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  • 7 Mass-Building Tips from a Pro Strongman and Bodybuilder
  • Give it a Shot
    Military Trail Military Shot from Midway Labs
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  • The 7 Best Carbs to Build Muscle
  • How John Gramlich Changed His Diet and Training to Lose 120 Pounds
    How John Gramlich Changed His Diet and Training to Lose 120 Pounds
    Courtesy of John Gramlich

    Three years ago, John Gramlich realized that his weight had spiraled out of control. He’d just moved back to his native Oklahoma after spending ten months in Nebraska for work—a place where he didn’t have the community, friends, or family that he had back home. When he returned, his family gave him a wake-up call.

    "I had some really tough conversations with my sisters, who are my best friends, and some other close people,” Gramlich recalled. “And they said, ‘We're glad you're happy and you've gone back to home base to reset, but you need to get a grip on this, you need to prioritize this.’”

    That’s when he tried joining a regular gym, getting a trainer, and running (which he hates to this day), but to no avail. What ended up working for Gramlich was CrossFit.

    “It's the variation in it, the camaraderie, and the community that's kept me going and kept me on the hook,” he says. But even after he got comfortable in the gym, he had some work to do on the nutrition front. Friends at the gym proved helpful, but as a self-proclaimed “horrible cook,” he needed some help in the kitchen. After looking around online and seeing that Trifecta Nutrition partners with lots of CrossFitters, he thought the company would be a good match for his needs.

    “I really found success with using the á la carte menu because it’s simple. It inspired me to cook more because I would get my different proteins every week and then manipulate them to make them into tacos or to put them into pasta or something.”

    Once he got the nutrition aspect down, the rest is history. Now, his goals have shifted from weight loss—he dropped about 120 pounds total—to feeling confident and getting stronger. These days, he doesn’t even look at the scale.

    His hard work and dedication have certainly paid off, and he has some tips for those just getting started:

    Be honest with yourself and your ability level.
    Prioritize honesty, and prioritize knowing what you don't know. For me it wasn't even a pride thing, it was more, “I want to do this the right way.” The hardest part about all of it is understanding that it is a process. When you have an open dialogue about how to do movements or how to work out properly, it gets easier.

    Trust the process.
    It’s a process, and you have to be patient in it. There are going to be days when you feel like you look like fricking Arnold Schwarzenegger, then there are other days when you going to stand in front of a mirror and think you look like a beached whale. It is what it is, and it's your mind, your self doubt, and all these different things.

    Take it slow.
    When I first started nutrition, I failed miserably because I was like, OK, cold turkey, let's do this. I tried cutting out all sweets, all sweet tea, all booze, and cutting out all fried food. When you do that, you fail in a week and wonder where the double-stuffed Oreos and tub of ice cream are.

    I transitioned to the mindset, “OK, what can I change?” If you can change from sweet tea to water, go to a fast food joint and get a side salad instead of fries, or eat an apple, those transitions slowly bridge the gap. Now, I don't even reach for fried food. I know what's in the past and I don't want to go back to it.

    Don’t do it alone.
    You come to find out that you're not bugging people by talking about it. It’s not, “I'm on an island, overweight, and the boat to safety only holds 200 pounds, so I’ve got to do it all by myself.” The bottom line when it comes to starting to work out, nutrition, or anything, is don’t do it by yourself. That can be calling your friend, calling your mom, or calling whoever is going to be your resource and advocate. People can do it by themselves, but it’s going to be a way more difficult process that way.

  • 5 Surprising, Healthy Ways to Eat Avocados
  • WWE’s Mark Henry Talks Pro Wrestling, Staying Fit, and Eating to Lift Big
    Courtesy of WWE / M+F Magazine

    When former weightlifting Olympian Mark Jerrold Henry signed on the dotted line with the WWE back in 1996, there were many who said that the then-24-year-old would never make it as a pro wrestler. They were wrong.

    Thanks largely to Henry’s unquestionable work ethic, charisma, and an innate desire to embarrass his critics, “The World’s Strongest Man” soon found his groove in the world of sports entertainment, improving year after year and subsequently dishing out a world of pain to his many WWE opponents before finally hanging up the boots in 2017.

    The following year, Henry added a WWE Hall of Fame induction to his list of accomplishments. In WWE, Henry held the world heavyweight championship. In the world of Strongman, Henry’s credits are unparalleled. The man-mountain from Silsbee, TX won the inaugural Arnold Strongman Classic in 2002, and he's also held numerous powerlifting and weightlifting records, including the heaviest raw deadlift (903 pounds) in the SHW class, and the biggest equipped squat, deadlift, and total ever performed by a drug-tested athlete.

    Now working closely with WWE as an ambassador and coach, Henry still travels far and wide. When we talked exclusively on the phone to the man once known as “Sexual Chocolate,” it was late in the evening in Sydney, Australia, ahead of a big tour beginning there on October 21. But despite the long haul, Henry was in great spirits, greeting us with an enthusiastic “Well, hello there!”

    What followed was an insight into one US history’s most driven, and impressive athletes.


    Courtesy of WWE

    Your list of accomplishments in powerlifting, weightlifting, and Strongman competition is nothing short of extraordinary. What motivated you to be the best?

    It was pretty easy for me, because I was angry at everybody that I was competing against. I felt like I needed to prove, and I needed all the work that I did to be seen. I’ve always been an entertainer, long before I started wrestling. I had to win, so I went out there with reckless abandon and tried to entertain as much as I could.

