Superstar (and super buff) wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald knows all about peak conditioning. He stays at the top of his game both in the gym and on the field. As a result, Larry's amazing performance in last year's playoff run was that of legend. His speed, power and endurance were unrivaled as he outperformed literally every other player in the competition. And in an exclusive interview with Hugh Jackman we discovered that he also knows what it takes. In the blockbuster film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, that's not a plastic bat suit Jackman's wearing. That's all muscle and it's all his.
Other top performers interviewed included All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook, rising Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds, slugging second baseman Dan Uggla and women's softball legend and Gold Medalist Jennie Finch. We interviewed these sports and cinema greats because it’s their job to know what works so they look and perform at their best every time out.
The Ultimate Game Breaker
As Super Bowl XLIII ticked down and players on both teams began to tire and slow under the game's grueling pace, one player was growing faster and stronger. All Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught several passes, including one TD, as the Cardinals rallied late against the Steelers' vaunted defense. Then, with 2:37 left, Fitzgerald took a short toss from Kurt Warner and ran, virtually untouched, 65 yards down the middle of the field for an electrifying touchdown to give his team the lead. As the Steelers' proud defenders watched him run by, Fitzgerald looked like a man-an exceedingly fleet and powerful man-among boys.
It was a dominant performance, entirely in keeping with the reputation for excellence Fitzgerald has forged over five years in the NFL. All of Fitzgerald's qualities were on display that night-strength, speed, and stamina. It's that last quality that truly separates Fitzgerald from every other pro receiver. Plenty of NFL wideouts are fast, some are strong, but none has Fitzgerald's amazing endurance. That endurance isn't a factor of genetics; it's something Fitzgerald builds and enhances every day in his workout regimen, his diet, and his supplementation.
As you might expect, Larry Fitzgerald doesn't take a casual approach to eating. "I believe you are what you put in your body," he says. "You can't eat junk calories and expect to be capable of peak performance. It's a long NFL season. There are no shortcuts to success. You have to stay focused on every meal, every workout." Toward that end, Larry keeps to a strict high-protein, low-fat diet with an emphasis on meats (especially fish and lean cuts of beef), egg whites, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and yogurt. High-quality aminos and slow-uptake carbs form a sturdy foundation for muscle repair and growth.
In the elite environs of the NFL, workouts are extreme and swift recovery is crucial. To spur anabolism and shut down post-workout catabolism, Larry augments his healthy diet with plenty of fast-acting whey protein in the form of post-workout shakes (including Myoplex from EAS) and protein bars. "Muscle support is a 24-hour thing," the NFL star says. "You have to make an effort to consume protein at each meal, while also targeting post-workout windows for growth and recovery. I'll have a Myoplex Original shake within 30 minutes after my workout. To keep my strength at the level I need it to be during the season, I will eat 5-6 times a day. Between whole meals, I'll have a Myoplex Lite bar. During the offseason when I am training hard, I look for foods and supplements that can help me recover from my workout. HMB, Arginine, and Glutamine are essential ingredients for recovery."
"There are no shortcuts to success. You have to stay focused on every meal, every workout."
When it comes to his workouts, Larry knows that variety is a key factor. Where so many athletes allow themselves to fall into a rut, letting their bodies grow acclimated to a standard routine, Larry makes a determined effort to shake things up, shocking his muscles into accommodating new muscle growth.
"I lift five days a week and I run four days a week," Larry says. The workouts vary depending on what time of year it is. For instance, now I'm getting into more shorter distance stuff, quick sprints to try to prepare myself for the quick burst of speed I'm going to need ... Lifting kind of differentiates between high repetition and low repetition to try and break some plateaus."
X-Men Origins: WOLVERINE
As you might expect, this sizeable fan base is already turning out in massive numbers for the new film's nationwide premiere, and the early response has been ecstatic. This compelling prequel deftly balances the dramatic psychological sources of Logan's evolution into Wolverine, a mutant superhero wracked by rage and guilt, with all of the awe-inspiring visual thrills millions of viewers have come to associate with the X-Men franchise.
