MOST OF US NEED TO TRAIN for the gauntlet of daily life, not the "American Gladiators" version, a 90-foot- long course guarded by four fearsome warriors in spandex. But with the help of the "American Gladiators Ultimate Workout" ($17, Lionsgate), you'll feel ready to take on either. Led by six of the fan favorites, including Don "Wolf" Yates, viewers will sweat it out through three routines designed to make them Arena-ready.


20081216-wolf-300v.jpgEXPRESS: Don, how did you get the name Wolf?

YATES: We went through a whole lot of names. They were going to call me Chopper. But everything about me screams Wolf.
EXPRESS: Because you growl?
YATES: Actually, I do. I don't howl all the time, but I do growl.
EXPRESS: As you do on this DVD?
YATES: Oh, yeah. We shot the DVD in the middle of shooting the show, so it was fun to go in there and not beat somebody up. It's a lot more fun to goof around. And it's always been my goal to help people get into shape. If your body's in shape, your mind is in shape.
EXPRESS: How in shape are you right now?
YATES: I have to stay in the gym all the time and watch my diet. In my early 20s, I could eat pizza and hamburgers and I would still have a six-pack. That gets harder every year. My abs are my weak point. It is for most guys, especially as you get older. That's where we carry body fat, so I always do my crunches and hanging leg raises.
EXPRESS: What's your gym routine?
YATES: I do a different body part every day in the gym for an hour. I have to be very consistent to stay in shape. You have to focus on the whole body. I also try to do 30 minutes of cardio every morning on an empty stomach so it has to burn body fat. But I have to have three meals before I can lift.
EXPRESS: Have you learned fitness secrets from other Gladiators?
YATES: Siren — she's not on the DVD — is very good at working out outside of the gym. I've gotten a bunch of exercises from her. She'll grab a dumbbell and do kind of like a clean-and-jerk with a one-arm shoulder press. On the treadmill, she'll start skipping and do that for a minute. I've picked up little things like that.
EXPRESS: Do you work out in your costume?
YATES: No, the outfits are like a second skin, but they're only for the show.
EXPRESS: How do you convince guys to try a workout DVD?
YATES: You know who I am — I'm not like a lot of guys who'd do a DVD. I'm a fighter, a brawler. I'm a guy they'd have a drink with at a bar. So, if they see me working out, doing aerobics, they won't think it's so bad. Another thing that's going to help is that any kind of cardio I enjoy is tied into punching and kicking. It's not training you to be a fighter, but it feels good. I love my work, and I take pride in it. I beat people up, and I do it well.
EXPRESS: How does this gig compare to your previous ones?
YATES: I've been a rodeo clown and a bullfighter for 23 years. Every day is a question of life or death. My job is to run into a car wreck while it's happening. So, I've always needed to be in shape.
EXPRESS: But now you also howl?
YATES: It's very important. Everybody needs to howl every few hours. It makes you feel good.

Interview courtesy of Washington Post - Express Wich - Photo courtesy NBC