Gym Spotlight: Take Me to Churchill


Gym Spotlight: Take Me to Churchill

Courtesy of Hemp Hydrate

Operating an elite boxing facility all while directing, producing, writing, and acting sounds impossible—but don’t tell Peter Berg that.

With credits like Friday Night Lights and the Mark Wahlberg sufferfest Lone Survivor under his belt, the renowned Hollywood jack-of-all-trades opened Churchill Boxing Club in 2013 in partnership with one of the biggest names in the game, Freddie Roach.

Boxing wasn’t a passion project that Berg found after his success in Hollywood—in contrast, he credits the sport with becoming the prolific filmmaker he is now. As a child, he was a ball of uncontrollable energy and aggression until he learned to channel it through boxing. The focus and discipline that he gleaned from the sport were instrumental in getting him where he is today. “Boxing is a great way to confront and manage your fear, which helps in every area of life,” Berg says.

At Churchill, you can expect to find the state-of-the-art facilities that have made it a favorite for professional boxers, film stars, and even the LAPD and LAFD, in an atmosphere welcoming to everyone from seasoned pros to Day 1 newbies. “Everybody checks their ego at the door,” says Churchill trainer Josh Landers. “It’s an encouraging environment to just come enjoy a great workout.”

But be prepared to work. Landers and the entire team of trainers will put you through the rounds with their brand of challenging routines focused on boxing structure, fundamentals, and conditioning, “all while making it fun and sharpening your mental fortitude,” Landers says. In addition, trainers educate members on the importance of taking care of themselves outside the ring.

“Churchill Boxing teaches the importance of combining the right training, hydration, and nutrition,” Berg says. This motivated it to partner with Hemp Hydrate, a drink that harnesses the recovery benefits of CBD. “Boxers especially need the recovery benefits with their training. Hemp Hydrate’s plant-based formula is something that helps everyone,” Berg explains.

And Landers has seen the results firsthand with his clients. “Fighters say they’re more focused, engaged, and hydrated during their workout while drinking Hemp Hydrate. They also report less pain and soreness post-workout,” he says. After a few rounds in the ring at Churchill, your body will need all the help it can to reduce soreness.

Churchill Conditioning Workout

DIRECTIONS: Perform 3 rounds of this circuit, completing one exercise after another.

Medicine Ball Slam – 15 reps
Reverse Lunge – 10 reps
Battle Rope – 30 sec.
Body-Weight Squat – 10 reps
Plank – 30 sec.
Leg Lift – 30 sec.
Crunch – 30 sec.

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Romania Muscle Fest: Freedom Reborn


Romania Muscle Fest: Freedom Reborn

Courtesy of Wings of Strength
Sponsored Content

Romania is a southeastern European country known for remarkable things: the forested region of Transylvania ringed by the dramatic Carpathian Mountains; the world-famous Dracula legend and castle; Nadia Comaneci, the first Olympic gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0; and the Palatul Parlamentului, the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon.

But Wings of Strength and Tim Gardner Productions chose Bucharest, Romania’s capital, to be the host of the 2018 IFBB Professional League Wings of Strength Romania Muscle Fest Pro/Am not for these reasons, but for a goal just as remarkable.

After the IFBB Professional League separated from its European cousin, the IFBB Elite Pro, in 2017, the National Physique Committee (NPC), which is the amateur component of the IFBB Pro League, joined NPC Worldwide. This union provided a solution to the growing number of athletes seeking to join the IFBB and a path for them to bodybuilding’s most prestigious stage: the Olympia.

Held on Nov. 24 to 25, 2018, the first Romania Muscle Fest was a massive success, catapulting into the ranks of the biggest European pro shows in the history of bodybuilding. The enthusiastic audience witnessed history in the making as the winners of each pro class got their 2019 Olympia qualification (respectively 2019 Rising Phoenix World Championship qualification for women’s bodybuilding class): women’s bodybuilding: Monique Jones (USA); women’s physique: Laura Pintado Chinchilla (Spain); figure: An Da Jeong (Korea); women’s fitness: Darrian Borello (USA); women’s bikini: Cristobalina Pajares (Spain); men’s bodybuilding: Maxx Charles (USA); men’s 212: Kokeny Bela (Hungary); classic men’s physique: Woilid Baatout (France); men’s physique: Youcef Djudi (France).

The amateur portion of the show granted the highly desired IFBB Professional League pro card to the overall winners of each amateur division: men’s bodybuilding: Raul-Gheorghe Maghiar; men’s physique: Mishal Alhassan; men’s classic physique: James Correnti; women’s bodybuilding: Natalia Kuznetsova; women’s physique: Sarah Trenz; figure: Kathryn Sorensen; bikini: Ewelina Szala.

Alongside the lineups of amazing professional and amateur division competitors, the audience was hosted by emcee Bob Cicherillo, “the voice of the Olympia,” and treated to a stellar guest posing performance by William Bonac, the fourth-place winner at the 2018 Mr. Olympia.

The 2019 Romania Muscle Fest is expected to be an even more successful and well-attended competition as even more competitors, both professional and amateur, are anticipated. The show will take place from Nov. 1 to 3, 2019, at the Face Convention Center, Bucharest. In addition, an industry-related expo, Romania Muscle Con, will accompany the event, where attendees can get the latest news in the fields of bodybuilding, fitness, and wellness.

