly people that don’t understand what bodybuilding even is. But I said, you know what, let me write an article about what I’ve learned and I’ll publish it in the CrossFit journal and you guys can read it and maybe it’ll change your mind. So I started writing this article and it became bigger and bigger and bigger. It just went from page to page to page and eventually ended up being a hundred pages because there’s so many layers to hypertrophy.
Dave Lipson (15:16):
There’s understanding, you know, the anatomy of muscle fibers and understanding the mechanisms that drive hypertrophy and understanding how to apply that with CrossFit and functional fitness.
Dave Lipson (15:26):
And then all the nutrition protocols that go around that and the recovery and the strategies. There’s just like so many layers to this that it became really robust. And after I’d written a hundred pages, I called the CrossFit journal and said, Hey, if I, if I submit this article to you, which is really a book, you’d probably make it a multi-part article. Would you guys own it? Cause I’ve probably invested like hundreds of hours of writing. It’s so broad. They said, yeah, we would. And I said, you know what, that I’m going to publish it myself. And so I got together with one of my good buddies, Andrew Charlesworth who also at that time was working with me on staff. And we really, I did some hypertrophy workouts with him and he loved it. And we were talking about how cool it would be the kind of combine the two things together.
Dave Lipson (16:08):
There’s a little bit of CrossFit with some of the bodybuilding so that people don’t plateau, but we can help them come out of, or avoid injuries or at the very least get what they want out of the program. Because like we’ve been saying like most people are training because they want to look good and feel good. Not because they want to be the fittest man or woman on earth. Um, and uh, we designed this website called ThundrBro, which the idea, of ThundrBro is basically like I was in a place where, uh, I was, I was in a dark place physically and mentally, like my body had deteriorated, um, by my heart, everything was like.. My dick was in the dirt and I was like, I gotta, I gotta make a change. Like I got to find a way to start bringing some Thunder.
Dave Lipson (16:50):
And the best way to do that is with your bros people, like-minded people that, uh, want, want to be their best. And we say, you know, in the, in the gym, uh, in the home, in sport, in life and at work, just bring thunder, like find a way to win. Um, and that’s what ThundrBro is about, is finding a way to win, um, and feel successful in what you’re doing in the gym.
Dave Lipson (17:13):
So we had this idea, I had this book hypertrophy for functional fitness, and we decided why don’t we kind of combine it with that program? I did, which was my eight by eight 90 day get huge program. And, uh, we also had an idea for this like testosterone, boosting coffee, um, that I was using all these adaptogenic herbs to help raise my testosterone. And we both loved drinking coffees or what if we did like a pre-workout or as like a testosterone boosting coffee where people could get all these herbs and their pre-workout drink was a beet powder is like a vasodilator.
Dave Lipson (17:45):
Um, and we made a Shopify site, made some t-shirts. We designed the books, um, and we put a couple grand into it. And I remember being so nervous that, you know, poor Andrew was going to lose his thousand dollars. He put in his, he was trying to buy a house and he’s got two gyms. He’s just trying to, trying to like get by and make it all work. And I was like, man, I really hope we make our money back.
Dave Lipson (18:05):
And we made it back in the first half hour that we were open, because what we realized after that first day was that there is an insatiable demand of people just like us who have either hit a plateau or maybe got a little bit stale on the CrossFit, the competition side of things, especially, or have been beat down so much by injury that they feel like there’s no, there’s nothing more for them or that this is a dead end that, uh, you know, we’ve provided a path for them to still be able to thrive, um, and show them that there’s, there’s still more in you. There’s still more out there. You can still have the best physique of your life, even if you’re broken down. And to be honest, that’s what most people want when the training trainings is they want to be able to wear that work on their body. So when they walk in a room, people know that they train.
Joe Bauer (18:51):
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s really interesting. And in getting ready for this interview, I actually went through and read the hypertrophy for functional fitness and I’ve done some of the workouts. And I think that it’s really cool and it is fun and it’s harder than I would have expected, which it actually has come back around and helped me for CrossFit workouts. So that is really interesting. Who do you call your ideal clientele when someone asks me, is this right for me?
