Oleg Prudius (aka Vladimir Kozlov) has been a professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment and Japan's Inoki Genome Federation, where he competes several weeks each year. After immigrating from the Soviet Ukraine, he played college football and won national sambo and kickboxing titles.
Although professional wrestling is not as hard as his other sports, he enjoys entertaining fans, and does get injured. He has the bone chips to prove it.
Q: Why do you keep fit?
A: For wrestling, we're supposed to be in good shape all the time, be very strong, have good cardio. So all my exercises are cardio and lifting weights, and I have to be flexible. I stretch a lot. I have a lifetime in athletics so this is normal.
Q: What's your workout routine?
A: Often I exercise twice a day. In the morning, I run on the beach one hour, or ride my bike 1 1/2 hours. Sometimes I swim 30 minutes in the ocean. The worst part is the jellyfish!
Nighttime is the gym and cardio again. I lift at Crunch. For power I dead-lift, bench-press, squat, jerk. I'm not super-heavyweight. My best bench press is 550 [pounds] and my best squat is 750. I like to work out with the kettlebell, Russian style. Good for conditioning and functional muscles. One exercise combines everything.
Two or three times a week I also go to a boxing gym and wrestle.
Q: How do you train for pro wrestling in South Florida?
A: With a boxing trainer for 1 1/2 hours at Moti Horenstein's Mixed Martial Arts [in North Miami Beach]. When I was with WWE, I was in training camp for almost two years. I now need to just keep in good shape and condition. Before going to Japan, I increase training.
Q: Seriously, how tough is pro wrestling?
A: Still you can get injured. You slam, get hit, and it's a hard schedule. You travel five, six days a week. You can drive over a thousand miles [between matches].
Q: Why did you switch to wrestling?
A: I have acted in a few movies and wanted to combine that with sports. Professional wrestling is sports entertainment in front of a crowd in an arena.
Q: What injuries have you sustained?
A: I used to have hamstring, knee, elbow problems, bone chips. But basically you have to stretch all the time to protect yourself. I got bone chips from hitting the pole and landing on the ring.
Q: Does your family keep fit?
A: Yes, my girlfriend [Maria Smirnova] bikes, and we go to the gym together. It helps me a lot. She keeps a very healthy lifestyle.
Q: What's your typical daily diet?
A: I change it a little bit. On the road, sometimes it's hard to eat clean. When I come back, I try to eat at a high-protein level. Usually eat lots of carbs in the morning: oatmeal, rice … Afternoon, I shut down carbs and eat more protein like fish, chicken. I eat five or six meals a day, every two or three hours.
Q: What do you drink?
A: A lot of water. Morning, orange juice. Sometimes red wine for social life.
Q: Do you take any vitamins or sports nutrition products?
A: Lots of fish oil for joints, multi-vitamins, and different types of complexes for protein.
Stretching, flexibility are key, professional wrestler says
South Florida¿s Oleg Prudius has been a professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment and Japan¿s Inoki Genome Federation. (Oleg Prudius/Courtesy)