RIley Inexperienced has Constructed a Residence Health club—and a Music Empire

Music fans became the ultimate winners the moment Riley Green discovered that dishing out country hits was an easier—and less painful—career path than absorbing hits as a tall and lanky college quarterback.

Since dropping his self-titled EP in 2018, Green has become a multi-platinum selling artist, earning the 2020 Academy of Country Music’s New Male Artist of the Year award, and is currently headlining a U.S. tour in support of his new album Ain’t My Last Rodeo.

With such success, it’s hard to imagine that it was just a decade earlier that his musical journey was splitting time with his play-calling duties as a quarterback at Jacksonville State University. But as his country music talents continued to blossom—and the late evenings on the club circuit affecting his morning football routine—the choice became obvious.

“It was kind of coincidence that my college career seemed to go downhill as my music career began,” Green says. “Staying out all night playing in bars made it tough to get up and go to 5:30 workouts or 7:30 class.”

It’s been more than a decade since he last laced up his cleats, but Green still looks physically game ready enough to lead the Gamecocks on a late-game scoring drive, although he may disagree with that overall scouting report. “I’m 35 now, it would hurt too much to throw,” he says.

Since trading the pigskin for a six-string, Green no longer trains to avoid pass-rushing defensive ends, the only rush he’s forced to dodge these days is the occasional onslaught of undergarments thrown his way from female fans as he’s standing in front of microphone belting out hits in front of sold-out crowds. “I don’t do nearly as much cardio as when I was playing ball,” he says. “Obviously I don’t really have a reason to be able to sprint anywhere.”

However, with his rapid rise to the top of the country charts—with songs like “Mississippi or Me” dominating the Sirius XM Highway charts—and the constant grind of being on the road for nearly half the year, staying shredded for the stage becomes more and more challenging.

Every town Green rolls into—from Biloxi to San Jose to Phoenix—there’s normally an avalanche media waiting to put a camera and mic in his face, from local morning shows to national TV and radio, and streaming interviews. While his 90-minute performances head into the late evenings, Green’s mornings may start as early as 4 a.m. The success and popularity (he has over a million IG followers) may be flattering, the hectic schedule can sometimes sabotage any sort of weightroom normalcy.

“My problem is I tend to work out better when I’m in a routine, but it’s just tough to have one with this kind of schedule,” he says.  “Finding that routine is the toughest thing about being on the road.”

When touring, Riley Green relies on the hit or miss quality of hotel gyms as well as a few bands and dumbbells he brings along on the tour bus. At home however, Green built himself a massive, fully equipped gym to put any training day worries to rest.

Staying consistent to a workout regimen, although geared primarily toward staying aesthetically ripped is also about successfully handling the full-time task of creating hit songs. The former contestant on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s short-lived reality show Redneck Island uses the workouts for mindset maintenance, to keep his focus on continuing to turn emotional life experiences into top hits such as “I wish Grandpas Never Died.”  “I think that for me early on, I never thought I was the greatest singer in the world,” he says. “So I just wanted to try to write songs that were unique, and only I can write songs about my life.”

Football Fantasies

Before performing in packed arenas and stadiums was even on his radar, Riley Green, like many teens, was performing under the Friday night lights at Jacksonville high school. Growing up tossing the football in his rth Florida backyard while sporting the blue and white . 8 of rth Texas, being a starting quarterback was a boyhood dream come true.

“I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan and Troy Aikman,” the three-sport athlete says. “That was the jersey I wore as a kid. But [for me], football was an opportunity to get school paid for.”

As a 6’3”, 170-pound senior, Green didn’t attract a whole lot of scouts. He lays part of the blame on the offensive scheme implemented that year that limited his passing attempts. “We ran the old-school wishbone offense,” he says. “We’d send one receiver when we’d pass, which was maybe two or three times a game.”

He did however, achieve a personal goal when he made the Jacksonville State University football team as a walk-on quarterback, where he played from 2007-2009.  “We actually played our high school football games in that stadium for some of my high school career. And you know, to get to stay in my hometown all my family being there. It was kind of a dream to do it.”

What Green remembers most about the experience was the massive upgrade in speed, power, and talent when going from high school to the Ohio Valley Conference. The overwhelming leap in skill made it the career switch much easier. “I had to almost relearn how to read a secondary,” he recalls. “It was a big change going to a shotgun passing offense. Just seeing the speed of players at that level, it may have been a bigger jump from D1 to the NFL.”



Making Gains Means Always Finding a Way

Part of the excitement that comes with headlining a tour is the goal of energizing an entire crowd night after night, as he does with modern country anthems such as “There Goes This Girl.” And just like a gym routine in which you strive to keep making gains, the musician’s mindset is to always give the fans something new to appreciate.

“Even when things are working, you still have to find a way to do something different,” Riley Green says. “A lot of these people are coming to see you every time you come through their town. So you want to give them the best show you can and surely not do the same thing every time.”

