When you declare to the world that you don’t just set the bar but you are The Bar, you better be capable of proving it.
Well, WWE SmackDown Live! Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro have been doing that for over two years as a team, and a damn sight longer as individual wrestling superstars.
But nothing worth having comes easy, and what fans don’t often see is the work that goes in behind the scenes. Thankfully Sheamus is changing this, and UNILAD were invited by the Celtic Warrior to brave change first-hand and experience some of his routines.
A longstanding fixture in the WWE universe, the Celtic Warrior explained why he is putting so much effort into breaking away from a formula you’d logically credit with taking him to the summit of sports entertainment.
It took some honest introspection, but ultimately change was necessary and Sheamus told UNILAD why:
Before I went into the WWE I was just doing a very basic bodybuilding program. There was no dynamic stuff, there was nothing in there that was sports minded, nothing athletically inclined. I kind of got stuck in a rut in WWE doing the same thing over and over again.
I met a guy called Chris Cavallini and we started doing all these fun workouts. We were doing prowler pushes, push-ups with a sledgehammer and a 45° angle, started doing hammer and tyre, burpees into pull-ups, all sorts of very athletically inclined workouts that were a lot of fun as opposed to just doing bench press and flyes.
I started putting them on Instagram stories and Snapchat, and I was getting a great response out of them. People were telling me how it was motivating them to try new workouts and it just brought back to me because, the idea of the channel was that I’d become very, very stale in my workouts, and I realised I was afraid to leave my comfort zone.
I was stuck in a rut, I wasn’t enjoying my workouts, I was going through the motions, and I think that was shown in all aspects of my work in the ring as well.
But those short posts to social media opened a new door. The former WWE Champion could help others and himself, but he had to be the one to keep facing new challenges, to brave change head on.
Celtic Warrior Workouts was born.
Once I started training with different types of workouts, and stepping outside of my comfort zone I decided to take on other people’s workouts, see what their journey was and what they overcame. Also I knew by doing other people’s workouts that was me constantly stepping outside my comfort zone, forcing me to learn to adapt, learn new styles, new training and basically make myself a better all round athlete.
Y’know, I’m failing a lot of these workouts because I’m not used to them, stepping outside my comfort zone, I’m doing these workouts and they’re killing me ‘cos it’s a different kind of training. That transferred in turn to starting to motivate other people to step outside their comfort zone, to try something new, to change their life.
Maybe I could influence somebody who had been afraid or intimidated to go to a gym where there’s all this big banging and clanging going on, and inspire them to start working out to change their life. It’s where the ‘Brave Change’ philosophy comes from, being brave, stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something that could change your life. One workout can lead to another, another, another, it really could change lives.
What is abundantly clear, and refreshing, in the Irishman’s social channels is that he isn’t afraid to be imperfect. That opens the door for the fanbase to draw genuine inspiration.
Look, I’m a professional athlete and I’m failing at these workouts. There is no shame in failing so long as you’re trying. The only bad workout is no workout.
I looked at myself thinking ‘I’m failing these workouts and I’ve been training my whole life. There’s no shame in failing. It’s a part of life and it’s how you get back up and cope with it and deal with it.
The workout with Becky Lynch, the HIIT workout, I failed. My legs seized up, she kicked my ass and I couldn’t finish it. I put that on the channel because sometimes you might feel like ‘I can’t put that out because I look bad in that’, that’s the point.
I failed at the workout and I wanted people to see that because there is no shame in failing. Regroup, reset, and go again.
That honest approach is paying dividends for all parties. The Dubliner has seen wholesale improvements to his in-ring ability and WWE fans can also be buoyed by the fact braving change has allayed previous injury concerns.
In late 2017 there was news Sheamus was hampered by stenosis in his neck – but rather than wrapping himself in cotton wool, fresh challenges have eased this concern.
