Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lance Armstrong: Hero of Health and Fitness

The cycling legend waged a war against cancer. Here's how you can learn from him

 Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was conscripted to fight in the war against cancer. "I had no choice," he says. "I was attacked by it back in '96, so it's been part of my life for 12 years." Even before he finished the first leg of a storied bicycling career, he had formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help combat a disease that kills about 560,000 Americans a year.

Especially in light of his recently announced comeback, the tempting metaphor casts Armstrong's battle against cancer as an extension of his racing career: the dogged determination, the triumph over long odds, the unflinching focus on victory—in this case, a cure. Only it's not. "This is different from a race, where there were start and finish lines," he says. "You can look at the success we've had with testicular cancer and say, 'Okay, we're ahead in that one area.' But cancer is a six-letter word that encompasses more than 200 different diseases."

The United States has spent billions waging war against cancer, but Armstrong contends we're not getting our money's worth. So Armstrong's foundation directs its $40-million-a-year budget—much coming in lunch-money increments and from people who accessorize with yellow wristbands—to where it counts the most: improving the lives of those individuals stricken with the deadly disease.

When you see Armstrong during his break from competitive cycling, it's liable to be on the pages of a tabloid, strolling with some beauty. The tour de Lance takes in some pretty scenery. But the paparazzi can't be bothered following him through cancer wards, where he helps, inspires, but most of all, listens to the patients' stories.

His humanitarian effort isn't the brainchild of his PR sherpas; it comes from knowing firsthand how it feels to live with a death sentence. Which also accounts for his outrage. "I'm surprised almost every day that this country isn't more appalled at the devastation cancer creates," he says over his cellphone, as he pulls into a parking lot for another hospital visit. "Not every few days, but every friggin' day, 1,500 Americans die from this bastard of a disease. Let's cut that number in half, and then we can talk progress," says Armstrong. "We can do that."

To beat cancer, we need to focus more on prevention, Armstrong says. If you smoke, stop. Even if you don't, reduce your risk of 17 cancers, including prostate, by boosting your body's vitamin D3 production. Try 20 minutes of sunshine a day around lunch, or take 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily if the weather's not cooperating. Find more health tips at
Continue to Read more ...

The GSP Workout: The Evolution of the Ultimate Fighter

Georges St-Pierre is one of the best fighters in the world. But to stay on top, he treats himself like a white belt

 GSP training

Georges St-Pierre knows an unusual amount about megalodon, terror of the ancient seas.

He speaks of it with grave importance; he wants to make clear that 2 million years ago, this predator, a shark larger than a city bus, went extinct. Poof.

As did the American lion, the short-faced bear, and several other giants whose Latin names sound musical in his Quebecois accent.

And why does he care so much about this?

"In fighting, in evolution, in life, efficiency is the key," says St-Pierre, who hopes to one day return to school to study paleontology. "It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient."

Paraphrasing Darwin is a neat trick for a guy who's paid to cut off the blood supply to people's brains. But St-Pierre, whose next bout is scheduled for April 30 against welterweight Jake Shields, isn't your typical fighter. He's arguably the best mixed martial artist in the world, a 5-foot 11-inch, 190-pound destroyer who drops 20 pounds for bouts. St-Pierre has cleaned out his division and could go down as the greatest champion in the UFC's history. He hasn't lost a round in more than 3 years. He's faster than other fighters. More efficient. More fit, in the truest Darwinian sense.

"There is a difference between a fighter and a martial artist," St-Pierre says. "A fighter is training for a purpose: He has a fight. I'm a martial artist. I don't train for a fight. I train for myself. I'm training all the time. My goal is perfection. But I will never reach perfection."

So why bother? Because evolution must be constant. He is never a master, complete in his studies. Rather, he is a trainer, a learner, as humble as a white belt. And he reminds himself of this by surrounding himself with smart people—all experts at something he wants to master—who can teach and challenge him.

He has coaches for every fighting discipline, and his main coaches work together to come up with the right strategies and to prepare him for individual opponents. But he also has a talent agent, who pushes him toward the kind of salesmanship and glad-handing that doesn't tend to come naturally to a fighter. That's led to promotional deals with Gatorade, Affliction Clothing, and Under Armour.

Understandably, St-Pierre's goals are lofty—and prioritized. For later: He wants to marry and have five kids. For now: He's 29, single, aiming to become the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist of all time, the man who is crescent-kicking a fringe sport into the mainstream. Too bold? No. "The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it," St-Pierre says, now channeling Michelangelo.

"It's to set your goal too low and reach it."

ST-PIERRE'S FIRST FIGHT TOOK PLACE at around age 7. He reached the top of the hill during a schoolyard game, and an older kid punched him in the nose. More hits would come during his childhood in Saint-Isidore, a parish just outside Montreal, population 2,500. "I was bullied," says St-Pierre, once a nerdy, studious boy who competed in chess tournaments. "I was not very popular."

To protect himself, he learned Kyokushin karate from his father. That gave him the striking base he still uses today, he says. He discovered the importance of looking up to other experts when at 15 he watched Royce Gracie, a skinny Brazilian jujitsu master, tap out oversize foes in the early days of the UFC. "I asked myself, 'How can this happen? How can this small guy beat all these monsters?' " he says.

And now St-Pierre has the answer.

"Because of the knowledge," he says, "that every war is won by the strongest weapon. Royce Gracie had the knowledge. The next day I started looking for a trainer."

By 2001, St-Pierre was competing professionally. He'd remade himself as an expert in submission grappling. To pay for his training and kinesiology classes at a local college, he held three jobs: resurfacing floors, picking up garbage, and bouncing at a rowdy club called Fuzzy Brossard. In 2004, the UFC offered him a title shot against Matt Hughes. The opportunity was too good to pass up. He dropped out of school. Then he lost to Hughes. Once again, St-Pierre had climbed to the top of the hill only to be punched in the nose.

 A lesser man might have been discouraged. St-Pierre grew more committed. Two years later, he fought Hughes again and TKO'd him to win the championship. Since then, St-Pierre has become a collector of people: those who help him in person, and those whose philosophies inspire him. He learned Muay Thai with the help of an elite trainer. Ditto boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, wrestling, strength conditioning, sports psychology. He can cite the 10,000-hour rule popularized by Malcolm Gladwell: You achieve success after that much practice. He might even turn profound and paraphrase Bruce Lee: We are told that talent creates opportunity, yet it is desire that creates talent.

Desire creates talent. Let that concept linger. How many of us are brave enough to pursue a passion at any cost, as St-Pierre has? If the UFC didn't exist and there weren't a cent to be made in the sport, he says, he'd still be training twice a day for 90 minutes at a clip. He'd still be learning to punch on unstable surfaces in order to activate hidden muscles and increase his power. He'd be studying gymnastics and walking over obstacles on his hands. It's about mastering himself. "I don't do this for the fame," he says. "I do this for the love."

Maybe that explains St-Pierre's behavior when he ran into one of his childhood tormentors at a mall some time ago—and simply, casually nodded. Not to scare the guy. Just to say hi. To let him know that he'd moved past any place where revenge mattered. (The bully was scared nonetheless.)

"I don't have anger toward this guy anymore," St-Pierre says. "I don't want to fill up my heart with anger."

IT IS MID-DECEMBER, AND A holiday soiree is in full swing in the lower lobby of the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain. Guests arrive in expensive suits and shimmering gowns. As it happens, the lobby is also the muster point for undercard fighters at tonight's UFC 124, which creates a surreal scene: cauliflower-eared athletes and tipsy socialites appraising one another, unsure of who is more dangerous.

High above the clamor, St-Pierre sits silently in a suite on the 34th floor. The hours before a fight swell with tension, and the best way to deal with it is to move. But St-Pierre has been taught exactly when to start moving. Too soon and he wastes energy. He must stay calm as he is bundled into an SUV and transported to the Bell Centre, where, backstage, he will wait some more as the muffled thunder of the crowd oscillates through the walls: G-S-P! G-S-P! G-S-P!

At the arena, his focus is total. He tapes a simple handwritten sign, in French, to his dressing room wall. Translation: On December 11th in Montreal, I will destroy Josh Koscheck and remain world champion. An attainable goal. He makes a sign for each fight. "Every time I wake up in the morning, I put that up so I see it when I brush my teeth," he says.

St-Pierre begins his warmup: trunk twists, crab steps, hamstring kicks, triangle submission drills, arm bar drills, guillotine chokes, superman punches, combination strikes on pads, breathing exercises with arms upraised against the wall, hands opening and closing methodically. Every movement is precise, efficient. His trainers go over his game plan. He is ready.

Time to move. St-Pierre runs out of his dressing room. He runs to the cage. The fight begins. "Watch how he controls the pace and rhythm," says Greg Jackson, one of St-Pierre's coaches. "Human brains are looking for a pattern. Establishing that pattern and then breaking it can be very powerful."

In the first round, St-Pierre establishes a rhythm, and then breaks it on Josh Koscheck's face. Over and over. St-Pierre's left jab is a trip hammer. He seems to have shattered Koscheck's orbital bone within minutes and begins attacking his opponent's leg with lead kicks.

The next four rounds mimic the first, with Koscheck looking increasingly battered and desperate. St-Pierre circles out of the range of Koscheck's looping, obvious right hand. When Koscheck lunges wildly, St-Pierre sidesteps him like a matador and taps him on the head. The crowd laughs. Actually laughs. Koscheck may be a four-time Division I All-American wrestler, but tonight he looks like an earlier model of fighter. Obsolete. Homo habilis. He keeps trying to slug it out with St-Pierre, who is superior on his feet and happy to oblige.

("Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake," St-Pierre will say later, quoting Napoleon.) St-Pierre easily wins every round. He lands 136 strikes to Koscheck's 30.

