Trainer Talk With....Davi Millsaps and Trainer John Louch
by Racer X Virtual Trainer
Louch is a hands on trainer who travels to all the races with Davi.
photo - Simon Cudby
John Louch: Yea, sure thing. We are just driving down the road right now. Let me put this thing on speaker phone so we can all talk together. There, how does that sound?
That’s perfect, I can hear you guys loud and clear. Hey Davi, how are you doing today?
Davi Millsaps: Just fine, thanks.
Well, Davi I must say I have always watched you since you were a little kid racing at Loretta’s. It seems like you have been a pro forever and I have always been a big fan. It’s nice to see you finally have what seems like a break out year not only in your riding but in your personal life as well. Congratulations on a great SX series so far. How does it feel to be consistently running up front?
Millsaps: Oh it’s amazing you know. It’s crazy because last year I didn’t do very well because I was injured all year and I wasn’t doing too swell and I wasn’t in the greatest shape and everything was going down hill for me and then I signed with a new agency and they called Mr. Johnny Louch and then John called me. You know at first I was like, who is this again? And he said John Louch, I used to work with [Josh] Hansen and I was like oh @#$%…oops sorry, oh dangit. I knew who John was and always thought he was a good guy and wanted to work with him. I met up with John and he has kicked my butt back into shape and now here we are.
That was going to be my first set of questions on how you ended up hiring John, your past experiences with trainers and what John brings to the table that seems to be working so well.
Millsaps: Well, I had some fallouts in my personal life and it came down to where I had to do a lot of things and pretty much take my life over. I signed with a new agency and we were talking about finding a trainer and everything else that comes along with getting ready for this year. They called me two weeks later and told me about John and then he called me and we have been working together ever since. The things that John brings to the table that is different than the 12 other trainers I’ve had is that he really understands the motocross industry. I think he really understands that when you race you really need to feel good. He doesn’t wear you out to where you are like, Oh my God, I can’t ride the bike today. He also understands that I am a pretty big guy to start with and don’t really need a lot of weight training. I really think John just understands the whole concept of Motocross and not a lot of trainers get that.
Take me through a typical week of training during the Supercross season.
Millsaps: Dude, cycling. That is all this guy is about (laughs). We cycle just about every day!
Louch: Yea, they don’t call me Tour de Temecula and Big Ring for nothing. Andrew Short came up with that one. If I could, I would really like to this opportunity to thank Specialized bikes for always setting me and my riders up with the best road bikes and anything else we need. Those guys have been great!
Millsaps: We do a lot of cycling now but in the beginning we were cycling and going to the gym. I was cycling like 7 days a week just so I could get used to the bike and then we tapered it down to 6 days. I had one day off!
I hear John is pretty competitive. Can you beat him yet?
Millsaps: Can I beat him? I don’t know anyone that can beat him!
Yea, I’ve heard that he is a nut on the bike and that sometimes after training his riders he will actually go back out and get his own workout in.
Millsaps: Not with me! Not with me!!!! (laughs)
John, are you working with any other Motocross guys now, or is Davi your only rider?
Louch: No, just Davi and the Kawasaki MotoGP team which consists of John Hopkins who I've trained for 2 years and now adding Anthony West. I do have some other 125 riders that are talking to me now. Davi and I have to figure out which rider we want on our program. The other guy has to do exactly what we are doing and get along with Davi and me and if we bring someone else into our little circle they have to be the right rider. I have been talking to a couple of Factory 125 guys but we haven’t made a decision yet.
Davi we all know how important being in shape for Motocross is and how a trainer can help. But I have always thought that no matter what you are doing to train if you don’t get along with your trainer and have a good personal relationship with him then ultimately you are wasting your time. Do you think the personal side is as big a part as the training side?
Millsaps: Oh for sure. They are both very important. If you don’t get along with the guy then you are not going to want to train with him either. If you really like the guy and he is fun to be around and a good guy then that is going to make you want to train with him even more. That motivates you to want to train even more. Having a good personal relationship with your trainer is definitely important.
