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Interview – Seth Drake, NPC Teen Nationals 2016

Interview – Seth Drake, NPC Teen Nationals 2016

Who are you, where are you from, how old are you?

I am Seth Drake, a 19-year-old, natural, NPC bodybuilder from Troy, Ohio. Troy is a small town, one of those pure American towns where everyone knows everyone, and there’s a strong sense of unity within the community. I love it here, I was born here, raised here, went to school here, live here, everything. Hell, even when I make it big time I don’t ever see myself leaving. This is home, and this town is very supportive of me and my dreams. I feel very blessed for that.

How did you end up competing in the Southern Extreme Bull Riders Association?

Ah, I was unaware you knew about that life experience of mine! But, after my parents divorced and Dad started dating my now stepmother, her kids showed horses. As things got serious between them, the idea was brought up to me about showing horses if I wanted to. I have always been an adrenaline junkie, so I knew rodeo was more my style and more specifically bull riding. My parents didn’t go for that at first, but I told my dad I wanted to do either that or be a boxer since I wanted to box ever since watching Rocky as a youngin. After two years of nagging, my dad finally agreed to let me ride a bull if I found a place to ride and got my gear. I saved up for it, found a place where we went to watch it live first and the next weekend I was back to try it myself. I didn’t have a lot of success early on but after I went to a clinic and learned how to do it the right way rather than the self-taught method I quickly found success. I worked my ass off to perfect my riding style, grew some serious balls, got tough as nails and rode a shitload of practice bulls until I was sticky enough to hold my own on the pro circuit and as they say… the rest is history!

What was that experience like, why did you stop?

I could sum it up in two words really if I needed to man… Fast living. I was 15, getting ready to be just a sophomore in high school when I competed in my first pro bull riding event. That summer, we put a lot of miles on a variety of rental cars, ate tons of fast food/convenience store snacks, broke a lot of bones, blew a lot of money, partied way harder than worked, met thousands of fans from all over the country, made a little bit of history here and there and had a hell of a time!
That was my rookie year, and I wanted to win SEBRA Rookie of the Year so going to a lot of shows and being the top money earning rookie was the only way to do it! I stopped because I had very little social life outside of the rodeo circuit. I had very few friends in school because I wasn’t around a lot and kids thought what I did was strange. They just never understood it. I don’t blame them. Also, when I realized I was broke as hell and wasn’t good enough to make it to the PBR that you see on TV and become a millionaire, I decided to take more responsibility for my future and hang up the spurs… And someday, I’d like to have a wife and kids, and I’d prefer to be able to walk for that part of my life. If I had kept riding, there’s a good chance I would have been in a wheelchair for those years.

Seth Drake_NPC Teen Nationals_2016

How did you initially get into weightlifting, and what sparked your interest to decide to compete?

I went to the Y in town with some senior buddies of mine towards the end of my junior year of high school. I was almost done with bull riding at the time and had just started working out at home to help with my bull riding that first time I stepped into a real gym. I was addicted from day 1 and knew I’d be training the rest of my life. At that point I didn’t expect to be a top national level bodybuilder, I just loved training. As I grew, I wanted more of that too so I ate more, slept more, researched more, took more supplements, and kept altering my training and upping my intensity. When I stepped in the halls the first day of my senior year I had the best physique at Miami East High School, my alma mater. However, even though I now had the reputation of “the big man on campus,” I wasn’t the strongest kid in school yet. There were some pretty strong football guys at school and since I am so competitive and want always to be the best I set out to have the biggest total of all the lifters in school. I was in a weightlifting class that year for athletes as I had plans of running track in the spring of senior year where I went on to excel in the 100M sprint and 4×100 M relay. Anyways, I ended up hitting 300 on bench, 500 on squat and 545 on deads by the end of senior year at 178 pounds and became the biggest and strongest kid in school. At my graduation party my aunt and uncle, who compete in figure and men’s physique offered to help me prep for my first bodybuilding competition if I was interested, as part of my graduation present. I guess they saw the potential in me to be a great bodybuilder early on, and I figured I’d give it a try since I did have great genetics to grow fast and loved all aspects of bodybuilding and the lifestyle it comes with.

How did you decide to do this year’s teen nationals and what were your expectations going into the show?

I decided sort of out of nowhere, around nine weeks out from the show. I had just gotten out of a serious relationship with a girl I had been dating for some time and during that time, sadly I had strayed a little from the path of bodybuilding, not blaming her as a distraction, it was totally my fault for losing sight of my real dreams. But anyways, after her and I split I turned back to bodybuilding, and my heart got set on fire for competing again. So, I said to myself, ‘This is your last year as a teen, this is the big one for teens, get your shit together, bust ass, and get what you came for!’
2016_Seth Drake_NPC Teen Nationals

My coach told me at the beginning of prep that I could without a doubt win the whole thing if I followed the protocol to a tee day in and day out. As prep proceeded, things shaped up nicely. Everyone told me I was going to upset some feelings in Pittsburgh, but even though I had busted my ass and done everything and more to be my best, I just couldn’t trust what they were saying. I was staying so humble leading up to Teen Nats that I had little faith or confidence in myself. I just didn’t know who would be there, how many, how good they’d be or anything… But even though I knew I was good, I couldn’t believe in myself as a serious threat to the title. I guess I was wrong LOL.

At the time, how did you feel about your class win, as well, how’d you feel missing the overall but being a contender?

I was ecstatic! I couldn’t stop smiling after being moved to the middle immediately and left there during prejudging. I called all my family and my training partners when I got back to the hotel before finals. I knew I had my class and couldn’t believe I destroyed them and that all the hard work had paid off after I thought I’d get my ass handed to me all those weeks. As far as coming in second to a badass middleweight, Dominic Triveline, an awesome kid who beat me fair and square, I was angry. I had mentally prepared myself for all out war for the overall and thought I might win the whole damn thing… but I didn’t. Looking at the pictures I shouldn’t have, I can, as a man admit that.
He was better, and he deserved it. We were close, he didn’t beat me by a lot I’m sure, but he did beat me rightfully so. After being 2nd best in the country, I didn’t give a shit, and still, don’t about being the Teen Light Heavyweight National Champion. I wasn’t THEY Teen National Champion, and that’s all I went there for in the end. Not that I’m not happy with the package I brought and the way I presented because I was at my best yet and I am proud of the work I put in to bring it, but I was back in the gym Thursday after I got home from Pittsburgh. I’ve trained every single day since the show. They’re just not going to beat me again; I hate losing. Being a runner-up sucks.

How hard was the prep for you, were you able to keep your eyes on the prize most the time, or where there low points, if so, how did you handle them?

I mean the prep was tough, are you really in shape or on track during prep if you’re not suffering? I don’t think so. But as far as eyes on the prize most of the time… More like all the time. I never strayed during that prep. I refused, I knew had my chance at history and my last chance at that. It was now or never, do or die. I was on a mission. I distanced myself from everyone during that prep and only focused on winning, becoming desensitized to negative temptations. Mentally, I was ‘on’ and physically I was ‘on’ on show day.

Who helped you with this prep, was it any different than your previous contest preparations?

My coach, Scott Canatsey, the head trainer at Parillo Performance prepped me for this one, and my first show too. He took over my prep after I started with my aunt and uncle last year and he was originally only supposed to be my posing coach for my first show last year. The prep was very different this time than the first time, as far as diet and training go but I liked it, and the result, much better. I think we’ve found what works best for me.

Seth Drake_2016_NPC_Teen Nationals

When do you plan on competing next and what are you hoping to accomplish?

God willing, we’ll be on stage again October 8th, later this year, at the NPC Natural Northern USAs, hosted by Dave Liberman and Todd Pember in Cleveland, Ohio. We started prep eight weeks out from the show as we are already in good shape from Nationals. Of course, my goal here, and at every show is to be my best. Although, I expect to win this show, not just the men’s open light heavyweights but the overall. I have tasted blood, and I’m on the warpath again, I’m hungry.

What are your short-term goals, as well, what are your long-term goals in the sport of bodybuilding?

My short term goal is the task at hand. Keep killing this prep the next seven weeks and win the overall in men’s bodybuilding at Natural Northern USAs. My long term goal… What every young bodybuilder dreams of, the O. I will be there. I will win it… One day.

Your favorite pro bodybuilder right now and why?

