by Christian Duque
You know you’re in the off-season when two bodybuilders are bickering over whose keto approach is superior to the other. In all fairness, IFBB Pro Brad Rowe isn’t so much bickering, he did take a dig at RxMuscle’s Dave Palumbo on Fouad Abiad’s Real Bodybuilding Podcast. Apparently, Brad favors more fat whereas Palumbo favors more protein, but he wasn’t looking to create any drama. Rowe from what I gather, believes that too much protein will kick someone out of ketosis, while Palumbo argues that so long as protein is utilized correctly. And that won’t kick someone one out of ketosis and will actually help physique-based athletes relative to muscle-building, muscle-retention, and overall success on stage.
Rowe disagrees. Ultimately, these two could have settled their differences in a more productive manner, but what you have now, is Rowe on the defensive and Palumbo very much on the offensive. I’m usually a little tough on Dave, simply because I think he’s hit some lows in his quest to gain traffic for and maintain RX relevant. That being said, and unless there’s any rivalry I’m not aware of, Brad totally dismissed Palumbo’s approach, in a way that did seem a bit petty. The truth is Palumbo must have received a boatload of emails, DMs, and texts almost immediately thereafter, because everyone knows that Dave has almost cult-like followers, from diehard RX’ers, to his old friends, to the legions of people he’s worked with (both lifestyle clients and amateur/pro competitors). Why would Brad have made this type of comment, what’s next, and what, if anything, can be learned from this?
The truth of the matter is that perhaps Brad truly meant nothing by it. Some people like to refer to others or popular schools of thought to illustrate their point. Someone who’s advocating high volume training, might mention Mike Mentzer and/or HIT to make a point. With that being said, there’s a way to do things, and anyone who watches the video can see Brad was taking a little jab. Is there something more here? I, personally, don’t know. Is there any chance he naively figured that it wouldn’t get back to Dave? I think not. That’s the thing, this is 2020, and anytime someone’s name is used, word travels faster than the speed of light. Also, to date, Brad has not apologized; he wasn’t looking to start an online war. I also don’t think he’s retracted his position on Palumbo’s approach to keto, much less on his own.
Palumbo, on the other hand, makes a considerable amount of income on training seminars and prepping clients. Just off the top of my head, I could name off a few people who work with Dave or who have worked with Dave as recently as last season. If Palumbo’s approach is questioned by a top IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, on another top IFBB Pro’s podcast, then what’s that going to do in terms of Palumbo getting more clients and/or keeping existing ones? Although Dave never earned his pro card and no longer competes, he’s still considered a somewhat top-level guru and an authority in sports science, training, and nutrition. With that being said, all coaches have unhappy customers, who maybe didn’t get the desired results. That can be as much the coach’s fault, as the competitors. Nonetheless, those who perhaps don’t hold Palumbo and his approach in the highest regard, will feel validated by Brad’s assessment.
Moreover, Brad dropped another bombshell; he refutes Palumbo’s theory that high protein intake is necessary to build muscle. While Palumbo is still parroting the 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body mass, Rowe is saying something totally different. It’s almost like the old vs the new – and that’s not a look Palumbo wants. That being said, Palumbo won’t go down without a fight. The second he caught wind of Rowe’s comments, he threw his silver sneakers on, and hit the ground running.
Egos are very big in bodybuilding. A great many people are incredibly sensitive. There was little question in my mind that Dave would respond, and that he did, on an Rx Muscle Rant. Following Dave’s response, Brad was featured in a video on Jay Cutler TV, inking for a 5th year with Project AD, and interviewed by the legendary Dave Bourlet. In this video, Brad gave a more in-depth explanation about his approach to keto. I thought the video was very well done and speaks to all the key points in terms of nutrition and building muscle. Brad was very transparent and tried to explain his theories, while also trying to reiterate that he wasn’t trying to attack Dave, though he does disagree with his theories. He stressed that it was important to have an open mind. With that said, many of the comments were largely negative, as Palumbo’s fans went on the offensive.
Trolling has always been an issue in our sport. There’s no shortage of keyboard warriors ready to do battle and many will take to social media, the message boards, and some even troll in person (though these are few and far between). Ultimately, I’m sure Dave would love to have Brad come on RX for a heated debate, (likely) ending with mutual olive branches extended, some feel-good moments, and then the door open for future follow-up visits. Dave ain’t no punk, after all, he’s from the mean streets of Long Island.. That’s the kind of place where if Starbucks runs out of creme brulee syrup for their lattes, it’s on!!
On the other hand, I must play Dave’s advocate. Could Brad have done this to get more media attention? I don’t know. I’d think if Brad could be on Fouad’s podcast and do press on Jay Cutler TV, then why would he need RX Muscle? Then again, all press is good press, right? I’m honestly clueless as to why Brad would take an innocent dig at Palumbo, unless of course he’s been wanting to say this for a long time. There are a lot of people who want to call bullshit on Dave’s version of keto, publicly, and on his approach to contest prep. Why don’t they? It’s simple. Most people are afraid of Dave and how he’ll react. It’s also possible that Dave will use proxies (e.g. Lee Priest, Bostin Loyd) to troll Rowe. I highly doubt Palumbo is done.
Brad wouldn’t be the ideal candidate for Palumbo to go after. He’s a solid dude, liked by all (esp among the Pro’s), and backed 100% by a formidable supplement company. Let’s also not forget that Muscular Development is very strong in the northeast and it’s highly unlikely that Ron Harris, Chris Griffin, and the others over there, would sit on their hands while RX tries to browbeat one of their own. If Brad wants to go on RX, he will, but I don’t think Dave wants to try to pressure him in, like he did with Bob Cicherillo.