    Now at 48 years young, does your approach to training differ from when you were, say, in your 20s?

    Oh yeah, I never go above 130 kilos [286 pounds] in anything [now]. I squat, deadlift, bench, anything with a lighter weight. I’ll try to do as many reps as I can in the shortest timeframe. My workouts usually take 45 minutes at the most, and I’m dripping with sweat. Then I stretch, and I do cardio for 30-45 minutes. I have a recumbent bike and a regular upright bike. I do a little bit on the elliptical, but I prefer the bike.

    Taking in large amounts of calories required for strength training at competition level can be a real challenge. We’ve all seen the meals that Eddie Hall eats on social media. You had to balance that around traveling when you were starting out with WWE. That must have been no easy task.

    You know, when I was competing, it was just like a [means to an] end, just like Brian Shaw, Bill Kazmaier and all the greats. You had to eat at a level that was just not comfortable. It became work to eat. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve decided to not eat like that, and that’s resulted in me losing 110 pounds.

    I do my best to limit what I’m eating, especially when it’s not good for me.

    Many people will have seen the HBO documentary on the life of Andre the Giant, and viewers had a great deal of sympathy for some of the discomfort, particularly around traveling, that Andre faced. As a big guy yourself, can you relate to some of those issues?

    Most definitely. Travel is the hardest part of pro wrestling for the big guys. We spend so much time in little tiny cars for four and five hours, and then on little buses for five and six hours, or on a plane.

    I came over here to Australia on the plane for 16 and a half hours. It’s very difficult when you are a man of my stature, but you have to tough it out, that’s the thing about our [pro wrestling] business. I’ve been very blessed to be able to have a career for 25 years.

    WWE is back in Melbourne on October 23. You wrestled a huge match there back in 2002 teaming with Randy Orton to face D-Von Dudley and Batista. There was a massive crowd, more than 56,000 watching live. Do you have any memories of that night?

    I do. I remember that the crowd was so unbelievably loud and I enjoyed it. Randy was a new wrestler at the time, and I was trying to help him get acclimated to what it was like being in front of a huge crowd like that.


    You may be retired, but you are still very much part of the WWE family, serving as an ambassador and working with the crew. Do younger talent approach you for advice?

    I work with our talent development. I want to be a part of having my fingerprints on the future of pro wrestling. I’m able to talk to all the younger wrestlers now and give them the life lessons and the travel lessons that I’ve learned. And so far, so good.

    I’ve not had one person reject what I am trying to teach. That speaks volumes for who we pick as talents. I think the important thing is to tell wrestlers to enjoy the [WWE] journey, and that it is important for the fans to have a connection with the talent.

    You’ve worked really hard to show that wrestlers are among some of the greatest athletes in the world. With SmackDown reaching brand new audiences on Friday nights, what can some of the critics of pro wrestling learn that they might have missed?

    Kurt Angle was an Olympic Champion. I was the best lifter that was ever born. People like Shelton Benjamin and Brock Lesnar don’t come along very often. Brock Lesnar has been a world champion in pro wrestling and MMA. [They’re the] best in the world.

    Randy Orton is an unbelievable athlete. Kofi Kingston is a really, really athletic guy with incredible balance. Those guys have so much to give, and they have given so much, for people not to know, or look up, or read what they are talking about, or just going by what they’ve heard from somebody else.

    If those people live under a rock, and don’t know that pro wrestling is sports entertainment, and they feel like they are "breaking news" when they say that pro wrestling is not up to par, I haven’t got time for those people. I love the fans, the people that love our business who introduce you to their sons, and to their daughters. They want to share how much joy they get [from WWE], those are the people that I want to be around.

    In regard to SmackDown, you have been involved in so many great moments on the show. You must be so proud of how well the show is doing 20 years on.

    I’m very proud. I remember the first SmackDown show. It’s such an honorable feeling to have SmackDown go to Fox. The biggest sports network is going to see wrestling in that same platform, I’m very happy.




    Hey guys want a personal message hit me up on cameo! https://www.cameo.com/markhenry

    A post shared by Mark Henry (@themarkhenry) on


    WWE tours Australia from October 21-23, and SmackDown airs live on Fox every Friday night (check your local and international listings). For information on WWE Network, and to get your first month FREE, visit WWE.com.

  • This Supercut of Ronnie Coleman Lifting Will Have You Yelling "Yeah, Buddy!"
    Throwback Video: Ronnie Coleman's Famous 800-Pound Squat
    Ronnie Coleman / YouTube

    If you're a regular Muscle & Fitness reader, we don't need to tell you that Ronnie Coleman is a legend. But perhaps more legendary than the eight-time Mr. Olympia himself are his gym catchphrases. From "Light weight, baby!" and "Ain't nothin' but a peanut!" to the timeless "Yeah, buddy!" and various other exclamations, no one knows how to get hyped up the way "The King" does.

    Big Ron's affinity for shouting motivational phrases while lifting is common knowledge, and countless videos of him pumping iron exist on the Internet. Hell, the video of him squatting 800 pounds is basically required viewing for bodybuilders of all levels. But one YouTuber recently created a supercut of Coleman's gym videos that'll get you more hyped than your favorite preworkout.

    Check it out below, and don't be surprised if you find yourself muttering "Light weight, baby," by the end of it.

