Built To Last: Training With Wrestling Icon Kurt Angle

The wrestling icon on his workouts, his wrestling, and what's next on the Angle agenda.

A man follows a dream that millions of people around the world have daily. He works relentlessly to stand on one of the greatest stages in all of sports. He trains and studies for hours on end to perfect his craft.

The hard work pays off. In 1996, he captures gold in the 100-killogram (220-pound) class in freestyle wrestling at the Games of the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta.

Then he moves on.

Only the fire still burns. Time to pursue another dream. He wants to become a top draw in the biggest professional wrestling organization in the world, the WWE. He debuts in November 1999, and less than a month later, he's won every singles title there is to be won, including the world heavyweight championship. He headlines Wrestlemania XIX for years.

Then he moves on.

What else? What next? Nowadays, he's helping to establish Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, or TNA, as a major wrestling company throughout the world. He's already held every championship there, too. He's muscling in the film business and the nutrition industry, and the dietary supplement business is now in the crosshairs as well.

Is there anything this guy can't do?

Bodybuilding.com was able to sit with Kurt before he hit the ring at a TNA House Show. He told us how he's training, wrestling and what he has in store in the years to come.

Is there anything this guy can't do?
Is there anything this guy can't do?

Kurt, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. You have a lot of fans that go to Bodybuilding.com so for them this is a treat.

KA: I like the site and am a fan of Bodybuilding.com myself so this is cool. Thanks for coming to see me.


Let's talk about the gym first off. One would assume that training for the bumps and bruises that come with pro wrestling would differ from someone getting ready for a bodybuilding show or even training for amateur wrestling. How different is training for you now than back when you were getting ready for Atlanta?

KA: My training for the two are worlds apart. When I was getting ready for Atlanta, I treated training like a full-time job, because that was the only way to do it if I was going to win. I trained more than eight hours a day between weights, cardio, mat wrestling and isometric exercises. I also only took one or two days off a month.

When I got to WWE, I trained more like a bodybuilder. I had different splits so that I could train every body part in a week. One day was back, one was legs and so on. I never trained longer than an hour after I started in WWE, and normally I trained 4-to-5 days per week.

Now that I'm a little older, I have to think more about function and health. I try to get as much done in as little time as possible, so I do everything in superset or giant-set fashion. By not resting between sets, I get that cardiovascular benefit. I may do up to 30 sets plus cardio in an hour, but those 30 sets cover all my muscle groups. I still train 5-to-6 days a week, but I feel like I'm getting so much more done.

Does traveling make it tough to stick with the program?

KA: Since I've already traveled the country so much, I know where to go when I am in this town or that town. Now if someone reading this is new to traveling, I'd suggest calling the hotels and seeing which ones have gyms or fitness centers. You can also take small things with you. I take a band like powerlifters use, and if I have a tight schedule, I do bodyweight stuff and use the bands to still get in my workout for that day. The bands are great for a fast workout. You can also get the different levels of resistance so you have more options depending on your strength levels.

How much does your job and traveling affect your nutrition and supplementation?

KA: I take a pre-workout product now, but I only take it before weight training. I also take a multivitamin and recommend a multi for everyone in general.

I used to rely heavily on whey protein supplements. The one I have now contains 60 grams of protein per serving. I don't need that much at once, so I take partial servings that give me 20-30 grams at a time.

My daily goal is 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. At one time in my life, I drank up to six shakes a day, mainly because it would be so hard to find healthy food when I was on the road. Now that I have these meals by Kurt Angle Foods, I can get good meals without relying so much on my shakes.

What made you decide to start Kurt Angle Foods? How's it going so far?

KA: Former bodybuilder Dave Hawk, my nutritionist, lives in the Pittsburgh area, where I am from. We've been friends for years. He played a role in me getting involved with Angle Foods. They're great products. Dave had access to this great ingredient called Ultra Fiber DX.

It was originally designed for diabetics. It actually slows down digestion so your food can be processed through the body better. It has both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as whey and soy protein. Another benefit to the fiber is that once it hits your stomach, you'll feel more full, so you eat less. Diabetics have actually gotten off of insulin thanks to Ultra Fiber DX.

So Dave and a local chef who makes a lot of my food for when I am home got together and started adding this Ultra Fiber DX to my meals. I now get enough protein that I don't have to drink so many of them shakes a day.

