The first mention of the name “LL Cool J” makes people think about his bulging muscles and ripped body. He’s not only a rapper and actor. He’s also a fitness enthusiast who inspires people to make health and exercise a priority in their lives.
When he started out in the music and movie industries, LL Cool J (James Todd Smith in real life), wasn’t all that committed to fitness. He would get a workout in every now and then, but didn’t really pay attention to what he ate.
Suddenly, there was urge that came over him. This urge was to become the fittest and healthiest he’s ever been, and that involved a tenacious commitment to working out and eating right.
LL Cool J combines strength training, plyometrics, boxing workouts, callisthenics and endurance training. He uses this combination to build muscle, burn fat and improve physical fitness. For his regular exercise regimen, he resorts to circuit training. Since he’s an actor and rapper with numerous commitments, this circuit training routine is advantageous because it allows for a quicker workout. Not only that, the routine also maintains his heart rate in the fat burning zone and stimulates his muscles to promote the growth he’s aiming for.
Each circuit involves several exercises and LL Cool J doesn’t stop until he completes them all. Once he’s done with one circuit, he moves on to the next one. An example of his circuit training regimen involves three mini-circuits (two for the chest and one for the biceps). The chest circuit is done twice while the biceps circuit is done thrice. This workout adds up to a total of seven circuits with 20 sets of exercises and it takes around 45 minutes to complete.
“Working out is a huge investment in yourself and it builds equity in your body,” LL Cool J says. “It helps in all your decisions. It helps you negotiate. It clears your mind. It gives you strength to overcome obstacles.”
In 2006, LL Cool J co-authored a book with his trainer Dave “Scooter” Honig entitled LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout: Sculpt Your Best Body Ever with Hollywood’s Fittest Star. In this book, he also emphasised the importance of eating correctly when trying to achieve your fitness goals. “You simply cannot get the body you want unless you eat the right way. Period,” he says. He advises to clear your fridge of junk food such as ice cream. He advises his readers to focus on whole grains such as whole-wheat pasta and quinoa as well as lean portions of protein. He even mentioned that he ate up to as many as seven times daily! This is, of course, taking in smaller amounts of food while feeding your body on a regular basis. In terms of drinks, he especially reiterates the importance of chugging on green tea with all of its antioxidant qualities.
Four years after the release of his first fitness book, LL Cool J released a follow-up entitled LL Cool J’s Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle. Here are some of the precepts he adheres to and how you can incorporate them into your quest for a healthy life:
1. Set your goals and stick to them—have a specific strategy or goal to conquer each day. This also applies to your fitness.
2. Cultivate your imagination—if you can dream it, you can be it. Imagination is a powerful tool as well as a gift. By imagining yourself to be the healthiest you’ve ever been in your life, as well as following through with a dedicated exercise and eating plan, your dream won’t be far-fetched.
3. When you love what you do, it’s not a job—do what you love. The same is true of your regimen at the fitness centre. Do exercise routines that you find enjoyable.
4. Limitations are a figment of your imagination—“If your ultimate goal is to bench press 200 pounds, find out what you can realistically do right now, and set your first goal at 10 pounds more than that. Once you master that level, reset your goal and repeat the process until you achieve your goal of bench pressing 200 pounds,” says LL Cool J.
5. Face your fears—LL Cool J says “Sometimes life requires you to step away from what’s familiar to you, from what’s safe, in order to go after what you truly desire.” With that, you don’t have to settle for flopping on the couch all day, munching on fries and sipping on sodas. Conquer your fears and live your fitness dreams.
To sum up, LL Cool J goes on to say that “The four quadrants are health (exercise and diet), business (going after your dreams and working toward them), family and friends (spending time with them and enjoying them) and the spiritual (giving to charity and being grateful). It’s like a scale.”
Finally, the next time you feel discouraged in achieving your goals, LL Cool J has one thing to say.
“Dreams don’t have deadlines.”