Skip Bayless Shares the Workout He Uses to Stay Healthy—and Fired Up—at 70 - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Skip Bayless Shares the Workout He Uses to Stay Healthy—and Fired Up—at 70

As he enters his 70s, SKIP BAYLESS, cohost of Fox Sports’ Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, ensures he’s ready to keep up with every pro who appears on his show (including LeBron).

Skip Bayless hates commercial breaks – especially right now. He’s two minutes into a five-minute plank, the final exercise in his workout, and he needs something to distract him from the burn. 

Most mornings, that means there’s a prerecorded sports game on his iPhone – except that game has just cut to a commercial. So Bayless refocuses himself by remembering his reason for working out in the first place. He’s in the gym at Fox Studios in Los Angeles at 5:30 this morning not just to build muscle. At 70 years old, he’s also here to forge mental strength, which is what he needs in order to hold his own on Undisputed, the Fox Sports debate show he cohosts every weekday morning. 

His job: verbal jousting with NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe on the sports topics of the day. Every conversation is supposed to be combative. (It makes for good TV.) “It’s relentlessly intense, because we’re trying to win,” Bayless says as he squeezes his abs a bit tighter in his plank, “and win to the point of embarrassing your opponent.” (Because that makes for good TV, too.) 

Skip Bayless

Each episode of Undisputed is filmed live, starting at 6:30am and running for two and a half hours. Bayless and Sharpe discuss a boatload of subjects, everything from NFL free agency to the latest star on the LPGA Tour. So Bayless must have knowledge of every sport, and if he doesn’t know something, he must sound confident enough on air to hold viewers’ attention. 

This morning workout is key to that confidence. It’s a workout that has remained largely the same for nearly three decades. Skip Bayless started working out in 1982, relying heavily on weight-room Nautilus machines, but as the years have worn on, he’s embraced free weights and cardio. Long before his five-minute plank, he began this session with an hour of treadmill running, stoking his cardio engine. After that, he battled through a series of classic bodybuilder exercises: cable chest presses, hammer curls and chin-ups. It’s all central to Bayless’s long-term goal: continuing to outwit the ageing process. “All I care about in the end is staying healthy,” he says. “That’s the essence of what we’re talking about.” 

Three days a week, he pushes through this weight-room session. Seven days a week, he guts out that hour of cardio. He hasn’t missed a regular cardio session since May 3, 1998, he says, when he had a sinus infection. (Earlier this year, he even trained through a bout of COVID.) In Bayless’s mind, this consistency doesn’t just power up his lungs; his workouts are as intense as any session a pro athlete might undertake. 

Age Be Damned: Bayless approaches  his training with the commitment and intensity of a pro athlete. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ethan Scott.

And yes, Bayless says, it matters that he does his cardio preshow. In a way, he hints, it makes him tougher than Sharpe. “He does all his workouts afterward,” Bayless says. “He couldn’t fathom doing anything before the show.” 

Sharpe isn’t the only athlete Bayless believes he can keep up with. “LeBron’s always posting his workout videos,” Bayless says. “Well, that’s great, but I promise you that I do that much. I go that hard. I go hard at my weights. It is no picnic.” 

Especially not right now, with his basketball game still stuck on commercial break and one minute left on his plank finisher. Skip Bayless tightens his fists, holding for the last few seconds of misery. When it’s finally over, his confidence is so high that he throws another diss at the king. “If LeBron came and raced me on my running course for eight miles (12.8km), I would kill it,” he says, “because I weigh 165 pounds (75kg), and I do it all the time. I run like a maniac, and I’m pretty good at it.” 

It must be showtime.

Fill in the plank

Nothing to watch while you’re mid-plank? Distract yourself with these variations. Do each for 30-40 seconds; do 3 or 4 sets.

Shoulder Tap 

Start in push-up position. Lift your right hand and touch it to your left shoulder; repeat on the other side. 

Toe Tap 

Start in plank position. Lift your left foot. Keep your leg straight and squeeze your glute. Lower; repeat on the other side. 

Extended Plank 

Get in push-up position. Walk your hands out as far as possible without arching your back. Keep your arms straight. Hold as long as possible.

Plank Reach 

Start in plank position. Reach your right hand out in front of you. Return it to the floor; repeat on the other side.

A version of this story originally appears in the November 2022 issues of Men’s Health Australia, with the title “6 AM WITH… THE HOT-TAKE CHAMP”.

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