For those that work out religiously, you're likely well aware that a war is brewing inside of gyms around the world. With CrossFit on the upswing, it’s caused tension between those that train a bodybuilding style and those than use the new school CrossFit techniques. Both sides have arguments against one another. Bodybuilders have been critical of CrossFitters claiming the training techniques are not only dangerous but provide minimal effects in terms of muscle growth, only damaging the joints. CrossFitters would totally disagree. According to CrossFitters, the workouts can actually result in more calories being burned due to the strenuous muscle fatigue in lifting heavier weights. CrossFitters have also taken shots at bodybuilders for simply hitting muscle hypertrophy while using lighter weights. It’s a war that seems endless when it comes to taking shots at each style of training.
It looks like the WWE Superstars are divided as well. We’ll feature those that lift weights according to a bodybuilding routine while also featuring those that hit CrossFit and Olympic style of lifts. By the end of the article, be sure to let us know which side you would align yourself with. Without further ado, here are eight current WWE Superstars that work out like bodybuilders and seven that use a CrossFit or Olympic Style of training. Enjoy!
15 Bodybuilding – Jinder Mahal
Just taking a look at Jinder’s physique you can tell right off the bat the dude is training for the look. He’s shredded with veins even coming out of his back lats - yup in terms of muscle and conditioning, few do it better than Jinder within the WWE.
In terms of his workouts, Mahal follows a classic bodybuilding style; however, like lots of bodybuilders on the list, he loves to incorporate a heavy lift to start off his workouts. Even before his weight training, Mahal hits 25 minutes of cardio six days a week using the fasted cardio technique. Ever wonder why he’s got so many veins? Well, that’s a credit to muscle hypertrophy workouts along with intense cardio sessions. Oh, and it helps that he’s got a strong diet mixing in high amounts of protein and carbs along with minimal fats.
14 CrossFit – Bayley
Perhaps Seth Rollins and Cesaro had a strong influence on Bayley seeing as though they’re close outside of the ring. Nonetheless, Bayley has adopted a similar training style to Cesaro and the CrossFit Jesus (Seth Rollins). Nowadays, Bayley is all about CrossFit as she admitted on the Stone Cold Podcast that she has pre-made CrossFit plans made for her monthly by a trainer.
We’ve seen countless examples of Bayley performing CrossFit movements, especially while on tour as she posts a variety of photos at CrossFit gyms, rarely showing a picture at an actual commercial gym. It might not be too shocking but her best friend in the WWE also goes about her training in the exact same way - we’ll reveal that person a little later in the article.
13 Bodybuilding – Elias
The dude that was never supposed to make it – Elias has endured quite the journey on route to earning a WWE contract. He actually paid $1,000 on three different occasions to join a WWE tryout camp, only to be rejected every single time. He stuck to his guns and finally in 2014 was offered a deal with the developmental camp.
Since signing with the company his physique has grown out quite significantly. Stone Cold took note of that and asked Elias about his training technique and diet. Almost a mirror image to Jinder Mahal, Elias likes to start off his workouts with a heavy lift and then, get the blood pumping for the rest of the workout hitting some serious bodybuilding type of hypertrophy reps. In terms of his diet, he maintains a similar day of eating to Jinder minimizing his fats while optimizing his proteins and carbohydrates.
12 CrossFit – Charlotte
Before her days as a WWE Superstar, Charlotte was all about fitness serving a purpose as a personal trainer. Once she joined the WWE, she put that domain on the side, however, her passion for fitness never went away. Even to this day, Flair revealed that she tries to find the nearest gym from the airport the moment she lands at a new destination. On the norm, she hits the gym alongside good friend Becky Lynch.
In terms of her workouts, Charlotte hits lots of cardio but has changed her workout type in the last year adopting a CrossFit/Olympic lifting style to her workouts. Charlotte loves to perform explosive movements inside of a CrossFit gym and she’s shown us examples of that via her Instagram account. The training is important to her performance in the ring as well - such movements can only help one’s power in the squared circle.
