"I'm pretty hardcore," says professional magician Justin Impossible about his bodybuilding regimen. He didn't start that way. He initially wanted only to look better on stage, and that blossomed into something much more rigorous.
The 36-year-old performer is now training hard at the gym – and in the pool – for the NPC Best Of The West bodybuilding and physique competition in Reno, Nevada, this October. His secret fat-burning weapon: the Original Endless Pool® in his sunroom. As his trainer puts it, "You'll get worked swimming!"
Swimming for Rock-hard Results
Justin trains with Carlos Pinto, a registered pro with the International Federation of Bodybuilders. At the start, Justin recalls, "I wasn't swimming religiously – maybe two or three times a week." When he told Carlos about his ability to swim in place at home in his Endless Pool, "He was totally on board."
The previous year, Carlos attended a physique show and met one of the event's dominant competitors. As Justin heard it, "He just destroyed the show; he got first in multiple categories." Carlos asked the winner about his cardio routine, and "He said 'I swim 11 laps a day.'
"For cardio, most bodybuilders don’t swim," Justin acknowledges. "They're big and probably they're not comfortable in the water." But unlike running, "The pool works your entire body as a full-body exercise.
"Swimming really stretches my body out. I love breaststroke because it really works the chest. It stretches me out especially after chest day and arm day."
HIITting the Pool
Many bodybuilders have turned to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for its ability to burn fat fast and efficiently. A HIIT workout is any routine that alternates quick, unsustainable bursts of exercise with gentler periods of active recovery. Justin does his HIIT workouts in the pool.
"I'll go 20 seconds all-out sprint swimming – which is great in the Endless Pool, you just crank it up – then rest for 30 seconds, and go again for 20. It just destroys you.
"It's just a great workout," he finds.
Convenience for a Strict Regimen
Per Justin's strict bodybuilding regimen, he wakes, drinks a shake, swims, eats, waits 90 minutes, then works out. With the Endless Pool just steps away in his sunroom, "I can just wake up, roll out of bed, and get right in the pool. I don't have to go to the gym until later.
"It's really really easy because I have the pool right there. But it would be difficult" without the Endless Pool at home. For his cardio, he swims 30 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes at night, six days a week.
"My buddy Jordan has a [traditional] pool; and he goes to the gym and swims. He doesn't use his own pool for that!" Fortunately, Justin's Endless Pool lets him get a rigorous, uninterrupted swim, thanks to the pool's adjustable current.
A Sunroom Beats a Sweaty Gym
"I've had my Endless Pool for 3 years now," notes Justin. The swimming pool was installed in 2004 by his father, from whom Justin purchased the house in 2015. The property is secluded and "completely off the grid. The only thing not on solar is the pool pump, and I'm getting that converted over. It was too cool a house to pass up."
The sunroom pool remains a key gathering area. "Everyone loves to come in the pool," he sees, particularly his girlfriend and her daughters. "You get on the floating devices, turn [the current] up, and everyone has a blast. They love swimming in it and playing in it."
For his cardio training, Justin says, "I hop in the pool at 5:30 or 6 am, and it's nice when you're in the pool and the sun rises up and it hits your back. It's beautiful while you're swimming. It's very peaceful."
Keeping up Appearances
Initially, Justin planned a more modest regimen. "A year ago, I was performing for Microsoft, and I saw a picture of myself on stage. I felt like I could look better. People are paying me to perform, to be the best magician on stage for their clients and company."
He revamped his on-stage wardrobe and appearance. Also, he thought, "I want to dial in shape-wise." Once he achieved his initial goals, he chose to push it further. "If you're going to get down to 10% body fat, you might as well give it another five weeks and see what you can do with your body," he reasoned.
He's committed to bodybuilding now, but he has a sense of perspective about it. "I'm literally just doing it for fun. I have a good number of friends who do it. Also I'm increasing my gym IQ at the same time."
This October, Justin will have the opportunity to show off the results of all that lifting and swimming. We wish him all the best as he takes the stage, not as a magician, but as one of Reno's most promising new bodybuilders.