Rafael David Interview with Style Magazines

Hottest tips to shred this summer!

by KIRI JOHNSTON & JANA GABRIJEL

It’s that time of year again – time to awaken from winter hibernation and get your butt into shapely gear for beach season!

One of Brisbane’s best personal trainers, Rafael David, shares his top secrets to improving health, nutrition, fitness and wellness in everyday living.

Based in Goodlife Health Clubs Fortitude Valley, personal trainer, owner and director of RDPT, Rafael Emmanuel David, specialises in body recomposition (dropping body fat, adding lean muscle mass), as well as improving health through strength exercise and successfully proven scientific based training methods.

Rafael David Personal Training
Goodlife Health Club, Fortitude Valley
P 0408 750 996

How long have you been a personal trainer?

I’ve recently just passed my 10 year anniversary since first becoming a personal trainer and working in the health and fitness industry.

Describe what kind of personal trainer you are/what is your philosophy?


As a personal trainer, my personal philosophy to the industry is to serve and educate our clients, and those who seek out information and advice on health, fitness and wellbeing. We need to train, respect, educate, celebrate and mentor clients as individuals; recognising and considering the uniqueness of each person’s fitness journey. Most importantly we need to ensure clients receive an enjoyable high quality experience throughout the entirety of their personal training journey.

As a trainer, I never want to be complacent and I never want to stop educating myself in my field. I want to provide useful content and I want to be able to give quality information to my clients. I believe that clients should be taught and equipped with enough knowledge and skill to continue gaining healthy results even when I’m not around.

What is your best tip when it comes to training?

At the end of the day you need to workout what outcome you want with your training. Be extremely clear with the results and goals you want to achieve, then ensure you plan and program your training to help you progress forward towards these objectives. Also exercise / training should actually be fun and something that you enjoy doing.

The process of achieving your goal becomes a lot easier when you like and embrace the training you’re performing.

What is your personal fitness routine?

At the moment, my current training split is a 5-6 day workout with the 6th day being more on the side of active recovery in which I try to utilise all recovery methods from mobility work, breathing techniques, to foam rolling & stretching.

My current split is along the lines of Upper – Lower – Upper – Lower – Upper body parts, and depending on the phase of training it’ll more then likely be focused on the principles of either strength work, functional hypertrophy, or high volume / shock sets.

My sessions go for an hour each and for every hour of intense training I recommend and try to do some sort form of recovery for 10 minutes.

If you could only do one type of exercise, what would it be?


This is a hard one as I have so many but if I can only choose one it’ll be an upper body exercise and I’ll say pull-ups or chin-ups for the win!

Nothing demonstrates upper body strength more then being able to pull your bodyweight up over the bar numerous times. You can even add weights to your body to increase the difficulty of the exercise.

What is the most common excuse you hear for not training, how do you combat that?

“I don’t have the time to train.” I completely understand that we are all time poor and we are all stretched so far with our day-to-day living and commitments. But the truth and the reality is, if you never make time for your health and fitness goals, then you will never achieve them, nor will time just magically appear.

I try to avoid creating a schedule that will set the client up for failure and add stress to their routine. Instead, I overcome the “no time” factor by building a comfortable and achievable schedule in collaboration with the client that can be easily maintained. So, commit to a time that you cannot easily cancel. From here we work out the frequency of the training sessions and how long they will last. Often these sessions can be booked anywhere from 2 x 45 minute sessions in the week or even 2 x 30 minute sessions. It could be they see me once a week and then complete a home workout that I’ve created for them in their other session.

What do you think are the most underrated and overrated exercises?

I’m a firm believer that all exercises work and they all have a purpose. It really just depends on what the individual is after and what they are capable of doing. There are no bad exercises, just poorly programmed and executed ones for the individual doing them.
I feel a lot of exercises considered basic and “boring” such as the squats, deadlifts, pressing movements, pull-ups etc., are actually the most difficult and effective to perform correctly. They really are the gold standard bang for your buck exercises.

As a fitness professional, it is my job to ensure you train using the best exercises for you, your goals and your body. We can always find a way, we just have to try and find what is the best way for you.

I don’t think I have an overrated exercise that I dislike. I mean who am I to make comment on what someone is doing without knowing them or even the context for the reasoning as to why they are training. It completely goes against my values of wanting people to bring out the best in them through exercise, so if they are moving and exercising and they are happy and getting benefit from it, then that’s job well done!

What are your recommended pre and post workout foods?

I’m really big into correct nutrition and nourishment through nutrient timing pre and post workout in regards to the food choices that you can make. These two meals will set you up for your workout that your about to perform so you can train at your best and they will also set your body up for quality recovery post training as well.

Before training I recommend choosing a quality protein food such as beef, salmon, chicken or eggs. Make sure to include some carbohydrates from potato’s & rice. Also try to fit in as many vegetables with this meal as possible. Depending on your training goals, you can add some fats to this meal. This may seem like a lot of food for some people, so you may need to give yourself at least 1-2 hours to get this in before you train.

I personally like to eat fruit before and especially after training as well. This is also a perfect choice of foods if for some reason you hadn’t eaten all day and you’re about to train in the next 30 minutes.

For post-training I do suggest the same foods as your pre-workout meal.

Who do you most admire in the industry or who is your favourite athlete/sportsperson of all time?

I look up to and gain knowledge, skill and inspiration from many coaches around the world, from: Charles Poliquin, Tony Gentilcore, Eric Cressey, Kelly Starrett, Louie Simmons, Gary Vaynerchuk, to Christian Thibaudeau and Benjamin Minos.