Interview With Champion Bodybuilder Daniel Grissom
Daniel Grissom has one of the most aesthetic physiques in the sport of natural bodybuilding. Standing 5’8” with a contest weight in the 170’s, Daniel’s physique could easily be compared to the likes of bodybuilding great Frank Zane.
Daniel has taken home numerous firast places finishes, including victories in the INBF, NGA and NPC. When he’s not in the gym, Daniel enjoys Will Farrell flicks, and an occasional cheat meal of pizza and Diet Pepsi.
Muscle and Strength: What do you like best about being a natural bodybuilder?
Daniel Grissom: I love being able to compete in an organization that is very serious about drug testing and making sure that all competitors are natural. That gives us all the opportunity to strive for our best when it comes to developing our physiques. In addition to that it also provides a level playing field for all competitors regardless of your level of experience in the sport.
It also gives us natural competitors a platform to show fans of the sport that it is possible to attain a physique that some may consider impossible without the use of drugs. A natural competitor can be successful in the sport, without the use of drugs.
Muscle and Strength: Do you ever get frustrated by the bodybuilding culture that revolves around drugged mass monsters and hype, as opposed to focusing on health and self-improvement? It seems the industry is so convoluted that young lifters are more confused then ever about what’s possible, what’s healthy, and what actually works…
Daniel Grissom: I don’t have anything against those who choose to use enhancing drugs, to each his own, if that is what they feel they need to do to get ahead in the sport, that is their decision.
My frustration stems more from the fact that the natural bodybuilding community does not do enough to make our organizations more popular and commonly known. The promotion of the natural bodybuilding circuit is little to none, those who are familiar with it are usually those who are actually involved.
The IFBB is blessed to have someone like Joe Weider who is the face of their bodybuilding organization and works hard to bring acknowledgement to their branch.
The natural bodybuilding community is a large one but not closely knit, and I think that plays a major part in its lack of popularity. I think having a general spokesman for the community would be a huge boost to its recognition and popularity.
When it comes to supplementation, I don’t think young lifters take the time out to learn about various supplements and what may work for them. They sometimes tend to go by what they read in magazines, and what supplements are used by pros in the bodybuilding industry. This is not a bad way to start out especially if you are not sure what certain supplements may provide, but I think that just like anything else in life we take the time to research, such as purchasing our first car, or our first home, we should use the same type of effort and ingenuity when selecting supplements. Our health is the only thing we life we have complete control over and we should be dedicated to providing our bodies with the proper nutrients.
Muscle and Strength: Speaking of supplements, when you try something new, how do you track its effectiveness? Do you log everything, or go by “feel”?
Daniel Grissom: The only thing I keep a log on is my nutrition. As for supplements, I go according to how I look and feel.
I’m very fortunate to be sponsored by Optimum Nutrition. This company is all about business when it comes to providing the public with quality products.
Muscle and Strength: What are your core supplements, and when do you take them?
Daniel Grissom: My core supplements would be my glutamine, BCAAS, Optivites, Vassive NO, Vassive EA8, Vassive C5, Threshold, Vassive Form X, and of course my protein which are 100% Whey Gold Standard and 100% casein.
I take my glutamine with my first meal, after my workout, and with my last meal. On the days I do back and legs, I will use more.
I take my BCAAS before and after my workouts.
I take my Optivites with my first meal, after my workouts, and with my dinner.
I take my Vassive N.O. before my workouts.
I take my Vassive EA8 during my workout and sometimes during the day.
I take my Vassive c5 after my workouts.
I take my Threshold before my workouts and with my afternoon meal.
I take my Form X first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, and at dinner.
I take my whey before and after my workouts.
I take my casein before bed.
Muscle and Strength: Can you tell me about your training routine and split. How often do you train, and what are your core training philosophies?
Daniel Grissom: As far as my training routine goes, it varies between my off-season and competition season.