Dave Lipson (19:21):
Um, yeah. I mean, like, I think most of our clients are like 25 to 40 year old guys and girls where it’s probably probably have more guys because to be honest with you, most guys want to be bigger, you know, like they want to, they want to have that Adonis kind of looking body. So, um, a lot of that, but really it’s for anybody out there who, um, is looking to improve their physique, anybody out there, especially who’s dealing with injury, who feels like they’re, you know, they don’t know what to do when they go in the gym now. Um, especially that 90 day program, which is a program that like, you only use 40% of your one rep max, the entire program. And, uh, my cousin, who’s a lawyer. He doesn’t even train, he did the program without me knowing it. And he goes, Hey, I did the program and I put on 15 pounds of muscle.
Dave Lipson (20:08):
And I was like, how did you do that? You don’t even know how to squat because the weight so light that you’re able to move and get consistency. And because the tempos are so slow, you’re able to really control and feel the movements while these things are both good for hypertrophy. They’re fantastic for orthopedic safety too, because the two things that hurt people are speed and load. You know, most people when they get hurt it’s because they went too fast or they went too heavy. So, um, so that has a lot of applications to anybody out there who’s dealing with that stuff. It’s also great for people. Like we have athletes in our program who are former CrossFit games athletes that have basically hit a point where they’re like, I need to do something different. Like I need to rebuild myself. I need to build that foundation up. We call that kind of restructuring their hardware because in CrossFit, so much of the work we’re doing is neurological. Just learning how to, you know, why are the body to move athletically, but very rarely do we just get to work on fortifying joints and making the machine bigger and stronger. So, um, so the pure hypertrophy work is one way to actually build a very formidable machine that you can then apply with the neurological process you’re making by practicing these athletic movements.
Joe Bauer (21:17):
Totally. Why does the slow movement at 40% actually cause muscle growth?
Dave Lipson (21:25):
So it’s never like one percentage or, or one type of tempo. The thing with hypertrophy is that you can elicit it in a lot of different ways. Um, you can elicit it with metabolic stress backs, doing things like accumulating byproducts of exercise, hydrogen and lactate, by using short rest periods. So, you know, for instance, when you get a pump that’s metabolic stress in the muscle, you can do it by changing mechanical loading. So by doing different planes of movements by working ranges, you don’t normally work by working different types of loading, like accommodating resistance or different types of weight. You can manipulate the mechanical loading, but the greatest correlate is muscle micro tearing, which is where you’re actually breaking down the muscle specifically the sarcolemma and, uh, find damage to the myosin and actin and bonds and the muscle cells that allow it to remodel and regrow thicker.
Dave Lipson (22:17):
And that’s best done with time under tension. So whether it’s a three-second tempo or a five or a ten, or whether it’s 40%, 50 or 60%, it doesn’t really matter so much. As long as you’re asking the muscle to do something it’s not accustomed to doing. And you’re able to create that muscular micro tearing, that’s why hypertrophy you, makes you sore. And that’s why when we do our training splits, there’s so much time between muscle groups, because if you do damage to the muscle and you don’t let it recover, not only don’t your hormones completely recover, but the tissue won’t recover and you won’t grow as much. In fact, that could be really inhibit the amount of growth is training too much.
Joe Bauer (22:52):
Yeah, absolutely. And something interesting that I’ve noticed is that having done the program for a few weeks and then going and doing CrossFit training, let’s say, you know, a 5 rounds of 15 thrusters and pull-ups or something like that, the thrusters are actually feeling easier than they would have prior to doing your program. What does that correlation do you have you identified that?
Dave Lipson (23:16):
You know, there’s no real way to know exactly like what, what is going on specifically? We know that there are certain things that occur like the thickening of tissue, right? So the thickening of muscle tissue, the thickening of connected tissue, we do know that by having muscles remodel, thicker and stronger, they have an increased contractile potential now. So if you’re really good at wiring your brain, your muscles, now you’ve basically got more to work with. So, you know, it, the carry over of hypertrophy has a, a tremendous into just general absolute strength because you have a, you know, a stronger machine to then apply your mental capacity to.
Joe Bauer (23:54):
Yeah. Awesome. Very cool. How do you guys tackle diet and nutrition?
