EOB: Give us a little background on yourself. Age; where you are from; married, kids?
Daron: I just turned 43. (Nov. 5) I was born in St. Louis, MO. I currently live in Washington, DC. Married to my wife Heather for 18 years. She just recently retired from the army. We have two daughters. Nicole is 12 and Nadia is 9.
EOB: When did you start bodybuilding and what drew you to the sport/activity?
Daron: I started competing in 2002. I’m prior military, US navy. I did 6 years. I met some guys on my ship while in Pearl Harbor that were competing probably around ’96. I was fascinated by it then. I went to a few shows to see what it was all about. I even started eating chicken and broccoli. I guess the fact that I was asked quite often if I competed drew me in. I bought Flex magazine and Arnold’s encyclopedia of bodybuilding to learn more. I actually started lifting weights while I was in high school for football. I was about 13 or 14 then. I believe that’s when I started buying supplements from GNC. Mostly Twinlab stuff when most everything was in a glass bottle.
EOB: Who were your early inspirations in the sport?
Daron: Of course, Arnold was. Flex Wheeler was someone who inspired me. I was truly fascinated by his physique. I had read his book “Flex Ability.” In 2008 I approached him about sponsorship with a company he was with. He helped me get my first sponsor and also provided me lots of great advice.
EOB: When did you turn IFBB pro and at what show?
Daron: I turned pro in 2006. Belgian Nationals. It was a pretty big surprise. My wife was stationed in Belgium while she was in the Army. I reached out to IFBB Belgium after winning the NPC Junior USA in 2004. They allowed me to compete because as a military dependent I had become a Belgian citizen.
EOB: How many 212 pro shows have you done?
Daron: Starting in 2012, I did eight 212 pro shows.
EOB: Why did you decide to switch to the Classic Physique division?
Daron: I had been waiting for this new division. Before 212 it was 202 and I did 4 pro shows. I was getting out-muscled by a lot of guys shorter than me. I just had a feeling to make the move to classic physique. So far it has been the best move ever!
EOB: You are known for being a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder. What do you say to those who refuse to believe you made it this far naturally?
Daron: Honestly, I have come to the realization that everyone is not going to believe me. That’s cool. I will continue to do my best to encourage, motivate, and inspire those that I can. I refuse to believe that you have to follow what everyone else may be doing. I just want to be the one to say you can choose different options. And yes, it may take longer, but hard work and perseverance will pay off. You have to see it before it happens and of course you have to believe it.
EOB: So, 2016 was a big year for you. Not only did you take 3rd place behind two major names in the sport earlier in the season but you also won the Baltimore Pro recently! How does it feel?
Daron: It feels amazing! But I have to say, that I knew it was coming. I wanted those things so badly. I heard my name being called before I even stepped on that stage. I spoke to people and gave them my predications. I used a lot self talk and visualization. I had decided that I needed to among those major names.
EOB: I understand you hired Coach Eric “Merlin” Broser to guide you into your shows in 2015 and 2016, and that he will be by your side from now on. How did you meet Eric and what made you decide to work with him?
Daron: I met Eric while I was with a company called All American EFX. Probably around 2008 when Flex Wheeler was with EFX and he helped me land a sponsorship with them. Actually, the thought of hiring Eric had crossed my mind back then. I’m not sure why I didn’t pursue him then. I truly believe I wasn’t ready yet. I mean mentally. Now, it has been awesome having him as my coach. This whole journey I’ve been on has been about timing.
EOB: Originally I thought Eric just programmed your diet, but recently found out he has also been helping build your lagging body parts with his unique training methods. How has his methods been working for you?
Daron: Eric’s unique training methods have allowed me to fully discover that mind and muscle connection. I never used tempos or super sets much in my training, but now they make an excellent addition.
EOB: What is your favorite exercise for each major muscle group?
Daron: Here are the ones that give me the best pump!
Back- bent over b/b rows
Chest- flat db press
Legs- lying/seated leg curls
Biceps- concentration curls
Triceps – pushdowns
Delts- standing laterals
EOB: So what is the plan for 2017? What are you and Eric working on and what shows will you be doing?
Daron: The plan for 2017 is to get ready for 2017 Mr. Olympia classic physique. I may do a couple of shows before then. Maybe Pittsburgh Pro and Chicago. Eric and I will be focusing on improvements. Particularly upper chest, back and delts. So much time to bring in a better package.
EOB: Thank you Daron! And we look forward to seeing you on the Olympia stage.
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