In this episode, David Essel joins host Lisa Davis to discuss:
- Why he feels healthier and stronger now than when he was on the cover of Men's Fitness in the 80s.
- Aging in America is in the past and that 60 is the new 30.
- His holistic addiction recovery program.
- How he went from international fitness expertto international motivational expert.
- Details on his Amino Acid Therapy.
Is 60 the New 30? with David Essel
Lisa Davis (Host): Hi, I’m Lisa Davis. So glad you are listening to Talk Fitness Today. One of my favorite guests is back. He has not been on this show yet. He has been on all of my others. He is full of energy. He is super fun and I adore him. His name is David Essel. He is fantastic, and he joins us now. Hey, David.
David Essel (Guest): Lisa, great to be back with you. I know this is my intro on this one of your one million radio shows.
Lisa: Well, you know David, I recently saw a photo of you and I went holy cow, is this guy ripped. I mean okay, so I want to dig into everything. What is your fitness routine? How long have you been working out? And then I found out that you are on the cover of Men’s Fitness in the 80s. So, obviously, you have been doing this for a while. Tell us about your entrée into fitness.
David: Yeah, well you know, 37 years ago, you know I came into the world of personal growth and I started Lisa, the first eight years or nine years, 1980-1989, I was traveling the world in the world of fitness and doing lectures and presentations and seminars all over the world and what you said in 1988, this was back when exercise videos were huge and we had done – I think I was on twelve exercise videos in the 80s, Shape Magazine selected one of my videos as one of the top 10 videos of all time. So, it was a huge time – yeah it was so cool. I was right there with Kathy Smith and Jane Fonda you know, and it was kind of funny because there was only two male guys that were selected. It was me and a guy from Hawaii named Gilad Jankowitz and he went by Gil and he was a super star in the world of fitness back then and then all of the sudden in 1988, when men’s fitness had seen my career explode in fitness, they said we got to get this guy on the cover. So, I have been into fitness a long time. I played basketball for two years at Syracuse University, so athletics have always been a big part of my life. And then the picture you saw, what’s really funny is that I wrote this article called 60 is the New 30. And I just turned 61 and I have been a huge advocate of fitness my whole life and I promise you Lisa, right now, I mean I guess probably the most incredible shape I was ever in was in the late 90s. But right now, even I come somewhat close to that and it’s a dedication. And one of the biggest things that when you talk to people that are in really great shape, unless they are genetically predispositioned to have a great body; so much of it is your diet.
You know it is like, like Lisa, I have been in the now – I haven’t in a long time but from 1980 to almost 1990; I was in the fitness club industry, the gym club industry and I owned clubs and all that stuff. There are people that will come in and they will be regular members for four years, they are in five days a week and their body never freakin changes. And the reason for that is that while exercise of course is crucial, you can exercise hours a day and if your diet isn’t clean, you’re not going to see the results you want.
Lisa: That is 100% true.
David: Yeah and a lot of people don’t understand that and so they will get really frustrated. You know I walk an hour a day or I’m in the gym five days a week and you know they are still carrying the body fat and that’s because of the diet. So, let’s talk diet first. There are a million diets out there and some of them will work for some people, but the one that works for everyone is what we call the Higher Protein, Lower Carbohydrate Diet and the easiest way I tell my clients because we have been teaching a weight loss class called Weight Loss Now and Forever, forever and what we say to people is if you look at a circular plate, a dinner plate, 50% of that plate should be protein, then you break down the other half of the plate into vegetables, and carbohydrates. So, you have 50% of your meals should be protein and then a quarter of the meals should be vegetable, you can throw in some fruit of course and then the other quarter. But that is the simplest way I can tell people what a clean diet looks like.
So, on the one half of the plate you would have grilled chicken, you would have fish, you would have – if you were a vegetarian, you would have a high protein bean dish let’s say, on the right hand side, for those people that eat all kinds of foods, let’s say at the top you have a steamed vegetable and then at the bottom, you would have a super clean carbohydrate which might mean something like a brown rice or a full grain pasta. But the American diet, is quite reversed. The American diet is 50% of that plate is carbohydrate and then 25% is protein and if you are lucky, 25% vegetables. But that’s like the absolute cleanest way to eat. Now, there is withdrawal. You know people get addicted to carbohydrate and sugar and all this other kind of stuff, fast foods and so there is a period of time that when you are putting yourself on this super clean diet that you are going to have cravings for sugar. You are going to have cravings for carbohydrates. That’s normal. But as you get further into eating really clean; it just becomes a way of life.