    Anders Gjellan, the YouTuber who created the video, goes by "Back Guy" on both Instagram and YouTube, and he's created compilations of various big names in the fitness industry in a series called "Basically." The series took off recently, and it's clear why: the videos are often hilarious. And he doesn't stop at athletes — he's also poked fun at the sports of bodybuilding, Strongman, powerlifting, and CrossFit.

    If you could use a laugh, check them out:

  • Strongwoman Sarah Cogswell Talks Training, Diet, and Why Titles Don't Matter
    Brandon Ramos / M+F Magazine

    Sarah Cogswell, one of the top Strongwoman competitors in the 82kg (180 pounds) weight class, doesn’t compete or lift for the plaudits, money, and titles. So when she failed to make weight for the 2019 Strongest Woman in the World competition in Fairbanks, AK, she didn’t sweat it—literally.

    Coupled with not sleeping for 24 hours due to travel and sitting in scalding Epsom salt baths, Cogswell was unable to cut 19 pounds of water weight. Rather than straining herself physically and mentally for the last-minute weight loss, she decided to cut her losses and move forward. The event organizers of Strongman Corporation still allowed her to compete, but she was ineligible for the purse, title, and spot at the women’s pro show at the Arnold Strongman Classic. Cogswell couldn’t have cared less.

    "I’m not here to win competitions,” Cogswell says. “This sport for me is about being the strongest version of myself. When it comes down to competing against yourself, you aren’t competing against other people, so the weight class doesn’t matter as much.” After all, her love for the sport goes far deeper. In 2016, Cogswell graduated from Ursinus College located in Collegeville, PA, and relocated to Alexandria, VA. She felt lonely and lost.

    After work, she’d head home and remain a shut-in. It was when her feeling of isolations got worse that Cogswell dedicated her efforts to weightlifting. She began going to The Edge 2.0, Virginia’s only Strongman and Strongwoman training facility, on Sundays with other women who were interested in lifting. It was the perfect fit for Cogswell, a former soccer player who says running wasn’t an option for her after a knee injury in college.


    “The reason I love Strongman is that everyone is trying to be the strongest version of themselves, and it’s great to be around people like that,” Cogswell says. “Especially a community of women being the strongest they can.”

    She vividly remembers the day she set a personal record by deadlifting 480 pounds; 50 more than her previous max. Overcome with joy and accomplishment—and surprised by her feat some three or four months after setting her previous PR—Cogswell cried as her interest in lifting blossomed into a full-blown love affair.

    “That was the moment where I accomplished so much more than I ever thought was possible,” she says. “That is the moment I fell in love with lifting, and that’s what I love about the sport and lifting—defying all expectations and not putting limits on yourself.”

    Today, Cogswell is still trying to decide her lifting future: does she continue to compete as a middleweight or move up to heavyweight? She plans to hire a diet coach to manage her weight and cuts better, and is slightly hesitant to move up to heavyweight because she’d have to compete as an amateur again to receive her pro card in that weight class.

    "It’s definitely something I’m still trying to get a handle on; 180 pounds for most women isn’t a weight that’s hard to manage, but as you put on more muscle, especially as a natural athlete, it takes a lot of mental effort devoted to my diet to keep my weight down that much,” she says. “It ends up being a balancing act. It’s not that I couldn’t sit close to 180, it’s how much time do I want to devote to thinking about my diet and to the sport in general, which is essentially a hobby.”


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  • 9 Nutritional Tricks to Look Bigger Instantly
  • Wearables and Rugby Performance With Nick Winkelman
    We sit down with the head of athletic performance and science for the Irish Rugby Football Union.

    This week on the Muscle and Fitness Podcast, M&F executive editor Zack Zeigler (@zraz) and celebrity trainer Don Saladino (@donsaladino) speak with the head of athletic performance and science for the Irish Rugby Football Union, Nick Winkelman (@NickWinkelman), about his days at EXOS, the use of wearable technology, and measuring performance of the Irish rugby players.


    JW Player ID: 
  • 7 Ways Exercise Benefits Your Mental Health
  • 10 Emergency Nutrition Hacks to Get Shredded Fast
  • Tyson Fury and Braun Strowman Get into Insane Fight on WWE 'Raw'

    Lineal heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury is not afraid to take on any opponent. Having gone undefeated in the boxing ring, with 29 wins and one draw, Fury now seems primed for a new challenge — this time, in the pro wrestling ring.

    On last night’s episode of Raw, Fury clashed with Bruan Strowman, and the two had to be separated by security guards and a good portion of the locker room. Check out the action here:


    For those not up to speed on why Fury’s spending his time in the squared circle, allow us to catch you up.

    The boxing champ was sitting ringside at WWE SmackDown last week during Strowman’s eight-man tag team match. At first, the two exchanged a few playful verbal and physical taunts. Things got a little fiery, though, when Strowman tossed Dolph Ziggler like a human rag doll at the barricade, knocking Fury back.

    Not one to take things sitting down, Fury hopped the barricade after the match and attempted to charge at Strowman, but he was held back by security.


    So Fury came to Raw looking for an apology from the “Monster Among Men.” He must not have known Strowman that well, but he quickly became acquainted as the massive wrestler carried Fury into the ringpost. Immediately, a swarm of security guards ran into the ring and separated the two. Mere security guards weren’t enough, and a handful of wrestlers had to come into the ring to separate Strowman and Fury.


