Professional Bodybuilder, Entreprenuer.
Danny Hester is a professional bodybuilder from California (USA.) He’s won a number of competitions, and has become a classic physique competitor and champion.
Growing up, Danny was initially passionate about wrestling and other individual sports such as martial arts. It was this love for developing this “lone wolf” mindset, which allowed him to develop an interest in bodybuilding.
Fast forward to today, and Danny has built a successful career in his native Los Angeles. He competed at the Mr Olympia Classic 2016, where he landed a first place trophy. He’s also started a fitness equipment company. This is Danny Hester’s story:
Danny Hester was Born in Thailand to a Thai mother and German father. His family moved to Ventura, California, after his dad died in a fatal plane crash while working for the US Central Intelligence Agency.
He grew up with 5 other siblings and had a excellent childhood, and he says that not knowing his father gave him the opportunity to use him as a hero figure.
When it came to his mother, she was “very Asian” in the sense that she disciplined the children when they misbehaved. In Danny’s mind, this discipline was a very useful thing; it helped him achieve in school and become an excellent sportsman.
High School Sporting Achievements
In high school, Danny says he was “a great athlete.” He got involved in wrestling at Moorpark Community College, but didn’t like team sports as there was “too much politics.”
He says that he gave up all team sports because the coaches were always playing favorites. Wrestling and martial arts to him were two sports where he could prove himself, and win or loose through his own effort/failings, rather than depending on a teams performance.
Danny also believes that the people who compete in individual sports are generally the same type. He says they are quirky and rebellious, and generally have a great sense of humor – welcoming the challenges of life.
Becoming Interested In Bodybuilding
This interest in individual sports and pursuits lead Danny to bodybuilding quite quickly. He says that he started reading bodybuilding magazines in high school when he was a sophomore, and saw his genetic potential develop when he hit puberty.
He says that he was always more interested in building a symmetrical body growing up. He didn’t see the need to create an enormous body, as in his mind, this wasn’t the purpose of bodybuilding as a sport.
In order to become a bodybuilder, Danny decided that had had to be part of the action. He moved Venice (California) in the early 1990s, because he knew it was where “everything is happening relevant to what he does in the fitness industry.”
Impressing At Competitions
As soon as he moved to Venice, his career opportunities improved massively. He began working out with high level professional bodybuilders, and worked extremely hard himself – building a competition worthy physique.
He qualified for a series of NPC competitions from 1992 to 2007, landing 3 3rd place positions and establishing himself as a high-level contender. In 2007, he won the Musclemania World Bodybuilding Championships.
Following this win, he returned to the NPC competition circuit for 6 years – coming out with an impressive 6 podium positions, including a win at the Los Angeles Bodybuilding, Figure & Bikini Championships.
Working As A Mental Health Nurse And Prison Guard
While he was picking up these victories, Danny also worked two “interesting” jobs. His first job was as a nurse in a Mental Health Hospital, and he says that he learned a lot about people and society though this job.
After working in this role for two years, he decided to begin a career in law enforcement. He says that “it seemed exciting and would be an easy transition since I was already overseeing people who were under lock and key.”
He was laced at a Southern Californian wing for rapists and murderers. He says the best way he built rapport with the inmates was through talking about bodybuilding.
Mr Olympia Classic Physique
After an excellent career record as a younger man, Danny decided that he would continue to train as a more mature competitor. He decided to train for, and compete in the Olympia Classic Physique competition.
He managed to qualify for the event and came out with a 1st place trophy. He loved the opportunity to compete alongside men of a similar age to him.
Designing Fitness Equipment
This love for bodybuilding that Danny had nurtured all his life, lead him to develop a piece of gym equipment that people could take with them anywhere.
He named it the G-Flex, and it functions as a portable elastic cable which the individual can use for chest and arm exercises, as well as various stretches.
Finding His Gym
Danny has trained in a number of gyms throughout his career. One place which he has found to be an excellent spot, is ‘Powerhouse Gym’ in Oxnard, California.
In his opinion, it is “the only serious gym around.” He believes that the gym cares just as much about results, as they do about selling memberships. The fact that the gym is full of dedicated professionals, also helps the atmosphere when he is working out with friends.
When he is completing cardio sessions, he goes to World Crown Sports (also in Oxnard.) He takes boxing lessons from the owners Adam and Cecilio Flores – two “excellent” coaches who work with world champions.
- Legs: single leg press with knees outward
- Hamstrings: seated leg curls
- Calves: calf raises
- Biceps: hammer curls and triple overhead cable extensions
- Rear delts and shoulders: reverse peck decks
- Chest: dips
- Abs: seated leg lifts
- Abs and obliques: twists, (35 reps.)
Danny says that he prefers to train his arms. He doesn’t necessarily enjoy forearms, because he believes that they are already worked out if the person lifts heavy weights.
He plans to train everyday, but he says that he often cant fit the training in, due to his work schedule. When he has a free schedule, he says that he trains 4 times a week and loves every session – regularly training for 2 hours per workout.
Focusing On An Efficient Workout
If there’s one thing that Danny says is vital for every workout, its instinctual training. He says that the person working out should be feeling the pump and mind-muscle connection on every rep of every set.
He goes further than this, saying that if you aren’t feeling the pump or the connection, “immediately move to another exercise.” He believes that if you aren’t truly feeling the muscle being worked, you will lose motivation.
Danny loves to do cardio, and says that he values his personal fitness highly. He completes body weight circuit training – completing one exercise for each body part, until he covers his entire body.
It takes him 10 minutes to complete the circuit. He repeats it three times for a 30 minute workout, which works him to his limits.
Advice For Up And Coming Bodybuilders
Danny tries to help as many up-and-coming bodybuilders as he can. He gets the message out on social media, and offers advice during in-person video interviews. One important message he has for his fans is:
As well as instinctual training, he also values instinctual eating. He says that he eats whenever he is hungry, which for Danny is about every 2 and a half hours.
In terms of his macronutrient needs, he tries to keep his carbs under 140 grams a day. His protein comes in at about 300 grams, and his fats are always as low as possible.
Idols and Influences
What we can learn from Danny Hester
Danny Hester’s dedication to the ‘individual pursuit’ has been the driving force in his sporting career. He was involved in both wrestling and martial arts, before realizing that he could transfer the same mindset required in these sports to bodybuilding.
The sport has been so important for him that he has never given it up – still choosing to compete in his later years. Danny’s story proves that bodybuilding for many is more than a hobby. It truly is a way of life for some which they never leave.