When Charlotte Flair made the cover of Muscle & Fitness Hers back in 2015, she appeared cool and collected on the outside, but the daughter of pro wrestling icon Ric Flair was still getting to grips with life as a WWE Superstar on the inside. “I had no idea what I was getting into, or what I wanted to accomplish,” she says. “I started wrestling for my little brother and then the next thing you know, it’s, ‘OK, I like this!’ and, ‘OK, I fit in!’”
Having excelled in college sports, the girl from Charlotte, NC, hadn’t grown up with plans to follow her father’s path, but this had been the dream of her younger brother, Reid. When Reid met with WWE execs, Charlotte accompanied him, and was also encouraged to follow in the family business. But while stepping through the ropes offered an exciting future, Charlotte didn’t click with the sport straight away. “Yes, I’m Ric Flair’s daughter, but just because he was a wrestler didn’t mean that I wanted to be a wrestler,” she says. “[But] having the sports background, and playing volleyball in college, the athleticism came naturally to me. I think that was the only thing that kept me in the game when I first started.”
When Reid tragically passed away in 2013, Charlotte decided to give WWE her all, and became the NXT women’s champion 14 months later.
“I just dedicated everything to him,” she says. While some observers felt that being part of wrestling royalty would bring favor from WWE chiefs, there were some lofty expectations for the offspring of a 16-time world wrestling champion. “Having a character and knowing anything about wrestling, performing, stage fright, none of those things came naturally to me,” recalls Flair. “But just being in the ring and being physical, and being able to outshine or keep up with the other guys and girls in the ring… when I first started, that was big to me.”
Training herself for greatness
Today, her list of accomplishments makes for a dream WWE résumé. “Second Nature” has every right to be called Queen, owed to multiple world title reigns, a Royal Rumble win, and of course, being part of the first-ever all-female WrestleMania main event alongside Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey in 2019. “Here I am, accomplishing all of that in such a short amount of time,” she says. “It’s hard to think of that shy girl [having a cover shoot] in 2015, and then being here today.” Charlotte had been a personal trainer for three years before signing with WWE, and had a good understanding of exercise and nutrition, but these days wrestling is her focus. “I think I’d rather train a wrestler than be a physical fitness trainer,” she says.
But how did Charlotte evolve from being a college student, afraid of public speaking, to wrestling in front of 80,000 fans? “It’s about being kind to yourself,” says Flair. “How you talk to yourself really matters. I never believed that I could be on TV, or be a performer, or any of those things … why did I tell myself that for so many years? And now, here I am, the most decorated women’s champion of all-time. Why do we tell ourselves that we can’t do something? It’s because we are scared of it. So, do what you are scared of. That biggest fear that you have…do that!” says Flair. “When my music hits, I transform into something else.”
A Flair for the big screen?
With the wrestling world bowed at her feet, what’s next for the queen to accomplish? Will she follow her superstar contemporaries, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and John Cena, and make her mark in Hollywood? “I don’t want to force it,” says Flair. “But then it’s like, ‘Wait. Do I not want to force it because I’m scared of it?’ So, I’m going to start acting classes, and if the roles come, and I’m selected, I’d love to be in an action movie or play a superhero or something like that.”
For Charlotte Flair, being in superhero shape all-year-round is part of the job when you’re a WWE Superstar. “I just turned 35, and I’m like, I want to be in the best shape of my life,” she says. “I’ve done CrossFit and I was really into running in college, but right now I love bodybuilding.”
As Flair has matured, she’s learned to slow her training down rather than rush through movements, taking the time to isolate different body parts. “You have to follow a system and track it, and be regimented,” she says. The queen first fell in love with Olympic lifting when she came to WWE, seeking to emulate the training of John Cena, and has since grown to understand the effects of each movement. “I’m like, OK, can I get a bigger butt? Can I get bigger shoulders?” she asks herself with each rep.
To supplement her bodybuilding, Charlotte Flair alternates between regular cardio and HIIT circuits for 3 days per week. When COVID closed gyms, she converted her garage into a gym and flipped tires, jumped rope, and cycled. “I’ll cycle with an app where we do 20 seconds on, and 20 seconds off, or I’ll ride around the park. We’ll do pull ups, dips and push ups before we start the workout.” Despite wrestling in the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match, and consistently putting her body on the line, Flair still feels as healthy as ever. “I was a gymnast when I was younger, and there is something to knowing your body, like how to hold it, and balance,” she says.
Fitness, future, and female inspiration
Since her last “M&F” shoot in 2015, Charlotte Flair has also focused on her nutrition, spacing out five meals per day, and more recently swapping potatoes for tortillas. “It’s about portion control,” she says. “It depends on what your goals are.” For breakfast, Flair has protein enriched oatmeal, then she may choose steak with two tortillas and cactus for lunch, then perhaps a chicken dish with half a cup of rice, cucumbers and lettuce. She also enjoys chicken with asparagus.
Whatever the future holds for the pro wrestling great, her journey no doubt serves as an inspiration for women looking to reach their own potential.
“Being strong, and a badass in the gym, it’s sexy,” says Flair. “I think so many women are scared to pick up a weight, because they are like, ‘Oh, my God, I might get big!’”
No, you don’t get big … you get sexy!