    Strowman eventually walked away from the ring, and as Cesaro tried to calm Fury down he felt the—well, the fury of the heavyweight boxer.



    This is far from the first time boxers and wrestlers have clashed. Amateur boxer Mr. T took on Rowdy Roddy Piper in a boxing match at WrestleMania 2 that ended in a disqualification when Piper bodyslammed Mr. T. We pity the fool, because Piper ended up paying for it dearly.  

    In 1998, Mike Tyson famously served as the special outside enforcer for Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels’ championship match and knocked Michaels out cold after Austin won. And of course, Floyd “Money” Mayweather toppled The Big Show at WrestleMania 24, keeping his undefeated streak intact.

    Will Fury follow in these boxers' footsteps and step into the squared circle at next year’s WrestleMania? Or will we get to see him and Strowman duke it out before then?

    Either way, it's clear the "Gypsy King" wants another crack at Strowman, judging by his Instagram at least.

        View this post on Instagram         

    Who wants to see me flatten this bum, @wwe #braunstrowman

    A post shared by Tyson Fury (@gypsyking101) on Oct 8, 2019 at 8:05am PDT



    Regardless, we’re quite excited to see where this rivalry goes.

  • Watch: New 'Terminator: Dark Fate' Character Trailers
    Watch: New 'Terminator: Dark Fate' Character Trailers
    Terminator: Dark Fate / Paramount

    The future is now in Terminator: Dark Fate. Picking up two decades after the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton are back together again to try and save the future of humanity.

    In the new film, the story picks up with Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes, who is trying to live a regular life in Mexico City with her father and brother, played by Diego Boneta. What she doesn’t know though, is that her life is key to the future, which leads to Gabriel Luna’s deadly new Rev-9 model Terminator, traveling back through time to kill her. After being saved by Mackenzie Davis’s enhanced super-soldier hybrid Grace, and Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, the trio join forces with Schwarzenegger’s original T-800 to try and save the future.

    Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) worked on the story with original Terminator director James Cameron, ignoring the events of the previous Terminator films to create a new adventure.

    Here’s a look at the character trailers and the new, explosive footage from the film—including Arnold doing what he does best, blowing stuff up:

    T-800 Featurette:

    Rev-9 Featurette:

    Grace Featurette:

    Sarah Connor Featurette:

    Dani Ramos Featurette:

  • "The Muscle Doc's" 5 Moves for a Bigger, Better Squat

    “If you can’t stand on one leg, then you have no business squatting with two,” says Dr. Jordan Shallow, aka “the Muscle Doc,” as he explains the reasoning behind performing walking lunges as an accessory to building a bigger, badder, and safer squat.

    Shallow, a renowned movement specialist who owns a squat personal record of 749 pounds, quickly gets to the point of his squat progression exercises geared toward boosting your squat. Shallow also debunks the myths behind the squat (Spoiler alert: Squats aren’t bad for your knees when done correctly.)

    Shallow showed M&F how it’s done during a recent visit to Iron Culture Gym in Cedar Knolls, NJ.

  • Don Devaney Biked 11,536 Miles for a Good Cause
    Amanda Suarez / M+F Magazine

    For the past decade, Don Devaney has been the main enforcer/henchman of the Spartan Death Race—Spartan’s annual mental and physical torture fest that can last up to 70-plus hours. Browbeating racers and getting them to doubt their strength to continue is the job. And he’s top-notch at it, routinely reminding racers to “move with purpose or be eliminated.”

    Outside that role, the Vermont native is a tough guy to dislike. He’s jovial and quick-witted and has an infectious laugh. He’s also tough as hell and is clearly taking his own advice to move with purpose.

    Devaney has completed three Death Races, and the lessons he took away from them helped him realize that without a plan B, you leave yourself no choice but to succeed. This is why, before he opted to embark on a cross-country bike ride to raise awareness for One Step Ahead Foundation, he shifted all his money to his daughter. Doing so meant he had only one option: Pedal.


    We caught up with Devaney in Vermont at the 2019 Death Race, while he was 9,145 miles into an 11,536-mile journey.

    M&F: What is the One Step Ahead Foundation?
    Don Devaney: It was created by fellow Death Racer Amy Palomar Winters to raise awareness and funds to help children with mobility issues.

    The goal of this ride is to raise awareness for the foundation?
    Along with raising awareness, we’d like to put those children with mobility issues with other adaptive athletes in hopes that they inspire those kids to dream bigger or to get out in nature.

    How many hours a day are you on the bike?
    Eight, nine, 10, 12 hours a day, by myself, in my head.

    And it’s enjoyable?
    It’s living without expectation. It’s just going. I know that I’ve got to go out, and I’ve got to get on the bike, and I’ve got to pedal, and I’m going to see amazing things.

    What is something that you’ve seen or noticed?
    America is great. It doesn’t need to be made great again or anything like that. It’s great. I’ve seen it firsthand every day. I’ve had not one bad experience. People are naturally good. People want to help.

    Follow Devaney on Instagram: @art.fully014.



  • Build a Boxer's Physique Using this Bodyweight Routine
    Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock

    We may question your sanity if you said you wanted to throw down in a boxing ring, but we get why you’d want to look like a fighter. Boxers are lean, athletic, and conditioned and aren’t just all show and no go. It’s for these reasons that Kariem McCline, owner of KM Elite Training in Boca Raton, FL, has his clients adopt a boxing-centric training style to get into stellar shape.

