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Behind the Body: Pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler

There are two givens in Ryan Sheckler’s regular physical routine: injuries (for example, he currently has a torn MCL and bunk elbow) and getting chased by the police off other people’s property. “It’s gratifying when you’re trying to land a trick and you’re getting yelled at by a cop,” says the legendary skateboarder of the latter. “That’s the point of street skating: skating places you’re not supposed to.”

“That’s the point of street skating: skating places you’re not supposed to.”

As to injuries, the 24-year-old X Games champ, who won gold at the age of 13, says pain is an unavoidable part of good skateboarding. “I don’t ever think about getting hurt—I just know it’s inevitable and part of your life as a professional skateboarder.” That’s why Sheckler, despite a torn MCL, says he’s still competing in the action-packed summer Dew Tour, held August 16 and 17 in Portland, Oregon. “You just don’t think about it,” he says of flipping ticks with a busted knee. To see how he trains through the pain—and what he told us not to print in this column—keep reading.




24 years old


152 lbs.

Training grounds: San Clemente, California. “I train out of my skate park with a group called the [Sheckler] Foundation.”

Nickname: Shecks.

Body fat:“I have no idea. It can’t be that much.”

Hours spent training per day:“When I’m healthy, it just depends on the day. Some days I’ll skate for an hour and if I’m not landing the tricks and I don’t feel right, I’ll stop and go surfing. But other days, I’ll skate the whole day. It really depends.”

Yep, That Really Is a Gold-Plated Skateboard

Days spent training per week: Seven days. “There’s something every day that I spend at least an hour or more on doing to get the sweat going.”

Hours spent in the weight room per week: Four. “I’ll do a full hour of all core or all back or whatever. I do that about four days a week and then go.”

Go-to workout:“I don’t have one—I have to switch it up. I don’t do the same thing ever except for some of the leg workouts. I just like working out. So whatever my trainer wants to do that day, we do it.”

Secret workout: Walking up stairs with a 30-pound weight in each hand. “Nobody’s really doing the same s**t we’re doing. I think this is what makes me comfortable in my skin and keeps my legs super strong. The stronger my legs are, the harder I can hit the ground. I focus a lot on legs just to keep them strong.”

Biggest physical challenge: Listening to his inner voice. “Whenever I wake up in the morning and I’m tired and don’t want to get out bed, or whenever I start making excuses in my head, I try to calm myself down. It’s being able to control your mental and not stress the small things. I write everything down I want to get done, and then I just take a step back and watch myself think. I say to myself, ‘Dude, stop stressing out and do what you need to do.’ And then it usually just happens.”

Best recovery tip: Hydration. “These contests are gnarly, and it’s crucial to be hydrated so you don’t get all messed up. And getting sleep and eating right and trusting yourself—that’s what it all comes down to.”

Calories consumed per day:“I don’t know, but I eat a lot.”

Favorite pre-contest meal: Chicken with mashed potatoes and mac ’n cheese. “I just like to eat good things—things I know will make me happy.”

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Typical recovery meal: A cheeseburger. “I exert so much energy in my workouts that, afterward, I always want a cheeseburger. But I make them myself. I get the meat from Trader Joe’s and barbecue one up at my house.”

Celebration meal: Steak or sushi. “If there’s a Ruth’s Chris [steakhouse] around, I might go out and get a real nice steak. I don’t eat fish before a contest because it can mess up my stomach, but if I win, I always crave sushi.”

Biggest dietary vice: Anything Doritos. “Any flavor, they will disappear. I love them, but I don’t buy them.”

Alcohol of choice:“I don’t drink.”

On what it takes to do tricks:“Repetition is key. You just have to practice. Get a trick in your head and then practice it until your blue in the face. You have to trust yourself. Trust the motion; trust your feet. I tell kids, ‘Don’t give up, have fun, and make sure you’re smiling, because that’s why you started skateboarding. You can’t go skateboard and get stressed out and start throwing your board around. If you feel like that, you should just go home.’”

On his relationship with the police:“That’s what makes it fun. It’s gratifying when you’re trying to land a trick and you’re getting yelled at by a cop. That’s the point of street skating: skating places you’re not supposed to. We’re always skating on public property and getting chased by the cops.”

On what his female fans have to say about his body:“Anything you can imagine, they’ve said. It’s all really inappropriate that you can’t even put it in this interview.”

On what he thinks about his body:“I think I’m pretty damn fit right now. My knee hurts and I have pretty bunk elbow, but I’m completely happy in my skin.”