Model, athlete, businesswoman, and all-around kickass inspiration, Celeste Braun represents the best parts of the crazy world of fitness.
Celeste Braun is everything that is right about the fitness industry. She is a successful businesswoman, an inspired fashion designer, a committed wife, and a red-hot model. She and her husband, PJ, have created a lucrative fashion, supplement, and media empire but still stay remarkably grounded. This is the second time Celeste has shot with Iron Man Magazine, and she looks even more beautiful than ever. Bold, brainy, sexy, and soulful, Celeste is the epitome of the well-rounded modern fitness woman.
Dr. Cat Begovic: So Celeste, tell our readers a little about who you are and your background.
Celeste Braun: My name is Celeste Braun, and I’m a former WWE Divas champion. I am currently the CEO of Celestial Bodiez, the hottest brand in women’s fitness apparel. Now that you know I’m “kind of a big deal” [laughs], let me tell you about my humble past. I’ve always kind of been a meathead, in the best way possible. I was a total tomboy. I played competitive soccer for my entire childhood and teen years. I also ran track. Fast white girl, that’s me.
Dr. Cat: How did you get involved in fitness?
Celeste: When I was about 14, I got a bench and set of weights to put in my room. How cool is my mom? She has always supported me in every way. I also joined the summer football training camp as a freshman. I was the only girl. I loved it because it taught me the basics of weight lifting. It was two intense hours, five days a week. I actually did it every summer of high school.
I also had a high school track coach that was a fitness competitor, and I was absolutely infatuated with her. She had muscles before it was cool! Coach Yolanda Beasley was my idol and inspiration. Coach Beasley saw how much I wanted to be like her, so she took me under her wing. She was a badass with a kind heart. She trained me after school. She didn’t charge me or expect anything in return. I loved her so much for that. A few years later, I ended up training myself and doing my own diet for my first-ever figure show at 19 years old. It was a disaster, to say the least! But hey, we all start somewhere.
Dr. Cat: I know you were with the WWE for quite some time. What was that like?
Celeste: Being a part of the WWE is comparable to being a part of a traveling circus! You live out of a bag and travel around country performing night after night. Typically, people only see our shows that come on TV. However, we spend majority of our careers performing for live, non-televised audiences. When I was the WWE Divas champion, I would spend weeks at a time without going home. It would be constant shows, tours, signings, and appearances. There is little sleep and little sanity on the road, but I wouldn’t trade it for the anything! I traveled the world and made life-long friendships and had the most incredible fans. I felt that I had a very fulfilling career with WWE. I made history a few times while I was there and was even part of the first-ever women’s in-ring contract signing.
Dr. Cat: Why did you decide to leave?
Celeste: My last year with WWE was a pretty tough one. I was slowly gaining weight even though I was training as hard as ever and eating a strict diet. It was also around that time that I started to not feel like myself, physically and emotionally. I was struggling to look and perform the best I could. It’s a very cutthroat industry, and everyone is waiting to steal your spot! I was going through some really tough stuff, and I was really unhappy with myself.
Then PJ came into my life! We had been friends for a long time, but we both knew that we wanted to be together. It was his mission to help me get healthy. He took me to see doctors to find out what was going on with me. I ended up having thyroid issues, metabolic damage, and hormonal imbalances. Much of it stemmed from my lifestyle. Fixing these issues, even with medicine takes time. Shortly after this, PJ proposed to me. I knew that I owed it to him to be the best version of myself and to show him that I wanted to build our lives together. It was then that I decided to retire from my career as a Diva.
Dr. Cat: I love your #Bootyscrunch pants! Why did you decide to start your own clothing line, and how did it come about?
Celeste: When I was wrestling, I was always searching for ways to flatter my body on screen. I’m a bigger, more muscular girl, so it’s tough! I had one of the WWE seamstresses sew a ruching in the seam of one of my wrestling outfits. I ended up loving the way it looked and the way it accented my body. I knew that it was a fabulous concept. It’s so important for women to feel amazing in everything they wear. It’s no different for workout apparel.
I was very passionate about this vision, and it was very pivotal in my transition from TV star to business owner. The first year was all about perfecting the #Bootyscrunch. My main focus this year is to incorporate more fashion into the line.
Dr. Cat: Running your own company must keep you extremely busy! How do you manage to stay in such great shape?
