Fitness Files: David Banner

From the deep trenches

of Mississippi, David Banner is known for fire-breathing, gladiator style

rhyming that commands excitement. These days you’ll 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 6’2”

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

every level. 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! Are you

planning to leave some footprints on health in the music community, like 50

Cent or Diddy?

David Banner: I wasn’t

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 wasn’t about selling records or getting more women,

but the supermodels are calling a lot more now. 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 didn’t do heavy weights. I thought I was going lift

heavy, but we did a lot of crazy high intensity speed training. I’m running

from set to set, and every three days I walk a mountain.

I learned the rules of

exercise, like technique. I’m able to go in the gym now and see people pushing

heavy a** weight - I can tell if it’s right for them or not. They’re not doing

the right things. They may be doing the right exercise, but not the right

weight. Their form is wrong, so they’re not catching the right muscle groups.

They’re pushing and pulling on the back. That’s not good for you!

[My trainer] showed me my

position with light weight, and how it is better for you. That’s how I became

so cut up. My stamina game is crazy! I have endurance for days. Ask the ladies! What steps did you take to become fit?

David Banner: It’s 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 that’s 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 didn’t 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 you’re an actor or rapper, whatever you are,

you just don’t have time for bullsh*t. I love to drink homie, but I just don’t

have time for it anymore. If I drink tonight it’ll take me three hours to

recover the next day. Now with getting up early working out and my workday

starting, I don’t 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 weren’t 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 aren’t

motivated to do the right things aren’t around me anymore. Just taking care of

myself redefined that I didn’t have room for no one else’s bullshit. It

empowered me… Then I knew that everyone couldn’t run the hard course of life

with me. How

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 other’s 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. It’s 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

workout. What benefits have you experienced since [you started] working out?

David Banner: I’m 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. It’s alive. When the flesh isn’t disciplined, it makes you

desire things you really are not supposed to be doing - like eat when you’re

really not hungry and drink.

And another thing, people

that battle with depression don’t realize that when you work out it releases

endorphins that naturally make you feel better. It keeps the bullsh*t away from

you. When you’re 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. Nutrition

plays a heavy role on how the body looks, feels and smells. You’re 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. I’m 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 that’s 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 you’re hungry do you pick them up and eat it?

No! So I trained my mind to look at certain foods a like rat. I’ve been

starving before, and saw a pork pizza sitting right there and I didn’t 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 I’m running from city to city, I prepare all of my own meals as much

as I can. I know what I’m putting into my body. I learned that from LL Cool J. So you’re

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

and strokes.

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.

As a

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