David Bruehl

Nibble and Sip Revisited: Tattoo Nutrition

Tattooing can have a major impact on your body/system and using David’s advice can help make your appointments, long and short, a lot more bearable.

Nibble and Sip- Tattoo Nutrition & My Experiences with Long Distance Cycling
-By David Bruehl

Around summer last year I bought my first geared bike after some encouragement from some friends who were training for something called Hotter ‘N Hell. I learned from them that Hotter ‘N Hell is a century, or 100 mile bicycle ride in Wichita Falls, TX. Since I had never rode even ten miles on a bicycle before, this seemed like a worthy goal.

After a bit of study, I learned how to train for such an event. Essentially you’re doing three training rides a week- a fast interval ride, a slightly faster-than-comfortable pace ride, and a long distance ride. The long distance ride is the bulk of your cycling time for the week. Each week you add about 10% more distance to the last week’s distance, so your long rides may go:

Week 1- 20 miles
Week 2- 22 miles
Week 3- 25 miles
Week 4- 28 miles
and on and on…

I steadily did these rides and built distance and endurance, learned pacing and technique and nutrition. I’m happy to say that I completed my first century, the Maple Leaf, on October 2010 in Carthage, MO. (I did the Hotter ‘N Hell, but only the 100k, which is about 63 miles)

One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that on long distance rides you have to eat and drink while riding. Your body only stores enough glycogen to power you for about two hours of real endurance so after that, without more nutrition, your body starts to fight you and make you stop. This gets referred to as “bonking” or “hitting the wall” in the endurance world.

So the general rule is- If a ride’s longer than 2 hours, you need to eat. But… you need to start eating from the beginning so once you’re two hours in, you start getting the nutrition from the beginning of the ride. For most people about half an energy bar and a small bottle of gatorade each hour is appropriate.

This got me thinking about how workout nutrition relates to getting tattooed. In essence you’re doing the same thing in working out and in tattooing- you’re intentionally causing trauma to your body. There’s been a lot of work done in regards to the study of nutrition as it relates to exercise. I’ve applied this to getting tattooed and have seen fantastic results both in myself and in my clients. Here’s my advice now:


Eat a good sized balanced meal 1-2 hours before the tattoo. Be sure to have protein, fat, and a good amount of carbohydrates in this meal. The ideal time is going to vary from person to person, but that window is a good guideline. Any sooner than an hour before a tattoo is not going to be digested by the time you get started, and waiting much longer than two hours is not going to result in the full benefit of the food in regards to handling the tattoo. Also, for some people with weaker stomachs, eating a meal sooner than an hour before a tattoo might result in some queasiness. I still recommend eating versus not eating though.

During tattoo:

If the tattoo is under two hours, you don’t need to eat during it, unless you’re prone to getting light headed at the beginning of a tattoo, in which case it wouldn’t hurt to have some sugar, like a gatorade or a soda. However, if the tattoo session’s going to be two hours you should bring snacks. I suggest the same rule as with cycling. Plan on half an energy bar (I like ProBars, but Clif Bars are good too and easier to find) and a small gatorade or something similar spread out per hour of tattooing.

Nibble and sip.

I’ve seen for years how most people have a 3-3.5 hour time limit in them, and then after that, everything starts to hurt really bad and they just stop being able to handle it. After experimenting with nutrition, I’m convinced that’s due to not refueling as you go. Managing this really seems to help with pain, endurance and mood.

I’d also like to note that it’s not a good idea to eat more than that, either. Eating just about that amount is sneaking nutrition into your body without taking away energy that would be put towards digestion if you ate much more. Trust me, if you eat a bunch of solid food at once while getting tattooed, it’s going to sit in your stomach like a rock and is going to take away from handling the tattoo.

Post tattoo:

After the tattoo, it’s time to kick the healing into high gear. That means protein. If you’re already used to drinking protein shakes after working out, feel free to have something like that. However, in any case I suggest you have a good sized meal with a lot of protein pretty soon after the tattoo. Also, for the next couple of days eat extra protein compared to what you’re used to. Your body is healing something, and it will thank you for it. Also try to get extra sleep, that will help as well.


Nutrition and recovery are under subjects not heavily talked about in the tattoo world. People do so much research finding their artist and putting so much time and money into a nice tattoo that it’s important to do everything to make the process and the results better. Hopefully this provides some good guidelines for one more thing you can do. I trust that managing your nutrition around getting tattooed will result in a less painful tattoo and an even better healing process.

