His reg­i­men to keep rock­ing and rolling

Los Angeles Times - - MIND & BODY - By James S. Fell Fell is a cer­ti­fied strength and con­di­tion­ing spe­cial­ist and owner of body­for­wife.com. health@latimes.com

Rock ’ n’ roll taught me it’s bet­ter to burn out than to fade away, and rock ’ n’ roll was wrong. Be­ing a mu­si­cian isn’t a ca­reer known for pro­mot­ing health, but there are those who buck this trend. ¶ At 57, Def Lep­pard gui­tarist Phil Collen has a mus­cu­lar frame. Like many a young rocker, he overindulged; but then he saw that health­ful eat­ing and in­tense ex­er­cise would al­low him to rock on through the ages. He’s tour­ing with Def Lep­pard, and his blues band Delta Deep’s de­but al­bum ar­rived Tues­day. You have a body a 20- year- old would envy. How did the healthy liv­ing thing start for you?

It came when I stopped drink­ing in 1984. It was get­ting out of hand. I tried to do the so­cial drink­ing thing, and I couldn’t do it. I would start with the odd glass of wine, and then it would be shots of Jack Daniel’s by the end of the week. So I thought there could be a prob­lem and I stopped com­pletely. And then there was two ex­tra hours a day be­cause I’d wake up early and not be hung over. So I started jog­ging along the coast in Ire­land. How did things progress from there?

I’m not run­ning much any­more. I’ll oc­ca­sion­ally go on a tread­mill. At first it was just a hodge­podge of ac­tiv­ity. I didn’t re­ally know what I was do­ing. I got into weights but don’t go to a gym. I do ev­ery­thing at home.

On tour I do mostly body­weight ex­er­cise. I’ll just find a bar to do pull- ups on it or do some push- ups. I’ll in­te­grate some in­tense car­dio, like skip­ping rope for a minute and mix in a minute of body- weight ex­er­cise. Even the singing is a work­out. We shout a lot. You’re into mar­tial arts as well. How did that hap­pen?

I was a huge Bruce Lee fan as a kid and had this idea that it was a dark art that was only taught to cer­tain peo­ple. It had this real cool­ness fac­tor for me, and I was stand­ing out­side a dojo in Or­ange County in 1991 and this guy asked if I was in­ter­ested. So he brought me in­side and taught me how to get out of a stran­gle­hold. It was just such a fun ex­pe­ri­ence that I signed up that day. I tried a lot of dif­fer­ent styles of mar­tial arts over the years. How did your train­ing evolve?

I moved onto Muay Thai, and ev­ery­thing changed be­cause we’d spar two to three times a week, but in 2013 I was get­ting into the ring and my ten­don came off the bone in my hand and I couldn’t play guitar.... Now the car­dio work­out is a mix of things. It wasn’t just ex­er­cise, but your diet changed too.

Thirty- two years ago, I be­came a veg­e­tar­ian. I al­ways thought it was a bit weird eat­ing dead bod­ies even though my par­ents said it was all right. But I saw “The Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre,” and that did it. In the movie, they’re do­ing the same thing to peo­ple that they do to an­i­mals, and so I grad­u­ally got off eat­ing meat.... The health thing came way later. Ve­g­an­ism came four years ago, and it was more of a health de­ci­sion.

Jordi Vi­dal Redferns vi a Getty I mages

PHIL COLLEN’S push for f it­ness started with so­bri­ety.

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