The Dark Match Gets Physical – Making Cruiserweight: A New Fitness Series


Hey, I’m Sandra D….oh, crap, got distracted, but seriously, ONJ was a baller in her day.  Plus look at the crop top on Mr. Afro there on her left?  Clearly Ms. Newton John’s gym doesn’t have the same stringent dress code as my local Snap Fitness location.  And have you actually paid any attention to the words of this song?  Why is the video set in a gym when she’s clearly searching for a completely different physical activity?

Also, Happy Birthday Mom.

In a slight departure from our normal content, but nonetheless inspired by the world of wrestling, I’ve decided to launch into a new fitness division for The Dark Match.  We’re actually going to launch a physical challenge in DietBet so that those of you reading this can join in on the challenge.  It’s not going to be anything insane, just our way of giving back.  Think of this as the wrestling version of Pokemon Go.

So here’s my plan, which doesn’t have to be your plan, as DietBet is catered to your specific body type and starting weight in determining if you complete our Cruiserweight Challenge.  This is simply me explaining the rationale that this challenge spawned out of.

What has inspired this might surprise you.  When most of us who watch wrestling hit the gym, we look at the likes of John Cena or Brock Lesnar and set goals that for most of us are not ever going to play out.  We expect results too quickly, and we’ll never look like them without years and years of dedication or some form of illegal anabolic.  We get discouraged when results don’t come as quickly as we’d like, and the vast majority of us just give up completely and bury our heads in a bag of chips or never ending pints of Ben and Jerry’s.  It’s not healthy.  I’m looking more at the Cruiserweight Classic competitors (not the little Luchadors of course, I can’t shave 7″ off my overall height), by Olympic great Michael Phelps, and the medical community constantly reminding me that though I don’t look it, by their standards, I am obese, and losing weight is pivotal to, you know, staying alive long enough to see the kid I may have in the future grow up and make a decade of questionable choices like I did, so that I may serve as a guide in the dark times when needed.

But let’s break this down even further:


To qualify for consideration in the cruiserweight classic, a competitor must weigh in at or below 205 pounds (93 kg). Considering my height of 6’3″, it’s a little harder to find cruiserweight competitors that are as tall as I am, but at 6’0″ and 185 lbs (84 kg), Zack Sabre Jr. is at least a base point for this project:


In Boxing, the cruiserweight division has a 200 lb weight limit, while the MMA allows its Cruiserweight competitors up to 230 lbs.  For our purposes, and because this is a wrestling website, we’re going to focus on the definition set forth by the WWE for their tournament (though the global definition of cruiserweight in professional wrestling is under 215).

From there, we can move on to one of the most phenomenal athletes on the planet, The Baltimore Bullet, Michael Phelps.  Not only is Phelps the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 22 total medals, but the man is in fantastic shape, at 6’4″, 194 lbs:


Now, he’s an inch taller than me and 10 pounds lighter than the goal, so while I wouldn’t mind a torso that looks like that, going to still be a little bigger than your typical swimmer.

And then there is the health aspect of this project.  Currently sitting at 6’3″ and 228 lbs, that puts me 27 pounds heavier than I should be according to Rush University Medical Center, and according to Health Check Systems, which takes frame size into account, 202 would be the peak for healthy weight range.  For the purposes of not killing myself, I’m shooting for the 205 mark set by the Cruiserweight division.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. That is why maintaining a healthy weight is so important: It helps you lower your risk for developing these problems, helps you feel good about yourself, and gives you more energy to enjoy life.

I’m not worried about most of these things.  In all honesty, as long as I can keep the ticker working well, the blood pressure low and find some way to stave the darkness in my brain for a while, I think I’ll be incredibly happy.  Not to mention how good I’ll feel in a bathing suit in winter when I’m anticipating the goal to be achievable.

The Series Itself:

Making Cruiserweight will be my endeavor to achieve this goal, and will track my weekly progress, including a weigh in on Friday mornings, food documentation for the week, and my weekly workout routines.  For this first post, simply a starting weight will be documented, 228 lbs, and this post will begin the process.  Then each successive Friday will bring the longer post regarding the previous week’s workouts, intakes, and weight.


Anyone who works out or has tried to diet can tell you, the best way to stay true to the goal of the project is to create benchmarks and reward yourself for achieving them.  I will still be giving myself cheat days every 10th day (as recommended by The Rock), as well as rewarding myself with physical rewards.  It just so happens that this will be easy to accomplish, as there are five new Funko Pop figures coming out in August and I have to hit five separate 5 lb targets to reach the 25 lb weight loss necessary to satisfy the majority of the weight charts provided by numerous health organizations.  For each 5 pounds I lose, I will get another Funko Pop.  Achievement of the overall goal of losing those 25 pounds, in addition to having those Phelps abs, within the target range of August 1 – November 1 and I will reward myself by breaking down and ordering the nearly impossible to find CM Punk and AJ Lee figures which I do not currently own because it would cost me $250 to buy them both on Amazon.