Sheamus told UNILAD:
My neck feels great right now, I don’t have any issues with my neck. I haven’t even really thought about it until you said it there. It just feels great, I’m getting all sorts of benefits from all these different workouts, different training and having my body constantly guess…
The different types of training have increased my movement in the ring, my mobility, my athleticism. I’m after dropping down weight now and I feel great, hips feel great, knees feel great, especially in this business knees and hips get tight, you’re travelling a lot in cars and planes. I honestly feel great, I’ve lost some weight, I’m 40 years old but I’m proving age is just a number, just an excuse. It can’t be an excuse.
Rey Mysterio came back at 44 years of age and he’s in better shape now than he has been in the last 15 years. He’s moving around the ring like he did in WCW in the 90s. People use age as a crutch. I don’t. I use it as motivation because I know now that where I am now I’m a better athlete than I was 20 years ago, than I was 10 years ago, than I was five years ago.
Variety is key for both the Celtic Warrior, and those who follow:
I’ve done Crossfit, I’ve done the Crossfit tag challenge; me and Cesaro against Seth [Rollins] and Joshy G, the Dead Boys workouts.
There’s so much there and that’s the point, I’m putting so much variety on the channel so that there’s something there for everyone to try, and you don’t have to go to a gym. You can do it in your living room, in the garage, anywhere!
If you’re not comfortable going to a gym then you can start off small and at home, there’s enough workouts in there just to make that start, make that brave change.
It also appears that variety is addictive and rewarding in itself. Sheamus hasn’t found one single regime that he is strictly following to replace the bodybuilding which led him to plateau.
I think every workout has its own charm. I’ve learned something from every single workout. I did a H2O workout with Steve Cardillo which was on a dock. It was freezing, there was a brutal wind going but the idea of ascending and descending with water, just water! No weights at all, it’s eye-opening.
Training in my dad’s shed, y’know, where I’ve been afraid of my whole life; training in dad’s shed. Working out with your dad, I think that’s a fear for everybody. That was a brave change workout for me overcoming that, and then he made me go on a 5-10 mile cycle afterwards, I was knackered.
I did a little bit of yoga with Mickie James, I did DDP Yoga as well which blew my mind. I worked out with Jeff Cavaliere; posterior Chain Workout.
His channel isn’t just about finding experts in their field though. Sheamus is finding workout partners who inspire him just as much as he does his fans:
I worked out with a 94-year-old, Al Rawley, a World War II veteran, which was incredible – walking around the gym no help needed.
Brandon Rumbaugh who is a Marine veteran and amputee who lost his leg over in Afghanistan.
All these people showing me that there really are no excuses, and that’s the message I’m sending everybody. There are no excuses not to get out there and work out if you have a 94-year-old man in the gym every day, or a double amputee.
There are still simple mistakes to be made in the gym, even if you are pushing yourself to try new routines, and Sheamus’ honesty once again came to the fore as he seeks to lead by example.
Things I’ve learned too, people using cardio machines there’s automatically something there that says ‘you are burning x amount of calories’, well normally that’s wrong. If you put on a heart rate monitor or a Fitbit you’ll see that you’re probably burning less than half the calories than what the machine is telling you.
I myself am guilty of it. You get into this false sense of security where you think, ‘oh I burned 500 calories so I can eat 500 calories,’ well you can’t.
People are working out on the elliptical, treadmill, stairmaster, they think they’re burning these calories and going off and eating the same amount, and what’s actually happening is they’re putting weight on. That’s when people get frustrated in the gym, they can’t understand why they’re not losing weight.
And away from the gym, even simpler mistakes can be made in the kitchen:
Diet is a huge part, I use a macro tracker, MyFitnessPal. I literally put all my calories in there. It’s a great way of A) knowing how many calories you’re taking in of a day, and B) if you’re picking a food or you’ve a sweet tooth, it’s a great way of knowing if you’ve already had too many, it’s a great way of monitoring that.
At the end of the day it’s calories in vs calories out. If you want to lose weight, you have to take in less calories than you’re using. It’s simple, but the hardest part is being able to see what you’re taking in.
So if you haven’t already, go checkout Celtic Warrior Workouts – you will certainly learn something.
Faugh a ballagh!
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.