‘I never miss a workout’

Editor’s note: Each week of the 10-race Chase, Mark Martin will share his thoughts exclusively with Yahoo! Sports. Martin, 50, goes into Race No. 5 of the Chase second in the points standings.

I spend an hour and a half four days a week working out. When I’m working out, I think about the weights and the rap music that I listen to. I listen to pretty much Gucci Mane all the time. He is who I go straight to every time I turn my iPod on. For now, he’s the man.

Photo Mark Martin works out four days a week, every week.

Monday is back, biceps and abs. This Monday I did five sets of hanging knee raises for my abs. And I did 16 different sets of back exercises and eight different sets of bicep curls. Then I got on the elliptical for 30 minutes.

Tuesday I do shoulders and abs. I think I did crunches on the ball for abs, too, which is something different than the day before. I do 20 sets of shoulder exercises total – five different exercises, 20 different sets.

Wednesday I did legs and cardio again on the elliptical for 30 minutes. Mondays and Wednesdays I also do additional special work on my feet and ankles. I’m working on rehabbing them or strengthening them. That’s separate than my regular routine.

Today, Thursday, I did chest, triceps and abs and hanging knee raises again. Four different exercises for a total of 16 sets there. Then I did two different triceps exercises for eight different sets.

Almost always, depending on what week it is, I do pyramid. I start with lighter weight, do 12 reps, then add weight after each set. I bring it down to seven or eight reps on the last set. That’s typical strength training. Some weeks I flip that around. But that was this past week.

I don’t work with a trainer. I’ve been lifting for nearly 22 years now. I could be a personal trainer. These are my routines that I’ve learned and studied strength training and reading books.

I’ve worked with trainers in the past and it’s just an accumulation of the experience I’ve had and the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years from reading and the experience I have in the gym and with other people.

I have a protein shake almost everyday, either after my workout or for breakfast if it’s a non-workout day. I really like Ultra Met by Champion Nutritioun. I put this stuff called “Peanut Wonder” in it. It’s extremely low fat peanut butter – 85-percent less fat than regular peanut butter. I add some ice and sometimes a banana or half a banana. Sometimes not. Then I blend it. It’s thick. Real thick and icy like a milkshake.

I never miss a workout. It takes me typically four days to get through the total body, every muscle group. I never miss, ever. I do count Sunday as a cardio day (or race day). The strength training part I never miss.

That’s my workout routine to keep me fit for the racing. Right now we’re second in the points, 12 points back of Jimmie Johnson.

I do think the Chase brings some excitement into things. I wasn’t crazy about the idea to start with because I don’t like changing traditions. But after the first year we went through it, I realized how much attention the media gave us, how the majority of the fans took it well. It was a positive for our sport. So the only way you wouldn’t like it is if you had a 300-point advantage and lost it. I haven’t had to experience that one yet!

I still think Jimmie Johnson is Superman, but that doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable. I think the more times someone wins the championship, the less likely you are to win it the next year.

No matter how good those guys are, sooner or later something is going to turn on them. Either someone is going to outrun them, or the racing luck is not going to be there for them, you know.

My team has put me in front of Jimmie a lot this year. It’s not me. It’s not me. But, I know that he’s run second to me a few times this year. And so if this team beat them before, I’m positive we can do it again.

Mark Martin drives the No. 5 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. Send Mark a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Friday, Oct 16, 2009