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WWE Superstar Johnny Gargano Gets Candid About Body Image Struggles

Johnny Gargano, who recently debuted on WWE Raw, penned a deeply personal Instagram post that he hopes will help "normalize" the discussion surrounding body dysmorphia.

By Ethan Absler
Johnny Gargano holding an NXT microphone in the ring

Former NXT Champion Johnny Gargano debuted on RAW last month much to the surprise and delight of the WWE Universe. Then, Gargano was victorious in his in-ring debut against Chad Gable this week on RAW. The match was an unbelievable technical showdown that featured Gable’s pure wrestling ability and Gargano’s unorthodox offense. After the match, however, Gargano took to Instagram where he shared a lengthy and emotional post about his return, but more specifically, what he did during his time off.

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Gargano reminded fans that he has been “very on record” about his struggles with body dysmorphia in the past. He continued, "I'm still far from happy with how I look but maybe in sharing this it can spark something in others and normalize this discussion."

Gargano explained that when he left wrestling in December of last year, he wanted a true break from not only the physicality in the ring, but the training and mental game that comes with it.

“I wanted a complete mental and physical break from everything that I correlated with wrestling. Diet and training goes hand in hand with that to me. I've been ‘dieting and training’ (probably horribly wrong my first 10 years) for my entire wrestling career. That's almost 18 years. I grew incredibly tired of it and didn't enjoy it. My inner fat kid missed being able to eat whatever I wanted without counting macros or "planning a cheat day" and then feeling guilty and feeling gross half naked on TV. It was a vicious cycle that gave me a horrible relationship with food. The thing I looked forward to the most being off.. was being able to eat and not being judged.”

In the post, Gargano elaborated on how he wanted to miss diet and exercise in the same way that he missed wrestling as well as shared photos of himself at his heaviest weight. Johnny Wrestling continued, saying, “From December to April.. I ate anything I wanted daily! Me and Candice (pregnant for a few of those months) tore up UberEats! It was great! I wanted to go full 'Dad Bod' and I did! I trained here and there but with no rhyme or reason. As the months went on though.. it turned out like I hoped.. Food wasn't special anymore. I missed being dialed in.. and having abs.”

Gargano’s transparency in the post reminds us all that everyone has their own struggles. The former heart and soul of NXT concluded his post with his message that anybody, anywhere in any situation can do something to improve their lives.

“I'm FAR from a finished product and I'm hoping to grow and improve more and more as these months go on. I'm never going to be the biggest guy and I'm positive this post will have trolls that are offended by my existence that say I'm still "too small" but it is what it is and I'm working with what I got and I'm trying to make the best of it. I'm sincerely trying my best to be the best version of myself daily. My message here being.. you can 100% do this too. Wherever you're at in your life you can always make a change for something more. I know that first step is scary but attack it with everything you got. What you want could only be 5 months away!”

Having a superstar like Johnny Gargano share this aspect of his life was refreshing and his vulnerability, openness and bravery in posting was praised by other WWE superstars such as Natalya and even Dexter Lumis in the comments section of the post.

You can catch WWE Raw Mondays at 8/7c on USA Network, and WWE NXT on Tuesdays at 8/7c. And watch more WWE content on Peacock now. 

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