At 20 years old, David Quarles found himself living inside a shell—overweight, defensive, without self-confidence, and in need of change. With a family history of diabetes and other weight-related ailments, he began making changes to his diet and increasing his regular activity through Zumba classes, weight lifting, and becoming less sedentary. Today, at age 30, David has lost 126 pounds, going from 296 to a steady 170. 

The Daily Grind

Five to six days a week, David is weight training; however, during the warmer months, he prefers to take his workouts outdoors. Whether running, swimming, biking, or doing bodyweight moves, he always seeks new training methods to keep things interesting. 

A typical day begins with cardio and core training, then he does a class in the evenings and weight training at night. On Sundays, he makes enough food to knock out enough meals for about four days of the week. He typically eats three full meals per day, with light snacking in between and proper hydration. 

David adds: “I’m one of those gallon-toting people. So, I make it a goal to drink a gallon or a gallon-and-a-half of water each day, especially on the days I have multiple workouts scheduled.” 

Back in 2014, David competed in his first men’s physique competition during the Dexter Jackson Classic, his most proud fitness accomplishment. Competing took him completely out of his comfort zone, helped him realize and accept the amount of work it took to stay committed, and served as the culminating point of his overall weight loss journey. 

Let’s Dance

In addition to his own personal workouts, he teaches three Zumba classes a week and sometimes on the weekend. He strives to provide an experience and adds a little theatrics in each of his classes that vibe with the songs on his playlist. 

“I like for my students to leave feeling empowered and accomplished. If I can make it as fun as possible in the process, I consider my job done!” 

David teaches at the St. Jude Wellness Center on Mondays and at Jack Robinson Gallery on Thursdays. He also teaches the Haus Party class at Mind Body Haus on Tuesdays. 

A Man of Many Talents 

Never short on creativity, David’s true passion is art and design. He runs an independent interior styling company, Concept 417; serves as the in-house interior stylist for Stock & Belle; and is a jewelry artist for his brand, IV. In 2004, he began making jewelry, and by 2018, he was able to leave office work behind to focus solely on his brand and teaching classes. 

“All designs of IV are based on the modernization of my family’s ancestral history. The colors I select for each piece are influenced by my chromesthesia. I mentally process musical sound and numbers as color. Whenever I’m making, I set a playlist and allow the melody to drive my color selection,” David says. 

You can find his work at Stock & Belle, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the Memphis Modern Markets, and online at 

Moving Forward 

David says his main focus is maintaining his healthy lifestyle and keeping the weight off. However, he admits to toying around with the idea of competing again. He’s working on building up muscle mass—which can be challenging at times for a vegetarian who teaches and loves cardio.

For more information, follow David on Instagram: @_david.iv and @ivbydavid

By Hallee Griggs
Photo by Tindall Stephen