The former WWE star shares how she learned to eat smart on the road—and the cheat day foods she adores the most.
Since parting ways with WWE in August after a four-year stint in pro wrestling, Natalie “Eva Marie” Coyle has been working diligently to ensure that her post-“All Red Everything” career is as successful as her first one. Over the summer, Coyle appeared alongside Nicholas Cage and Faye Dunaway in her first feature film, Inconceivable, and continues to develop her own clothing line, NEM Fashion. And since years of hectic scheduling often made it tough for her to adhere to a strict diet, the former Total Divas star has figured out a flexible approach to monitoring what she eats. “Nutrition can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be,” Coyle says. “There are certain foods I can eat, and certain amounts of them I can eat. It’s like balancing a checkbook. You budget so you can splurge on something you really want.” We caught up with her to learn more about her love of meal prep services, intermittent fasting, and bacon waffles. Lots of bacon waffles.
GQ: There must be some similarities—being in character and following a storyline—between wrestling and acting. Was there anything about acting that surprised you, though?
Eva Marie: Honestly, they are very similar. In the ring, you’re constantly working out and honing your craft, and you’re doing the same thing with acting, too—taking classes and working with vocal coaches. I think the thing that stands out for me is that in the WWE, we were in a new city every night. When you go to a movie set, though, you get to be at the same location for awhile. I had become very used to not even bothering to unpack my suitcase. Suddenly, it was like, “Oh wow, I get to stay in one place!”
How does that stability help you plan your workouts and meals?
I won’t lie—being on the road is difficult, especially when the show ends at, say, 10 o’clock or 10:30 at night. By the time you leave the arena and arrive in the next city, the only places that are still open are fast-food joints. When you’re tired and hungry, it’s hard to make smart choices. Working on a movie set makes it easier to plan. You can do it on the road, but it requires some tremendous willpower.
Your former WWE colleagues Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal have told us that they bring their own foods on the road, or use a meal delivery service. Did you try those out, too?
Yes, I worked with a meal-prep company, which meant I didn’t have to think too much about where I would go, or which grocery store had rotisserie chicken, or what restaurant could make me a salad. I was just able to bring food that was already packaged for me. Waiting too long to eat can be a trap, especially after an event. I would eat my pre-planned meals every three hours while traveling just so I wouldn’t hit that “I’m starving” point by the time we arrived at the hotel.
Oh, my workouts have definitely changed. In WWE, I focused more on Olympic lifting. I had to make sure that I was physically able to lift another human being at all times. Now, I’m going for a different, leaner look. High-intensity interval training and Tabata workouts are really good for me, because they prevent me from getting bored, and don’t require me to be in the gym for two hours. I can get in, do what I need to do, and get out.