Millsaps brought down the house with his first career 450 SX class win in his hometown of Atlanta in '08!
photo - Simon Cudby
Now I know that you just switched from wearing the donut collar to the Leatt Brace. Having worn the donut for so long what made you finally make the switch?
Millsaps: Travis Clark from WMG was getting on me about wanting me to try it. Finally I was like, alright dude I’ll give it a whirl and see if I like it. And believe it or not the guys from Leatt flew in two days after we called them and I was like, wow these guys are really on top of the stuff so I agreed to wear one. They made me an all black one with all my graphics on it and I ended up not wearing it that first night. I felt really bad for them but I had only worn it one day in practice and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to wear it in the race. The next week I went home and I wore it all week and got used to it. Now I wear it all the time and don’t even know it’s there. It’s cool because I never thought I would run it.
John, let’s talk a little bit about what it’s like to work with Davi. Is he easy to get along with and motivate to train?
Millsaps: You may have to go in the other room to talk about that! (laughs).
Louch: You know actually, everyone told me before I started working with Davi that he was lazy and he’s this and that. He’s not. All I think he needed was the right guidance and like you said earlier he needed someone that he gets along with and respects. He is actually been one of the easiest guys I have worked with. He does exactly what I tell him to do and he never complains. Well, he complains every once in a while when we are riding that it is taking forever but other than that he is awesome to work with, we get along great, he has never questioned anything I have told him to do and I respect Davi a lot. I think that’s what makes us good together is mutual respect. For a rider like Davi to put all his trust in me in the beginning and do everything that I told him to do to have a good year says a lot about his personality. And now that he is doing well it is paying off. You know I get riders come up to me sometimes and ask me questions about what their trainer is doing for them. Man, if you have to ask another trainer about what your trainer is doing for you then you are in a bad situation. You have to be able to completely trust your trainer. I also trust in what he is telling me if he says he is a little tired or whatever. I don’t just tell him we are going a 30 mile road ride anyway's just because that is the way I want it. We both listen and trust each other. Plus, he is a professional athlete who wants to win so I trust that he isn’t going to say he is tired and can’t train when he just wants a day off. Davi isn’t like that.
Millsaps: Man that brought tears to my eyes .... it really did (laughs).
How many days a week are you guys together?
Louch: Well in the beginning Davi lived with me and now he is back home. This week I am down at his place all week since it’s the week before Daytona and we are training. We try to spend a lot of time together but my schedule is going to start getting pretty hectic at the end of the Supercross because I have to start with the MotoGP stuff. So we try to spend as much time together as possible and next year we will be together even more. It’s good now because he is on a good program so that when I’m not around he will go out and do his stuff because he knows exactly what to do now. He doesn’t need me to baby sit him 24/7.
So Davi is pretty self-motivated to do his training on days when you aren’t around?
Louch: Yes, he is now but in the beginning he wasn’t. But just like anything that is new you need to really be shown what to do. Now I think it has become such a routine for him that he just does it now. It’s not new anymore and he knows exactly what I want him to be doing. And when I’m not around we talk on the phone a lot. He will call me and tell me about his road ride or what he did at the test track that day. We’ll talk about how many motos to do and I’ll also talk with his practice mechanic to get his lap times and all that good stuff so its definitely a group effort.
Davi, do you find training easier or harder when John is around? I mean are you finding it easier to find that self motivation you may have been lacking in the past?
Millsaps: Well, whenever John isn’t around and I’m dreading a road ride I just call him up and he helps me get ready to do what I have to do. I have even called him when I was on a road ride to get a little direction on what do to and that always helps motivate me too. You know for me I have always had a problem with self motivation and I have no idea why I’m like that. I really wish I wasn’t, but now I’ve come to the point in my life where that is changing and I really want to win and get those championships. Now I just make myself do it no matter what kind of mood I’m in or no matter how badly I don’t want to train that day. I just make myself now. But, yes it is definitely easier when John is around because I don’t have a choice and he is just like, dude this is what we are doing today and he knows how to motivate me.
|Two years later, Millsaps captured his second career 450 SX win in San Diego.
photo - Steve Cox
John, do you think Davi has what it takes to win a Supercross and Outdoor title?
