Here's what has changed, and what has been learned.Read article
When Alexa Bliss began the transition from bodybuilding to running the ropes in WWE’s cutting-edge NXT Division, she soon realized that even her impressive athletic background was no match for the challenges that awaited her. “Nothing prepares you for what your body goes through [in the ring],” Bliss says. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but also the most rewarding.”
Bliss’ sporting career began at age 5, when she competed in gymnastics at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH, her hometown. She returned to the Arnold as a cheerleader years later and graced the stage there in 2013 as an IFBB bikini pro. She even returned to the festival this spring as an NXT Superstar as part of a WWE event.
Bliss started to compete in the bikini division as a way to stay in shape after college. “I told my trainers, Mike Davies and Natalie Calland, that I was serious and wanted to compete. They gave me five weeks to prepare!
I was training nearly every day and taking posing classes. It was grueling, but I went on to become one of the youngest people to get a pro card [at age 20],” Bliss recalls.
After a year of competing in the IFBB (placing as high as sixth in the Pittsburgh Pro), Bliss set her eyes on sports entertainment. “I’d heard there was a [WWE] tryout, so I made a video and sent it in,” she says. “I got a call back, went to L.A., and was signed shortly thereafter.”
At just 5’1″, Bliss often gets the better of opponents who may underestimate her. Now 25, she has started to show a more aggressive side, using agility and quickness to impress fans and outsmart her rivals. She was recently drafted to WWE’s Smackdown division.
Getting a grip on WWE has been an entirely new experience for Bliss. “Falling flat on your back [on purpose] is very unnatural. It takes a lot of adjustment to take those bumps,” she says. Bliss has also learned a lot since training at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, FL, a state-of-the-art facility where training sessions last for three hours in the ring every day, followed by an hour and a half of weights.
Despite a demanding schedule, Bliss keeps her diet in check through an intuitive approach to nutrition. “It’s all about balance. I don’t count calories, but I get a feel for what I can eat.” Bliss likes to cook when she can and mostly sticks to clean choices, occasionally giving in to favorite cheats like peanut butter.
It’s a healthy outlook for someone who battled serious issues with eating growing up. “I would look at food and just cry,” Bliss says. “I was in and out of the hospital until I came to terms with who I was. Now I know there are more important things than the scale.”
Bliss has taken that confidence into the ring and plans to use it to earn a championship someday. “I would love to walk onstage at WrestleMania with my mom and dad in the front row and show them—and myself—what I’ve accomplished,” she says.
SEE ALSO: Get To Know Wwe’s Alexa Bliss