Beginning in the uncharted wilderness of northwest Canada in the 1840s, X-Men Origins: Wolverine recounts the charged love/hate relationship that grows between Logan and his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber), the similarly endowed mutant who will become the villain Sabretooth. After fighting side-by-side in the American Civil War, two World Wars, and Vietnam, the brothers part ways as Wolverine joins a secret Black Ops unit and is recruited by General Stryker to join a team of super mutants. The twists and turns of this stirring narrative will have fans of the series exclaiming again and again as key facets of Wolverine's conflicted nature and motives are suddenly made startlingly clear.
As for the astonishing special effects, we don't want to give too much away here, but one scene-in which Wolverine leaps from an exploding truck, clings to an attacking helicopter, slices the rotor blades, rides it to the ground, leaps free, and walks away-has to be seen to be believed. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, under the brilliant direction of Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Rendition), has set the bar dauntingly high for every effects-laden contender to follow it this summer.
It's not true that Hugh Jackman owns the entire world these days. It just seems that way.
The critically acclaimed actor and reigning People magazine "Sexiest Man Alive" has appeared in a string of critical and commercial big-screen blockbusters in recent years and is now poised to cement his reputation as a supreme "A-list" leading man with his newest and biggest movie yet ... X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Even as Jackman's popularity has soared among moviegoers, he has developed a huge fan base among bodybuilders and athletes who admire the star's commitment to a rigorous workout regimen and his ability to transform his physique to match specific movie roles. Recently, for instance, Jackman trimmed down and leaned out to the extreme to portray a rugged cattle drover in the Outback drama, Australia, then took on the yeoman task of really transforming his physique by literally adding pounds of rock-hard muscle mass through intensive dieting and training to prepare for his latest screen turn as the dynamic and conflicted super hero Wolverine.
In an exclusive interview, ProSource Media caught up with Hugh Jackman on the red carpet at the Tempe, AZ premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and asked him about his amazing transformations.
ProSource Media: What was your mindset going in to the intense workout regimen that would prepare you for the rigors of becoming Wolverine once again?
Hugh: The most important thing to me was to be lean. I wanted to look like an animal! I wanted to look dangerous and powerful. Not just like, yeah, okay he works out. I wanted to look frightening.
PM: Well, you certainly achieved that. Did you work with a personal trainer?
Hugh: Yes, I had a trainer I worked with on virtually a daily basis. I also was advised by a natural bodybuilder on his pre-competition diet. It was intense.
PM: What was your regimen and diet like? What was the bodybuilder eating?
Hugh: Oh, it was tough. Training in the gym every day and for hours and hours at a time for six months ... as the people who were around at the time will attest, it was pretty insane! But really the eating was the hardest part. To live in Australia where the food is so good and to have nothing to eat except steamed vegetables and steamed chicken for six months is tough.
PM: Do you have any philosophies with regard to attaining and maintaining peak physical condition?
Hugh: For me it's hard to put on a lot of muscle, so I have to lift very, very heavy weights. I have to be very careful and do a lot of stretching. Oh, and eat like you've never eaten in your life before. If you're hungry, it's been too long, never be hungry.
Since his emergence onto the scene two years ago, 28-year-old Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch has taken Hollywood by storm! Kitsch has won the praises of audiences and critics alike on both the big and small screens. Starring in the NBC hit television series Friday Night Lights, Kitsch portrays the strong, brooding backbone of the Dillon Panthers football team. He brings a poignancy and vulnerability to the role of a Texas high school fullback struggling to find his identity and wrestling with his demons by way of the bottle. USA Today called the Emmy-nominated series "one of the best acted, best written and best produced shows on television." In 2007, Taylor starred alongside Julia Stiles, Danny Glover, Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson in the critically acclaimed film Gospel Hill. In this summer's blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Taylor plays the popular card throwing comic book character Gambit. Cast alongside Hollywood heavyweights (literally and figuratively) Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds and Liev Schreiber, the fit former Abercrombie and Fitch model worked out long and hard to prepare for the role. Featured on the January cover of Men's Health, Taylor has long had a passion for health and fitness, and actually ran The Nautica Malibu Triathlon late last year.
Taylor: Yeah, I trained for about four months with a bow staff and did card training in the hotel five days a week three hours a night. Other than that, I boxed a lot and did all sorts of stuff with a med ball.
PM: What was the experience like for you to work with such an amazing cast of actors?
