By Nicole Berrie
Photography by Sasha Israel
“I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S A MISCONCEPTION,” says Greg Andrews (AKA DJ Ruckus), when asked about the so-called hard-partying habits of the DJ lifestyle. “It’s really easy to party in our world. Everybody loves music, so our access to life is the best that it gets. But there’s a few of us that try to stay in shape.” Indeed, the in-demand DJ/producer has deciphered the tricky balance between partying like a rock-, ahem, DJ in celebrity playpens around the world, and moonlighting as a fit model complete with spreads in GQ and Men’s Health. “There’s discipline to working out,” explains the Atlanta native who when not criss-crossing the globe for A-list clients including Steven Spielberg, Harvey Weinstein and Naomi Campbell splits his time between L.A., New York and Miami. “You make sure that you can get up the next day to do it, so everything comes out of your system a little bit faster.” Below, we caught up with Ruckus at UFC Gym in the Financial District where he discussed headphones, protein shakes and how he amps up his regimen for the occasional nude photo shoot.
What do you like about boxing, ju-jitsu and Muay Thai as a form of exercise?
Lifting weights gets boring unless you’re just excited about the results. You need an activity that engages you. Fighting requires numbers and counting. I equate it to music. It’s like a dance. I’m calling out numbers, dipping and dodging, making people miss and getting out of the way. It’s all timing, just like music.
How has this particular workout gotten you more in shape than others?
When you enjoy it, you push it a little further. If you don’t like it, you’re waiting for it to be over. When I’m home for five days, I go everyday and push my limits.
How often do you work out?
It depends because of my travel schedule. I try to do it everyday and rest on Saturday or Sunday. But sometimes I get in two workouts a week because I’m just so busy. I gotta sleep too.
How long are your workouts?
When I really need to get back into it, just being in the atmosphere helps, so I’ll do 2.5 hours. That’s a really long day. But some days I can knock it out in 30-35 minutes. If you really push it, you can exhaust yourself in 20 minutes. It’s just about your intervals, how much weight you’re lifting and how fast you move through the circuit.
Why is fitness important to you?
It makes you feel good. Especially if you’re up late nights or if you drink alcohol, you get back to life quicker. During my DJ sets, I really like to engage my crowd and keep my energy up while I’m performing because it exudes across the room. People see you having a good time, singing the words, cutting and scratching. It takes a lot of energy to keep that going. I stop thinking when I get physically tired, I forget what my next song is, my energy dies and the rest of energy of the party dies. You don’t necessarily know why, you could just be going through the motions and realize, what happened? You got tired. Energy is extremely important and working out keeps you moving.
Does your fitness regimen change while you’re traveling?
I try to make sure there’s a gym at the hotel. If I have a day off in between, I’ll stay in that town just to workout and leave the next day. Especially if I travel overseas. I equate my wellness to my immune system being strong. So if I’m traveling through Asia or Australia, I make sure that I just get up and workout. It also keeps your jet lag down. Your circadian rhythm stays somewhat normal.
What happens when there’s no gym?
You could very easily do a workout that keeps you in great shape in a hotel room on the floor with a small bench for certain exercises. There’s a lot of lunges and ab sit ups, or you could do upside down pushups to make the weight really heavy. You put your feet against the wall and push up so it’s more of a shoulder and chest press. Then you could do push-ups at different angles, close grip push-ups, wide grip push-ups, plus crawls and mountain climbers.
What’s your approach to diet and food?
I crave healthy food, I like healthy food. That’s why I live in L.A. It’s the first place where it was popular in a major city. I lived in Georgia for a while, I couldn’t even find unsweetened tea. New York is probably second in line with healthy food and fresh juices.
So you like to drink fresh juices?
I am a juice fanatic. As long as it’s got a good mix of vegetable and fruit and it’s not too crazy green.
Take us through a day in the life of Ruckus?
