We’re five episodes into CFL.ca’s series, The Grind, and almost 40 days into our Twitter challenge, #TheCFLGrind (I hope you’re still working out with us and if not, you can always join any time!)
I thought this would be a great time to check in with Brodie about the five episodes we’ve seen so far. I found out which workout has been the hardest, why Dionate Spencer works out without any shoes on and where the next few episodes are headed!
Kristina Costabile: What was the hardest workout so far physically?
Brodie Lawson: The hardest workout was Odell Willis in Atlanta because we started with essentially a cardio warmup that was like wind sprints but it was wind sprints for football players. You’re not just running back and forth, you’re also doing a side shuffle, a back pedal. And we were doing them in multiple sets. So that was really hard. But even Odell at one point in the episode you see he leans over and he thinks he’s going to puke. Then we were working out with Reggie Ball Sr., who’s actually (Toronto Argonauts) Marcus Ball’s dad. He was the trainer so we would basically go from exercise and then quickly switch to another exercise. He’s just a master motivator in terms of a trainer. He followed me from station to station to make sure that my form was correct because the other guys had been doing it for five weeks but he wanted to make sure that I was (doing it properly). And then we did the cardio boot camp, which was 45-minute, non-stop cardio.
KC: Do you think having a trainer following you around helped throughout the workout?
BL: It made it way harder. I have my personal training certification and I like group classes and I like trainers and I like accountability because I’ll work way harder. If a player and I were both doing the workout and he’s like, ‘do this many sets.’ But he’s focused on his own work and I’m focused on my own work, it’s different. But when you have someone watching you and counting out your reps, you’re going twice as hard, twice as fast.
KC: Whose workout routine has surprised you the most?
BL: I think Bear Woods. Bear started the workout by basically saying, ‘this is my Saturday’. So he had already done five days of weight lifting but the sixth day, which he called an active recovery, was a lot of band work. I thought we were going to be doing more weight lifting, more kettle bell swings, and cardio mixed with weights. His was like, if you see the episode, at one point he jokes, ‘I have to get this done before the fire chief comes in because I don’t want him to think I’ve hired a pilates instructor.’ Because we were literally doing pilates with band work. I didn’t expect that from him at all. Dionate’s was surprising too. Not just the boxing aspect of it but also because they lift weights in that gym without shoes. You’re in an MMA gym so you’re not allowed to have shoes on.
KC: What part, if any, of the player’s workouts have you incorporated into your #TheCFLGrind workouts?
BL: I think the thing I took away from it the most for my own workout routines is just to really do what you like and do what you enjoy. I think what it taught me was that a lot of people train really intense and as if they’re football players. I think a lot of people may see this (and say), ‘I do this, I do this.’ But that’s not necessarily what’s right for everyone. For me, it was like some of these things I’ve been doing are maybe a bit too much and maybe that’s why I don’t always enjoy my workout. Maybe I need to scale it back a bit and do stuff I enjoy more. I’m trying to do stuff that’s more pilates, and barre, ab classes, spinning because I enjoy that. It just made me realize that if you’re going to do this regularly, which they’re doing, you have to enjoy it.
KC: We saw the first football drill heavy workout in the last episode with John Chick. How was that for you?
BL: I’d never done it before. I’ve never played tackle football, I’ve only played flag football occasionally for fun. For me, it’s counterintuitive because whatever you instinctively want to block and hit with, you do it the opposite way. The mechanics of it was actually what was the hardest. And then I also felt like when we were doing it, versus John, John has been doing it since he was let’s say six years old, so when he hits a bag it topples over. When I hit it, it just barely even moves. I was so embarrassed but he was so gracious and kind and encouraging. It’s so second nature to them, I don’t think he realized how 101 this was for me.
KC: What do you hope The Grind is showing our fans about our athletes and the way they prepare for the season?
BL: The first thing I hope it brings fans is that I want them to feel like they have gotten to know these players better. I want them to have a sense of how fun they are, how gracious they are as people, how welcoming they are. I hope that they get a bit of a flavour to of what their off-seasons are like. Where they live, what it’s like in their environment, just a true, full picture. We see them for a portion of the year in a very small window of their lives and to get to watch them joke around and meet their families. I hope that’s one of the things fans get from it and the second thing is the obvious thing which is just that I hope people are getting a window into how hard this is. I tried toward the end of the series, I talk about that this is my seventh workout in however many days but I think back to Odell and he’s back at the gym the next day and this is all off-season. Just the relentlessness of the training for players is something that you might think about but to actually see it is a whole other thing.
KC: So, what’s next for The Grind?
BL: The next episode coming out on Tuesday is with B.J. Cunningham, Duron Carter and Stefan Logan on the beach In Fort Lauderdale. I had the flu, I had body aches, chills and a terrible fever. We flew that morning from our John Chick shoot. I wasn’t sure if I was even able to do the workout because I had such a high fever. But I did and it was all speed, all agility, a lot of football stuff. That was also really fun and Stef Logan was really impressive actually. He just moves like crazy. He is so fast. The episode after that, we go to Plantation, Florida with Marken Michel. He works out at his high school with a bunch of his ex-teammates, guys he played against in high school. That one was all jumping, stuff with bands around your waist.
Follow your favourite players and coaches after the whistle!