The music world is filled with all sorts of wild, bizarre, and sometimes sordid tales of the kind of stuff that can happen when artists go on the road. But pop stars Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato have something a little different planned for their upcoming Future Now tour.
“Demi and I are going to do some mixed martial arts together when we’re on tour this summer,” Jonas told People Magazine in an interview last week. “I do it for the show Kingdom I’m on and it’s really fun.”
Given the fitness and martial arts backgrounds of the two singers in question, this could lead to some pretty serious backstage competition.
The youngest member of the defunct Jonas Brothers band was already in great shape when he was cast in Kingdom, DirecTV’s MMA-themed drama, in 2014. The musician and actor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005 and uses regular exercise, along with diet, to help take care of his health. But he had to take his training to a whole other level in order to portray up-and-coming fighter Nate Kulina on the show. “I had about six weeks to put on 12 to 15 pounds of muscle before filming started on Kingdom,” Jonas told GQ in October, 2014. “My character is a fighter whose strong suits are wrestling and grappling.”
In addition to a strict 4200 calorie a day diet, Jonas ramped up his weight and cardio work with Gregg Miele, his personal trainer at West Hollywood’s Heart and Hustle gym. He also started training with a UFC veteran who was brought in to give the show’s stars an introduction to mixed martial arts. “I was doing three sessions a day: one fight training with Kingdom’s coach, Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson, and two strength-building with Gregg. Each workout focused on a different region of the body – upper body, core, or legs – and we’d do a circuit of six different moves for one area. Lifting a lot of weights, really trying to break the muscle down.”
Working out some fight choreography with @joedaddystevenson1982 on the set of KINGDOM today A video posted by Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) on
“These guys did like an MMA super camp – 10 days, super intensive. We finished in eight days fast,” Stevenson told Fox Sports about the training. “They were just a talented group of guys that were able to take the basics and fundamentals and just run with it.”
Joe Daddy was especially proud of Jonas’s aptitude for one particularly flashy and challenging Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu submission. “Nick Jonas can pull off a flying triangle!” he told Vanity Fair. “That is a technique half of the people that do Jiu-Jitsu can’t even do. You can’t fake it. He did it.”
In a promotional video about the cast’s fight training, Jonas was similarly impressed with Stevenson and his colleagues. “I respect what these guys do and I’m honored to have had the chance to train with them,” he said.
For Demi Lovato, exercise has been a way to look after her mental wellbeing as well as her physical health. The former child star and current singer, actress, and model has struggled with eating disorders for a large portion of her young life and credits her workouts with helping her to accept herself and her body.
In 2012, she told Self Magazine that she was working out 5 to 6 days a week, doing a mix of running, cycling, weight training, and yoga “for my peace of mind, not to lose weight.”
Two years later, she talked about the benefits of that routine with Fitness Magazine. “Exercising has been so important for my recovery, both physically and mentally,” she told the publication.“I realized I’d rather be strong and happy than be what society thinks is thin and perfect and be miserable.”
She’s also a fan of turning her touring partners into workout buddies. Long before she started making work and workout plans with Jonas, she took a pair of stationary bikes on the road with fellow singer and SoulCycle enthusiast Christina Perri. “Christina’s taken a ton of classes, and she tells me what to do. It’s super fun, and we usually drink a green juice or protein shake afterward and talk. It’s nice to get some quality girl time in, too.”
Lately, the longtime UFC fan (she even included a shout out to former UFC women’s bantamweight champ, Ronda Rousey, on her latest album) had been trading in her bike for a pair of gloves and a set of shin pads, though.
With the guidance of Jay Glazer, she’s been putting in a lot of time at the Unbreakable Performance Center in Hollywood, working on her punches, kicks, and even her ground and pound. She’s been sharing brief clips of her developing skills on her Instagram account for the past few months.
She’s also enlisted the assistance of former Strikeforce middleweight champion and UFC competitor Cung Le.
A video posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on
And she recruited UFC legend Randy “The Natural” Couture to kick her in the head “a million times.”
Her high profile training partners aren’t the only MMA fighters impressed with her performance, either. After watching Lovato in action at Unbreakable last month, Ultimate Fighter 2 winner and former UFC light heavyweight champ “Suga” Rashad Evans took to his own Instagram to praise his friend. “She trains crazy hard!” he wrote. “Hell, I thought she was training for a fight but they say that’s just how she rolls. Big ups young lady!!”
Her soon-to-be sparring buddy has also been raving about her strength and work ethic. “Demi is killing it right now with her fitness game,” he said in a recent interview with Zap2It.
We’ll find out if he can keep up when the Future Now tour launches later this month.
Are you impressed with the young pop stars’ martial arts skills? How do you maintain your fitness when you travel? Let us know in the comments!