Cooper Davis arrives at Last Cowboy Standing sitting at No. 9 in the world standings. Photo: Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com
Cooper Davis has been hitting the gym hard with trainer, and fellow Jasper, Texas, native, Aaron Garrett.
Davis has reportedly gained 10 pounds of muscle since beginning his training regimen with Garrett three days a week.
Davis wanted to focus on building strength, and after his well known weight-loss story in his rookie year, he has been no stranger to discipline in the gym.
LAS VEGAS – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis walked into Elite Fitness in Buna, Texas, Wednesday morning and looked at his trainer, Aaron Garrett, and said, ‘Man, I am sore.’
Garrett understands just how important this coming weekend’s Last Cowboy Standing event is, and he knew he had to “kick Cooper in the butt one more time.”
The former college football recruit smiled at Davis and responded, “I don’t want you tight this week, but we are not going to work out Thursday or Friday. You got a big weekend. I got to push you today. Today is going to be one of those days.
“Today, we going to push it with the weights.”
Garrett will be accompanying Davis to this weekend’s final Built Ford Tough Series event before the summer break.
The fellow Jasper, Texas, native has been the mystery man behind Davis’ recent surge in physical physique.
Garrett, who is a second cousin to Seattle Seahawks’ football player Earl Thomas, has been training Davis three days a week for roughly three months now.
And the results have been apparent.
Davis has packed on 10 pounds of muscle since beginning a three-day a week regimen and is now weighing in around 150 pounds.
The 23-year-old has been quietly, determined at the gym.
According to Garrett, Davis rarely misses his scheduled workouts, which last for roughly one hour and consist primarily of strength-based workouts.
The end of the week workouts transition to more of a core-based program with multiple kinds of stretches to get Davis loose and ready for competition.
“When he comes in, he is usually all business,” Garrett said. “He is taking this very serious. Coop has definitely put on some muscle here lately. He is looking good, really.”
Davis has made it a priority to sometimes meet Garret for a workout as early as 5 a.m. before flying out to a BFTS event later that day.
Even if Davis gets home to his family real late later that weekend, he will be back in the gym the next day with no ifs, ands or buts about it.
“I look bigger, but I am probably only 15 pounds off from when before I lost all of that weight (two years ago),” Davis said. “I am real solid now. I really don’t care about gaining weight, but I want to be strong. I don’t necessarily care about what my weight is, as long as I am stronger pound for pound.”
In 2015, Davis won the World Finals event average after losing 24 pounds in two months thanks to a rigorous diet and cardio workout program.
A year later he was $1 million richer and a World Champion.
RELATED: Davis’ dedicated journey to the 2016 world title
Why deviate from what has worked?
“I don’t know,” Davis responded. “I got tired of being scrawny, I guess. I got bored with not knowing what to do in the gym. I was like, ‘What more can I do?’
“I didn’t feel bad or anything, but now I feel better. I didn’t feel weak or anything, but it is a better feeling for me.”
Davis heads into Last Cowboy Standing ninth in the world standings and is 1,381.67 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido.
Davis has drawn Bronco’s Bad Dog (2-1, BFTS) for Round 1, which begins at 10:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network, on Friday.
At this point last year, Davis was ranked 11th in the world standings, but was only 665 points behind two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney for the top spot.
The biggest difference outside of his change in physique, which fans really began to notice on social media last week when Davis and his family posted pictures of their vacation in the Bahamas, has been his ability to ride stronger bulls, Davis says.
“You always have to keep yourself wanting to one-up yourself,” Davis said. “You want your body to feel better. In the (championship) round, before I had a hard time staying on. The short-round bulls, I feel like I am stouter. I feel like I would have been jerked down on Spotted Demon if I would have been so small and couldn’t sit up. This year I have had more of a problem staying on 80-point spinners than being 90. I don’t know. I need to find a balance for it.”
Davis and Garrett have been friends for a long time, but Davis decided to track down Garrett’s number earlier this year when he decided he needed to up his training regimen.
The third-year professional knew Garret had trained NFL athletes, such as former Minnesota Viking Chase Ford, and other Division I athletes, including Texas Tech freshman baseball player John McMillon.
Garrett also has appeared as a trainer on TLC’s “My 600 Lb Life.”
Davis figured Garrett was the best trainer locally to help push him to a new level physically.
Even so, Garrett was a bit stunned when he got the phone call from Davis.
“Cooper is from Jasper, so it is really a privilege for me,” Garrett said. “I was out of town working in Dallas and the gym called me and said Cooper was asking about me and my number.
“I was like, ‘Cooper Davis?’ He is a hometown hero.”
Garrett never trained a bull rider before, so he originally really let Davis walk him through what exactly he wanted to work on.
The two chatted and Garrett decided to focus primarily on Davis’ shoulders and triceps to help with the jerking motion that is a part of the roughest sport on dirt.
Unlike his other athletes that come to him with a certain weight goal, he understood he had to find a delicate balance with Davis.
Being smaller, not larger, has always been a major benefit to bull riders.
“I told him I am not trying to get him crazy big,” Garrett said. “I told him I don’t care if you get jacked up and strong, but I don’t want you gaining a whole lot of weight. He has to stay around his same weight. I am looking to get him as strong as possible at his weight without him gaining another 12, 13, 14 pounds.”
Inside the gym, Garrett doesn’t have to be the vocal, emotional trainer barking at Davis.
Instead, Davis doesn’t have to look too far for any motivation.
His son, Mack, walks around the gym like he owns the place, Garrett said with a laugh.
Just like how Mack was motivation for Cooper to lose all of the weight on his way to the World Finals event victory in 2015, now his son is once again serving as motivation during his title defense.
“Coop doesn’t need no extra motivation,” Garrett added. “All this came from Mack. That is all the motivation he needs. The last two-three weeks, his son has been with him in the gym. I can just see it. He is working and doing what he needs to do for him.”
Davis showed his improved conditioning in Tacoma, Washington, three weeks ago when he attempted four bulls on the first night of competition, going 2-for-4.
He may need to do that again this weekend, and doing so a second time may result in a Last Cowboy Standing victory.
“It is definitely a lot harder to win,” Davis concluded. “It is more of a marathon. That is what you spend all those hours at the gym for.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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