Dave Lipson (24:00):
Diet and nutrition are pretty contextual to the adaptations you want most people when they ask us about diet and nutrition, they’re trying to gain size general principles. You need to think about when it comes to putting on muscle with regard to nutrition and being in what we call an anabolic state. So there are two different States you can generally be in if we’re kind of contrasting these two animalism signals growth in the body. So increase muscle size uptake of nutrients. Uh, cannibalism is the opposite. It’s the mobilization of energy. It’s the reduction of mass and it’s the wasting of muscle. So the idea with muscle growth is to obviously spend more time in an anabolic state, which is more conducive towards helping you get bigger and stronger and easy way to do that is making sure that first you’re in a caloric surplus, which means that you’re eating more food than your body currently needs to sustain its its mass.
Dave Lipson (24:52):
So you’re eating, you’re eating more food than your body needs to be at it’s it’s weight right now. Um, and you can calculate that a number of ways, but the generally safe starting point is 20 calories per pound of body weight that puts most people in a caloric deficit where it’s not so extreme that they’re just going to be putting on sloppy body fat, but it’s it’s enough that like, you know, maybe a pound or two a week is a good steady goal. And the same thing, what we’re going to do, uh, in January, we’re talking about cutting. It’s the same thing as like being, being in a fasted state where you can balance the anabolic signal with the catabolic ones you spend most of the day trying to be in a fat mobilizing state and then feed around trainings that your anabolic, when you’re lifting weights and creating those anabolic signals, um, protein’s also really important.
Dave Lipson (25:38):
You know, proteins are the building blocks of muscle. It’s really important. If you are going to be damaging, breaking down muscle and trying to rebuild it, you need to have what we call a positive nitrogen balance, which means that you have a surplus of protein to be able to heal remodel and regrow muscle in a safe place to start with that is about a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. So, you know, if I’m 200 pounds, I should be eating at least 200 grams of proteins to be in a positive nitrogen balance. So calories and protein are probably the two biggest factors. The other factors that are ancillary to that, but also very important are things like sleep. So having good sleep quality where most hormone production, especially anabolic production of thyroid growth, hormone, testosterone, all that stuff recovers at night. So, um, having a good amount of deep sleep is important to become anabolic. And then just general stress outside of training. The body doesn’t make any distinctions between the type of stress it has. It’s not like this is good stress and this is bad stress. So when you go in the gym, you’re stressing yourself. So if you can reduce that stress outside the gym by things like meditation, quiet, or just kind of turning your brain off a little bit, that can also be very as well.
Joe Bauer (26:44):
Yeah. Very cool. Great stuff. Great stuff for sure. What are your current goals?
Dave Lipson (26:50):
So, um, I mean, I have a lot of goals. My biggest one is just continuing to build ThundrBro, and spread this information out and give people good resources and good products. Our community has grown tremendously. We’re now we have our menu, our library of training books. We also have a thriving online community and our muscle anarchy online program. Uh, we have ThundrBro university coming out where it’s going to be an educational platform talking about all this stuff that we’re talking about. Um, we have, we have seminars, events, cruises, and then all of our cool thunder merchandise is just kind of like products that support the lifestyle. So, uh, we’re growing tremendously. That’s number one, uh, personally, and for credibility, my goal is to now progress as a bodybuilder to the next level. Um, because you know, I I’ve just started competing in the sport and, uh, a lot of people were very apprehensive because I was the, CrossFitter the new guy on the scene.
Dave Lipson (27:42):
Um, and now I’m starting to establish myself. I’ve qualified for nationals in every single bodybuilding category. And, you know, I think a great goal for the next year is to compete at nationals and try to do well. And the ultimate would be to get a pro card, which is just like the, the highest level of credibility get as a bodybuilder outside of like winning the Olympia. Everybody wants a pro card, so they know you’re legit. Um, if you, if you win a national show, um, and that takes a tremendous amount of work and investment, but from what I’m doing, it leverages really well against the business because not only do I get to kind of show what that journey looks like and try to be a model or a Guinea pig for our programs, but it gives a level of credibility instead of just saying you do bodybuilding to actually have done. It means a lot more. And it gives you a level of knowledge that you can’t get any other way.
Joe Bauer (28:29):
Yeah, man, what, what do you think that looks like for you to continue in bodybuilding? You know, how, how big is Dave Lipson going to be?