The 2019 emcee will be the legendary bodybuilder Shawn Ray, and the well-known bodybuilding star Brandon Curry (fifth place at the Mr. Olympia in 2018) will enthrall fans with a guest posing appearance. A bodybuilding seminar will be conducted as well, featuring local and international fitness and bodybuilding personalities.

December 2019 will see the 30-year commemoration of the fall of the Cold War communist dictatorship in Romania. Many Romanian people mark this event as the long-awaited end of a dark and oppressive era, when personal freedom and the human spirit were severely restrained. Romania Muscle Fest, through its unique nature, and by bringing competitors, personalities, officials, fans, and supporters of bodybuilding from all over the world, is a true celebration of the revival of a strong, thriving society that values freedom in its very core.

This content is sponsored by Wings of Strength.

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Transgender Boxer Patricio Manuel Talks Transphobia, Acceptance, and Happiness


Transgender Boxer Patricio Manuel Talks Transphobia, Acceptance, and Happiness.

SourceCode Communications

Boxer Patricio Manuel has been fighting for most his life, but not just against fellow pugilists. Before he began the transition from female to male in 2013, he spent many years fighting against himself. “I always saw myself as being a boy who would grow up as a man,” he said. “I never knew I had the option to transition.” 

Manuel, born Patricia, began boxing as a teenager, and the sport became a big part of his life almost immediately—such a big part, he says, that it’s what held him back from making the transition from female to male for so long. “I was afraid of losing the option of doing what I really loved,” he says. 

Despite knowing he was in the wrong body, Manuel fought as a woman for many years and exceled in the sport. He was a five-time USA female national amateur boxing champion and competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials as a woman. He was considered one of the best women boxers in the country, if not the world. But it took a toll on him. 

“I wasn’t happy with who I was,” he recalled. Finally, he had enough. Manuel bowed out of the Olympic trials due to injury, and during his recovery, he had a revelation. “I realized that I’m also a human, and not just a boxer,” he says. “That I really had to look at what I could do to make myself happy. I just couldn’t hear them announce me as a woman boxer anymore. I had to risk it all.”

The following year, Manuel began hormone treatment, and in 2014, he had top surgery to complete his transition to male. The risk, he says, has been worth it. Not only is he living a happier life, he’s now the face of Everlast’s “Be First” campaign honoring trailblazers in the boxing world.

“To have Everlast [an iconic brand of boxing equipment] say, ‘We see you, and we want to showcase your story,’ I’m really honored to be that face,” Manuel says. “I’m really happy … how can I not be happy?” 

For the most part, boxing hasn’t been taken away from Manuel in the time since his transition, but he has suffered some losses. Several of his former training partners stopped talking to him after he transitioned, and his old gym no longer wanted to be associated with him. Why? He never found out, and he didn’t really care what the reason was.

“I didn’t need to hear the reason,” Manuel says. “I walked out and I haven’t gone back. I just keep moving forward.” He added: “I had a friend, a trans friend, tell me, ‘Rejection is unfortunately part of the transnormative.’ So, I wasn’t really surprised.”

[RELATED1]

His first fight as a man took place in 2016, and he won by unanimous decision. On Dec. 8, 2018, he won his first professional men’s bout by unanimous decision, becoming the first transgender man to do so. And with his ascension to the professional level, Manuel faced the expected barrage of hateful, transphobic online comments. Being African American, he says, prepared him for that.

“I’m used to people saying hateful things just because of who I am,” Manuel says. “That gave me some calluses to deal with the transphobic comments.” Nobody has said anything hateful to his face, he added.

Many of the online comments against him and other trans athletes claim that he has an unfair advantage because of the testosterone treatments he receives on a regular basis as part of his transition. “I’m heavily monitored, and my levels have to be at a specific level,” Manuel responded. He thinks that more education about the medical stressors trans athletes have to undergo could be one way to more widespread acceptance. “If more people knew what we had to go through medically, I think we’d go a long way,” he says.

More importantly, though, he says straight athletes—both men and women—need to stand up for their trans counterparts. “People, unfortunately, listen more to people who reflect their own identity,” Manuel says. “The more cisgender, straight men that say it’s OK for trans people to be in this space, I think we can definitely move the needle quicker.”

Right now, Manuel is recovering from an injury that’ll have him out of the ring until early 2020, but when he’s back, he’ll be ready to push his limits. 

“I just want to see how far I can take this sport,” he says. His dreams of Olympic glory are over, but regarding training, he says there’s not much he does differently as a man than he did as a woman. That said, he notes that the style of boxing has changed. “Female boxers, there’s much more emphasis on finesse boxing,” he says. “I live in LA, which is very reflective of a Mexican style of boxing. So, you’re not looking for points, you’re just looking to knock someone out.”

Until his next fight, Manuel hopes to use his platform to inspire younger athletes to live their happiest lives—both as people and competitors. “You’ll have to decide what will make you happy outside of what society tells you you’re supposed to do.”

[RELATED2]
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How WWE’s Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins Stay at the Top of Their Game


Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins

Erica Schultz / M+F Magazine

The road to the top of the WWE wasn’t an overnight trip for Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins, who have become two of sports entertainment’s most popular attractions. And perhaps this shared affinity for grinding it out in the ring explains why the newly engaged Lynch and Rollins (real names Rebecca Quinn and Colby Lopez) gravitated toward each other outside of the ring as well.

