At age 58, John Rzeznik has no time to slack off, onstage or in the gym. The Goo Goo Dolls frontman still has plenty of music to create and thousands of fans to perform in front of nearly. Most important, he needs to be his best version for his young daughter who’s going needs her dad escorting her to school each morning.
And appearance-wise, by looking at him onstage rocking a tank top while banging out the dozens of rock classics the band has delivered since the ’80s, Rzeznik’s still-shredded biceps at this age are the opposite of similar age fathers who choose to cover up their dad bods. And the best is yet to come, the ageless artist says. By his own admission, Rzeznik is leaner, stronger, and setting PRs in the gym today, a feat his 25-year-old self could never fulfill
He’s also cleaner, ditching the alcohol and drugs and opting for Whole Foods along some RedCon1 MREs while on the road.
“I mean, I quit drinking and quit smoking, I even quit eating a lot of crap,” he says. “I’ve just gotten a lot more experience on how to take care of my body, exercise and diet, and trying to do a little bit of stress relief and trying to get my head together like that. But the most important thing is the workout the exercise because I’m 58 years old now, back in my 30s, it was a lot easier to bounce back.
More than 25 years since Buffalo-based alt rockers tore up the charts with their classic album “Dizzy Up the Girl, Rzeznik is still belting out top tunes such as “Slide” and “Iris,” and has several worldwide tour dates lined up in February in Australia and New Zealand. Performing at his best night after requires a steady regimen of training every day no matter the city, keeping his diet relatively clean, and keeping his voice at peak levels.
And as one of rock’s elder statesmen, Rzeznik looks to other icons as motivation to keep fit and perform for as long as fans continue packing venues.
“I mean, we got to tour with the Stones [in 1989],” he recalls. “I was watching [Mick] one night and that guy pulled his shirt up, and I was like, how do you do that? It was just crazy then. But I don’t see why I can’t go into my 70s.”
It’s all in the Routine
Before a pair of platinum-selling albums “A Boy Named Goo” and “Dizzy Up the Girl,” turned them into worldwide superstars, Rzeznik and the rest of the band were a bunch of twentysomethings from Buffalo driving from gig to gig in an old used van. Despite the less than ideal environments back then, Rzeznik would still make it a priority to find a gym—preferably free—when he rolled into any college town and get in a good workout, as well as a bath.
“We were young, back then we looked like we were going to college there,” Rzeznik recalls. “So we’d literally just pull onto a campus. walk right in, and go use the gym. Then we’d take a shower there because we were traveling around in a van, we’d stink most of the time.”
Now when he travels on the band’s upgraded mode of transportation—Rzeznik brings with him the travel essentials: PowerBlock dumbbells, a pullup bar. Despite maintaining his ripped physique, getting the proper diet is a challenge, he says usually his on-the-road staple is a rotisserie chicken and microwaved sweet potatoes (he also brings along a chef’s knife to help carve up the bird). “The tricky part is eating while on the road,” he admits.
Even though Rzeznik can afford 5-star luxury and amenities, his first option remains old school. “I’m a total fan of the meathead gym because you always have a squat rack,” he says, “and they’ll always have an area to just lift big.” His traveling training routine is simple and non-negotiable: Pick up his rental car, find a Whole Foods to stock up on chicken (with a steak thrown in every once in a while), then Google up the best local gyms in the area and get the workout in. It’s not just to get his body in order, but also to get his head right prior to performing.
“I’ll eat something, go to the gym, and then shake it off—that workout usually gets the blood moving as well as knowing that I kept the commitment to myself,” he says. “That usually brings me out of it, and then come show time, it’s so much easier.
When it comes to training, Rzenik still sticks to the classic one body part per workout regimen. Sometimes he’ll create a workout based on one of his favorite online fitness personalities. “I love Jeff Cavaliere and AthleanX, he says. “I like to sometimes do like hybrids of his workouts.”
Most of the time, however, he’s created his own version of high-volume training—100 reps per exercise. Whether it’s biceps curls or dumbbell rows, according to Rzeznik, the goal is to hit the century mark with as little rest as possible. It may take a few breaks and a few breaths, but the singer hits the mark and feels the burn.
Performing 100 reps is an acquired training taste, he says, but the results speak for themselves. For a singer pushing 60, he’s putting numbers that the 30-year-old Goo Good Dolls singer could never achieve. His proudest achievement so far is hitting double-digit pullups post-50.
