December 4, 2005
Focus is key to Lex Luger's workout
By 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 teeth."

But the buff 47-year-old makes it clear he is not a "fitness fanatic, but a fitness enthusiast."

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 task specific."

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 do that."

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 death.

"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."

RELATED LINKS

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    Katie Chalmers-Brooks writes the "Keeping Fit" column for the Winnipeg Sun.


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