John Cena on Why ‘American Grit’ Season 2 Is ‘A Much Better Format’

Host and executive producer tells TheWrap he’s “really, really happy” with the changes they made to Fox summer competition

“American Grit” toughed its way through a trying Season 1 — both in terms of the Fox competition’s in-game challenges and some TV ratings trials — but this summer’s run is more about the mental game than the physical one, host and executive producer John Cena told TheWrap.

“Both were woven with trying to get people to be their best,” the WWE Superstar reflected ahead of his sophomore start. “Season 1 was a more difficult project because everyone was already disciplined and well-rounded, and we were just putting them through physically punishing things that a lot of times people can’t relate to. I don’t know what it’s like to carry a 240-pound log 15 miles… because that’s something I would never do.”

“I think this season… we asked people to take a big step,” he continued. “We asked people to be open with their problems, open with their personal lives and then be brave enough to do these series of challenges we put forward.”

In other words, Season 2 is more about Cena’s “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” mantra than his former Gold’s Gym meathead character’s “How much ya bench?”

“It’s also something people will be able to relate to, and be able to feel like they can accomplish or not,” Cena said of his show’s second chance. “I think it’s a much better format. I’m really, really happy with it because I think the viewer at home will be able to gauge the advancement or the setbacks that everyone else goes through.”

“There will be surprises, but in a way that the show itself is unpredictable,” he teased. “It hit everyone from the top down, the unpredictability. It hit myself, it hit the leaders and it hit the competitors. I think that’s what makes for a more interesting ride.”

Season 2 of “American Grit” premieres Sunday at 9/8c on Fox.