Last May, when their relationship was revealed to the public, the WWE Universe swooned at the news. It just seemed to make sense: The crimson-haired Lynch is the first woman to hold the Raw Women’s Championship and SmackDown Women’s Championship simultaneously. And “Beast Slayer” Rollins is the WWE Universal Champion and the winner of the 2019 Royal Rumble. Both are beloved by the WWE Universe, which regularly sends the two Superstars’ names trending to the top of social media whenever their entrance music hits. What’s more, both are fitness fanatics.

Here was America’s answer to the celebrated coupling of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: a ginger across the pond becoming romantically involved with a Yank from the heartland. But unlike the overseas version, our royal couple kicks ass, takes names, and looks great doing it. Yet despite their very real affection for each other, some catty online trolls believe that it’s all a marketing stunt. Lynch isn’t having it.

“If you ask the internet, we don’t have any chemistry,” she says. “I think that people have a perceived view of me and him, and to see us come together, I don’t know that they envisioned it. I think people always need something to complain about.”

Both grew up in love with the sport and began dreaming of making it to the big time as kids. Rollins, hailing from Davenport, IA, began hitting the gym when he was 16 years old. Inspired by WWE legends Shawn Michaels and the late, great Eddie Guerrero, Rollins entered wrestling school and worked his way up the ladder, competing in a number of different promotions before reaching the pinnacle of sports entertainment—WWE. Once Rollins made it big, he became an instant hit.

The Irish-born Lynch took a less-direct path to her current perch as undisputed queen of the ring. After failing PE at 15, she got serious about training.

“I looked at all the WWE Superstars, and they were in great shape,” she says.

But looking good wasn’t enough. Lynch found it difficult to find her niche as she tried to break into the sport on the independent circuit. She drifted a bit for seven years, working as a stuntwoman, a personal trainer, a language teacher, and an actress, even doing a stint as a flight attendant. Eventually, she persevered and rose to the top, helped by her earthy charisma and verbal gifts. Lynch commands an audience and trash-talks with the skill of a seasoned veteran.

“I’m a little bit mouthy, but I back it up,” she says. With her death-stare determination honed by her steely Irish flint, the four-time WWE champ isn’t going to back down to anybody.

Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins

Erica Schultz

“Championships represent being at the top of your game. It means that you are the best of the best,” says Lynch. “Anybody who wants to take it from me better step up and be better, otherwise I can’t sit with that.”

That goes for her training as well. Just ask her other half.

“Becky and I have opposite strengths when it comes to workouts,” Rollins says. “I’m more skill-oriented, so when it comes to gymnastics-like movements or weightlifting, like doing a snatch, I have an advantage. But her engine is on another level. If she has movements that are just go, go, go, she’s going to outrun me every single time. I’m always trying to play catch-up to her when it comes to those workouts.”

Lynch knows Rollins is also a beast in the gym—yet another reason they connect so well.

“We’re at the top of our games because we work our asses off,” says Lynch. “We’re on the same wavelength.”

CrossFit Jesus and the Celtic Goddess

Both Rollins and Lynch train under the guidance of Josh Gallegos, a CrossFit luminary who is not only a CrossFit Level 2 trainer but for eight years has been one of the hosts of the annual CrossFit Games. Gallegos trains other WWE stars, including Cesaro, Bayley, Karl Anderson, and the Singh Brothers. He’s a close friend of Rollins’, and the two started DeadBoys Fitness, an online training company, a couple of years ago.

Gallegos uses a hybrid of different workout techniques, with an emphasis on CrossFit training principles.

“I try to keep it as fresh as possible because I’m going on my fifth year training with Seth and my third year with Becky,” says Gallegos. “It’s not just the same mundane thing over and over. I try to keep their barbell lifts and their weight training in the same vein as CrossFit in the sense that it changes every week.” WWE athletes are notorious for being on the road frequently, so Gallegos makes sure that he gives them the tools to stay on their program.

“Sometimes I’ll get a phone call from Becky that’s like, ‘Hey, I can’t make it into a gym today. Can you give me a workout to do in the hotel?’ And so I’ve got to, on the fly, fix either her workout to be done in a hotel gym or write her a completely new one.”

Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins

Erica Schultz

It works. One reason is their dedication. Gallegos says he used to train them separately, but now they work out—and compete—with each other.

“They’re both very competitive, and so now their programming has kind of been morphed into one. Seth lifts more weight than Becky, but they still do the same kind of workout, though there are some skills that Becky’s still working on that Seth has already mastered.”

Skills aside, when the two go head-to-head on equal terms, Lynch gives Rollins all he can handle.

“We did this fun workout for our DeadBoys channel called Man Versus Man because Seth used to be called ‘the Man,’ ” says Gallegos. “Becky is now ‘the Man.’ No joke, these two tied the workout. That’s just how crazy they are. They legitimately tied a workout that we’ve been pumping for, like, four weeks straight.”

Lynch loves to test herself against the guys in the gym.

“Myself, Seth, and Cesaro, we’re always competing against each other on DeadBoys Fitness,” says Lynch. “We’re so competitive. I think that pushes me because I always want to win. I usually do.”

Rollins, who earned the nickname “CrossFit Jesus” a few years ago, thrives in an environment of pushing his body to the max. It’s about paying dues, something he has very much in common with his significant other.

“It’s validation that the years of hard work in the gym pay off, and it’s not just you in there suffering,” says Rollins about his success. “I take a lot of pride in it. Me and Becky are at the top of our game, and it’s a reminder that the hard work pays off.”

Gallegos sees it every day from CrossFit Jesus and the Celtic Goddess. For Rollins and Lynch, working their asses off is in their DNA.

