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Men's Health

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Q&A With Terry Crews

By Elizabeth B. Krieger
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Q: How does your background in the NFL help you in your acting career, most recently in Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine?

"It helps me every day, immensely, mostly because when you play sports, you are relentlessly examining yourself. I mean, everything you do when you play is recorded and gone over again and again, and each move, each step is broken down to try to improve it. I know some actors don't watch themselves on film but I definitely do. There's a saying: 'What gets measured gets done.' I say: 'What gets examined gets better.'"

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My father lived with me and my family during the last two years of his life while he sank ever deeper into Alzheimer’s disease. His behavior was frequently bizarre. He might emerge from his bedroom with three of my son’s baseball caps piled on top of his head but wearing no pants. When trying to participate in a conversation, he might blurt out passionate pronouncements that made no sense at all. “Ya see, the individualism is something that’s not already formed,” he would bellow. “You gotta fight...

Read the On the Death of My Father article > >

Q: Any ways your sports background has held you back?

It did not help me with regards to health, I think. What I mean is that the basis for exercise should be to be healthy. Not about just trying to catch a ball or something. So when I retired from the NFL, at first I felt like I didn't really have to work out anymore, because there was no game on the horizon. That's why a lot of star athletes gain so much weight. I eventually realized that I needed to work out for my brain and my body. My brain is my tool, and the best thing for it is exercise.

Q: So you find working out enjoyable now?

Getting in my workout every day calms me down, helps me think better, and helps me learn my lines faster. The actual specifics of the workout don't matter. It's the habit. Just getting there and doing it. You almost have to think of your workout like going to a spa -- the minute it doesn't make you feel better, it's not going to be a habit you can sustain. So the whole 'no pain, no gain' thing, it doesn't work. In fact, exercise can never feel like work.

Q: You're 45 now. What's the best health advice you've ever been given? 

I've done a lot of reading about health over the years but it actually was my wife, Rebecca, who gave me a wake-up call about taking care of myself. And it wasn't a statement -- it was an action. I was 30 pounds overweight and one day she simply came up behind me and pinched my back fat. Look, a man never thinks he's out of shape. And when she did that, it helped me see myself for what I was, and that I was heading in a bad direction. I realized I needed to be healthy for my kids. (Of course, I later learned exactly how bad all that mid-section fat is, in terms of your overall health.)

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