Widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Ric “Nature Boy” Flair still eats and trains like a pro. In the latest Gym & Fridge video, he welcomes Men’s Health into his Tampa home to inspect his pantry, and offer up some advice on staying fit, healthy and strong at any age.
Flair’s day-to-day diet will be familiar to any gym bro— alot of lean beef, chicken, salmon, fresh fruit, and salads—and his fridge is fully stocked with prepped meals, many of which he makes himself.
“When I was wrestling every day, I could eat anything I wanted,” he says. “I used to live by the rule that for every pound of body weight, you want to have a gram of protein in you. That’s hard to do. You’d have to eat 20 chicken breasts. Two dozen raw eggs a day in a blender.”
These days, he explains, his diet is a lot more structured: he suffered an intestinal rupture in 2017 which means he has to be a lot more careful about what he eats. “I ate a lot more carbs than I do now,” he adds. “I don’t eat much bread, unless it’s wheat bread. I love pasta, but I eat very little pasta. As a result of my surgeries, I’ve got to watch what I eat. Spicy food will kill me.”
All fueled up, Flair heads to the gym. For the last two and a half years, his trainer has been Rob MacIntyre, the strength coach who has worked with a number of other WWE legends including John Cena. While he might not be wrestling an hour in the ring every night, Flair still trains hard, working out up to four times a week. Back in his pro days, he’d churn out 500 air squats and 250 pushups every single day, and do a set of 50 crunches in between every weighted exercise. His current workout still includes the squats, pushups and crunches—and because he hates running, he’ll do intense bursts on the Airdyne bike.
Flair isn’t afraid to admit that he’s motivated by “vanity, vanity, vanity,” and his current fitness goal is to “just stay in the best shape” he possibly can. He does this by constantly setting himself new targets. “As you get older, it’s increasingly hard to push yourself to get better,” he says. “I want to make sure that as each year goes by, that I can do what I did when I was 23.”
“As you get older, you have to get your second wind,” he adds. “No matter how much you warm up, until you get your second wind, you got to see your way through it. Because when you get your second wind, then all of a sudden you’re confidence comes back to you, you’re comfortable with yourself… it’s amazing.”
The phrase “second wind” might be something of a misnomer when it comes to Flair, who has bounced back from multiple serious wrestling injuries, kidney failure, and heart surgery. And he credits his proactive, dedicated attitude with helping him get through all of it:
“At the end of the day, I think that’s the most important thing. Never give up.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.