Photo: Dean Horsfield
By Dean Horsfield
Just when you thought the Good News couldn't get any better, we stepped it up a notch by tracking down Trish Stratus on her latest trip to Vancouver. The former WWE Diva, fitness guru, yoga master, and simply all round awesome girl took an hour out of her day to speak with me, and I have to say... that was one of the best hours of my life!
We talked about everything! Fate, yoga, the WWE, her new movie, healthy eating, the Stratusphere, and everything in between. It all happens here, right now. Check it out.
Here we go. I am sitting here with the lovely and fantastic Trish Stratus. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.
Thank you for having me.
First off, I want to go all the way back to the beginning of your career. I read somewhere that you were a biology/kinesiology major at one point? Is this true?
Yes, that is true. I was a pre-med student and I was steadfast doing all the volunteer and prep work to become a doctor. Everything I was doing in my life was geared towards becoming a doctor, and then all of a sudden the University professors went on strike. I was like, “Uh-oh, now what? I have a plan, what’s going to happen?”
I didn’t trust in the Universe at the time because I was like, “how could you do this to me Universe?” And then I took a job at a gym. I thought I would just kill some time until school came back in session. And then, well that was when I started to trust in the Universe and understood that everything happens for a reason. It was during this strike that I got approached to do my very first gig in the fitness industry.
So how were you approached?
Someone from the gym who was partners with Robert Kennedy the publisher of Oxygen Magazine - they were working together launching a fitness clothing line. He approached me about being the face of this clothing line and told me about fitness modeling, which at the time was a new emerging industry, where the models were athletes - fit, healthy, feminine and beautiful women. This was how I was introduced to Robert Kennedy and the world of fitness modeling.
When I met with Robert Kennedy, he said that he wanted to do a test shoot with me since I had no previous modeling experience. Following my first test shoot, he offered me an opportunity to do my first professional photo shoot and he said to me, “I’m booking your shoot in 6 months, so you need to do the training that is involved to build your physique.” And so I started training with weights for the first time with a trainer. I basically ate, slept and trained until my shoot day and I totally transformed my body. Actually, I put my bio/kine education to good use, I was a live experiment!
So what was the key to your physical transformation?
It was the science of nutrition that really made the difference. I think that is something a lot of people miss out on. Results depend a lot on what you are eating. All the work you put into your body with exercise materializes based on how you fuel your body.
Any tips on healthy eating?
Yes, definitely. Always give yourself some time for your body to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I like to tell people to give themselves at least a month for the body to adapt and see changes. You know what they say, that it takes 28 days for old habits to break and new ones to form. Then, the key is eating simple, natural, whole foods. If I know that the food is in its most natural form, then I know that its okay, my body will be able to process it.
So you transformed your body, made the cover of Oxygen Magazine, and everything started to happen?
Kind of! In 1998, I landed my first cover and was signed to a contract by Robert Kennedy after my first shoot and suddenly I found myself with a career. Being signed by one of the industry’s biggest publishers and the fact that I was part of this burgeoning fitness modeling industry in its beginning stages was a big part of it. There were a lot of new fitness companies and lots of opportunities to work with other people that were excited to grow and expand the world of fitness. Really, a great example of how timing is everything.
At that point did it really sink in that you had achieved true celebrity status?
The thing is even with WWE, my world was so busy with the training and the travel, you sometimes forget what you are creating around you – outside of your bubble. It would take something like seeing myself on the cover of a magazine on the newsstand, or someone at the store stopping you and saying ‘You inspired me to lose weight and be healthier’ to really have it sink in. Very cool to have those moments for sure.
Skipping ahead, you retired from the WWE in 2006 and got into yoga? Due to an injury?
Yes, well, I was introduced to yoga a few years earlier while still with WWE. It was at a time when I was dealing with a herniated disc and faced with the possibility of it ending my career. WWE had me written out of the show so I could have surgery and return back ASAP. But, I decided to look into other options rather than go under the knife. So, we decided to give a physiotherapy program a try. It was after 2 months of physiotherapy and not seeing much progress that I explored yoga as an alternative to my therapy. I noticed an improvement in my condition right away and so I devoted myself to a daily practice. In less than 3 months I had fully recovered and eventually made a full return to the ring.
