Interview by Ron Harris
Dana Linn Bailey, identified merely as DLB to her thousands and thousands of followers and followers, cast a novel path for herself in our business as an athlete who turned an entrepreneur and in the end an icon who transcended our little world and gained mainstream enchantment to thousands and thousands of younger girls over the world whom she impressed. Although she solely competed briefly as knowledgeable, Dana embraced social media and YouTube from the beginning and used these platforms to unfold her messages of feminine empowerment and loving your physique whether or not or not you match the cultural beliefs on the time. I sat down and spoke with Dana about why she retired, if she’s going to ever compete once more, the unending “natty or not” debate that’s all the time surrounded her, and her not too long ago becoming a member of the crew at complement powerhouse Redcon1.
Dana, you have been the primary girl to earn a professional card in Girls’s Physique, and also you have been additionally the primary Girls’s Physique Olympia champion. However after taking second place to Juliana Malacarne the subsequent 12 months on the Olympia after which second once more to her on the Arnold the next spring, you by no means competed once more. Why did you stroll away from the stage so quickly?
Most individuals don’t understand I had been competing for 10 years at that time. As an novice I’d do 4 or 5 reveals a 12 months. That slowed down as soon as I turned professional. I gained the primary Olympia, acquired second at the second, and getting second place was the perfect factor that would have occurred to me. I do know it sounds bizarre. I really like successful and being first was superior, however I began placing a variety of pointless stress on myself. Sarcastically, I seemed higher on the second Olympia once I took second. After I misplaced the title, I believed all the things was over, my complete world was going to collapse. I assumed everybody would comply with the winner, that all the things revolved round being onstage and successful. Rob and I have been each like, now what? What can we do now? We went again to the expo and there was a five-hour lengthy line to fulfill me, and I noticed nobody gave a fuck that I’d misplaced. That was an important factor to appreciate. Individuals weren’t there as a result of I had been first place. They have been there for me lengthy earlier than that. They loved watching me compete and watching my journey on YouTube, not as a result of I’d gained. It was virtually a reduction understanding that.
The evolution of bodybuilding is a pure factor. I used to be getting higher, however everybody else was getting larger and tougher on the identical time. I acquired second once more to Juliana on the Arnold, and he or she seemed superb. After that, Rob and his brother Drew sat down with me, and we had a gathering. Bodybuilding modifications you, for the great but additionally in different methods. I don’t have an consuming dysfunction, however it will probably make you concentrate on meals and coaching otherwise. After 10 years of competing, I felt like a robotic that solely cared in regards to the fitness center and consuming. We might go on trip, and I’d be anxious about coaching and consuming clear the entire time. Rob stated Dana, you’ve acquired to stay slightly! He advised me he wished his spouse again. He wished to have the ability to take me out to dinner with out me having to leap up on a StairMill once we acquired residence. I did eat a wholesome, balanced food regimen, however there was nonetheless slightly little bit of loopy happening. He requested me to take a break and see what occurs. It was solely going to be a couple of 12 months. The 12 months after that, I simply couldn’t get my head again in it. We already had Flag Nor Fail, after which I began my very own enterprise DLB Each day, the place I give out completely different exercises and packages each week. We’ve them for dumbbells solely, body weight solely, full gear, and many others. We do challenges, and I give substantial quantities of cash away. I’m capable of assist change folks’s lives as a result of I’m not engulfed in competing. After I’d been away three years, I noticed I couldn’t return. The division had modified a lot in that point. Right here we’re, virtually 10 years later. I’m in the perfect form of my life, wholesome and blissful. I really feel very lucky. Ultimately I spotted the stage isn’t the place you make your cash. It’s only a platform. I’m very grateful to the IFBB Professional League for that platform, but it surely’s what you do offstage that units up your future.
I truthfully really feel that had you saved competing, you by no means would have turn out to be the “DLB” phenomenon that you simply did. You traveled the world and had 1000’s of followers ready to fulfill you all over the place you went. You opened up a fitness center and did so many issues. I believe you’ll have missed out on so many alternatives in case your life had purely revolved round your exercises, cardio, and meals. The irony is that most individuals suppose competing and successful is the holy grail, the one path to success.
Competing was an important expertise, and I all the time say that bodybuilding has taught me a lot about myself. I can faucet into and go locations that not many individuals can. Each present you do, you’re like, I don’t suppose I can do that. Then you definately come out the opposite aspect and it’s, holy shit, I did it! I discovered a lot about coaching, weight-reduction plan and diet and now I’m capable of share all that with folks.
Have you ever ever been tempted to compete once more?
I’ve by no means used the phrase “retired,” as a result of there’s a foolish a part of me that all the time thinks, possibly. I do take a look at myself now and I’m in higher form now than I’ve ever been. I sort of wish to see what I’d seem like. I’m turning 40 in a couple of weeks and I nonetheless suppose, possibly only one extra time.
You’ll be eligible for the Masters Olympia in August. Did anybody attain out to you from that occasion?
No, however for me, I would want about 30 weeks to prep for a present.
