A New York native, David Palumbo wasn’t always into pumping iron. Heplayed soccer and was a distance runner in high school and college. It wasn’t until 1990 when he started lifting. A short 9 months later, he entered his first bodybuilding competition and earned 6th place at a weight of 168 lbs. Just 5 years later, he had put on 70 lbs. and won the 1995 NPC Junior USA Championships. Palumbo attempted to go pro for 10 years but never got higher than runner-up. He also worked as writer and editor for the muscle development magazine called The Anabolic Freak. In 2004, Palumbo was convicted for illegally distributing human growth hormone to athletes and was sentenced to 5 months in federal prison. He has a web series called #askDave and owns a supplement company called Species Nutrition. Palumbo is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed around 265 lbs. in season, and 315 lbs. during the off-season.
Dave Palumbo’s Diet
The Dave Palumbo Diet is heavy on protein, contains a moderate amount of fat and is low in carbs. He recommends 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and no more than 0.5 grams of fat per pound per day. He does not believe in incorporating carbs into your daily diet but rather having a cheat meal once a week as a way to replenish reserves of glycogen. Limiting carbs forces the body into ketosis, meaning you burn fat rather than glucose, while preserving muscle tissue. The once-weekly carb-y meal floods the system with glucose, which results in noticeable growth in muscles. Protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs and whey protein shakes. Fats should come from things like fatty fish, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil. Palumbo also likes natural peanut butter as a way to get healthy fat and protein. Eating leafy greens is encouraged as a source of fiber and essential nutrients. Palumbo’s diet consists of 6 meals per day. The cheat meal should be eaten at the same time on the same day every week.
- Low Carb 15% 15%
- Low-Medium Fat 25% 25%
- High Protein 80% 80%
Palumbo’s diet requires you to eat every few hours, adding up to 6 meals per day. Breakfast might be 5 whole eggs, lunch 8 oz. of chicken and some nuts and a typical dinner would be fish or red meat and a green salad. Three protein shakes made with peanut butter alternate with these meals.
Palumbo recommends eating nuts with lean proteins such as chicken, but having fatty proteins like beef and fish with a green salad and olive oil.
Palumbo likes to eat pure peanut butter (just ground peanuts and salt) as a way to get healthy fats and protein in one food.
On Hidden Carbs
Palumbo says if you aren’t losing weight the way you think you should, have a look at your condiments and gum consumption. He says some people will have 20 sticks of sugar-free gum. This adds up to a lot of sugar alcohols which the body processes as carbs.
Palumbo says it’s especially important to drink plenty of water on on a low-carb diet because without them, water runs through the body faster, which can lead to cramping.
Palumbo doesn’t fool around with the cheat meal either: you can have 400 g of carbs in the form of pasta, bread, donuts, or whatever you want — his only requirement is that you keep fats low because carbs + fats = fat storage, which you don’t want.
What to Eat
Natural peanut butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Macadamia nut oil
Cheat carbs: pasta, bread, etc. (once/week)
What to Avoid
Refined carbs (except for cheat meal)
Palumbo On His Protein Supplements
‘It was stupid business-wise. I didn’t care what anything cost. I wanted to have the highest-quality products…I wanted the Mercedes.’
Palumbo On Hidden Carbs In Condiments
‘A lot of times people don’t know, or they don’t want to know.’
Palumbo On Gum
‘Sugar-free gum…is not carb-free…Most of them contain sugar alcohols…Usually it’s almost 2 grams per piece of gum.’
Palumbo On Nutrition Labels
‘I’ll tell you something about nutrition fact panels: they can lie on there. One point nine grams of carbs can actually be rounded down to one.’
Dave Palumbo’s Fitness Routine
Weekly Workout Routine
Less Can Be More
Palumbo learned through experience that doing fewer sets but higher concentration gave him greater muscle gains. However, he has found that beginners often need to do more volume than more experienced lifters to make gains.
Cardio for the Burn
Palumbo recommends cardio to burn fat to better reveal muscles, but he says it doesn’t really matter if you do it first thing in a fasted state, after weight training, or at some other time of the day. Cardio will burn fat, period.
Warm Ups Optional
Palumbo says that you only need a warm up when the muscles are cold. If it’s warm outside (or uses your seat heater on the way over to the gym like he does), no need to waste time. Get straight to lifting.
When he was training, Palumbo would follow the classic schedule of concentration on one area, such as chest or legs, each day, with 2 rest days per week. He would hit his calves twice per week.
Palumbo says there’s no real secret to growing muscle. You simply overload the muscles, fatiguing them either through intensity or by increasing the amount of weight.
