A chat with OVO trainer Jonny Roxx about the secret to Drake's beefiness.
At several weeks atop of the Billboard charts, Drake’s new album More Life isn’t the only thing blowing up right now. Hit up his Instagram and you’ll see Toronto’s finest has gone from trim and toned to straight-up swole. We caught up with his good friend and personal trainer, OVO pal Jonny Roxx, to crush a few push-ups at the launch of GapFit’s new line and get the lowdown on what makes Drake tick in the gym.
GQ: I’ve seen Drake live. Crowds love him. Women lose their minds. But what’s he like inside the gym?
Jonny Roxx: When he comes in, he’s focused and set to go. At the gym we have fun, but it’s business too. I try to have fun with everyone that I train, him included.
What’s your method with him? Do you do the typical leg day, back day, abs day, etc.?
Oh, we have a full program. When he’s going in for a movie role or tour, we have a program that we set to accomplish the goals at hand. Generally speaking, it’s not really body-building, it’s more all-around fitness. There was a point that I shredded him down 30 pounds because he wanted to look nice and thin in suits. Now we’re on this new phase where he wants to look bigger, so that’s what we’re working on.
What are the things that Drake wants to focus on right now?
I mean, we’re always building endurance for tour. But right now I’d say that the focus is rest. We’ll get back into the gym soon enough.
Well, that makes sense. By my research, the guy hit 56 shows in 80 days during his Summer Sixteen tour last summer.
Eighty-eight shows, actually.
Eighty-eight shows. So how’s he find the time to work out? Isn’t he tired?
He finds the time every single show. About an hour before he’s out on stage, he’s getting it in. Whether we’re working out, whether he’s doing soft tissue work, whether he’s doing stretching or doing dynamic work—we always do something to get him going before he gets on stage.
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So wait, you’re saying even Drake hits the foam roller?
Well, we have a guy who comes in.
[Laughs.] I’d pay a decent price to watch him foam roll. But if it’s not foam rolling that he really loves, what is it that he’s really about when it comes to fitness?
I think his favorite thing is results. As far as workouts go, he’s on the ball. He’ll just look at me and be like “tell me what I should do.” He’s really willing to do anything, except burpees.
I stand corrected. Next to the foam roller, that’s another thing I’d pay to see. Drake doing a burpee.
The thing is he has those down perfectly. Yeah, he wants the guns to be popping, and I program in stuff to make sure we’re working that stuff. But overall, our main focus is just health for him. I want things to be optimal in every way, so whether it’s being flexible with mobility, having the right recovery, getting enough sleep. We workout hard. We recover hard.
So let’s talk recovery. When it comes to that, what do you preach?
I just keep him stretching. We have a physiotherapist that travels with us named Charlie from London. We’re moving, we’re incorporating dynamic stretching. Movements like quad pulls, hip extensions, lunges.
What does Drake listen to when he works out?
In the gym we jam out all the time, we listen to a lot to the kids that are out now. But overall, we just love good music. It doesn’t matter what type it is, as long as it makes you move. Sometimes you’ll even hear merengue. For us, it’s all about the feeling that’s pumping you up.
"He’s really willing to do anything, except burpees."
Does Drake ever listen to Drake in the gym?
We listen to the music that he’s created before he’s put it out. While he’s working out, he’s still working in his mind. Hardest working guy I’ve ever met in my entire life. Even when he’s in the gym, he’s working. Mid-bicep curl, I’ll look at him, see his face and be like-what’s up man? He’ll be thinking things like “what’s the video for this song?” or “I should change this lyric.”
When you’re not in the gym with him and he’s in there putting in work, what’s he likely to get after without you giving him the play-by-play?
Oh man. I mean, he’s got some go-tos for sure. I’d say shoulder presses. Hit the incline bench. Some pull-ups. Muscle-ups.
Drake can do a muscle-up?
Of course. Have you seen him?! Don’t miss it, he’s winning over here.