    “Try to put your hands up in front of your face for three minutes while circling the ring. Your arms are going to be pretty tired, and it’s going to get your heartbeat up,” McCline says. “That’s why, for me, boxing is the best way to get in shape and why you see a lot of pro athletes taking it up.”

    McCline’s brother Jameel was a former heavyweight contender (41-13-3), and so he grew up around the sport. After becoming a personal trainer, McCline kept close to his boxing roots by integrating sweet-science-inspired training into his programs.

    One of his favorite workouts is a body-weight circuit that has you pushing, pulling, and jumping with your own mass to carve out a fighter’s physique and build muscular endurance.

    While you won’t be throwing blows like Adonis Creed after taking on this workout, you’ll be a step closer to looking like him.

    Looking for more boxing tips? Follow McCline on Instagram @kmelitetraining

    Directions: Complete 3 to 4 rounds with a 1-minute rest period between each circuit.
    Exercise Set/Reps
    Pullup 10
    Dip 10
    Pushup 20
    Situp 20
    Jump Rope 3 Min



  • 8 Foods to Cut Out of Your Diet Right Now
  • 'The Man' Becky Lynch on Her Rise to the Top
    The WWE Superstar and 'Muscle & FItness' cover model talks fitness, the women's division, and more.

    As a child growing up in Limerick, Ireland, Becky Lynch failed gym class. But since then, the WWE Superstar has become active enough to keep up with her fiancé, fellow pro wrestler Seth Rollins, in CrossFit and win the WWE Raw and SmackDown championships—at the first WrestleMania headlined by a women’s match, no less.

    "The Man," as she's known in the WWE, has set the wrestling world on fire this year, and she doesn't seem to be slowing down. Oh, and she appeared on the cover of Muscle & Fitness' October edition alongside Rollins. 

    The reigning WWE Raw Women’s Champion sat down with M&F to discuss her start in the industry, her fitness regimen, and more.

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  • 5 Easy, Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes
  • The Rock Made a Triumphant Return to WWE SmackDown
    The Rock Made a Triumphant Return to WWE SmackDown
    Courtesy WWE

    The Rock has finally returned to SmackDown! Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson treated his millions—and millions—of fans to a special appearance on WWE SmackDown as the show made its historic debut on the Fox Network, and it was almost like he'd never left.

    As WWE Raw Women’s Champion Becky "The Man" Lynch attempted to start SmackDown’s 20th anniversary with a speech, she was interrupted by King Baron Corbin. The two had a little verbal back-and-forth before the most electrifying man in sports entertainment came out to a raucous cheer from the Los Angeles crowd. 


    King Corbin, as usual, was on his high throne—figuratively speaking—before The Rock and The Man teamed up to issue a verbal beating on him.

    Lynch also channeled her inner Rock for a brief second, as seen in this video: 


    After the verbal beating was finished, The People’s Champ and The Man teamed up to give Corbin a physical smack down that ended with a Rock Bottom and the most electrifying move in all of sports entertainment—the People’s Elbow.

    The Rock seemed to enjoy his appearance on the show he helped launch into the limelight. He tweeted some kind words of Lynch, and even a few for Corbin, throughout the weekend.


    As if that opening wasn’t enough, the action on SmackDown only got wilder as the night went on. Heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury sat ringside during the event and traded a few words and taunts with Bruan Strowman during the "Monster Among Men's" eight-man tag match. After Strowman's team won, Fury attempted to charge the ring, but was held back by security. 

    And in one final shock, Brock Lesnar was greeted by a familiar face after he annihilated Kofi Kingston in mere seconds to win the WWE Championship—Cain Velasquez. Yup, the same guy who defeated Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight Championship now apparently wants to take on "The Beast" in the WWE. 

    Velasquez, who was accompanied to the ring by Rey Mysterio, is known for his work in the Octagon, but he’s no stranger to the squared circle, either. He’s wrestled in Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and reportedly trained in the WWE Performance Center in 2018. 

    SmackDown came to the Fox Network with quite a bang, and it’ll be interesting to see what else it has in store for its new home.

    Here’s an in-depth look at the great run on SmackDown to start the season:

  • All About Sly Stallone and Dolph Lundgren’s Action Series ‘The International’
    All About Sly Stallone and Dolph Lundgren’s Action Series ‘The International’
    Villard/Sipa / Shutterstock

    Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren are getting into the TV business. The two are collaborating on a new action TV series titled The International, and CBS has given the show a “put pilot” order, with Stallone set to direct it, according to Variety.

    The one-hour drama stars Lundgren as Anders Soto, who serves as an undercover operative from the Department of Safety and Security at the United Nations. Soto is called in to solve complex problems and incidents around the world with “asymmetrical solutions.” Soto is trained as a one-man covert black-ops team and plays the part of both “negotiator and international spy.”

    While the show only has a “put pilot” order and not a full series greenlight, in Hollywood terms, the show is basically a lock to get picked up. A “put pilot” means that the network (CBS) has agreed to air the show, and if they decide for whatever reason to not air the pilot, they’ll have to pay the studio. So, basically, a put pilot usually means the pilot will get picked up.

    This project will be the first time that Stallone has directed for television. Stallone is also set to be an executive producer on the series, while Ken Sanzel (Blue Bloods) will also serve as writer and executive producer.

