Focus is key to Lex Luger's workout
KATIE CHALMERS-BROOKS - Winnipeg Sun
You could say veteran wrestler Lex Luger, a 270-pound Hercules with
5% body fat, doesn't like to skip the gym.
"If I don't work out a day," Luger says, "it's like I didn't brush my
But the buff 47-year-old makes it clear he is not a "fitness fanatic, but a
A former football player for the Green Bay Packers who at 19 became the
youngest American player in the CFL, Luger says the biggest mistake people
make at the gym is lacking focus.
"Do you work out with a precision scope or a shot gun? I always target my
workouts with a scope," Luger says from his condo in Atlanta, Ga. "It's very
An average session for the 6-foot-4 giant, who wrestles in Winnipeg this
week, is no more than an hour and a half. Each day, he targets a different
muscle group for up to 45 minutes: chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on
Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday and arms on Friday.
Luger says he works "every angle of the muscle." He'll alternate between
biceps and triceps for nine sets. Four out of the five weekdays, he follows
weights with 30-45 minutes of cardio while reading Men's Journal, USA Today
and... Vogue? "Just so I can keep up with my girlfriend," he says.
After his leg workout, Luger skips cardio. "I'm breaking down muscle tissue
in the legs. To pound them into further oblivion doesn't make sense."
As a daily warm-up, he alternates between a 10-minute abdominal or calve
routine, careful never to stretch a cold muscle. Come Saturday and Sunday, he
concentrates exclusively on cardio: about one hour each day.
Luger says genetics plays a huge role in his chiseled physique. At one
time, he was doing standing barbell curls with 225 pounds for 10 reps.
Thousands of pro matches over two decades -- including earning championship
titles and facing off with legends Hulk Hogan, Randy Macho Man Savage and Bret
the Hitman Hart -- undoubtedly took a toll. Luger sticks to the more
joint-friendly cardio machines, such as the elliptical or recumbent bike.
"People say wrestling is fake, but you can't fake falling through a table.
It hurts. It does jar your body."
Luger keeps a stash of meal replacement bars and protein powder to mix
shakes on the run. "If I could eat five or six nutritious, perfect meals per
day, that would be an optimum day but, in reality, nobody really has time to
This Tuesday and Wednesday, Luger performs in Action Wrestling
Entertainment's Harsh Reality at the U of M's Athletic Centre. Also on the
lineup: Buff Bagwell, April Hunter, Billy Kidman, Dan Severn, Rick Steiner,
Scott Steiner and Sarah Stock.
World Wrestling Entertainment has shown an interest in Luger's return, but
this father of two teenagers says he's no longer interested in working 250
days a year.
"Never say never, but I don't see that happening."
In recent years, Luger's personal struggles hit the headlines, from the
accidental death in 2003 of then girlfriend and WWE alumnus Miss Elizabeth to
legal problems and addiction.
"I'm not a Bible thumper or anything, but you have to draw spiritually.
It's really hard to get through. I didn't always turn to the appropriate
coping mechanisms," Luger says, still emotional over Elizabeth Hulette's
"It never leaves you."
Luger, whose real name is Lawrence Pfohl, says exercise helps him deal with
everyday life. "I definitely use it as a coping mechanism for stress."
Despite being known in the ring as the Total Package and the Narcissist,
Luger prefers keeping a lower profile.
"Until I get to know somebody, I'm actually kind of shy. I know it sounds
crazy. I go out there in front of millions of people basically in my
underwear," he says, "but I'm basically a really shy person."
More on Lex Luger
Katie Chalmers-Brooks writes the "Keeping Fit" column for the Winnipeg Sun.