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When it comes to the ideal male physique, it’s hard to beat former WWE superstar John Cena. The man’s so jacked that even his muscles have muscles, and his entire body looks like it’s been chiseled out of granite.
Of course, he’s a pro wrestler and action movie star — looking great is literally his job. But is it possible for everyday people to have a body like John Cena’s?
Maybe — if you follow his diet and workout routine.
Just a word of warning, though: what John Cena does in the gym is likely to be too difficult and intense for the average lifter. If you want to look like the WWE superstar, you’ll have to work harder (and eat more) than you ever have in your life.
Ready to get started?
Can You Handle the John Cena Workout?
Before we dive too deep into what John Cena does in the gym, it’s important to understand that guys like him don’t necessarily have a set workout routine that they follow.
Instead, their routine will change depending on what they’re trying to accomplish. For example, he tried to get even bigger for his role in F9, which saw him playing Vin Diesel’s super-spy brother. His workouts to prepare for a role like that will be different from his “normal” routines.
But we’re guessing the normal routines aren’t what you’re most interested in. If you’re like most guys, you want to know what John Cena does when he’s at his biggest and baddest — and that routine is below.
Be forewarned, though: this training routine is no joke. It’s incredibly difficult, but you didn’t think that looking like John Cena was going to be easy, did you?
John Cena’s Muscle-Building Workout Routine
For F9, John Cena’s workout routine was based on volume training, with a different focus for each day:
- Day 1: Legs
- Day 2: Chest
- Day 3: Arms
- Day 4: Shoulders
- Day 5: Back
There’s also an abs component, of course, but it’s pretty simple — Cena simply does 60 crunches after each routine.
Let’s look at each component of the John Cena workout in a bit more detail:
No one can ever accuse John Cena of skipping leg day. Leg day is the most intense part of his workout routine, and his legs and calves are a testament to just how effective this routine is.
Here’s what he does every week:
- Seated Calf Raise (10 sets, 20 reps)
- Standing Bodyweight Calf Raise (4 sets, 25 reps)
- Standing Single Leg Curl (4 sets, 25 reps)
- Leg Press (5 sets, 20 reps)
- Leg Extension (4 sets, 15 reps)
- Squat (4 sets, 10 reps)
- Hack Squat (3 sets, 15 reps)
- Single Leg Extension (3 sets, 10 reps)
The hack squat and single leg extension are a superset, so don’t rest in between them.
John Cena has more muscle mass in his chest than most people have in their entire body, and these exercises are the reason why:
- Incline Machine Press (3-4 sets, 20 reps)
- Incline Bench Press (3-4 sets, 20 reps)
- Pec Dec (3-4 sets, 15 reps)
- Cable Crossovers (3-4 sets, 15 reps)
- Bench Press (3 sets, 10 reps)
He just does a few exercises to build those massive pecs, but it’s hard to argue with the results. Must be something to that whole “bench press” idea.
Let’s not beat around the bush here: John Cena has some champion guns. Some sleeve-busting, iron-slinging biceps that can’t be ignored.
If you want your chicken arms to start looking more like the master’s, follow this arm workout routine to the letter:
- Preacher Curl (5 sets, 12 reps)
- Standing Barbell Curl (3 sets, 12 reps)
- Seated Dumbbell Curl (3 sets, 12 reps)
- Standing Cable Curl (3 sets, 12 reps)
- Rope Pressdown (3 sets, 20 reps)
- Single Arm Cable Pressdown (3 sets, 10 reps)
- Lying Tricep Extension (6 sets, to failure)
- Overhead EZ Bar Extension (3 sets, 20 reps)
- Seated Barbell Tricep Extension (3 sets, 20 reps)
As you can see, John Cena’s arm routine relies on simple dumbbell techniques combined with cable work and EZ bar use, so it’s nothing too fancy. That’s not to say it’s easy, though.
The workout plan for his shoulders is short but intense, consisting of only six exercises. The fact that it comes on the heels of his arm routine means you should definitely feel it, though.
- Rear Delt Machine Fly (5 sets, 20 reps)
- Machine Overhead Press (5 sets, 20 reps)
- Machine Lateral Raise (5 sets, 20 reps)
- Seated Overhead Press (3 sets, 20 reps)
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise (3 sets, 12 reps)
- Military Press (3 sets, 10 reps)
You’ll definitely be feeling it after this workout. Luckily, you have 6 whole days to rest up before doing the arm routine again.
