Article written by Jason Friberg
Cody Williams is a household name in the Midwest motocross scene, by accomplishing many things throughout his career. He is the definition of a privateer doing big things: scoring the national number 82 from making lites mains in supercross and solid overalls in motocross. We got a chance to sit down with him and talk about fitness, training, and his future plans.
Hey, Cody! Let's start off with you telling me a little bit about yourself.
Cody Williams, here! I’m from Barneveld, WI, a small town known more commonly for basketball than dirt bikes, and I would have to say, if I’m not riding or at the gym, you can find me on the court shooting some hoops.
You had ACL surgery last fall, correct? How are you feeling on the bike?
Yes, it’s been a long road back, but, on the bright side (which is the way I have to look at it), I have been down the road before. That being said, I’ve done all the rehab before and know what works well and what my limitations are, also. I feel pretty strong, now, though, it always takes a little while to get back to speed, but just gaining your race pace back is the hardest part.
What percentage were you when you lined up on the gate for SX?
I would like to say as close to 100% as I could have been. You always can argue that with more time I would have been more ready than I was, but I put in as much work on the bike and off the bike as I could have in the short amount of time.
Everyone that has experienced injury can agree that coming back from a major injury is tough both physically and mentally. What is your training and rehab schedule to get back to 100 percent?
It was very tough at first! Mostly, it was hard because right after outdoors everything was clicking, and I was the best I have ever felt on the bike. Then, having surgery and being off the bike for almost 5 months takes its toll on you. It’s almost impossible to stay in shape when you are stuck on the couch for the first 5-6 weeks post-surgery, but it was game on once I was able to do the spin bike or row again! The first few weeks was a lot of simple band exercises and getting movement back, but, as time progressed, I was getting into more of a strength program and just kept building from there. The rest of my body wasn’t as hard to keep in shape because I could focus on that at the same time to build strength and fix problems I may have had from last year. Let’s just say there were countless hours spent in the gym this last off season.
Fitness is one part, but, obviously, diet is the other. Can you give us an example of what a typical day's food intake looks like? Do you eat the same thing every day?
Yup! If you don’t eat right, your body is not going to be happy and nothing works well. It’s like putting pump gas in a race bike, the end result isn’t so hot. Usually, on a typical day I try to wake up nice and early so I don’t need to rush, and I take my time to have a solid routine down. Breakfast usually looks something like eggs, some good toast with peanut butter/honey, and some avocado. I’ll throw in some changes every now and then to spice things up. Also, I have to have a good cup of coffee. Lunch is usually something I’ve prepared from nights before. So, it can be quick while I’m at the track or getting done with a morning work out. During the day, I usually always pack good snacks and make sure I have plenty of drinks so I am set at the track. Supper is my favorite, and i usually keep everything nice and simple. By being a good cook, I like to try new things and am open to a lot of different things, but it’s always clean, good food.
Do you have a fitness trainer that you work with?
I do not. I’ve worked with some great trainers in the past and learned a lot from each of them. It’s hard with all the travel and trying to budget everything out because some things just have to get cut out, and I cannot afford a trainer. I have a great schedule put together, and I have a program that works very well for me. I couldn’t be happier with it for my current situation.
How do you plan your week to be ready to compete on the weekend at full speed?
A lot of it is mental and being fresh and recovered for the next race. You have to have some off days and let the body heal up. I try to ride 4 days, maybe 5 during non-race weekends. When it’s a race weekend, depending on the travel schedule, 2-3 days is about all I will ride. Having two full days of driving each week to some of these races can be tough on the body.
What are the Pro's doing differently than amateur riders as far as fitness?
That’s definitely the biggest difference. I think the races are significantly longer. So, everything is longer from road bike rides to running to motos at the track. I have been doing much more weight training at this point in my career. With the speeds everyone is at nowadays, you have to be fit but also very strong because the tracks are tougher and the bikes are faster each year.
How do you build the stamina to ride at full speed for a full moto at top effort?
Lots and lots of work! You have to be smart, though, because it is very easy to do the wrong things and end up having a negative effect on yourself. It’s easy to be the most fit person on the track and also over think or grip too tight. Then, the next thing you know you’ll have exhausted yourself 15 minutes into a moto. You have to be super calm while racing to not tighten up, and that’s just as bad as getting tired.
You are working with BWR Racing this season, and I know personally that Brian is a really cool guy! How has your chemistry developed this year to get your bike dialed for each race?
This is exactly what I needed! Brian is one of the smartest people I have ever worked with, and his passion and drive are unlike anyone else’s. He is always willing to work with me on anything and everything. From his suspension and motors, it’s very helpful because we can go to the track and dial settings in much faster than I could in the past. We are also very close to each other demographically because we’re from WI and IL. So, we can work together during the week 1 on 1 and really get some good testing in. Two guys like us together that both have a common goal is a great combination, and I couldn’t be happier.
How does your BWR bike compare to your GPF babbits Kawasaki from Arenacross this past year?
I was grateful and happy with the GPF Kawi deal, and I am very happy with my current ride on the BWR Honda 250 that I currently race. It is a great bike, and I am very confident when I line up that I’m on the best equipment I can get my hands on. It’s all about gelling with a group of people and a bike, and that’s what I have with BWR.
You have also ridden Yamahas for, what seems to be, a huge part of your professional career. How hard was the transition to Hondas?
Yes, I rode Yamahas for the Horton Racing Yamaha team for two years during my last years as an amateur. I was on them up until this point in my career. It’s always tough switching over to something totally new as a rider. In a weird way, the switch and my injury lined up perfectly. I was off for so long that, when I got back on a bike, it felt like this was what I was suppose to be on all along. It took a long time to even start making changes because I was so happy right off the bat, and that was a huge confidence boost for me.
What goes through your mind when you line up against guys you’ve watched on TV growing up?
Honestly, it’s nothing different than any other race to me. I’ve grown up with all these guys. Obviously, some may have a few years on me, but, for the most part, we all have known or raced each other for many years. It’s great, though! Each weekend you get to see where you’re at amongst the best, and see all the same guys. So, it makes for a good time.
Have you asked any of them for an autograph in the pits?
No, I never have. Obviously, growing up I had everyone’s posters hanging I my room and signed up. Funny story, though: I came back from Red Bud (I think it was) and my family was there being a close round for them. I’ve been friends with Mitchell Harrison for a long time, now, because we trained together. I walked into my room and had a bunch of signed posters from him, courtesy of my mom. So, that’s the last autograph I guess I got! LOL!
Getting to the top level as a privateer rider is an awesome accomplishment! What advice would you give to amateur riders that are also trying to get to that level?
It’s definitely not easy! It’s very easy to give up, but you have to keep working towards your goals. It’s a great ride, and when you put in all the hard work in the gym and on the bike, your family and everyone in your group’s pride and support is the most satisfying feeling for sure.
What are your goals for the rest of 2018 and 2019?
I have always prided myself on being there each and every Moto and being very consistent, not just a checkers or wreckers type of rider. I definitely want to make strides, but I set realistic goals to achieve each weekend. If you are never reaching your goals, it can get very frustrating. So, keeping them within reach is a great way to improve.
Who would you like to thank?
Everyone at BWR, Latitude Graphics, FXR, EVS Sports, Arai, Scott, Race Tech, FHK, Bills Pipes, Rekluse, No Toil, Dirt Tricks, Moto Seat, Cycra, Pro Taper, Works Connection, SSI Decal’s, Stop-N-Go, Burch Concrete, and my whole family for everything they have done.