The WWE's Shawn Michaels revamped his lifestyle and made an improbable and incredible return to the ring after a devastating back injury. Now, at 41, the native Texan is stronger than ever with a solid training program, a no-frills diet and
ProSource's potent testosterone-booster,
"As I look back on it now, that was the greatest thing that ever happened to me," says
of the 1998 back injury that almost ended one of the most storied careers in pro wrestling history. A shocking statement, to be sure. After all, at the time, Michaels was flying high as the World Champion --
The Heartbreak Kid
was the ultimate showman, with charisma, style and talent that earned him millions of fans worldwide. From the age of 19 and his first match at a local event (he lost), Michaels became a sensation, first in his home state of Texas, then in the American Wrestling Alliance, and finally in his big leap to the pinnacle of the sport, the
WWE (then known as the World Wrestling Federation)
. He had won Tag Team gold, the Intercontinental Championship, and the Royal Rumble. He was, quite simply, the best in the business. But it all nearly came to a brutal end at the hands of Undertaker, when Michaels landed awkwardly during a
"Casket Match" at the '98 Royal Rumble pay-per-view
. Amazingly, he would continue onward to Wrestlemania XIV a couple months later, where he faced off with Stone Cold Steve Austin. After a gutsy performance in the loss, he underwent surgery on his spine, and everyone, including Michaels, thought his career was over.
In fact, it would be four long years before he'd fight another match, although he did carry on with the organization as Commissioner, thus continuing a role in the ongoing story lines of the day. But, as Michaels tells it, the setback may have been just the jolt his life needed. "That's when I started to search for the answer to, if I wasn't Shawn Michaels the wrestler, who in the world would I be?" he recalls. "In that line of work, you're so busy. You're on the road constantly; it's hard to have those moments where you're allowed to reflect about exactly where you are. The injury was that opportunity for me, and it started with meeting the woman that would be my wife, then having a child, then undergoing the spiritual change of becoming a Born Again Christian. All those things were neatly placed in line -- I can't help but believe it was all the good Lord putting steps in line for me to come back into (wrestling) a completely different person than when I had left." Before the injury, Michaels lived fast, and was a self-professed partier. "I still trained, I still ate moderately well, but I got by a lot on my youth more than anything," he admits. "But in my transition, I began to see my body in an entirely different way, and I wanted to focus on treating it better." So began an all-new existence for "The Showstopper," in the ultimate moment when his own show -- his life, his career -- had come to a sudden, surprising fork in the road. Along with his personal and religious revolution, he undertook an arduous, odds-defying physical reinvention. "Because of the back injury, several knee injuries and age, I started to find the less bodyweight I carried, the better I felt," Michaels explains. He lifted weights and performed intensive cardio training, while cleaning up his diet and finding the true secret to long-term physical improvement -- consistency. The efforts paid off when he strode into
on June 3, 2002, whipping the crowd into a frenzy as he made his triumphant, unexpected return to wrestling.
The Secret Weapon
Now leaner than he's ever been -- the 6'1", 41-year-old wrestled as heavy as 220 but now fluctuates anywhere between 190 and 205 pounds -- Michaels credits his hybrid cardio and resistance training workouts, a clean diet of 4-5 meals per day, and a hearty supplement regimen that features everything from
and thermogenics for his resurgence.
But at the center of that supplement plan is a product that he says has made an incredible difference -- ProSource's
. "I don't usually rave about a lot of products," he says, but just like his close friend and fellow wrestler
, who saw his testosterone levels almost double over a four-month period, Michaels saw and felt an immediate difference when taking a regular daily dose of
. His strength and energy levels soared and his recovery time was lightning fast. He actually didn't even realize its true power until one fateful decision a few months ago. "My supplementing was going so well, but I thought I would take a month off of it," he says. "I really noticed a difference. First and foremost, my motivation to train was not anywhere nearly where it was when I was taking
. And my endurance throughout the workout and the intensity was not even in the ballpark of what it was when I was taking it. (When) I started back on it, I'm telling you, my hardness in just the first week and a half was so noticeable it's not even funny." He continues on "My lifts shot back up and I just recovered from workouts so much faster. That's critical in my demanding profession". Now, his lesson learned, Michaels has been sure to keep
in his daily nutrition arsenal, which also features a high-protein (30-50 grams per meal), moderate carb attack. "My supplementing is just far and away one of the biggest improvements I've made in the last couple of years," he says. "It's consistency. When I get up in the morning, I'll have my coffee, a thermogenic, and my
On A Roll
With four more years on his WWE contract, Michaels foresees his retirement on the horizon. But in the meantime, he's going to continue having fun in the ring and adding to his remarkable legacy. "At the risk of sounding like a holy roller, when I came back, I felt like I was supposed to tell my story to the world through my work," he muses. "'Didn't that guy used to be one of the biggest sinners ever, and now he's Born Again?' It's one of the reasons I came back. I continue to do it because I truly believe it's where God wants me for now." With every accomplishment imaginable already on his resume, Michaels is now looking to lend a hand to those trying to one day fill his enormous shoes. "I'm trying to help young guys move up, help the company move into the next generation, and then I'd like to just eventually ride off into the sunset and go on my merry way," he says in typical straight-shooting Michaels fashion. "I'll probably always have some association with WWE, and may come back and wrestle here and there on special occasions. But right now, I do it because I believe it's where I'm supposed to be. It's been a career of nothing but positive things." For a man who turned near-tragedy into triumph, those are strong words indeed.
Michaels' Body SlamWhen Michaels first got into wrestling in 1985, he was given some very prophetic advice. "One (wrestler) who never worked out looked at me and said, 'Shawn, the hardest work you're ever going to do in this business is to work out. In 10 years, this is going to be a body business.' He was right. The man has still never lifted a weight, but he knew what he was talking about. I've hung around
Kevin Nash, Triple H, Scott Hall -- they all have great builds. I've never known close to all there is to know about bodybuilding and training; I've sort of watched and picked it up as I've gone." Two years ago, at the suggestion of his wife, Michaels radically altered his program, changing from a traditional bodypart-centric routine with cardio done separately, to a cardio/weight-training mesh. "I'm very much into cardio. I'm not one of the biggest guys, but cardio has always been my strong suit. From a physical standpoint, I'm in far better shape now than when I was 30." His workouts these days begin with 15-20 minutes of stretching, then bouts of 10 minutes of cardio interspersed with circuit training. "Today (for instance) I went on the treadmill for 10 minutes hard, with the incline at eight, then jumped off and hit the lat pulldown, then seated rows, then weighted back extensions. I did between 15-25 reps on each exercise." He'll do three full circuits, then go for 10 minutes on the recumbent bike -- level 12, keeping the speed above 80 RPMs -- before doing another bodypart, this particular day being biceps. "I did alternate dumbbell curls, and then did preacher curls as a drop set, and finished with hanging leg raises for abs, 25-50 of those, before jumping on the treadmill for another 10 minutes," he recounts. Over a 4-5 day stretch, he'll hit every major bodypart, and do straight cardio sessions on Mondays before his weekly television appearance on RAW. "On Saturday, I mix it up every now and then and do cardio or ... this is funny -- Diamond Dallas Page gave me a 30-minute yoga tape. I get a kick out of doing every now and then," he says, laughing. While the thought of Michaels assuming the Lotus position is odd, to say the least, who are we to argue with a man who has survived over 20 years in such a vicious and demanding profession? Clearly, his methods have worked wonders as he enters his third decade inside the squared circle.
|Use as directed with a sensible nutrition and exercise program. Read all product labels and warnings thoroughly before use. Shawn used this product in conjunction with diet and exercise. His results are not typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.