Johnny Weir could win Olympic figure-skating gold this week. He might get a medal for most quotable athlete, too. Nicknamed “Tinkerbell,” the 21-year-old from the Skating Club of New York is known for his Balenciaga-bag habit, his giant fur stoles, and his arch commentary—he recently described one of his costumes as “Care Bear on acid” and his attitude to travel as “princessy.” Weir does, however, have a serious side: the fitness routine that’s allowed him to overcome devastating knee and ankle injuries. Here’s his daily regimen.
Five days a week, Weir hits his training rink in Delaware for 75 minutes in the morning and two hours and fifteen minutes in the afternoon, without breaks.
While blasting Madonna—“I’m really loving ‘Sorry’ from her new CD,” he says—Weir speed-skates across the rink and attempts a triple jump at each end. He fits fifteen jumps into one minute; a typical performance has eight jumps in four. “I need music that gets me angry,” he says.
STRENGTH AND AGILITY
Off the ice, Weir is guided by his trainer, Carolanne Leone. To warm up, he tucks his chin to his chest and “rolls” his body forward, then back up, articulating every vertebra in his spine.
Leone sets a weighted body bar across the flat bottom of this half-sphere, then Weir does ten to twenty push-ups. The ball’s instability makes balancing difficult.
Weir stands on the spherical side of the Bosu with a body ball pressed against the wall behind him and another between his knees. He holds a medicine ball outstretched and balances a rubber orange cone on his head, then does ten slow squats. This keeps his body strictly aligned and requires him to stabilize himself using his “core” (deep abdominal muscles). “With the new judging system,” says Weir, “the spins are very difficult. You need a strong core to pull yourself into crazy positions.”
“It’s all about looking cute when you’re working out,” claims Weir. Wearing his customized Nikes—they say dirrty, in homage to his idol Christina Aguilera—Weir stands on top of the Bosu. He uses his core to stabilize himself as he tosses the medicine ball back and forth to Leone.
Leone puts Weir through a full routine on this apparatus with a moving “carriage.” Weir’s favorite part is the ab-killer “the hundreds.” Lying down with arms and legs extended into a V, he contracts his abs and waves his arms downward as he inhales and exhales for five counts, ten times.
To work on the power bursts he needs for triple axels, Weir lays on the Reformer and pushes backward off a springboard. The key is to explode, then stay suspended as long as possible before landing softly. “I’m naturally very long-limbed and stretchy,” says Weir. “There are acrobatic things that we do just because it looks pretty, but it’s hard work.”
The chair lift.
Weir gets into a push-up position in front of the Wunda Chair, a Pilates apparatus; his toes press down on its tightly spring-loaded foot bar. Weir forces the bar down, then shifts his weight to his shoulders and core, which “lifts” the bar upward. Remaining stable requires immense effort.
“I don’t eat as much as an athlete should,” says Weir. “I just don’t like it.” Breakfast is coffee and vitamins. Lunch is fruit nectar. When he eats dinner, it’s steak and salad. Weir treats himself to Zone bars during competition and—once a year—angel-food cake with strawberries and heavy whipped cream. “I love black caviar, but it has to be from Astrakhan,” says Weir. “I drink Vitamin Water nonstop—I should have an IV.”
Six hours, minimum.
“I’m an insomniac,” says Weir. “Ambien is my best friend.”