Dave Lipson (28:36):
Well, so it depends on what category you’re competing in a bodybuilding. The men’s side of things has three categories. There’s physique. That’s where you see the guys who wear the board shorts. Those are probably the smallest bodybuilding athletes. They only get graded on the upper body at the pro level. They’re, they’re pretty big dudes, but as you move to categories like classic physique, where now you’re looking at a model that’s that has a height and weight standard based on the model of kind of the golden age of bodybuilding, like Arnold Schwartzenegger is dimension six foot, two, 242 pounds on stage. Um, that that is a, a middle ground category. And then bodybuilding has no weight or height limit. That’s why you see the guys who get really, really big. I personally really liked classic physique and bodybuilding because I love training legs and there’s a lot more layers to it.
Dave Lipson (29:24):
Um, but to be able to qualify in all three of those was very important to me because it shows versatility, most people who compete they’ll compete in a single category. And I think it’s such a CrossFit thing to do, to try to compete in every category, right? Like I want to be the power lifter and the endurance athlete.
Dave Lipson (29:41):
So yeah, nationals next year. I think I have a good shot at that, uh, 225 bodybuilding class and, you know, the higher level you get to the more extreme everything gets. So the, the training protocols and nutrition protocols, the preparation that, you know, just like CrossFit, like it just requires more and more. That’s why I know I’m probably never going to be like just a pro bodybuilder. That’s not the goal. The goal is, is to have the knowledge and experience to be able to get somebody there with one of our athletes. And we have so many athletes who are now getting ready for their first show, you know, like in our muscle NRG group, they, they, they seen as a Chronicle, what I’ve been doing and we’re providing them kind of like a user-friendly idiot’s guide to doing your first show and what you need to know and how to do it. Um, that’s the goal with all this?
Joe Bauer (30:28):
That, that is very cool, man. W w how, how would you explain your cutting without cardio? I know there’s a big topic.
Dave Lipson (30:39):
Without cardio. Yeah. Originally this idea didn’t come from me by any means. I came from one of my good friends, Stan Efforting, who’s known as the world’s strongest bodybuilder. So he was a professional power lifter and a professional bodybuilder. At the same time, the guys got like a 900 pound squat. Um, and he’s an absolute beast. What I love about him is it’s the same idea. He likes to combine performance and aesthetics together. He doesn’t believe he should just be just a display model only, but you should be able to use your size and use your strength and be able to do stuff well. So I was immediately kind of attracted to that, but Stan is such a great knowledgeable guy. And before I was getting ready for my first show, he said, Hey, listen, man, don’t do cardio. Dude, what do you mean? And he goes, it’s called bodybuilding, not body shrinking.
Dave Lipson (31:24):
You don’t need to do cardio. What you need to do is you need to increase your training frequency. So you need to increase the volume of your training, train more throughout the day. So instead of doing one session, split it up into two or three smaller sessions, and you need to be in a caloric deficit so that you’re going to be burning and pulling fat instead of just ripping, ripping through muscle. So a lot of that is nutrition protocols around that, where you’ll spend a good amount of the day in a fasted state, but then around your strength training, you feed. So you’re able to balance the catabolic signals, where you’re actually pulling out of fat stores with the anabolic signals, where you’re trying to preserve as much muscle and stimulate hormones.
Joe Bauer (32:02):
Wow. That’s cool stuff. What is it? What does an actual training day look like in that phase?
Dave Lipson (32:09):
So with thunder cuts, it’s pretty simple. You know, you wake up in the morning, you immediately take a shake. It’s a low calorie, low carbohydrate shake just to kind of refeed replenish your nitrogen, your nitrogen balance. Then you go through what we call a depletion workout, which is a light, a light workout with lightweight that’s short, it’s like a 30 minute recovery workout where you’re just moving blood around, but you’re trying to pull fat stores kind of similar to CrossFit, but with lower intensity and more stress on specific muscles. Um, so, uh, uh, very similar, really similar to kind of some of the stuff we do with our 10 minute hypertrophy finishers, where you’re just going to pump muscles, you’re going to get a good pump. You’re going to move blood around and you’re gonna start firing up your metabolism. After that, we have athletes take a coffee with MCT oil to help stave off the hunger.
