Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco on Pasta Binges, Unorthodox Swimming Techniques, and Why You Shouldnāt Train Like J.J. Watt
We caught up with comedian Sebastian Maniscalco to talk about body scans, unorthodox swimming technique, 2:30 am pasta binge sessions with grandpa, and why you shouldnāt workout like J.J. Watt.
Menās Journal: Youāre on the road a lot, how do you manage keeping fit?
Sebastian Maniscalco: My eating habits have fluctuated over the years because I could never control them on tour. After shows, Iād go out to a restaurant and sit down to a steakābut itās midnight! I had to stop that so last year I hired a personal trainer to come with me on the road. Heās structured it and now I have a regimen: We get up first thing in the morning and workout. I found that the morning workouts are better for me because as soon as the day gets a hold of you, youāre toast and getting it in later is much harder.
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MJ: Any secrets to tracking your progress?
SM: I did a DEXA scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), which scans for body fat, visceral fat, and where youāre storing your fat. I needed it on paper because itās one thing to look in the mirror and go, āCrap, Iāve got to work out some more,ā but itās another thing to actually follow your progress and see how much weight and body fat youāve lostāit keeps my momentum going.
MJ: Youāre 45 now, so how has your approach changed?
SM: My shoulder, after years of weight lifting, hurts and running is also hard on my body, so Iāve implemented swimming and my wife has gotten me into Pilates. The swimming has really helped. I donāt even know how to swim correctlyāmy technique stinks and itās not efficientābut Iām burning a lot of calories. Pilates has definitely helped me open up my hips, where I tend to get really tight. This kind of modified, resistant weight training works the muscles, but it doesnāt put so much pressure on the joints.
MJ: Has your buddy J.J. Watt given you any workout tips?
SM: I donāt ask him about physical fitness because this guyās lifting tractor tiresāIām not doing that. Heās not going to give me something that I can probably even accomplish because heās on another level. Iām not looking to do a lot of weights. Iām more interested in how do I not hurt when I sit on an airplane for four hours! But, he does text me for hotel recommendations.
MJ: What are some of your indulgences?
SM: Bread and pasta, the stuff thatās been instilled in me as a young child. Back in my early 20s, Iād come home from the clubs late and my grandfather, who lived with us, would be sleeping on the couch and heād wake up, look at me and ask āpasta?ā Then heād cook up a pound of pasta and weād share itāat 2:30 in the morning! Iād burn it off the next day because of my metabolism, but now that Iām older, Iāve eliminated late-night meals.
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MJ: So whatās dinner look like nowadays?
SM: Sometimes we get a food service that prepares meals for us, and it might be fantastic or it might be mediocre. Sometimes I look at it as just fuel more than the enjoyment of sitting down and talking. There is time for that, and my wife loves it. At 7:00 the conversation happens āWhat are we having for dinner?ā Everything kind of stops for three hours as weāre involved with either cooking it, ordering it, or going out for it. And sometimes you just gotta eat, for 12 minutes straight, and move on.
MJ: You log a lot of hours flying across the country. How do you not have it sabotage your regime?
SM: The key is to get out of my seat and walk around a lot, because the more stationary I am, the more my body starts to have aches and pains. Once I land, I work out right away to get the body moving again. No matter how late it is, Iāll go downstairs at the hotel and Iāll walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes or if the poolās open, Iāll pop in. Stretching has been really key to me, as I have gotten older. Iām trying to do everything that I possibly can to take care of my body. Iām doing a lot of bouncing around the country and Iām very physical onstage, and these techniques will let me continue that. ā As told to Sal Vaglica