Dave Ellefson of Megadeth Shares…The secrets to his youthful body, mind and spirit!
Excerpts from an Interview by Lonn M. Friend
Lonn: Do you have a specific diet or nutritional program you follow on or off tour?
Dave: Believe it or not, I usually eat best while on tour. Because I’m on stage and in fitted clothing all the time on the road I lay off the sugary desserts, the complex carbs & processed foods like pasta, potatoes, bread, etc. Of course, when I’m tired I crave sugar so I don’t have a hard fast rule on this but I do my best to make it a lifestyle of eating low carb because I see instant results of a flatter stomach and a much leaner look. Add to that, I tend to get sleepy when I eat carbs so my energy is much more consistent throughout my day when I just eat proteins and fruit & vegetable simple carbs.
Off tour I slack off a little bit because we eat together as a family. Together time at meals is mandatory so it is a bit of compromise on exactly what we eat. However, because my family has had historic heart & diabetes issues I try to focus on ‘heart-smart’ meals and lower cholesterol eating.
Lonn: Do you have any kind of exercise regime’ that you employ while on tour? Do you have one that you employ while you are off tour?
Dave: For me, the fatigue of travel is the biggest obstacle of being a touring musician so my main priority is to aim my highest energy toward the show later in the day. I used to do P90X but on long-haul tours it is just too vigorous to keep up that stamina and then go play a 90-minute show later that night, along with the inconsistencies of sleep and travel fatigue along the way. This next 2 paragraphs may be nice in the travel section on travel for work So, now my routine on tour is hitting the hotel gyms every show day. Even if it’s just 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular and some light weight routine. Every few days I’ll do yoga in my room to loosen up my back and neck muscles and continue to stay flexible. I do the Living Arts yoga DVDs. I can play on my computer. They are 20-minute routines that include everything from morning wake-up stretches to more vigorous Power Yoga.
At home I keep up a similar routine at my local gym in Arizona. The only difference is I change up my workouts to focus on certain body parts, more cardio, yoga classes, etc. I sometimes employ a trainer at home since I have the luxury of time to expend the energy at the gym without needing to conserve for show time later in the day.
Lonn: Do you use any alternative health modalities either on or off tour?
Dave: I’m definitely a chiropractor freak, which has borne out of all the years of standing in my battle-ready stance onstage with a 15 pound bass hanging off my one shoulder…while head-banging and thrashing for 90 minutes each night, five days per week for years on end now. The adjustments keep me loosened up and my spine moving freely, especially with performing, weight lifting and the different sleep conditions while traveling.
I also get a massage about once per week on tour to keep the muscles loose and relaxed. Just like any repetitive motion, my body gets used to the performance demands but travel is very inconsistent with flights, buses, hotels, different mattresses, pillows, and the like. When you’re at home you take those creature comforts for granted but when you live on the road the majority of a year at a time you realize the how those things become a part of your natural alignment.
Lonn: How have your spiritual or religious practices helped to fortify your sobriety and conscious lifestyle?
Dave: I quite all the drugs & alcohol over 20 years back and that was the single most game changer in my life. From there flowed my workouts, diets, massages and other healthy life-style regime. It has also given my soul a thirst to be fed as well. If I hit the gym my body is fit, when I nourish the soul my spirit stays fit. I’m open to all spiritual ideas and I’m a regular church attendee, read the bible and do my daily devotions as well. More importantly I find it best to carry those things out in all my daily activities of trying to be helpful & courteous to others in my life. Giving it away to keep it is the key in the world of the spirit. So, whether on tour or at home I try to contribute to life, rather than just be a consumer.