So it worked and you stuck with it?
Definitely. And, even once I returned to wresting I found I was experiencing such positive benefits just by doing a simple thing like making yoga part of my daily routine. It allowed me to recover quicker, and really allowed me to be a better performer all round. I actually got to the point where I would plan my travel for the tours around yoga studios - finding which ones were close to the arenas. That’s the point where I knew yoga would someway, somehow always be a part of my life.
And from that, you now have your own studio, Stratusphere (www.stratusphereyoga.com). One of the things the studio promotes is being eco-friendly. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Everything from the choice of materials, such as bamboo floors, eco-friendly paint, and everything in between. My husband did the construction and building from the ground up, we had the power to choose to build green.
What type of clientele does the studio attract?
It’s really cool; we see all types of people at the studio. It’s a real testament to how versatile yoga is. What has really worked at the studio has been creating specialty programs so we truly can offer something for everyone. I’ve designed a number of proprietary programs that I believe is what sets our studio apart from others.
What types of programs?
Well, in an effort to attract more guys to the idea of doing yoga, I created a “Guys Who Like Fries” yoga class. Because I thought, you don’t have to be this perfectly bendy athletic type to do yoga; it is good for anyone – including guys! And this is what has really worked, knocking down preconceived notions of what yoga is and who it is for. That has sort of been my mission since I opened the studio 3 years ago.
I also launched Stratusphere Golf a couple years ago which is a yoga sequence I designed based on the movements and muscles used during the game of golf. It’s pretty cool, you do the whole class with a golf club in hand, it’s been really well received at the studio. The most recent program that has sort of become our champion program is - Stratusphere Yoga. I basically drew from my background in the fitness world and integrated resistance training movements into a yoga flow.
So it combines fitness and yoga?
Exactly. It was a happy accident how I developed this program. I filmed an action movie last year called Bounty Hunters (Watch the Trailer here) and I wanted to get more toned for the role. Being a huge multi-tasker, instead of making the time to do weight training and my yoga, I basically combined them and created a full body workout that hits every muscle group in 50 minutes!
So, I am one of those people who is not flexible, not patient, and really doesn’t like posing. How would I transition into yoga?
I think you ran into the same thing I did - I got bored. That is when I realized that yoga needed to incorporate poses, cardio, and weight training to make it interesting and to keep my body guessing. I think people want more out of their yoga practice nowadays, and so I created this system that gives you the best of both the fitness world and the yoga world.
I read that you teamed up with HoMedics and created your own product line?
Yes. After my yoga sequence took off so well at the studio, I decided to produce a video last year. I teamed up with HoMedics initially to create the gloves that I use in my “Stratusphere Yoga” workout. It was a natural evolution to then create the mats, yoga blocks, yoga towel and ‘nuTrishion’ journal. That’s how Stratusphere Living was born. It’s been a lot of work getting here; to develop a brand but it feels like I’ve truly come full circle. I’m so thankful to be able to take something that has been a part of my life for so long and continue to spread the message about health and fitness. It’s really exciting to now be launched in stores!
Tell me more about these gloves?
Well, I call it the FitGlove. It has grips on one side so you don’t slip in poses like downward dog and a one pound weight on the top to add resistance to your workout. The great thing is, they have so many uses, I use them during my runs and weight training as well.
I also have a kit I created that I am really excited about. People have been asking me for years how to set up a proper fitness program. Basically, this kit has everything you need to start: the mat, the DVD, and also a nutrition guide. The guide is the actual template that I have used myself for the last 10 years – it has been a key tool in helping me keep up my fitness program over the years.
I’m excited to try it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me.
You can buy Trish’s Stratusphere Living line of products at: London Drugs, GNC, SportChek, Source for Sports, Home Outfitters, Sears and online at www.trishstratus.com.
To get more of Trish’s tips on healthy living, follow her on Twitter and Facebook (@trishstratuscom)