NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace uses his workout and training routine as a tool to hone more than just his body, he shares in an exclusive clip provided to Men’s Health from the new Netflix docuseries Race: Bubba Wallace. His early morning fitness regimen is also an invaluable opportunity for Wallace to find focus for his mental health.
The 28-year-old is the only full-time Black driver currently active in the top echelons of the sport, and the six-part series covers his racing career and the response he faced after he decided to speak out about racial justice issues in the summer of 2src2src in the midst of the national movement highlighting disparities faced by communities of color. In the clip, Wallace talks about some of the challenges he faces every day as he works through a series of exercises, including box jumps, box toe-taps, Ski-Erg sprints, heavy med ball tosses, and sled pushes.
In a voiceover, Wallace says that his gym routine starts at 8:45 in the morning—but that’s not exactly what his comfort zone allows. However, he’s using that friction between what he body wants and what his goals require to build strength in both body and mind. “I still haven’t accepted that routine, I still bitch and complain about it just because I don’t like being early or working out,” he says. “I still do it though, just to keep me mentally focused and not become an enemy of self.”
The driver exerts himself throughout the clip, moving from one exercise to the next with a clear-eyed focus. Even though he says he doesn’t want to be there, he’s putting his all into the workout.
Wallace addressed his mental health beyond the ways in which he uses fitness, too. “Such a stigma that people can’t talk about being depressed. Just seems like it latches onto you, and you struggle to shake it off,” he says. “Like just snap out of it.”
Physical fitness clearly isn’t a cure-all for Wallace, as he’s still grappling with his emotions in the clip. But he’s able to use that time in the gym—even when he doesn’t want to be there—to challenge himself to find places to focus.
Race: Bubba Wallace is now streaming on Netflix.
Brett Williams, NASM
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running.
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