WHEN GORILLAisn't dunking through fiery hoops (left) or rappelling from atop US AirwaysCenter, the Phoenix Suns' famously acrobatic mascot--played for 18 seasons byBob Woolf, now 41--is being flogged into shape by his taskmaster andfather-in-law, Andy Bauman, 64. The former Boston private investigator andmartial arts expert has a regimen that strays far from convention. Gorilla'sodd-looking drills (which he does in full costume, in no set order) and strangeprops are meant to build strength in his core and lower body while elevatinghis heart rate. The randomness is key. "In this job," Woolf says,"you never know what you'll need to pick up, throw over your shoulders andrun up stadium stairs with." Here, a sampling of one of Gorilla'sthrice-weekly workouts.
A hanging, 20-foot-high cargo net, unmoored at the bottom.
Climb from floor to ceiling at full speed. Do two or three times. For addeddifficulty wear a 40-pound weight vest.
Arms, upper body, cardiovascular system.
"It works all my body parts together. With the net loose on the bottom, ithelps with your core balance too."
A hanging, 80-pound bag.
Hang upside down, wrapping feet around the top of bag, ankles crossed behindchain. Do three sets of 12 ab crunches. For added resistance, hold a 12-poundmedicine ball against chest.
Works Core, andinside and outside of legs (from squeezing the bag).
"It really doesn't look like a groin exercise, but you end up workingeverything from your ankles to your groin just by trying to hang on to thatbag."
HUMMER PULL(above right)
One 8,600-pound H2, a utility belt (similar to a workout belt, with a metalloop in back), three feet of inch-thick rope.
With Bauman behind the wheel, Gorilla hooks the rope onto the back of the beltand ties it onto the truck's front bumper. Bauman shifts into neutral. Leadingwith his right foot, Gorilla pumps his legs forward to pull the truck. If hegets into a rhythm, Bauman disrupts it with a gentle tap of the brake. Gorillagoes around the block, about 3/4 of a mile in 20 minutes.
Quads, calves, hamstrings, back.
"After about 10-15 steps, your body is wiped. It wipes out your legs fasterthan any exercise I've ever done with Andy."
A 25-pound log, four feet long, five inches in diameter.
Hold log on shoulders. With feet shoulder width apart, jump onto atwo-foot-high box or platform. Step down backward. Three sets of 25.
Calves, quads and hamstrings, cardio system.
"It's a standard plyometric exercise, but Andy has to throw in somebulkiness [the log]. He wants it to be uncomfortable. It tests yourconcentration too."
YES, HE HAS SOMEBANANAS
Gorilla guzzles more than six quarts of water daily to offset the five to sevenpounds he loses during a Suns game. He also follows a diet, overseen by hiswife, Malarie, that is light on carbs and heavy on organic fruits andvegetables. "She does the shopping," says Gorilla, "I do theeating." Here's a game-day menu.
A two-egg-white burrito with cheese and salsa on a whole-wheat tortilla; onebowl of oatmeal, with steel-cut oats, which is high in fiber.
One bowl of organic free-range grilled chicken and whole-grain rice. "Ican't eat much too close to game time. I'll feel too heavy."
A banana and a spoon of peanut butter. "I grind the peanuts myself. Also,at the movies I'll have Milk Duds."
Bowl of wild lettuce, spinach, albacore tuna, free-range chicken, strawberrybalsamic vinaigrette and poppy seed dressing. "I eat, launder my suit andgo to bed about two."
Photographs by Jason Wise
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (FLAMING HOOP)
LANE STEWART (PEANUTS)
GINA HOUSEMAN (MILK DUDS)