“I’m stronger than I’ve ever been,” he brags, “I couldn’t do a pullup back then, now, 25 years later, I can knock out 10.”
According to John Rzeznik, a Good Singer Requires a Good Set of Glutes
If you’ve attended a Goo Goo Dolls concert lately, you may have noticed Rzeznik has barely lost a step of his high-energy musical pace if any, although he admits the band requires a day after three straight days of performances. He normally uses a heart rate monitor to keep track of his onstage performance progress, which sometimes doubles as not just a concert for thousands of fans, but a physically and cardiovascularly taxing workout.
“For most of the show, I’m kind of up like, in around that like, 70% heart rate max, so I’m actually getting some cardio in while I’m singing,” he says.
Despite the high-intensity stage show he brings, his training is a little different than your normal athlete. However a musician does run into the occasional the wear and tear injuries. For Rzeznik, he’ll normally check in with a physical therapist to treat the occasional tennis elbow he’s developed from years of guitar playing may flare up or some knee aches from the constant stage running back and forth. Nothing too out of the ordinary.
However, a fitness element unique to musicians—particularly singers, is keeping the vocal cords healthy. It’s another training layer Rzeznik has had to be aware of in order to continue performing at a high level. Although for the average shower-singing individual, some octave training exercises may seem sufficient, Rzeznik works nearly an hour a day keeping his voice strong with both vocal exercises,
To keep maintaining the musical mastery he has for nearly five decades, Rzeznik has to train his vocal cords, with the help of vocal coach Eric Vetro. “He’s incredible,” he says. “I’ve learned to do all this crazy core workouts, you know, because it’s like when you sing, you use diaphragmatic breathing, and you have to have a strong core.”
Surprisingly, vocal training for Rzeznik is more than voice work. A strong singer requires a strong backside. Yes, glute and core work. “Have you ever watched a concert film?” Rzeznik asks. ”There’s a lot of guys who just stand there singing and start busting out in a sweat. And you’re like, Why is that guy sweating like that? “It’s because they’re working their core. It’s basically like an isometric exercise.”
In addition to abs work, Rzeznik adds squats and deadlifts for not only strength and size but to sustain his singing style that can wear over the course of an extended world tour.
“It’s important to be physically fit to sing because you you’re engaging your your glutes and your lower abdominal muscles to create the support to get a proper tone,” he says.
John Rzeznik Is Nowhere Near His Final Encore
Now nine years sober, Rzeznik has been a part of rock ‘n’ roll cultural. Although, the party like a rock star mantra will never completely go away, Rzeznik looks at himself and artists like Chris Daughtry, as jacked a musician performing today, as the new norm. More and more artists he says are noticing the obvious correlation between a well-maintained physique and a long and successful career.
“I think as you get older, you better get your ass in shape because nobody really wants to see a an old fat dude on stage,” he says.
He points to ageless rock stars—singers like Bret Michaels, Billy Idol, Sting, Def Leppard’s Phil Collen all maintain nearly the same tktk post 50 and 60 as they did back in their 20s. he points to one of his mentors, legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff, now at age 70 and going stronger than ever, , as the poster child of the modern day musician. “He hits the drums like he’s still in his 20s,” Rzeznik says. “He still enjoys his wine, but he makes sure he fulfills the commitment to himself.”
How long will Rzeznik continue performing worldwide, as he’s about to embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in February. As long he enjoys performing. “I don’t see why I can’t keep doing this well into my 70s. Unless it makes me miserable, then I’m not going to do it.”
Judging by his training and physique, there’s no signs pointing to Rzeznik or the band slowing down, with fans still packing arenas nearly five decades since the Goo Goo Dolls’ debut album. It’s something he’ll always grateful for. “They paid a bunch of money to come see you—you got to deliver,” he says. “I’m grateful that people still come to our shows and I can I can I can support my family playing music. Who would have thought, some punk rock kid from Buffalo?”
And now as a father, staying fit takes on a bigger meaning Rzeznik than extending his stage career, his wellness is critical in order to be his best version for his 7-year-old daughter, Liliana. “I have to be physically prepared,” he says. “I decided it was time to become a dad at 50. When I take her to school and all the dads are 20 or 25 years younger than me. So I have to be in good shape, because she’s counting on me.”
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