David Otunga’s Training & Fitness Program – Bodybuilding.com

David Otunga’s Training & Fitness Program – Bodybuilding.com


I’m David Otunga, WW
superstar, lawyer, and actor. ♪♪♪ I earned my bachelor’s
degree in psychology from the University of Illinois and,
following that, I managed a cognitive neuroscience
lab at Columbia University. Now after that, I went to
Harvard for Law School. And after earning my JD at
Harvard, I landed a job at the top law firm in
Chicago, Sidley Austin. And then reality
TV came calling. So I starred in VH1’s
“I Love New York 2.” So after that, it was, like, “Wow, I have this
new-found fame. What should I do?” I want to become a
professional wrestler. A graduate of the Harvard
Law School, David Otunga. ♪♪♪ Next step was the WWE. I debuted in 2010 on a new show,
“NXT,” and now I’m a star in raw and smackdown. ♪♪♪ I didn’t always
look like I do today. Growing up as a kid in Elgin,
Illinois, I was short, I was chubby, I had thick glasses and
make things worse, I did pretty well in school so I
got labeled a smart kid. Actually the smart chubby
kid with the thick glasses. So kids used to make fun of me
all the time and call me names like “Nerd” and “Dork” which
actually don’t really sound like that bad in themselves but at
the time, like, they really affected me. And people used to
just push me around. I would look around and I would
see these other kids who weren’t getting picked on and it seemed
like everybody was just so athletic and so
buff and I wasn’t. I was like, “I don’t understand
what I’m doing wrong or what they’re doing right.” I got it in my head what
if I start working out. I can have those muscles too. I just need to start training. So around my freshman year, I
decided all right, I’m gonna start taking the gym seriously
but I didn’t know where to start. So my best friend, Rob, his
older brother had an old weights set. It was the old plastic-coated
cement basically and so I got a couple of those from him and an
EZ Curl Bar and I just started out doing EZ curls every night. I would do sets of
ten; ten sets of ten. That was my thing. And then the next night I would
do pushups, ten sets of ten and then I would slowly increase it. And I did this for maybe,
ah, maybe 3 or 4 weeks. And I kind of felt better
but I didn’t necessarily see a difference. And then I remember one day
during the summer, Rob and I were at the mall and we
saw these girls from school. And I knew one of them. She was an upperclassman and
happened to be in one of the same classes with me. This girl comes over to me and
she’s like, “Hey, David, what have you been doing?” And she grabbed my arm and she’s
like, “You’re starting to get muscles in your arm.” I was shocked. I said, “Wait. What?” She’s like, “Oh, you’re starting
to get muscles in your arm.” I was like, did this girl just
compliment me and say that I had muscles in my arm? That was it. All I could think about in my
head was, “Oh my gosh, it’s working. It’s working and people
are seeing my results.” And after that, I couldn’t even,
you know, hang out at the mall. I wanted to go straight home and
hit more pushups and more curls because now I knew it was
working so it motivated me even that much more. And from then on, it
was like my thing. I would come home from school
every day and before I did my homework, I would work out. I’d work out for an hour or
two and then hit the books. Every day. It’s amazing when
I think about it. Just that one single compliment
led to so much because after that, working out became
my lifestyle, you know? I did this every day through
school, at high school, and then when I went to college, I
already was in a great routine so I thought, “Why mess it up? Let’s keep going.” And there was a gym right by my
dorm so I would go every day and work out and then study. I carried it all the
way through law school. Even when I worked at the firm,
I used to take my lunch breaks and go straight to the gym, come
back, eat my chicken breast at my lunch table and work
the rest of the night. And then even now the crazy
thing is, working out has become my life. Like, that’s my job. As a WW wrestler, part of it is
working out and having a great physique. And then now I’m doing so many
other things in body building and fitness, and I sit back and
I just think, “Wow, it’s so cool that all of this came from me
just deciding I wanted to change and I wanted to
build some muscles.” And then somebody complimented
me and let me know that it was working. Being a professional wrestler,
I have to be in top physical condition. I mean, what we do in there
takes so many years of practice, conditioning,
strength, I mean, you name it. It’s one of the hardest things
I’ve ever done in my life. I mean, basically, I get
my butt kicked every night. And in different cities all over
the world, I’m getting my butt kicked in front of them. But, at the same time, I have
to look good and I know that I’m gonna get my butt kicked again
the next night so I have to be in shape and my body needs
to be able to withstand it. So because of that, I have to
be able to train around injuries and to make sure that
I stay injury-free. Now I don’t know how much
you guys know what goes into becoming a WW superstar but on
the average I have to work out 5 to 7 days a week. Luckily, I’m able to find
a gym everywhere we go. That’s my first priority. As soon as I land and get off
the plane, the first thing I do is go to the gym and work out. Even if I have a match that
night, I know that I need to work out so I’ll work out hard
but I’ll give myself enough time to rest up before the match. My week starts on Wednesdays. I usually fly home Wednesday
morning and, on my way home from the airport, I stop by
the gym and I train legs. Now Wednesdays, I’m super tired
because I always take the first flight home but this is my
toughest workout is legs, and I just hammer it. Next day is Thursday. This is typically a chest day