Nothing beats eating actual food, and the fact that there are these high-protein, high-fiber foods that I can eat has made life much better for me. So we got to thinking that we had something that the public would be interested in. They can eat healthy, would eat less because of the fiber and they actually taste good.

There are a lot of food options, too. We have a breakfast pizza containing 28 grams of protein. There's chicken and broccoli, chicken and brown rice, high-fiber pizza and so many other options. If you haven't tried them, you need to.

Where can people learn more about Kurt Angle Foods?

KA: Go to www.kurtanglefoods.com We've also started working on Angle Nutrition International, which will be our supplement line. I can't go too much into that right now but definitely look out for it. We have some great stuff in store that we plan on having everywhere, including at Bodybuilding.com.

What else is going on with you nowadays? How about movie-wise?

KA: There are movie projects in the works, too, so I'm definitely staying busy. I'm in a cool movie called "Dylan Dog," where I turn into a werewolf. That comes out on April 29th. There's also a film I'm really excited about called "Warrior," set for a September release. More news will be coming out on that soon, too. I like acting and it looks like I have a future in it, too, so we'll see what happens.

With you, Stone Cold, The Rock and others making in on the big screen, it's like the wrestling world is the new hotbed for the future of movie stars. Do you agree?

KA: I do. We perform out there (pointing to the arena) every night, so it would be a natural fit. If you can capture a crowd like we do here in TNA or anywhere else in wrestling, it would make sense you can do the same in movies or other TV entertainment.

You've been with TNA since 2006. Do you have anything else you want to do in TNA or in wrestling in general?

KA: [Smiles and laughs] Not really. I've done it all in wrestling so it is a job at this point. It is a job I enjoy, but I have done all there is to do, and I always try to lay the foundation for the next thing I want to do. When I won the gold in '96, I was already thinking about what is next.

When I was in WWE, I was looking at movies and other projects before TNA came along. Now that I am in TNA and things are good, I am looking at the supplement line and Angle Foods as well as movies. I always think ahead and challenge myself and that is what I think it takes to be as successful as possible.

I love the fans of TNA, as well as my past fans in WWE. I'll probably wrestle a couple more years before moving on. I also have my kids, too and also have a great woman in my life now. We have a new daughter so life is good right now.

Training with Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle 30-30 Monday-Wednesday-Friday Full Body example workout for men 40+

Clip Notes:
  • Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I run 3 to 4 miles hard
  • In my 11 set program I mix up the exercises from time to time to keep my training fresh
  • I Super Set Each Training Block and take little to no rest to make my training not only for strength but to maintain my cardo performance.
  • The 10 strength training blocks take me 30-35 minutes to do that I follow up with 30 minutes of Cardo.
  • Sunday is my full day or rest - no training.
Kurt Angle workout

Smith Machine Bench Press

1 set of 8-12 reps
Smith Machine Bench Press Smith Machine Bench Press

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

1 set of 8-12 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown


Dumbbell Flyes

1 set of 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell Flyes

Seated Cable Rows

1 set of 8-12 reps
Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows


Dip Machine

1 set of 8-12 reps
Dip Machine Dip Machine

Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row

1 set of 8-12 reps
Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row


Triceps Pushdown

1 set of 8-12 reps
Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown
Machine Shoulder (Military) Press Machine Shoulder (Military) Press


Cable Lying Triceps Extension

1 set of 8-12 reps
Cable Lying Triceps Extension Cable Lying Triceps Extension
Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise


Dip Machine

1 set of 8-12 reps
Dip Machine Dip Machine

Reverse Flyes

1 set of 8-12 reps
Reverse Flyes Reverse Flyes


Dumbbell Bicep Curl

1 set of 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Bicep Curl Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Ab Crunch Machine

1 set of 20-30 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine


Machine Preacher Curls

1 set of 8-12 reps
Machine Preacher Curls Machine Preacher Curls

Cable Crunch

1 set of 20-30 reps
Cable Crunch Cable Crunch


High Cable Curls

1 set of 8-12 reps
High Cable Curls High Cable Curls

Hanging Leg Raise

1 set of 20-30 reps
Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise


Leg Press

1 set of 25-50 reps
Leg Press Leg Press

Dumbbell Lunges

1 set of 20 reps
Dumbbell Lunges Dumbbell Lunges

Seated Barbell Twist

1 set of 20-30 reps
Seated Barbell Twist Seated Barbell Twist


Running, Treadmill

30 minutes
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill