From the deep trenches
of Mississippi, David Banner is known for fire-breathing, gladiator style
rhyming that commands excitement. These days youll find David Banner definitely
looking stronger too.
He now walks with brick for a
chest, roadblocks for abs and an air of confidence comparable to a General.
For years now the stocky 62
rapper has been in a personal war, battling to keep his diagnosed high blood
pressure and sleep apnea in check. Recently he was nearly
hit with a one, two combination of being diabetic.
He had to drastically alter his
daily health habits by changing his diet to vegan and committing to exercise. Within
six months, David Banner resurrected a new life by transforming his focus and
body by losing 40 pounds.
He has successfully taken his
blood pressure (hypertension) down to normal, and diabetes is down for the 10
count. We spoke with David
Banner about his new lifestyle, and what it means to him to become greater on
AllHipHop.com: The world
has seen a complete change in your physique. How long have you been working out,
and how many times a week do you work out?
Banner: Seriously, about a year or so. I work out about 4-5 times
week – exercise is my drug of choice!
AllHipHop.com: Are you
planning to leave some footprints on health in the music community, like 50
Cent or Diddy?
David Banner: I wasnt
talking to Puffy about fitness my life is more serious now, but the reality is I
need to get Fit or Die literally. I had to get my life together, man. I have
high blood pressure and I was damn near diabetic a year ago.
I always thought I would
die a violent death – it got to the point where I had to get make a serious
change. Becoming healthier wasnt about selling records or getting more women,
but the supermodels are calling a lot more now.
AllHipHop.com: So drop me
the stats. What type of weight are you working with? Bench press, squats, calisthenics
or just jogging?
David Banner: The
surprising thing is we didnt do heavy weights. I thought I was going lift
heavy, but we did a lot of crazy high intensity speed training. Im running
from set to set, and every three days I walk a mountain.
I learned the rules of
exercise, like technique. Im able to go in the gym now and see people pushing
heavy a** weight – I can tell if its right for them or not. Theyre not doing
the right things. They may be doing the right exercise, but not the right
weight. Their form is wrong, so theyre not catching the right muscle groups.
Theyre pushing and pulling on the back. Thats not good for you!
[My trainer] showed me my
position with light weight, and how it is better for you. Thats how I became
so cut up. My stamina game is crazy! I have endurance for days. Ask the ladies!
AllHipHop.com: What steps did you take to become fit?
David Banner: Its funny
how God works, because I happened to move L.A. and just the culture and
environment is just so much healthier out here. You have whole grocery stores
that are dedicated to eating healthy.
I started to study, and I
learned so much about body. I found out that most people have been dehydrated
their entire life, and thats where the problems usually start.
I hired a trainer, Scott
Parker, who taught me how to pay attention and how to treat my body. He learned
[my needs] so well he could look at me and see if slipped up and didnt eat my
yams, or if I have been drinking. He knew me so well, it was crazy!
I like to drink. If you
are truly doing your job, whether youre an actor or rapper, whatever you are,
you just dont have time for bullsh*t. I love to drink homie, but I just dont
have time for it anymore. If I drink tonight itll take me three hours to
recover the next day. Now with getting up early working out and my workday
starting, I dont have time to waste.
But the amazing thing is,
as I started to cut out not only bad food and drinking, I realized that certain
great people in my life just werent benefiting me also. The power of working
out alleviated a lot of people who weren’t motivated the same way I was. Nobody
wanted to walk that mountain with me! Nobody wants to get up under those
weights with me! Nobody wants to do anything that requires work! Nobody wants
to do the hard sh*t that comes with rap!
People who arent
motivated to do the right things arent around me anymore. Just taking care of
myself redefined that I didnt have room for no one elses bullshit. It
empowered me Then I knew that everyone couldnt run the hard course of life
important was having a trainer in this personal transformation?
Banner: It was very important, because I learned so much. He studied daily and
developed new ways to challenge me so that I stayed motivated and improved. But
I also pushed him back, so we feed off each others energy and we both got
better. We worked hard every day.
thing that Parker taught me the most is that your body reacts to what you feed
it. He could look at my body tell if I was eating my yams and drinking my
water. Its so crazy. He taught me that everything I put into body is connected
to everything that I do in life. When I get ready for a photo shoot, my diet
changes – I add and cut certain things. That was more important to me than the
AllHipHop.com: What benefits have you experienced since [you started] working out?
David Banner: Im just
more focused. I added 20 years to my life, and five to my career. My flesh
became disciplined, and my skin looks so refreshed and new. In certain
religions people talk about the flesh as being a spirit that traps soul. It is
its own animal. Its alive. When the flesh isnt disciplined, it makes you
desire things you really are not supposed to be doing – like eat when youre
really not hungry and drink.
And another thing, people
that battle with depression dont realize that when you work out it releases
endorphins that naturally make you feel better. It keeps the bullsh*t away from
you. When youre looking and
feeling good, you have a new confidence and swagger. I feel as if I can do
every type of music and that my music is even better now – because when you
feel good and look good, life is just better.
plays a heavy role on how the body looks, feels and smells. Youre always
traveling, so how do you maintain good eating habits? Since you are probably
surrounded by all types of good soul food in the South, and artists have the
potential to eat very bad on the road, how do you balance your diet with the
David Banner: People are
going to find an excuse to do what they want, but what cuts their excuses out
is grocery stores. Im from the South, and for a matter of fact there is a Super Wal-Mart with a grocery store in it on every corner in
America thats open all night. Why would [anyone] want to eat at McDonalds or
Burger King? Fast food has been proven to kill.
There are rats and
roaches running around, and when youre hungry do you pick them up and eat it?
No! So I trained my mind to look at certain foods a like rat. Ive been
starving before, and saw a pork pizza sitting right there and I didnt touch it,
because I look at pork like rat!
All these rappers ask for
Hennessey and bullsh*t. They should start asking for a place to cook their own
food. When Im running from city to city, I prepare all of my own meals as much
as I can. I know what Im putting into my body. I learned that from LL Cool J.
AllHipHop.com: So youre
healthier now. How has it changed your attitude toward life?
David Banner: I feel I
like I’m 22! I can run 8-9 basketball games and still more in. My life has just
been blessed, man! I can do anything! My swagger, my music and my life has
Fitness File Facts:
According to the Center of
Disease Control, 40% of Americans die of cardiovascular/heart disease
Some of the most common
contributors to high blood pressure (hypertension) are smoking, a diet
high in fat and excess weight.
Risks of high blood pressure are
the increased risks for strokes, cardiovascular disease, chronic heart
failure and kidney failure.
personal trainer to the stars, Chris Sainsbury is certified through NASM
(National Academy of Sports Medicine), ISSA Nutrition (International Sports
Science Association) and ACE (American Counsel Exercise) and
also specializes in boxing, mad dogg spin cycling and marathon running. Find out
more Chris and his Worldwide Greatest Fitness company at www.myspace.com/greatest_fitness.