If a hungry Seth Rollins is stuck in Alabama at 1 a.m. after main-eventing Monday Night Raw, he’s not gonna eat pretty. He'll get his fast-good fix, chalk it up as essential protein and wake up the next day to get his CrossFit on without a care in the world. Maybe that's how WWE’s reigning heavyweight champ (a title he's putting on the line this Sunday at the Battleground PPV/WWE Network event) has managed to conquer his chosen profession before even turning 30.
As one can glean from a conversation with the Davenport, Iowa, native, his fighter's philosophy is all about discipline when necessary but indulgence when appropriate. And that translates as much to his diet as anything else. Just a few hours before squaring off against Intercontinental Champion Ryback (whose mantra, fittingly, is "Feed Me More") at that night's SmackDown taping in Milwaukee, Rollins offered the following insights into how he remains a lean athletic machine while eating what he loves.
Burn calories, then store them
"I've noticed that over time the intensity of my workouts is so high, that I can get away with eating whatever I want," says Rollins. "And I love eating a lot. So if I wanna eat more, I'll just work harder. I'll make that sacrifice in the gym instead of in the kitchen. There are some days where if I haven't done anything in a couple days or haven’t had a match, I will be a little more cautious in my dining selection, but those days are few and far between."
No tag-team partner required
"I do my best work alone. I travel alone a lot. One of my treats on the road is I use Yelp to go find little hipster-foodie eateries and go get a weird, crazy cheeseburger or something like that. Or at night I'll go find a cool little pub that has a lot of good craft beers and have one of those and some wild appetizers. It depends on who’s with me and what they're in the mood for, but like I said, I do my best work alone, so if you're riding with me, you're doing my schedule. That's kind of how the champ rolls these days."
Eat Meat and Conquer
"I've got a friend who’s a power lifter and she’s a vegetarian. I don't know how she does it. I want red meat all the time. I applaud the discipline, I really do. I just can't do it. Good for her, but not for me."
Food can't always be political
"I would love it if there were options for me at 1 in the morning in the middle of Alabama. I don't have a bus. I rent a car everywhere I go. It would be so much extra stress for me to try and carry around good-quality meals that the convenience of being able to stop at Taco Bell and eat a Grilled Stuffed Burrito is better for my mental health, and that’s the sacrifice I have to make. I wish Wendy's and McDonald's and Burger King and these fast-good places would take a page out of some of the newer restaurant trends and stop using super-processed meat, but you gotta pick and choose and do what ya can in our profession."
Know your death-row meal
"It would be pizza and ice cream, most likely. When I get home off a long week, I go to the gym, have a great workout, and then I go home and order a giant taco pizza with a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. If I were gonna croak tomorrow, that would probably be my go-to."
No supplement for hard work
"I think it's important to have some sort of quick-digesting protein and carbohydrates right after your workout. The supplement industry is what it is. They know people are always looking for the easy way out. There really is no secret weapon. The secret weapon is hard work. I'm a huge proponent of trying to eat as much real food as possible. I get a lot of questions about, 'I have trouble putting on size. Are there are any supplements I should take?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re probably just not eating enough. If you were really trying to put on size, you'd be ordering a large pizza every night and drizzling it with oil and throw bacon on it.' There is no secret formula for looking how you wanna look. You have to get in the gym and do the work."