Dave Lipson (32:55):
It’s a 1:00 PM. And then at 1:00 PM, you start feeding with the intention of training at 5pm. So most of your meals occur in a six hour window around your, your strength training session at night. And then that cycle repeats the next day. So the first half of the day is, is in a caloric deficit, not widely fast state. The second half of the day, you’re eating and you’re training heavy. And you’re still in a caloric deficit. When you add up all the numbers is that you strategically placed the food in the training in a way that you’re not just going to be having muscle fall off of you.
Joe Bauer (33:25):
Very interesting. And then what is the, what’s the opposite? Like when you’re in a gaining cycle, how does the day look?
Dave Lipson (33:32):
So the gaining cycle, like I said, it would be the opposite as a caloric surplus, so less training and more food. Um, you know, like at the actually, you know, people are so addicted to training and I tell them if you’re trying to gain muscle, my greatest period of muscle growth was, and I was training three days a week, just three workouts a week. And it would be leg day, chest day and back day. And we would hit it for like 90 minutes or two hours. We would demolish those muscles. But then all we would do is eat and sleep and recover between. And that’s the most anabolic thing you can do. So, you know, more isn’t better, better is better and better. It’s just defined by growth when it comes to hypertrophy.
Joe Bauer (34:11):
Yep, absolutely. How do you tackle, how do you tackle the age question? Like question like how people are getting older and how long they can continue to develop. I know I get it a lot and I hear a lot of people, family and friends, even that are like, man, I’m getting old. I can’t do that anymore. How do you tackle that?
Dave Lipson (34:30):
Well, that’s kind of like a question of like the general adaptation syndrome, right? So this general adaptation syndrome is a theory by a guy named Dr. Han COE, put it out in the early 19 hundreds. He said, Hey, you know what? Organisms adapt to the stress you place upon it, but eventually they’re going to accommodate. So eventually you keep doing the same thing. You’re going to plateau. In some cases you can even regress or get injured. So you need to keep changing the stimulus. What worked for you when you were 25, might not work for you when you’re 50. Part of that is like figuring it out, figuring out the nutrition and the training protocols. But most importantly, I think the idea of variety allows the opportunity to find what those paths look like. As my training continues to evolve, and it should be a large progression.
Dave Lipson (35:11):
And like I said, if three days a week gives you more results in five days a week, why would you train five days a week? Right? I mean, like if you name, you know, a guy who’s like, you know, you’re like, Hey, I’m getting older. And you say, all you gotta do is train three days a week. That will give you the results that you want. Like, I don’t understand why people wouldn’t adopt that because they just really want to train. These really want to go in the gym and they’re very stubborn. They just want to keep doing the same thing. So I think, you know, to your question, you need to keep evolving.
Joe Bauer (35:39):
Okay. What are the, what are the older people in your program? Like how old are you training people in program?
Speaker 3 (35:49):
Some people I’d say in their fifties, in some of our programs, the get huge program. The muscle anarchy program. I don’t have any 60 or 70 year olds, but, um, you know, the way that would change, the biggest factor would be recovery because that’s what really gets inhibited so they can potentially need more recovery. And another thing they can need sometimes is manipulating the amount of protein, because their ability to absorb protein changes a little bit as you get older. So kind of finally tuning the nitrogen balance and the calories to where you need. It is another thing that you need to keep kind of looking at and evolving as you age.
Joe Bauer (36:22):
Cool. What are the hardest things about training for you?
Dave Lipson (36:28):
Um, I mean, there are lots of hard things about it for me. Um, I think the most enjoyable part of training for me is building muscle. I love lifting. I love eating. Um, I love sleeping, right? That’s a fun thing. What’s not as fun for me is the cutting. I don’t like being hungry. I don’t like forcing myself to train when I’m tired. Um, and even the posing in the sport of bodybuilding, that’s probably my biggest area to grow is spending the time in front of the mirror, trying to connect with muscles. That’s not fun for me, but you know, to progress in the sport. That’s what that’s, that’s my biggest area. That’s my weakness. Right? You say like work on your weakness and CrossFit. Well, that’s my weaknesses, like spending time in front of the mirror, trying to be able to show the work that I put in because what’s, what’s interesting in bodybuilding is like, you’re not graded on one thing.
