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24Life asked the former professional bodybuilder and actor best known for his role as “The Incredible Hulk” about his workout routine and why health and fitness matter to him.
More often than not, the name Lou Ferrigno conjures up images of a green-skinned giant—his role as the alter ego of Bruce Banner, in the late-1970’s television series, “The Incredible Hulk.”
Ferrigno, a professional bodybuilder and two-time winner of Mr. Universe, started weight lifting in high school to combat the bullying that came from his loss of hearing as an infant. After a number of on-screen appearances, including his role as The Hulk, Ferrigno co-founded Ferrigno FIT with his daughter, Shanna, to teach others the importance of making health and fitness a priority.
24Life asked Ferrigno his ongoing passion for fitness, how he overcame adversity and why health matters.
24Life: What did your typical workout regimen/training look like while you were training to be The Hulk, and what does it look like today?
Lou Ferrigno (LF): I was already in contest shape, so my goal was to maintain my gains, which meant training each body part twice a week. Being in head-to-toe green makeup 12 to 14 hours a day, I had to train before or after work. I kept my similar bodybuilding routine, which included mostly free weights.
Today I train for about an hour: 40 minutes of cardio followed by weights. I’m very consistent, around four to five days a week, and still train each body part twice a week. My goal is no longer to put on muscle but to maintain my gains and remain pain-free.
24Life: Why is it important for people to weight train, and how has it impacted you in your own life?
LF: It’s important for people to weight train because it provides you with a sound body and mind. Training connects the mind with the body, giving you a great sense of well-being and balance in life. Weight training impacted my life by giving me the discipline to achieve whatever goals I wanted to achieve.
24Life: How did you overcome obstacles or adversity?
LF: I never felt sorry for myself. Whenever I was faced with adversity, I fought harder than the average person to succeed, working on maximizing my own personal power and embracing my passion for exercise.
24Life: Do you find that working out or training with others in a group motivates you?
LF: Yes, especially when you go to the gym where you can connect with your peers and friends.
However, you have to learn to motivate yourself. You won’t always have a network to motivate you, especially when you travel. You have to have that same passion and intensity training with yourself at home or on the road.
24Life: What type of diet do you stick to—are there any foods you don’t eat and why?
LF: I don’t eat any fried food, and most processed foods. I eat mostly protein, which includes meat, fish and eggs. I eat a lot of vegetables, and just about anything natural. Also I eat my calories, I don’t drink my calories.
24Life: What would you go back and tell your younger self (during your Hulk days) if you could?
LF: If I could go back in time I would tell my younger self to move to California sooner than I did. I moved out west from Brooklyn, New York, alone at 24 years old to pursue my bodybuilding goals and to escape a domineering father. I always had a dream to move to California to train with professional bodybuilders and compete with the best, and it worked out pretty well.
24Life: What do fitness and health mean to you—why are they so important to you?
LF: Health is my greatest wealth. Without your health you end up six-feet under, so it’s much better to stay above ground.
Want a chance to meet Lou Ferrigno? Come to 24 Hour Fitness Indio Jackson Center on Wednesday, November 15, from 1:30-1:45 p.m. for a photo opp with Lou. Or, get your tickets to FLEXPO, the Ferrigno Legacy Fitness Expo on November 18-19, in Palm Springs. Use code 24HR17 for a discount.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ferrigno Legacy