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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Danny Walker, I’m 35. I grew up in Country Victoria before moving to Melbourne, Australia. Growing up I was a very hyper active kid so my parents encouraged me to play loads of sports and as a result had an extensive sporting background.
I played at a representative level in soccer, cricket, athletics, swimming and Australian rules football. I always thought I would turn one of those sports into a professional career but it wasn’t to be.
In my early 20s, I became a personal trainer and have been ever since, the transition was very easy for me, I had started in the gym when I was 18 and loved it. So getting paid to be there was a no-brainer.
When I became a PT, I began doing some bodybuilding, I didn’t do it with the intention or dream of competing, I liked it for the mental and physical challenge it presented. That and I grew up watching action movies with Arnie and Stallone.
At around 24, I was my biggest, 112 kg at 15% and I felt a little uncomfortable to be honest. I switched my training focus to be more sports and performance-driven.
I guess that’s another thing I like about fitness, you can decide where you want it to take you and change your goals depending on how you feel. Now I do a lot more mobility and movement-centric exercises to combat all the injuries I got in my sporting years.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
The COVID-19 virus has just shut all gyms in my state down, so my training routine now is new but I’ve been enjoying it. I work a couple hours from 6 a.m., then make a coffee and walk the dog, there’s a walking track right out the front of my house that’s kinda hilly so I use that as a bit of fasted cardio.
I eat breakfast when I get home. I’ll train people around lunchtime and then work out myself. I’ve just been doing a maintenance phase of my training lately, I have a gym setup in my garage but I’ve also been setting my own small group training studio up so I’ve been putting the vast majority of my time and energy into that.
My current split is an alternating split of upper body and lower body for six days a week. The norm for me currently would be four sets of four exercise per body part with mobility drills at the start and end. Not very exciting, but the focus is on my business, not my body and that’s ok.
When I was focused on training, I had a great strength program I got from the coach of the Australian Olympic weight lifting team. It’s taxing on the body but every client I’ve ever used it on has gained 20 kg+ on their squat in a month, so it was a fave of mine.
My other preferred training methods are GVT, complexes and tonnage workouts. I’ve used them to get great results with myself and clients. I always logged these workouts as most of them require working from percentages and tracking weights/reps/sets, etc.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
When I was younger, I pushed myself as hard as I could. I used these training methods like GVT and tonnage way too much, I thought if I could walk without pain the next day I didn’t try hard enough.
I’ve come to learn that’s all well and good but not maintainable long term, I had to learn to work more effectively as I was focused only on my training and not advancing my career. I think it’s hugely important to grow your knowledge, new stimulus will grow muscle but so will new knowledge.
I recently did a muscle camp with Ben Pukulski and Milos Sarcev, interesting both of them talked at length about getting the best result form the least amount of effort.
Sure you need to work hard to be successful with business or bodybuilding but mindlessly whipping yourself because you think that’s what you need to do isn’t the way forward. Learning how to stop and ask myself, will this get me the best result? Has been massive for me.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My plans for the future are building a business, I’ve gotten into group training and now my main focus is all about building that brand and membership base.
With in the next five years, I want to have multiple locations so that’s going to take a lot of work, some clever marketing and a bit of luck.
If I could start from the start again I would give myself this advise: Write down your main goal, what ever you do, ask yourself if it’s going to help you achieve that main goal. If it isn’t, don’t do it.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Young me would keep going if it didn’t hurt too bad….what an idiot. This is where learning what your body can handle and tracking your workouts comes in handy. It’s far better to work at 80% than go 100% and get hurt.
I try see an Osteopath every fortnight for a check up. I have some long term things going on from when I played sport so injury prevention has become a large part of my training. I’ve began incorporating loads more mobility and movement exercises, I do some yoga now as well.
A key part is listening to my body and swallowing my ego. Every time you hit the gym it’s about improvement, even if it’s small.
I aim for eight hours a night, but in most cases I get seven, if I go on holiday I still try go to bed in the same routine. I tend not to train that much in a gym when I’m away on holiday, I still might do a bodyweight workout in the room but my wife and I walk alot when we travel so we keep active.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet is fairly conventional, I eat to fuel myself but also to feel good. I want to move, look and feel good. I eat to support that. I haven’t taken a pre workout drink before training apart from coffee for years now.
I don’t compete so I allow myself to have carbs if I want them but have been known to cycle them from time to time.
I avoid junk food where ever I can but I also will have something sweet from time to time too. I’ve been on highly restrictive diets before and I really didn’t enjoy the way I felt about myself or how I thought about myself.
I do take supplements but they are to support more functional health and biohacking than anything else. I have developed a keen interest in biohacking and functional medicine, I can recommend the bulletproof radio podcast and muscle intelligence podcast.
I don’t compete, I’m not a fitness model who needs to be in prefect shape at all times. So social occasions aren’t that hard for me.
Also, I’m about overall health and part of my healthy life is my relationships with friends and family. Life is about balance, I’ll enjoy a meal out with friends because that’s part of my balance, it just means I’ll try do a little extra in the gym the next day.
Depriving myself of a nice night out once in a while makes no sense to me, even top pros have “cheat” or re-feed days so I use these occasions as one of those days for myself.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Some people I listen to and look to learn from are Charles Poliquin, Don Saladino, Ben Pakulski, Eugene Teo, Sebastian Oreb and (as a biohacking source) Dave Asprey.
“Make your plan, test your plan, evaluate your plan.” Easily the best advice I’ve gotten.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
From a personal training perspective, becoming a great trainer isn’t about learning 10,000 different exercises. It’s understanding the function and purpose of each part of the body, understanding everything is connected and needs to be operating to the best of its ability before you can make real progress, and progress is what your paid for.
From a training perspective, you need to remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Make sure you run the shortest route and stick you the plan.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Since the shut down of all gyms, I’ve pivoted my business model to virtual training online. I do group and 1-1 training sessions via a video link as well as program design for those who might want to just check in and have some guidance from time to time.
With so many of us working from home now, I’ve become as flexible as possible for people to still train with me.
My family has always known me to be active and fit, my sister asks me for some advice from time to time but they just know me as me. My friends are the same, they might ask how much I currently bench but that about all. I always tell them “more than you”.