F#@k Moderation – An Interview with Dave Tate

This interview with Dave Tate by T-nation’s Nate Green is amazing! They cover a ton of different topic ranging from how to make some insane cash working as a bouncer at a strip club to what it’s like to stop competing as a power lifter.

Dave is a tank. He’s an extremely large human being who has achieved many feats that 99.9 percent of the population won’t and can’t. He’s genetically gifted from a strength and muscle growth point of view, but he’s also genetically gifted in how he approaches life:

I have two speeds: blast and dust.

It’s just a personality trait. I’ve talked with a lot of entrepreneurs, top CEOs, business people, and athletes that operate in the same mode. You’re 100 percent on for weeks or months, just knocking everything out until nothing is left standing. And then, boom, you’re on the couch for three weeks. Training and business have been that way for me. Fuck moderation. I don’t have time for it.

If I have some Oreos, I’m going to eat the entire bag. I’m not going to have two or three. If I’m going to launch a business, I’m going to do it all the way. If I’m going to train my ass off, then I’m going to do it hardcore. I would rather have no cheat meal for 12 weeks and then eat like a fucking hog for a month, than just have a cookie here and there. I’m going to run on all cylinders and then just disappear.

What I’ve managed to figure out is that I can stagger the roles in my life. So if training is going to be in 100 percent blast, then I know business is going to be in dust. If business is going to be in blast, training is going to fall back in dust. That’s just the way it is.

I admire this all or nothing approach and I seem to be drawn to people who throw it all on the line or throw it out the window. I understand these people a lot better than those who are seeking marginal success and average result. As a coach I love working those athletes bringing intensity and undying passion to their training because these individuals test training method better than anything else – you find out very quickly if the program you set-up is working for them or not because they do everything you tell them to with the intensity that is needed to maximize the outcome.

I’m this way in many areas of my life. I’m 100% on or I’ve buggered off and thrown my passion into something else. It works fairly well with athletic pursuits.

But it can be a pain in the ass for those around you. My friends don’t get to see me as much as they used to when I was trying to be an average sort of person with balance in my life. My family likes that I am happy but sometimes the quality of the time we spend together isn’t the best because I’m thinking about training.

It can also be a pain in the ass for me as well. This all or nothing approach means that I’ll spend weeks or months at something and then go through a period of spending no time doing it. The benefit of this is that it provides the chance for unconscious motor learning to occur so if I return to the task quickly I will be better at it. But I may not return to it for months at which point many of the gains I made are gone and the time away means that no new skills have been learned. Case in point, I dead lifted for the first time in 2 months yesterday and while I pulled 325 lbs, this is 15 lbs LESS than I pulled the last time I did it. If I have pulled once a week for the last 2 months I’m pretty sure I’d but at 350 or 360 by now.

I accept that moderation and balance are not my style and I think I’m in good company with this.