11 Bodybuilding – Mandy Rose
Oh Mandy Rose, when you look at the steamiest female WWE Superstars it doesn’t get much better than the Golden Goddess. Before her WWE days, Rose was all about the bodybuilding way of life. She entered several competitions and not too shocking, took home several awards. She would later make the jump to the WWE and has adapted better than anyone expected already on the main roster.
Now Mandy has tweaked her training schedule a little bit adding heavier lifts to start, however, the rest of her workouts remain the same relying on pure bodybuilding to fill out her physique. In terms of dieting, you would figure she was eating one grape a day but that’s not the case either. Rose eats every two to three hours and fills up her diet with lots of protein and carbohydrates. Remember ladies, the answer is never to starve yourself and Mandy’s the perfect example of that!
10 CrossFit (Powerlifting) – John Cena
Before everyone starts to lose their cool, yes, Cena does train more so like a powerlifter than a CrossFitter. However, in terms of his training style, we can all agree his lifts are much closer to a Crossfitter's than an actual bodybuilder. Cena loves to push heavyweights and he’s still hitting PRs recently hitting a one rep max of 480 on the bench press – yup, he’s a freak.
Before his WWE days however, things were quite different for Cena. He was all about the bodybuilding ways even entering a competition prior to inking a deal with McMahons company. Ultimately, when joining the WWE, he reverted to powerlifting - a style he still uses today in his very own gym. How he’s in his 40s is truly beyond us.
9 Bodybuilders – Zack Ryder
It just wouldn’t be right if a bro like Zack Ryder would be into CrossFit and not classical bodybuilding. If you follow Ryder via social media you’re well aware he’s all bout bodybuilding movements. We’ve seen videos of the guy hammer curling and using various peck machines – seriously, does it get more bodybuilding bro than Zack Ryder? The answer, no, no it doesn’t.
To his credit, he's maintained a tremendous physique throughout his time with the WWE. We really can’t recall a time when Ryder’s physique suffered, although sadly we can’t say the same for his in-ring career which has been a bit of a mess since his WrestleMania IC Title victory. With Triple H wanting to send wrestlers down, we can’t think of a better candidate than Zack Ryder. And hey, he’ll have the PC gym at his disposal as well to hit some bicep curls on the regular.
8 CrossFit – Sasha Banks
During her main roster debut, Sasha worked an interview with Muscle & Fitness. According to the details, she was performing fat blasting circuit type workouts which were more so catered to a bodybuilding style given the amount of hypertrophy. However, things have changed since then and as evidenced by her social media account - like her good friend Bayley, Sasha is all about CrossFit training nowadays performing core movements in the gym such as the squat and deadlift.
Like Bayley, she has a custom-made workout plan and searches for CrossFit gyms while on tour. Banks is already a private person to begin with and admitted that she enjoys the family mentality of CrossFit gyms a lot more than a commercial setting - a sentiment felt by most CrossFitters on this list.
7 Bodybuilding – Dana Brooke
Serving as a former bodybuilder along with dating a bodybuilder before his passing (Dallas McCarver), Brooke is one of the obvious bodybuilders in this article. As evidenced by recent interviews and Instagram posts, she maintains her passion inside of the gym performing bodybuilding workouts on the regular.
She actually caught the eye of WWE officials through her competitions having competed in the popular Arnold Classic event. Since signing with the WWE, she’s even taken time off on a couple of instances in order to compete at the major Arnold Classic event. She’s got tremendous discipline outside of the ring and that was even evident towards her desire to get better in the ring. However, Hunter and the WWE may have jumped the gun with the prospect as many believe her call-up was far too early. She’s fallen down the card and serves as a manager in the recent months.