“There are a lot of people that don’t want to take the hard road,” Gallegos says. “They think, ‘Oh, it’ll be easy. It’ll come to me.’ But that’s not the case. Their work ethic inside the ring and outside of the ring is unmatched.”

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

SETH’S WORKOUT

When Seth Rollins tried CrossFit for the first time, there was no looking back. One of his favorite CrossFit WODs is called Fran, a mild-mannered name for a brutal little workout.

“It’s a couplet of barbell thrusters and pullups,” Rollins says. “A thruster is a full front squat into an overhead press.”

The prescribed sequence is three rounds of 21, 15, and 9 reps. Men are supposed to use a 95-pound barbell for the thruster; women should use 65 pounds. And you’re supposed to do it as fast as inhumanly possible.

DIRECTIONS: Complete each move one after another, resting only as needed. Aim to finish the circuit as quickly as possible.

Barbell thruster: 3 sets of 21, 15, 9

Pullup: 3 sets of 21, 15, 9

*Men use a 95-pound barbell; women use a 65-pound barbell.

Give Fran a try and see how close you come to Rollins’ time (three minutes and 20 seconds, which is considered elite). And, yes, it will hurt so good.

Tune in to Raw every Monday night on the USA Network and SmackDown every Friday night, as of Oct. 4, on Fox.

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Interview: NXT Champion Adam Cole

The rising star discusses his start in the industry and more.

NXT Superstar Adam Cole (Bay Bay) is at the top of the mountain, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time for him. With NXT going live on the USA Network every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST, Cole, the reigning NXT champion, is the face of the brand.

Cole, though, is up to the task and has been busy making sure everyone—wrestling fan or not—tunes in to catch the hard-hitting, high-flying action that NXT will offer on a weekly basis.

The Pennsylvania native sat down with Muscle & Fitness to discuss what separates NXT from other wrestling shows, his start in the industry, and more.

Check out more videos on our YouTube channel

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C.T. Fletcher Talks Pumping Iron and Parenting

Zack Zeigler and Don Saladino sit down with the legendary lifter.

Legendary strength athlete C.T. Fletcher talks with celebrity trainer Don Saladino and M&F executive editor Zack Zeigler about how he trains one year after heart-transplant surgery, and the strength lessons he’s passed down to his sons.

Check out more videos on our YouTube channel

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WWE’s Mark Henry Talks Pro Wrestling, Staying Fit, and Eating to Lift Big


Mark-Henry-In-US-Flag-Jerry-The-King-Lawer-Headlock-Ring

Courtesy of WWE / M+F Magazine

When former weightlifting Olympian Mark Jerrold Henry signed on the dotted line with the WWE back in 1996, there were many who said that the then-24-year-old would never make it as a pro wrestler. They were wrong.

Thanks largely to Henry’s unquestionable work ethic, charisma, and an innate desire to embarrass his critics, “The World’s Strongest Man” soon found his groove in the world of sports entertainment, improving year after year and subsequently dishing out a world of pain to his many WWE opponents before finally hanging up the boots in 2017.

The following year, Henry added a WWE Hall of Fame induction to his list of accomplishments. In WWE, Henry held the world heavyweight championship. In the world of Strongman, Henry’s credits are unparalleled. The man-mountain from Silsbee, TX won the inaugural Arnold Strongman Classic in 2002, and he’s also held numerous powerlifting and weightlifting records, including the heaviest raw deadlift (903 pounds) in the SHW class, and the biggest equipped squat, deadlift, and total ever performed by a drug-tested athlete.

Now working closely with WWE as an ambassador and coach, Henry still travels far and wide. When we talked exclusively on the phone to the man once known as “Sexual Chocolate,” it was late in the evening in Sydney, Australia, ahead of a big tour beginning there on October 21. But despite the long haul, Henry was in great spirits, greeting us with an enthusiastic “Well, hello there!”

What followed was an insight into one of US history’s most driven, and impressive athletes.

Nation-Of-Domination-The-Rock-Mark-Henry

Courtesy of WWE

Your list of accomplishments in powerlifting, weightlifting, and Strongman competition is nothing short of extraordinary. What motivated you to be the best?

It was pretty easy for me, because I was angry at everybody that I was competing against. I felt like I needed to prove, and I needed all the work that I did to be seen. I’ve always been an entertainer, long before I started wrestling. I had to win, so I went out there with reckless abandon and tried to entertain as much as I could.

Now at 48 years young, does your approach to training differ from when you were, say, in your 20s?

Oh yeah, I never go above 130 kilos [286 pounds] in anything [now]. I squat, deadlift, bench, anything with a lighter weight. I’ll try to do as many reps as I can in the shortest timeframe. My workouts usually take 45 minutes at the most, and I’m dripping with sweat. Then I stretch, and I do cardio for 30-45 minutes. I have a recumbent bike and a regular upright bike. I do a little bit on the elliptical, but I prefer the bike.

Taking in large amounts of calories required for strength training at competition level can be a real challenge. We’ve all seen the meals that Eddie Hall eats on social media. You had to balance that around traveling when you were starting out with WWE. That must have been no easy task.

You know, when I was competing, it was just like a [means to an] end, just like Brian Shaw, Bill Kazmaier and all the greats. You had to eat at a level that was just not comfortable. It became work to eat. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve decided to not eat like that, and that’s resulted in me losing 110 pounds.

I do my best to limit what I’m eating, especially when it’s not good for me.