Celeste: I live and breath Celestial Bodiez! It’s a good thing I design and sell workout clothes. It’s an excuse to always wear leggings, so I’m also always dressed and ready to work out! But in all seriousness, I just make the time. During my morning cardio, I knock out social media posts and some e-mails. Then, after I leave the office in the evening, I give myself 60 to 90 minutes to totally dedicate to my workout. I feel like I owe it to myself. Not to mention, it’s part of my job to look good in #Bootyscrunch! And of course, I’m back on my computer as soon as I get home.
Dr. Cat: What does your training and diet look like?
Celeste: I train five to six days a week. I stick with a variation of a push-pull-legs training split with my own twist. I keep my rep range between 15 and 25. I go heavy enough to experience exhaustion in my last rep or two but never anything crazy. I have some issue with my hips and lower back from the beating my body took in the ring. I do morning cardio in my home with PJ, usually about 40 to 45 minutes on the StepMill. When I am preparing for an important shoot or event, I’ll add 15 minutes of HIIT to the end of my workout in the evening.
When it comes to diet, I’ve worked really hard over the last two years to build a healthy metabolism. It took time, but I’ve reached a point where I’m able to maintain the body that I want without starving or killing myself with cardio.
Dr. Cat: What are your fitness goals?
Celeste: My goals are to maintain the look I currently have while continuing to enjoy my life! It’s all about finding balance, and I hope to be able to do that in every stage of my life.
Dr. Cat: What’s your favorite body part on yourself?
Celeste: I love my shoulders and my quads! I have a naturally wide waist, so having big round shoulders and quads helps create the illusion of a smaller waist.
Dr. Cat: I know you and your husband, PJ, are shooting an Internet reality show.
What made you decide to do that?
Celeste: We started the reality show to give people an in-depth look at how insane our day-to-day lives are. PJ runs several very successful companies with his partner. He also does tons of marketing on all avenues of social media. Up until just recently, I was running almost every aspect of Celestial Bodiez. We live and breathe our careers and our brands. It’s so fulfilling. In spite of it, we still manage to do our morning cardio together and train our asses off at night. There’s not a day that goes by that something hilarious or ridiculous doesn’t happen. We thought, “People have got to see this.”
Dr. Cat: What are some things about you your fans might think are interesting
that they might not know about?
Celeste: I have always had big-time self-esteem issues. It stems from being a bigger girl. I’ve always had huge legs and very muscular arms and a thick waist. Being on TV was the hardest. In show business, they always want you to be skinnier, smaller, tighter. The camera really does add 10 pounds, and in my case, 20 pounds, at least in my own head. It wasn’t until this last year that I fully embraced myself. I’ve found balance, and I maintain a healthy and lean look, year round. That has helped tremendously. However, I seem to have more peace of mind about what I’m “supposed” to look like. I’ve had so many women tell me that they look at me and feel better about the fact they have a more muscular build. Some women have even told me that they respect me for “rocking it.” What other choice do I have? This is what I was given and what I’ve worked for.
Cycle Like Celeste
After years of tinkering (and one of the best diet coaches in the world as her husband), Braun sticks to a carb-cycle program year round. She does two low-carb days, then one high-carb day, and then repeats the cycle. She will have a couple cheats throughout the week, but always on a high-carb day.
After AM Cardio: Protein shake and either oats or Kashi cereal
Mid-Morning: Chicken breast and a medium salad
Lunch: Fish or chicken breast and serving of vegetables
Post-Workout: Protein shake and one to two spoonfuls of peanut butter
Dinner: Turkey, chicken, or fish and either vegetables or a salad with another fat source (nuts or oil on the salad)
Nighttime: Sometimes Braun will have protein shake before bed with a Prime Nutrition product, such as Phytoform (a full days’ serving of fruit and vegetables) or Sleep/GH for a better night’s rest.
These days start with the same breakfast as the low-carb days but with slightly less protein since she is taking in more calories from carbs. Every meal for the rest of the day has a small amount of lean protein and 30 to 40 grams of carbs from foods of her choice (such as sushi).
Name: Celeste Braun (formerly Celeste Bonin)
Lives: Boca Raton, FL
Dislikes: Cocky “Insta-famous” attitudes
Drives: A sexy Corvette Z06—manual, of course
Would like to drive: The Canyonero —Simpson’s reference
Favorite vacation spot: Our new house. We never want to leave! It’s our everyday getaway
Listens to: ’90s hip-hop and classics, dubstep
Latest read book: How To Make Your Cat An Internet Celebrity by Patricia Carlin
Latest seen movie: Get Hard—no, not a porn, it’s a Will Ferrell movie
Favorite quote: I don’t really have a favorite quote—in my mind, they’ve all been ruined by girls posting them philosophically on Instagram.
YouTube: Beauty & Braun—catch our weekly show!