When you’re talking about Montreal artist Polychuck, you’re speaking about a real heavyweight, both literally and figuratively. The singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer released his EP Shadows Exposed in June of 2021 and has been on a tear ever since. The five-song set will “expose” you to the diversity of his musical interests, with a sound that incorporates many different styles, including extreme metal, electro pop, alternative rock, synth pop, and folk. Polychuck played, produced, recorded, and mastered every aspect of Shadows Exposed, a true labour of love that is representative of his all-in approach to music and life.
Not only can he craft a sweet tune, but Polychuck has also invested his life into training in MMA and Muay Thai. Although he has never competed professionally, he takes it just as seriously and has been now for over five years. As a competitor, he does take part in some underground fights, which are referred to as smokers’ fights. While they are not officially legalized matches, they fall into a grey area, where they are not considered illegal or formally prohibited.
This all leads perfectly into our latest edition of Pumping Metal, where we discuss fitness and healthy living with current artists. Who better to speak to about an active lifestyle than a borderline professional MMA fighter? We recently caught up with Polychuck to discuss how he got interested in fighting, his daily routine, and his habits when it comes to eating and supplements.
Why and when did you get into fitness in the first place?
Polychuck: “I actually only started training in my early 20s. I was not a very sporty guy growing up. I would sometimes spend eight hours a day practicing guitar. As I got older, I started seeing the importance of fitness in one’s life, and I decided to start lifting weights. Eventually, in my mid-20s, I thought I’d like to learn how to fight, and I did just that! I’ve been practicing martial arts almost on a daily basis since then. It literally became a passion.”
What about exercise, health, and fitness makes you take it seriously?
“It definitely makes me a better person on the inside and on the outside as well. What I mean is it really helps to be more focused, organized, mentally alert, and even more wise and humble, but also being more physically fit, healthy, etc.”
Weights, cardio, callisthenics, CrossFit, MMA… what’s your jam?
“I do something every single day, whether it be boxing, Muay Thai, or wrestling, and I additionally do cardio and weight lifting about twice a week.”
Describe your weekly routine and/or an average workout for you.
“My routines are rather short but intense. I do a bit of everything. I’ll do some cardio (skipping rope, air bike, jogging) for ten to 20 minutes. Then I’ll either hit pads, do some shadow boxing, drills, sparring, or heavy bag for 40 minutes. I try to do a full body weight lifting session about twice a week as well.”
What music gets you extra pumped when you’re exercising?
“Definitely heavy music. I’m a fan of hardcore, metal, punk, etc, but sometimes I’ll also listen to other genres and get inspired for my own pieces.”
Do you ever listen to your own music when working out?
“It happens when I do cardio, but it’s mostly so I can learn and remember my own lyrics and song structures.”
Being a touring musician, how do you stay fit on the road?
“If I’m going to play somewhere far or be on tour, I’ll usually bring a TRX, and that’s about it. I’d rather do short strength training sessions than long cardio workouts and be exhausted before hopping on stage.”
Some people go vegetarian and vegan, while others slam steaks, whole poultry farms, and a kitchen sink in regimented six-meal sittings. Where does your diet sit?
“I’m a 100 percent strictly plant-based guy. I do it for many reasons. For the animals, obviously, but also as a way to discipline myself. I value commitment and mental strength a lot. I also never ever consume alcohol or drugs. I haven’t had a drink in years, and it’s not about to happen anytime soon.”
Supplements, yay or nay, and why/why not?
“B12, and that’s about it. Nature’s given us all the nutrients we need in food. My diet is so varied that I don’t think I need supplementation. I get why bodybuilders would take protein shakes, but for what I do, it’s not a necessity.”
Morning, noon, evening, night… when do you like to exercise?
“Does it even matter? Morning. It just seems to be when I’m at my best physically.”
How do you find your healthy lifestyle impacts your music and/or live performance?
“It just makes me a better person in general. More disciplined, fitter, more mentally alert etc. It helps with all aspects of my life.”
Do you balance the “rockstar” lifestyle with being fit/healthy? Or is it one or the other for you?
“The rockstar lifestyle as we know it is surprisingly not existent for me. I don’t ever smoke or drink. I go to bed early and wake up at 6 am every day. I’m vegan. That’s about how ‘rockstar’ my lifestyle gets!”
Have you ever tried steroids?
“I won’t even think about ever using them.”
What’s your opinion on performance-enhancing drugs?
“In my opinion, unless you’re a pro bodybuilder and it’s literally part of the game, I think it’s unnecessary. It’s often used by young guys as a way to cope with insecurities, but it doesn’t address the true issue. I don’t think putting your health at risk is a good idea in this situation, but people can do whatever want, and I’m not one to judge anyone’s life choices. I do think that you can be a badass naturally, and that’s what a true badass should be!”