Taylor: It was unbelievable! I mean you see a guy like Hugh Jackman and the discipline he had the whole time. The six plus months of training just to even get there, it was pretty insane!
PM: Tell us a little about your part in the movie. Did it require a lot of physicality?
Taylor: Absolutely man! I think you can tell even from the trailer, I had a lot of action moves with a bow staff. So yeah it was incredibly physical.
No longer considered just an up-and-comer, Ryan Reynolds has solidified his status as one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood...And without question, one of the fittest. The 32-year-old Canadian broke onto the scene in 2002 as the title character in the cult hit Van Wilder. A string of roles in comedies, dramas, and action films followed. However, it wasn't until Reynolds' portrayal of Hannibal King in the film Blade Trinity that his fit body started gaining as much attention as his acting. In preparation for the role, Ryan went through an astounding physical transformation, ultimately, gaining nearly 20 pounds of lean muscle with a body fat reported to be a mere 3%. Since that time, Reynolds has appeared on the cover of just about every fitness magazine, from Men's Health, and Men's Fitness, to Best Life among others.
In this summer's blockbuster hit X-Men Origins: Wolverine Reynold's plays opposite another one of Hollywood's fittest actors Hugh Jackman. Hitting the gym hard to prepare for the physically demanding role, Ryan ultimately put on 15 pounds of rock hard muscle in 5 months.
Ryan: Well, I ate a lot of chicken and had a pretty intense training routine for about five months in preparation for the film.
PM: Are you usually this passionate about fitness?
Ryan: I am passionate about fitness but I can get pretty intense when preparing for a movie role. So I would say that I'm not normally this passionate about it when I'm not shooting.
Hailed as "the finest American theatre actor of his generation" (The New York Times), Liev Schreiber has become known for immersing himself into the various characters he portrays. Praised for his performances in Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and Glengarry Glen Ross for which he received a Tony Award, Schreiber is an extremely gifted actor who's now beginning to capture Hollywood by storm! Cast in two of this year's biggest hits, WWII drama Defiance, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Liev's performances has generated serious buzz from both critics and movie goers alike. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Liev plays super mutant Sabretooth opposite long time friend Hugh Jackman. In preparation for the film, the two actors became training partners and worked out together for several months. The actor's objective was to get in good enough shape to convincingly play bulked up mutants with super human strength...Mission accomplished gentlemen!
Liev: Yeah it was pretty painful and to be honest, I'm glad it's over! But I'd do it again if I have to for another movie role.
PM: Did you have a trainer that you worked with in preparation for the movie?
Liev: Yeah, Hugh Jackman and I worked out together along with Michael Ryan (friend/personal trainer).
PM: Were you on any particular diet/nutrition program?
Liev: Well when you're trying to put on muscle mass like that, it's mostly high protein. I ate about a world of chicken.
Dan Uggla broke onto the major league baseball scene three years ago after playing five long minor league seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization. Since the Florida Marlins acquired him in the Rule 5 draft, Uggla's never looked back. With his old-school, blue-collar style of play, Dan has emerged as one of the top second baseman in the league. An All-Star the past two seasons, he's led all second baseman the past three seasons with 90 home runs and is second among second basemen in RBIs (270) in the same time frame. Dan's also proven he is more than mere muscle and power. He had a .360 on-base percentage last year, with 77 walks, and has consistently stayed healthy, setting a good example on a young club. Through a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication, Dan's defense has also vastly improved in the course of his tenure with Florida. With the Marlins off to a hot start, Dan's amped for his best season yet.
Dan: Yeah, I believe so. Some guys are so talented they don't have to do those sorts of things. A guy like me, I have to work as hard as I can in the weight room to be successful. So again, it's been a huge part of my game for a long, long time so if I'm going to continue to be successful I'm gonna have to stick with it.
PM: Briefly describe your normal daily offseason workout routine.
Dan: In the offseason my workout routine varies. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays I'll usually wake up and go workout with my trainer and do some speed and agility stuff and then go hit and throw a little bit to keep myself in baseball shape. I'll then take a break to get something to eat and later around 5 or 6 o'clock I'll go to the gym and do my weight training for about an hour or so.
PM: Are there certain muscle groups you focus on most as a pro baseball player?