6 CrossFit – Cesaro
Granted, you can argue that Cesaro is a mix of power-lifting and CrossFit, the Swiss Superman has admitted her sprinkles in both elements during his workouts. When asked what he does on the day, Cesaro admits he likes to switch things up keeping it fun. Whether it's a deadlift, squat, snatch or bench press lift, Cesaro usually begins with one of the core workouts. A huge part of training for Cesaro is having fun, the Swiss Superman recommends that you use a program you like and can pursue easily.
He’s grateful for Seth by his side as the two typically travel together. Cesaro likes travelling with Rollins as he admitted that Seth knows all of the CrossFit gyms worldwide whether it’s in the US or Canada. Pound for pound, it doesn’t get any better than Cesaro in terms of raw strength.
5 Bodybuilding – Tony Nese
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Nese’s training type inside of the gym. The guy is chizzled from head-to-toe and looks like he can step onto a stage of a bodybuilding competition at any given day. He’s adopted a bodybuilding style for years now and given his gimmick, he’s continuing on with this type of training for the time being without a doubt.
Nese has posted various photos at commercial gyms including the most bro guy chain in the world, Golds Gym. That appears to be his go to gym and we aren’t surprised in the slightest. Don’t expect Nese to enter a CrossFit gym anytime soon, the guy needs isolation machines and cables to really fill out his perfect physique.
4 CrossFit – Seth Rollins
Seth’s all about CrossFit and it’s no secret. We’ve seen Rollins post countless photos at CrossFit gyms along with posting various clips of himself performing the exercises. He’s now the established King of CrossFit within the WWE as he’s now coined as the CrossFit Jesus, a name he fully deserves.
Yes, strength gains are important for Seth but he also credits CrossFit for allowing him to burn more during workouts. During an interview with GQ Magazine, Rollins claims his metabolic rate has intensified since adapting to the new style of training- lifting heavier weights, your metabolic rate moves a lot quicker leading to extra calories being burnt. Seth’s all about high intensity when using CrossFit exercises, another big proponent on why CrossFit can be used for weight loss as well.
3 Bodybuilding – Finn Balor
He might not be the biggest guy on the WWE main roster and some would say he might be the smallest in terms of size; however, Balor is chizzled to the core and one of the leanest Superstars on the entire roster. What’s so impressive about Finn is with a shirt, he just looks like a regular dude but once his Balor Club shirt is thrown into the crowd, his ripped physique tells a different story.
In terms of his workout plan, Balor uses a bodybuilding split mixed with lots of blood flow and repetitions. You can also argue his training type is functional as well, similar to the likes of Triple H. He hits lots of body weight ab exercises, which helps him to maintain that shredded six-pack he seems to have year round. In terms of dieting, Finn keeps his carbohydrates low while relying on an increased fat intake and high amounts of protein.
2 CrossFit - Bianca Belair
In terms of CrossFitters within the WWE, it doesn’t get much better than NXT Superstar Bianca Belair. The initial purpose for NXT was to sign the greatest athletes from around the world and although that’s a little flawed nowadays with numerous indie talents joining the company, Belair was a recent example of that as a CrossFit Champion – yes, she’s pretty darn legit.
Along with her prowess in CrossFit, Belair was an all-American hurdler back in the day. She would later put that aside to compete in CrossFit competitions full-time. Belair showed off her brute strength destroying the field during the NXT Combine. She finished first in almost every category including the bench press competition when she did a staggering 51 reps on the bench press with 75 pounds blowing away the field.
1 Bodybuilding – Roman Reigns
Hitting a max of 445 on the bench press, Roman’s no weakling inside of the gym. However, he’s changed his style of training in the recent years since joining the WWE. During his football days, Roman was all about getting fat and hitting some serious weights inside of the gym due to his position during the pre-WWE days in football. However, once he joined the WWE, those goals changed.
Roman’s admits than he now trains to look like a WWE Superstar, putting more of an emphasis on cardio and muscular hypertrophy. However, he still reverts to some of his old tactics starting off with a heavy compound lift when he begins a workout. So the question we have closing this article is which side would you rather be on, the CrossFitters or the Bodybuilders?