WWE Superstar Daria Berenato, aka Sonya Deville was laughed at for wanting to succeed in a male-dominated world. This is how she fought back to realize her dreams through talent, determination and force of will.
Built By Sweat
I’ve got years of training in mixed martial arts and I really didn’t lift weights at all until I got signed to WWE NXT. Most of my training prior to wrestling was the actual training and sparring of martial arts and of course some intense cardio, high intensity workouts to stay in fight-ready shape. After getting to the WWE performance center and working with strength and conditioning coach Sean Hayes and learning how to properly lift weights, I fell in love with it. Over the past four years I have developed a style of working out I would consider to be part strength-building exercises mixed with a vast array of ascetic exercises to maintain the shape I like to keep. For two years, while I was based in the same place, I worked more on muscle and strength building, but now that I am on the road five days a week, I find a little lighter weight more ascetic-based training has worked well for me. But if I land one day and I’m feeling weaker and sluggish I’ll throw in a HIIT workout to warm my body up and getting it loose and feeling right. Bottom line, you really need to listen to your body – it will tell you what it needs.
Life challenges can prevent you from working out, but I think we are all victims to our minds and our thoughts and I find it vital to believe in yourself when no one else does. I remember being laughed at for wanting to be an actress and laughed at even more when I said I wanted to be a professional fighter. Here I was, some small-town girl from Shamong, NJ wanting to take over the world and be a woman in a male-dominated aggressive combat sport. With all the doubt I had, there was a glimmer of faith that I had inside. It was like no matter how many valid reasonable doubts people had about my hopes and dreams, somewhere inside of me I knew I had it in me. That is what got me through the grueling training, the lack of sleep, bartending until 3 am then getting up to hit mitts at 7 am. You can do anything you put your mind to and that is a proven thing. Believe in you.
I always say that it’s important to create things, even small things that could be permanent lifestyle changes in your life, rather than committing to overly strict routines that will be tough to stay on track with. One example of this is that I do intermittent fasting, but I love it and I enjoy it and I plan to possibly always do this. I like how my body reacts to the extra hours of digestion, and it suits my lifestyle well. It’s important to find what works for you and stay consistent.
Mix It Up
We all have to do things we don’t want to do but I like to find different ways to make a workout fun. For example, I’m not a huge fan of cardio anymore – after years of training for MMA fights and focusing so much on cardio and conditioning I find it monotonous now to do most cardio. So, when I’m home I’ll ride my bike in my town which I don’t even look at as cardio because I enjoy it so much. So, try and find alternatives to just the normal barbell on your back for those days. Think outside the gym.
WWE Workout Plan
How Sonya trains to perform at her best while traveling and doing shows all week long
Workout 1: Shoulders
1. Warm up – band upright row/Cuban press
2. SUPERSET (5 x 12)
Standing lateral raises
Dumbbell seated shoulder press
3. Barbell high pulls 5 x 12
4. Smith machine shrugs 4 x 15
5. One arm lateral cable raises 5 x 15 each arm
6. SUPERSET (4 x 8)
Plate front raises
Steering wheels 4×8 each
Workout 2: Legs
1. Warm up – 20 min elliptical
2. Bosu ball hip thrusts, hamstring roll outs
3. Smith machine spilt squat 5 x 8
4. SUPERSET (4 x 8)
Barbell Romanian deadlift
5. Hip abductor machine 5 x 25
6. Cable kick-backs 5 x 20 each leg
Workout 3: Full body HIIT Day
I do this workout whenever I’m not feeling 100 percent, sometimes the day I land before our show
5 rounds of
Kettlebell swings 12 reps
Battle ropes 30 seconds
Box jumps or burpees 10 reps
Medicine ball slams 12 reps
100 meter row
Workout 4: Back Day
1. Lat pull-down regular grip 4 x 10
2. Lat pull-down reverse grip 4 x 10
3. Cable row 4 x 10
4. SUPERSET (4 x 8)
One arm bent over dumbbell row
Dumbbell rear delt flys
5. SUPERSET (5 X 10)
Angled push-ups on a barbell
6. Back extensions 5 x 20
Currently I am doing intermittent fasting, so my first meal is around 2pm.
Land off the plane 11am
2pm: Protein shake with a half banana, water, ice, almond butter, vanilla vegan protein, 2-3 egg omelet, whole wheat toast
4pm: Chipotle plain brown rice, chicken, peppers, onions, guacamole, lettuce, light sour cream
7pm: Protein bar
830pm: Grilled chicken wrap, veggies, maybe some hummus
Must Eat Meal
I am a huge fan of avocado toast I personally like a whole grain toast with smashed avocado, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a light drizzle of Sriracha!
Right now, I take HAIRtamin hair vitamin, which I swear by, I also love a RedCon1 protein or USN protein cookies and cream flavor. Other than that, I actually take virtually no supplements at the moment. I am not against them at all, but I do believe with a good diet you can obtain most things the body needs. I think sometimes people over supplement thinking the supplements will instantly change their appearance etc. Supplements for sure can have their benefits but at the end of the day working hard in the gym and maintaining a good diet can’t be beaten.