    Both Lundgren and Stallone have been keeping busy recently. Lundgren starred as King Nereus in Aquaman alongside Jason Momoa, and reprised his role as Ivan Drago in Creed II, starring alongside his friend Stallone. Stallone just starred in Rambo: Last Blood, and he’s currently developing a new Rocky sequel, as well as a potential Rocky prequel series for TV.

    The International doesn’t yet have a release date.

  • How WWE is Being Powered by Its Performance Center
    Courtesy of WWE

    WWE broadcasts its larger than life action to more than 180 countries in 20 different languages. With primetime TV content to fill, the company is constantly on the lookout for new and emerging talent that can connect with a global audience.

    It takes a special kind of athlete to make it in the WWE. Selling tickets and drawing in television viewers requires both skills and charisma. But for the chosen few that make it, there is serious bank to be made. Forbes has named WrestleMania as one of the world’s most valuable sports event brands.

    Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, in transitioning from his own career inside the squared circle to now becoming a key player in the boardroom, pioneered the WWE Performance Center in 2013, opening the very first facility of its kind in Orlando. Due to its success, a second WWE Performance Center opened in London last January.

    These centers are essentially the training ground for future generations of Superstars. They house the best possible toolset, including several rings and bespoke multimedia environments, and provide recruits with the most well-rounded learning experience possible. Other notable resources include physiotherapy and a state-of-the-art gym overseen by world-renowned strength coach Sean Hayes. Also residing at these centers are past legends of the squared circle, committed to shaping the “Next Big Thing” in sports entertainment. The WWE's performance centers provide a springboard for wrestlers to become part of the promotion’s television output, often joining NXT in the first instance.

    Muscle & Fitness sat down with senior Orlando coaches Matt Bloom and Sara Amato, both former pro wrestlers, for some exclusive insight into how the facility prepares new WWE signings with the skills necessary to make it in the ring. We also found out how long it takes coaches to spot a potential Superstar, and how the recent expansion of NXT into live television has impacted life at the center.


    Courtesy WWE

    Can you talk about each of your journeys to becoming coaches at the WWE Performance Center?

    Sara: I really love wrestling, but more than that, I love the athletics of it. I just love training and being around that environment. Training helped me to grow and find out who I was as a person. With wrestling, I got to travel to Japan and Mexico, and really see different aspects of training and performers. Being part of WWE would be anyone’s dream, and this position that I have never existed before—they never had a female trainer. They created a role for me, and it all worked out great.

    Matt: Thank goodness for Sara Amato! I went to college—it was a promise I made to my parents before I could give wrestling a shot—so I finished college with a degree in education, then I started wrestling, and it all kind of happened really quickly for me. I was blessed with size and a love for the wrestling business. I signed with WWE early in my career (performing as Prince Albert), then I spent some time in Japan and Mexico, and then I came back to WWE in an in-ring role for a few years (as Lord Tensai), but as that role was coming to an end, I knew that Triple H was the guy behind the Performance Center. I threw my name in the hat as a potential coach because one thing I love doing is teaching, and the other is professional wrestling or sports entertainment. Triple H gave me the opportunity to be a coach. I transitioned form the assistant coach to head coach, and it’s been quite a journey.

    Both the Performance Center in Orlando and the latest one in London are world-class training grounds. How have things changed since both of you were breaking into the pro wrestling business?

    Matt: Everyone who comes in here, whether it’s someone new to the business or if they have been in it for a long time, their eyes just open wide and their mouths drop. Over time, our recruits get used to the environment because it's normal for them. I have to remind them that I trained in a factory inside a warehouse with Killer Kowalski’s school of professional wrestling, where we had one boxing ring and a couple of dumbbells in the back corner. The evolution to where we are now is just crazy. I know that I’m appreciative of that.

    Sara: We have talent who came up from the independent scene and they appreciate it. This place is very cool.

    When you see the multiple rings, the stage and set, and the expansive gym area, it really is mind blowing. 

    Matt: I think Triple H’s idea was to provide recruits with everything they need to succeed from the very beginning. We have medical, we even have classrooms teaching language because a lot of our talent has come from all over the world.

    Sara: Recently we added a new area for content and innovation. We have a separate ring and green screen area for production. It's a natural and comfortable environment where we can shoot talent entrance videos, and this gives them great experience. It’s really awesome.

    As coaches, do you sometimes find yourselves offering guidance and support to younger recruits?

    Amato: That’s actually my favorite part of the job. We really get to invest in our recruits as people, and we see them through personal challenges and personal highs. We are with them through the whole rollercoaster ride that they get to experience. Being on the ground floor of this journey and helping them to succeed is my favorite part.

    Matt: We get to see many of them grow up. I’m a father, and I can really appreciate that.

    You obviously have affection for all of the developing WWE talent, but is there anyone that has really impressed you recently?

    Sara: That would be like choosing a favorite child; we go on the journey with all of them.

    Matt: I agree with Sara, there’s not just one that we could say makes us the most proud, but I will say someone like Xia Li, who has transitioned from China to an industry that she knew nothing about with English being a second language...to become what she is today, it’s amazing and checks every single box that the WWE PC is meant to.


    Many of these talents are seen on NXT television shows or will feature on the brand soon. With the recent move to USA Network and NXT now airing live every week, how does this change your workload?

    Matt: It's always busy and we have a lot of events, but I think the energy of live TV has now come into the building, which is really cool.

