Football Player (Retired)
From Georgia, Herschel Walker was 1 of 7 children in a working-class family. He had a speech impediment and was overweight as a child, but his mother drilled it into him not to use any of his problems as excuses, and he sure didn’t. Although he didn’t play any formal sports until the 7th grade,he was very versatile in high school and played football, basketball and competed in track and field events including shot put, 100- and 220-yard dash and the 4×100 relay. After graduating valedictorian from his high school, Walker played running back for the University of Georgia where he won the Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award and was a 3-time All-American. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999 and is considered to be one of the all-time greatest players of college football. Walkerplayed 16 total seasons of pro football, 4 for the now-defunct USFL and 12 seasons with the NFL, but he somehow still found time to join the US Bobsled team for the ’92 Olympics. Walker has a 5th-degree black belt in tae kwon do and he also won 2professional MMA fights with Strikeforce (now UFC). Walker won the 3rd season of the reality TV cooking show called Rachael vs. Guy, and he also competed on the 2nd season of Celebrity Apprentice.He was appointed to serve as co-chair on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, and he is President and CEO of Renaissance Food Services. Walker is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs about 225 lbs.
Herschel Walker’s Diet
You probably wouldn’t guess to look at him, but Walker eats only once per day. He does not count macros, saying that the strong farmers he grew up around never counted protein grams, so he shouldn’t have to either. He gave up red meat decades ago and while many claim he is a vegetarian, he does eat chicken, although only occasionally. His single meal consists primarily of salad, soup and bread. He says his dietary choices have been influenced by his family, many of whom have lived long, healthy lives.
- Low Protein 20% 20%
- Medium Fat 30% 30%
- High Carb 70% 70%
Walker has his one meal late, around 8 or 9 p.m. He started the practice back in college when he was short on time and found it wasn’t difficult to stick to.
Walker drinks water or maybe juice during the day, but that’s all.
Crock Pot Master
Walker makes his soup in the crock pot so it’s hot and ready for him at the end of a busy day.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Walker On His Health
‘My body is my temple.’
Walker On His 1-Meal Diet
‘Every nutritionist in the world is going to tell me that I’m crazy.’
Walker On His Single Meal Plan
‘I’ve been doing this for 20-something years. I’m not just doing it because I’m an MMA fighter. I was doing it when I was playing football.’
Herschel Walker’s Fitness Routine
Weekly Workout Routine
Oldie But Goodie
Walker still sticks with the routine he developed as a teenager.
Use What You Got
Walker said growing up poor, he couldn’t afford any fancy equipment and that his school didn’t have any weights either, so he used what he had: his own body, and just kept plugging away until he got stronger.
The Ol’ Chase the Farm Animals Routine
Walker says he developed his agility and reaction time by chasing the family’s bull and horse around on the farm. He’d also run in a freshly-plowed field to add resistance to his running.
Never Miss A Day
Walker’s commitment to exercise is second to none. He hasn’t missed a workout in decades.
Walker couldn’t do a single push-up when he started, but worked his way up to 25, taking a 10-15 second break between sets. He continued to increase, and says he usually does 3,500 each day, except when he’s doing MMA training, in which case he cuts it back to only 1,500.
Walker says variety is the best thing for any athlete, and that specializing will lead to problems and injury. Variety also ensures you will continue to build muscle rather than simply adapt. Through the years, he’s done anything and everything, including competitive dancing with his sister.
Run For It
Walker believes running is the most important skill for any athlete to work on.
A Herschel Walker Routine
Work to failure. Push yourself harder each day.
Push-ups: Do all different kinds: standard, wide- stance, legs elevated, handstand, clapping, wife sitting on back, etc. Walker still does 1,000+ per day.
Sit-ups: Again, use variations: straight-leg, bent-leg, side crunch, Russian twists, etc. Walker does up to 3,000 per day.
Pull-ups: More variations: palms in, palms out, weighted, single-arm, etc. Walker does at least 1,000 per day.
Lunges: up to 1,000/day
Squats: up to 1,000/day
Dips: up to 1,000/day
Running: Keep mixing it up: wind sprints, short dashes, longer runs, weighted, dragging a tire, run in sand, etc. Walker regularly does sprints, 1/4-mile dashes and 2-mile runs, along with anything else he dreams up.
MMA: 1 hour/day.
Water work: Another place to get creative is in the water. Walker made up his own strokes and exercises to maximize resistance.
Other exercises: Monkey bars, burpees, rope climbing, plyometrics, whatever makes you feel like you’re working your muscles in a new way.
Stretching: Be sure to stretch out after each session.
Walker On How He Lost His Baby Fat
‘He [his coach] said to do push-ups, sit-ups and sprints. That’s all he said. But it was enough.’
Walker On His Many Talents
‘I think I developed as well as I did because I did so many different…kinds of exercise.’
Walker On His Routine
‘I was doing Cross Fit before they gave it a name.’
Walker On MMA
‘In football, I don’t think I was as sore as when I’m training in MMA.’
Walker On His Fitness Level
‘I’m in better shape now than I was in my early 20s playing football.’
Walker On Returning To Football
‘There is absolutely no doubt in my mind I could play football and help out a team today. If I could fit it into my schedule, I would do it.’
Walker On His Flexibility
‘I’ve got great flexibility for a guy my size…Some football players are so stiff they can’t raise their arms above their head.’
Herschel Walker’s Supplements
If Walker takes any supplements, he’s keeping them on the down low, but most people who want to get stronger will probably want to take a protein supplement.
Creatinehelps build muscle and BCAAs can help prevent muscle breakdown
collagen keeps joints strong, especially as we age.
A multivitamin is never a bad idea, especially if you’re only going to have 1 meal per day.
Walker needed to lose weight as a young man, and if this is your case, you could try caffeine which boosts metabolism and gives you energy during a workout.
Ginger and turmeric
Ginger and turmeric also aid with digestion and reduce inflammation.
Omega-3s are another supplement that help reduce inflammation and are also important for brain health.
Herschel Walker’s Lifestyle
Who Needs Sleep?
Walker only sleeps about 5-6 hours per night, waking at 5:30 to start on his thousands of calisthenic exercises.
Besides football, track, and MMA, Walker also danced with the Fort Worth Ballet for a single, slightly flat-footed but still compelling, performance. He actually studied Intro to Ballet in college.
Mental Health Issues
Walker has spoken publicly about his struggle with Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder) in which a person displays distinctly different personalities. It caused his marriage to fall apart, but he sought help as a result. He even wrote a book about it.
Walker visits military bases and gives inspirational speeches about teamwork, perseverance and discipline.
Walker On His Mother’s Advice
‘You can’t make excuses in life. You’ve got to get it done.’
Walker On Self-Improvement
‘What a good feeling that was, too, to know all that hard work was paying off, and to know that even though I wasn’t all that good to begin with, I could get better.’
Walker On Giving Your Best
‘What matters is how hard you try before the game, especially when nobody is watching you.’
Walker On Ballet
‘Just like in football, you have to have a high concentration level in ballet.’
Herschel Walker’s Basic Training
Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder
Renaissance Man Foods