Many people will have seen the HBO documentary on the life of Andre the Giant, and viewers had a great deal of sympathy for some of the discomfort, particularly around traveling, that Andre faced. As a big guy yourself, can you relate to some of those issues?

Most definitely. Travel is the hardest part of pro wrestling for the big guys. We spend so much time in little tiny cars for four and five hours, and then on little buses for five and six hours, or on a plane.

I came over here to Australia on the plane for 16 and a half hours. It’s very difficult when you are a man of my stature, but you have to tough it out, that’s the thing about our [pro wrestling] business. I’ve been very blessed to be able to have a career for 25 years.

WWE is back in Melbourne on October 23. You wrestled a huge match there back in 2002 teaming with Randy Orton to face D-Von Dudley and Batista. There was a massive crowd, more than 56,000 watching live. Do you have any memories of that night?

I do. I remember that the crowd was so unbelievably loud and I enjoyed it. Randy was a new wrestler at the time, and I was trying to help him get acclimated to what it was like being in front of a huge crowd like that.

[RELATED1]

You may be retired, but you are still very much part of the WWE family, serving as an ambassador and working with the crew. Do younger talent approach you for advice?

I work with our talent development. I want to be a part of having my fingerprints on the future of pro wrestling. I’m able to talk to all the younger wrestlers now and give them the life lessons and the travel lessons that I’ve learned. And so far, so good.

I’ve not had one person reject what I am trying to teach. That speaks volumes for who we pick as talents. I think the important thing is to tell wrestlers to enjoy the [WWE] journey, and that it is important for the fans to have a connection with the talent.

You’ve worked really hard to show that wrestlers are among some of the greatest athletes in the world. With SmackDown reaching brand new audiences on Friday nights, what can some of the critics of pro wrestling learn that they might have missed?

Kurt Angle was an Olympic Champion. I was the best lifter that was ever born. People like Shelton Benjamin and Brock Lesnar don’t come along very often. Brock Lesnar has been a world champion in pro wrestling and MMA. [They’re the] best in the world.

Randy Orton is an unbelievable athlete. Kofi Kingston is a really, really athletic guy with incredible balance. Those guys have so much to give, and they have given so much, for people not to know, or look up, or read what they are talking about, or just going by what they’ve heard from somebody else.

If those people live under a rock, and don’t know that pro wrestling is sports entertainment, and they feel like they are “breaking news” when they say that pro wrestling is not up to par, I haven’t got time for those people. I love the fans, the people that love our business who introduce you to their sons, and to their daughters. They want to share how much joy they get [from WWE], those are the people that I want to be around.

In regard to SmackDown, you have been involved in so many great moments on the show. You must be so proud of how well the show is doing 20 years on.

I’m very proud. I remember the first SmackDown show. It’s such an honorable feeling to have SmackDown go to Fox. The biggest sports network is going to see wrestling in that same platform, I’m very happy.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey guys want a personal message hit me up on cameo! https://www.cameo.com/markhenry

A post shared by Mark Henry (@themarkhenry) on

 

WWE tours Australia from October 21-23, and SmackDown airs live on Fox every Friday night (check your local and international listings). For information on WWE Network, and to get your first month FREE, visit WWE.com.

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Kevin Smith Talks Widowmakers, Weight Loss—and Chris Hemsworth


Jay-and-Silent-Bob-Kevin-Smith

Courtesy of Kevin Smith

It’s been 25 years since writer-director Kevin Smith debuted his Silent Bob persona in Clerks. A lot has happened since then: Kevin became a father, he cheated death, and the Marvel superfan assembled his own Avengers-esque crew of memorable characters—called the View Askewniverse—that all return for his latest flick, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot. So is it a reboot or a remake? We’ll let the man himself explain:

Kevin Smith: As you can imagine, this is the weirdest interview I think I’ve ever done in my life. More unexpected, I guess. I have no muscles and I know nothing about fitness.

M&F: Well, we’re gonna talk about your weight loss in a bit, but first, let’s talk Jay & Silent Bob Reboot (in theaters Oct. 15). There’s a hilarious scene in the new movie where Brodie from Mallrats (Jason Lee) explains to Jay (Jason Mews) and Silent Bob the difference between a reboot and a remake. So what’s the difference?

A reboot is when, you know, a studio takes a property and puts it out there in the hopes of getting your money. But they do it in a way that appeals to you as a fan. Whereas a remake is when a studio doesn’t really care how the audience feels about the original. So they just keep the title, f**k up everything else—and ruin both movies in the process. Three years ago, I wanted to make a movie called Jay & Silent Bob Reboot that’s going to make fun of remakes and reboots and sequels—while being all three at the same time. It took us a minute to get there because first we have to find money, and then I had a heart attack.

Timing is everything because in waiting to do it, you get Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson, Joey Lauren Adams, and a slew of all-stars from your New Jersey-set View Askewniverse. Plus a bunch of amazing cameos by the likes of Joe Manganiello, Chris Jericho, and Chris Hemsworth.

I don’t get that cast unless I have the heart attack. If we tried to make the movie three years ago, we probably don’t pull that cast together. But post-heart attack, you call up people and be like, “Hey man, you want to come to New Orleans for two hours to shoot a movie?” And they’d be like, “I don’t know, dude, New Orleans is far.” And I’m like, “Bro, you do remember I almost died of a heart attack?” And then they would instantly be like, “All right, I’m coming, I’m coming.” The heart attack was almost like our casting agent! 

