Keeping Fit with Ric Flair

Nature Boy staying active even in retirement

By Cara Castagna - Edmonton Sun

Legendary pro wrestler Ric Flair hung up his wrestling trunks, shiny boots and custom-tailored sequined robes 10 months ago following an emotional farewell match at Wrestlemania 24.

But the 16-time world champion -- who comes to Edmonton next week for a speaking engagement -- says he has no plans to quit working out anytime soon.

As Flair tells Sun Media in an exclusive one-on-one interview about his fitness regimen, pumping iron is something he’s been doing for about 45 years, so why stop now?

"It’s a way of life for me," says the 59-year-old Nature Boy, who eats a relatively clean diet with high-protein sources such as chicken, fish, shrimp and lean red meat. "I really got slack for a couple months after I retired but I’m right back into it again. I weigh the same now as I weighed at WrestleMania."

Of course, Flair -- with a solid 228-231 pounds on his bronzed six-foot frame -- wants to be around for his grandkids. But that’s not the only reason he still hits the weight room with all the vengeance of an inverted atomic drop.

"It’s important for your self-esteem as well," adds the rasslin’ icon who turns 60 next month.

Flair’s on-camera self-esteem never waned during his illustrious 36-year career. In fact, much like his signature platinum locks in his earlier days, his self-esteem flowed with abundance. Most of the time, the Dirtiest Player in the Game’s confidence crossed into egomaniacal territory. But what else would you expect from the self-proclaimed "kiss-stealing, wheeling, dealing, jet-flying, limousine-riding son of a gun" famous for hollering "Wooooo!" whenever he got the urge?

These days, the 2008 WWE and NWA Hall of Famer works out at least four times a week at either his fully equipped home gym in Charlotte, N.C., or at a local health club.

"I hate going to the gym every day," he confesses. "I have a hard time getting myself there. Once I get there, I enjoy it. But I don’t wake up dying to get there like I used to. I’ve got other stuff going on."

Flair, who has been booked for a variety of events around the world since his retirement last spring, typically hits one or two body parts per workout following a 30-minute cardio session.

"I like to run but I find the hardest and best (cardio) for me is riding the stationary bike," he says, noting he began working out in high school for wrestling and football.

Flair does interval training on the bike, alternating between settings of 12 and 15 at 100 rpm for 30 minutes.

"If you can do that, give me a call," he says with a hearty chuckle. "I’ll challenge anybody on the bike, especially my age group."

Although he doesn’t lift as heavy as he once did, Flair can still hoist some impressive poundages. For example, he can pump out 10 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press.

"On a good day I can probably bench press 300 pounds still," he boasts. "But I don’t push it like I used to. That’s about the only difference in my routine. I don’t push myself for strength anymore."

Back in his heyday, Flair would play a grueling card game when he was on the road. He recalls taking a deck of cards, turning over one card and performing the corresponding number of pushups, crunches and free squats. He wouldn’t stop until he had gone through the entire deck.

"It comes out to 440 of each," he says. "I’d try to it in less than 40 minutes. That’s hard, too. I don’t do the cards anymore."

His current workout regimen seems to do the trick.

That’s why he holds on to it with the vice-grip tenacity of a figure-four leglock.

"I feel great. I’ve been blessed, man. Everything that got messed up with me wrestling has healed well," he says. "I feel like a million bucks."




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