Singer Usher is in the best shape of his life, thanks to a strict diet and rigorous boxing workouts. Usher, 34, has been training to play boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard in the upcoming film, "Hands of Stone."
Not surprisingly, the ripped Grammy winner is super-disciplined when it comes to exercise.
"I train like an athlete every day, believe it or not," he told the November 2013 issue of Men's Health. "I've been cruising my way down to 174, 172 pounds."
The 5-foot-10 Usher, who usually weighs 180 pounds, slimmed down a bit to play Sugar Ray Leonard, a welterweight who hovered around 146 pounds. Rumors recently swirled that Usher follows a vegan diet, but he has never confirmed the speculation.
One thing Usher learned from his rigorous boxing and weight-training workouts was to get enough rest, since he has a tendency to push himself too far.
“My second day I decided to ride to the gym," he recounted. "So I rode there. Boxed. Rode the bike back home. Mentally, I’m the type of person who can ignore the pain, put it somewhere else and allow my body to just go there. You can’t box, ride a bike for 20 miles in the Georgia heat and then go to the studio and rehearse. That’s not happening.”
Usher said another boxing great, Sugar Ray Robinson, told him how important it is to rest so your body can adequately recover from tough workouts. "Now I realize you can't push yourself all the way," he said. "You have to pull back a little bit."
Despite having to follow a strict diet and adhering to intense gym workouts, Usher said he couldn't be more excited to portray the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard.
"My commitment to this character demands that I not only physically get ready, but also become him," he said. "The hair, the personality, the manner he conducts himself in — all that. He's an incredible man."
"Hands of Stone," which co-stars Robert De Niro and Ryan Kwanten, comes out in 2014.