FIT ROW: Harvick mixes fitness with family — but rarely mixes it up UFC-style


Author: George Winkler

Date: July 6, 2017

When he’s not spinning around the race track going close to 200 mph in a race car, you can find Kevin Harvick — spinning?

Taking spin classes is the latest fitness fix for the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. It’s something new and helps keep him close to his family, but it might not be what one would expect from a guy whose KHI Management Company has MMA fighters Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Miesha Tate in its portfolio.

“I’m one of those guys that gets bored with things pretty fast, so I’ve got to keep it mixed up,” Harvick says. “I’ve done everything like Tae Kwon Do, but right now I like to go to this spin class. It’s close to my house, and I can go early in the morning and have the spin class done before everybody gets out of bed.”

Sounds like a reasonable “dad” thing to do, and it means Harvick is back in time to eat breakfast with his wife DeLana and son Keelan before shuttling Keelan off to school.

While most of us are catching some extra z’s, Harvick is making extra laps on an exercise bike, but it’s not unusual for the driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 to show such a passion for fitness. Harvick says it has become a priority for him over the past 5-6 years of his racing career.

“I think some of that comes with age, with life in general, to try to keep yourself as healthy as possible,” Harvick, 41, says. “I’m still not the best at it. I still like to eat crappy food, but I do 70 percent better in that category.

“(Fitness is) not necessarily going to make you a better race car driver, but it’s going to make you more mentally stable I would say, more mentally focused as the year goes on,” Harvick says. “Because this is a grind and it’s important to get through the year, maintain your body and do the things that it takes to keep up with the season, especially through the summer. If you let your guard down, it will catch up to you fast.”

Speaking of letting your guard down, one way you probably won’t see Harvick staying fit is with a UFC-style workout.

“I’ve done some of that, but it just takes so much time to do it right,” Harvick says. “I wind up wanting to punch things hard or kick things hard, and I wind up with a technique that’s not really good and with a sore wrist, hurt fingers, bruised up feet, knees and shins. So, I need to be a little bit cautious with what I do. I’m a little bit tame compared to all those guys.”

Of course, the last thing a driver wants is sore hands when he’s trying to wrestle a race car around the track. That is a workout unto itself, says Harvick, who laughs at those who think driving a race car isn’t a physical sport.

“That’s pretty funny, just for the fact I posted after the (The Clash), I think I burned like 1,000 calories, had a max heart rate of 168 and my resting heart rate is around 40 or 44,” Harvick says. “It’s a very intense atmosphere. … Put you in there for 3-4 hours at a time, and I end up burning 2,500 to 3,500 calories, just depends on how many cautions there are in the race on any given weekend.”

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