As WrestleMania suplexes its way into the public consciousness each year, audiences old and new are left with a bevy of questions post-Showcase of the Immortals. Questions such as “This is fake, right?”, “Damn, was that dude actually injured?” and “The Undertaker STILL wrestles?”
Questions will vary from person to person, but there is one question most people’s eyes will ask, unable to ignore the baby-oil lathered visuals on display: just how did some of these wrestlers get so jacked?
The answer is a man in Santa Monica’s backyard, Crossfit trainer Josh Gallegos.
Gallegos, who is just as quietly unassuming as the Paradiso Crossfit Gym he coaches at, has been training WWE’s top wrestlers for several years now.
The experience has been a life-affirming one for Gallegos as he grew up a wrestling fan, loving Randy “Macho Man” Savage as a kid and later the superstars of WWE’s Attitude Era, an era in which stars like The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin crossed into mainstream superstardom.
Now, instead of watching these WWE superstars, Gallegos helps build the next generation of them.
“It’s been surreal, man,” Gallegos said. “This is my life now. I grew up watching wrestling, so this is literally living the dream.”
Gallegos provides workout and meal plans to Vince McMahon’s athletes, training with the wrestlers in person in the high-intensity, full body workout or by sending plans via text while wrestlers are busy on the road.
He and his wrestler clients have built a camaraderie over the years through CrossFit that has led to a friendly text thread, better conditioning and career-longevity for the wrestlers, and invites to shows and events around the world for Gallegos.
But before CrossFit, the text threads, before seeing the world, before training wrestlers, Josh Gallegos was a fitness-loving, wrestling-watching nerd, chasing entertainment.
“Long story short, I worked every odd job chasing movie and TV stuff,” Gallegos said.
A Las Vegas transplant, Gallegos came to LA 20 years ago to forge a path for himself in the entertainment landscape. This led to work as a production assistant, director’s assistant, assistant to celebrities and eventually a producer position on Jeopardy.
In his off time, Gallegos would watch wrestling and work out at Gold’s Gym. He trained to keep in shape and push himself, eventually training to become a triathlete.
He grew tired of the same wash, rinse, repeat of his standard workout routine but didn’t know what else to do to break from the repetition.
In those years, Gallegos said he’d make fun of the idea CrossFit, saying it seemed like a joke.
Until he saw a friend’s results.
One day, Gallegos’ friend Jonas—who Gallegos used to have to drag to the gym to get Jonas away from Mortal Kombat and a perpetually lit bong—posted a picture to Facebook, looking absolutely shredded.
“I’m like, ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ And he tells me, ‘Oh, I’m doing CrossFit.’ I signed up for my first class soon after and ever since then, I was hooked.”
Gallegos soon became a certified instructor with the intent of helping improve people’s wellbeing.
“I like the personal stories. It’s awesome seeing someone change for the better.”
Gallegos’ own life changed for the better when he got his start helping WWE superstars.
His career helping wrestlers wrestle with their workouts came about by way of Seth Rollins, current WWE champion. Rollins took a chance on a Gallegos workout after a Crossfit athlete’s suggestion. Rollins liked what Gallegos brought out in his workouts, turning other wrestlers on to his work out plan.
Gallegos scales his workouts per what the wrestler requires— some require a blown out, bodybuilder physique that can last the duration of an iron man match. Others need a plan that will sculpt them, bring better aesthetics to their body.
Among the wrestlers cliqued up with Gallegos are Cesaro, Bayley and WWE Women’s Champion (and arguably WWE’s top superstar) Becky Lynch.
Lynch says before Gallegos and CrossFit, she was going through the motions of her standard bodybuilding routine. She told Rollins she needed a change in her workout and he recommended Gallegos.
Much like Rollins before her, Lynch hit it off with Gallegos, calling him a “badass, great trainer” that knows his stuff. After all, who could plan for wrestlers better than Gallegos, who grew up loving WWE?
“The two mirror each other in a weird way,” Gallegos said of Crossfit and wrestling, one of his favorite pastimes.“They’re both functional fitness, moving quickly for short periods of time, spiking and dropping and spiking again. Wrestlers already do that day in and day out.”
“When you’re wrestling, you’re constantly training in different movement patterns, awkward movement patterns,” Lynch said. “True exhaustion and tiredness happen in CrossFit and when you do that stuff regularly, it helps to apply that to the ring. Josh has helped me, my career, tremendously.”
Aside from WWE wrestlers and indie wrestlers, Gallegos also trains the everyman. He’s trained soccer moms, executives and parents who just want a full body workout that will be able to help them keep up with their kids all day.
One such person is IT manager Brad Bazley.
Bazley had suffered a shoulder injury and was looking to rebuild his confidence and get back into shape. Bazley, an Aussie transplant, wasn’t unfamiliar with CrossFit, having been somewhat versed in the fitness regimen while Down Under. What he was unfamiliar with, however, was some coaches and gyms intensity.
“I tried other places and hated them. Found them too American, no offense. Too in your face, too overwhelming. Not my style. I was at square one again and needed help. Then I found Paradiso and Josh. It felt like home.”
Bazley says instead of screaming at him or overly encouraging to the point of distraction, Gallegos would calmly what he did well and let him know where there was room for improvement.
“He’s given me the confidence to CrossFit on my own now,” Bazley said. “He’s a safety blanket.”
“I tell people CrossFit can be for everybody,” Gallegos said. “I try to tell people to not be intimidated by what you see at a [CrossFit gym]. You walk in and see some shredded dude and he’s deadlifting 225 or a guy that’s also shredded and snatching 275. And yeah, this is crazy. But you know, that’s their goal. And I want to help people reach whatever goals they may have.”
Whether they’re wearing spandex or sweats after a long day at the office (or in the ring), Gallegos relishes what he and CrossFit can do for people.
“It’s the most gratifying thing I’ve done in my life. I love helping people change, every day.”