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Dana Brooks – Moving On

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Dana Brooks – Moving On

Staying The Course

It is easy to get distracted or want instant gratification. However, it’s important to remember this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and a lifestyle. I have had many trials and errors when it comes to my fitness journey. When I used to compete, I was always striving for a certain look, which only lasted 24 hours. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a strong person with major determination to compete and I respect everyone who does it. However, it’s more mental than anything. It’s not only your body that you have to train, but your mind as well. I was always trying to hold onto this stage look, but with that mentality came a lot of problems. I couldn’t even enjoy my life or enjoy foods that weren’t bad, but just not on my diet because I was so programmed in my mind. Looking in the mirror, if I didn’t see something I was happy with, then I would get down, but that is no way to live. Fortunately, I caught these issues before they became very serious. I love eating healthy because I feel happy, alert and energized but it doesn’t entail a strict diet. As my diet has changed, so has my training. Now, I do everything from lifting heavy in the gym, to HIIT workouts, to boxing/kickboxing with my boyfriend, running a track and climbing the bleachers when the weather is nice, taking a spin class, wrestling around in the ring or yoga stretching. My newest love has been pole exercise – it takes serious strength and control. It is one of the most challenging yet beautiful things I have ever done! Just remember, this is a lifestyle and so make sure your life is happy and fun.

 

Variety Is Key

Years ago, I was always programmed to do morning cardio and I still do this because it makes me feel awake, refreshed, and helps me do my daily reflections. As far as just lifting in a gym goes, I have ventured away from that being my daily training and now I switch it up. I can tell my body responds great to this approach. Since I have been wrestling, I like to have high endurance and be able to be light and fast on my feet. I do a lot of lower weight/higher rep work with very little rest. Also, I have done a bit of CrossFit and seen a major change. Now when I wrestle, lifting and slamming people comes a lot easier with the proper technique and form. I try to keep a variety of this. Recently in the last year, my parents and my sister began training and let me tell you, they are beasts. They work out three times a week, and I am always asking my mom and dad for their workouts because they inspire me. Also, I have someone who is in the same industry as myself who constantly is motivating me and trains with me and just understands the lifestyle and the training techniques and the recovery. Always find someone who pushes you to your best abilities because I will admit, sometimes we all become complacent and need that extra push!

 

Embracing Challenges

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle. You may never understand which piece will fit but give it time because trust me, someday it will all make sense and paint a beautiful picture, and everyone’s picture will be completely different.  Don’t give up on it, continue to move forward and it will all make sense. I was a gymnast for 18 years, that was my life and all I knew. If you asked me when I was a little girl what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was to be in the Olympics. Injuries stopped my career, and I became lost, my dreams were crushed. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I had to carry on. I tried diving, but that just wasn’t my thing! I went to school, worked the 9-5, but I wanted to be in control of my own destiny! Fitness was introduced to me through a friend, and I wanted to be in the gym training and working towards a goal.

Fitness was the perfect fit for me, allowing me to go back to my roots of gymnastics and incorporating that into fitness! While I was competing, I was approached by the WWE to wrestle and – boom! – all my puzzle pieces connected and it was a perfect fit. Wrestling is the love of my life, saved my life and forever will be a passion I never knew I had it inside me.

A life tragedy occurred as most know in 2017 when my ex, Dallas McCarver, famous IFBB pro bodybuilder, passed away. It felt like my life was taken too. If anyone knows me or follows myself or Dallas, we were passionate about our careers. When this happened, I felt like I had nothing left inside. It felt like life needed to stop, but life never stops, it’s always moving forward. My outlet was wrestling, and my escape was wrestling. I was able to have the comfort of knowing that this is exactly what Dallas wanted me to be doing, to be the best I could be in wrestling.

So, knowing I had to move on as life does, I would never forget my purpose of why I transitioned into WWE because I wanted to succeed. If you’d asked me two years ago, I couldn’t talk about this topic, but now I am here to share my message and that is that you should never take life for granted because tomorrow is never promised. I took some time to myself and it was the first time I had ever done that and learned about self-love. I needed to love myself before I could love anyone or anything else. I went back to my roots, which has been training/fitness, something Dallas and I always did to improve our lifestyle. WWE allowed me to escape, to have a platform to spread the message and help someone going through a similar tragedy and know that there is no right way to grieve. Be easy on yourself, but remember, life has a weird but beautiful way of working. Cherish every moment you are here on this earth.

 

Weekly Training Plan

 

Shoulders

4 x 10 Machine press

4 x 30 1/4 laterals

3 x 15 One arm pronated dumbbell press

SUPERSET

3 x 6 Alt upright rows

4 x 10 Reverse peck deck

4 x 10 Machine front press

SUPERSET

4 x 6 Inverted laterals

4 x 30 ft. Plate drags

 

Legs

4 x 10 One-legged leg extension

4 x 15 Standing leg curls

SUPERSET

4 x 6 Lying leg curls

3 x 30 NS Barbell squats

4 x 15 WS leg press

4 x 10 Straight-leg deadlifts

4 x 100 ft Plate pushes

 

Arms

4 x 15 Two hand kickbacks

4 x 15 Rope grip push-downs

4 x 15 Dumbbell extensions

SUPERSET

4 x 10 Sissy bar curls

3 x 10 Push-downs

SUPERSET

3 x 10 Alternating flat curls

4 x 15 Supinated curls

4 x 10 Alternating hammer curl

 

Chest and Legs

4 x 15 Incline flyes

4 x 20 Pop squats

3 x 10 Cable crossover

3 x 30 step walking lunges

4 x 15 Flat machine press

4 x 15 Step-ups

3 x 10 Decline press

3 x 10 One-legged squats

4 x 15 Dumbbell pull-overs

4 x 15 Light straight-legged deadlifts

 

Back

4 x 10 T-bar rows

4 x 15 Seated rows

3 x 10 Cable pull-throughs

SUPERSET

3 x 15 Bent over pull-downs

4 x 10 RG pull-downs

SUPERSET

4 x 15 Squat thrust deadlifts

 

Plyometric

Warm-up

1 minute Jumping Jacks

1 minute High knees

Circuit

15 Broad frog jumps

15 Squat ins and outs

30-sec plank on forearms

15 Burpees (push-up, jump feet in, and jump up)

30-sec plank alternating leg knee to elbow

15 Lateral jumps

30 Bicycle on back

15 Leg lifts on back

15 Knee tuck jump

10 G-ups on back

15 Jumping lunges

1 min rest and repeat three times

Cool down and stretch

 

 

 

Meal Time

My nutrition and routine is very different from most because of the traveling I do, so here’s what a typical day at home looks likewhile not on the road

Wake up – Drink apple cider vinegar with lemon water – Fasted cardio 30-40 min

Meal 1: Egg whites and oats or protein powder mixed with oatmeal (taste like warm flavored cereal) or protein pancakes or açai bowl (if I train directly after)

Meal 2: Tuna and spinach on toasted bread or grilled chicken and sweet potato or sweet potato fries

Meal 3: Almonds or nuts or almond butter & rice cake

Meal 4: Salmon or white fish – if post-workout eat with rice – poke bowl as well if I am out

Meal 5: Protein shake or Greek non-fat yogurt with a tablespoon of protein powder to give it taste

 

Essential Meals

  1. Protein pancakes

Make with sweet potatoes, egg whites, protein powder vanilla extract and sugar-free syrup and some sugar-free whipped cream.

  1. Warm cocoa pebbles

Oatmeal or cream of rice, and a scoop of chocolate protein powder!

  1. Turkey chili

Lean ground turkey, beans, canned tomato, corn, ranch dressing packet (powder kind) red tomato sauce – Mrs Dash seasoning. Mix it all in a pot after you cook the turkey and stir and serve!

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