This thing is one big nostalgia bomb that’s meant to go off in your face and heart. And so to have people who were in the original, like, not just Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, which we’re directly sequelizing, but also mini-sequels for Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma, as well…That felt great. Suddenly it became, you know, this View Askewniverse class reunion picture and it came at the right time because I’d almost died. And also it’s the 25th anniversary of Clerks this year. So everything just felt like the timing worked out so sweetly.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What’s up, Doc! A year and a half back, this super hero saved my life! Doctor Marc Ladenheim (husband of the even more talented @rikki_ladenheim_events) battled my Widow-Maker and won! 80% of the folks who have the kind of heart attack I had (100% occlusion in my L.A.D. – the artery that runs across the front of your ticker) don’t make it out alive. I was in the lucky, blessed 20% because of my hero here. I saw the good Doctor today for a stress test, in which they take pics of your heart, then put you on a treadmill and incrementally increase the speed and elevation, then take pics of your heart again. Turns out all that Runyon stuff has done this @WW Ambassador great good and left my heart in strong condition! The Doc said I’m doing great keeping the weight off and keeping up the cardio, then said “Come back in a year.” But this guy is my Batman; would you really wait a whole year to see Batman again if you could see him sooner? So I said “I’ll see you in six months.” When it’s your heart, you can never be too careful. But if something bad ever happens to your corazon? Find this guy! He’s a lifesaver. Like literally! #KevinSmith #heartattack #heart #cardio #ww #doctormarcladenheim #health #rikkiladenheimevents #wwambassador

A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on

[RELATED2]

And you got to poke fun at your infamous incident with Southwest Airlines [Kevin was kicked off a flight in 2010 for his size]. How cathartic was that?

Pretty sweet. Certainly no hard feelings, but the big guy, the Kevin Smith of that night is cheering on the Kevin Smith of today for, you know, taking back a little bit of his dignity.

But Southwest wasn’t what flipped the switch for you, rather the heart attack, right?

I did lose weight [after Southwest]. That was when I watched the Fed Up documentary and dropped sugar out of my life. I’d lost a chunk, but then I still had a bunch because my top weight at one point, I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m wearing my area code—323!” The biggest I got was 330. Other than removing sugar, I was still a meat eater and a dairy drinker. No bull**it—I used to drink two gallons of milk per day. That’s probably why I had a heart attack [laughs]. And so after the heart attack, and I had to change my eating habits.

I had a vegan kid at my house [daughter Harley Quinn Smith, who co-stars as Jay’s love child]. I never really thought about doing it myself until I had 100 percent blockage in my left anterior descending (LAD) artery. My doctor told me it’s called the Widowmaker because in 80 percent of the cases of a 100 percent blockage like I got, the patient always dies.

The next morning, the nutritionist was like, “You might want to think about a plant-based diet because it’s been proven to cut cholesterol.” And my kid was in the room, and she was like, “Dad, do it—please.” So I said, I’ll try it for six months, man, because clearly eating the way I wanted to eat after 47 years nearly killed me. That was over a year and a half ago. It’s been very easy to stay vegan.

What’s the secret to sticking to a diet?

I had to find a very thin path for veganism because I just don’t like f***ing vegetables. So you know, I’m like beans are vegan—that’s great. Chickpeas are vegan—that’s great. Peanut butter is vegan. You start making a list of the vegan things you can eat and stuff. Oh, I actually became a Weight Watchers ambassador! I’ve lost over 70 pounds.

What about workout-wise? 

We live near Runyan Canyon, which is a great location for hiking. It’s a straight incline for most of it. So that’s become a big part of my regimen every day. 

So did you put Chris Hemsworth in your movie as inspiration?

Oh, you wanna talk about a body from God’s own work! Chris and Ben [Affleck] were in incredible f***ing shape, man. It’s nice to have muscle-y examples around you to show you what’s possible. I’m not looking to put on the world’s biggest gun show. Maybe just a local gun shop.

Tickets for the Oct. 15 & 17 nationwide release of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot are available at FathomEvents.com/Reboot.

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Strongwoman Sarah Cogswell Talks Training, Diet, and Why Titles Don’t Matter


Sarah-Cogswell-Looking-Down-Strongest-Woman-Alaska

Brandon Ramos / M+F Magazine

Sarah Cogswell, one of the top Strongwoman competitors in the 82kg (180 pounds) weight class, doesn’t compete or lift for the plaudits, money, and titles. So when she failed to make weight for the 2019 Strongest Woman in the World competition in Fairbanks, AK, she didn’t sweat it—literally.

Coupled with not sleeping for 24 hours due to travel and sitting in scalding Epsom salt baths, Cogswell was unable to cut 19 pounds of water weight. Rather than straining herself physically and mentally for the last-minute weight loss, she decided to cut her losses and move forward. The event organizers of Strongman Corporation still allowed her to compete, but she was ineligible for the purse, title, and spot at the women’s pro show at the Arnold Strongman Classic. Cogswell couldn’t have cared less.

“I’m not here to win competitions,” Cogswell says. “This sport for me is about being the strongest version of myself. When it comes down to competing against yourself, you aren’t competing against other people, so the weight class doesn’t matter as much.” After all, her love for the sport goes far deeper. In 2016, Cogswell graduated from Ursinus College located in Collegeville, PA, and relocated to Alexandria, VA. She felt lonely and lost.

