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Considering his brashness, and flagrant lack of consideration for the rules inside the squared circle, Muscle & Fitness were intrigued to learn that the 22 year old “bruiserweight” from Birmingham, England, has a sensitive side – living a vegan lifestyle for the past year or so. We get the lowdown on what it takes to fuel this young up-starts ambition.
WWE fans are fast becoming familiar with Pete Dunne, a rising star who has just started to make a mark with the leading brand in sports entertainment. Pete has been raising his profile all over the world with a no-nonsense, aggressive style, and recently caught the eye of none other what Triple H, who has tipped him for big things.
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During a recent WWE tournament in Blackpool, England, Pete made it all the way through to the final match, narrowly missing his chance to become the first WWE UK Champion. He followed this performance with a highly applauded match in Orlando – aired just a few days ago on the WWE Network.
Photo Courtesy of WWE
M&F: How did your entry into the WWE United Kingdom Tournament come about?
Pete: I was on an independent show one day and I get a call totally out of the blue from (WWE talent scout) William Regal. He came and watched my match and afterwards he invited me to a WWE tryout, which happened in November. From then on it’s been full steam ahead. I’ve barely had time to blink.
Making the final of a huge tournament in your home country must have been the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely. I’ve managed to do so many things by the age of 22 that from now on, anything going forward is a bonus. I’ve been all around the world including Japan, and getting to the WWE at such a young age is incredible.
When people see your villainous actions on TV, and how insensitive your character appears to be, they may be surprised to learn that you are a vegan.
I’ve been vegan for just over a year now. I’ve always wanted to do this. I love animals, I have two dogs that I love to bits and it’s always created a battle for me where on the one hand I love these creatures but then I can go and eat a chicken breast or a steak. I too had the misconception that you can’t get strong if you are a vegan. I watched a documentary on Netflix called Cowspiracy, and it explains the environmental impact of eating meat and fish. That was a big eye-opener for me. Shortly thereafter I became a vegan.
Photo Courtesy of WWE
Wrestling is such a physically demanding pursuit, how do you find matching up the life of a wrestler with a vegan diet?
There are assumptions made by people that if you are a vegan you won’t get the right nutrition. In actual fact it’s ideal. Being a vegan lends itself to a high carb diet, and is low fat, and it’s a myth that you can’t get enough protein. What we do requires high energy so being a vegan is perfect for that. It doesn’t matter what type of diet that you are on, you can always hit the right macro nutrients.
You are getting in the ring almost nightly now, and your muscles are being damaged, what kinds of foods do you go to for protein and recovery?
Most people don’t realize how much protein you can get from beans and oats. In terms of my favorites, I really enjoyed the taste of meat and these days there are loads of foods on offer that are mock meats. I don’t eat them all the time though. In general I try and stick to whole foods where I can.
Getting the right nutrition on the road is an age old problem for wrestlers. Is that a challenge you face too?
Definitely. Wrestling all over the world like in China or Japan, and back home trying to eat at service stations, it presents difficulties even for non-vegans. There is not a lot of healthy food available late at night. There’s now a few of us wrestlers that are vegan, quite a few times we’ll get to a show and all sit down to eat a can of baked beans. You learn to get around these issues and I’m good with preparing food before hand too. You can get by.
How often are you able to workout?
I try and get to the gym every day. That’s my plan. Travel can reduce this to 5 days, but there’s always something I can be doing. I’m sure some people would say this is over training but with wrestling you have to train a number of ways. It’s not just about the way you look, the other side of it is the conditioning needed to wrestle.
The style of pro wrestling is changing to a point where the matches are going longer but still keeping up a quick pace. How do you work on cardio?
I personally hate standard cardio in the gym, but I’ll still train this way 3 times per week. I get a lot of cardio from my matches. I love powerlifting and when I was younger that was all I wanted to do, but these days I do have to change up my training – even if it means moving fast around the gym on a lifting session with fewer rests.
You are still young, and people are already tipping you for big things in WWE. Even Triple H has gone on record to praise you. Do you feel any pressure?
I’ve been wrestling for quite a while now, so I have had time to prepare. I haven’t felt a single ounce of pressure. In fact, it’s all been a very special time. Right now I’m in work mode. I’m excited for the future. What’s next!
The Bruiserweight Pete Dunne can be seen on the WWE Network or follow him on twitter @PeteDunneYxB where he regularly shares great ideas and dishes for vegans.