Saturday, April 24, 2010

Muscle & Fitness Nov. 2009

Muscle & Fitness - Nov. 2009

The bottom line: former WWE champ Steve Austin is stone-cold serious about his training, his diet and leaving his image behind
Muscle & Fitness, Nov, 2009 by Rob Fitzgerald

You ever been on a ketogenic diet, man?" asks former WWE champion Steve Austin, who from the constant stream of well-wishers and genuflectors would seem to be the most popular guy at Gold's Gym in Venice Beach. Follow the man around for a day, and you'll see that Austin's receiving line never ends. He's not Stone Cold to these people. In fact, he's no longer Stone Cold at all. Ever. He's simply a good dude who's there to train. "Ninety minutes of cardio five times a week and ketosis? Man, that's rough."

Ketogenic diets, on which you avoid carbs all week, feel like hell for four days, then load up every two hours on weekends? Marathon cardio sessions? Niceness, even? This is Stone Cold we're talking about here. The beer-swilling, self-professed redneck whose hell-raiser persona was professional wrestling's most lucrative draw for nearly a decade. What the hell's the bottom line here? Who is this guy?

The answer is complex, and so is the man himself. Sure, he'll always be Stone Cold to the millions of fans whose memories will forever be seared by bird-flipping, surprise Stone Cold Stunners and hijacked beer trucks, but as M&F found after spending a day with Austin in Venice Beach, he's fixin' to show the world there's more to the former Texas Rattlesnake than just boozing and brawling.

"When you're Stone Cold Steve Austin, and you're famous for flipping people off, cussing, drinking beer and raising hell, most people think that's actually me," he says. "Anytime I get a chance to break away from the person who people perceive me to be, that helps me out a lot."

With an unexpectedly sophisticated knowledge of training, and a fledgling film career that's about to showcase his gym work and acting chops on big screens everywhere--including a turn opposite Sylvester Stallone in the mega-budget action thriller The Expendables, slated for release in April 2010--Austin is poised to leave Stone Cold behind and make his mark in a new industry.

ARMS 3:16
Lying Cable Extension 3-4 10-15
Lying Triceps Extension 3-4 10-15
Overhead Dumbbell Extension 3-4 10-15
Machine Preacher Curl 3-4 10-15
Concentration Curl 3-4 10-15
Standing Hammer Curl 3-4 10-15

Austin swaps one of his triceps moves for dips if his shoulders are

"I've put so much time and effort into working on my physique, but people don't think of that when they think of me," he remarks. "In Edna, Texas, where I grew up, you can start playing football in seventh grade. My brother was two years older than me, so the coaches would let me train with everybody. I've been training steadily since I was in fifth grade."

That's nearly 35 years of hard-earned weight-room experience. In other words, Austin has picked up a few things along the way. As he'll readily admit, however, he has needed every ounce of what he has learned to transition from college football--he starred at linebacker and defensive end for what was then North Texas State University (Denton)--to the unforgiving world of pro wrestling and then to Hollywood, where his primary focus has shifted from strength and performance to aesthetics.

Unlike most actors--even successful athletes transitioning from sport to screen--Austin doesn't work with a trainer, opting instead to design his own programs. The only Hollywood-style concession he makes is calling in outside help in the form of San Antonio trainer Skyler Craig to formulate his nutrition plan. Note, however, that Austin sticks to his roots, entrusting his body composition to only a fellow Texan. "DTA, Rock," as Stone Cold once said to Dwayne Johnson, his perennial WWE nemesis, after delivering a particularly memorable Stunner. Don't trust anyone. Not with your livelihood, anyway.

"People get lost in the fact that I drank so much beer," he says. "But believe me, I've taken care of my body my whole career. I've put in as much or more time as anyone as far as training goes. I've studied the game for years, and it has always been a passion of mine."

Austin's passion these days is acting, and he has approached his roles in both The Expendables and Damage--a fight-themed action film set for release in January--with the same hardscrabble intensity he brought to the ring, especially when it comes to his diet and training habits. Austin packed on to pounds of mass for The Expendables, but for The Stranger, which began filming in August, he dropped down to about 235. He managed these weight fluctuations by manipulating his carbohydrate intake when Craig deemed it necessary.

"I'm still eating six extremely clean meals a day," he notes. "My first meal is egg whites and a half-cup of oatmeal; my next four meals are chicken with a sweet potato, keeping my carbs low; and my last meal is fish. I love salmon and mahi-mahi. I stay away from butter and too many bulls--t condiments, and I watch my sodium intake. I also drink at least a gallon of water every day. I'm a big believer in staying hydrated and flushing my system."

Since he no longer burns thousands of calories in the ring on a nightly basis, Austin had a couple of pieces of commercial-grade cardio equipment installed in his garage in Los Angeles. You'll find him on one or the other for 45 minutes virtually every morning and after every workout, keeping his heart rate at 130-140 beats per minute.

Don't start calling him Steady-State Steve Austin just yet, though. The foundation of his success is the same as always: the gym. "When you think of Stone Cold Steve Austin, you think of beer," he says. "But I really don't know where I'd be if I didn't have the gym and the weights, as well as the enjoyment and the results I've gotten from my workouts."

Where would he be without the iron?