Critically? You all the time look fairly lean to me. I’d guess you’re by no means greater than 12 weeks out by way of situation.
It takes a very long time for me to get my legs dialed in. We are able to discuss in regards to the “pure or not” topic later, however I’ve been competing naturally my total life. I don’t begin seeing the deep cuts in my legs come out till I’ve already been weight-reduction plan for 25 weeks.
All of the divisions change and evolve over time. Males’s Physique professionals now are thrice the dimensions they began out at. The distinction between you and the perfect girls in Girls’s Physique like Natalia Coelho and Sarah Villegas is big. In case you wished to do nicely as we speak, that’s the kind of look you would want to carry to the stage.
There’s simply no approach I might seem like that. I’m very reasonable with myself. A part of me would like to go up there and never even care that I’d be the smallest and much from probably the most shredded. I’d simply must get previous understanding I’d be standing subsequent to them and the way I’d evaluate. I’d simply must have the perspective that it’s positive, who cares? I’m certified for all times as a previous Olympia winner. However the previous ego would most likely really feel slightly insufficient.
It additionally begs the query, is it higher to focus all of your time and vitality for months to look nice on at some point, or have a extra balanced and productive life and look actually good on a regular basis such as you do?
That’s the best factor about not competing. I by no means did the bulking factor anyway. You’ve seen me in any respect kinds of occasions through the years and I’m all the time in form. I didn’t even do bodybuilding the “proper approach” by taking time so as to add a variety of dimension. As soon as I turned professional in 2012, I felt I wanted to look skilled always. I by no means wished folks to see photos of me onstage after which meet me in particular person and say, “she doesn’t even seem like that in actual life.” Competing is excessive. You’ve happening to the bottom physique fats doable, you then flip round within the low season and acquire a bunch of weight. I by no means did that. I’ve seen women who gained 30 kilos inside a month or two after competing. Going up and down in weight like that isn’t wholesome. Staying in form truly acquired simpler for me as soon as I finished competing, as a result of there was no extra fluctuation. I used to food regimen for 30 weeks after which lose that peak look in a couple of days after the present. I’d moderately look good and be wholesome year-round. At 5-4, I keep proper at 135 kilos.
OK, right here we go on the “natty or not” debate. You’ve been accused of utilizing PEDs and being a “faux natty” for a few years. I defend you regardless that you don’t want me to only as a result of I’ve been round so lengthy and know the telltale indicators. You’ve seemed the best way you do for nicely over a decade now, and your look doesn’t change a lot. You submit new images and video content material on a regular basis. I’ve by no means seen any drastic modifications in muscle dimension or power in all these years as you’ll count on with anybody who cycles on and off PEDs. And had you been on even average doses of medication this complete time, there could be modifications to issues like your voice, hairline, pores and skin texture, and so forth. I’ve identified many ladies whose voice and look modified over time as a consequence of PEDs. Actually, if I believed you have been a liar or a faux natty I wouldn’t have even introduced this up. I don’t benefit from placing folks on the spot or making them really feel uncomfortable. So, does this complete topic annoy you, amuse you, what?
It makes folks so offended, and I used to get actually upset about it as a result of I knew I wasn’t mendacity. Individuals actually hated me as a result of they thought I used to be. It bothered me till I believed, you realize, I have to be doing one thing proper if I can seem like I’m on steroids with out being on them. The explanation I’m so vocal about it, I don’t care what anybody does. I actually don’t. You are able to do all of the medication on this planet if you’d like. They simply don’t make sense in a feminine physique. You’re placing a bunch of male hormones into a girl’s physique, which isn’t presupposed to have greater than a miniscule quantity. You’ll begin morphing into a person. I don’t care who will get upset listening to that. You are able to do what you need along with your physique, I don’t care. I don’t like once I hear that coaches inform girls, if you wish to seem like Dana Linn Bailey, listed here are the steroids you will have to make use of. False! How about working exhausting for 10 years? I’ve been an athlete since I used to be 5 years previous. I performed six sports activities and performed soccer in faculty. Then I acquired into lifting, and I’ve been coaching exhausting for over 17 years now. I skilled a minimal of six days per week, typically seven, and my food regimen was constant. If I can change one lady’s determination to start out utilizing PEDs, then cool. I’ve performed my half. I’d like to alter extra minds than that. Doing it naturally simply takes longer. It’s a must to be extra constant and affected person. It’s not one thing you do in a single day or in a few months. It’s years and years. It’s been 17 years and I’m nonetheless solely 135 kilos!
I believe lots of people get butthurt seeing nice pure physiques and assuming they’re liars as a result of they don’t perceive that there are folks such as you who’re extra genetically gifted than common. Then when these folks prepare very exhausting for years, they give the impression of being unbelievable. I’ve seen you prepare in particular person a couple of occasions, and only a few folks, males or girls, can sustain with you within the fitness center. I’ve seen you hit what I believed was failure on lateral raises, and the rattling set goes on for an additional 5 minutes!