And what is GSP doing moments later in his dressing room after defending his title in front of a hometown crowd? He's on a mat, rolling with a coach, training, taking pointers about what he did wrong, about how he could have used a move called the "head snapdown" when he had Koscheck on the ground at one point. He does this after every fight, always training, always learning. Desire creates talent.

"It's like life," St-Pierre says. "The more knowledge you get, the more questions you ask. The smarter you get, the more you realize that everything can be possible."

Behold evolution in real time. The megalodon never stood a chance.

Prepare like St-Pierre
Georges-St Pierre's impressive physique wouldn't exist if he spent all his time recovering from injuries. The UFC champ protects his body by performing a fast-paced routine before he starts each training session. "A warmup is essential because it activates all your muscles and improves bloodflow to help prevent injury, while also preparing your body to increase its performance," says Erik Owings, one of St-Pierre's trainers and the owner of Mushin Mixed Martial Arts, in New York City. Before your next workout, try this full-body igniter. It should take less than 5 minutes.

Perform each exercise for 60 seconds, then move to the next without any rest.
Continue to Read more ...

Conquer Your Kitchen

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck reveals his 5 secrets for mastering any meal

Wolfgang Puck knows what it takes to succeed in Hollywood: 1,800 pounds of Dover sole, 1,200 Kumamoto oysters, 1,000 spiny lobsters, 500 pounds of smoked salmon, 40 pounds of caviar, 10 pounds of black truffles, and six Spanish hams. That’s what he served to more than 1,500 celebrity guests and film industry insiders at last February’s Governor’s Ball, the annual celebration immediately following the Oscars. It was his 17th consecutive year catering the event, and the most recent critically acclaimed performance in a career that spans more than four decades, three continents, 16 books, and 100 restaurants and cafes. Which is why it comes as a bit of a surprise when the Austrian-born French chef lets slip one of his central culinary mantras: “Simple beats complicated every time.” We can eat to that.
We sat down with Puck as he was putting the final touches on his newest book (“It’s about food and fitness” is about all he’ll reveal before its Fall release) to learn what any man can do to sharpen his cooking skills. Heed his five kitchen commandments, and the results will speak for themselves: A healthier, tastier meal in half the time—and a fitter body for life.
1) Start SlowEven if you think you’ve got the chops to tackle a tough recipe, temper your ambition, says Puck. “It’s just like working out—you won’t become Arnold Schwarzenegger after a month in the gym.” And, to be honest, who really wants to cook like Conan? Much better to flex just enough culinary muscle to wow your guests with a medley of simple, pure flavors. “If you buy a fresh filet of fish, you don’t have to do much with it,” says Puck. “Just put it on the grill with some vegetables, add a little olive oil and some fresh basil, and you’ve got a wonderful meal.” Ditto for pasta. “Don’t bother making your own out of raw dough—just buy some good, dried pasta and follow a tried-and-true recipe, like penne a la vodka,” advises Puck. “Worry about adding your own flourishes—like roasted asparagus or salmon—once you nail the basics.”
2) Spice Things UpThe most versatile ingredients in any kitchen are a handful of fresh herbs. Puck recommends five to grow yourself: Rosemary, basil, thyme, mint, and kaffir lime. “Growing herbs like rosemary and basil are important for cooking chicken and roasted potatoes,” he says, adding that thyme and mint will not only flavor a dish, but also make great tea. “In addition, I have some kaffir lime trees in my backyard because the leaves work well in Thai-style dishes.”

3) Arm Yourself with the EssentialsUnless you’re hell bent on blowing 10 grand on, say, a sous vide cooker, a micro evaporator, and other ultra-modern appliances—the likes of which Puck doesn’t even have in his own kitchen—you can easily whip up an amazing meal with a few basic tools. “It’s important to have a set of pots and pans with thick, heavy bottoms so that when you sauté, heat is distributed evenly, and food doesn’t burn,” says Puck, adding that a grill griddle is a similarly helpful tool for amateur chefs because it allows for the easy regulation of temperature (and the avoidance of that most grave of culinary sins: overcooking). “A good corkscrew is also a smart thing to have handy,” adds Puck, only half-joking about its critical role in any meal: Lubricating the cook. (Click here for 13 more essential kitchen tools)

4) Know Where to ShopPerhaps the greatest mistake men make when shopping for food is loading up on too much at once—a habit that leads to spoiled food and large bellies, says Puck. “Instead, [and If your schedule allows] shop at a high-end market three times a week and buy less,” he says. “That way, no food goes to waste, and you’re not tempted to indulge in the overload of choices in your pantry.” Puck’s favorite market: Whole Foods, where “you know you’re getting really good ingredients.” But he also advocates shopping at farmer’s markets when they’re in season. “If it’s within your means, why not eat the best, locally grown ingredients you can afford?” says Puck. Check out to find a farmer’s market in your area.
5) Know What to Look ForWhen shopping at a farmer’s market, “inspect everything and buy organic whenever possible,” says Puck, who overhauled his menus in 2007 to include only natural, humanely raised food products. “Pesticides are to be avoided.” Why? As Puck sees it, pesticides undermine the most important goal of any meal: Strengthening the body.
If pesticides are to be avoided at all costs, freshness is to be desired above all else. Here’s what to look for in the produce aisle (or the farmer’s stall): The darkest cherries and strawberries, which are generally the sweetest. If they’re pinkish red, they’re too sour. Carrots and beets with their leaves intact. It’s a sign of freshness (leaves on rooted veggies are always the first part to rot away). Broccoli and corn with the greenest stems. Avoid any with brown highlights (a sign of spoilage). “Get to know the farmers who produce your food as well,” he says, adding that they can help you select the best fruits and vegetables. “At the end of the day, your health is the most important thing in your life.”

Wolfgang Puck's Best List
BEST INGREDIENTGinger. I use it all the time in cookies and candies to enhance their flavor, and even in tea as a soothing tonic to facilitate sleep.
BEST VEGETABLEAsparagus—either the large green variety or the white ones, which I import from Austria. Both are versatile ingredients in soups and salads, and are delicious warm or cold.

BEST FRUITRight now, it’s cherries or strawberries. But ask me in the fall, and it might be pears. To me, fruits and berries are very seasonal. I’d never think to eat a cherry pie in November or a pear tart in June. I like to experience them at their peaks.
BEST FISHLine-caught Atlantic turbot, which has a very rich flavor. I love to grill it on the bone on my charcoal grill, and serve it with the best olive oil I can find, as well as some lemon, basil, chopped parsley, and shallots, or an emulsified lemon fennel butter. It’s also a fish that’s very easy to filet when it’s cooked.

BEST MEATAmerican Waygu Kobe Beef from Snake River Farms in Idaho. It has the richness of Japanese beef with lots of marbling, but the flavor is more akin to what we’re used to in America. It’s best served medium rare to rare, and when it’s grilled over charcoal with a little sea salt and black pepper, there’s nothing better. You can give me a pound of the best Wagyu from Japan, or a pound of this, and I’ll choose this every time.

BEST CHEESEOne of my favorites is Saint-Marcellin—a rich, creamy cheese that I have when I go to Lyon, France. I love to enjoy it with a really good baguette.

BEST WINEI like Sauvignon Blanc with fish and salads—especially the one from Rochioli Vineyards. But my true favorite is Krug Champagne. I drink it with hors d’oeuvres, main courses, and even at end of dinner. It goes especially well with Chinese food.
BEST DESSERTKaiserschmarrn, a cross between a soufflé and a pancake. My mother used to make it once a week for dinner, and serve it with plum compote and a glass of milk. I thought that was the best meal ever. Eating it today still reminds me of my childhood in our little village in Austria. I actually don’t know where to get a real good Kaiser anymore, except at my restaurant Spago, in Beverly Hills. But I’m sure there must be other restaurants that serve this delicious dessert.

Paris, by far. It has the variety. It has the biggest markets. It has everything, including style and elegance.

BEST COOKBOOKThe Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal. I love cookbooks that are done beautifully, just like a great dish. I think The Fat Duck makes you want to go into the kitchen and cook some of Blumenthal’s recipes right away.

BEST CHEFMy all-time favorite is Raymond Thuilier, whom I trained under in France. He was the complete package—a great chef, a great host, and great with customers. We’re in the hospitality business, and people often forget that. But they shouldn’t—food tastes better when it’s accompanied by great hospitality. As for living chefs, I have many that I admire, but my favorite from the last year is Blumenthal, because he has the perfect mélange of invention and taste, and his restaurant in England, also called The Fat Duck, is really fun.
Continue to Read more ...

Landon Donovan: Live Like a Playmaker

  One moment does not make a man.

Landon Donovan knows this well—and his career in Major League Soccer is packed with the kind of game-winning goals, technical assists, and athletic feats that keep the guys at SportsCenter busy long past the season’s end. Yet if he walked off the field tomorrow, he’d likely be remembered for one play in particular: His last-minute, history-making score against Algeria in the 2010 FIFA World Cup that not only brought the U.S. Men’s National Team back from the brink of elimination (and won them the game), but also launched them into the cup’s second round for the first time since 1930. But for Donovan, the significance of that moment goes deeper: In an instant, the entire country rallied around a team and a sport that rarely enjoys the spotlight in mainstream American media.

“It was far from the greatest (or the most aesthetically pleasing) goal I ever scored, but the relevance of it made it special,” says Donovan, adding that there might be millions of kids who watched that moment and were inspired to start playing soccer. “And one day, they’ll grow up and their kids will play it—that’s how you build a fan base.”