    Sara: We really enjoy what we do, and if we're not in the ring, we are watching the tapes back and evaluating. We love being a part of professional wrestling, and it never feels like we're just putting the hours in. So, with the live element its even more exciting—everything is amped up. The opportunities for talent have expanded so much more.

    Previously NXT was only available to WWE Network subscribers, so the new Wednesday night show on USA Network will mean you are reaching a new audience. What are your thoughts on that?

    Matt: When I grew up, all I ever really wanted to be was a WWE Superstar. Now there's going to be a generation of people that will say, ‘I wanna be an NXT Superstar!’ We are on a larger platform, showing that what we do is amazing. It’s so exciting. We are making history.

    Sara: When you look at the Raw and SmackDown rosters, it’s great to see how many of them came from NXT and are proud to be part of the brand.

    Matt: I think the number is that 80% of the Raw and SmackDown roster has come through NXT. That’s a staggering number.

    You have both overseen the training of some of today’s breakout stars. Can you put a timeframe on how long it takes each of you to decide whether or not someone has the potential to succeed in WWE?

    Sara: I think we pretty much know right off the bat. It takes under three months to figure out if a recruit has the work ethic and the tools it takes. But honestly, you don’t need all the tools. You need to fall in love with this, because that is obviously the key. We can work with anyone if they have a certain amount of drive to succeed.

    Matt: The bar is just so high right now that everyone who walks through the doors, we consider to be the top one percent of athletes. They may be transitioning form a different sport, but they will have been very successful in that background, as well. So, they are all top athletes but it’s the ones that walk in the room and you go ‘who is that!?’ That’s what we label the ‘IT Factor.’ The ones that turn heads, those are the ones that ultimately become Superstars.

    How important is it for recruits to understand the telling of a story in the ring?

    Matt: That’s the most important thing. You could look great, super athletic, but if you can’t do what WWE is all about, which is storytelling, you are not going to make that connection with the fans. Charisma is everything for us. If you can make me either hate you or love you through the stories that you tell, that is the king of what makes our business work.

    See the Superstars of NXT on USA Network, live every Wednesday night. Check your guides for exact local and international timings. For further information on WWE Network, and to get your first month FREE, visit WWE.com

    Follow Matt (@NXTMattBloom) Sara (@WWESaraAmato) and NXT (@wwenxt) on Twitter.


  • Natalie Eva Marie and Jonathan Coyle Talk Rifles, Their Honeymoon, and Date Spots
    Take a peak into the fitness duo and WWE Superstar's married life.

    You probably know Natalie Marie Coyle as Natalie Eva Marie from her days of kicking ass in the squared circle for the WWE, but there’s a lot to the actress, fashion designer, fitness model, YouTuber, and Reign Total Body Fuel athlete than meets the eye.

    This is exactly why Muscle & Fitness had Marie Coyle (orange 'do and all) and her husband, trainer and actor Jonathon Coyle, take on the M&F Couple Challenge. Because what’s a better way to get to know a couple than grilling them about their hygiene, honeymoon, and favorite date spots?


    JW Player ID: 
  • Why Lifting Weights While Fasted May Not Be Worth It
    Iammotos / Shutterstock

    A lot of people swear by fasted cardio—that is, running on a treadmill or hopping on an exercise bike before eating anything. Some say this burns fat faster, though the science on that is inconclusive. But what about getting your strength workout in before eating? Could you hit your bench or squat PR before having anything of substance in the morning?

    Followers of intermittent fasting have said that lifting weights in a fasted state makes them hungrier (literally) and meaner when stacking plates. Conventional wisdom, though, tells us it's better to stack pancakes, down smoothies, and pound protein shakes an hour or so before the gym to give the body optimal fuel.

    So how would one press iron without their eggs and oatmeal? We talked to Ashleigh Gass, CSCS, CISSN, CCN, CNS, coach, and co-owner of MOVE Gymnastics Inspired Strength Training in Clearwater, FL., for tips on fasted strength workouts.

    If you're looking to change your physique, you should know that fasted workouts—any form of exercise that takes place 12 hours after your last meal—won't do much to get you shredded.

    "From a body composition standpoint, research isn't supportive (or at best, it’s mixed)," says Gass. Two studies in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionone on male bodybuilders trained in both a fasted and fed state and one with aerobically trained women—found body composition changes to be unchanged or similar between the fasted and non-fasted groups.


    Additionally, Gass pointed out, there's research that indicates fasted strength workouts could prevent you from making strength gains and may cause you to lose lean muscle mass because of a lack of nutrients while working out. You also run the risk of not being able to keep up during long workouts—predominantly those lasting over an hour. However, Gass says that research on this is still inconclusive.

    You'll be able to lift weights while fasted so long as you're not exhausted or starving, but if you’re going into a heavy lifting session it’s generally smarter to a least have some quality food in your system to power your lifts. "Intense strength-training workouts can be extremely and unnecessarily challenging fasted,” says Gass.

    So does Gass recommend you eat a full breakfast before hitting the Iron Paradise?

    “I've concluded that fasted lifting needs to be a choice based on lifestyle and schedule,” she says. “If lifting while fasted is desired, I’d recommend a scaled approach, where intensity of training is gradually increased to determine work capacity and recovery ability.”

