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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Country music star Warren Zeiders brings his lacrosse mindset to his musical career.

When Warren Zeiders walks off the stage after one of his signature high-energy performances, things get pretty tame. Usually, the 24-year-old has a water and heads off to bed. 

Zeiders’ pre-show routine, however, is pretty wild. 

Warren Zeiders: Lacrosse Player

warren zeider
A pre-show ice bath caps off Warren Zeiders’ workout routine before every show. A former lacrosse player, Zeiders prepares for each show just as he did every game. (Photo: Austin Screws)

Before he became a country music headliner, Zeiders spent 12 years playing lacrosse. The sport was his life and took him into the college ranks until concussions ended his playing days. 

Though his lacrosse stick has been replaced with a guitar, Zeiders prepares for each show much like he did before every game—with a strict regimen of nutrition, recovery, and a warm-up routine that includes a run, pushups, an ice bath, jump rope, and a half-hour of boxing with his tour manager. And then it’s time for one more workout— an hour-and-a-half rocking out on stage. 

The athlete mentality in Zeiders still exists. “You see what’s on stage, but you don’t see all the things that led up to that point,” Zeiders says. “There’s a desire and drive in me to succeed and be my best. I carry that from my sports background, the warrior mentality.”

Before he became a rising country star, the Hershey, Pennsylvania, native dedicated his life to lacrosse. He played the sport year round, competing in high school and tournaments across the country and eventually earning a collegiate roster spot with Frostburg State in the East Coast Conference.  

And that’s when things took an unfortunate turn. 

A Career Ended by Concussions

Zeiders, who approached lacrosse with a “win at all costs” mentality, took a beating on the field. Even though he was more of a finesse player, the physicality of the sport—which he compares to ice hockey—took a toll, resulting in Zeiders enduring numerous hits to the kidneys, broken collarbones, and playing through painful ankle sprains. In the end, it was the concussions—seven of them—that did him in.

On just his second day with Frostburg State to start the 2018 season, Zeiders suffered concussion number seven of his career. Faced with a six-month recovery and the risk of long-term damage if he continued to play and suffered another concussion, it was a scary time.  

“I went into a dark place,” Zeiders says. “I talked to my trainers and decided this isn’t for me anymore, and I had to think about what the future held. For me, my future held country music.”

The emotional farewell to a sport that had been his life for 12 years carried Zeiders to the gym, where he focused on nutrition, building muscle, and preparing for what would come next. 

For Warren Zeiders, Music Became the Outlet

warren zeiders pre-game routine
Warren Zeiders pumps himself up for every show with a half-hour sparring session with his tour manager. (Photo: Austin Screws)

He didn’t have to wait very long. “It was a quick transition from lacrosse to country music, because I’m the type that always has to be doing something,” he says. “I still had the drive and all of this energy, so music became the outlet. The Lord had a plan for me.”

And just like the success that Zeiders found with lacrosse, it came even quicker with country music. He began posting acoustic covers and songs he wrote on TikTok, and the views poured in. 

It hasn’t slowed down. So far, Zeiders has six million followers across social media, 1.4 billion views on TikTok, and he recently surpassed one billion audio streams globally—all before his major-label debut album, Pretty Little Poison, dropped in August.  

Zeiders admits the lofty numbers are hard to grasp as are the sold-out tour dates and throngs of fans singing his songs word-for-word every night. On stage, Zeiders is so focused on his performance that he forgets about his success. 

But after the last song is played, the reality hits him, as it did in May after he opened for George Strait, Chris Stapleton, and Little Big Town in front of 63,000 fans at Ohio Stadium. “It’s when you walk off stage and see both of your parents weeping, having just watched their kid chase his dreams knowing everything they did to get him to that point… that’s when it clicks for me.”

And Now, No Limits — Full Speed Ahead

warren zeiders on stage
There is one goal in mind for Warren Zeiders whenever he takes the stage: leave the fans wanting more. (Photo: Austin Screws)

Something else hit home for Zeiders that night in Ohio. He wants to be where a legend like Strait is today—selling out stadiums with record crowds. No limits.

“That’s what I want to do with my life, and I’ll do everything in my power to get to that point,” he said.

One reason for Zeiders’ fast rise to fame is his ability to be versatile while maintaining the outlaw edge to his music. The new album rocks, but Zeiders also displays a vulnerability at times singing about life and relationships. He embraces the outlaw label, but Zeiders isn’t afraid to mix in a little heartbreak in his music.

He knows what it’s like to lose something you love. 

The Road Adjusts to Zeiders, Not the Other Way Around

Ending his lacrosse career and moving from the “Chocolate Capital of the World” in Hershey to Music City meant Zeiders had to say goodbye to his former life as a star athlete from Pennsylvania. Making sacrifices to chase a dream is something Zeiders learned during his 12 years playing lacrosse, and it’s another way that sports helped him launch a career in country music. 

“I owe everything to the sport, my family, and my faith. Lacrosse taught me that you need to push your limitations if you want to win,” Zeiders says. “I’m going to put out music and lyrics that I believe in—heartbreak, storyteller, rock-and-roll, whatever. I’ll continue to grow at 24 years of age, and we have a long road ahead of us.”

And that road will always include a rigorous workout routine before every show and strict discipline to avoid any of the bad post-show habits. 

A few slices of pizza and cold beers to celebrate at the end of the night? Not for Zeiders. There’s another show tomorrow, and on the road it’s always a game-day mentality to be at his best. 

“I’m not going to get shit-faced after a show. When the show’s over, and I have another one the next day, it’s water and straight to bed,” he says. “I’m focused on the present, what’s coming up in the future, and making sure I get there.”


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