It also helps to have a charismatic superstar like Donovan plugging the cause. At 29 years old, he already has three Major League Soccer Cup championships under his belt (two with the San Jose Earthquakes, and another with his current team, the Los Angeles Galaxy), and has received every major American soccer honor imaginable, including six Honda Player of the Year awards, four U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year awards, and one MLS MVP award. But for all of his enthusiasm for the country’s burgeoning professional soccer program, he also recognizes its shortcomings—a perspective gained by playing on the international stage, first with the German clubs Bayer Leverkusen (where he began his career in 1999) and Bayern Munich, and then with the English club Everton.

“What you see in England is a faster game—faster than anywhere in the world—so, mentally, you have to be able to stay in it for 90 minutes,” says Donovan. “Some of the players in our league don’t measure up to those guys. If you tune out for a second, you get punished.”

And then there’s the other side of the coin: Maintaining a peak level of fitness—an especially daunting task in a sport where the level of play and the frequency of games seems to increase every year. Donovan, for example, has played for three teams in two countries during the past two years with virtually no break in between. Competing in different leagues with different coaches, rules, and fitness levels—not to mention an insane travel schedule—is a lot for any body to handle, even an extraordinarily fit one like Donovan’s, but that’s the way of the future.

“My guess is that, going forward, players’ careers are going to be shortened because of how many competitions there are,” says Donovan. And from all indications, they’re also going to start younger. “Real Madrid recently signed a 7-year-old,” adds Donovan, who joined the U.S. national program as a teenager. “Seven! Learning how to deal with everything that comes with being a professional, and doing it at an increasingly early age, is difficult.”

For many players, the pressure proves too much. Careers start sooner, burn brighter, and fade faster. But Donovan believes he has found the key to longevity: Treating soccer like it’s meant to be treated—as a game. “A lot of guys want to sign with a big club or go somewhere for a lot of money, and they end up not playing,” says Donovan. “I’ve only ever made decisions that revolve around me actually getting to play. That’s why I got into this. It’s why I started as a kid. And at the end of it all, I just want to play as much as possible.”

At the same time, Donovan knows that the hourglass of his career is running out, and with it his hopes of winning a World Cup Title. It’s normal to feel that kind of looming pressure, and lesser men might crumble under its weight, or use it as an excuse to step aside or slow down. Not Donovan. “A lot gets thrown at athletes these days, and everyone is trying to pull you one way or the other,” he says. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that the most important thing is to take care of—and to be true to—yourself.” And for Donovan, that means playing not for titles, awards, or money, but rather for the love of the sport—and helping others to do the same.
Continue to Read more ...

Hang with Bear Grylls in his natural habitat—a sheer rock face—to learn his lessons of adventure and survival

TWO HUNDRED FEET UP, with the waters of the English Channel lapping below, Bear Grylls wants to know how I am with heights. We're strapped into harnesses and standing on a chalk cliff at the Isle of Wight's westernmost tip. In 5 minutes we'll rappel down the cliff—part of a formation, called the Needles, that juts out like shark teeth—and now he asks? I allow that heights may possibly rattle my nerves. "Fear is normal," he says, surely not for the first time. "It's a tool that sharpens us for what we need to do."

The idea is that I'll descend first, with Grylls following. It's only fitting that a journalist with zero climbing experience would show the Man vs. Wild star (who has twice summited Everest—once on foot and once in a paraglider) how it's done. We'll venture in succession onto a ridge that's perhaps 6 inches across, and from there lower ourselves with ropes to a small ledge halfway down the cliff. There we'll pause to conduct an interview, and through this process the Men's Health reader will learn how he can live more adventurously. Grylls advises me to shuffle onto the ridge, hook my rope into a crack in the cliff, and then rappel. "Just don't look down," he says. And then it's go time.

The tricky thing about chalk is that it crumbles—you don't need climbing experience to know this—and, true to form, once I'm about 10 feet out onto the ridge, a chunk of cliff breaks apart beneath me. Pebbles tumble down. And so, it seems, will I. "Don't worry," Grylls calls out, seeming more concerned with the rock than with me. "It's only an ancient national monument."

Grylls can joke because he knows I'm safe. He trusts our rigging. I may feel as if I'm one false move away from a death dive, but feelings don't necessarily match reality. The truth is that even if I let go, I'd simply dangle in my harness. Eventually this sinks in. I ease myself backward and down, backward and down, backward and then . . . down to the ledge.

Grylls follows, strolling backward with little apparent effort. He lands on the ledge and fishes into his backpack for a stainless-steel thermos engraved with his name—a gift from his patrol sergeant back in the British special forces, where he served 4 years before breaking his back in a skydiving accident. He twists off the thermos cap. "I was always brought up to have a cup of tea at halfway up a rock face."

Edward Michael Bear Grylls has explored the outdoors ever since he was a child here on the island. "We did a load of boating and sailing and kayaking and climbing and horse riding around here," he tells me. "It wasn't a complicated life. It was a great life." But it was only after the accident that he became a celebrated adventurer.

That sense of adventure comes from his father, a Royal Marines commando who later became a wine importer and a member of Parliament. "My dad's not around any longer," Grylls says, "but I'm a dad to three young kids, and there's always a special bond when you climb and you have to trust each other with your lives." In the age of overprotective parenting, it's bracing to hear Grylls describe paragliding with his 2-year-old son, Huckleberry (as in Finn), or kayaking with 8-year-old Jesse. The middle Grylls child, Marmaduke, is named after the World War II flying ace Marmaduke Pattle. Grylls is a man who treats bravery as a sacred heirloom handed down from father to son.

"The problem is, they now watch my TV show, so they love it a bit too much. I am now actually trying to scale it back with them. Their teachers have said to me, 'That's all well and good having Jesse give me a detailed description of how to rappel out of a helicopter, but his mathematics are suffering.' "

Man vs. Wild, now in its sixth season, drops Grylls into dangerous and remote terrain—jungles, deserts, volcanoes, glaciers—and then follows him as he battles the elements. His two most notorious survival tactics involved guzzling his own urine and crawling inside a camel carcass for shelter. Grylls, 37, freely acknowledges that he'd like to move on from the show. But it's become such a juggernaut—1.2 billion viewers in 180 countries, the promo materials boast—that it's hard to just shut down. Plus, he has product lines to maintain: his clothes, his books, his knives. The dude even has his own deodorant.

"When I'm in Man vs. Wild mode, it's not pleasure," Grylls says. "Every sensor is firing and I'm on reserve power all the time and I'm digging deep—and that's the magic of it as well, and that's raw and it's great. But pleasure for me is good friends coming, picking some adventure—whether it's a weekend thing or a day thing or a weeklong thing—and then planning it and building it and researching it and training for it."

And this, he believes, is something every man can do. Maybe even something every man should do. Adventure builds character and camaraderie. Adventure breaks us out of our daily routines. Adventure reminds us we're alive.

Grylls stashes the tea and we prepare to climb back up. By the time I reach the top, both hands are bleeding and my adrenaline is surging, as Grylls knew it would be. "You feel a complete buzz when you reach the top of that," he tells me before we ascend, "because you did it. And I feel exactly the same, and that's the magic and attraction of adventure."

Your Adventure Checklist
Simple gear to save your life

1 Zip-top bags
You'll need these to waterproof your gear.

"They could save your life," Grylls says. "You know, people go out with a cellphone, put it on top of the rocks; then it rains, and the phone's dead." Throw your wallet in there too.

2 Extra socks and gloves
Socks get wet. Gloves are dropped. "Somebody loses a glove in a cold environment," Grylls says, "and they can die because they'll suffer a frostbitten hand and can't use the hand. I've had a lot more riding on a spare pair of gloves than you might imagine."

3 Tarp
Rain or shine, "the priority is always protection from the weather. So if you're in the desert, you need something for shade."

Three Adventure Sports to Try Now
Bear's favorites, your next challenge

Rock Climbing
"Go with a friend, take a class, find a wall in your city, and learn some skills," Grylls says. "And then push yourself a bit. Research some cool routes nearby, go out and try some easy ones, take someone who's done it before, and just grow. Adventure should be 80 percent 'I think this is manageable,' but it's good to have that last 20 percent where you're right outside your comfort zone. Still safe, but outside your comfort zone."

"I took my kids paragliding yesterday," Grylls says. "Huckleberry is 2. I strapped him in—it was an adult harness. I wrapped it around him a few times, and we jumped off this hill. It wasn't like a vertical hill or anything. It was a gentle hill, and I ran down, just holding the bottom of his feet, and he was going, 'I'm flying! I'm flying!' My 8-year-old loves it and doesn't want me to hold him, and he takes off on his own, goes up 20 feet and comes down." Grylls says he taught himself the sport. But that's not advisable. "Take a class."

"You can do it with your kids, you can do it on your own. You can start off just on a lake. You can learn how to kayak well, how to roll it, and then take it to a river. But again, be careful, research the river, and get some help and some guiding, because rivers are things I've learned to really respect. And I always give myself a 20 percent margin of error."

Ratchet Up Your Nerve
To summon your courage, follow this playbook

Anticipate hazards, and plan around them
You don't need the heart of a lion to face danger like Bear. You do, however, need to resourcefully strategize for safety. "Being brave isn't the absence of fear," Grylls says. "Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it."

Detach from your anxieties
Objectively examine your situation. Then harness your fear, which Grylls says exists "to fire up your sensors and give you the edge to make sure you hear well, see well, act strongly, and perform well in a big moment."

Trust your gut
Grylls says he has a reliable inner voice, and a rather insistent voice of doubt. "The doubting voice is not the one to listen to. The doubting voice is just that little boy going, 'Have you double-checked everything? Are you sure?' But yes, it's fine. The inner voice is the one that says, 'You're okay to do this,' 'This is the right girl to marry,' or 'This is okay to climb this rock face.' And life's journey is to distinguish between the two voices."