Dave Lipson (37:17):
You’re grading basically on three things, you have the size and symmetry. That’s how big you are and how symmetrically you are top to bottom and side to side. Uh, you have definitions. So how well you can actually see the muscle in terms of the striation of the muscle, the vascularity, or your leanness, how thin your skin is, and then there’s posing your ability to show it. And there may be somebody who doesn’t have your same size and symmetry or definition who can beat you because they can pose better. So posing is a really important part. It’s a third of your score. So, uh, you know, that that’s a big area that I’m working on.
Dave Lipson (37:52):
Cool. What did, what do you do for fun outside of the gym?
Dave Lipson (37:56):
Um, so I mean, I love, I love being outside. I love hanging out with the dogs, but my favorite thing is going to restaurants and crushing food. It’s like, especially right now after a show, um, you’re insatiably hungry. So I’ve been like hitting different pancake houses all around the state. I’m like researching venues. Like here we go to this place. It’s crazy. Cause Camille’s on a diet. So she hates me because I’m researching, who’s got the best brunch in Colorado. Um, but that’s really fun to me and especially, um, doing that around training. So I like to train with lots of people. I follow the muscle anarchy program and at my gym, I have a group of sometimes almost 10 dudes who come in and train with me and do the program and we’ll go and we’ll smash, we’ll smash the training in the gym and then all together we’ll go out and eat and eat food. And that to me is like the funnest things like friends and just having a good time. Um, I love that. That’s the best.
Dave Lipson (38:51):
That’s awesome. What gym do you train at?
Dave Lipson (38:53):
I go to Armbrust Pro gym in Denver and I train out of my garage. My garage gym is getting better and better. We’re starting to acquire more and more equipment. And the goal is to, you know, eventually just have everybody come up to the house and training there and then doing like a big barbecue up there. Um, but, but friends, family and community is my favorite, you know, and, and being able to share that with my wife, you know, Camille’s just stepped away from competitions past year. So she started to get into a lot of the hypertrophy, bodybuilding stuff and aesthetics for her because she’s marketing programs that involve aesthetics and her journey is almost paralleling mine, but on the female side, uh, she’s never going to compete in bodybuilding, but she wants to look really good. Um, like a lot of people do. So she’s starting to gain some knowledge on that side too. And we have so many good people around us who have done it at such a high level that we were constantly learning. Um, and we love sharing that information with our communities.
Joe Bauer (39:43):
That’s awesome. Where do you see ThundrBro going in the next five years?
Dave Lipson (39:47):
So the goal now is to continue to expand the programs in the community. I would love for us to be in gyms around the country, especially non CrossFit gyms. Like I love seeing people wearing ThundrBro t-shirts at 24 hour fitness, um, because we do more functional stuff. Um, and I would also love to have an affiliate program that CrossFit gyms can run as a specialty class doing the ThundrBro program. Uh, cause I think that would be really huge. So we’re starting to kind of establish that ThundrBro university is coming out. That’s our educational platform. I could see us down the road, just continue to build out all the current pillars we have with training education and merchandise.
Joe Bauer (40:25):
Very cool. If people want to get involved with some of this stuff that you’re doing, where would you send them?
Dave Lipson (40:30):
So we actually have an ambassador program. Um, and a lot of our, a lot of our athletes, especially the ones doing our online programs, you know, they really love being a part of the community. They get to actually share that stuff with people and benefit from it. So, uh, we set up an ambassador program that’s doing really well. Um, and, uh, I’m sorry, what was the question one more time?
Joe Bauer (40:50):
How can people find out more about getting started with ThundrBro?
Dave Lipson (40:53):
Um, if you go to ThundrBro.com that’s T H U N D R r.com just under with no way or we say Thun, Dr. Bro, because it’s real science, um, all of our programs and gear and all that stuff is right there on social media at ThundrBro, same spelling T H U N D R bro, or @ DaveFreakinLipson. The links in both of our bios go to all of our products and merchandise and programs and stuff like that. So it’s pretty accessible there. Um, even our YouTube channel, like we’re building our YouTube channel and do an extensive series on bodybuilding competitions and what people can expect if they’re doing their first one or all the things that go into it and just the ThundrBro community in general. Um, we’ve running these 90 day get huge challenges. I just love seeing people putting on size, giving out prizes for it. So yeah, all, all that stuff is out there. Just, just find us on social or go to ThundrBro.com.
