Who – or what – is Bubba the Love Sponge? He is a 40-year-old radio “shock jock” based in Tampa, Florida, who legally changed his name from Todd Clem to Bubba the Love Sponge Clem in 1999.
He is also the second-most-fined radio personality ever. But if he hadn’t started hitting the weights 10 years ago, he might not have had the chance to gain such notoriety. 10 years ago, Bubba was an extremely obese version of Howard Stern.
In August 1997, Bubba was 31 years old, his waistline was 79 inches and he weighed 488 pounds. That’s when his doctor sat him down and told him he was going to die. “Put it this way,” his doctor said. “How many 400-pound 40-year-olds do you know?”
Changes were made. Stat. A behavior specialist concluded Bubba’s two biggest problems were inactivity and a penchant for eating whatever, whenever. That explains how he managed to balloon from a 285-pound, record-setting member of Indiana State’s power-lifting team to a quarter-ton Biggest Loser look-alike in less than a decade.
“Radio had just packed it on me,” Bubba says. “I was doing night radio, and somebody was always bringing in pizza or cake. Then you go out with the guys after the show, you sleep in late, and you just get into that cycle.”
From 1997-2004, Bubba used cardio, weight training and a more disciplined diet to break free of that cycle, dropping some 150 pounds.
In the last two years, he has upped the commitment to his workouts and added a thorough supplement program provided by ProSource – one of his two chief training sponsors – to go from 339 pounds to a current weight of about 260.
The ultimate goal for Bubba, who now steps on the scale three or four times each day, is to carve his frame down to a taut 225 pounds, which he says can be attained by the end of the year.
His other training sponsor? Terry “Hulk” Hogan, whom he met 10 years ago when the legendary wrestler and Tampa resident came on Bubba’s show to promote his wife’s new restaurant. For six years, the two trained together nearly every day.
Hogan’s philosophy has become Bubba’s, one that emphasizes machine training, supersets and abundant repetitions with lighter weight. “Hogan’s huge on supersetting, and he’s huge on high reps,” Bubba says. “He’d much rather do 20 reps than 10 reps.” Other features of the Hogan method: working out first thing in the morning and doing weights before cardio.
Bubba the Love Sponge: Diet Upon waking, he eats an Instone high-protein pudding – he loves these things – and a protein bar. Twenty minutes later, he trains at his home gym for about an hour. When he’s lacking motivation or crunched for time, he still gets in 30 minutes of cardio, which includes work on the heavy bag, the elliptical and the stair-stepper.
“For me, cardio is key,” Bubba says. “It makes all the difference.” Immediately after his workout, he downs a protein shake; for lunch, he’ll have a salad with chicken. While on the air in the evening, he’ll eat chicken or turkey breast. (He gave up red meat in January 2006.)
Later, he’ll inhale another Instone pudding, then nothing for two or three hours before bed. This is, of course, in addition to more than a dozen daily ProSource supplements. “My favorite is probably Tetrazene ES-50, which is an appetite suppressor and energy enhancer,” says Bubba. “That stuff is amazing.”
But when you tipped the scales at nearly 500 pounds in your lifetime, no matter how far you’ve come – or how many hunger-blocking pills you’re shipped – you’ll never be free from temptation.
Bubba makes frequent trips to the Sirius headquarters in New York and also Las Vegas, where he does a live broadcast every 60 days. These trips, Bubba admits, are the toughest times for him. The demons want out. Only now, finally, Bubba is a wise enough sponge to know that occasionally you have to let them emerge for the briefest of cameos.
Otherwise, they’ll eat you alive. “Egg sandwiches are my favorite, favorite thing in the world, so every now and then I’ll treat myself to one of those,” he says. “And Taco Bell… Sometimes I gotta make a run for the border, brother.” [via]