Make risk a habit
Once you've conquered a few dangerous situations, you know you can handle the next one. Previous experience teaches you when to take a calculated risk and when it's time to pull back. It also helps you avoid panic. "When it overwhelms you—and we've all been there—it controls you; people freeze. I've seen it a lot with people on mountains, and it's often the people you don't expect."

Talk to yourself
In difficult moments, Grylls allows himself to pause. "I just go, 'Okay, I'll stop for a second. I'm just going to breathe and look at it. I'll check my safety—I have confidence in that—and then I'm going to remind myself that I'm way more likely to be hit by a bus. I don't have a problem here.' And then I get on with it."
Continue to Read more ...

Henry Cavill: The Sky's the Limit

After battling Greek gods in Immortals and donning Superman's cape for the series reboot, Henry Cavill can teach you about career climbs

The superhero began life a chubby little boy.

As a child in England, Henry Cavill was known as "Fat Cavill." "It's definitely a shitty nickname," Cavill says, seated in a Chicago sidewalk cafe. "But kids are kids. Kids are cruel. Whatever. I was fat."

It's hard to admit, but sometimes even cruel kids have a point. In time, Cavill, the lead actor in the current toga-abs epic Immortals and the forthcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel, became as tough on himself as his classmates had been on him. He accepted the harsh reality of his situation—he was "round," as he puts it, and needed to make a change. The rugby, field hockey, and cricket of his boarding-school days weren't enough.

He grew up and out of his pudgy body and then kept going. He became a model and an actor, running for four seasons as fun-loving bad boy Charles Brandon on Showtime's Henry VIII drama The Tudors, a role that required nude sex scenes. (Tough job!) But even that experience wasn't enough to give him confidence in his body. He still thought of himself as overweight until just a few years ago, when he trained for Immortals, the 300-style action flick due out this month. Cavill spent countless hours hoisting weights alongside the throngs of ripped warriors in the cast.

"There was a sense of team and camaraderie," he says. "We all sweated together, we all bled together, we all ate the same highly inefficient food and just kept on going and supported each other." When he felt weak, the group kept him going. "Because they were doing it—and if they could do it, so could I. It's not the end of the world that your feet hurt. Push yourself."

Playing Theseus, a Greek warrior chosen by the gods to save the homeland, Cavill was greased up, ripped, and 25 pounds lighter than he is now. He could have asked director Tarsem Singh to apply the film's extensive CGI to assist him with that eight-pack, but he opted instead to embrace a grueling training regimen designed to create a lean, carved physique. As a result, Theseus's abs are all real, with no digital enhancement. "It's very stressful," Cavill says, "waking up Monday morning and saying, 'Can I still see that vein in my abs?' "

Sometimes a little obsession is what it takes to excel. And the first step is rejecting the status quo. Henry Cavill's story is about nothing if not perseverance—the kind of intestinal fortitude that spurred him to chase an ultra-ripped body and steadied him when multiple celebrated roles slipped through his fingers.

Technically, Man of Steel isn't Cavill's first time wearing Superman's cape. About 7 years ago he was cast as Clark Kent (and alter ego) in the last update of the franchise, Superman Returns. But when the original director, McG, abruptly quit, Cavill was gone with him. As it turned out, that flaccid sequel to the Christopher Reeve series proved to be kryptonite for the career of its replacement star, Brandon Routh.

Now that Cavill has the S shield firmly emblazoned on his chest and the movie is due out in 2013, it all seems meant to be. Then again, maybe not. "That really bugs me," he bristles, mocking the phrase "meant to be." The 28-year-old lifts his coffee cup and places it firmly back down an inch away. "This was meant to end up there because I put it down."

Cavill prefers to believe in action and reaction, cause and effect. He rattles off any number of reasons why roles don't pan out, theorizing about his lack of performance, bad timing, even just a run-of-the-mill bad day for one or the other of the parties involved. "Who knows? But I don't think it's anything like 'It wasn't meant to happen.' "

His other high-profile letdown: losing the role of James Bond to Daniel Craig just a year after losing Superman Returns. "I obviously wasn't right for Bond," Cavill admits now, secure that he gave it his all. "I did, and I wasn't right. That's all." He also realizes that with The Tudors and memorable supporting turns in Tristan & Isolde, Stardust, and Woody Allen's Whatever Works now under his belt, he has more name recognition than he once did. That helped him land Man of Steel, and who knows what else is down the road?

"He's definitely more Superman now than he was 7 years ago, I think," says Man of Steel director Zack Snyder. "He has been the rock that we can build this movie around." That rock didn't spend the past few years sitting around. "I want to be chosen, not wish I was part of something," Cavill says. "I didn't pine over the fact that I didn't get the last one. It was 'move on, carry on,' whatever!"

Cavill's perspective feels distinctly British, with its echoes of the old World War II poster "Keep Calm and Carry On." In fact, Cavill attributes his strength of character to his childhood as the second-youngest of four boys in Jersey, a British island off the coast of Normandy, France. "I think my parents brought me up that way—very much, 'Okay, well, there's no point in worrying about that now because that's gone. Take every learning experience you can and apply it to yourself and grow from it. You didn't get it. Tough. Now move on. Get the next one.' "

And the next one doesn't just happen on its own. "Putting in the hard work and losing is the tough bit," Cavill says. "That is what makes you special. That's what makes you a man: giving your all, losing, getting back up, and giving it your all again. Because otherwise it would be easy."
Continue to Read more ...

The Immortal Workout

Movie goers and critics agree that Immortals leading man, Henry Cavill, has a body worthy of a Greek god. Follow his lead to build your own

Soon after wrapping Immortals, Henry Cavill began prepping for his role as the next Superman. To become a little more super, he turned to Mark Twight, owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City—the same fitness expert who transformed the cast of 300 into an army of men with washboard abs. Twight uses a punishing training routine called the "tailpipe": a 100-rep workout that'll smoke calories, torch fat, and leave you exhausted (ha!). The tailpipe has two "sides," exercise and recovery, explains Dan John, Twight's colleague and fellow strength coach. "The exercise portion is designed to get you gassed," he says. "but the recovery is just as important."

Twight's tailpipe recovery method: the moment you finish an exercise, calmly take eight controlled breaths in and out of your nose. "Fight the urge to gasp, throw yourself around, or change songs on your ipod," says john. Then immediately start the next exercise.

Bonus: The tailpipe can also improve your sports performance, John says, because it helps manage "the stress of extreme fatigue." After your final tailpipe recovery, attempt a fundamental sport skill. For example, take three free throws, using three basketballs that you've placed nearby ahead of time. "Become better at dealing with this stress, and you might suddenly find yourself becoming a clutch player."


Use this routine at the end of your regular workout, or as an intense circuit you can do almost anywhere. Perform the exercises in the order shown; a 16-kilogram (35-pound) kettlebell or dumbbell is recommended for the movements that require a weight. (If that's too hard, downsize.) Do 25 reps of each exercise, using the tailpipe recovery technique between each move (and after the last). (For another great lung-busting routine, check out The Spartacus Workout, Men's Health's most popular flab-blasting plan ever.


  • Goblet Squat
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Squat Thrusts
  • Jumping Jacks
Continue to Read more ...

David Beckham is about to change the way you think about your "best" years

A LONG TIME AGO, SOMEONE SOMEWHERE SAID something horrible about men... and it stuck. It's the nasty schoolyard rumor that won't go away, like when you heard that your best friend's brother had head lice in the fourth grade. It wasn't true. But the kid never lived it down. An equally destructive whopper about men was dumped out there decades ago, and we're still plagued by it:

Men peak at age 18.

Maybe you can show in a lab that the reproductive potential of the average 18-year-old male is peaking (eight times a day, baby!). You can write newspaper stories about his time in the 100-meter against Central Catholic, or his passer rating, or his four gold medals in the district swimming finals. You can give him a high school diploma. Hell, you can also send that guy off to war and into a voting booth (not necessarily in that order).

And according to popular lore, that's the story of a man—the best he'll ever be. We should know better. It's time to revise that number. In fact, let's double it.

Age 36. That's a more realistic prime—a time of achievement, family, and friendship, with equal parts reflection on the past and anticipation for the future. It's an accurate time to measure a man's self-worth. Our case study: David Beckham.

You've heard of him. You don't even have to be a soccer fan. He's probably the most famous athlete on earth. He married one of the most famous women on the planet. He has money. He has four kids (all sired after age 18, by the way). He's accomplished everything a man in his profession can accomplish, and he's done it at the highest level.

And the idiots out there say he's over the hill. Past his prime. A "Yesterday Man," according to the U.K.'s Mirror. A "self-serving" jock who should "step down for the good of his national team," an ESPN columnist wrote. Everyone seems to agree that Beckham is not as fast as he once was, but an athlete, like any man, shouldn't be measured by just one standard. We may try—with rulers, with hood ornaments, with trophy cases and trophy wives—but it's never a complete picture.

When you start counting up the real benchmarks of success, the ones that actually mean something, you see just how many there are. And how the ones that receive the most attention are, in fact, the least valuable.

Let's take a look at the worthy metrics, with Beckham as our guide. The best part? No matter which side of 36 you're on, if you're excelling in these areas, you're in your prime. If you're not excelling? There's plenty here to think about, and it's never too late to start.

You accept change. Dynamic men waste little time—at any age—sitting on bar stools talking about how great they were at 18. Dynamic men evolve. Case in point: Beckham, who's still playing soccer at age 36. People see an aging athlete change his game, and say, "He's done." That's not true. The guys who struggle are the ones who refuse to adapt to their age and march onto the field expecting the same results as before. (See "Favre, Brett.") Beckham has remade his game to take advantage of what he can still do better than most. He plays deep in central midfield, watching and waiting to intercept the ball and then passing it with his legendary accuracy. "You have to change," he says. "Even at 36, I'm still running 12 miles a game. [But] I've definitely become more aware on the field. I know what my limits are, what I can achieve, and which passes I can play. I have adapted to my age." The result? The L.A. Galaxy won the MLS Cup in 2011, earning Beckham a club championship in a third country, after England and Spain.

