I interviewed Ray Lewis exclusively for Twinlab at the 2011 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH. This interview originally appeared on twinlabfuel.com on 5/16/2011.
TL: What’s the one track you can always count on to get you amped in the gym?
RL: If I need to crank it I’m definitely going to go with In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins. And it’s not even just the drum solo! It’s more about the message and the way you use it. Ever since I was a child that song has always stuck with me. That’s one of them. It can be slow or it can be fast. I’m more of a mind person in the weight room. I just like to go. Whatever my beats are, they have to be able to keep up with me.
TL: You are known for your motivational locker room speeches. What are some of the things that you tell your team to get them fired up before a game?
RL: Most of the time what I share is real life experiences. The game will fade. We won’t keep up with the game. But what we go through as men will last a lifetime. Sometimes, when you’re in the course of the season, the next game is just the next game. But when you’re facing a team like the defending champs, that’s where you set your bar. And if they’re in our house, well, that is a totally different thought process. All of that combines in the moment. Everything heats up and here we go! My messages are different because they’re never rehearsed. They’re born in the moment.
TL: What’s the most valuable lesson that football has taught you?
RL: That teamwork is everything. There’s no “I” on the football field. We have a total commitment to each other when we’re out there. There is no doubt. It doesn’t matter. The wins and losses of the game don’t resonate with us. What resonates with us is “how much effort would you give for the man next to you.” So when we turn on the film, we’re saying, “Hey, he out-ran you to the ball,” and not, “Oh, you made a mistake!” You’re going to make mistakes. But we’re talking about effort.
TL: How do you feel about partnering up with Twinlab for your signature pre-workout intensity supplement, Power Fuel®?
RL: I just think it’s what was needed. Everyone is looking for that edge, whether it’s for gameday or for practice. And you have all these different products, but what really helps and what really works? I think people will react well to Power Fuel. There’s that old-school relationship saying, “We’ve always been with each other and we’ll always be with each other.” That’s what Twinlab and Ray Lewis is. So I think that when people see it – people who understand Twinlab and understand the longevity of my career – they’ll see that it meshes.
TL: What, in your opinion, has allowed you to enjoy such a long, successful career?
RL: It’s training, it’s diet, and it’s understanding the business better than the coach understands the business. That’s the meat of it. But the root of it is that I’ve never stopped loving the game since day one. If it were a job to me it would be very hard for me to get up in the morning. And why leave something that you can never come back to? Realistically, whether you accept it or not, you only get one wave in this journey. Run at it as hard as you can.
TL: What is your opinion on great players who wind their careers down by hopping from team to team all the way to retirement?
RL: I’ve always chased the game for a legacy. I’ve never chased the game for anything else. A championship is a team goal, not an individual goal. So when that day finally comes, it comes, but to go up and down like that, man, I love the game too much to do that. I’ve been playing in the league for 15 years now, and I’ve seen some of the greatest players get traded away and go to other teams and it’s just something that I could never see myself doing. I could never see myself putting on another color jersey.
TL: How has understanding your diet helped you achieve peak performance?
RL: I always look at it like a car. If you want your car to run properly, you’re going to give it the proper check-ups. You’re going to put the right gas in it. You’re going to check the heating system. You’re going to check the fuel line. And it’s the same thing with your body. What are you going to put in your car to keep it going? That’s what I try to tell young kids. I don’t care if you’re 12, 13 or 15 years younger than me; if you come to compete against me on game day, and you just came off a cheeseburger the night before, there’s no way you can whoop me. The only thing you can do is survive for a short time.
TL: What is your training philosophy?
RL: I deal with a lot of muscle confusion. In eleven years I have never done the same workout twice. I don’t train for sports. I’ve never trained for sports. I train for life, and sport is just a part of that. So when I start training, that’s lifestyle training and that’s why I go through so many things, whether it’s yoga, kickboxing, wrestling or swimming. June and July is when I do specified football drills. I go back to catching the ball a lot. I go back to the footwork drills. I get more technical. But when I train, there’s nothing that I leave out. I do it all.