In 2007, when Eminem overdosed on prescription pills, he wound up in rehab and clocked in at 230 pounds. (He's 5-foot-8.) "I'm not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas," the 42-year-old Detroit native tells Men's Journal in an exclusive interview for the September issue. "The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I'd been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomachache, I was constantly eating—and eating badly." He'd previously worked with trainers, gotten into boxing, and lifted "the kiddie weights," but he says he was never that motivated because he wasn't taking his fitness seriously. "Once I got sober, that changed."
Out of rehab, Eminem, whose given name is Marshall Mathers, needed not only to lose the weight he'd packed on but also "figure out a way to function sober." For one, "I couldn't sleep unless I was blitzed out of my mind," he says, so he started running, which also gave him an endorphin high. "I got an addict's brain, and when it came to running, I think I got a little carried away," he says. "I became a fucking hamster. Seventeen miles a day on a treadmill." He got all the way down to 149 pounds, but was running so much that injuries began, and ultimately replaced his time on a treadmill to time in front of the TV doing Shaun T's Insanity workout, then P90X, and now the Body Beast workout with free weights, bench, and pullup bar. "The first time I did the legs, I couldn't walk for two days," he says. "I can finally do it without pausing the DVD." (See what Eminem says was hard to do sober for the first time.)