I’ve skilled with many of the prime bodybuilders on this planet. Jose Raymond give up on me midway by the exercise! Kai Greene was one of many few who might hold. Usually, the ladies might hold with me as a result of we usually have extra endurance. I really like coaching and I thrive on quantity and depth. I believe if I even touched slightly bit of medication, I’d have been on the identical stage as Iris Kyle. Once more, I don’t care what guys take. These are male hormones. And I need to see the freaks up there in bodybuilding, like Ronnie Coleman and Kai Greene. I’m additionally glad now we have Girls’s Bodybuilding for them and for individuals who are followers of that. I simply by no means wished to go that route.
Let’s transfer on to some new, thrilling information. You have been not too long ago signed by Redcon1 which I truthfully thought would have occurred a few years in the past. I do know you and Rob have been buddies with Aaron for a very long time, so how did you lastly get on board along with his firm?
That’s humorous, we maintain saying we should always have performed this a very long time in the past! Again when he had Blackstone, we began our personal complement line referred to as Run All the pieces, and he was part of it to start with. We purchased him out a few years later and we had that firm for no less than eight years. A few years in the past, we realized that regardless that we had nice merchandise, it was nonetheless simply one other complement model. We did an entire rebranding to give attention to girls in sports activities. The complement business has all the time been targeted on males. I bear in mind way back making an attempt to get a sponsor, and we weren’t paid the identical as the lads. Why not have a model devoted to the feminine athletes, to present them a platform and share their tales. It was nice, however over the previous 12 months Rob and I needed to admit we had an excessive amount of on our plates and we couldn’t give the corporate the like it deserves. We’ve identified Aaron for 15 years. I wished to see Run All the pieces in Goal and Walmart, however I don’t have the bandwidth. Aaron has an enormous employees and all these connections. He supplied to purchase Run All the pieces and make it develop. On the identical time, he desires Redcon1 to develop, so he introduced me in to assist in that space. I really like all their merchandise. They’ve a a lot larger line than Run All the pieces, and I’m excited to be a part of such an enormous model. I used to be with an enormous model a very long time in the past, however they didn’t know what to do with me. They complained folks have been having a tough time attending to their cubicles at expos as a result of there have been too many followers ready to fulfill me! I’m pumped to be a part of a extremely huge model that “will get me.”
What are your favourite Redcon1 merchandise?
I really like BIG NOISE, their non-stim “pump” pre-workout. I already drink approach an excessive amount of espresso, so I don’t want so as to add any extra caffeine on prime of that. The MRE RTDs and bars style so good. I need to strive their greens product, GI JUICE, as a result of I’m all about well being. Their protein powders are superb, and in case you haven’t tried their MRE PROTEIN MUFFINS but, you don’t know what you’re lacking. They’re fucking unbelievable! The one factor I’ve to go simple on is their pre-workout, TOTAL WAR. I do half a scoop and it’s insane. Even opening up the can, the vapors that come off the powder make me cough! However for anybody who desires an actual kick for his or her exercises, TOTAL WAR would do the trick.
To wrap this up, let’s discuss your future. You’ve already performed and achieved a lot in lower than 40 years on earth. What do you continue to need to do earlier than it’s all stated and performed?
I’ve performed loads of seminars and interviews, however I’ve by no means performed knowledgeable, hour-long presentation or speech with simply me onstage. I did my first one a couple of month in the past at Coach Con in Atlanta, the place coaches from all disciplines come to be taught. They requested me to talk, and I used to be like, what? Simply go up there and discuss? I used to be so nervous that I broke out in hives a few days earlier than. It’s bizarre as a result of I’m so snug in entrance of individuals and on digital camera. I’ve performed seminars everywhere in the world. Q and A? Straightforward-peasy for me. For some motive, this scared the shit out of me. I believed I used to be simply gonna go up there and freeze. However I went up and advised my story. I had my speaking factors, and I acquired by it. Once I acquired residence, I believed, possibly that is my subsequent factor. Possibly that is what I do now. I do have an inspirational story that individuals can relate to. I went by a variety of self-doubt and physique dysmorphia and hated my physique for thus lengthy. Then I threw myself right into a sport that’s all about my physique being judged! Not getting breast implants was an enormous a part of that. I made the issues I hated most about my physique into the issues I’m the proudest of. I need to train folks how one can get there. I really feel I’ve one thing to say that may assist others, and that’s my new journey. Over the past 9 years since I finished competing, I felt like one thing was lacking, that there was a void in my life as a result of I’m a competitor at coronary heart. That’s what I’m, that’s all I do know. After doing that speech and other people coming as much as me afterwards, I felt that very same achievement the stage used to present me.
MRE PROTEIN BROOKIE
‘I really like all their merchandise. I’m pumped to be a part of a extremely huge model that ‘will get me.’ -Dana Linn Bailey
For extra data, go to redcon1.com
Ron Harris acquired his begin within the bodybuilding business throughout the eight years he labored in Los Angeles as Affiliate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Journal” present within the Nineteen Nineties. Since 1992 he has printed practically 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and health magazines, making him probably the most prolific bodybuilding author ever. Ron has been coaching because the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives along with his spouse and two kids within the Boston space. Fb Instagram