Louch: Oh absolutely. I think Davi is going to be the guy this year especially in the outdoors. I think he will be running with Langston and Stewart and the rest of the top guys out there. I think Davi is going to be on top of his game especially now that he is healthy and fit. I think he will be right there in Supercross too. I mean look at how he has been riding. He only started riding at the end of November and look at his speed already. The guy is on fire. If you watch the last race, yea he crashed on lap 16 but from lap 10 onward he yanked everybody and was closing in on Reed. So he is definitely going to be a threat. If he gets a good start he can definitely run with Reed. I know he can even beat Chad. There is no doubt in my mind that he will win both a 450 Supercross title as well as the outdoor title. Most people forget that he just turned 20 and he is one of the youngest riders in the 450 class. He has a long time to go and he hasn’t even come into his prime yet.
Oh wow, I forgot he was so young. Man he can’t even have beer with you!
Millsaps: That’s why we go to Canada (laughs).
Louch: No, he can’t!
Davi, can you feel the difference in your confidence level during a race since you have been working with John?
Millsaps: Oh heck yea my confidence has gone up. I’m not a fat Ogre anymore like I was when I got hurt. I was out of shape and lazy and now I feel really good and I feel real good about myself. When I’m on the track I can definitely feel a difference in my confidence level. Not only from training but from doing good this season. You know I don’t like to show my confidence as far as being cocky or stuck up or anything like that. I like to be nice and down to earth; someone the fans can relate to. I don’t want people to be all nervous or star struck when they meet me and think that I am a Dickhead because that is not the way that I want to come across. That’s just not me.
Right on. That’s a good way to be. There are enough Cocky riders in the industry that just want to be stars and have people kiss their butts. Now the last question that every one gets asked is regarding performance enhancing drug use in motocross. Do either of you think that drugs like HGH (Human Growth Hormone) are being used by riders?
Louch: Well there are people in the industry that swear some guys are taking it. I think people jump to conclusions about that. I just can’t see where taking HGH or Steroids would really benefit anyone in our sport. It’s not like you are doing the Tour de France in motocross. I truly believe that if you train hard and smart there isn't any need for those drugs. My opinion is that I honestly do not think any of the pro riders are taking it. It’s a pity that people think that because that is just going to make the younger kids want to try it. I know just about every rider in the sport and I honestly don’t think there is anyone taking performance enhancing drugs.
Davi, from a riders point of view do you think this is something the AMA should take more seriously since it can potentially effect the outcome of a race?
Millsaps: Yes, definitely. I think there are a lot of things that should be tested by the AMA. Even if just for the fact of removing any doubt in people’s mind. I don’t think there are any riders taking performance enhancing drugs but testing is the only real way to find out. I think riders should be tested and if they are caught then I think they should be suspended. I just think it would be better for the sport if they tested for those drugs to remove any doubt and to make a level playing field if any one is cheating. I think it can be a real dangerous thing because if you have parents out there who think the pros are using performance enhancing drugs that might make some parents who are only interested in success at any cost start forcing it on their kids. It’s not all about success if that is how you have to get it. It’s about living a happy and healthy life. If a parent poisons their kids with performance enhancing drugs, that is just wrong. That makes you a bad parent.
Louch: I don’t see why the AMA doesn’t test. They test riders for everything in MotoGP so why not Motocross? The other thing about illegal drugs is that if you hire a trainer with the right education who gets you on the right supplements that are legal, then you don’t need any of that other stuff.
Speaking of supplements, what did John do to adjust your diet and what supplements do you take?
Millsaps: You know, John isn’t real restrictive with my diet. I always had a pretty healthy diet before and it’s not like I have a strict meal plan or anything. I just try to eat right. John got me on the Cytomax deal with the Pre-formance and recovery stuff. That’s what is cool about John. He is all about living life and having fun. I can eat whatever I want I just know to stay away from all the junk food and bad snacks.
Well guys, I fell like I have taken enough of your time for today. John, as always it was great talking to you again and Davi it was nice to meet you and I will definitely make it a priority to shake your hand the next time I am at a race. Thanks guys, it was great talking to both of you.
Louch: Sure no problem. Cheers, Tim
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.