A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 19, 2013
Workout Warrior

"Workout warrior” was used in 1986 to describe an extremely dedicated health club member. The National Football League examines college prospects at its February scouting combine, in advance of its April NFL draft; participants are tested on how fast they can run, how high they can jump and how strong they are. A football “workout warrior” is someone who has great measurable physical qualities (such as those measured at the scouting combine), but who doesn’t necessarily translate that physical ability to success on the playing field.

“I’m not into these workout warriors. That’s why we use a lot of film. We like to see what a kid did in a game, not just in a workout,” was said Philadelphia Eagles scouting director Joe Woolley in April 1990, in advance of the NFL draft. The NFL scouting combine (where “workout warriors” attract attention) has been nicknamed the “Underwear Olympics.”

Google Books
Gym Psych:
The Insider’s Guide to Health Clubs

By Maury Z. Levy and Jay Shafran
New York, NY: Fawcett Columbine
1986
Pg. 52:
And we’ve put together a pretty impressive corps of workout warriors to check out the clubs we couldn’t get to.

15 April 1990, The Times (Trenton, NJ), “Scouting combines jumble NFL draft order” by Mark Eckel, pg. C16:
“I’m not into these workout warriors,” Woolley said. “That’s why we use a lot of film. We like to see what a kid did in a game, not just in a workout.”
(Joe Woolley of the Philadelphia Eagles—ed.)

17 April 1992, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “Woolley searching for hidden treasures,” Sports, pg. 124:
“You can have the workout warriors. Some guys look great in workouts, but some of them don’t ever play.”
(Joe Woolley examining prospects for the NFL draft—ed.)

18 April 1993, Miami (FL) Herald, “Cane LBs say they measure up,” Sports, pg. 11C:
Kiper on Armstead, 6-1 1/2, 235: “A workout warrior who didn’t play up to his numbers. A fifth- or sixth-round pick.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Warrior workout
Publisher: Westlake Village, CA : Westlake Video, ©1994.
Edition/Format: VHS video : VHS tape Visual material : English
Summary:
Let Steve “Tower” Henneberry and Jim “Lazer” Starr show you how to work your muscles to the Max and more.

Google Books
Pro Football Weekly 1994 Almanac
By Richard Whittingham
New York, NY: Perigee Books
1994
Pg. 241:
Although he played hard in college, he was not consistently productive. While some blame the scheme and say McGinest is a young Chris Doleman, others call him a workout warrior and feel he should have gone much later in the first round.

Google Books
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Football, 2nd Edition
By Joe Theismann with Brian Tarcy
Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books
2001
Pg. 240:
A workout warrior is a player who, by the benefit of his ability to perform at a high level in a controlled testing atmosphere, is rising up the charts and is suspected to be a better football player than he showed in college.

Sports Illustrated
September 02, 2002
Enemy Lines
Josh Elliott
(...)
Joe Horn’s a great receiver, and if Donte Stallworth’s hamstrings aren’t a chronic problem, he’ll stretch defenses. On the other hand [because of his 4.2 time in the 40], he might end up being this year’s overrated workout warrior.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, February 19, 2013 • Permalink