This version of John Cena is different – not that you’ll be able to tell when watching him kick ass and blow things up like HBO Max’s Honorary Ranger peace maker. But while the star has pushed himself for decades to be as strong as possible, he has reached the age of 45 and longevity is now his focus. He still attacks the gym with the same force, but no more than 600 pounds from a squat. He still has about seven small meals a day, but there’s no more squabbling around a cooler full of pre-cooked meals. He allows himself to enjoy his food while holding himself accountable – and can totally relax on vacation.
Before the last three episodes of Season 1 of peace makerAnd GQ He met up with Cena to discuss his experience filming Suicide Squad, purchasing his first tub of protein powder, and the movie experience that changed his life.
In terms of physical preparation, is there much difference shooting a movie versus a TV series?
It’s more about knowing that you won’t get much time for physical training. The days are long, and every day. The show is called peace maker, so I know I will be participating every day, and you have to set expectations realistically. Chances are you’ll only get two workouts in one week instead of the four you’re used to. If someone else fell from the sky where I could have had three, that’s a blessing. You have to move the focus more toward being surgically correct in terms of nutrition, hydration, and making sure you get enough sleep.
How was the experience on set?
COVID protocols have certainly excluded a lot of interactions that happen on a group, and it can be difficult to communicate with teammates. But when you get someone like [Peacemaker director and creator] James Jean, who gives you the freedom to improve and do these tall things, you kind of build those moments. James always gets the material he wrote, but it also allows rapport building these giant improvements will never use. A lot of times, it’s probably just creating a connection, making the crew laugh so they don’t feel isolated and as far from us as it sounds because it literally feels like a mask, cut off from everyone and there we go…Act! The idea is to extend that time a little bit more, and let everyone enjoy it for a hot second – lets us bond a little.
Food is a completely different thing now, but I always bring my own things to set. I just want to make sure I know where it’s coming from, and it gives me access to the numbers and nutrients I want to get.
Without having to deal with the constant physical losses of pro wrestling, how has your philosophy on how you exercise changed?
if something happens, [wrestling] It allows you to be healthier because you have to be there to attend shows, but you have a lot of time during the day. You’re on the road all the time but I have such a worldwide network of gyms to go to and healthy places to eat that the road actually becomes your home.
But my training has changed a lot because I am old. I will be forty-five this year. I started lifting weights in an ad hoc fashion when I was 12 years old. If I do the math, I’m coming 35 years after that. this is a long time. The biggest transformation when I was in WWE was, every day, I tried to be the strongest version that I could be that day. Now, I’m trying to be able to lift weights when I’m 80, so I need to take more care of myself in the long run. I have a 40,000 feet perspective. It’s more work on flexibility and a lot of warm-up. The things I hated to do? I’ve only learned to love because it makes me feel good about the things I love.