Joe Bauer (41:44):
Very cool. And how do you help people decide once they’re at ThundrBro.com, what direction to take,
Dave Lipson (41:50):
Go to the link on the training programs, there’s a description for each training program that kind of shows you like what it is and who it’s for and how to do it. Um, you know, there’s lots of different ways to do this. Like we have pure hypertrophy programs like our 90 day, we have hybrid programs that combine hypertrophy with CrossFit, like muscle anarchy. Um, we have our book of 100 ten minute hypertrophy finishers, which are short workouts. You can do after your own affiliate programming. Uh, we have our shredded at home program, which is like a 40 minute dumbbell only program at home. Uh, we have our, our 90 day get huge challenge. Um, and we have ThundrCuts coming out January 1st. So depending on who you are, like, what your goal is and how fast you want to get that goal, um, would kind of filter you into a specific program. Also like the logistics that you’re working with, whether you’re training in the Globo gym or a CrossFit gym, or at home, how much time you have, um, and how deep you want to dedicate yourself to hypertrophy.
Joe Bauer (42:47):
Cool, Dave, I mean, all this stuff sounds really great. I think it’s awesome what you’re doing with, uh, not only just the pure bodybuilding stuff, but how you’re helping CrossFitters stay healthier and get better at CrossFit. So…
Dave Lipson (42:58):
There’s nothing that makes me happier than getting an email or a message from someone who, you know, has my same stories. Like, you know, I felt defeated. My dick was in the dirt. I thought this is it for me. I’m never going to trade anymore. And then I did the program and now I’m pain free or I’m looking better than I ever have. My dead lift has gone up and my shoulder doesn’t hurt anymore. And that stuff is golden. So, um, you know, as long as that continues to occur, we’re going to keep showing up and, and fighting for our community and our athletes to bring them the very best we can.
Joe Bauer (43:28):
Cool man. Well, I think it’s awesome. Fully supportive of it and, uh, I really appreciate your time being on the podcast here. So if there’s anything else we can do for you always let us know.
Dave Lipson (43:37):
Thanks, dude. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me on.
Joe Bauer (43:40):
Yeah, you bet. We’ll talk to you soon.
Dave Lipson (43:41):
All right. Thanks man.
Joe Bauer (43:44):
Hey guys, that was my interview. Dave Lipson of ThundrBro, spelled T H U N D R bro. If you’re looking for any of his programs, I do highly recommend him. Dave is a very smart individual. If you didn’t catch that, um, he not only is smart, but he gets results. And he’s just a fun guy to talk to. So I’ve been doing some of his programs for the last few weeks and I’ve noticed that not only have they helped me to feel like I’m putting on more muscle mass, but also with my CrossFit workouts, like I mentioned, the workouts where you have a high amount of time under tension just seemed to be feeling easier. Like when I’m in the middle of them, I’m just not feeling as beat up as like fatigue as I would usually feel.
Joe Bauer (44:25):
So if you’re looking for an addition to your CrossFit programming, or you just want to get bigger in your CrossFit program, or you want to be a bodybuilder, I would recommend ThundrBro. I know that I played around bodybuilding for years when I was in college and there was never any real good science behind it. It always felt like you were going and testing things out and seeing what happened. And with this, Dave’s put something together that seems to be based way more on science. And you just simply follow the program that he is putting together and you will start to see results. So I cannot say much more about, about it, but recommending the ThundrBro program and Dave Lipson as a person. So like I said, you can head over to T H U N D R bro, on Google, on Instagram. I probably on Facebook, probably all around the internet, YouTube and you can get started today. I believe that he even has a, a free get started program or you can go in like I did by the 90 day get huge program. And to start implementing that into your CrossFit or your daily training schedule. So ThundrBro.com highly recommend it. Cool guys, hope you enjoy this, uh, make sure that you like subscribe and review the podcast so that we can get it out to more people. We’d appreciate that. And we’ll see you on the next one.
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