David Bruehl can be found at RedLetter1 in Tampa Florida.

Friday the 13th- David Bruehl

It makes me happy when David paints.
He’s been dropping all kinds of amazingness on Instagram lately; this one is just the most appropriate for today. David recently moved from Oklahoma to Tampa to join the crew of Redletter 1.

David is an amazing tattooer and one of my favorite people. If you find yourself in Florida, looking for a dang good tattoo, Mr. Bruehl is your man. I’m hoping to make a trip down to see him before the year is out.

Happy friday the 13th, everyone!

Let me hide myself in thee- David Bruehl

Earlier on OV I featured an amazing Sol Invictus Rock of Ages painting by my old friend David Bruehl; he’s back with a black and grey version of the iconic Rock that is simply breathtaking. David is one of my favorite people, and as such, certainly one of my favorite tattooers. Every chance that we’ve been able to spend time together I’ve come away learning something I didn’t know as well as leaving with a damn fine tattoo.

You can find David at Think Ink in Norman OK.

Nibble and Sip- Tattoo Nutrition

I’ve reposted this a few times now, so it’s only appropriate that it ends up on OV. My friend David Bruehl did a fantastic write-up on pre/post tattoo nutrition and how to maximize your tattoo (and life) experience.

It can be found here: Nibble and Sip.

Great advice sure to make things go a lot smoother the next time you find yourself in the chair!

Cleft for Me

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee

I’ve contemplated a ‘Rock of Ages’ tattoo since picking up the Hardy Marks book of the same name in 1992. The interpretations varied radically while containing the same central ideology and over the years I’ve considered several different incarnations of it to wear. This painting by my friend David Bruehl doesn’t stray too far from the classic design while still incorporating his own iconography. David tattoos in Norman, OK at Think Ink- you can read a (admittedly dated) interview with David here.

David Bruehl Interview

Originally posted on the BMEzine.com NEWS section, this interview was conducted over the course of a month in July 2008 and published in August of the same year. Some of the personal details of David’s life have evolved since the interview.

Practical Magic: The Tattoo Art of David Bruehl:

When I was first introduced to the art of David Bruehl — work with a solid illustration base and easily recognizable style — I immediately thought, “This guy should tattoo.”

Never one to leave it to the whims of fate, I grabbed the bull by the horns and told him as much. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to suggest it. David quickly transitioned from a mild mannered illustration student at the well regarded S.C.A.D. in Savannah to a tattoo apprentice in the heartland of Indiana. Quicker than you could say abracadabra, he was on his way to becoming a skilled, versatile tattooer.



David is now in his seventh year of tattooing with an international reputation for his client-centric process, continues to paint and, most importantly, is the husband to his wonderful wife, Kimmy, and father of two amazing boys, Zeke and Abe.

Shawn Porter: Hey David.

David Bruehl: Hey Shawn.

SP: Let’s do the getting to know you. Where were you born?

DB: I was born in Oklahoma City, OK, on November 7, 1979.

SP: I know you have at least one sister — the hot one that I have a crush on. Any other siblings?

DB: That sister, Sheryn, is technically my half-sister, along with my other half-sister, Treisa. I’ve known them as long as I’ve been alive though, so it’s all the same to me. They’re respectively 11 and ten years older than me. (Irish twins!) I also have a younger full sister, Jessica, who’s two years my junior. I essentially grew up among women; I wasn’t really close with my dad.

SP: What were you like as a child? Typical “artsy dreamer” or more conventional kid?

DB: I always looked at myself as a normal kid, but moving back to Oklahoma has resulted in getting my extended family’s impressions of me as a child. Several cousins have described me as, “the kid reading a science book while everyone else was playing army men.” They all seemed to think I was going to be a scientist until I was around 11 or 12 years old, when I started always carrying a sketchbook.

SP: When did you discover you could draw? Did your family encourage it?

DB: I drew a little Halloween bat when I was about three that everyone made a big deal about — how much it looked like what I was drawing. They gushed over the thing so much, I still retain that memory as my proudest moment as a kid. I think on some level, my need to create seeks to relive that moment.

SP: Were there any other artists in the family?

DB: My grandmother painted and worked as a gallery artist, mostly doing wildlife themes. When I was a child, she would bring me with her to her art association meetings, and as a result, I viewed art as being something one could do as a career from the very beginning. She’s retired herself from painting now, unfortunately. Around the time I started attending art school as an adult, my mom introduced an art program into her school district and works as an art teacher now.