By my count, over the course of 3 months (92 days), I will have roughly 18 days to hit each 5 pound target.  According to LiveStrong, simply cutting 500 calories from your diet every day would help you shed one pound per week, but we’re not aiming to cut 500 calories because that’s not how we’re going to do this.  We’re going to go for the two pounds of healthy weight loss per week as identified by a number of well respected medical organizations to make sure we don’t drop too quickly and cause alternative health issues.

Feel Free to Play Along:

I know, play is a terrible word when talking about health and fitness because there are a number of ways you can injure yourself.  But if you’d like to take part in this quest, hop on board, we start Monday, August 1st and we’re going to give it hell throughout the week.  I’ll give you the week one workout and you chart all your progress along with me an post it each week in the comment section.  We’ll create a health and fitness community to keep each other motivated and on our goals.  I am not licensed, certified or insured in any way, and the remainder of this post and those that will follow are simply the routine I have put together for myself based on the information I’ve put together from internet research.  I do not recommend beginning any exercise routine without consulting a physician and I do not at all provide any of the information below to be taken as the recommendations of a fitness or diet professional.  Here’s how I’m going to do it week one:

Eating Healthy –

  • Consume at least 1/2 of your total body weight in grams of protein per day, but not more than 1 gram/1 pound of body weight.  We don’t want to tack on extra body mass and that’s what we’d do with that much protein for our body to convert.  Somewhere in that 3/4 protein grams/body weight range would be about perfect to keep our muscles healthy while we’re working this hard.
  • We will eat a healthy amount of calories, but not calorie cut for the sake of this weight loss, we’re going to work towards that.  Men will eat something in the 2,000-2,200 calorie range per day while women will be somewhere between 1,600-1,800.  Remember, as hard as we are going to work to get the body we want, our body needs something in return, so don’t feel like you have to go hungry or you’ll make it worse on yourself than it has to be.
  • Water!!!!!  The minimum amount of water you should be consuming is 8 full 8 oz glasses.  You will need more than that to stay hydrated during a workout and then keep hydrated throughout the day after a workout.  I’m going to recommend we double it.  Instead of a half gallon, we’ll shoot for a full gallon per day to help us stay hydrated and flush all the unwanted salts and other crap from our bodies that is just unavoidable when actually eating (as opposed to that weird Vegan crap, and I’m not even going there).
  • Cheat.  Look, I’m going to do it too.  If you feel like you’ve been good for a few days and you’ve worked hard, eat that damn piece of pizza if you want it or have the donut your boss drops off in the morning.  It’s ok.  You’re working hard, you can spare the extra few hundred calories here and there without having to feel like you’re shooting yourself in the foot.  I’ll undoubtedly cheat with a beer here and there in the later weeks of this challenge because it’ll be college football season and Labor Day weekend in there somewhere, and because that’s what I do.  I’m already changing a good bit of my lifestyle with this project, so I need my vice from time to time.

Exercise – 

  • If you do nothing else, spend one hour on a treadmill every day.  My target each day is to do either 1 hour with a full incline (15%) at a 3.5 mph pace, or to do whatever the daily recommended jog is on my Couch to 10K app (which normally takes about 30-35 minutes) and then rounding out the hour with the full incline and 3.5 mph pace (you can slow it down a bit if this is too much when you’re getting started).  When doing the incline walk, you’re going to feel like you are about dead around the 15 minute mark, but break through the wall and after you hit 25 minutes you’ll kick into overdrive and adrenaline will take over.  You’ll feel like you can go forever.  It doesn’t always have to be the treadmill either.  If you want to do the stairclimber or get started on the elliptical or even run a track, do whatever does it for you, just do it for an hour, or at least some combination of cardio for an hour (and no, running plyometric circuits don’t count here.  You can still do them, but they ain’t part of your cardio).  You can even swim laps for some of your cardio time.  Just make sure you’re getting an hour of cardio exercise in per day.
  • WWE Network, Hulu, or Netflix.  You don’t want to watch the same ESPN Sportscenter episode you’ve already seen four times, and the news is depressing as all hell and will not make you want to work harder.  Gear up with something that will take your mind off the workout itself by watching an hour of something on Hulu or Netflix.  I always do my treadmill time first and watch anything WWE related.  It motivates me.  But it might not to the same for you.
  • When you get in to your workout routine for the day and your cardio is all over, turn on some music that is going to keep your heart rate up and your motivation level churning.  I often do Rock/Metal, and my workout playlist is mostly Metallica and Disturbed.  On occasion I turn on the soundtrack from Southpaw because something about Busta Rhymes yelling at me keeps me moving, and because I am Phenomenal too, AJ.
  • I have some lower back issues.  I think that dropping this weight is going to help keep them from happening, but I don’t do deadlifts or squats, as that’s how I end up setting them off.  Bodyweight squats are listed on leg day, but you’re more than welcome to add deadlifts or weighted squats to your back and leg routines if you’d like.
  • I also highly recommend a Yoga class once a week.  Hot yoga is great to ease the tension on all your muscles, and if you can do it later in the afternoon on Sunday, it’ll help you relax and get a great night of sleep before starting the week over on Monday morning.