I have to go with the young gun here, Dallas McCarver. I love that dude’s attitude and work ethic. He shows precision, consistency and leaves it all on the floor during his preps. I like that, I’ll never forget where I came from, it gave me the tools to be who I am today and Dallas is the same way, I can connect with people like that. Plus, him being young inspires me because I am too and see that if you have heart and give it all 100% of the time, the dream can become reality, and I’m all about manifesting my destiny.

The gym can take a lot of a bodybuilder’s time up, but what are some of your favorite hobbies outside the gym?

Well, I’m a country boy, and I’m proud to say it so outside of the gym I am either hunting, fishing or hanging out at a lake somewhere. It doesn’t have to be camping at the lake; I just enjoy sitting on the patio at a lakeside bar and grill breathing fresh air and feeling a lake breeze in my face. That’s my shit man, the outdoors puts my mind at ease. I love being out seeing all God’s creation and I believe nature is some of His best work! Part of the reason I love the outdoors is credited to my father. Me and my dad love going out deer and turkey hunting and fishing together, he planted my roots and taught me about the outdoors and we have endless fond memories in the woods and on the water. Coming from a Christian family too, we love getting outdoors as a family; it helps us to see God when it’s sometimes hard to find Him in this crazy world we live in! I also love reading outside of the gym, expanding your knowledge and growing mentally is so critical to developing physically. Growing spiritually I feel is essential for physical growth too so I do love spending time at my church and church events.

As a bodybuilder, what is your favorite feature/body part of your physique?

Let me start off with three cliche bodybuilder lines when critiquing their physiques…

1. I will never be content with my legs. However, my legs are a weak point of mine, although I’ve been consistently bringing them up, and progress is progress. I’ll keep working on them but for the time being, if I bring em tight, they’ll usually be good enough.

2. I need more upper chest. Everyone says they need more upper chest, and I believe if you have a big upper chest, you’ll have a big chest. I’ll keep striving for that; my chest is my second biggest weak point.

3. I’m too small. LOL, I swear no matter how many compliments I get on how much size I’ve put on or how thick I am I always feel like I look anorexic. I’ll never be big enough so I’ll just keep on getting bigger, of course, though the main priority is always aesthetics and conditioning.

Conditioning wins shows, and I’m starting to figure out what works best for me, so I feel my conditioning will improve every time, and aesthetically always want to maintain a small waist and that X Frame look and stay symmetrical and proportionate. That’s what the judges love. Lastly, since I’ve picked apart all my weaknesses my strengths are my delts (they get complimented all the time), my arms and my back is my best feature. It’s pretty major.

Is there anyone who has been key to your success so far, or at least helpful, anyone you’d like to shoutout?

Hell yeah. No man in bodybuilding walks alone and if they tell you that they’re a pompous ass. My coach, Scott Canatsey is the absolute man! He has been at this 30+ years and has done over 60 shows, mostly all NPC and has placed highly at the national level and he knows everybody. The best part about it is he promotes the shit out of me. During prep to keep me relaxed and focused on what matters he takes most of my pics on his phone and posts them, and he does enjoy building some hype for me. I’m not into that myself, but I do appreciate him doing it for me. A lot of people know me and expect me to do big things because of Scott. He is great at communicating with me, and we train/pose together very regularly. Everything during prep with him is monitored closely, and he even lets me move in with him during peak week while he takes complete care of me.
He and his fiancé Carrie Rapp, both. I love them. They’re like my 2nd parents. Thank you to John Parrillo for allowing me to train with Scott for free at the Performance Center and always checking on my condition and posing, as well as for providing endless knowledge and encouragement! I’d also like to thank my parents for supporting me and encouraging me through prep, and for always teaching me that hard work does pay off and if you dream big you’ll make it big! Especially my mom, for making the trip to Pittsburgh to see me win a national title at Teen Nationals; she, my grandma Julie and my baby brothers were the only people I knew in the crowd! Lastly, I have to thank my two training partners and best friends, The Braun brothers, Jake and Nic. Those guys have been like brothers for years, and they’ve been there to see me suffer more than any other people, especially in the gym. They were there for every workout of Nationals prep and without them I couldn’t have pushed as hard as I did! There are more I should thank, but it’d take forever, I’m just ultimately thankful that God put so many amazing people in my life that care about and support me!

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