Worth the Weight

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March 14, 2008

Before Big Show could travel this year's Road to WrestleMania XXIV, the WWE colossus first had to navigate the Road to Wellville. 

When the former WWE and ECW Champion made a surprise return at No Way Out after a 14-month absence, observers noticed a leaner (but no less meaner) Big Show. The time away from WWE and ring wars had been good to him. 

At the time of his departure, Show's weight had finally become too heavy a burden, even for him. It was December 2006, and the WWE colossus found his 7-foot frame laboring under the yoke of more than 500 pounds.

"I was sleeping in a chair because I couldn't lie down and sleep," The World's Largest Athlete told WWE.com. Show said he suffered from sleep apnea, a condition resulting in breathing difficulties often brought on by excessive weight.

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"The first two weeks I was on the diet, I felt like I would mug somebody if they walked by me with a pizza."

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"I'd walk five feet and break out into a sweat," he said. "I mean, I was just out of shape. I was eating so much and not taking care of myself, and it just caught up with me."

At that point, the WWE goliath had had enough. He decided to enlist the assistance of Artie Artwell, a Florida-based trainer well-versed in nutrition and intense cardiovascular exercise. Thus far, Artwell has helped Show drop more than 108 pounds. That journey, however, hasn't been without obstacles. 

"I started out doing just six pushups, six squats; it was horrendous," recalled Show. "But over time, we built up using high-intensity cardio with pushups, squats, sit-ups, pull-ups and dips."

Now that he's returned to the WWE roster, Show seems determined to maintain his routine, working out three or four days a week up to 40 minutes each time with at least 20 minutes devoted to intense cardio and abdominal work.

"I'm not in the gym lifting weights," says Show. "I'm already strong. I'm just trying to keep my engine revved."

He also realized that to drive his body back from the brink, he needed to compliment his exercise routine with a reasonable diet. Under Artwell's supervision, Show agreed to a no sugar, extremely-low carbohydrate regimen consisting of a lot of proteins, vegetables and fats, such as olive oil and coconut oil. A typical breakfast, says Show, consists of eight or nine head-boiled eggs, sausage, bacon and steak.

"The first two weeks I was on the diet, I felt like I would mug somebody if they walked by me with a pizza," he said, smiling. "I had to learn to change a lot of lifestyle patterns. Now, I'm around people and they eat pizza and junk food, and it doesn't faze me. I feel so much better, I don't even miss it."

And it shows in the ring. A week after his return, Show handily disposed of two hapless foes in a Handicap Match on SmackDown. He annihilated a professional fighter on Raw. These displays were perhaps a preview of what he intends to unleash on his WrestleMania XXIV opponent, WBC welterweight champion Floyd "Money" Mayweather.

"Now I'm a lot faster, and my endurance is through the roof," says Show. "It ought to be very interesting to see where this road takes me."

Despite all his in-ring accomplishments Show may be most pleased with how he has been able transform his body and make himself a more lethal athlete.

"I figure it took me years to tear my body apart, and it's only a little over a year that I've been putting it back together and taking care of it," says Show. "So far, I have to say I'm pretty happy with the way things are going."

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