You shed vanity. Yes, Beckham is a notorious popinjay. But the vanity we refer to isn't about looking good; it's about needing adulation to maintain self-worth. For Beck-ham it's simple: He respects his fans but he's not addicted to their cheers. He lives a real life beyond work. "I've got friends at the different teams I've played for, but family is the most important thing to me. That will always be the case. I've got my wife. I've got my four kids. I've got parents, grandparents still, and three really good friends. It's all you need. I'd rather have three really good friends than 20 good friends."
You bring out the best in yourself. Do you know your worst trait? The smart guys leverage theirs into something useful. "I am a very stubborn person," Beckham says, so he uses it as fuel. "I think it's helped me over my career. I'm sure it has hindered me at times as well, but not too many times. I know that if I set my mind to something, even if people are saying I can't do it, I will achieve it."

You approach fatherhood like a man. Any guy can knock up a woman. But even with the biggest surprise pregnancy, you still have, oh, 9 months to think about what kind of father you want to be. Too few men do this. Beckham, though, has a parenting ethos. "It would be easy for our kids to sit back and not work for anything," he says, "but they're not like that. They're as competitive as Victoria and me. We're very lucky with our boys: They want to win. They want to work at something. They know their values. That's the way we've brought them up so far, and that's the way we'll continue to bring them up."

You manage your self-destructive tendencies. Men find all manner of ways to implode. Some choose classics like booze and drugs. But you can also overspend, cultivate an affair, or cheat your employer. What's your poison? Beckham, despite all available vices, has managed to keep his self-discipline. "Sportsmen have changed over the past 10 to 15 years. When I came into the Manchester United squad, you still heard about players going out for a few beers after a game. That doesn't happen very much now. The real professional players look after themselves a lot better than they did 10 years ago, and that's obviously how you see the likes of Ryan Giggs or myself still playing at the top level."

You thrive in crisis. In March 2010, Beckham tore his Achilles tendon, ruining his chance of playing in the 2010 World Cup. It could've been a career-ending injury. In the past 4 years, a lot of men have faced their own potential career killers, through firings and layoffs. How do you react when something bad happens? Here's how Beckham responded: "There was only 1 day when I doubted that I'd get back to playing. It was 2 days after the operation when my bandages came off and I saw the scar. It was very different from what I'd seen a few days before, and it scared me. I think that's the only time I've really felt that I wouldn't play football again. I was emotional... I've played this sport for quite a few years. To think that I wouldn't be doing it anymore upset me. But it lasted only for the day. My kids walked into the room, and that took my mind off it. From then I was determined, absolutely determined, to get back. The surgeon told me I'd be back playing in 9 months." He smiles. "I was back in just under 6."

Don't Play Your Age

Beckham turns 37 in May. "Most players are gone at this point," says Ben Yauss, strength and conditioning coach of the L.A. Galaxy, where Beckham returns next season. "But by adjusting his fitness regimen to his age, we keep him at the top of his game. Follow Beckham's lead to stay on top of yours.

1. Prime Your Muscles
Beckham is known for being the first to arrive at practice. "He's usually ready to work an hour before practice starts," Yauss says. But it's not to impress his coaches. Twenty years on the field has taught Beckham that exercising cold is a fast track to the disabled list. "Warming up ensures that his joints and muscles are ready for action," says Yauss, who has Beckham prime his body with dynamic movements like the kneeling hip flexor stretch, hip raise, and reverse lunge—all of which improve active flexibility and excite the central nervous system.

2. Add Some Resistance
Like most men in their 30s, Beckham faces a gradual decline in performance. To curb those losses, he supplements his regular gym workouts with resistance-band and resisted-movement exercises. "Adding them to sprints, kicks, and lateral movements helps build explosive power," Yauss says. One of Beckham's moves for glute strength: the band lateral shuffle. To try it, loop a resistance band around both legs just above your knees and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, take 10 wide steps to your left and then 10 wide steps to your right. That's 1 set; do 3.

3. Roll it Out
To help his body bounce back after 90 minutes on the pitch—or after especially tough training—Beckham focuses on soft-tissue work. "Five to 10 minutes of massage or foam rolling makes sure he's not stiff or sore the next day," Yauss says. Such gentle manipulation boosts bloodflow to tired muscles, speeding recovery. It's also an essential part of his mid-30s mantra: Exercise in balance. "It's not just lifting or running or stretching or flexibility work—it's a combination of all of them," says Yauss. "By taking a holistic approach to fitness, David is able to stay healthy all season long and dribble circles around guys 15 years his junior."

Continue to Read more ...

Battleship and John Carter star Taylor Kitsch hangs tough in the ring and on the screen

ON THE NONDESCRIPT west side of Los Angeles, behind a door with no sign, Taylor Kitsch is wrapping his hands. He is hidden away in a private boxing gym called TSB-44, where he works out whenever he's in town.

"This'll keep you honest," he says. Boxing, he means. A celebrity like Kitsch may be able to slip away for a discreet workout, but in the ring there's nowhere to hide.

"It's about pushing yourself and attempting to exceed those limits, and pushing the guy beside you," he says as he clambers under the ropes into the ring. He jumps up and down as his assistant, Trey, hooks up an iPod to blast a hip-hop mix.

"See that?" Kitsch asks me, pointing to a silhouette of a battleship along one wall. "Pete's got lots of stuff up here," he says, nodding toward Navy SEAL logos. "Pete" is Peter Berg, one of the partners behind TSB-44. (The letters stand for Tough Strong Bold.) As creator of the TV series Friday Night Lights, he brought us Kitsch in his breakout role as bad-boy running back Tim Riggins. And Berg just directed the actor in Battleship, the naval action flick out next month. (Yep, that Battleship, as in "You sunk my..." from the game.)

Kitsch doesn't come to this spot just to avoid paparazzi. It's an ideal training ground, with an enclosed outdoor yard for fresh-air sprints-plus that secluded location down a dead-end street. "No bullshit," Kitsch tells me. "You're here to really work hard."

And we do, though not as hard as Kitsch does with someone who can spar at his level. "Trey's getting good, but he can't spar with me yet."

David Paul, who runs the gym, puts us through a grueling warmup. "Feet to the fire!" he shouts, and the three of us sit in a circle in the ring, feet straight out in front of us, as if we're warming them by a campfire. We grunt and strain through a series of abdominal sets with punches and stretches, or "abbies," as Paul calls them. Then we do bag drills, followed by 27 rounds of "run and shoots"—a fancy name for sprints alternating with jabs and uppercuts—and ring work.

Paul, who trained Christian Bale for The Fighter, keeps things lighthearted. When we're back in the ring for 3 minutes of sitting with our backs and legs off the floor—a twist on a SEAL drill—he has us tell stories to distract one another from the escalating pain.

Kitsch has simple reasons for loving the sweet science. "You knock out both cardio and weights, really, in an hour and a half," he says. "But you're drenched 99 percent of the time. And you're with someone." He nods to Trey. "You got your tunes." He nods to the speakers blaring Travis Barker's "Beat Goes On." "It's no bullshit," he says again. There's no calling his agent, his manager, or his publicist. It's just him and some guy who's trying to punch him in the face.

Berg introduced Kitsch to boxing in 2006 while they were filming the first episode of Friday Night Lights in Austin, Texas. Berg had invited the young cast members to join him at a local boxing gym. "All the actors said they wanted to go," he recalls, "and Kitsch was the only one who had the balls to show up." Berg wasn't sure at first if Kitsch could cut it; but, he says, "Taylor's a legitimate athlete." They've been trading punches ever since.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS TURNED OUT TO BE THE PERFECT MATCH OF actor and show. By avoiding pat resolutions and black-and-white characters, FNL helped elevate the television medium. "That's the beauty of FNL," Kitsch says. "It's legit. It's real. People have problems."

It also succeeded in transforming Kitsch from a model into a bona fide actor. Now he's taking the next step—toward movie stardom.

"I'm an all-or-nothing person," says Kitsch, 31, whose year began with the megabudget action flick John Carter. (He played the title character, a Civil War soldier who is transported to Mars and battles aliens for the red planet's survival.) Next month he fights aliens again in Battleship, which was filmed off the Hawaiian coast. In July comes Savages, an Oliver Stone thriller in which Kitsch plays, yes, a former Navy SEAL.

Kitsch has built his career while living almost 1,400 miles away from Hollywood. The British Columbia native settled in Austin while filming FNL, and he likes the place so much he's building a house there.

"I love to stay out of it," he says. "I don't do the L.A. scene. I stay focused and very myopic. I don't feel I need to prove myself or be in people's faces, especially in this town."

Though it may seem as if the way to get ahead is to know what you want and ask for it, sometimes a lower-key approach works even better. Sometimes there's power in not asking—in just being yourself, playing the long game, and letting your hard work speak for you. Kitsch knows that power. "I'm not the guy who's, like, 'Hey, can you put me in your movie?'"

"He didn't call me," Berg says. And indeed, Berg first told Kitsch about Battleship several years ago, when they were on Kitsch's boat together down on Lake Austin. At the time they were dragging Berg's son in an inner tube and shooting the breeze. "I was just curious what he was doing," Kitsch says. If Berg wanted Kitsch for the movie, he knew where to find him. And he did find him. "I had to fly to London [where Kitsch was shooting John Carter] and drag his ass to Hawaii," Berg says.

Kitsch has plenty of experience with unexpected opportunities. In Texas, football is life. In Western Canada, where Kitsch grew up—4 hours outside Vancouver—it's all about hockey. He was so good on the ice that he was preparing to play pro... and then he blew out his knee. "It was fucking devastating." But he had done some modeling. And because the industry is so small, and handsome young men from the hinterlands are such precious commodities, a big New York agency soon came calling.

