Muscular Development Interview

In the world of bodybuilding, Kevin DeHaven is a man who does it all. He has competed, trained people, made diets, promoted shows, and has been working for the same supplement company for over a decade! (And incidentally, came up with the title for my section of the forums!) We have previously seen him on MDTV talking about his show, working with Cedric, and his friendship with Jay. Read on to find out more about Kevin, his take on diets, how his recovery from shoulder surgery is going, and what it’s like to promote a show. While you’re there, take a look at the pictures he shared with us!

AZ: You’ve worked in the industry for years. What led you to working in the health and fitness industry to begin with? 

 Well, I used to live a very unhealthy lifestyle, but I always wanted to be bigger and more muscular. I was just too busy doing other stuff, LOL! I guess when I was about twenty-six years old, I became temporarily tired of all the partying and manual labor type jobs. I started going to a gym, and got a job at a local GNC store, as well as a part-time position at a bad-ass gym in Alexandria, Virginia. It was a World Gym, and it was filled with bodybuilders and powerlifters. That is where I got the bug, so to speak! I went on to move to North Carolina, where I worked briefly for Europa Sports Products, the largest distributor of nutrition products in the United States. I have been with ISS Research now for twelve years! 

AZ: What is your take on diets? Do you follow and prescribe a certain one more than others? 

KD: Any reasonable plan that is actually followed, usually produces positive results. It comes down to determining what the individual goals are: gain mass, gain lean mass, get into better shape, lower body fat, or get in competition shape. If I’m working with a bodybuilder, obviously, we want to get in the best condition possible, while maintaining mass. Then, by show time, get full and dry. For women in figure, it is a little different. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice some size to get in the right condition. I try to determine what package a client can present on stage, giving them the best chance to do well. As far as my overall diet strategies, I always try to get clients eating as much as possible. Most people really under eat, even at the national and professional levels. I am not over the top with carbs, as you have to be losing body fat to get in nasty condition. I just try not to let clients get too terribly flat during the process. I would also add that to bring extreme condition to the stage, at some point, we all have to suffer; it may be for ten weeks, or could be two., but it is necessary at some point.

AZ: What is your biggest strength?

KD: A competitor can achieve the best conditioning of their life with someone like me, who has years of experience helping others and competing myself. Everything I do is based on how a client looks. I have no cookie cutter approach when it comes to diet or cardio. My biggest strength is that I have learned from some of the greatest competitors and coaches over the years, and I stay open-minded.

I don’t know everything, therefore, I remain teachable, and I can continue to gain more knowledge. I have been fortunate enough, over the years, to have guidance when I was getting ready to compete from some great people: Amee Ali, AK Kagoan, Steve Hill, Rich Hooten, Jay Cutler, Thomas Reike, Eric Jones and George Farah. George may think everything I know is from him, but it’s not true, LOL!!! (Love you George!!) George has always been a good friend, and there for me when I wanted diet advice, or help with health issues, like questions on blood work. I have been a train wreck at times! All of these guys taught me something that I now have to pass on to others.

AZ: Do you do your own diet when prepping for a contest? 

KD: I am like a lot of competitors. I could do the diet myself, and have at times. I just do better with direction from others. I always have a problem with seeing myself for where I really am. I either think I am ahead of schedule, or way behind. This is where a second set of eyes pays off! Some may not need a prep guy, but most would benefit from a second set of educated eyes. 

AZ: I know some prep guys keep so many clients that there is little individual attention given. What’s your take on that, and do you keep more clients than you can give individual attention to?

KD: I have a family and a full-time job, and prep clients. I also promote two shows a year, so I am kind of busy! I try to limit my client base to twelve to fifteen at a time, max. This allows me to keep up with them and give them the attention they deserve and paid for. I am there whenever needed. For the last few weeks I check in with my clients often. I try and give very clear direction, so the competitor does not have to think too much, and is not confused on what we are doing. To be honest thought, I do try to work with lower-maintenance people! 

AZ: I had to send pictures to you from a friend of mine one time, because she was too timid to send them herself. What would you say to a potential client who is too intimidated to send pictures wearing a bikini?

KD: If they are going to get on stage, in front of hundreds of people, they need to get over it!!! Hell I don’t know, I just try to be as professional as possible, so they are comfortable. I guess if you are new to the sport, it is a little strange!

AZ: I know you were working with Cedric when he got his pro card. What’s it like seeing someone you prepped do so well?

KD: Cedric is a amazing bodybuilder. Of course, it was great to see him do so well and to be a part of that - hell, winning the overall at the most prestigious amateur show in the country, if not the world!! 

He is the real deal. What a amazing physique. I consider Cedric a friend, so that makes it even better to see him do well!

AZ: You also promote two contests during the year. What was it like putting on a show after being at so many yourself through the years? Did it all fall into place for you, or was it just flat-out harder than you thought it would be?

KD: I have a great partner, Darlene Malecki. She is good at all the stuff I am not, so we make a great team! To-date, the shows we have done have gone amazingly well in every area.

I have great support and help at home tool, which is important. We strive to make the shows as competitor-friendly as possible. We try to give back some to the athletes, with great goodie bags including nice t-shirts and other giveaways!

AZ: You’ve been a competitor yourself, even winning your class at your state show. You’ve had to stay out lately due to shoulder surgery. How has that gone for you? What’s it been like having to take a step back from competing? 

KD: Yeah, the shoulder thing sucks, but it’s part of the game. I want to compete one more time. Of course, I always say that! I think I will, but we will see. I sure want to get up there again. There is no other feeling like it in the world, going from one extreme to the other with your conditioning, and getting in the best shape of your life, then walking out on that stage!!! What an overwhelming sense of accomplishment!

AZ: What accomplishment are you proudest of in this industry?

KD: Just being able to make a living doing something I actually enjoy and have a passion for is pretty cool! Sometimes, I get tired of working the shows for my job and traveling, but I always say there are a lot worse things I could be doing! I am pretty fortunate, really! We ran a feature not long ago about the friendship between Kevin DeHaven and Jay Cutler. Kevin shared a few of his photos with us, and had this to say about Jay:

“Having such a close friend in Jay Cutler, and watching him achieve all he has, and become the very best bodybuilder in the world - I am very proud of his accomplishments in this sport and within our industry. Nobody out works that dude.”

Kevin Dehaven
Kevin Dehaven


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