For a while, Russell Crowe was the only name associated with the word "gladiator," but that has changed now that NBC’s mega-smash American Gladiators has come along. A revamp of the ’90s hit, the show features some of the buffest and beefiest men and women in the world, and OK! had a chance to chat with two of them — Michael O’Hearn ("Titan") and Robin Coleman ("Hellga") — to see how they developed and maintain their hardcore bods.
What’s your workout routine?
Michael: I work out with weights four days a week and I do strongman workouts on weekends — we flip tires, move Atlas balls and pull cars. Plus I swim twice a week.
Robin: High-speed weight lifting so I get a lot of cardio involved too. I do cardio at both the gym and my house. And I’m a rower. I love getting my boat out.
What are your diets like?
Robin: Breakfast is often oatmeal, I cook it with just water and put some almonds in it and egg whites or a protein shake. And then I eat chicken and turkey throughout the day, maybe some egg whites again and occasionally, I eat steak but I usually eat fish for dinner, a variety of different kinds. I like to cook. I’m always trying new recipes.
Michael: I don’t do breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the sense of three meals. I eat eight meals a day but they’re pretty similar. The only special meal would be breakfast and that’s whole eggs with two turkey patties and a cup of oatmeal. I scramble the eggs, throw two turkey patties in there, and a cup of oatmeal. And then a piece of fruit, a banana or an apple. And the rest of the day the meals are, believe it or not, are the same. I’ll do seven more meals that have either two turkey patties or eight ounces of chicken with a good four ounces of broccoli and four of those meals will have a half a cup of rice. White rice I do, not brown and a lot of water.
Do you have any splurges?
Robin: Pizza with a whole-wheat crust and feta cheese.
Michael: Vanilla ice cream with Nutella and strawberries.
What did you eat growing up?
Michael: I would eat a lot of peanut-butter-and-jam sandwiches, and that put my size on and built my strength.
Robin: I grew up in Texas, so it was lots of red met and junk food.
When did that change?
Robin: When I was in college, I got a new stepfamily. My dad remarried and my new grandmother was a nutritionist and we started talking and she was really influential to me. I majored in kinesiology and nutrition, thinking I could either do RD or physical therapy. So I started studying that and playing basketball because coaches saw me walking around—do you want to play basketball? Sure. I was watching the other athletes eating KFC and stuff and I was getting into protein powders and things like that and I was so put off by people using their bodies as machines and not fuelling it properly that it made me want to study even more.
When you were eating that crappy food as a kid, did you have a weight problem?
Robin: Yeah. I was up to 265 lbs, size 24. Now I’m 205 and size 14. It’s actually slim!
Michael, did you ever have a weight problem?
Michael: No. I never had a weight problem. Unless you consider just being big and buff a weight problem. Couldn’t fit in jeans. I a lot of chicken because we grew up in a large house with a lot of kids. We have nine brothers and sisters. Everybody weight lifted and played sports, so it was an active family. I’m now 6’3”, 265 lbs.
What’s it like being a Gladiator?
Robin: It’s a real honor. It’s something I always dreamed of doing when I was a kid.
Michael: The show is the pinnacle of health and fitness. You’re a walking superhero!
What kind of fan reaction have you gotten so far?
Robin: A ton. It’s been really positive. I wasn’t completely sure how my character was going to be taken because I think by far I’m the most different they’ve ever conceptualized. I’m the first woman wearing a skirt out there, that’s for sure. I’ve gotten a lot positive response and e-mails, a lot of great articles written about me. I seem very popular and I feel really blessed.
Michael: They’re really noticing. I went to Palm Springs and I was going into some places and everybody was like, "Titan, Titan!" The show is definitely a hit. I would like to add that being voted favorite male gladiator is such an honor, not just being on the show. I’d like to thank the fans for that.
For more on Michael and Robin, pick up the newest issue of OK!, on newsstands now!