In the off-season I train only 4 days a week, while doing cardio each of those days for 30 minutes. And during the off-season I will only train once a day. During contest prep, I will train 5 days a week, twice a day. Also, I will do cardio 6 days a week increasing my time when need be.
My philosophy is the same whether it’s the off-season or during contest prep. And my philosophy is…train hard or go home! I believe in maximum effort if you want to build the best physique you possibly can. Especially for those like myself who are natural. We have to work even harder if we want to achieve a look that is so impressive that a lot of people would have a hard time believing that we were natural.
I also believe in training heavy while using proper form and technique. When I train heavy, I feel that I incorporate more muscle fibers than if I trained light. Also. I notice that I hold on to my muscles a lot better as a show nears when I train heavy.
Staying focused is also very important. You want to make each rep, set, and workout count if you want to maximize your potential to the fullest.
Muscle and Strength: Are there are exercises you use that you had to learn to love?
Daniel Grissom: Oh yeah! (laughs)
Believe it or not, I had to learn to love shoulder presses. I use to hate doing shoulders! Probably because I was so weak at it. My shoulders would give out so quickly it was ridiculous. And I couldn’t handle all that lactic acid which made the workout worse.
But as I saw my shoulders developed I grew to appreciate the workout and later on grew to love it!
Muscle and Strength: How are you currently training shoulders?
Daniel Grissom: I’ll start on the smith machine, where I will do my seated presses. Then I’ll do 4 sets of side laterals. After that I will go back to the smith machine and do behind the neck presses. Following that, I will do either bent over dumbbell flyes for my rear delts or I will do them on the pec deck machine. After that, I will do upright rows and then I will finish off with shrugs using dumbbells or a barbell.
My workouts do change for example, I will sometimes substitute the smith machine presses for dumbbell presses.
Muscle and Strength: What’s on your table for the rest of this year, and in 2010…how many shows will you be competing in?
Daniel Grissom: I did the Natural of North America in May which I won. Then I did the Mr. Universe, which was in Barbados in June. And right now I’m preparing for a show called the MR. World in November. That show will be in NYC. After that, I’m done for this year.
I have a lot of things I want to do next year. After this show I’m going to stay pretty close to competition form so that I can do some guest posing. As far as shows, there are quite a few that I’m contemplating on doing. I plan on doing 3 shows. However, things can change. Because I’ve never really had an off-season due to the fact I been actively competing. I was thinking about having an off-season to put on some muscle. I lack size and have to rely on my conditioning and symmetry to try and beat out guy’s that are bigger. However, I will not and never will I sacrifice getting bigger and loose sight at what got me to this point!
Muscle and Strength: Looking at your photo, I think you have some of the best lines of a natural that I’ve seen. Do you have a goal of how many pounds of muscle you’d like to add to your frame?
Daniel Grissom: Thank you for those kind words.
As for how much muscle I would like to put on? I don’t have a number in mind, but I do know that I want to put it on slowly. I want to ensure that whatever muscle I put on that it doesn’t jeopardize my frame. However, if I had to give a number it probably would be anywhere from 3 to 5lbs. I would start with that number and move up depending on how I look.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to be amongst the mass guys. I want to be the guy known for his lines and symmetry.
Muscle and Strength: What are your strongest and weakest body parts? And do you attack/approach them differently in training?
Daniel Grissom: My weakest body parts are my calves, which need more size, my lats are kind of high, so I am working to bring them down more. And my upper pecs need more size to them as well.
I attack these body parts differently in that I incorporate additional sets when working these body parts in addition to working them twice a week.
My strongest body part is my legs. In order to maintain my legs as my strongest asset, I split up my quads and hamstrings into two separate workouts. This gives me the opportunity to focus on them separately without worrying about fatigue or burn out.
Once again, thank you very much for selecting me to be featured in an interview. It feels great to know that my hard work and efforts are being recognized by a reputable health/fitness website, I am forever grateful for the opportunity.