Takes Aim at the Power Lifting Elite
You'd never know it today, but the man they call The Beast was once turned away by his high school football team because he was too small to play any position on the field. He can laugh about it now, but that rejection lit a fire within Marine Corps Sergeant David L. Douglas that burns brightly to this day. He is, to put it simply, not a man who's willing to take "no" for an answer, especially in regard to any issue involving competition, performance, and his physique goals.
Now 6 feet tall and 274 pounds of sheer shock-and-awe brawn, Sergeant Douglas aspires to be one of the top power lifters in the world. His amazing accomplishments to this point--he has already lifted more than 600 lbs in bench and deadlift in competition--is even more amazing given the rigorous daily demands of life as a Marine. Recently returned from his first active tour of duty in Afghanistan, Sergeant Douglas has never wavered in his dual commitment to protect his country and achieve his ultimate personal goal--becoming the Marine Corps Athlete of the Year.
Sgt. David Douglas: Maybe so. At the time, though, when I first started lifting I was no more than 145 pounds soaking wet. They told me that I couldn't play any position but kicker, just due to my size. When I was told that, it put a chip on my shoulder so to speak. I really wanted to prove everyone wrong. Prove that I could be whatever it was I dreamed of being. I used to tell people that I wanted to get bigger and stronger, but to everyone else I was just another guy in the gym saying he is going to bench 500 lbs one day. So I was motivated to push through all the disbelief and negativity of others, which I viewed as trying to keep me from reaching my goal. And then, too, being in the Marine Corps during a time of war, we do a lot of training to work up to that day when you'll need to head into battle, so finding the time to train was difficult. When I was deployed to Afghanistan from May 2009 to December 2009, training motivated me to keep a clear mind in a war zone setting.
ProSource: Going from 145 lbs to 274 lbs of muscle is an amazing transformation. Can you describe how you got started? What was it like at the beginning?
Sgt. David Douglas: I first started power lifting when I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. I was new to the base and didn't know a lot of people so I basically went into my own world. Since I joined the Marine Corps, the gym seemed to be my home away from home. I was about 150-160 pounds when I first got there. After work, my peers would usually go out and have a drink or just go off and hangout with friends, but for some reason the gym reached out and grabbed me. As with anything physically demanding, the first couple weeks were rough because my body wasn't accustomed to the relentless strength training that I was putting it through, but it was like the more sore that I got, the more I wanted to go back to the gym. Every day I would constantly watch the clock at work until we would finally get off so that I could go and sweat in the gym. After awhile I was starting to see gains in strength and size. I went from 160 to 200lbs in a matter of months. My Gunny, Gunnery Sergeant Harris, also noticed it. One day he came up to me and asked if I wanted to compete in a base bench press competition. At first I kind of just waved it off, but after thinking about it, I wanted to gauge how my strength had progressed. I finally changed my mind a couple days prior. I came out with my first win and I have been hooked ever since.
ProSource: Did you develop your own training program?
Sgt. David Douglas: Throughout the years of my weightlifting, I would train with people here and there. If I did train with someone, I would want to train with a guy who was bigger than me so I would push harder to keep up. Some routines and exercises work better for some people than for others, so I took bits and pieces from people that I trained with, people I read about in magazines, and people I looked up to in the sport. Recently, I have turned to some of the veterans in the sport such as Master Sergeant Green, who is a world class bencher, and I've picked his brain for all the tips I can use to increase my bench. To progress, you have to go all out in the gym and out.
ProSource: Can you briefly describe for our readers what you've accomplished thus far, and what you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Sgt. David Douglas: I am fairly new to the sport of power lifting. I have done a lot of big local competitions and military competitions, and won. But I've just recently stepped up to the larger stage national and world class meets. When I attended the USPF nationals meet in Venice Beach, California back in May 2010, I was given the opportunity to show people what I could do and how strong my passion was for the sport. When I won the qualifier and was able to move on to the World Powerlifting Championships in Bath England, I knew I had found my dream, the dream of becoming a world class power lifter. I would truly have to say my greatest achievement of my career thus far was to win a world title in England. That, and breaking 600lbs on bench and dead lifts in competition. Squats have always been a tough one for me. To be a full power lifter, squat is essential and I just need to regain confidence in them.
ProSource: Do you have a dietary strategy? What foods do you rely on most? What were the staples of your meal plan?
Sgt. David Douglas: Before workouts. I eat a lot of whole wheat carbs such as pasta, and brown rice. Post workout I would eat a lot of fish, chicken breast, and turkey. I try to eat every 3 hours to keep nutrition replenished in my body. Hydration is key and nutritional supplements also keep me from injury.
Sgt. David Douglas: I use ProSource's NytroWhey Ultra Elite. I have to consume a lot of protein over the course of a day, and this new NytroWhey is a terrifically potent, highly anabolic matrix of quality aminos. Once I started taking NytroWhey, I noticed right away increases in mass and strength that were improving my threat level in power lifting. I also use ProSource Glutamine Powder to shut down muscle catabolism and Supreme Protein bars. I eat the bars daily. When you have to eat as much protein as I do, it's a relief to find a protein bar that really tastes as good as candy, yet supplies a high-quality premium protein blend. All together, these supplements have really helped in my overall performance and recovery.
ProSource: Does cardio/running/aerobic exercise play a role in your regimen?
Sgt. David Douglas: The better condition you keep your heart and your cardiovascular system in, the harder you will be able to perform in the gym, which in turn will lead to a better finish in competition.
ProSource: So what's next for you, David? What's your ultimate goal?
Sgt. David Douglas: My future goals are to become the Marine Athlete of the Year, as well as the top power lifter in the 275lb class. I want to break over 700lbs in bench, squat, and deadlift in the next couple of competitions.
ProSource: Those are admirable goals. Given your discipline and determination, we're not betting against you. One last question. Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration, when it comes to competition?
Sgt. David Douglas: My wife currently is in an ongoing fight with brain cancer that is leaving her medically unable to work. One of the biggest things that puts a smile on her face is me competing and winning competitions. I always thought if she could beat cancer, why couldn't I go on to win a world title? She's a huge inspiration to me. My fellow Marines inspire me as well. My unit, 1st Maintenance Battalion, Reperable Management Company, held multiple fundraisers to cover my expenses in going overseas to compete. When they presented me with the money I honestly teared up, because it just let me know that people I respect believed in me, and believed in my abilities. From there I headed to England realizing that I was not only going to represent myself, my family, and my country, but the Marine Corps, and the men and women who stood behind me to put wind in my sail to get me to where I needed to be. That title is as much theirs as it is mine.
ProSource: That's an amazing, inspiring story, David. Thanks for sharing it with our readers. Good luck to you.