WWE Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair shines brightly in the WWE spotlight, but the self-proclaimed "StrongEST, FastEST and ToughEST" athlete has learned that heavy is the head that wears the crown. After chronicling her rise to the top of WWE with M&F ahead of her historic first world title win at WrestleMania 37, Belair stopped by ahead of SummerSlam 2022 to reflect on life at the top of the mountain and explain why when at working hardest, the cameras are off and the crowd has stopped cheering so they can keep making their mark for as long as possible.
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1. Bianca Belair sewed everything
This super athlete's seamless transition from NXT rookie to WWE Champion is down to her ability to keep her feet on the ground. Incredibly, despite her hectic current game schedule, media commitments, and countless hours in the gym, Belair still designs and manufactures her own ring gear. In homage to her track and field hero, Flo-Jo (Florence Griffith Joyner), Belair believes in outdoing her rivals with both her physical prowess and a creative flair for fashion. Her outfit for WrestleMania 37 took weeks to complete and was only completed the night before that huge main event victory over Sasha Banks. It's a ritual that the dedicated WWE Superstar continues to this day.
"Making my gear definitely keeps me grounded," says Belair. “Being a champion has increased my workload even more. I struggle to find time to make my gear, but it's something I've been doing since day one. It's a part of who 'Bianca Belair' is so I want to hold on to that and I wouldn't feel comfortable going in the ring without gear that I made.”
2. Bianca Belair leaves it all at the gym
You can take the girl away from CrossFit competition, but Bianca Belair still loves cardio and CrossFit workouts to keep her condition in tip-top shape now that she's a Champion in WWE. In fact, EST is so serious about taking on challenging workouts that she leaves it all at the gym and likes to feel sore to feel like she's given it her all.
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"I've been an athlete my whole life," says Belair. "Well, I love the feeling of working hard, the pain of being in the gym, I love pushing myself. I love being uncomfortable so now I'm sore. It's sort of my "norm". When I'm not sore, I'm like, 'Okay, I haven't worked hard enough, I need to get back to the gym. I understand the importance of rest, but I love feeling tired because I feel like my hard work is paying off.” In terms of supplements, Belair shares that C4 Smart Energy is one of the champions' top gym bag items for work and leisure. "C4 is so important to me, especially when I'm trying to work out in the morning," says Belair. "Because I'm not a morning person. My husband (another WWE Superstar, Montez Ford, is the person who gets up at 7 a.m. and yells.” The champion explains that not only does C4's smart energy drink get her fit for epic workouts, but the cognitive benefits help she stays focused behind the sewing machine.
3. Bianca Belair learned to love herself
After laying it all out in the WWE ring and on the gym floor, the champion has learned that taking care of herself is a must if she is to continue reigning as the Raw Women's Champion. To that end, Belair learns to take moments for herself here and there. "My husband forces me to do yoga, which I find difficult because I don't like to sit still," Belair laughs. “I'm a big fan of foam rollers because, coming from the track and field world, we've always done foam rollers as a warm-up and afterwards. We also started doing ice baths again.” Still, there's nothing the EST loves more after captivating its WWE fans than watching a little Netflix. "You can work hard, but you have to stop and take care of yourself," she says. "Some people have this misconception that self-care has to be pickles on the eyes and face masks ... but sometimes my self-care consists of just lying in bed, tuning in to my favorite show, and resting my mind and body."
4. Bianca Belair understands that becoming a champion is just the beginning
"I feel like a lot of people think you put in all the hard work to become a champion, but it all starts over... because now you have a big goal on your back," Belair says. "Everyone comes after you. They also have more appearances and more media, so it's harder to find time and keep your fitness game correct. Belair also feels like she's been training harder than ever in the gym, and if you think that's impossible, her PRs say otherwise!
"I recently did a PR for pull-ups and dips," she enthusiastically shares. "If people would have followed my story a few years ago, before I came to WWE, I had a major injury to my ribs. I had costochondritis where the ribs burst from my sternum so I couldn't do pull ups or dips. So this week I did 17 straight pull-ups and yesterday I did 22 straight dips, so I'm very excited about that because I know where I was a few years ago and I see that all the hard work is paying off now ."
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5. Bianca Belair knows that WIN starts with TRYING
"My parents raised me to work hard and 'what's for you will be for you,'" says the champion. "I know people say you can be anything you want to be, but sometimes life happens, you know? And sometimes plans change, but that doesn't mean you give up. My big thing is just trying. Montez and I talk about this all the time. Just give it a try and don't be afraid of not being good at something the first time. Keep working hard and trying and be okay with your direction [taking a different route] sometimes. As long as you're moving forward, that's the right way to do things.”
Bianca Belair is hoping to move forward again at SummerSlam 2022 at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN on July 30 (live on Peacock in the US and WWE Network international). If the EST can finally erase their title loss from Becky Lynch in a rematch from last year's event. "I'm really looking forward to SummerSlam," Belair shared. "Everyone knows I'm a girl from Tennessee. I'm from [Knoxville] Tennessee born and raised, my mom is actually from Nashville... It's SummerSlam and everyone knows what happened to me at SummerSlam last year. I came in with the title and Becky Lynch took my title in 26 seconds, so (takes a deep breath) even though I inherited that title from Becky Lynch at WrestleMania, it comes full circle for me.”
Bianca Belair proves that what matters most is how hard you work when no one is looking. “I want to put 100 percent into what I do,” she affirms. "Inside the ring but also outside the ring so I'm working hard when the cameras are off, I'm working hard when I'm not in the ring and all of that carries over. It correlates and all of that shows when I step into the ring.”