"Probably still working on a freight dock loading and unloading trucks," he states. "I was good enough at football to earn a college scholarship, and I was always a wrestling fan. When I was 24 years old, I saw a commercial for a wrestling school. I was probably about 8% bodyfat back then and in great condition because I still did my training from the North Texas State football program. Things just took off after I paid my dues for a while."

When devising his programs, Austin takes into account his age, injury history and acting career, all of which have forced him to drastically alter his training style, intensity and goals over the years. He no longer opens cans of whoop-ass in the ring every night, and there are certain realities the six-time WWE champ has had to face at 44. Although he says "I don't want to be tellin' sad stories" about his physical limitations, Austin's years in wrestling took a significant toll on his athleticism. He trains around fused [C.sub.3] and [C.sub.4] vertebrae in his neck, a reattached triceps that prevents him from fully straightening his right arm, ligament issues in his knees and a slight shoulder separation.

Dips are a case in point. "I do love dips," he says. "Back in the day, I was a dipping machine. I could drag 45s over, hang 100-150 pounds from a chain and rep them out like a son of a bitch. When my shoulder heals, I can do that again."

Now, Austin simply does what needs to be done and leaves the gym. He doesn't use supersets and rarely trains to failure. In fact, he'd prefer to cut his gym days to three per week and is designing a new core-intensive routine that does just that. Also in the works is a fitness application for the iPhone with which users will be able to chart workouts and benefit from Austin's training advice.

"The older I get, the smarter I train," he points out. "Numbers don't mean much to me. Sometimes I think, S--t, a couple of years ago, on a really good day, I was using 130-pound dumbbells and kicking ass. I have to remember that these days I can get all I need out of dumbbell presses with about 80 pounds."

Austin believes his real personality has lived in the shadow of his Stone Cold ring persona for far too long. "I've never even been Stone Cold in my personal life," he says. "I do know a lot about beer and whiskey, though. That's what people think I'm an expert on and I probably was, but that has never been what I'm about. I'm honored to be on the cover of MUSCLE & FITNESS. I've been doing this for a long time, and I'm proud of this."


After a decade of Stone Cold, playing a man with an edge comes naturally to Steve Austin. In The Expendables, he's cast as Dan Paine--"the bad guy who takes care of Eric Roberts' [character's] dirty work," he remarks. In Damage (below), he plays an ex-con entangled in the shadowy world of illegal underground fighting.

"I'm still new to acting, so I keep my eyes and ears open, and I don't say a lot," he says. "When it's time to work, I pay attention to everything."

His recent screen success coincides with Hollywood's apparent desire to return to vogue larger-than-life action heroes whose appeal stems more from gym work than Shakespearian stage-training. "These old throwback action movies are tailor-made for a guy like me," Austin states.

Given his status as one of the all-time greats in pro wrestling, staged fight scenes would seem a natural fit for the former WWE champ. Yet one punch-up in Damage deviated from the script when an Austin left hook broke the nose of former professional MMA fighter Paul Lazenby.

Despite this bone-crunching mishap, Austin's on-screen combat acumen is superb. Filming a fight scene in The Expendables with Stallone was a particular thrill. "I fought with him for two solid days. Let me tell you, he'll go. It was a blast."



1 Chest, triceps
2 Back, biceps
3 Shoulders, traps
4 Lower accessory
5 Off
6 Repeat cycle

Austin trains abs in various workouts, and -he does 45 minutes of
cardio on a treadmill or elliptical every morning, then another 45
minutes postworkout or at night


BIRTHDATE: Dec. 18, 1964

BIRTHPLACE: Austin, Texas

RESIDENCES: California, Texas

HEIGHT: 6'2"

WEIGHT: 245 pounds

HIGHLIGHT: 2009 WWE Hall of Fame inductee

"People would associate me with barrooms and beer more so than a MUSCLE & FITNESS photo shoot, but I've put in my time"

For an exclusive, live online chat, and a behind-the-scenes interview and video from the set of Austin's latest movie The Stranger, go to Want to meet Austin in person and have him autograph the issue? Check online for updates on when he'll be at the M&F booth at the 2009 Olympia Weekend Expo.

Steve Austin On...
Source: M&

Being an Alpha Male:
“I would always consider myself an alpha male. I'm a leader, not a follower. That's just the way I like to live my life. You're not gonna get too far following people down the road. You’ve got to make your own path and go for it.”

His will to succeed: “I think that's inborn, but it’s also something I realized along the way. It didn't matter where I grew up. My drive to be number one, to be the best, would have been the same either way.”

Competition: “I was born with a competitive nature. With football, I had a killer instinct. I was gonna knock the hell out of whoever was across from me, or run the ball right down their throat. I just never had the desire to be second best at anything. Never. I was definitely born with that.”

Hollywood: “Sometimes when you're like me and you're from a small town, you look around at some of the people in Hollywood and think everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth, but then you hear some of their stories and you realize that's hardly the case.”

Cardio: “I don’t run anymore, but I have two cardio machines
in my garage, and I do 90 minutes per day-45 minutes in the morning, and 45 after I train.”

Stone Cold: “Wrestling made me a great living, but I was never Stone Cold in my personal life.”

You can view photos from the shoot at the photo gallery.

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