John Cena Began Working Out at Age 13 Just to Stop Bully Beatdowns


While we all know John Cena as the near indestructible powerhouse WWE star, and The Suicide Squad superhero, it wasn’t always so for the muscle man. He found his way to wrestling and super stardom in film by a search for strength and self preservation from being bullied as a child. There were no aspirations for the big screen, only to be prepared for the harassment.

“My passion for strength was out of self-defense. I used to get picked on a lot because I was different in the way I dressed and expressed myself. As you’re an adolescent, social cliques form and I didn’t fall into any one of those. So I got tired of getting beaten up and I asked my dad for a weight set and he got me one at 13. I started working out and I haven’t stopped since. My quest for strength probably lasted, I don’t know, until my mid-30s. And now I’m on a quest for wellness, which is hopefully so I can continue physical fitness for the next, 30, 40, 50 years of my life.”

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Cena had found his passion, and it propelled him to seek and gain a degree in exercise science and kinesiology from Springfield College in Western Massachusetts. After he finished school, he says, “I headed out to Los Angeles not because of the entertainment allure, but because that’s where the hub of fitness equipment, fitness manufacturing, fitness distribution, everything that applied to my degree was there,” he explains.

“I got in working at Gold’s Gym and that was the best I could do. I worked in the protein shop. I worked on the floor. I knew every member and a bunch of the members would talk about wrestling and WWE specifically. This is right when two companies were jockeying for supremacy, the company owned by Turner and the company owned by Vince McMahon. One of my friends in a casual conversation was like, ‘Hey, we’re training down in Orange County to be wrestlers. Do you want to join?’

“It wasn’t like, ‘Yeah, this is my chance to make it big in the WWE,’ it was like, ‘Yo, this would be a sick ass hobby, so when I worked my ass off during the week, I can go be a personality on the weekends, I’ll try it.’ I paid the promoter a bunch of money to get in the ring and learn how to fall down and the rest is history. So if we had never had that conversation, I’d never found a ring, and I’d never been talking to you right now.”

These days Cena is more focused on fitness and mobility and praises yoga for his body’s sustainability. “I’ve found it to be extremely therapeutic, and it also helps me move more.” he says. “The body is awesome. In a lot of instances, it’s like an automobile. The body sends up warning lights. And if your oil change light is on or your check brakes light is on, if you’re like, ‘Nah, I’ll fix it later.’ You’re going to get a tow truck on the highway.”

When asked for advice to get on the road to being fit, The Suicide Squad star keeps it simple.”Get enough rest and make good choices. How about that?” he says. “We don’t get enough sleep, and we all eat s—. So just make better choices, and get more rest.” This story originated in People Magazine.

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