Lisa: Oh yeah, it definitely does. I have to say, I would add some really good healthy fat to that meal. I’m a big believer in a healthy fat kind of girl like I love my avocadoes and my coconut oil and my olive oil and my avocado oils and like for breakfast I had a huge bunch of kale that I got at the Farmer’s Market. I sautéed it in some Avohaas avocado oil, I love them. And I made some eggs and I had some salsa and I got an avocado and mushed it up and it was delicious, and I put a little extra fat in there because that keeps you satiated and I think if you are cutting out the carbs, the healthy fat can really help keep you full. Now that was a big mistake of course in the 80s and 90s remember the whole low carb thing. That’s when you were big into fitness and I’m sure that’s what we were telling people back then, right, because that’s what we thought was the best way to go.
David: Well, you know it’s funny, in 1997, this is when I had – 1996 when I had my big break through with diet is that I was a really hi carb diet. I was that person that ate bagels for breakfast and pastas for dinners and then a girl I was dating at the time, came home one time and she said you know you are eating all of this food, but the guys in the gym that have rockin bodies eat the opposite. And I got really insecure, right. And of course, I got defensive and I said they don’t know what they are talking about. They don’t know what they are doing. And then in 1997, I was introduced to Bill Phillips who wrote a book Body for Life and in that book, it changed me. Like my girlfriend saying that her male friends in the gym that had great bodies, that actually pushed me more into carbohydrates Lisa and then when I had a guy that I respected write a book and I followed his book and that was the first time, I go oh my God, look at the transformation of my own body. So, from around 1997 on, is when I really cut and what you are saying about fats, you know what we tell people is that every day in the morning I have two tablespoons of organic coconut oil, right and then whenever I have my steamed vegetables, I’ll put organic olive oil all over them. So, you are 100% correct. The healthy fats are really crucial part of the diet and I love that you said that. Because I think with every meal, you can do it.
Now one of the confusing things that we believe, and it doesn’t mean we are right, it just means these are our beliefs; is that you have got to be super careful with fruits. Fruit juices are nothing but freakin sugar. Even if you get the high pulp orange juice, it is basically sugar. So, sometimes people will be feeding their kids you know we have the highest rate of obesity with children ever in the history of the United States. And when they are drinking their fruit juices and they are drinking their fruit drinks, I mean that’s basically sugar and we say – and even if you have organic orange juice, it is still freakin sugar. So, you have go to look at what sabotaging things you bring into your diet that might be putting you more behind the eight ball and the other thing and I know some of your listeners are going to cringe to hear this. I don’t care how many studies you read that red wine is good for your heart or white wine is good for your toenails or whatever the hell is out there. Because Lisa, you and I both know enough about research to know that whatever the hell you want to pack up, you are going to find it. There will be a study somewhere saying that these people in this outrageously tiny village in Afghanistan live to 700 years old and they basically lived on organic tobacco and homemade wine. I mean fuckin a. You can find anything. But I will tell you the other big sabotager for a lot of my clients and I am working with one right now is taking away those two glasses of wine after dinner. That is – if you are looking at your body and your body is great, and you have a glass of wine a night, fine. If you’re not happy with your body, first thing you look at is where are my simple carbohydrates coming from? Alcohol is sugar basically. So those are a bunch of dietary tips to help people get on the right track.
Lisa: Oh, those are great. I want to get back into the fitness because, seeing you now is so incredible. Now you have been fit for a really long time and for people who are new, and they might say well I’m not going to, I’m already 60, I can never look like that; what do you say?
David: Oh my God, well let me give you one of the greatest stories ever. And this is – we have a brand-new book. You know my book that we have talked about Positive Thinking Will Never Change your Life But this Book Will? Okay. In that book, I tell stories about people that have battled, one of my clients Lisa, she was 100+ pounds overweight for 30 years. She came to me in her 60s and she looked at me and she said David, this is the last stop. If whatever you take me through and she signed up for a 12-month program, she said, if at the end of the year, my body isn’t changing, I’m just accepting it. I’m tired of this yoyo, losing weight, gaining weight. Now I write in the book, she did everything we said Lisa; at the end of 12 months, she had lost 120 pounds. That was 17 years ago, and it is still off. So, and she was in her 60s and it was like and then here’s the other story. This is even more profound. And this next story that I’m going to talk about Evelyn, my friend Evelyn is in my new book that comes out in January called Focus. For your listeners, I would love for them to write this down. Just write down the number I’m going to tell you. She lost 245 pounds. So, I want you to imagine a 5’4” woman weighing 245 pounds overweight, being 245 pounds a 5’4” woman. The pictures of her before and after are enough to make people cry. It is such a profound change. In the beginning, she got into the gym in a wheelchair. People would wheel her into the gym, stand her up on a treadmill for a three-minute walk Lisa, then put her into the wheelchair then the next day it was a four-minute walk. Through her perseverance, dietary changes and exercise. Now here is the most phenomenal end result that anyone could ever hear. Is that she lost 245 pounds and last year, in Las Vegas, she walked out on stage in front of 15,000 screaming fans as a body builder. At 54-years-of-age. Right. And so, when people say well, you know just like what you said, I’m 50, I’m 60, I’m whatever; it is like no. it’s not your genetics. University of Florida study came out and said that only 6% of people who are obese or overweight have any genetic link whatsoever. That means 94% is our lifestyle. Yeah, 94% is our lifestyle.