    How well your digestion system works is also another indicator of whether lifting weights fasted will be efficient for you. “Many people just don't like training with food in their stomachs,” she says. Gym newbies, though, should always make sure have something in their stomachs before lifting.

    “If you’re new to training, it’s likely unwise to jump into your first intense training experience in a fasted state,” Gass says. “You may find yourself flat out of energy at best, passing out at worst!” Stay away from any lifts you’re not used to doing regularly and perform familiar lifts with familiar intensities and rest periods. “See how it goes, and proceed from there.”


  • How Emmitt Smith Stays Fit at Age 50
    NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith stays fit at 50 by cycling

    NFL legend Emmitt Smith may have lost the adrenaline rush of competition the day he hung up his cleats in 2005, but by no means has the Hall of Fame running back given up on physically challenging himself.

    After the rigors of a 15-year NFL career—including three Super Bowl rings as part of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the 1990s, 18,355 career rushing yards, and many injuries—Smith’s fitness regimen is on cruise control by means of a long-distance cycling, which is help keeping the NFL’s all-time rushing leader physically fit at 50.

    Smith’s body no longer needs to withstand heart-pounding and rib-damaging 4th-and goal situations. Today, it’s all about heart-healthy 45- to 60-mile rides that sometimes last longer than three hours.

    “I’ve had my competition mode,” Smith says. “Now I find self-satisfaction just by being able to get on my bike and ride for 45, 50, 60 miles. My legs will feel full, like they should feel. Then I go home, shower and everything else. I'm able to walk around and feel good about what I've just done, and not be sore the next day.”

    But there is still one goal Smith is aiming for: Hitting a triple-digit mile mark.

    “The goal is a 100-mile ride,” Smith says. “I want to see I can do it. I’m trying to get to that place, but for the most part I’m just riding to stay healthy.”


    Once deemed too slow (4.7 40 time) and too small at 5’9’’, 205 pounds coming out of the University of Florida, Smith dropped to the 17th pick in the 1990 NFL draft. Smith essentially skipped the annual NFL combine—the league’s showcase of an athlete’s skills—and worked out in Gainesville. Skipping the combine didn’t seem to hurt Smith’s career.

    “I didn’t do anything at the combine. I went there, took my physical, and then I came back to the University of Florida. It was too cold up there in Indianapolis for me to go out there and run. Most importantly, I wanted to set the date in Florida, so my other teammates, who probably were not invited to the combine, could also get evaluated."

    Ironically, Smith is now working with Marriott Bonvoy to offer a members-only Combine Masterclass. Smith says a few lucky “prospects” will be able to compete in physical and mental tests at an NFL practice facility. Smith will be on hand to instruct the weekend athletes.

    As far as which Cowboy from the dynasty years would excel today at the combine, Smith says there are a few members who would still impress draft scouts.

    "I’d say Michael [Irvin], Troy [Aikman], Moose [Darryl Johnston]—they’re still looking great right now,” Smith says. “Deion [Sanders] taking great care of himself, and even Nate [Newton] has lost a lot of weight.”

    With the personal and team success, there were also a multitude of broken bones, knee injuries, and shoulder surgeries over the span of his 15-year NFL career that could’ve wrecked Smith post-retirement, but so far he says he’s holding up quite well. Part of that can be attributed to the countless massage therapies, hot- and cold-tub baths, and chiropractor visits Smith underwent during his career.

    “Playing football was like being in a car accident every week,” Smith says. “Your body is going to be sore, and doing things to help alleviate some of the soreness, and take out some of the lactic acid and all of the soreness that was actually in your body.”

    Smith feels so good, he says, he may even add even return to hitting the gym in addition to his cycling workouts.

    “I’m not a big weightlifter,” Smith says. “I haven’t lifted weights in such a long time, and I probably find myself getting back into a little bit of it, now that I’m 50 years old.”


  • The Rock Sent a Special Birthday Message to a 100-Year-Old Fan
    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at the 'Hobbs & Shaw' Premiere
    Michael Buckner / Variety / Shutterstock

    It's pretty clear that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson loves his fans—the most electrifying man in sports entertainment never hesitates to take a selfie, or help out an admirer in need.

    In his latest act of kindness, The Rock sent a special birthday message to arguably one of his oldest fans: 100-year-old Marie Grover. He recorded himself singing "Happy Birthday" to Grover in a personalized message that was shown to her on October 1.

    Grover’s reaction couldn’t be any more precious. Instead of telling you about it, we’ll just let you witness the smile on her face.

    The special surprise was arranged by Grover’s granddaughter, Jamie Klingler, who originally reached out to The Rock’s publicist.

    “She will lose her mind,” Klingler tweeted on September 22. “When we were in high school (25 years ago) she would wear a rock sweat shirt and tell us how handsome he is.”

    The Rock took notice of Klingler’s tweet and reached out directly to arrange the birthday gift. He sang "Happy Birthday" to Grandmom Grover, and at the end included a heartfelt message.

    "I'm sending you so much love and a huge congratulations on 100 years," he says in the video. "What an amazing life." He later retweeted Klingler’s video, saying, “I’m honored you’re a fan and grateful you were born.”

    Klingler told BuzzFeed that the family was overjoyed the Brahma Bull took the time to make Grandmom Grover’s day a little more special. "It’s really all down to Dwayne and his kindness," she said. "He made an old woman so incredibly happy. I will always be grateful. She is a legend."

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We Love Fitness - 2013