A single Abercrombie & Fitch gig opened doors for acting auditions. Lo and behold, the kid started snagging roles: He was in Snakes on a Plane, The Covenant (a thriller that he wouldn't be disappointed if you haven't seen), John Tucker Must Die, and soon Friday Night Lights.

Today, when the pressure is on to become a movie star, Kitsch turns to the one place where he has always sought solace: the gym. Whether you're running, lifting, or boxing, he says, "you never walk out of the gym and say, 'I shouldn't have gone.'" You just do the work, feel good about it for a moment, and then move on to whatever comes next.

Taylor Your Workout

Taylor Kitsch was certified as a nutritionist and trainer before he made it as an actor. Here's his advice for maximizing your own time with a fitness coach.

1. Be clear about how the trainer can help you
Want bigger biceps? Or simply gearing up for your first 5-K? Set your goals and communicate them to your trainer. Then when things get tough, he or she can remind you what you're working toward.

2. Take responsibility for your shortcomings
If you came home at 2 a.m. and ate half a cake, cop to it. Your trainer can work with you by taking that into account and maybe adding cardio that session. "Dude," Kitsch says, "I've been there."

3. Crank up your favorite tunes
"People hate cardio," Kitsch says. "I hate cardio. But pick the five top songs that you love. Do your cardio during these songs, and you're done. I'd say 95 percent of the time you don't even know you just did it."

4. Stay in it for the long haul
Everyone wants immediate results, Kitsch says. But it takes time for nutrition and exercise to transform a body. Don't become frustrated if you're not jacked overnight. " Patience is huge," Kitsch says. "Huge."

5. Eat right, but don't go crazy
Be aware of what you're ingesting, says Kitsch. While you shouldn't deprive yourself of the occasional pizza or beer, the idea is to have protein with every meal and eat complex carbs, especially in the morning.
Continue to Read more ...

Zac Efron's Full-Body Transformation

A leading man with a Marine's work ethic

IT'S A WARM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA morning, and I'm meeting Zac Efron in Studio City at a place called Weddington Golf & Tennis. With a name that stuffy, I expect marble and money. The course turns out to be public, with a plastic-cup snack bar where a waitress, without looking up, informs the 24-year-old movie star that she doesn't take credit cards. They've reserved us a private tee, which is approximately 4 feet away from the adjacent public one.

Here at the practice range, Efron—in T-shirt, oversized cap, shorts, and Vans—strolls around in disarming anonymity, though to be fair, it's hard for even the preeminent teen pinup of the 2000s to attract notice in a crowd that includes this many codgers in lavender pants. After talking and meandering (not especially well) through a bucket of golfballs, we encounter Roger Dunn, a California golf-shop magnate who gives lessons wearing a Panama hat and smoky sunglasses. We'd heard that Dunn is just shy of his 50th year of teaching, and he's been introduced to us as a man of considerable local repute. Mostly Dunn has something to teach, and Efron is drawn to that.

"I could pick up almost anything," Efron had told me earlier. "If you put it in front of me, I could always find a way to tackle it. I was never a natural at anything, but I could always outwork everybody." He'd mentioned Bruce Lee, a man he's been reading about. "What you got from him was the work ethic," Efron said.

"Constant diligence. He was so focused, constantly pushing his body." And so, at the eventual behest of the old teacher, the former star of High School Musical sets up on the range, absorbing Dunn's sharp tips and rebukes. Dunn tells him to watch his back foot ("Keep it steady"), twist his wrists on the follow-through ("Rotate, come on, give me a break"), and focus ("Aw, there you moved your feet").

To illustrate a point about how golf uses martial-arts-style balance, he asks me to push against his right biceps. Again, this gentleman is about 80, so I confess to being a little tentative with the pressure. Wrong call. "You're mad at somebody, you say, 'Get away from me,' and then give them a full shove," Dunn says, and then, in a move reminiscent of Bruce Lee himself, he hauls off and shoves me.

This goes on for 20 minutes. Half a dozen strokes later, Efron's hitting a 7-iron 175 yards. "That's why I like to work with younger people," Dunn says. "I like to work with everyone, but young people learn faster."

If he knows, or cares, that he's talking to a movie star, he hasn't given the first indication.

"What's your first name?"


"Zac. I'll remember that. I don't have many Zacs."

After a few minutes and the arrival of his actual student, Dunn nods provisional approval of the "It's a start" kind. Efron pays him for the half lesson and promises to remember what he's heard.

TEEN-DREAM STARDOM CAN GO A NUMBER of ways, most of which are down. Imagine a half-formed 18-year-old version of yourself, in all its rubbery fumbling or furious egomania or bruised shyness, and give it VIP access to the globe and the eardrum-destroying adoration of millions of fans. Then imagine thinking, just years removed, "I should definitely take that job where I train like a Marine."

This goes some way in explaining what Efron is doing in The Lucky One. Based on a book by chick-lit specialist Nicholas Sparks, the film stars Efron as a Marine back from Iraq. The man has ghosts in his head and a hole in his heart shaped like bombshell costar Taylor Schilling, whose character is officially American cinema's all-time hottest dog-kennel owner. Efron's performance is restrained, his speech crisp and tentative. He cut his hair. There's no singing.

The Lucky One required becoming not just a leading man but also a believable Marine. "I didn't feel like I was the type of guy to actually portray them accurately," Efron says during a break from the tee. There was a lot I'd have to learn."

Fortunately, he learns quickly. Efron and director Scott Hicks first decamped to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, where in his first meetings with Marines who were back from two or three tours, the seriousness of the role hit home—as did the mountain of physical and mental preparation he had ahead. "They were my age," Efron says, "23, 24, even younger. And most of the staff sergeants were not huge guys. They were about my height, 5'9", 5'10", some shorter, but all very stocky. And I'm there in a backward hat and Vans, walking around like I'm still in college."

He pauses for a long time.

"It's much different from the lifestyle I'm living over here," he says. Where do you start the conversation? I didn't know what to say, what questions were inaccurate."

Efron trained at a simulated firing range; he was taught how, in full kit on 110-degree Santa Clarita afternoons, to clear empty cabins and sheds. That wasn't even the hardest part. He also needed to whip himself into Marine shape, a task he would accomplish with a surfeit of protein and the help of trainer Logan Hood, a former Navy SEAL.

Efron was 145 pounds, lean and cardio fit, when he began training for the film. By the time The Lucky One wrapped 4 months later, he'd gained 18 1/2 pounds. "Substantially bigger," Hood says. On a guy with a slight frame like Efron's, 18 1/2 pounds makes a big difference. "You don't really have to be 6 feet and 225 pounds to look big on camera."

For 4 months, 5 days a week, Efron's day began at 5:30 a.m. with protein ("a shake and, you know, an eight-egg omelet," he says), a drive to Long Beach, and a workout on a full stomach. "I got used to it at the time, but I wouldn't recommend it," he says. "It's not practical to do for a long period of time. You feel this debilitating soreness. This kind of stuff, going golfing, you can't do." He wound up eating six to eight times a day and sucking down shakes between meals, with a daily target of 3,500 calories.

Still, the results spoke for themselves: Efron was lifting weights he'd never been able to lift before. "You get this strange sense of power as those weights increase," Efron says. "By the end of the movie I didn't recognize myself. You hear about guys like Christian Bale who dive into it and are really able to transform. I've always wondered if I had the willpower to actually do it. And I'll always have pride around the sense that I can."

YOU WANT TO GET LUNCH?" EFRON ASKS, and then I'm following him through Los Angeles in a rented car that's not as nice as his. He's suggested Hugo's, a fine place next to a gas station and full of beautiful people, aggressively healthy foods (sauteed leafy greens, black bean cakes, quinoa, and a green juice that has "a lot of chlorophyll in it"). The parking lot is full, so we head one block west and park in front of someone's house. We walk back through the residential neighborhood, seemingly the only two pedestrians in the city of Los Angeles.

For someone making the tricky and paparazzi-stalked transition from young-adult actor to leading man, Efron seems to travel with a disarming lack of self-destructive behaviors. He was born north of here, in San Luis Obispo, to active, grounded parents; as a youth he attended public schools and stuck to sports, surfing, skateboarding, and BMX. But he always seemed to be pushing himself. "We would go bowling and everyone else would be having fun, and me, my dad, and my little brother wanted to actually learn how to bowl. Even to this day I have trouble just going bowling. I want to win. It's horrible sometimes," he says with a laugh.

Apparently, occasional bouts of bowling-based insanity are the extent of Efron's debauchery. He's "frugal" with his money and doesn't ingest anything with a lengthy list of chemicals. His biggest controversy entailed dropping a condom on the ground at a movie premiere, which is a funny sort of controversy to have, since it actually suggests that the guy is responsible.

When he begins working on a movie, Efron says he tells his friends he'll be "MIA for a while," and between projects he sticks mostly to the Valley. "The city's a strange spot," he says once we've been seated. "I don't feel like I fit in there." He has no Twitter account, and when he talks about himself he tries to make sure "it's about the work."

There's plenty of it. He lent his voice to Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, an animated film released in March; the weekend before our interview, he'd completed filming on The Paperboy, a death-row drama with John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew McConaughey. He has his own production company. He's finished shooting a movie with filmfest favorite Ramin Bahrani. He's been having dinner lately with Warren Beatty, a master with wisdom to share.

"Look, I was just a musical-theater guy," Efron says. "I would have been happy to do that for the rest of my life. But there's something about me that's always searching for the more challenging route, and the actors that I really admire are always picking things out of their comfort zones, trying to stretch to see where they can go. It just seems like the road less traveled."


