Though still only 33, Drew McIntyre has already experienced the many highs and lows that a professional wrestling career has to offer, so when the 6’5” WWE Superstar from Ayrshire, Scotland, speaks up, those in the locker room should be all ears.
We recently caught up with McIntyre, who had some candid advice to younger talent about how they can improve their situation in the present to avoid traveling the same perilous career path that he has.
“I’d say figure it out now, while you are in WWE and start applying yourself in every area that can possibly benefit [you], like the gym or working on, perhaps, your character,” McIntyre says. “Maybe look to improve your in-ring [ability] or your microphone skills. Start working on that now and try to improve it now, and give it 110 percent now, because I assure you the way I did it—[like] getting fired and then having to figure it all out and start kind of from scratch to rebuild yourself and rebuild your image—is a lot more difficult.”
Difficult as it was, McIntyre turned his career around by working his way back up from the bottom and learning his lessons the hard way. It began when he was released by WWE during his initial run in 2014, which forced him onto the independent scene. Adopting a much more hard-hitting style and sporting a more distinct look, he soon found himself on one of the most successful treks that an independent wrestler has ever navigated, gaining championships in several countries, including the United States, England, and Australia. He had finally come into his own, and thankfully, his success outside of WWE caught the attention of company officials, who rehired him in 2017. He returned as part of NXT before moving over to the RAW roster in 2018.
So why is McIntyre thriving now when just a few years ago he was relegated to the bottom of the card and far away from the main event scene? It all comes from the dedication he has shown in every area of the industry—including the holy trinity of in-ring work, character development, and an intense training regimen.
Currently weighing in at a chiseled 265 pounds, Drew is back at main-event status, because he’s matured in attitude and has been consistent with his training. The former NXT Champion has also found that keeping his diet and nutrition in-check while on the road is beneficial to his overall wellbeing.
“I feel really good, and [eating right] makes all the difference especially when you are traveling,” McIntyre says. “With the RAW and SmackDown schedule, we are on the road four days a week. [It’s] one thing if you’re in NXT and you are based at home [in Orlando] most of the time, and you can stick to a diet that’s easy to follow, but to figure out a diet on the road when you are travelling with RAW or SmackDown is not so easy.”
To combat the diet woes, McIntyre stresses the importance of routine and dedication.
“I use a meal prep company to organize my meals for me, and I travel with a cooler to make sure I stick to the plan,” he says. “So not only can you stick to a diet now, it’s way healthier, and it’s probably more financially sensible since you are not eating out all the time, which is also bad for you, so it’s a win-win all around.”
Drew McIntyre will make his bid to retrieve the Money in the Bank briefcase on Sunday, May 19 Live on WWE Network. For more information, and to get your first month Free, visit WWE.com.
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Going to the beach can be the source of anxiety for a lot of people. But if you’ve been sticking with your fitness goals, it could be the perfect place to show off the hard work you’ve been doing in the gym and in the kitchen.
If you still feel like there’s room for improvement before you hit the waves this summer (or on your next island vacation), we’ve got a great arm workout for you. It’s built around supersets, which is one of the best workout methods to incorporate into your strength training. With this plan, you’ll get the most out of your reps, get a major pump, and spark muscular development.
Perform four rounds of each superset (A and B) before moving on to the next superset (there are three supersets total). Rest 90 seconds between each round.
If you’re up for it, wear a weight belt or a weight vest while doing the dips to increase the difficulty level.
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Adeel Alam burst on to WWE TV screens as a last-minute alternate in the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic tournament, under the name Mustafa Ali, wowing fans with his extraordinary combination of speed, relatable charisma, and innovative offense. Though his appearance in the tournament would prove short-lived after a first-round loss, it still marked significant progress for a competitor that had frequently been told he was not the type of Superstar that WWE was looking for.
Born to a Pakistani father and an Indian mother, Ali spent his formative years as a young pro wrestler under a mask in an effort to avoid discrimination from potentially hostile fans or prejudicial promoters. He also juggled wrestling on the independent scene while serving as a police officer in Homewood, Illinois. In his early years, trying to “make it” as a struggling up-and-comer, Ali had buckled under the pressure and portrayed a character known as Prince Mustafa Ali, a stereotypical foreign heel billed from Saudi Arabia—complete with the same headdress, snarl, and mannerisms fans have seen from countless Middle Eastern bad guys in the past. But Ali soon felt uncomfortable making people hate him, and, by extension, all Muslims.
“I remember looking into this kid’s eyes, and I remember seeing hate,” Ali said in an interview with CBS in March 2019. “And right then and there it hit me. I just taught this kid to hate people who look like me.”
He soon ditched the gimmick and presented himself as he’d normally be seen on the streets, with no headdress, in an effort to be accessible to fans of all races and religious beliefs.
“I don’t want the story to be, ‘Hey, this character on TV is a Muslim guy,’” Ali told us. “That’s the least important thing. What’s in my heart and how hard I fight, what I do inside and outside the ring and who I am as a person, that’s what’s important.”
Now part of the SmackDown Live brand, Mustafa Ali’s name has been shortened to ‘Ali,’ and the Illinois native is receiving some touching feedback on social media for his integrity.
“The feedback from Muslim fans is more about what a relief it is to have this positive representation now, because for a long time, not just in our industry, but in media in general, there wasn’t always that positive depiction of anybody that’s Muslim,” Ali says. “The roles for Muslims were typically not positive and that was [the case with] sitcoms to TV shows, to movies, and even sports entertainment, but now, what’s cool about my character is that it’s not about being Muslim.”
— ALI / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) May 12, 2019
That feedback doesn’t just begin and end with his Muslim fans—members of the WWE Universe from all walks of life have benefitted from Ali’s attempts to make these stereotypes a thing of the past.
“From the non-Muslim side it’s the same, where people go, ‘Hey, you’re our first introduction to talking to anybody that’s Muslim. For the longest time we’ve had these pre-conceived ideas, and you’ve shattered those ideas, and we just weren’t aware of it,’” Ali says. “So through my social media posts to whatever it is you have on TV it’s kind of opened up their eyes, or even their minds to some degree, to what a Muslim is.”
The popular cruiserweight will face his most important test yet on Sunday evening, when he competes against seven other WWE Superstars in the Money in the Bank ladder match. He will be up against some of the company’s most established and decorated athletes, such as Randy Orton and Finn Bálor, but his agility-focused training methods could offer up a unique advantage when it comes to scaling the ladder and beating his opponents to retrieve the prized briefcase.
“My training is very different, I would say, than a lot of the other guys,” Ali says. “While I do have an aspect of weightlifting involved in my workout regiment, a lot of my workout is based on plyometric circuits. So, I love doing cardio. I love doing the plyometric-based workouts, because I feel like it’s the closest thing to what we do in the ring—and you can you can’t replicate what we do in the ring, but we can get pretty close to it.”
Plyometrics is a discipline that Ali first picked up while training in the police academy and is ideal for building muscle, improving stamina, and keeping your body burning calories well after a workout is over. These circuits often include explosive moments, such as box jumps and overhead throws. It’s this type of workout program that’s the key to Ali’s seemingly otherworldly ability to pull off the type of high-flying offense that the modern WWE Superstars are known for.
Sunday night, Ali will gather his years of training experience when he attempts to outrace his opponents to the top of that all-important ladder and earn a shot at the World Championship.
WWE Money in the Bank is broadcast live on WWE Network: Sunday, May 25. Visit WWE.com for further information and to get your first month FREE.
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