The Workout – Week 1 (August 1 – August 7)

  • For week one, I’m going to do some basic “get my lazy ass back at this” stuff.  Most everything will run in 8 sets of 8, and you’ll work one primary muscle group per day.  I will always start off relatively light set of 8 for the first set in each exercise and work into a comfortable rhythm where the remaining 7 sets are a challenge but not too much to finish the 8 each round.  We’re not powerlifting here.  We’re shaping muscles and working our whole body out.  This is going to help us alleviate the strains of the work week.
  • Rest about :60-:90 seconds between sets and 2:00-3:00 between exercises.  Rest is incredibly important.
  • Monday: Chest
    • Push Ups – 8 sets of 8
    • Fly Machine – 8 sets of 8
    • Bench Press – 8 sets of 8 (Free weights or Bar)
    • Dumbbell Pullovers – 8 sets of 8
    • Incline Press – 8 sets of 8
    • Double Crunches on bench edge – 100 Crunches, however you get there
  • Tuesday: Shoulders
    • Shoulder Press Machine – 8 Sets of 8
    • Side Lateral Raise (Dumbbells) – 8 Sets of 8
    • Front Lateral Raise (Plate) – 8 Sets of 8
    • Lateral Pulldowns – 8 sets of 8
    • Shrugs – 8 sets of 8
    • Planks – :45 standard, :30 each side, repeat 4 times
  • Wednesday: Legs
    • Bodyweight Squats – 8 sets of 8
    • Walking Lunges – 8 sets of 12
    • Leg Press – 8 sets of 8
    • Leg Extension – 8 sets of 8
    • Standing Calf Raises – 8 sets of 8
    • Decline Crunches with Twist – 4 sets of 10 (1 rep is straight up, up with left twist, up with right twist, repeat 10 times)
  • Thursday: Cardio Only
  • Friday: Back
    • Rear Delt Machine – 8 sets of 8
    • Seated Row – 8 sets of 8
    • Hyperextensions – 8 sets of 8
    • Bicycle Crunches – 150 reps, however you get there
  • Saturday: Arms
    • Tricep Pulldowns – 8 sets of 8
    • Cable Curls – 8 sets of 8
    • Tricep Bench Dips – 4 sets of 15
    • One Arm Preacher Curls – 8 sets of 8 each arm
    • Tricep Overhead Extension – 8 sets of 8
    • Barbell Curl – 8 sets of 8
    • Crunch Machine – 150 Crunches, however you get there
  • Sunday: Rest/Yoga Class



There are a lot of things out there that want to tell you they’ll burn your fat or they’ll curb your appetite or they’ll make you the incredible hulk for about 45 minutes while you bust out your reps.  I don’t work for any of them and I don’t see a dime for their sales.  You could go through every fitness or health magazine on the market and each of them, I guarantee you, is going to have the “Supplements You Need to Take” article somewhere, and every one of them is going to say something different and recommend one particular brand of everything because they’re getting promotional money for it.  That’s really not ok and it’s a shady ass form of journalism when you have people convinced you’re the good guy and you’re actually trying to help.

What I can recommend, for those of you who want to actually know about the products and the things that go in them, is to find The Guerrilla Chemist on Facebook.  While he is partnered with Blackstone Labs, his content is very real and does not attempt to push any particular product on you, but rather just explains each of the chemical compounds and their affects during the weight loss/body building process.  And yes, a lot of it will be catered more towards traditional bodybuilding and mass building, but the information is still helpful and you want to know what you’re putting in your body if you’re working this damned hard on it.

And with that, I bid you adieu on the opening post for Making Cruiserweight.  If you would like to join in, keep an eye out this week and we will post the link to the DietBet through Twitter and Facebook.  Join in, make your wager, and give it hell.  We all deserve to feel better about ourselves.  Let’s actually do something about it.


Final Notes:

  1. Again, I am not licensed or certified to give diet or fitness advice.  I have posted this as my plan of action, not yours.  Please see your physician before going into any sort of crash diet or insane exercise plan as it may be unsafe.  We are trying to be healthier here, not get anybody killed.  The only aspect of this we are challenging people to is the Diet Bet, which is catered entirely to your body type and current weight.  It is a percentage of body weight lost, so no, I don’t expect you to hit 205 if you’re sitting at 315 right now.  That’s just insanity.  But it will ask you to lose 4% of your body weight, so 12.6 pounds, over the course of 6 weeks, and you can totally do that.  Imagine how good you’ll feel when your weight dips into the 200s.  You’ll feel so much better.
  2. I put this workout routine together myself, it’s not perfect, but neither will any recommendation that anyone makes to alter it.  What works for my body and what works for your body are going to be two completely different things.  I’m going to go with what I’ve cooked up, and you should do what you think is a better routine.  In other words, keep it to your damned self.
  3. The DietBet is set for 6 weeks to coincide with the run of the Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network.  For those of you who want to keep going for the full 3 month span, let us know, and we can launch the additional 6 weeks at the completion of the first challenge.  There is a $35 minimum we can set for the ante on the DietBet.  I wish it were cheaper, but if it were cheaper it might stifle your motivation.
  4. Seriously, I was doing so well, how did I get so fat in the last few months?