United States champion Austin Theory started training at the age of 12 in order to fulfil his goal of wrestling for WWE.
Theory is currently in his second reign holding the prestigious championship and of late has been mixing it up with the behemoth that is Bobby Lashley, a 6ft 3, 273 lb former college wrestler, MMA fighter and military member.
But Theory has been more than a match for the almighty one as he prepares for his second appearance in iconic Royal Rumble match on Saturday.
The 25-year-old will be one of the youngest superstars involved in the 30-man free-for-all but he is not to be slept on.
Theory has worked for experiences of this level for over a decade, having headed to the gym before he was even a teenager and never stopped pumping iron.
“The only thing that made me literally get up and go to the gym was WWE,” Theory told SPORTbible.
“I literally one day woke up and started watching when I was eight years old. But I remember one day, I was on YouTube and I saw some wrestlers doing some workout videos. And I remember my mum would go to the gym a lot.
“I told my mum, ‘Hey, I got to start working out for my career, can I go to the gym with you?’
“And I went with my mum to the gym and learn some little stuff from her and then kind of split off.
“The gym’s pretty cool because if it’s consistent when you go and you’re around good people, I feel like you can learn a lot.
“And that’s kind of what I did, I would work out with certain people and learn certain things and just kind of built myself up. And it was never like a time period where I stopped. So even to now where I’m 25 years old, I’ve literally worked out consistently since I was 12 to 25.
“There was never a year off or three months off. And I think that’s why it kind of makes it easy with how busy I am, it’s just implemented in me.”
Image: WWEIn November, Theory took to his social media channels to share his incredible 10-year body transformation, with the caption, “Where it started. 2012 to 2022. Enjoy the Process.”
The former Money in the Bank winner went from scrawny kid to jacked superstar, his hard work truly paying off.
He was going above and beyond at the gym and even eating oatmeal and egg whites for that protein kick before school because he knew how important his look would be for him to make it to WWE.
Theory continued: “I remember the Gold’s gym that I worked out at, they had a track around the top of the gym.
“It was such a long track but every leg day, I remember doing three laps of lunges to start. And then I’d do a two-hour leg workout. And then I’d do three more laps, lunges. And even the food, I was getting up early on school days, having to get up an hour early to eat oatmeal and egg whites.
“It was so gross, it took me like 30 to 45 minutes to eat all of it and it wasn’t a lot but I was doing it every single day and having to get up earlier to get that meal in.
“I remember going around school and I had boiled eggs in my backpack and protein bars. I was just always on it and to me, you’ve just got to be all in for it.
“I just had this clear vision of wanting to be in WWE, so what can I do? And to me, that’s one of the biggest things is – your look.
“And that also builds in that dedication. It’s not just building muscle; it builds your mentality and helps you kind of get away and get an escape.
“At the same time, you’re benefiting towards your goals and you’re working towards them.”
Image: AlamyAt 17, Theory ranked first place in the NPC Georgia Teen, Men’s bodybuilding championship event. He had heard that WWE were scouting for tryouts from a bodybuilder in the gym, who asked him if he wanted the email.
It seemed like his route in but Theory wanted WWE to call him.
“I was 17. And I was like, ‘No’. I always heard this thing when I was a kid that if you contacted WWE and they didn’t come looking for you, you wouldn’t get in. So I was like, ‘Nah, I’m good. I don’t want the email but I was like, ‘That’s it’. I’m literally going to win a bodybuilding show. I’m going to win the whole thing and I’m going to get a tryout.
“I did the show, I won first overall teenage Georgia and that was it. I didn’t hear anything and I was kind of like, ‘Alright, I’m done with this bodybuilding’ so really, it was just one show. But actual bodybuilding, I’ve done my whole life. That’s just always been how I’ve worked out.
“And that’s just what I’m interested in with, when it comes to the working out side, is just the building muscle and that’s bodybuilding.”
He had a WWE tryout in 2018 and wrestled at WrestleMania Axxess as part of the company’s link-up with the Evolve promotion.
Theory would then sign with WWE in August 2019 after being shown on the big screen in the crowd at NXT Takeover: Toronto.
Now a key member of the Raw brand, on a full-time schedule and performing all over the world, one wonders just how Theory is able to fit in his workouts?
Image: AlamyAfter a show, he’s normally in a car driving to the next town and arriving there at 3 or 4am. And then he’s trying to catch some sleep until 9 or 10. But for Theory, it’s all about balance.
“Every day is busy. I think it just comes down to what you want and what you’re trying to achieve,” he explained.
“And for me it’s just a guarantee for my day. I try to find balance so when I can rest and just listen to my body. But if I’m feeling good, I always like to go to the gym, just because it kind of sets me up for the day and just kind of awakens everything.
“There isn’t a lot of time but I always find the time for that because you’re always going to find a little bit of time to relax or chill during the day. Man, if you’re serious about it, that’s where you’re going to find the time.
“You just gotta figure it out, and you gotta make it a routine. My schedule is pretty wild but there’s always an hour in there, there’s always two hours, whatever you need. It’s always there. It’s just, you gotta sacrifice for sure.”
“WWE’s Royal Rumble will broadcast live from the Alamodome, San Antonio at 1 AM GMT on Sunday, January 29th 2023… Tune in on the WWE Network or on BT Sport.”