When I’m trying to be on my Donald Trump, I get up at 7 in the morning, go and make phone calls, send emails trying to beat my managers. Other times, I’m knocked out until 4 or 5 P.M. because I DJ’d until some hour. But on a good healthy day, I get up at 10 A.M. even after working and get a juice. When I’m in New York, I go and buy a block of it just to have. I’m not crazy healthy about breakfast because it’s something that you burn off all day. Clinton St. Bakery makes a biscuit breakfast sandwich that I absolutely love. As long as the places that I eat are clean. I don’t eat fast food at all. For lunch, I go to Miss Lily’s and get curry chicken and rice and beans. I love Bahamaian and Cuban foods. For dinner, a lot of fish, vegetables, mashed potatoes.
Do you take any supplements when you’re training extra hard?
If I’m working out 3-5 times a week, I have a protein shake afterwards. If I’m trying to get as shredded as possible to gain weight, I try to have protein shakes 3-5 times a day. You need a gram of protein for every pound of weight that you are throughout the day in order to gain and maintain weight. I do that if I’m on my beach body game or I know I have a shoot coming up where I want to be shredded. I did a shoot for Marc Jacobs where I had to be nude, so I was like, let’s make sure we workout before that.
What do you do for cardio?
The thing I love about LA is hiking. There’s Beachwood Canyon, Runyon Canyon, the Santa Monica stairs and the Hollywood Resevoir. We have this one called “Regulating the Hill,” where me and my buddies basically run to the back of the Hollywood sign, which is 4.5 miles each way. I don’t run a ton on the treadmill. I usually do it for a warm-up. I run about 1 mile, at 6-7 speed, which is a 9 or 10 minute mile.
Do you have any tricks to staying healthy on the job?
Water shots! Give everybody else tequila. There are certain DJs that DJ better drunk, I’m not one of them.
What is your cocktail of choice when you do drink?
Tequila on the rocks with lime. It seems to be the cleanest since it’s agave and a so-called upper. It’s not made from potatoes or grapes so you don’t get these sugar or starch hangovers.
Do you take vitamins or supplements while traveling?
I live by them. I keep a sack of them on the road from Wellness Formula to Men’s Health 1 a Day to colloidal silver, which is great for an immune system builder. I also take chloryphll, Emergen-C and shots of E3 Live. The more supplements the better. I take them ahead of time because by the time you get sick, it’s too late.
What do you like to workout in?
Nike running tights. I call them swimming pants. They’re great for comfort and stretching. I have hundreds of pairs in different colors, shapes and sizes. All the Nike Air Pro Combat stuff is amazing. Also Uniqlo are my favorite for Dri-Fit, they’re cheap as hell and they fit great. I’m rocking the Nike Pegasus sneakers right now. The Frees and the Knits are cool too.
Do you do anything to keep balanced spiritually?
I meditate. I sit for a good 10 minutes in the morning before I get my day going. It keeps me from verbal diarrhea. I try to get around some nature if possible but otherwise I do it in bed before I start moving. I also like to read self-improvement books and a lot of them teach meditation like 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, Power of Now, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle anything. All that kind of stuff is great.
What headphones do you wear while working ou?
The Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats sweat-resistant earbuds. I’ve tried 4,000 of them and they’re the best ones. They lock around your ears. So many fall out of your ear and it’s the worst thing. I walk around the club in them because I can answer my phone, play music and they never fall out.
What music do you like to listen to when you workout?
I like ratchet hip-hop. A Type A Way, Ace Hood, Young Jeezy or metal bands like System of a Down, The Mars Volta or A Perfect Circle. The dirtier, the angrier the better.
What do you not want to listen to when working out?
Lorde or Mumford and Sons. Pitbull & Ke$ha’s Timber. It doesn’t do it for me. But I actually said to somebody the other day, I realize that I like this song. It’s a good record.
Ruckus’ UFC Workout Video
For Ruckus’ Mixtape, Click Here
For Ruckus’ Green Apple, Click Here