Greg Plitt: Building More Than Muscle

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By The Editors
Photos by Arsenik Studios Inc. at Battle Arts Academy

1) You’ve been on hundreds of magazine covers. Do you know what this August/September issue of IFM brings the total to?

I hope this does not come across the wrong way, but I’ve honestly lost count of how many covers I have been blessed to land. I keep a binder of all the covers I have been able to get my hands on and after just counting them up, it stands at 216. But there are many covers over the years that I have been unable to get a copy of due to not knowing about them or they were for international publications and I couldn’t get them mailed to me.

2) Wow! What’s your secret?

I see fitness as a lifestyle, not a career. In order to be on so many covers in such a short period of time, one must be in shape and ready to shoot year round with no off-seasons. I always say, when asked when my off-season is, that I don’t have an off-season as that is called unemployment in my field. But more then that, I choose to stay in shape because life is more enriching when you’re in shape. Being in shape is so much more then just your appearance in the mirror or on a cover, it is a mindset and a mind-body connection of confidence.

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3) Your website is an extremely popular forum and source for active men and women. What about it do you find most rewarding?

My website has been one of my life’s passions and has been extremely successful in drawing tens of thousands of members. By far the greatest return of investment from the website has been the transformations I have been blessed to be a part of. I really see it at shows and events where people travel hours and days just to wait in line to meet me and thank me for inspiring them to change their lives. I am blown away by the thousands of people that have lost over a hundred pounds, put on twenty pounds of muscle, landed a fitness cover, a supplement sponsorship or were told by their doctor that they just added 15 years to their life. I am humbled by the strength so many people find on my site and blessed to have a career where I get to share in their wonderful successes.

4) This is our “Outdoor Issue,” and it’s well-known that you are quite the adventurer. What advice can you pass on to those looking to add more adventure to their life?

There is a fine line between courage and stupidity. That said, what some see as crazy others see as normal. Taking adventures is not something you walk into blindly, but rather something you work your way up to as you train and prepare your body and mind. Much like working out, you build on your past performance and try to outdo your last accomplishment. If I were to do the workouts I currently do when I first started in the gym, my body would have shut down due to being overworked. I feel that outdoor adventures are much like growing a strong body and mind in the gym. When you take on a new challenge, like skydiving, you dissect it to learn the physics of the parachute, free fall, emergency procedures, packing your chute correctly, etc. Once you do your homework and training, you start to take out the risk and replace it with education and ability. Slowly you learn to perform in stressful situations while still remaining calm. If you are willing to put the time into any endeavor, you will learn to control the situation to achieve your desired outcome.

5) How do you think you’d fare on one of those crazy survival shows like “Naked and Afraid” or “Survivorman”? Your Army Ranger background, coupled with your current level of fitness, would definitely put you at an advantage.

From just a visual aspect, most say I am in better shape now than when I was when I entered Ranger School. That being said, the shape I was in for Ranger School was entirely different for the mission at hand. The gym itself is never the ‘ends’ but rather the ‘means’ to a desired end. As a fitness model, it is about proportionality and body fat levels, but in the military, it’s about survival. Body fat is essential when in the wild for an extended period of time with limited food, water and rest. I have been approached by many of these shows but have declined due to my desired goals in my current career. Going through Ranger School was much like these shows but to a more extreme level. Although I went into Ranger School in the best shape of my life, it was the mental strength that ultimately decided my success in the program.

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6) What’s the most important thing you took away from your Army Ranger training?

Ranger training is brutal and extreme. To get through it you have to see it as a passageway to the person you want to become. The ability to look past the discomfort and pain of a given situation and envision the pride of finishing is the greatest lesson I took out of Ranger training. This perspective has allowed me to take on any task in life with the confidence needed to succeed. The mentality I learned in the Rangers has given me the strength to make the world my playground. Being in shape has given me the vehicle to drive through it. Having a healthy body and mindset has allowed me to experience what most people only dream of.

7) Do you think that outdoor workouts can be just as effective as those within the gym?

It’s not whether one is better or worse, they both offer different benefits. Each exercise can be used to help you build the best body possible. Our training teaches us when to use each workout. What I particularly love about outdoor workouts is that they are plateau breakers. They increase muscle confusion in the body, because they’re comprised of compound movements, leading to stronger growth in the gym. Repeating the same workouts over and over again gives our bodies the opportunity to find more efficient ways of doing them, which decreases the stress on the desired muscle group, and minimizes growth. I usually save my outdoor workout for the end of the week, after I’ve lifted my entire body in the gym. For example: Monday: chest, Tuesday: back, Wednesday: shoulders, Thursday: arms, Friday: legs, Saturday: outdoor workout (full body).

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