Paul Levesque, also known, as ‘Triple H- the Game,’ is one of the most charismatic and popular faces of the WWE. He may have traded the wrestling ring for the boardroom by taking up the position of Executive Vice president of Talent, Live Events, and Creative, but his passion for bodybuilding and general fitness has not waned over the years. Despite, being a family man who lives a hectic life of relentless traveling, pressing corporate meetings, mentoring new talent and training to perform in the occasional pay-per-view wrestling event; at the age of 45, Triple H shows no sign of slowing down or letting go of his physical conditioning. If anything, his training principles have evolved over the years to help him get into the best shape of his life. Recently appointed as the Editorial Advisor to Muscle and Fitness magazine, Paul Levesque’s exemplary lifestyle teaches us the following lessons in good workout ethic. Use them to stay on top of your game of life.
What worked for you once may not work for you all the time. Review training style and patterns to update them with suitable progressions that fit your age, changing fitness goals and lifestyle.
Okay, so not all of us are fitness experts. So how to figure out when it is the time for a change? Most of us are creatures of habit and prefer to stick to workouts that are predictable and feel ‘comfortable.’ Sticking to the comfort zone with the same set of exercises often aggravates physical imbalances in the long term. Feeling a frequent sense of disharmony with your usual workout routine or niggling pains here and there throughout the day are usually the first signs that your body is craving a change.
If you feel lost, do not be afraid to reach out for help to figure out what needs to be changed.
In an interview, Triple H confessed that for two decades he always trained like a bodybuilder and was never keen on warm ups. Since his character required big muscles to reinforce his image, the primary goal for all his workouts was to increase and maintain muscle size. Training every body part to failure every week was frying his central nervous system over the years. Coupled with several injuries sustained in the ring, by the time Levesque hit the age of 40, his body felt physically defeated.
He reached out to renowned strength coach, Joe Defranco to help him make the appropriate radical changes. Once Triple H started training for better ‘function’ rather than training for ‘size,’ he claims he changed “from a guy who needed 15 minutes to get out of bed to walk straight to a guy with a 40-inch box jump.”
Start thinking beyond how big or lean you want to be. Focus on performance of diverse set of movements that enhance the variety of physical skills you can perform.
Since, modern lifestyle entails mostly a sedentary way of life, use your workouts to relieve yourself of the tightness that comes with lack of movement. Exercise with objectivity, intent and purpose without being partial to repeatedly training any one body part, one movement or working on any one machine.
Mastering the fundamental lifts using dumbbells, smaller barbells and body weight is extremely important to build a strong foundation to propel your fitness to the next level. It empowers you to ensure a full body workout even when you are travelling using merely your own body weight or at the most a pair of dumbbells. Since, Triple H already had a strong foundation in lifting heavy for more than two decades, the process of his physical improvement started with correcting imbalances incurred over the years due to injuries and weaker stabilizer muscles.
The new practices incorporated by Joe Defranco were as follows:
- Daily foam rolling to improve soft tissue quality all over the body
- Thorough dynamic warm ups before every workout and every appearance in the ring, without fail
- The structure of workout plans shifted from body part specific splits to movement specific workouts. Since, the average person has a weaker posterior chain; as in weaker back, glutes and hamstring muscles as compared to the anterior part of the body, so one is better off doing twice as much of pulling movements than pushing movements.
- Linear periodization of bulking-cutting-rest switched to conjugated method of periodization. Triple H started training for maximal strength, power and hypertrophy all at the same time with specific workouts aimed towards each goal. However, the volume and intensity was cycled throughout the year accommodating regular de-load weeks to prevent burn out.
- Box Squats made squatting pain free.
- Eliminating training to failure: Triple H still lifts heavy, but Defranco ensured that he never exerted himself all out on each exercise and always held back on to a couple of repetitions that he could have performed. This saved his central nervous system from complete burnout and enabled continued strength gains for over two years.
- Grip strength is more important than you think! A strong grip ensures performance of real life manual activities with greater ease. Hence, lifting straps had no place for his new workouts. A lot of exercises are regularly performed with thick handled barbells and dumbbells which, according his trainer, always ensure at least 10 percent increase in strength when Triple H reverts to normal grip sized barbells and dumbbells.
- Finally, to quote Defranco with regard to building core strength, “The most functional way to strengthen your core is to learn how to brace when lifting without a belt. This will do more for your “abdominal strength” than all the crunches in the world! Reserve the weight-lifting belt for max effort squats and deadlifts only.
Nourish your drive
In an interview Levesque revealed that when he was in high school, he did not hang out with his friends, he hung out with the people from his gym. His friends wanted to go to parties but he did not, simply because he had to get up at seven the next morning do a heavy leg day. That is how he has always been. He claims to have fallen in love with the process of going to the gym and pushing himself. The harder he trained the better results he got.
Learning to find some semblance of joy in a physical activity that you might grow to love will release pent up, stressful, negative energy that piles up in your mind as the day passes and leave you calmer to deal with the rest of your life. The discipline that comes with being consistent in the gym will help you thrive outside it in a way that you do not let your circumstances push you into a downward mental or emotional spiral.
Dominate the present
With respect to those who claim they have no time to work out, Triple H agrees that it is hard to stay on top of your time sometimes. However, it is possible if you are willing to put in a hard day’s work. He insists that as much as most people want to be successful, they do not want it bad enough to miss watching the latest movie or just hanging out with friends.
He claims to have trained in a grass hut in Africa before, where he had to use cinder blocks for weights. “It’s not about having a million-dollar gym. It’s all what you want to put into it.” Leave no place for what-ifs.
His advice for people with a hectic schedule is to keep it simple. Have a pre-planned body weight routine or always carry resistance bands to fit in 15-20 minutes of intense exercise, which is good enough to improve the quality of your life dramatically.
Finally, there is no substitute for consistency and dedication.
As Levesque’s trainer puts it, that he might be the person planning Triple H’s workout routines, but “a good workout “on paper” doesn’t mean sh*t unless the person performing the workout believes in it and consistently gives it 100%! Triple H has undergone major surgeries for his quadriceps, shoulder and knee. At 45, he still takes out the time to train from 10 pm to midnight despite not getting more than a couple of hours of sleep most nights.
No matter how successful or rich you are, if you want real results that earn you health benefits worth a long time, then you have to put in the work. Sure anabolic steroids might help you get big in a short span of time, but to fight the pain of a deteriorating body, you have to learn to enjoy the pain that comes with building a stronger build.
So, as Triple H puts it, when it comes to your life:
“I just wanna know one thing. Are you man enough to play The Game?”
The following videos provide you an inside look to his training regimen.