Hulk Hogan is one of the most iconic professional wrestlers of all time, but building that legacy in the ring doesn't come without a physical price, and it's one that Hogan has paid time and time again. Now, weighing in at 265 pounds—40 pounds down from his heavyweight days—Hogan, 69, tells Men's Health how he came back stronger than ever after his injuries, and the philosophy he lives by to stay fit and healthy.
I'VE HAD ABOUT 25 surgeries in the last decade: knee and hip replacements, shoulder and back surgeries, operations on my eyes and abdominals. Apparently wrestling is all "fake," but I sure didn't get that memo! Along with all of the injuries and treatment came the pain, the inflammation, and the prescription drugs. I just got so sick of the brain fog, the trouble sleeping, feeling tired all the time, and not being myself, that about a year ago I decided to [stop taking] all of the pain meds I was on.
The real game changer, however, came this past January, when I really reduced my use of alcohol and replaced it with CBD products...that kicked everything into high gear. Once the inflammation and pain subsided, I didn't need to wash down the pain pills with alcohol. As soon as I cut back on the alcohol and straightened out my diet, I was able to get real consistent with my training—I could actually go to the gym and put the time in. All of that slowly and surely moved me towards where I'm at now.
Consistency is key.
I initially started dropping weight because I didn't have the extra calories from drinking, and I had taken dairy out of my diet. These days, I try to eat really clean. I've kind of gotten away from the typical "eggs every day" diet—I only hit the egg whites every three or four days. In the mornings I'll hit the yogurt and fruit, drink a couple cups of organic coffee, and get a workout in. Then I'll eat a small amount of protein at lunch time.
I try to eat every three or four hours, then have a slightly larger meal at four or five o'clock in the afternoon. Every once in a while, I'll treat myself to a little bit of dairy-free ice cream. I run some businesses from the house, as well as Hogan's Hangout nearby, so I stay really busy, and don't slow down until around 7 or 8 p.m. But I have to be careful at night, because I turn into this monster...I just want to feed the beast! So I tend not to eat after the sun goes down.
I have no regrets. I just keep moving forward.
Before I started wrestling, I played in a rock 'n' roll band for 10 years, and that was a pretty rough run too. Trust me, those guys like to party a lot! But even with all the injuries and pain, I can't imagine my life any other way. I wouldn't change anything because I loved my WWE career. I loved the character of Hulk and what that did for so many people.
And now, it's helping me. The Hulk Hogan mantra was always "say your prayers, eat your vitamins," but it was just by rote; that was part of my wrestling character. Now I understand it. I live by that oath now—that dedication to wellness as a whole. And for me, CBD products have played no small role in that. Just the difference that being pain-free and able to sleep through the night can make is incredible.
Change is possible at any age.
I didn't think this kind of transformation was possible at this stage in my life. I'm 69 years old, but I feel like I'm 39. And it's not just the physical effects—it's the mindset I have now. I always used to be the "no" guy. "Let's go to the beach." No. "Let's go to a restaurant." No. "Let's go to the mall." No. I just didn't want to do anything...I was so not at peace with myself that I ended up living like a hermit, and now I'm a completely different person. My kids have moved back to Florida now, and I'm full of energy. I want to go to the beach, take the boat out, hang out with everyone. My whole lifestyle has changed.
What I've realised is the more I can work on certain things, such as my wrist and my back, it helps my attitude. I think that's something anyone can relate to, no matter their age: if you respect yourself, and you work on cultivating that healthier lifestyle, both physically and mentally, it just makes every part of your life better.
If I can do it, so can you.
My advice for anyone else looking to make a change later in life is "just get back to the dance." Do whatever it takes to get back to who you are and what you love. A lot of guys my age have the same problems that I do, and suffer with arthritis and inflammation. I've always found a way to train around that strategically without irritating it, but the main thing is being consistent with your workouts.
My philosophy has always been "if you slow down, you go down." So I'll always get down in that darn gym, even if it's just to get started on the stationary bike, on the first road back to recovery. Then you keep pushing, and things come back. Your body responds. If you can get really good at just one thing, and you're dialled in, you can apply those same skills to other aspects of your life. If you work hard, the rewards come, and you'll see it in your health, your relationships, your work, your family. Just keep your head down, and move forward.
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