College Football Fans Want to Know How This Ref Got So Jacked, So We Asked Him

·4 min read

More than 100 points were scored in last Saturday’s Red River Showdown. But the most eye-popping attraction at the game wasn’t wearing Texas’ burnt orange or Oklahoma red—he was wearing zebra stripes, and he was absolutely jacked. The game’s head referee, Scott Campbell, was putting on a gun show when handing out personal fouls and false starts, and fans on social media took notice.

“My nephew, who’s 20, checks Instagram and Twitter, and he’s brought it to my attention,” says Campbell, who’s 53. And while he may not have noticed his physique being noticed on social media, he knows the coaches of the Big 12 see it—and hopefully respect him for it.

“The minute you walk out onto the football field, the coaches are already sizing you up, good, bad, or indifferent. If you carry a little extra weight, you can be the best official in the world, but they already have their pre-judgments about you,” he says. “I’ve always tried to put it in my favor: I might not be that good, but if I look the part, it might save me a little trouble during the game.”

Photo credit: ESPN
Photo credit: ESPN

He doesn’t think, though, that it’s ever stopped a player or coach from shouting at him when they disagree with a call.

“At the Power Five level, these guys are so intense, intent on winning, and the pressure’s so great on them, they could probably care less if Arnold Schwarzenegger was the referee,” he says. “They’d probably be chewing his ass, too.”

Campbell didn’t build his body just for throwing flags, though—it's also for saving lives. For 26 years with the San Jose Fire Department as a firefighter and paramedic, Campbell would devote part of each 48- to 120-hour shift in the firehouse to fitness. He’d been lifting since he was 10 years old, and feels his strength work kept him from falling prey to the back injuries that plague firefighters—up until his retirement in September, Campbell says he never had to take a day off for injury.

For the past 15 years, that physicality has also helped him excel as a referee—though his routine has changed to match that job’s unique challenges.

“I’m not trying to bench 400 pounds anymore. As I got older, I realized cardio was more important. Legs, too,” he says. “I’m running around with 18- to 22-year old kids, and I need to keep up with them.”

Don’t be fooled, though: Campbell still throws some iron around to maintain his shirt-stretching physique. Here's his chest day workout—with a cardio finisher.

Photo credit: ESPN
Photo credit: ESPN

How to Do This Jacked Ref's Workout

Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of sets and repetitions. Since it’s pretty high-volume, Campbell uses lighter weights—135 pounds for the flat and incline bench press sets, and 155 pounds for the declines.

Between sets, Campbell “rests” by performing a set of five pullups (until he’s reached 50 total), or a set of knees-to-chest abs exercises from a V-up position. After finishing the chest section, do the cardio finisher.

Chest Exercise 1


4 sets of 25 reps

Chest Exercise 2

Bench Press

5 sets of 10 reps

Chest Exercise 3

Decline Bench Press

5 sets of 10 reps

Chest Exercise 4

Incline Bench Press

5 sets of 10 reps

Chest Exercise 5

Pec Deck with a 2-second Squeeze

5 sets of 10 reps

Chest Exercise 6

Hammer Strength Machine Press

5 sets of 10 reps

Cardio Finisher

1. Using a one-pound jump rope, perform 1,000 skips—10 sets of 100 skips, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

2. Do 50 burpees.

3. Perform a 100-yard farmer’s carry using two 60-pound dumbbells.

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