and I’ll go in and I’m rested. I have a great workout. Now the next day is Friday. Fridays, I usually fly back out
on the road to do live events. The first thing I’ll do is I’ll
find a gym and, typically, this is gonna be a back day. It’s gonna be heavy
deadlifts and all kind of rows. Then I have the show that night
and then we’ll drive to the next city, which now
takes us to Saturday. I’ll sleep for a
few hours, wake up. First thing I do, I find a gym. And now it’s gonna be chest, and
it’s gonna be upper chest and shoulders. Gonna hammer this out. We’re gonna have the show that
night and then I’m gonna drive to the next city. By now it’s Sunday morning. I may take Sunday morning off
because our shows are earlier but I’ll still try
to get in the gym. And this might be something
small, even if it’s just abs or calves or cardio but I usually
like to get in there and do something. And we’ll have the show Sunday
night and then I’ll drive to raw for Monday. First thing I do, go to the gym. Now my cycle is repeated. So [laughing] there’s no excuses in my book. If I can go, anybody can go. I train pretty much
like a bodybuilder. I’ve always considered myself a
bodybuilder at heart, you know, that’s how I got into training
also was reading a lot of the bodybuilding magazines. So I’ll go in with a specific
muscle group I want to work that day. And I typically use moderate
volume like 8 to 12 reps and probably about 5 to 6
working sets per exercise. However, this changes depending
on how my body feels that day and whatever injuries I’m
working around, which is another thing, I’m very fluid with
my workouts and my plans. I know what I want to do, I
know what body part, but the exercises aren’t
etched in stone. Let’s say, for
example, I’m gonna do arms. And I go in there and I’m
thinking I’m gonna do straight bar curls but then I look over
and they have, like, a really cool preacher curl bench. I’m like, “Wow, I like that. Okay, maybe I’ll go
and I’ll hit that.” Or maybe they have the arm
blaster, which nobody uses but I love. I’ll grab that and I’ll just
crank out some sets and I’ll get a great pump doing what I
felt like doing than if I forced myself to go and do straight
bar curls and I wasn’t really feeling that hot about that day. So I’m very big on if
something’s telling me to do that, I’ll go and do it. And I also believe in when I’m
doing an exercise, sometimes I’ll do, like, a lot of sets,
like, I might hit my six working sets and still, like, be really
into it, I’m really feeling this today, the mind-muscle
connection’s there, I’ll just keep going. I might do ten sets. A big part of being professional
wrestler is your endurance and your wind. You have to have great
endurance, great cardiovascular conditioning. However, I don’t really enjoy
doing cardio so the best way I do it is in the gym I
shorten my rest periods. I finish a set and I put the
weights down just long enough to get a few deep breaths and then
I’m right back at it in the next set and it keeps your
heart rate up the whole time. My rest periods are anywhere
between 30 to 60 seconds so I’m constantly moving in the gym. And one of the things I started
doing was wearing a heart rate monitor so I see what the zone
is I want it in, the beats per minute, and I try
to keep it there. So I’ll check and I’ll see,
okay, it’s dropping a little bit, I’ll do, you know, a set
of jumping jacks even and then start the next set. And I always have
to have my music. I cannot train without music. And I have my play list set up. Depending on what the workout
is and, you know, I have certain songs that are more intense,
they build up in intensity by the time I’ll get to certain
exercises and certain sets. Each workout I go
into, I usually have a goal. Depending on what it is, I want
to outdo my previous workout. Now it isn’t always more weight. It might be more reps with a
certain amount of weight or it might be getting my heart
rate up faster or getting more quality reps in of a certain
exercise but there’s always something that I’m reaching for
because, I mean, you need some motivation. I look at myself in
the mirror a lot. Like, I’m always in front of
the mirror studying myself. And I see, what do
I want to work on? Say I’m, you know, want to build
more definition in my triceps, I’ll go right to the mirror and
just do pushdowns right in it and just watch it the whole time
and look at it and just imagine how I want it to look and it
looks great, you know, just in the mirror, just right there,
flexing it and it’s, like, that’s what drives me is to have
the best body I can and if I see something on my body I
want to change, I do it. Maintaining a healthy physique,
you know, starts in the gym but that’s only 1 or 2
hours out of your day. It’s what you do the rest
of the 22 hours of your day. Now a lot of that
is gonna be eating. So nutrition is so important. I think nutrition is as
important as maybe 70%, 80% of, you know, your overall health. I don’t view it as ever
being on a diet because I’m not. This is my lifestyle. I eat healthy, I eat like
this 365 days of the year. And I mean, I have to
because of my profession. I always have to be in top
physical shape, whether I’m on TV or whether I’m
at a live event. And if people come up to me in
the airport, they know who I am. They see David Otunga, they
know they’re expecting me to be ripped. I have to be ripped. I mean, what if they want to see
my abs or something like that? I got to be ready. I can’t say, “Oh, you
know, give me a few weeks.” I never know what opportunity’s
gonna come, you know, when a photo shoot may pop up,
so I try to stay ready. I typically eat a high-protein
diet to help build muscle, all lean meats, you know, low fat
and moderate carbohydrates. I usually opt for complex
carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, oats, fibrous
vegetables and greens. I try to plan my meals around
what I have scheduled for that day. So obviously, the first thing
I’m gonna try to do is work out. So I’ll either go on an
empty stomach if I have the opportunity to work out first
thing in the morning or, if I know it’s gonna be later on
in the day, I’ll usually have oatmeal, which is gonna
help fuel my workout later on. Now immediately after the gym,
immediately after my workout, I have a protein shake. And now I strive for about 50
grams of protein, branched-chain amino acids, and some
fast-acting carbohydrates then too. And then about an hour later,
I’ll have another meal and it’s usually gonna be probably
some lean chicken breast or lean fish–I’ve been eating a lot of
tilapia lately–with some sweet potatoes. And then about 2.5 to 3 hours
later, I’ll have another meal and this is a lot
of times steak. And also, depending on what time
it is, I’ll alter the carbs. I may have, you know, sweet
potatoes or something else but then, if I know it’s getting
later in the day, it might just be vegetables or a salad and
then the following meal, it’s gonna be pretty much the same
but now the carbs are almost completely cut out so it’s
just gonna be the lean meat. But I always eat clean
throughout the week and then I’ll give myself
like a cheat meal. It’s–sometimes
it’s a cheat day. ‘Cause, you know, I’ll get home,
I have a 3-year-old son and he wants to have, you know, pizza,
hamburgers or ice cream so I want to be able to
enjoy that with him. And also it helps keep my
sanity, like, it’s my reward for eating so healthy throughout the
week, I can kind of, you know, relax a little. Supplementation is a huge
part of nutrition as well. I mean, you try to get all your
vitamins and minerals in the solid foods you eat but
it’s difficult to do that. So taking supplements will
help you supplement that. For example, protein. I need at least a gram of
protein per pound of body weight. So for me, that’s about 250
grams of protein each day. If you’re on the run, you know,
you may not have time to sit down and have a nutritious meal. You may look around and
all you see is fast food. But if you have your protein
powder there, you can have a quick shake and that’s gonna
keep your metabolism going. It’s gonna keep your protein
intake up and it’s gonna help you build muscle and
fight fat at the same time. But then there’s also things
that you need more of like branched-chain amino acids. I’m, you know, a
huge believer in those. And you normally get those
through steak but, like I said, there’s only so much
steak you can eat. But if you get the powdered
form, you can mix that right in your protein shake. It’s so easy. And then multivitamin. I think everybody
should take a multivitamin. I just recently started taking
it, like the past couple of years but I wish I had
been doing it before. It makes me feel so much better. And fish oils. That’s another one that’s great. It’s great just for your joints
and actually will help you lose body fat as well. If I had to recommend only three
supplements, I would say number one, above all, is protein. Whey protein. You need protein. Whey protein, casein
protein, it doesn’t matter. But you need protein. Number two, I’m gonna say the
branched-chain amino acids. You need that to go along
with the protein to get the full benefit of it. And number three, this is one I
haven’t used in a long time but creatine. Creatine phosphate works,
you know, like, if you’re just looking to get big, creatine
actually will help and you’ll notice the difference from it. For guys just starting out and
getting into the gym, I can’t stress how
important supplements are. Like, I noticed that when I
first started working out I wasn’t taking any supplements
or even, you know, taking my nutrition seriously at all
but I was still growing. However, once I realized the
value of good nutrition and, you know, supplementation, I just
started growing like crazy and I loved it. One of the biggest things I
can stress is do your research. I mean, know what your goal is,
know what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to build muscle? Are you trying to tone up? Are you trying to lose fat? Are you trying to
build endurance? Whatever it is, you can do it
but do your research and learn about it. Find out what other people are
doing who have been successful at that. Find out what supplements
they’re taking, you know, but always do your research, that’s
the best answer I can give anybody. Bodybuilding and fitness, just
working out, has added so much to my life. It’s helped me to reach
dreams that I never thought were possible. It helped me to
work hard in school. Helped me to work hard in work. And even in athletic endeavors
and in WWE, but also it’s helped me even in acting. Like, I look at it when I get a
scene, and say, “Okay, this is an exercise,” and I’ll hit it
with different sets of reps going through my lines,
going through my lines. And also since then, I’ve had
appearances on “Oprah” talking about, you know, my
transformation and just following my dreams and
everything that I’ve done. I booked my own
appearance on “Oprah.” I mean, obviously, my fiancée is
Jennifer Hudson and so I’ve been on there with her before but it
was a major moment for me when I booked my own appearance to talk
about reaching my own dreams. So I encourage all of you out
there, reach for your dreams. Whatever it is, go after it. If it’s, you know, in fitness,
if it’s transforming your body, go after it. You can do it. And I’m always here
if you have questions. You can reach me on my
Twitter, @davidotunga. I love answering questions about
fitness and nutrition and you can find me on Facebook. And you can check out my
BodySpace and also you can see me every week on Monday Night
Raw on the USA Network and also on Friday Night
Smackdown on SyFy. And if you want to get more
David Otunga content, check out Bodybuilding.com.

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