A fitness Q & A with Bernard Hopkins

Maria Angelis takes Bernard Hopkins' breakfast order at Spring Garden Deli & Restaurant.
Maria Angelis takes Bernard Hopkins' breakfast order at Spring Garden Deli & Restaurant. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff photographer)
Posted: May 19, 2011

To find out more about how Bernard Hopkins is still fit enough to fight at age 46, the Daily News sent fitness columnist Kimberly Garrison to get the details on his diet and exercise routine.

WHEN I WAS asked to interview Bernard Hopkins, I admit, I went in with my preconceived ideas and stereotypes about boxers. You know the stereotypes, boxers are "uneducated with poor character."

Well, I was dead wrong. The 46-year-old Hopkins, who's up for possibly his biggest fight ever on Saturday in Montreal for the WBC light-heavyweight championship against Jean Pascal, is part professor, preacher and philosopher.

During our interview, the legendary boxer spoke with both wisdom and wit about how he maintains and lives a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully, he spared me the trash talk about Dovovan McNabb.

What follows is a quick Q & A with Philadelphia's own Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins:

Q. Hey Bernard, I noticed that during your workout you play a lot of my favorite James Brown songs. Is there any significance behind that?

A. Yes, James Brown's music has a lot of meaning for me.

Q. Yes, for me, too. So, is it true, I heard you prepare your own meals?

A. Yes, I'm a Whole Foods guy. It's a thing where I do most of my cooking. I eat a lot of organic foods, whole grain pasta. I don't eat red meat, but I do eat a lot of fish. I don't eat things that are not good for my body.

Q. Like what? What don't you eat?

A. I don't eat pizza, I don't eat cheesesteaks, I don't eat junk food, I don't eat candy. I don't drink and I don't smoke.

Q. I heard you like cheesecake. What about cheesecake?

A. I go to the Cheesecake Factory every now and again for a treat.

Q. You're 46 and going in the ring with a competitor that is young enough to be your son. Is age nothing but a number? Is 46 the new 26?

A. I've been accustomed to doing this for 2 decades. It comes easy to me. Not so much for everyone. Many people struggle with certain things. It's a lifestyle, not necessarily because I box. If you take care of yourself, then when is old? I invested in myself in my 20s and 30s. There's really no secret, no special foods I eat. It's my lifestyle. I have a 30-inch waist, I speak well, and I have clear skin.

Q. What is your greatest inspiration?

A. A personal situation with my two parents, and secondly, I got a lot of friends that did the opposite of me and many of them are not around, and if they are, they're the walking dead. So, I try to use real life that's in front of my eyes, as opposed to someone telling me what can happen. There's always examples of both good and bad.

Q. What other pearls of wisdom do you have, for the rest of us mere mortals?

A. There's only one of me. My priorities have changed . . . f I'm concerned about a scuff mark on my sneaks, why can't I be concerned about what I put into my body? Why is it the littlest things we care about, but you don't get two chances at life. Once you're dead, that's it. You have to take care of yourself. It amazes me when guys worry about putting the good gas in their car but put the wrong thing in their body. You can buy a car, but you can't buy another you. So, I just try to take the things that I was blessed with early in my life to realize that I am the priority.

You have to be selfish, when it comes to your health. Do what's good for yourself. Don't get trapped into peer pressure, or doing what others think you ought to do. You don't have to drink. That's my message to the young and old.

Q. What about alcohol?

A. I can have fun around a lot of people who are having a cocktail as long as they don't have 10 of them, because their demeanor is different from mine. I feel like I'm babysitting. There's a thing called, you have to have something in common with your company to become your company. Judge not me, who I am, but who I hang with. Now, that's an old lesson. Old tales tell the truth. You rarely see smart people around people who are not smart, because they have a different mind-set, priorities are different. So, try to hang around people who care about themselves, and they will care about you.

Q. What about rest?

A. Rest is important. That goes back to biblical days. Work without rest and you are out of balance. You have to rest. I have learned to rest more and rest often. *

Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (www.1on1ultimatefitness.com).

Email her at

kimberly@1on1ultimatefitness.com. Her column appears each Thursday in Yo!

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