After work, she’d head home and remain a shut-in. It was when her feeling of isolations got worse that Cogswell dedicated her efforts to weightlifting. She began going to The Edge 2.0, Virginia’s only Strongman and Strongwoman training facility, on Sundays with other women who were interested in lifting. It was the perfect fit for Cogswell, a former soccer player who says running wasn’t an option for her after a knee injury in college.

 

“The reason I love Strongman is that everyone is trying to be the strongest version of themselves, and it’s great to be around people like that,” Cogswell says. “Especially a community of women being the strongest they can.”

She vividly remembers the day she set a personal record by deadlifting 480 pounds; 50 more than her previous max. Overcome with joy and accomplishment—and surprised by her feat some three or four months after setting her previous PR—Cogswell cried as her interest in lifting blossomed into a full-blown love affair.

“That was the moment where I accomplished so much more than I ever thought was possible,” she says. “That is the moment I fell in love with lifting, and that’s what I love about the sport and lifting—defying all expectations and not putting limits on yourself.”

Today, Cogswell is still trying to decide her lifting future: does she continue to compete as a middleweight or move up to heavyweight? She plans to hire a diet coach to manage her weight and cuts better, and is slightly hesitant to move up to heavyweight because she’d have to compete as an amateur again to receive her pro card in that weight class.

“It’s definitely something I’m still trying to get a handle on; 180 pounds for most women isn’t a weight that’s hard to manage, but as you put on more muscle, especially as a natural athlete, it takes a lot of mental effort devoted to my diet to keep my weight down that much,” she says. “It ends up being a balancing act. It’s not that I couldn’t sit close to 180, it’s how much time do I want to devote to thinking about my diet and to the sport in general, which is essentially a hobby.”

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This Supercut of Ronnie Coleman Lifting Will Have You Yelling “Yeah, Buddy!”


Throwback Video: Ronnie Coleman's Famous 800-Pound Squat

Ronnie Coleman / YouTube

If you’re a regular Muscle & Fitness reader, we don’t need to tell you that Ronnie Coleman is a legend. But perhaps more legendary than the eight-time Mr. Olympia himself are his gym catchphrases. From “Light weight, baby!” and “Ain’t nothin’ but a peanut!” to the timeless “Yeah, buddy!” and various other exclamations, no one knows how to get hyped up the way “The King” does.

Big Ron’s affinity for shouting motivational phrases while lifting is common knowledge, and countless videos of him pumping iron exist on the Internet. Hell, the video of him squatting 800 pounds is basically required viewing for bodybuilders of all levels. But one YouTuber recently created a supercut of Coleman’s gym videos that’ll get you more hyped than your favorite preworkout.

Check it out below, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself muttering “Light weight, baby,” by the end of it.

Anders Gjellan, the YouTuber who created the video, goes by “Back Guy” on both Instagram and YouTube, and he’s created compilations of various big names in the fitness industry in a series called “Basically.” The series took off recently, and it’s clear why: the videos are often hilarious. And he doesn’t stop at athletes — he’s also poked fun at the sports of bodybuilding, Strongman, powerlifting, and CrossFit.

If you could use a laugh, check them out:

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How John Gramlich Changed His Diet and Training to Lose 120 Pounds


How John Gramlich Changed His Diet and Training to Lose 120 Pounds

Courtesy of John Gramlich

Three years ago, John Gramlich realized that his weight had spiraled out of control. He’d just moved back to his native Oklahoma after spending ten months in Nebraska for work—a place where he didn’t have the community, friends, or family that he had back home. When he returned, his family gave him a wake-up call.

“I had some really tough conversations with my sisters, who are my best friends, and some other close people,” Gramlich recalled. “And they said, ‘We’re glad you’re happy and you’ve gone back to home base to reset, but you need to get a grip on this, you need to prioritize this.’”

That’s when he tried joining a regular gym, getting a trainer, and running (which he hates to this day), but to no avail. What ended up working for Gramlich was CrossFit.

“It’s the variation in it, the camaraderie, and the community that’s kept me going and kept me on the hook,” he says. But even after he got comfortable in the gym, he had some work to do on the nutrition front. Friends at the gym proved helpful, but as a self-proclaimed “horrible cook,” he needed some help in the kitchen. After looking around online and seeing that Trifecta Nutrition partners with lots of CrossFitters, he thought the company would be a good match for his needs.

“I really found success with using the á la carte menu because it’s simple. It inspired me to cook more because I would get my different proteins every week and then manipulate them to make them into tacos or to put them into pasta or something.”

Once he got the nutrition aspect down, the rest is history. Now, his goals have shifted from weight loss—he dropped about 120 pounds total—to feeling confident and getting stronger. These days, he doesn’t even look at the scale.

His hard work and dedication have certainly paid off, and he has some tips for those just getting started:

Be honest with yourself and your ability level.
Prioritize honesty, and prioritize knowing what you don’t know. For me it wasn’t even a pride thing, it was more, “I want to do this the right way.” The hardest part about all of it is understanding that it is a process. When you have an open dialogue about how to do movements or how to work out properly, it gets easier.

Trust the process.
It’s a process, and you have to be patient in it. There are going to be days when you feel like you look like fricking Arnold Schwarzenegger, then there are other days when you going to stand in front of a mirror and think you look like a beached whale. It is what it is, and it’s your mind, your self doubt, and all these different things.

Take it slow.
When I first started nutrition, I failed miserably because I was like, OK, cold turkey, let’s do this. I tried cutting out all sweets, all sweet tea, all booze, and cutting out all fried food. When you do that, you fail in a week and wonder where the double-stuffed Oreos and tub of ice cream are.

