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Darwin's Workout


You are pale and weak and you want to go out into the world. Some people like you are sweating in gyms to become an ancient vase — beautiful, but fragile. Consider a training regiment from these two experts that will make you fierce and fit, ready to throw elbows and toss the summer out of the ring.

El Sucio

Former Richmond Lucha Libre tag-team Champion of the Universe and current head trainer

In the olden days it was the macho beach jerk kicking sand in some geek's face. Today that same geek is being stomped to death by a crowd of thugs, while someone videotapes the brutality for Internet consumption.

Yes, the same rule applies. Only the strong survive.

It's one thing to work out so you don't look like the Pillsbury Doughboy in a thong. If you need a little toughening up, the kind that will make your body strong enough to fly through the air and blast through tables — why not take exercise tips from the guys of Richmond Lucha Libre, our local independent wrestling federation. Guys who go by names like Horrorshow, Kamikaze Kid and Fighty McIrish aren't working out to look pretty. Just talk to the trainer they call El Sucio.

"We put them through hell," El Sucio says. "I'll have guys get slammed up to 20 times in a row, then put people in a match situation. We want them to be able to think when they're exhausted, to use muscle memory."

El Sucio explains that because their fighters are generally smaller than the average wrestling group, they have to endure superior conditioning. This includes an emphasis on strength training, speed training and diet — the last of which is overseen by a man known as That Guy Dave. Dave recommends six to eight small meals spaced out through the day.

"To fight for us you generally need a year-plus of training," Sucio says. "You need to be completely proficient at falling, wrestling and playing the characters. Weight training and technique are equally important."

But the idea of living up to a larger-than-life character provides plenty of inspiration. "My personal key to fitness for the average person," El Sucio says: "Get off your ass."

For normal puny weaklings, El Sucio recommends: swimming 20 laps a day, or walking 45 minutes, or just getting off your couch to change the channel instead of using a remote. For the warrior, lots of sit-ups and push-ups, running and, just when you think you can't go on, get in the ring and spar with someone. El Sucio works out six days a week, focusing on a different area each day: back, legs, abs.

See Richmond Lucha Libre in action in a free show June 30 at Rocks in the Bottom.

Lynn "Nockout Nancy" Hull

Captain of The Flaming Hips, fitness trainer for River City Rollergirls

A lot of women worry about having a bikini body. Maybe it's a boyfriend or husband they're trying to appease. Or maybe, judging by the popularity of women's magazines, they're competing with other women.

The River City Rollergirls compete with other women too. But it's not a bikini body they're after: It's a beat-down in a roller rink.

Local Rollergirls are badass customers. Not only do they get to enjoy one of the '70s' greatest contributions to sport and popular culture — roller-skating in circles — but they get to pummel each other and look cool doing it.

The girls have a definite punk flair about them (many tattoos on display), and some of the best names in sports. There's Dawn Corleone, Rhoda Badcheck, Aversion Mary, Spin Lizzy and Sue-age Spill.

Female roller derby is a fast-growing sport in this country, and Richmond already has two leagues. The game is played somewhat like hockey on roller skates: It's a high-impact, full-contact sport that can get brutal. That's why the girls have to endure a tough workout to survive and kick ass in the rink.

Many of the girls are led in their training by team captain Lynn "Nockout Nancy" Hull.

"I'm pretty competitive — that's the reason I play sports — but this also gives your workout a goal and motivation," says Hull, 27, who leads the team through exercises like squat thrusts, forward lunges, and "jumpies," sort of a squat-jump routine. "It's great because you have other people pushing you as a team," she says. "It's not just about you."

"There's a lot of core training involved," Hull says. "When you get hit, you're going to need to be able to maintain your balance."

The big advantage to core training, she explains, is that you're working all of the muscles by balancing yourself in the process. That way, you can take a licking and keep on kicking.

For the uninitiated, Nockout Nancy recommends starting slowly and working your way up to the more difficult exercises. She adds that for abdominal exercises, variety and repetition are key — try using one of those big red balls for crunches. S

The River City Rollergirls battle the New Jersey Dirty Dames June 10 at Skateland.

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