On July 20th, Southpaw — starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, and Forest Whitaker — celebrated its New York premiere. But, it wasn’t just the dramatic story of down-on-his-luck boxer Billy Hope that made its debut. So did Eminem’s new physique. Not so unlike Gyllenhaal’s Hope (who Eminem was originally slated to play), Eminem had to fight his way back to being the slim version of Slim Shady.
In an article published in the most recent issue of Men’s Journal, Eminem recounted his battle with addiction and the weight loss that came with beating it. In the beginning, when he was still fighting an addiction to prescription drugs, he still worked out, but his dedication was halfhearted. “I’m not sure exactly when I finally got it. In the early days, I just went with the flow: If I could hit a gym, I’d hit up a gym. If someone suggested a workout that seemed legit, I might try it, but it wasn’t a priority.” He explains he didn’t want to get big, instead he wanted to maintain his cardio endurance. He never wanted to be out of breath anywhere…especially not onstage.
But, by the time he overdosed in 2007 at age 35, he says he was close to 230 pounds. Standing at 5’8,” his BMI was about 35, which meant Eminem — at least according to the charts — was bordering on being morbidly obese. He says he thinks his addiction had a lot to do with it. “I’m not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas. The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I’d been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomachache, I was constantly eating — and eating badly.”
Eminem told Men’s Journal, that upon leaving rehab, he needed to find a new way to function. He threw himself into running, which helped ease his insomnia (something he previously tried to manage with drugs) and gave him an endorphin kick. He got down to 149 pounds, but says “I think I got a little carried away. I became a f-ing hamster. Seventeen miles a day on a treadmill…All the constant pounding from the running began to tear up my hip flexors.”
In an effort to keep up the cardio but ease up on the running, he tried INSANITY. In the beginning, he’d run one day and do INSANITY the next. “Then I stopped running altogether because it was too much to do them both. INSANITY won.” After that, he moved on to P90X and then to Body Beast, which is his current favorite.
“Now every morning before I go to the studio, I do the Body Beast workout with free weights, bench, and pullup bar at home. It’s just me, so it helps that the Body Beast dude is over-the-top. The routine is pretty intense, too. The first time I did the legs, I couldn’t walk for two days.”
For the full story, click here. And, congratulations to Eminem. Beating addiction and losing 81 pounds in the process is a huge success.