Look like a Marine in 4 short months

Zac Efron's trainer, Logan Hood of Epoch Training, used these four principles in transforming the young actor's physique.

Control the variables
Building a Marine-caliber body calls for a comprehensive approach. "Training is only one piece of the puzzle," Hood says. "Sleep is huge. Stress is huge. Fuel you're putting in your body is an enormous component. But nobody brags about having followed a regimented diet for 4 months." You have to decide what's more important: eating that entire pizza or having the body you want.

Opt for quality over quantity
Efron worked out 5 days a week, about an hour each time. "That's another misconception," Hood says. "If you're eating appropriately and getting enough rest, you don't need to train all day. All the work's happening when you're outside of the gym."

Go old-school
You don't need fancy equipment. Hood put Efron through a regimen of "typical old powerlifting stuff": squats, dead-lifts, heavy overhead presses, weighted pullups—simple exercises that over time allow for heavier and heavier weights.

Stick with the plan
Efron didn't bulk up overnight. Nobody can: "It's months and months of process and diet," Hood says. "What people see on the screen is a guy who basically immersed himself into a training process over a period of time. It's more than just doing exercise and taking more protein."
Continue to Read more ...

Matt Kemp, the Dodgers' $160 million man, works like a demon to stay on top

MATT KEMP LIKES TO SAY "DEFINITELY." Sitting in the living room of his downtown Los Angeles apartment, he responds to a question with "definitely" 10 times over the course of an hour. In a 15-minute phone call he adds six more, including the mythic double-definitely: "Definitely, definitely." There is no uncertainty with the man. In 2011, the Dodgers star contended for several offensive distinctions. He finished second in National League MVP voting. He also led the National League in home runs and RBIs, just missing the Triple Crown by finishing third in batting average. On top of all that, he was one homer away from becoming the fifth member of the 40-40 Club, with 39 long balls and 40 stolen bases. It reads like a stat line from a video-game season, not one belonging to a pro ballplayer facing other pro ballplayers.

So yes, Kemp seems at peace as he sits on the couch in his apartment. He's in flip-flops, gray sweatpants, and a faded blue T-shirt that reads "1981 Dodgers"—one of LA.'s only two World Series victory seasons in the past 31 years. Nearby is a trophy case, and beyond that is a hallway leading to the kitchen, where Kemp's personal chef is cheffing around.

Kemp, 27, signed an 8-year, $160 million contract extension in the off-season. The deal capped a dramatic reversal from where he was a year before, after a 2010 season so uneven that some wondered if the Dodgers would be better off trading him. Nothing was definite for Kemp in the months following that season, his worst in the majors. "People were saying I wasn't going to be the player they thought," Kemp says. "I expected more of myself." But without that stumble, he wouldn't have developed the focus that paved the way for his spectacular 2011.

KEMP HAS LONG HAD THE PHYSICAL TOOLS NECESSARY TO HUMILIATE a baseball. A native of Midwest City, Oklahoma, he is 6'3" and 215 pounds and possesses a combination of power and speed that in 2006 earned him the nickname "the Bison" for the way he thundered around the bases. His 2009 campaign suggested that a spot among the elites was imminent; he won both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger (meaning he was tops at his position—center field—for both offense and defense). Then the scuffling began. Kemp's 2010 season was defined by errors and base-running gaffes, slumps and benchings, and arguments with managers. He'd taken up with R&B bombshell Rihanna, and the relationship sparked questions about his priorities. In late April 2010, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti publicly suggested that perhaps Kemp was overestimating his own abilities.

"All season I was unable to fall into a groove. That led to inconsistency," Kemp says today. "When you think positive, good things happen. But that year, I had trouble channeling my negative energy into something positive. I needed to figure myself out."

Kemp dedicated the ensuing off-season to that process. Not about to let lapses in fitness derail his comeback plans, he traveled to Tempe, Arizona, to devote himself to a diet and workout overhaul. Trainer Garrett Shinoskie, C.S.C.S., put him on alternating low-, medium-, and high-carb meals, tailoring Kemp's carbohydrate intake to his energy demands for that day. "If you do a full-on workout and then eat McDonald's or Wendy's, you're defeating the purpose," Kemp says. "If you put good things into your body while working out, you'll see results." He also linked up with Arizona State University assistant women's track coach Kenny McDaniel, who subjected him to a battery of high-knees, flexibility drills, hurdles, sprints, and runs up "A Mountain," a steep peak near campus. "I'd done two-a-days in the past, but not at that caliber," Kemp says. "I had never before been in the shape I was in this past year."

What remained was molding mind to match body. That breakthrough came after Kemp arrived at spring training. Having noticed the way Kemp could let minor frustrations mar entire ball games, Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes instilled in him the importance of staying focused on the task at hand.

"Sometimes you'll have a bad at-bat and then take your anger into the field and misplay a fly ball," Kemp says. "Or you'll make an error in the field and then do something wrong on the base paths. What Davey stressed was, 'When you're a hitter, be a hitter. Block everything else out. Whatever you're doing, focus on what you need to do in that role. Don't carry over negative feelings.'" It was a lesson that helped Kemp center himself both on and off the field.

"If I'm in the car after a bad game, I may think about ways I need to improve," he says. "But the second I reach home, the game's over. Work doesn't come inside with me. Same thing in reverse—I don't bring my personal life into the ballpark. Learning to keep it all separate has made life easier."

Compartmentalizing work can also help you push harder when you do clock in. As with many athletes, Kemp's business-time mindset is called "Beast Mode," a full-on approach to what he's doing. "We all have roadblocks in our lives. Beast Mode doesn't make excuses. It doesn't complain. Whatever you're doing, go out there and get it done. Keep pushing. If I have a bad game, I think about what I have to do to return to form. Figure it out, go to sleep, and wake up a new man."

But Beast Mode is only as effective as a person's commitment to it. Two seasons ago, Kemp's Beast Mode sputtered. Last year it thrived, and so did he. So what's in store this year? Kemp's stated goal for 2012 is to found the 50-50 Club.

"I wasn't being funny when I said that. You always want to be reaching for the next level, and to do that you have to set your goals high. I really think I can go 50-50, and that's what I'm working to do. What I expect of myself now is to be one of the best players in major league baseball."

Of course, in order to become the best, it helps to believe you're not already the best. Let the competitive fires burn; let Beast Mode roar. And don't let little things like a nine-figure paycheck go to your head.

"After I heard about the contract, I sent a text to congratulate him," says Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He responded, 'Thanks, but we've got work to do.' That's all I needed to hear."

The trick for Kemp—and for anyone with a long-range goal—is to sustain intensity and production over months and years. "Matt showed us he could have one great year," Mattingly says. "If he's going to be truly great, he has to do that over time. But he can still become better. And that's scary for everybody else."



At the heart of Matt Kemp's makeover was a carb cycling schedule designed by his trainer, Garrett Shinoskie, C.S.C.S. "The diet is divided into three categories: high-, medium-, and low-carb days," he explains. "Training days that elicit the highest metabolic demand receive the greatest amount of calories." Makes sense, right? More work requires more fuel. For any guy who wants to turn his own game around, Shinoskie describes a basic cycle.


The Meal
A typical low-carb meal includes 5 to 7 ounces of lean meat (ideally organic), prepared the way you like. Pair that with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetables and one or two servings of natural, healthy fat, such as avocado or virgin olive oil.

The Workout
Low carb intake is for rest days or days with low training stimulus. On these days, I like to do core/mobility sessions, low-intensity total-body sled recovery workouts, or both. I also prefer low carb for evening meals and/or snacks on high and medium days.


The Meal
Eat 5 to 7 ounces of lean meat prepared the way you like, along with 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates from a low-or medium-glycemic starch source (such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, or beans). Limit added fat.

The Workout

Medium-carb days are scheduled when the training is at moderate volume and intensity. I like to pair medium days with most upper-body training sessions, unless the program requires high volumes or training intensities.


The Meal
Here you want about the same amount of lean meat as the other days (5 to 7 ounces, prepared the way you like), along with 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates from starch and fruit sources. And again, you'll want to avoid any additional fat with this meal.

The Workout
As you've probably guessed by now, high carbohydrate intake is for days when the athlete's training stimulus is high volume, high intensity, or both. I like to pair high-carb days with lower-body and power training sessions.
Continue to Read more ...

Chillin' Like Chesney

Coming soon to a stadium near you: Megastar Kenny Chesney. He works hard so you can relax

ONE OF KENNY CHESNEY'S BREEZIEST songs has the comforting title "Be As You Are." It's basically what would happen if you folded up the island of St. John and slipped it into a cassette deck—an acoustic carpe diem about finding an idyllic Caribbean harbor within yourself. This is a nice sentiment, and elements of Chesney's life mirror the song. He spends an enviable amount of time in the tropics, and even when landlocked he seems to fully embody life in paradise. No man is an island? Tell that to Chesney.

On his epic summer tours, he creates a tiki-bar atmosphere on football fields in places like Indianapolis and Kansas City. He makes 50,000 people think they're at a tin-roofed beachside canteen that seats nine. He preaches simplicity and oceanside afternoons in songs that hit a demographic sweet spot: folks young enough to feel free and old enough to reminisce about easier times. This recipe has made Chesney really, really popular.

He's sold 30 million records and had 23 songs top the country charts (and that's well before the June release of his 13th album, Welcome to the Fishbowl). He's also sold a forehead-slapping 10 million tickets, a figure that compelled the Academy of Country Music to bestow on him something called the Crystal Milestone Award. "When we do Tampa Stadium this year, it'll be the 70th stadium show we've done," Chesney says. Guys retire from the NFL having played in fewer stadiums.