I transitioned to the mindset, “OK, what can I change?” If you can change from sweet tea to water, go to a fast food joint and get a side salad instead of fries, or eat an apple, those transitions slowly bridge the gap. Now, I don’t even reach for fried food. I know what’s in the past and I don’t want to go back to it.

Don’t do it alone.
You come to find out that you’re not bugging people by talking about it. It’s not, “I’m on an island, overweight, and the boat to safety only holds 200 pounds, so I’ve got to do it all by myself.” The bottom line when it comes to starting to work out, nutrition, or anything, is don’t do it by yourself. That can be calling your friend, calling your mom, or calling whoever is going to be your resource and advocate. People can do it by themselves, but it’s going to be a way more difficult process that way.

No

Give it a Shot


Military Trail Military Shot from Midway Labs

Courtesy of Midway Labs
Sponsored Content

We all know protein is important for muscle building, but what you may not know is that protein is vital in recovery and also in boasting a stronger immune system which, in turn, creates antibodies to fight off disease and infections, helping to keep your body healthy and running efficiently.

It is recommended that men get at least 56 grams of protein per day; women need about 46 grams. If you are looking for ways to add in more protein, why not make it as easy as possible? There’s a finally a solution for those who are looking for protein “on the go”, Military Shot by Midway Labs offers 40 grams of liquid protein in a tiny 2oz bottle!

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Content sponsored and supplied by Midway Labs.

No

Don Devaney Biked 11,536 Miles for a Good Cause


Don-Devaney-Bike-Vermont

Amanda Suarez / M+F Magazine

For the past decade, Don Devaney has been the main enforcer/henchman of the Spartan Death Race—Spartan’s annual mental and physical torture fest that can last up to 70-plus hours. Browbeating racers and getting them to doubt their strength to continue is the job. And he’s top-notch at it, routinely reminding racers to “move with purpose or be eliminated.”

Outside that role, the Vermont native is a tough guy to dislike. He’s jovial and quick-witted and has an infectious laugh. He’s also tough as hell and is clearly taking his own advice to move with purpose.

Devaney has completed three Death Races, and the lessons he took away from them helped him realize that without a plan B, you leave yourself no choice but to succeed. This is why, before he opted to embark on a cross-country bike ride to raise awareness for One Step Ahead Foundation, he shifted all his money to his daughter. Doing so meant he had only one option: Pedal.

[RELATED1]

We caught up with Devaney in Vermont at the 2019 Death Race, while he was 9,145 miles into an 11,536-mile journey.

M&F: What is the One Step Ahead Foundation?
Don Devaney: It was created by fellow Death Racer Amy Palomar Winters to raise awareness and funds to help children with mobility issues.

The goal of this ride is to raise awareness for the foundation?
Along with raising awareness, we’d like to put those children with mobility issues with other adaptive athletes in hopes that they inspire those kids to dream bigger or to get out in nature.

How many hours a day are you on the bike?
Eight, nine, 10, 12 hours a day, by myself, in my head.

And it’s enjoyable?
It’s living without expectation. It’s just going. I know that I’ve got to go out, and I’ve got to get on the bike, and I’ve got to pedal, and I’m going to see amazing things.

What is something that you’ve seen or noticed?
America is great. It doesn’t need to be made great again or anything like that. It’s great. I’ve seen it firsthand every day. I’ve had not one bad experience. People are naturally good. People want to help.

Follow Devaney on Instagram: @art.fully014.

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Wearables and Rugby Performance With Nick Winkelman

We sit down with the head of athletic performance and science for the Irish Rugby Football Union.

This week on the Muscle and Fitness Podcast, M&F executive editor Zack Zeigler (@zraz) and celebrity trainer Don Saladino (@donsaladino) speak with the head of athletic performance and science for the Irish Rugby Football Union, Nick Winkelman (@NickWinkelman), about his days at EXOS, the use of wearable technology, and measuring performance of the Irish rugby players.

[RELATED1]

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Build a Boxer’s Physique Using this Bodyweight Routine


Muscular-Boxer-Punching-Heavy-Bag

Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock

We may question your sanity if you said you wanted to throw down in a boxing ring, but we get why you’d want to look like a fighter. Boxers are lean, athletic, and conditioned and aren’t just all show and no go. It’s for these reasons that Kariem McCline, owner of KM Elite Training in Boca Raton, FL, has his clients adopt a boxing-centric training style to get into stellar shape.

“Try to put your hands up in front of your face for three minutes while circling the ring. Your arms are going to be pretty tired, and it’s going to get your heartbeat up,” McCline says. “That’s why, for me, boxing is the best way to get in shape and why you see a lot of pro athletes taking it up.”

McCline’s brother Jameel was a former heavyweight contender (41-13-3), and so he grew up around the sport. After becoming a personal trainer, McCline kept close to his boxing roots by integrating sweet-science-inspired training into his programs.

One of his favorite workouts is a body-weight circuit that has you pushing, pulling, and jumping with your own mass to carve out a fighter’s physique and build muscular endurance.

While you won’t be throwing blows like Adonis Creed after taking on this workout, you’ll be a step closer to looking like him.

Looking for more boxing tips? Follow McCline on Instagram @kmelitetraining

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BOXING WORKOUT
Directions: Complete 3 to 4 rounds with a 1-minute rest period between each circuit.
ExerciseSet/Reps
Pullup10
Dip10
Pushup20
Situp20
Jump Rope3 Min

 

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