Don't know if many of you are wrestling fans...I am and found this article about Kurt Angle and Shawn Stasiak's diet and training routine and thought i'd post it in case anyone would care to read it....
Kurt Angle grazes the cover of this month's edition of Physical Magazine. The following is the cover story on Angle, which is titled Surviving a Smackdown:
When a pro wrestler breaks a glass pitcher in his opponent’s face — who responds by smacking him with a garbage can lid — is this an out-of-control brawl? No way. These guys are just following the script. Script? In wrestling? I mean, we all know that it’s staged, but scripted?
Sure. “It’s like a soap opera. You have attitudes, you have lines,” says Kurt Angle, the current World Wrestling Federation champion and a 1996 Olympic gold medalist. Now he’s on the road 20 days a month for the WWF.
Owned since 1982 by Vince McMahon, the WWF claims half a billion global TV viewers every week, in addition to enormous crowds at live events. The WWF’s official catchword is attitude, and there’s no doubt that the scripted characters and the half-naked women have attitude to spare!
Shawn Stasiak, who’s 6’ 4” tall and weighs about 250 lb, played a WWF character called Meat. “I’d come out with two or three girls, and I was supposed to be this kind of boy-toy. The line was that I was losing my matches because I was low on energy — you know, the girls were wearing me out, so I was winning out of the ring but not in the ring!”
WWF champion Kurt Angle doesn’t mind telling you that he is a serious athlete.
So what does a wrestler do when a 300-lb guy comes at him wielding a metal folding chair? “That’s what you go to school to learn,” says Angle. “We’ve got training camps with great coaches, but it comes with experience. Basically, you learn how to take a chair, how to take a fall. But a lot of the time, you’re just hoping you don’t get hurt.”
“Our bodies weren’t made to do what we do,” says Stas-iak. “We get hurt all the time; it’s inevitable. I was in training at WWF’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn., for 10 months. But at any moment in time, I’m sure that 95% of the guys who are in pro wrestling have some aches and pains or hurt somewhere.”
Stasiak was exposed to pro wrestling early in life. His father was a professional wrestler for 27 years, fighting as “Stan the Man” Stasiak. His finishing maneuver was the Heart Punch.
“We did a lot of traveling,” Stasiak remembers. “In those days, there were a lot of what they called territories: Portland, Ore., was one; San Francisco was another; and then you had Florida and Texas. When Vince McMahon went to cable TV, he took all the good talent from the old territories and put them in one place. So when people could see all the stars on TV, they figured, ‘Why bother going to the local matches?’ There’s no doubt that WWF has done a brilliant job with story lines and character — that kind of thing.”
Angle doesn’t mind telling you that he is a serious athlete, unlike some pro wrestlers who are part brawler, part stuntman. He is in the gym seven days a week.
“Staying in shape is 90% of not getting hurt,” he says. “I’m one of the few world-class athletes in pro wrestling. They brought me in because they knew I was special. At first, I was actually too aggressive for these guys — they didn’t like that. You know, this is entertainment.”
The WWF’s official catchword is attitude, and their characters have attitude to spare.
Angle has a five-day bodypart split: “I do chest and abs the first day, then on the second day I go to back, and on the third day I do my shoulders, traps and abs. The fourth day I do my arms, and on the fifth day I do my legs. I also do a half-hour of cardio every single day. My cardio is a lot different from most people’s — I do a lot of sprint work. It’s a very, very intense workout, but I can’t do it any other way. If I’m going to go in to work, I’m going to go in to work — I’m not going to waste my time.”
Stasiak says that getting into the gym can sometimes be almost impossible for a pro wrestler. “You go from a plane to a rental car to an arena to a hotel, and then you’re on to the next town doing it all over again. This is for the Saturday night and Sunday night house shows that they do in big arenas. And sometimes you’re working on three or four hours’ sleep. Then you have to get up in the morning and go looking for a gym to keep your body in shape. You do TV on Mondays and Tuesdays — the Thursday show is recorded on Tuesday — and then every month there’s a pay-per-view show to do on Sunday.”
Even so, Stasiak has a routine that he tries to work into his schedule. “Generally, I like to do chest, traps and then hamstrings, or just chest and hamstrings, and then abs. Then I’ll do back by itself. I divide my legs up — I’ll throw my hams in with my chest day, or my back or shoulder day. Legs are big bodyparts, and I find that if I train legs all together, by the time I do my quads, I’m so taxed I have nothing left. I throw my calves in sporadically whenever I have the time. They’re a small bodypart, so I train them two or three times a week.”
But he doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on his abdominals. “People get mad at me because I hardly train my abs,” he says. “It’s one of those things — I keep my body fat lower so they show. Everyone has abs, but you can’t always see them because they’ve got this big layer of fat over them. If I’ve got something coming up and I want to look a little sharper, then I’ll do extra ab work — nothing major, you know, maybe 100 crunches, 50 leg lifts, pretty basic.
“There are some guys who don’t take training as seriously as others. It’s really a personal preference, and it depends on your character, too. As Meat, I was told that it was important for me to be lean and cut. That’s my personal style anyway, but I got as cut as I could. Some people got concerned that I was getting too lean and that I’d get hurt. You need some cushion for the bumps you take, so if your body-fat percentage gets too low, you feel the effects a bit more.”
Travel makes it hard to stay on a diet, says Stasiak. “Sometimes by the time you get out of the arena after an event, all that’s open is a Denny’s or a Burger King,” he explains. “If I go out, I tell them what I want, and if it comes out wrong, I’ll just send it back.” Not knowing how nutritious the next meal will be, many wrestlers take supplements to meet the special needs of their careers. “I use creatine and glutamine, plus glucosamine for my joints,” says Stasiak. “I also take a basic multivitamin and mineral supplement.”
Meeting his nutritional needs is also important to Angle, who sticks to a strict diet six days per week. “But on the seventh day, I eat whatever I want,” he admits. His standard diet consists of chicken breasts, very lean steak and lots of vegetables. “I eat about 500 gm of protein a day, about 250 gm of carbs a day, and the rest is fat, about 50 gm,” he says.
Angle agrees that traveling three weeks out of every month makes it tough to stick to a diet, so he also turns to supplements. “I do a bunch of them, especially on the road. It’s really hard to take in 500 gm of food protein a day, so I do protein shakes all the time. I take creatine, and I like to take natural supplements — stuff like garlic and cayenne for my circulatory [system]. I take zinc and magnesium, too.”
Pro wrestling’s superstars certainly are athletes, but it takes something extra to make it into the big time, says Stasiak. “It’s a mix of athleticism, acting, stunts and theatrics.” In other words, you need to follow the script with bravado. That takes skill as well as strength, stamina and plenty of brute force. But the end result is worth it.
“When you put it all together, there’s really nothing like it,” Stasiak says. “It’s just awesome!”