Lisa: Oh, it is so true. You know David I want to make sure we have the time to talk about your fitness routines. So, tell us what you are doing these days. Take us through it.
David: Okay, so it is so simple, and it is going to blow your mind. I spend less than an hour a day in the gym, six days a week. It is right about 50 minutes, 5-0. And the first thing I go in and I do is I do my strength training first. You know a lot of people want to go in and do your cardio first but every man and every woman that wants to see body transformation has to do strength training. If you want to see a great body, and going back to the 80s, Lisa, back then we used to tell people that everything was aerobics, right. It was
Lisa: I remember. I was terrible at aerobics. Oh my gosh I was the worst. I’m 5”10” David, I’m all arms and legs and most of the people who do aerobics are shorter and so when my arms were up, theirs were already back down. I couldn’t keep up. I was tripping over my feet. It was a disaster.
David: Oh my God. Well, and we were trained back then, and this is some of the biggest breakthroughs that we have to experience. We were trained that when you want to loss body fat, that you have got to do aerobics, but the truth is this and this is going to shock people. People who lose body fat and keep it off are those who do strength training because let me give you the example. You want to build lean muscle tissue so that you are burning calories 24-hours a day. That’s the real key. When you strength train, the body is burning more calories after you are down with your session for six hours. Like in other words, you continue to burn calories because you have just taken your body from a six-cylinder engine when you add lean muscle tissue; it becomes an eight-cylinder engine. So, it is burning more calories. It is taking more fuel. When you do cardio. Now cardio is a great because you will burn like 150 calories in a session or 200 calories in a session, but think about that. Think about how little that is. Some people think if they exercise a long period of time, might burn 400 calories but if you have a bagel and cream cheese, you have just put it all back on. So, the real key and what I do is I go in and I do my strength training, I do again, six days a week my strength training routine takes about 20 minutes in the gym. It is not an extreme amount of time, then I put 20-25 minutes on the cardio and I’m done. And so, if someone says well I don’t have the time you know to get that kind of a body that David has at 61 and I say it’s not about time. It about a clean diet and effective weight training and effective cardio. And that’s really if there is a secret to it Lisa, that’s the secret.
Lisa: And what is your strength training? Is it weights? Is it yoga? Is it other body weight exercises? Is it a mix?
David: This is just my bias. My bias says that you have got to do weights. And a lot of women will say well, if I do weights I get really bulky. Oh my God. Here’s the truth. Let’s go back through the statistics. About 4% of the US female population has the same amount of testosterone as a man. 4%. Okay. Those 4%, if they are smart, will be body builders. If those girls are smart. Because those are girls that can put on and young women and older women they can put on lean muscle tissue quicker and they will get bulky. But that only 4%. That means 96& of women who strength train will never get bulky. Now, if you see yourself getting bulky, that tells me that your diet sucks. It doesn’t tell me that your strength training is doing it. But you know I really think that weight training is imperative. It doesn’t have to be free weights, it can be machines and if a person is afraid of doing it, get a personal trainer for your first two or four, six sessions so that you really learn how to do it correctly. It is money well-invested and then find a workout partner. The biggest excuse we see with my clients that don’t stick with an exercise program is that they don’t have anyone to workout with. So, what we need to do, is ask a friend, ask someone you work with or even put a sign up at the gym. Get humble. Be vulnerable. Saying that you are looking for a female or a male to workout with you, these number of days and this time of day. Get out of your comfort zone to become successful.
Lisa: You know, David, you are so fantastic. And I always love you on Sirius with Jenny McCarthy. The two of you are so great together. Let’s talk about all the ways we can find you and then I want to have on next month to talk everything motivation.
David: Oh gosh Lisa, that would be great yeah. All people have to do is go to www.talkdavid.com because that’s all I do Lisa, like you, is talk. So just go to www.talkdavid.com and you will find out about all of our books and our programs and everything in the world that you can need to know about improving your life is at talkdavid.com.
Lisa: David, thank you so much. So, glad you listened to Talk Fitness Today. You can check us out on social media at talkfitness2day on Snap Chat and Twitter. Check us out on Facebook at Talk Fitness Today and also on Instagram. I want to thank everyone for listening and stay well.