To lean down those muscles, Palumbo says you have to eat right, but you also need to burn off the excess fat through cardio.
No Custom Workouts
Palumbo offers his services as a workout coach, but he says he will not design a personal workout. Not only because it is ‘boring,’ but also because once you know the fundamentals, you should be able to come up with a routine and switch it up.
A Dave Palumbo Routine
Day 1: Chest & calves
Day 2: Back
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Arms
Day 5: Shoulders & calves
Day 6: Legs
Day 7: Rest
Switch up your routine to be sure to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible.
Palumbo On Doing Lots Of Sets
‘You don’t have to do tons of sets to get body parts to grow. You need to do just enough sets to stimulate that muscle and fatigue it.’
Palumbo On Growing Muscle, Take I
‘The way you grow your muscles is you overload them.’
Palumbo On Growing Muscle, Take II
‘Full range of motion obviously will work more units than short range of motion will.’
Palumbo On Listening To Your Body
‘Everybody is different. A guy like Ronnie Coleman can do high weight and high volume. For the majority of us normal, mortal people, too much volume can be detrimental to muscle growth.’
Palumbo On Pre-Workout Warming
‘I know some guys who go into the sauna for 5 minutes to get [their body temperature] up.’
Palumbo On Sculpting The Body
‘You can’t train and be afraid that you’re going to thicken your waist. Genetics are what they are.’
Palumbo On Fasting Cardio
‘Post-weight training cardio, to me, is fasted.’
Dave Palumbo’s Supplements
Palumbo prefers fermented branched chain amino acids to conventional ones. He says to watch the aminos when you’re dieting because your body will use them as fuel. Palumbo’s version contains a blend of aminos for better balance.
Palumbo is big on protein, and recommends taking whey protein 3 times per day on his diet to build muscle and fuel your workouts.
Palumbo recommends eating fish, but if you’re not a seafood lover, he says to be sure to supplement with omega-3 essential fatty acids to maintain healthy blood sugar and lipid levels as well as to reduce inflammation. He also likes macadamia nut oil because of its 1:1 ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s.
Palumbo’s supplement line contains a creatine supplement which is more soluble than the usual. Creatine helps with recovery and muscle gains.
Fat Burner + Sleep Aid
Palumbo makes a fat burner that both suppresses appetite and helps you burn more fat while helping you sleep better.
Lifting heavy weights can do a number on your joints, and so Palumbo makes a joint supplement with glucosamine, MSM and collagen.
Palumbo’s fiber supplement contains both soluble and insoluble fiber to keep things moving through your digestive tract, which helps remove toxins from the body.
Palumbo is a fan of probiotics because they help detoxify the body, and improve mental clarity and overall well-being. He says it’s important to supplement to combat environmental toxins, toxic ingredients in food, viruses, etc., and may even help with autism.
Believe it or not, some athletes need extra carbs to fuel their workouts. Palumbo makes a carbohydrate supplement that metabolizes faster than sugar for high-intensity workouts.
Palumbo’s testosterone supplement can help create an anabolic environment for muscle growth while blunting estrogen and DHT production.
Dave Palumbo’s Lifestyle
Palumbo is a big fan of sleep. He says it’s key to recovery from intense exercise, as well as building muscle and burning fat.
Palumbo says he didn’t start out expecting to be a coach. He would just give advice to friends and others who would ask about lifting, supplements, and other bodybuilding related topics, and it grew into a business.
Palumbo: Internet Pioneer
Palumbo was an early adopter of online media, and was editor in chief for the e-zine Muscular Development for several years in the early 2000s.
In his spare time, Palumbo enjoys snake breeding. He has a facebook page dedicated to his hobby and a daily vlog called Muscle Serpents University.
Using a Pen in the Pen
During Palumbo stint in the slammer, he wrote a book called Prison Perfect Physique about how to maintain your muscle mass under adverse conditions.
Palumbo On Sleep
‘If you don’t sleep, you won’t recover from your strenuous workouts.’
Palumbo On His Supplement Line
‘I’m selfish…Every product I made in the Species line was made for myself.’
Palumbo On Bodybuilding As A Career
‘I always wanted to make a living from being in the sport. I didn’t know how that would happen…As it turned out, I never got a pro card but I was…one of the more popular people.’
Palumbo On Hanging Onto Your Dreams
‘It’s tough when you don’t really know what you want to accomplish, but if you stick tight to what you really want to do…it seems like the universe finds a way to materialize what you want.’
Palumbo On How He Feeds His Anacondas
‘I usually defrost the rodents overnight…I have learned that if you don’t warm them up…they won’t eat it.’
SpineAlignfor restorative sleep
Coaching by Dave
Perfect Prison Physique