When Netflix went in search of a trainer for its new female pro wrestling-based series, GLOW, it found the perfect coach in Chavo Guerrero Jr.—a former WWE superstar with a legendary family lineage.
A proud member of the Guerrero wrestling family, he consulted on action sequences for the 10-episode series, which makes its debut on June 23 and has a slick ’80s retro feel. During production, he imparted years of fitness and pro wrestling knowledge with a cast that includes Alison Brie (Mad Men) and Betty Gilpin (Nurse Jackie), and, as these images show, the results are pretty amazing.
Here are some of Guerrero’s top fitness tips that can be applied to athletes of all levels and disciplines.
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1. Train Appropriately for Your Goals
Don’t just go through the motions at the gym. What are you trying to improve, and how will you do it? If you want to add muscle you need to lift heavier weights, and if you want to build your cardio you need to look at disciplines like HIIT.
Alison Brie went into filming for GLOW well-prepared. Before she embarked on months of in-ring training for the show, the star got a head start by working with a trainer to build her strength. Then it was on to wrestling school with Guerrero.
“During filming we worked muscles that the girls had never used before,” says Guerrero. “In preparation for some of the moves and back-flips we wanted to make sure that everyone’s abs, lower back, and core strength was up. The foam rollers were our best friends!”
Building up the girls’ core strength protected them from a number of wrestling injuries such as whiplash. Always research the types of training that will best match your goals or desired sport, and then go for it.
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2. Leave Your Comfort Zone to Build Confidence
For some, leaving your comfort zone might simply mean stacking the weight a little heavier, or increasing the number of sets that you do. For others, it might involve taking on an entirely different training discipline that you haven’t done before, such as circuit training or CrossFit. The cast of GLOW embarked on an intensive pro wrestling course with Guerrero, and came out the other end stronger and with more confidence than ever.
“Some of the girls were athletes but they didn’t know it,” says Guerrero. “Some of them had played soccer and some had a dance background, and they were a bit concerned about the wrestling I was going to have them doing. I walked them through it, and once we built up that trust they were really up for anything. Every one of those girls in the cast developed their confidence and strength, and, as a result, they felt they could do anything. For me, that was a huge reward.”
The next time you get a chance to leave your comfort zone, give it a whirl.
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3. Get Physical
The cast of GLOW was chosen for its different body shapes, and Guerrero found himself in a catch 22 because, on the one hand, he wanted to raise the fitness levels of the girls, and, on the other, he didn’t want to drastically change their body shapes and interfere with the director’s vision. Physical training like running the ropes, bridges, and footwork proved to be an excellent way for the girls to keep their proportions whilst making subtle improvements at the same time.
“As time went on, the girls’ bodies did start to change, and they were getting more toned and ripped,” says Guerrero. “I was trying not to let that happen too much, but the physicality and the five-days-a-week training produced results.”
So for those of you who think lifting heavy or raising the physicality in your approach to training is going to bulk you up fast—no fear, it takes hours, weeks, and even months to make those types of changes.
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4. Fuel Up
GLOW is a Netflix production, and with it came the spoils of great catering. Guerrero was able to ask for anything he needed to help keep energy levels high during workout sessions, and he and the cast would drink protein shakes between takes to keep their macro intake at optimum levels. They also made sure to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of craft services in the parking lot of our local gym, but we can take the right steps to stay just as fuelled up and ready for action. Pre-prepared meals are a great and convenient way to make sure you’re never caught hungry. Protein shakes and BCAA supplements also aid the muscles to recover, so that you’re ready for the next bout in the gym. Eating and drinking the right things during the day will help you get the best from any type of workout.
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5. Dedicate Yourself
Some people seem to pick everything up straight away like Kimmy Gatewood.
“We would call Kimmy Gatewood, ‘Kimmy Onetime,'” laughs Guerrero. “She would get everything the first time like she had been a wrestler in another life.”
For others, it took a while longer to “click,” but in each case there’s no substitute for hard work. The only way to see results with fitness is to maintain consistency, and keep applying and challenging yourself. Find something that inspires you, and remember that nothing worth having comes easy.
The cast of GLOW may look like a million bucks on-screen, but was required to train for eight hours per day, five days a week. The only thing that separates you from a champion is the hours you’re willing to put in to realize your dream.
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6. Avoid Shortcuts
It’s true that the only person you ever compete with when it comes to training is that person staring back at you in the mirror. No one will stop you from using the gym as a great way to catch up with friends, but if you really want to see results avoid the shortcuts and do the work. Don’t skip the warm up, and give everything a try.
“I’m a physical fitness guy,” says Guerrero. “I grew up around gyms. I got weights for Christmas at 8 years old. So I know how important it is to prepare and warm up and stretch.”
The girls did everything that Guerrero asked of them: “We had a couple of stunt girls on set for some of the shots that required a lot of repetition, where we would do 13 or 14 different angles, but any of the stunts you see on the show—those actresses were able to perform every single one, each and every part. You see on some movies where the star doesn’t do the stunts, but everyone could do them on GLOW.”
Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling can be seen on Netflix starting June 23.