Green does this for the fans during each 90-minute show, and while performing is one of the joys of being a country singer, the post-concert menu isn’t always optimal for an artist, especially one looking to maintain that six-pack.

“It’s tough to even find the gym, much less eat,’ he says. “They’re bringing pizzas onto the bus and midnight every night after the show, so it’s tough to keep any kind of routine or regimen.”

Staying disciplined however, even with the nutritional roadblocks thrown in front of him, is an element Green has included in his road regimen,

“If I’ve got enough time to go to the gym, I’ll mentally talk myself into it or get some kind of pre workout—maybe a triple espresso coffee—just force myself to get in there,” he says.  “If I can find the time to get it done, I’ll get a workout in.”

RIley GreenSam Crabtree

Home is Where Riley Green’s Heart-Thumping Workout Is

An underrated perk of being a country superstar is the ability to pull a few show tickets out of your backpocket when the time to barter for a tee time presents itself. Riley Green has used that privilege a few times while slowly becoming an avid golfer when time allows.

“I got to play TPC Sawgrass twice,” he says. “Golf’s a great on-the-road activity. I’ve played lot of great courses, and once in a while swap out some tickets to whoever runs the clubhouse.”

At home, however, is where Green’s training returns to consistent levels. Green built himself a massive 6,000 square foot training compound at his Alabama home during COVID in order to eliminate any excuses for not staying in shape. It’s fully equipped for both QBs and country singers—plenty of free weights, machines, even a turf area for conditioning if the mood strikes. “It definitely took a while to build it out and get it the way I wanted,” he says, “but now it’s where I’ve kind of got everything I need to get in any type of workout.”

Green invested in a cold plunge for those days when he needs to amp up his recovery, although he says the process of chiling is still a work in progress. “I haven’t pushed myself over three minutes,” he admits. “It’s about all I get till I get a shiver in my mouth.”

Although he may still incorporate some football exercises from his playing days, today’s workouts seem to be aligned for staying in concert shape. This style comes in handy for those evenings when going sleeveless onstage is the wardrobe of choice.

“It kind of changes for me almost yearly, you know just depending on what I’m trying to accomplish,” he says.  “I definitely do a lot of strength training and muscle building type workout routine.”

His hectic schedule doesn’t come to a complete stop when he’s at home, so Riley Green says he’s primarily forced to train by himself at odd hours. Because he still enjoys tossing around heavy iron from time to time, Green says his most vital piece of equipment is the Smith machine.

“It’s hard for me to have a real regular workout partner,” he says. “So for me, I can get on this machine and do   heavier weight without worrying about getting caught in a bind.”

RIley GreenSam Chapman

Keeping a Strong Mindset for the Songwriting Game

If you hear some old-school Opryland in Green’s modern day country style, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Green mentions legends such as Merle Haggard and George Jones as part of his list of lyrical inspiration. “I think probably their influence comes out in my music in some way,” he says.

His approach to songwriting—relationships, breakups, family, the occasional happy hour—is part of the lure that has music fans gravitating toward his music—as well as his six-pack. His 2019 debut studio album Different ‘Round Here, went gold, and he’s gone to record to string of platinum-selling hits, including the singles “There was this Girl” (2018), “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” (2019), and the re-release of “Different Round Here (2023), a collaboration with Luke Combs which is on Ain’t My Last Rodeo.

From his early musical days, he says he learned a valuable career lesson while touring with singer Cory Smith: not every song becomes a big hit. “He told he wrote a lot of bad songs before he wrote a good song,” he recalls.

What also became apparent from his rise as a music superstar is that it’s not just the songs that reach the top of the charts that touch the hearts of many fans. Riley Green points to “Numbers on the Cars,” written as a tribute to his Alzheimer’s stricken grandfather, who struggled with remembering names but still remembered NASCAR, as receiving the most personal of accolades.

“I’ve had more people come up to me after shows and tell me that song touched them because it was [also about] their aunt or their mom or their grandmother,” he says.

The formula, he says, for creating memorable music is simple: There is no formula. “I don’t think I’ve written a song the same way twice,” he admits. However, the challenge becomes coming up with another rotation of life stories to put to music. “The writing process becomes easier but at the same time, there’s less songs for you to write,” he says. “It’s not like I’m just picking topics out of the air. A lot of them are things that have happened to me or relationships I’ve had or whatever…so it’s a constant grind.”

It’s where having a regular gym routine has become an invaluable asset. Whether the goal is to get in football shape, or having to make so with a set of bands on the tour bus, or finding a decent hotel gym at a decent hour or kicking it up a notch in the home gym, the discipline and accountability associated with training directly carries over into the music biz more than most people appreciate.

“If I don’t write all songs, I don’t have a career,” Riley Green says. “It’s so easy to kind of sit back and watch TV on the bus, but it’s about finding a way to make yourself do a little something when someone’s not making you do it. I think that’s why working out is tough for a lot of people—nobody’s making you do it. So it’s the same discipline for me with music.”







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