The week ends with a focus on the back. Everyone’s favorite back exercise, the row, is well-represented here, but there’s lots of other stuff for you to do as well:
- Lat Pull Down (5 sets, 20 reps)
- Barbell Row (5 sets, 20 reps)
- One Arm Dumbbell Row (5 sets, 20 reps)
- Deadlift (4 sets, 15 reps)
- High Pulls (4 sets, 20 reps)
- Pull-Up (4 sets, to failure)
- Barbell Shrug (5 sets, 20 reps)
The pull-ups are an interesting addition here; who knew John Cena also relied on bodyweight exercises to build that sleeve-busting phsyique?
John Cena’s Diet
John Cena’s diet plan is a lot like his workout routine, in that it varies depending on what he needs his body to look like at any given time.
One thing’s for certain, though: you’re going to need to eat if you want to look like John Cena. You’re going to need to eat a lot.
Regardless of whether he’s going to be on set or in the wrestling ring, John Cena spends a lot of time shoveling food in his mouth — and it’s mostly high in protein, moderate on carbs, and low in flavor (what else would you expect from a diet plan heavy on low-fat cottage cheese, brown rice, and pita bread?).
While training for F9, he ate 7 meals per day for around 3,600 calories. That included about 450 grams of carbs, 290 grams of protein, and 65 grams of fat.
When you consider how much chow the man stuffed down, it’s a wonder those cars were able to go fast at all.
The Meals Breakdown
Here’s what a typical day’s meals looked like for the former WWE superstar:
First thing in the morning, John would be up making eggs (plus a few things to go with them).
- 4 scrambled eggs
- Swiss cheese
- Sauteed vegetables
If he got bored with that, he’d switch to this alternate:
- 100 grams of oatmeal with raisins and applesauce
- 6 egg whites
- 2 whole eggs
Nothing like starting your day off with a ton of bland food!
This meal is more of a snack, and it’s centered around ensuring his newly-built muscle gets all the protein it needs.
For his second meal, he’d simply eat a protein bar (around 250 calories) or make a whey protein shake (using 2 scoops of whey protein and 2 cups of water).
We know what you’re thinking: he can’t possibly be hungry at this point. Looking like John Cena takes work, though, and his diet plan demands more protein:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 100 grams of brown rice
- Vegetables or salad
At this point, the time in the gym is probably starting to look more attractive than time spent at the table.
Another lighter meal, this meal mixes some protein with a few whole grains. Cena would eat some whole-wheat pita bread and a little bit of tuna for this snack.
John Cena probably has an alert on his phone that simply says, “Protein!” Another snack, which means another protein bar and whey protein shake.
This meal sounds somewhat civilized, and like it might almost be enjoyable — you know, if it hadn’t been preceded by all those other meals.
- Pasta or brown rice
- Vegetables or salad
- Chicken breasts or fish
To cap off his day, John Cena’s diet plan calls for some low-fat cottage cheese and a casein protein shake.
We’re sure that, when he sleeps, he has sweet dreams in which he vomits for days.
What Supplements Does John Cena Take?
As you might expect, John Cena doesn’t create all that muscle with just sensible eating and gym time. We’re sure there’s also a small army of supplements he takes at the same time.
However, he’s never been very up-front about his supplement routine, so we’re left to guess. What we do know, however, is that he goes through a lot of whey and casein protein, and that he’s big on BCAAs. He’s mentioned taking a daily multivitamin before as well.
Of course, there are always rumors about other supplements that the man may be taking, but we can’t comment on that. All we know for sure is that his diet and workout routine is more than enough to make you look like Colossus — and it’s clearly paying off for Cena.
Can You Look Like John Cena?
If your goal is to get as jacked as the WWE superstar himself, then you definitely have your work cut out for you. The man’s entire life is built around keeping his body in tip-top shape, and most people simply don’t have the time or the discipline to do that.
It’s not impossible, though. If you’re willing to put in the work (and do all the cooking), then there’s no reason why your physique can’t be every bit as impressive as John Cena’s.
Who knows? If you’re dedicated and charismatic enough, you might go from gym rat to making your WWE debut in no time.
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