If you’ve ever been amazed by Freddie Gibbs’ rapturous stamina at his live shows, you have Travelle Gaines and his fitness company, Athletic Gaines, to thank. From Mustard to Saweetie, the celebrity trainer and businessman has helped shift rappers’ relationship with fitness over the last decade — off and on the stage.
“At [Freddie’s] shows, he’s jumping around with energy for an hour and 90 minutes. Imagine what kind of shape you have to be in to run around, jump around, rap, yell, scream, engage, and all of that. You have to be in some pretty good shape,” Gaines told REVOLT.
The Athletic Gaines founder explained how dedicated Freddie Gibbs is to his fitness on the road, why rappers are prioritizing training more now than ever, and why his company is the one your favorite artists trust. Read our exclusive conversation below.
You trained Freddie Gibbs on “The Album of the Year Tour” in support of his Bandana project in 2019. How did you two connect?
I connected with him in 2018. Freddie’s an interesting individual because he’s done it all, as he’s said in his raps. When you meet his people from Gary, Indiana, everything he talks about is true. Freddie played Division I college football at Ball State University. So, he has an athletic background. Freddie was briefly in the military. He’s had multiple stints in jail (laughs). He has quite an eclectic background. With his brief military and football-playing background, he knows the concept of training and working out. He’s always been a really fit guy. With me, he wanted to take his training to another level. We really hit it off. Not only has Fred been a client for the past five years, but we send somebody out with him for all of his tours. He also is a friend of mine.
How did he train for live shows?
As his director of performance, I would set up his meals directly with a chef who would travel with him. I would set up his actual training with a trainer, James Mayew, from Athletic Gaines. Then, I would set up his massages and stretching. Freddie will workout 20 minutes before going onstage. Fred would workout twice, sometimes three times a day. He was always a morning person. So, he’s always up, ready to go early in the morning. He always got a morning workout in. Freddie said he felt more energy from those endorphins before he went onstage.
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How did you ensure he got the proper workout no matter where he went?
On tour, Freddie would stay at Airbnbs. He made sure he had either a gym or a place to train. I would map all those out for every single city. So when he got there, we knew they either had a gym at the Airbnb or an empty room. Working with Lambo, his manager, we would always find places with a gym or an empty room where he could do his workouts. Freddie followed the Athletic Gaines Training App when our trainers weren’t around.
What were the shows like on that tour?
Fred did very well. He has quite a following, so he’s getting thousands of people per venue at every show. He gives a lot onstage, man. He’s drenched with sweat when he gets off the stage. So, his cardio has to be top-notch.
What is Freddie’s personality like offstage?
Freddie Gibbs is one of the most talented people I know. He can rap, write, and make beats. But, in addition, he can act. He’s super talented. He’s also a really good dad. He has a few kids and is very active in their lives. He’s hilarious and constantly a ball of energy. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood.
How have you seen him balance fatherhood with traveling?
When he was on tour, his kids were back in LA. He would do FaceTime calls and stuff like that with the kids. I didn’t dig too much into his personal life, as far as him fathering his kids, but he was definitely a presence when he could be. Whether his kids came to certain tour stops based on their school schedule and availability, or he was always in constant communication with them. Then, he would pack his tour by doing 20 cities in one month. Then, he’ll grind it out and return home with a few million dollars in his pocket.
How did you see his training manifest in live performances?
I saw it in his energy. At his shows, he’s jumping around with energy for an hour and 90 minutes. Imagine what kind of shape you have to be in to run around, jump around, rap, yell, scream, engage, and all of that. You have to be in some pretty good shape.
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Sometimes entertainers don’t have time to eat well on tour. How did you help him maintain healthy habits?
It wasn’t very hard because Fred already eats good. He’s Muslim, so he already eats pretty clean as it is. He also has an excellent chef that can make everything. So we have a pretty well-oiled machine (laughs). He typically ate about an hour before a show started.
Who else have you helped become more fit?
This may not have been on tour, but I was with Puff Daddy for quite some time. I was with him daily and learned a lot from him. From a training standpoint, it was similar to Freddie. I worked with his chef, physical therapist, and everything for his body. Puff is an extremely hard worker. Besides him, I’ve worked with everybody from DJ Mustard to Hit-Boy. We’ve also worked with Saweetie. We’ve had a lot of artists train at Athletic Gaines.
Athletic Gaines is the preeminent training spot for entertainers…
Our physical therapist was just on tour with The Weeknd, so he did all his stretching, bodywork, and other things. My wife and I went to his show in Los Angeles. It was an incredible show. The Weeknd gives a great tour. He’s doing stadiums. He did three shows back-to-back-to-back. His energy was great. His attitude was great. His mindset was great. You can see in his performance he’s really caring about his health and nutrition.
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How much are today’s artists prioritizing health?
It has changed dramatically. Whether it’s Big Sean, Drake or Travis Scott, they give so much energy, and they all have a trainer when they’re on tour. The old days of sipping a 40 and then going onstage with some Timberland boots and baggy jeans while standing there are over with. People want to see a performance. So much of the artist’s money is based on their touring, so you have to give a lot of energy, and people are taking their fitness seriously. Their fitness is directly related to touring.
Who are you planning to work with in 2023?
I will be working with an artist who just did a Las Vegas residency. That’s all I can say right now (laughs).