Dan: I personally put a lot of emphasis on every muscle group. Legs are probably the most important thing to work out as they're the strongest part of your body and pretty much where all your power comes from. But I actually focus on my upper body just as much as my legs if not, more. Your forearms actually play a big part in swinging a bat and throwing a baseball. But the legs and core are the foundation and I try and work them out at least twice a week.
PM: Do you use vitamins/supplements of any kind? If so what products do you use?
Dan: Just your basic high quality protein and amino acids after I get done working out. Supreme Protein bars are my favorite supplement product by far. They're without question the best tasting protein bar on the market. I eat them before a work out, after I work out, whenever. They’re really a convenient, healthy way to feed your body a high quality protein and vitamin complex any time you need it.
Jennie Finch is perhaps the most well-known and celebrated women's fast pitch softball player of all time. With her athleticism and competitiveness on the ball field only matched by her grace and beauty off it, Jennie has vastly helped to move women's softball into the mainstream public eye. After a magnificent high school career in which she went 50-12, with six perfect games, 13 no-hitters, 784 strikeouts, and posted a 0.15 ERA in 445 innings, Jennie moved to Tucson to play her college ball for the University of Arizona Wildcats. Playing under Team USA head coach Mike Candrea, Finch solidified her status as a young phenom by becoming a three-time All-American and winning the Honda Award as the nation's top collegiate player her sophomore and junior seasons. She also helped lead the Wildcats to the NCAA championship title as a junior by going 32-0, and setting an NCAA record for consecutive victories, with an astounding 60 wins.
By the time Finch graduated from college in 2002, she was already somewhat of a household name. While her pitching earned her athletic accolades, Jennie's beauty vaulted her into celebrity status. The tall California blonde joined baseball's Alex Rodriguez and auto racer Dale Earnhardt, Jr., as the only athletes among People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in the Spring of 2004. In the previous year, Jennie was voted ESPN.com's "Hottest Female Athlete," dethroning tennis player Anna Kournikova. Finch also received rave reviews for her work as a correspondent on ESPN's "This Week in Baseball." A highlight of that stint included a feature in which she struck out Mike Piazza, Brian and Marcus Giles and several other prominent major-league baseball players.
Since 2005, Jennie has played for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch Softball League, a league that benefits greatly from her star quality. She has also played in two Olympic summer games, leading the USA national team to a gold medal victory in 2004, and a silver medal this past year in Beijing. Jennie has without a doubt remained one of the most popular female athletes in the world.
Jennie: I started lifting in college. Before that it was mostly resistance training. I always used the product my dad designed, the Finch Windmill. I still do because it's so great for creating muscle balance and preventing injury.
PM: What does the normal daily workout routine of a pro pitcher consist of? Weight training? Is the workout routine of a professional softball player significantly different from that of a college athlete?
Jennie: The workout stays the same, except that I had more time once I was out of school to work out. And I guess it became a little more position specific as I got older, but I work out six days a week doing aerobic training for 45 minutes, and then interval training and weights for three days a week for 60-90 minutes. And like I said, I still do the Finch Windmill 5 days a week.
PM: Do you use vitamins/supplements of any kind? If so what products do you use?
Jennie: It's so important to put good fuel in your body when you're working out and playing. It makes such a difference. I'm a mom, too, and a wife, so it’s a hard sometimes because we're so busy as a family. I like to have things around that I can grab quick. Protein bars are great. They're the perfect post-workout snack for me. It's quick. It's easy. I just grab one and go.
PM: What is the role of nutrition in an athlete's performance?
Jennie: It's so important to put good fuel in your body when you're working out and playing. It makes such a difference.
PM: You're arguably the face of women's fast pitch softball. What's the life of a professional softball player like?
Jennie: [Laughs] It's busy. I'm blessed to be able to play for Team USA and for the Chicago Bandits. I get to travel and speak to people across our great country. My favorite thing to do still is teach and do camps with girls and their families who love this sport. It's amazing to look at them and know they have it all in front of them. I like to encourage them to dream and believe.
PM: What have your Olympic experiences been like?
Jennie: They've been incredible - beyond words really. The first one I was pretty intimidated. Here I was playing alongside women I'd idolized in the country where the Olympics began. In Athens there were so many things I didn't know to expect, and it made me a little afraid. In China, it was more comfortable. Unfortunately we lost and that was so hard, but I think life is mostly about how you deal with failure. And maybe that loss will help softball get back into the Olympics, since one of the reasons we were given was that it was taken away because the US has been too dominant.