But all the sun-kissed lyrics obscure a tireless work ethic. It takes a huge effort to make millions chill out. Chesney may conjure up palm trees and sand dunes in some of America's most spacious sports cathedrals, but he doesn't do it by lying in a hammock, sliding his hat over his face, and waiting for the magic to happen. "It is a big misconception that all I do is sing and write songs and sit on the beach," Chesney says. "It's really not true."

Chesney has his hands in every aspect of the show: the timing of the lighting, the content of the video, the color of the bus. He cites two reasons: "One, I'm a little bit of a control freak. Two, I'm a whole lot of workaholic. If the catering sucks, whatever, it reflects on me because I pay for it. That's why."

THE FRUITS OF THOSE LABORS can be found in the living room of Chesney's stone mansion in the mountains outside Nashville. If it's not the highest spot in the county, it's close; tree-covered slopes fall away on all sides. The table we're sitting at is about the only horizontal space in the home not covered with photos, memorabilia, and awards. Mostly awards.

The roads to this hilltop, both physical and metaphorical, start not far away, a few ridges to the east, in the small town of Luttrell, Tennessee, where Chesney was raised. There wasn't much to do in Luttrell outside of sports, school, church, and music. He went to East Tennessee State for marketing and thought about playing baseball there until, he says, he realized he'd have to eat, drink, and sleep it. "All I wanted to do was eat, drink, and sleep," he says with a laugh.

One day he found himself writing a song for a girl he liked from class. "It must not have been a very good one," he says. "Didn't work." Still, it was clear that music was trumping marketing in every metric that mattered. So he jumped in. He wrote songs for the Acuff-Rose publishing empire and then struck out on his own. "But right after I got a record deal, in those first 2 years, nothing was really happening." He pauses. "First 4 or 5 years, actually. But we were having fun, and I was thinking, It doesn't get any better than this.'"

After a while, Chesney began thinking otherwise, that it could get better. "I remember lying in bed one night, going, 'You have to step it up. You have to make yourself better,'" he said. "'There's somebody some-where you don't know—and you may never meet them—but they're kicking your livin' ass.' And I don't want to let somebody have that on me."

BEFORE HIS GAZE TURNED TO THE SHORE, it turned to the sky. On quiet nights in Luttrell, Chesney would stargaze in his yard. "That's where I started to wonder if there was anything else out there beyond my street. And I remember going with my family to the ocean and thinking the same thing."

Chesney found his shaker of salt in the early 2000s, when his musical style began drifting from traditional pop-country to Jimmy Buffett with a twang. "I went to shoot an old video in St. Thomas, years ago. And I got that same feeling as I had in my backyard, that there was something else out there. I still have that feeling. That's why I've been exploring it for so long."

He has a place in the Virgin Islands, plus a boat that's pretty close to being eligible for statehood. He flies down there when he has the time, especially at the close of the summer tours, when he brings his crew members and their families along for a week of expenses-paid unwinding under the Caribbean sun. Not a bad corporate perk.

"Everything I do is based around time, commitments, deadlines," Chesney says. "And I get all that, and it fuels me too. But the thing that makes me happiest is when my day doesn't revolve around time, when I can wash a lot of the road dust off, get the ringing out of my ears."

When he's on the road, life is all business. Consider this: Moments before Chesney hit the stage in Columbia, South Carolina, on the first night of his 2008 tour, he caught his foot in one of the set's hydraulic lifts. He was trapped there for 40 seconds, his right foot being slowly crushed by machinery while his crew struggled to free him and his band vamped onstage. It worked: Chesney came out, not even late enough for the crowd to notice, and did the show, limping. Tests later showed a hematoma from the ankle down. He didn't miss a single tour date. "I'm going to tape it up," he said at the time, "and I'm going to get out there."

Chesney feels he owes his fans. "They picked us to spend money on this summer," he says. But he owes himself just as much. The pressure to perform, he argues, is better than mailing it in. And the results speak for themselves. "It would be hard to overstate how important Kenny is to country music," says Michael Bryan, operations manager of Clear Channel in Nashville and program director of Music City station The Big 98 WSIX. "His single with Tim McGraw was literally played every hour here and at over 120 Clear Channel stations across the country when it was released [in April]. It doesn't get much bigger."

Staying fit helps the act. Chesney's goal isn't to swell with muscle—"I don't go in here and try to bench-press 200 pounds," he says once we're down in his basement gym. He just wants to maintain energy for 2-hour concerts in summer humidity. "You think you're sprinting on this treadmill," he says. "When I'm up there it's like I'm at a constant sprint at a 15 level. But the thing you have onstage that you don't have in the gym is adrenaline."

Chesney also closely monitors his diet. "Growing up in East Tennessee, everything you do revolves around food," he says. He doesn't eat many dairy products, hasn't touched salt in 10 years, hasn't had bread "in a while." When I arrived at the house, Chesney was blending up his postworkout protein shake, served in a big plastic Corona cup. Once tour prep starts, his entire diet is adjusted (except on Sunday, his cheat day). "I've never abused my body with drugs," he says. "I've never smoked. But I will say that I've probably been overserved a lot. You can't spend 19 years on the road and not have a few drinks."

And after Chesney closes out this summer's tour with two nights at Gillette Stadium, outside Boston, he plans to reward his body for another season's work. That means heading back to the Caribbean to unwind in pretty much the way you'd expect.

"I'm gonna have a couple of cold Coronas and listen to music and watch the sun move across the sky. And I'll try to relax and turn my brain off. If I could find the light switch to turn that off . . ." he trails off a bit, recalibrating. "But I'm glad it's not off. I wouldn't know what to do. I'm like a shark. I've got to be constantly moving."
Kenny Chesney's trainer, Daniel Meng, C.P.T., of MUV Fitness Coaching in Nashville, has worked with the singer for more than a decade. their training plan revolves around the calendar, starting in January with total-body conditioning and ramping up toward the launch of Chesney's all-important summer tour.

To boost Chesney's stamina in the weeks leading up to that first tour date, Meng tacks on 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training to the end of a 45-minute strength-training session. "It's a very intense workout routine usually reserved for athletes," Meng says, "but Kenny has a certain standard he holds himself to when putting on a show, and it's my job to get him there."
Jog at Level 6 on a treadmill for 1 minute. Sprint at Level 9-10 for 30 seconds.
Continue to Read more ...

For boxer Mike Lee, the secret to success is training outside the box

IN BOXING, SUCCESS CAN BE A DRUG, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES FAST AND EARLY. Mike Lee knows the taste-first-round knockouts, sponsorships, TV commercials. Yet for all his triumphs, the 24-year-old light heavyweight prefers to focus on a much different motivator: failure. "For me, it's a positive thing," says Lee. "The fear of failure reminds me of my passion for the sport."

Failure is what landed Lee in the ring in the first place. A born competitor, he grew up in suburban Chicago playing football, baseball, and ice hockey. But it wasn't until he was cut from his high school basketball team that he discovered boxing. "I was devastated about being cut," says Lee. "But after, my cousin brought me to a boxing gym and everything just clicked."

For everyone else, it just plain hurt. Rocking skulls came naturally to Lee, who spent a year at the University of Missouri before transferring to Notre Dame. ("Like Rudy," he jokes.) He quickly became one of the school's sports heroes, winning its famed Bengal Bouts 3 years in a row. "For the first time in my life, I was excited to go to the gym," he says. And that's a good thing because, as Lee puts it, "training is the hardest part of fighting."

In boxing, actual fights are typically few and far between, separated by weeks or even months. The interim is devoted entirely to building the strength and stamina needed to overpower an opponent. Lee had expected to lift weights, toss tires, log miles, and sweat like Stallone circa 1976. But he hadn't expected to sling kettlebells, swim laps, and exercise in ways that might have made Rocky shake his head. "The old-school training mentality is fading fast," says Lee, adding that exercise science is changing the sport and creating more formidable fighters. "Swimming, for example, taught me to breathe efficiently, which is important when you take body shots," he says. "And I did yoga before my first few fights—the stretching made me faster and helped prevent injuries."

Perhaps the greatest tool in Lee's arsenal, however, is his brain, which is filled with about $100,000 worth of knowledge from Notre Dame. "People often hear about my education and ask me why I'm doing this," he says. Here's his answer: "I'm good at it, I love it, and I don't want to ever feel regret."

Lee also argues that boxing gave him the discipline to succeed in school, while his education made him a smarter fighter. "I feel like I need to be constantly learning and bettering myself," says Lee, who believes that his finance degree, along with his connections from Wall Street and summer jobs at the CME Group, will set him up for a strong second act after he's finished with boxing. "When you get smarter, you evolve, and that improves every aspect of your life."

So far this holistic approach has served Lee well, boosting his performance in the ring (he won his first eight fights) and expanding his influence beyond it (he's involved with several charities, including the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and the Kelly Cares Foundation). Indeed, it has even helped turn the national spotlight in his direction (you might recognize him from Subway commercials). Eventually, however, he hopes it will help him achieve his ultimate goal: a world championship belt.

"I can't predict the future," says Lee, who's excited by its possibilities. "All I can do is take one fight at a time, keep getting better, and keep going out there with everything I have." If you're on a card opposite him in an upcoming fight, that's something to worry about.

Total-Body Power Plan

"This workout reflects the demands of a pro fight," says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. " It's also low impact." The result is less strain, more stamina.

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, resting 30 seconds between them. Once you've run through all three exercises twice, rest for 1 minute. Repeat three more times.

Shuttle Run

Set up two cones 25 yards apart. Sprint from one to the other and back.

Kettlebell Swing

Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand at waist height. Bend at your hips and knees, and swing it between your legs. Now stand, swinging it up to chest level. Repeat. Switch hands each time you do the exercise.

Squat Thrust

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat as deeply as you can and place your hands on the floor. Kick back into a pushup position. Bring your legs back to a squat and jump up. Land and repeat.
Continue to Read more ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts