Staying Alive

June 3, 2010

This week we catch up with the Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) and get their outlook on what is important to them in their lives and how to stay physically fit and in wrestling shape.

Chris Sabin

There are three things in my life that I have always, and will continue to always love - Pro Wrestling, Music, and Games.

Obviously, I love Pro Wrestling. I can't even remember the first time I watched, or that first specific moment that I was hooked. I have just always watched it for as far back as I remember and have always loved it. I grew up in the Hulk Hogan era, watching him dominate everyone and be the hero. As I got older, I became a huge Bret Hart fan, but along with that era in wrestling, came guys like Owen Hart and The 1-2-3 Kid, slightly smaller than the usual beefed up body builder type wrestlers that would do a lot more creative things inside the ring, they would high fly. This gave me hope for myself, as I never saw myself as one of the behemoths. As I entered my later teen years, I discovered Japanese Pro Wrestling on VHS. I ordered tapes and saw guys like Ohtani Shinjiro, Ultimo Dragon, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Jushin Thunder Liger. These were real cruiserweight wrestlers, and once WCW started the cruiserweight division in the USA, I knew I had a chance because finally smaller guys were being featured. I had a dream, and I went for it. I was searching on how to become a pro wrestler before I even graduated high school, and the rest is history.

Music is another love of mine. I got my first guitar when I was 13 years old for X-mas. The first song I learned how to play was "Come as you are" by Nirvana. I'm a big fan of guitar driven music, quite possibly because I understand how difficult it is to master the guitar. I have been playing on and off for 15 years and I am very far from it. Artists like Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Jimi Hendrix have always intrigued me because of their amazing guitar skills. Music has always had a positive connection with me. It's always enjoyable to have background music playing video games or chilling with your buds, or just laying around.

Games are amazing. Video games, board games, outdoors, indoors, I just enjoy them. My family had a large cedar chest filled with all sorts of board games while I was growing up - Monopoly, Scattergories, Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders, Operation (that never worked), Mouse Trap, Life, and even the Zelda board game, which I bought because for some reason I had this false hope that the Zelda NES game was inside. Video games have always been a big part of my life, from the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64, to the Xbox 360 I own today, I've always loved video games. I played sports growing up, and still enjoy playing them to this day.

I played soccer for 13 years, played baseball, basketball, did pole vault for the track and field team, and was on the wrestling team. Even though I don't follow or watch sports, I love playing. Even the claw game found in many public places I fancy myself with. One of my favorite current games is Disc Golf, and if you don't know what it is, you should check it out.

Obviously, there is a lot more to any human than just three things, but these are three things that have helped make me who I am today.

Alex Shelley

Often times, I get asked about physical fitness. This happens in a number of different settings. I've been asked before by other wrestlers, fans at shows, people at the gym, security guards at the airport, my younger brother's friends, waiters, disc golfers, mall rats, and probably more I just don't care to remember. It's funny in the sense people expect some magic answer. I wish I had one to give, but I don't.

I can tell you a few things that may make a difference though. Obviously, physical activity is a must. The type of activity varies with one's goals. Me? I do too much cardio and 45 minutes of weights most days. I don't lift heavy because that hurts. I do use proper form and lots of reps. I'd much rather look like the strongest guy in the world than be the world's strongest guy, if that makes sense. Stretching is SUPER important, unfortunately, it took a couple of herniated discs for me to realize that. Exercise is like a bike: if you keep peddling, you won't fall off. Then again, if you go too fast, you'll crash. It's important to find something that works for you. Overtraining is brutal. Remember that getting into shape is a process as opposed to an event. Furthermore, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Diet's important. I crash ALL the time too. It's easy for me to binge eat because I starve myself, but ignore that. It's important to eat breakfast. Drinking water AND milk is vital. Cutting things in half can help portion sizes. Try to stop eating solid food a couple hours before bed. Know what healthy carbs and sugars are. Again, everyone has a different body, and what works for some may not work for you. Carbs and fat can be like drugs, so next time you get a craving, try to remember that.

Motivation's hard. I hate working out, I just do it because I know I won't get hurt as much if I do, and I have to look good for my job. It helps to have an ideal body you want to look like, whether that's Stallone in '85 or some Russian gymnast whose name I can't pronounce. Take before and after pictures of the areas you want to improve. It sounds corny, but it worked for me. Don't be shy about putting on nothing but undies and documenting what you perceive to be "problem" areas. If you maintain a diet for a week or so AND train hard, you may see a difference between that first set of pictures and what currently exists, and that's probably the best motivation out there.

I hope this helps. Wrestlers put in TONS of hours in the gym at home and on the road and have been doing it for years. The more consistent you are, the more you'll see results.