PM: What percentage of pitching is physical vs. mental?
Jennie: I think it’s a 50-50 mix. You really can't have one without the other and still win.
PM: How much does sheer strength have to do with fast pitch softball?
Jennie: That's hard to say. There are so many things that go into good pitching - flexibility, strength, wrist snap. I've heard the term "functional strength" and think maybe that's more important than sheer strength.
Known quite simple as 'The Ultimate Weapon' by his fellow Eagles teammates, Brian Westbrook is one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL. With his ability to elude defenders as both a running and receiving threat, and the skill to make just about anyone miss in the open field, Brian is a match-up nightmare for any defense. Legendary coach Bill Parcells describes Westbrook as "being made for big plays. He can run, catch and I'm sure he could throw if they let him. They can deploy him anywhere on the field and I think it takes a rare player to be comfortable with that." Hailing from Villanova University, Westbrook was a consensus All-America, a two-time A-10 offensive player of the year and was the 2001 recipient of the Walter Payton Award (as the top player in NCAA Division I-AA). As a senior, he amassed an amazing 2,823 combined net yards and scored 29 touchdowns. Despite his absolute dominance in college, NFL teams were hesitant to draft him in 2002 because of his small size (he was listed at only 5'8", 200 lb). Ultimately drafted by the Eagles in the third round, Brian has since been one of the most dominant all-purpose running backs in the league and arguably the best at the position in Eagles franchise history. In his seven years thus far in NFL, Brian has helped lead his team to one Super Bowl, and he has played in two Pro-Bowls. Amassing an incredible 10,315 all-purpose yards, no other NFL running back since 2003, has recorded more receiving yards. (1,651) and has a better yards per touch avg. (5.9 - min. 500 touches).
Recently signing a five-year contract extension with the Eagles, Westbrook is poised for his best season yet with his ultimate goal being to win a Super Bowl.
Brian: You need to have strong legs to enable you to last throughout the season. So you want to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, as well as your calves. Secondly, you need strong shoulders. You're going to be taking hits every single play of a 16 game NFL season so having solid strong shoulders are vital. Lastly, your chest is important. You have to be able to block as well as push people off of you and do different things and so you need strong chest muscles to enable yourself to be able to do that.
PM: Briefly describe your normal daily offseason workout routine.
Brian: For the most part during the offseason I try to strengthen my muscles and make them as big as I can so during the season I can scale back my workout just a little bit. So really during the offseason, I go pretty much as hard as I can, going to the gym every day, lifting as much weight as I can, and doing as many reps as I can.
PM: Obviously endurance training plays a huge role in having the stamina to play at peak performance through all 4 quarters of a game. What specific endurance training exercises do you do to build your stamina (during season vs. offseason)?
Brian: To prepare yourself to be able to play in the first quarter of a game as well as be ready for the fourth, you have to practice and workout every single day like it's a football game. So you know there's going to be at least 70+ plays in a football game, so you have to do 70 reps during your workout. Every chance you get, you're on that football field running, and doing stairs and other various things to keep your body in top shape.
PM: How much has weight lifting and other gym training played in your
development as an athlete?
Brian: To play in the NFL, you have to have a certain amount of functional strength and the weight room gives you that foundation. I started lifting in middle school and on through high school, college and the NFL. Now, I'm just trying to maintain that strength as well as improve on it every year.
PM: Do you use vitamins/supplements of any kind? If so what products do you use?
Brian: Protein is crucial because it feeds your muscles and allows your muscles to grow as well as recover within 45 minutes after a workout. The best and easiest way I've found to get protein in my diet is the Supreme Protein bars. Supreme Protein has done a phenomenal job with these bars. They're delicious to eat (they taste just like a candy bar) and they're convenient and quick to get in your system. Also the protein quality is top notch.
PM: At this stage of your career, what's your most important goal left to achieve?
Brian: Winning a Super Bowl, and continuing to improve as a player, as friends to guys on the team, as well as a person. If I can do those things, then I'll be satisfied with my career when it's over.
Twentieth Century Fox do not endorse any products or content published in this magazine. X-Men character Likenesses TM & © 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. TM and © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.