American Gladiators Tryouts

After a decade hiatus, American Gladiators is back. Tryouts are this Saturday in Brooklyn, and both would-be contenders and would-be gladiators are invited to attend. To help you fulfill your lifelong dream (wearing patriotic spandex on national TV), we asked Nitro -- the baddest original Gladiator -- for tips on the inside line.

You're a martial arts expert, a former outside linebacker with the LA Rams...Don't forget San Jose State.

Right, San Jose State. And arguably the most intimidating American Gladiator. What kind of training do you recommend for contenders?Well if you ain't in shape right now, you're not gonna get in shape before Saturday. You've gotta have that desire to compete. I mean look, for spellers there's "Wheel of Fortune". For dancers there's "So You Think You Can Dance". For the guy who played sports in high school, they've got a place to bring it, y'know what I mean?

But AG events seem to be inspired by a Mad Max meets Toy "R" Us apocalyptic future, where the only weapons are nerf RPGs and tennis ball cannons...The thing with "Assault," that was great, y'know, the contenders would always say 'I can't wait to shoot you with a tennis ball' and I'd be like 'Nah, nah, nah, you're the contender, you run over there like a little bitch and I shoot you.

So did the unitard make you feel stronger, or was is it like 'Damn. I'm in a unitard.'It's a weird thing being a grown man and wearing spandex. We wanted our outfits to show we had some patriotism. Especially at a time like now, we need some new heroes. Iraq, the housing market, the sub-prime mortgages, living on our equity as consumers...

(Speaking of heroes) Some men rely on large vehicles to intimidate, i.e. the Hummer. Did you ever commute to work in the Atlasphere?No.

The gladiators were bronzed, musclebound he-men, while the competitors often looked like panty-waisted mama's boys. Was there ever any challenge?Oh every day, man. You can't measure a man by his physical size. I've seen big guys. Malibu was huge. He had a body like an Adonis. But he just couldn't bring it.

So you intimidated contenders before the games?No, we couldn't congregate at all. I mean there'd be a hot female contestant and I'd be like, she's hot, let me get a lil' dialogue going, and it'd be 'Nah, nah, nah, you can't talk to the contenders.'

Did you and Joe Theismann ever hang out when he was a commentator that first season?Theismann was great, we went and played racquetball when he was dating, who was it, that blonde, Cathy Crosby? He's a great racquetball player. He's an A personality type. Most of the gladiators are. You have to be to go out there and put on spandex and beat the crap out of people. But yeah, he's a great racquetball player.

So is there anything an in-shape guy can do to get ready for Saturday?You've gotta be psyched up. You've gotta be psyched up. You gotta be off the charts. You gotta be psyched up. Like you're about to jump out of a plane. And for the contenders you've gotta have presence and interesting stories to tell. Like if you're a guy, 'Hey my brother's in Iraq and this is for him.' If you're a girl it's 'My father has cancer and this is for him.'

You can't be like 'Yeah I'm a stock broker and I work on Wall Street and I run a hedge fund,' because there's no drama.