When Herschel Walker played for the New Jersey Generals in the now disbanded USFL from 1983 to 1985, his boss was billionaire Mogul Donald Trump. He became close to the team owner and his family. While training in Orlando, Walker brought Trump and his children to Disney World.
Well, it's certainly a small world, because after Donald Trump became president, he called Walker to the president's advice on sports, fitness, and nutrition. The aim of the council is to increase the athletic participation of young people of all backgrounds and abilities and to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for all Americans.
One of the greatest all-round athletes of all time (football and track star, Olympian, MMA fighter – only in the forties). The 58-year-old Walker practices what he preaches and continues to impress with a training regime that he has been doing every day since he was 12 years old. "I always train. I never missed a day."
Here is Walker's attitude to training, nutrition, and fitness in the United States.
What is your goal as co-chair of the Presidential Council for Sports, Fitness and Nutrition?
We are an obese country. Our young people play more video games than exercise. Team sports are becoming so competitive that parents have to pay and don't have the money.
When I became a member of the council, I got my high school class together and we got the city of my hometown in Georgia to give us six acres to build a fitness park. We will build a chin-up bar, dip bars and climbing frames. I don't build a basketball court or fields. There will be a trail where people can walk and walk around. In this way you also get community. I have to practice what I preach.
Children years ago jumped rope and had fun, but that was practice. Today you can no longer see climbing frames in the school playground. Children did climbing poles and pull-ups. They didn't even know they were training and now they don't have it anymore. Now they have a computer or avatar to train for. A child could break an arm in a jungle gym, but that will heal. His obesity will kill him.
What was your experience of working with the federal government like?
I want to do something in Washington, but I didn't know how slow Washington is moving.
It was a challenge. I've been trying to say goodbye to the Fit Bill for 18 years. It's a bill to incentivize training. It allows people to write off before taxes if you pay to play with your kids or your gym membership. The bill was admitted to the Ways and Means Committee in 2019, but has run out of steam in the Senate, but I'm still trying to enforce it.
What is your current training routine?
Not much has changed since I started as a child. I still do pushups – I reduced them from 3,000 to 1,500 when I got into boxing and martial arts – 3,500 sit-ups, ride 30 miles on my exercise bike, then go out and jog, do 500 dips and at least 150 pull-ups. I jump rope. I am still doing martial arts exercises.
How did this training come about?
I was obese, I was not athletic at all. I was beaten up when I was 12. I remember crying and going home saying that enough is enough. I started exercising and overcame so much. Then I became obsessed with it. I didn't think about playing soccer – it wasn't a big deal. I was just trying to get through tomorrow.
Didn't you do ballet too?
I studied it for about 10 years. When I got into martial arts – I thought I could be the next Bruce Lee – I thought ballet could help with flexibility. Before I came to MMA, it was the hardest thing I've ever done about football and athletics. I used muscles that I had never used. Ballet is very tough because of the discipline you have with your muscles.
What was your MMA experience like?
I loved it! It's one of the best sports I've ever done in my life. I trained myself and then met Scott Coker and Bob Cook. I moved to San Jose, California for about a year and did six days a week at the American Kickboxing Academy.
I was a fifth degree black belt in Taekwondo. Most people don't know that I went to college taekwondo tournaments on Sundays, one day after playing football. That didn't help me in the octagon. It's a tough sport!
What is your diet like today?
My diet is not the best in the world – I eat one meal a day, it consists of salads and soups. I don't eat a lot of red meat, I don't like fish. I still have sweets, but with my food. I eat what I want, but I train so much that I burn it. My diet is so unusual and I am as healthy as a horse.
Why a meal a day?
I did that in high school, college, professional football. I don't live to eat, I eat to live. We eat too much in this country anyway.
When we played on Sundays, I never ate the meals before the game. I ate Saturday night, then maybe Monday or late Sunday after the game. If you eat a meal before the game, you won't get your energy there. It is from Saturday evening. If you eat a meal before the game, you become sluggish. That is my stupid philosophy.
Who was the only one in the NFL you wanted to run over?
Lawrence Taylor. They always wanted to get the best out of him, but they couldn't. The guy was a great athlete.
Check back to Muscle & fitness More information from members of the Presidential Council for Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.