Detroit, MI-based hardcore heavyweights, Walls Of Jericho, are set to release their newest offering, No One Can Save You From Yourself, on March 25, 2016 via Napalm Records. To help promote the new album's release, we managed to chat with lead singer Candace Kucsulain about health and fitness and how it plays a part of both her personal and band lives.
Why and when did you got into fitness in the first place? Kucsulain: The first kind of physical sport/fitness I ever got into was Boxing. I have always had a love for the sport. I also grew up fighting, yup I was a jerk. And I want to be able to do it well and as a woman be able to protect myself. Through boxing I started working out. Through my passion for health I found Powerlifting.
What about exercise, health and fitness makes you take it seriously? Kucsulain: The want and drive to be stronger is what really locked it in for me. I did a lot of conditioning type stuff and even the boxing style I trained was more focused on conditioning. Once I found Powerlifting it gave me a whole new obsession. To be strong! I wasn't as strong as I thought I would be and this was just the challenge I needed to take me to the next level. I went down that path four years ago and have more than ten meets under my belt. A Elite Raw total and and Pro Gear total in the 132 weight class.
Weights, cardio, calisthenics, CrossFit, MMA... what's your jam? Kucsulain: Weight!!! Heavy weights, haha. But I do it all. It's about longevity and training smarter and harder. I lift heavy because I like to be strong and I want to see how far I can push my body and mind. I do CrossFit workouts because it has a great balance of almost everything else I need to stay healthy and agile. We work in a lot of body building movements to build stabilizer muscles and build up our tendons. You can make anything work for what you need it for. Also I started Boxing again because I love it and it's a great way for me to let loose and have fun!
Describe your weekly routine and/or an average workout for you? Kucsulain: Usually four days of training. I train the Conjugate Method, Laura Phelps Sweatt does my programming. Two lower days and two upper. A Max upper and lower day and a Dynamic upper and lower day. Max effort days require your main lift to be a max variation of the squat or deadlift and the upper day is the bench. Followed buy 5 to 6 movements that hit muscles groups that need it and compliment the movement of the day. My dynamic day is building speed strength and focusing more on form and perfecting the lift. Also followed by a shit ton of hard work to build muscle, stay healthy and help recover. When time allows I will do an extra day, high rep that help build muscle where it's lacking. That's what I do for Powerltlfting. When I have down time like right now I lift heavy when I can and I do a lot of Kettlebell work at my house and Box twice a week.
What music gets you extra pumped when you're exercising? Kucsulain: Anything heavy. I love listening to Ramallah and usually use their songs when I do meets. But when I'm at home doing Kettllebell stuff I usually listen to '80s ballads... haha. Yup, that's real!
Do you ever listen to your own band's music when working out? Kucsulain: I have this past couple months because we have the new record coming out and I'm learning and getting a real vibe for the songs while I'm listening, haha. When you record songs come together, they aren't a perfect song before you go in. So after you kind of have to learn them. I usually softly sing the songs while I'm training to help my conditioning on stage.
Being a touring musician, how do you stay fit on the road? Kucsulain: With a little help from our friends, haha. We find gyms ahead of time and it's all about planing. We ask for healthier foods and I bring a lot with me. I bring resistance bands on the road and usually there's a kettle bell floating around. You have a lot of time on your hands but at the same time is easy to get lazy. Lucky for us, a few of us work out so we can keep each other motivated. I usually have a meet that's right around the corner so eating, sleeping and training is a priority on the road.
Some people go Vegetarian and Vegan while others slam steaks, whole poultry, and a kitchen sync in regimented 6-meal sittings. Where does your diet sit? Kucsulain: I slam steaks, haha. Seriously! When I started lifting I weighed 120lbs. For my height I was thin but not strong and not competitive. So to get stronger I needed more muscle and more food to recover from what I was doing. Like most people, I had the mindset of if you wanted to be thin you needed to eat less. I needed to do the opposite. I reached out to Shane Sweatt and he wrote me a meal plan. This consisted of me force-feeding myself five times a day, haha. I ate and ate my way to a 132 weight class while still maintaining a low body fat percentage and I looked more amazing and felt more amazing than I ever have in my life. My meals: four of them consisted of 6oz of meat and 9oz of carbs. Some meals had fat and I also had a post-workout shake that was a scoop of protein, peanut butter and a banana.
Supplements, yay or nay, and why/why not? Kucsulain: When I first started I took whatever people suggested, but over time I eliminated and only used what I felt actually worked. I like amino acids and bcaas to drink while I'm working out and mostly just greens and a multivitamin. Also fish or code liver oil is very important.
Morning, noon, evening, night... when do you like to exercise? Does it even matter? Kucsulain: I used to train at night when I trained at TPS. A few years back we moved to Cincinnati, OH to train at the Sweatt Shop and I would train in the morning with an amazing group of ladies. Now back in Boston I train whenever I can, haha.
How do you find your healthy lifestyle impacts your music and/or live performance? Kucsulain: Powerlifting made performing easy, haha. We do a lot of conditioning and so it transferred well to me running around like a maniac on stage. And having stronger legs helped my sick jumps, haha. I also didn't feel as beat up because I was in better shape and took care of myself.
Do you balance the "rockstar" lifestyle with being fit/healthy? Or is it 1 or the other for you? Kucsulain: I strive for balance in my life, always.
What's your opinion on performance enhancing drugs? Kucsulain: My opinion is to each their own. I don't judge people. I don't take them, but I have no issue with some else taking them. I feel people mostly are uneducated about them and that's why they are so against it. Live and let live!