Two years ago the English ac­tor had never picked up a weight. Now he’s Marvel’s new­est screen su­per­hero

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

The Bri­tish ac­tor talks about be­com­ing Marvel Comics’ lat­est hero, Dare­devil

If you’ve seen Char­lie Cox on screen be­fore – as Board­walk Em­pire’s friendly IRA man, for in­stance, or The The­ory Of Ev­ery­thing’s ami­able choir­mas­ter – he prob­a­bly didn’t strike you as the dark, brood­ing type. But now he’s the flawed hero in Marvel’s new Dare­devil TV se­ries – and to pre­pare for the role the Lon­don­born Cox went full leo­tard, hit­ting the bar­bells and bags to craft a physique wor­thy of lawyer/vig­i­lante Matt Mur­doch.

First things first: it seems as if ev­ery Marvel fran­chise comes with a shirtoff scene. Was it in­tim­i­dat­ing to know you’d be go­ing up against Cap­tain Amer­ica and Thor?

Well, Dare­devil doesn’t have any su­per­pow­ers, so it’s not out of the ques­tion that he could have more of a Bruce Lee physique. I was about 72kg and quite skinny com­ing in, and pro­ducer Steven DeKnight said, ‘We’d love it if we could get you to 175lb [80kg]’. I started eat­ing tons of chicken, broc­coli, sweet potato, rice and pasta. I put car­bo­hy­drates in all my pro­tein shakes, so I’d have a pro­tein shake with sweet potato in it. It’s ac­tu­ally re­ally nice.

Sounds like you must have a re­ally good blen­der. Did Marvel set you up with a trainer too?

They set me up with this no-joke gym. I felt like a lit­tle boy. I was in­tro­duced to a trainer and at first I just did what I was told, but then I grad­u­ally de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in it. Even though we wrapped over two months ago I’ve kept it up. I re­ally en­joy the process.

What’s a typ­i­cal work­out for you?

I did the ma­jor body parts once or twice a week and then a full-body work­out to keep me lean. I’d turn up, run for five min­utes, then do chest and back ex­er­cises, then run for five min­utes and so on. You de­velop a real sweat and you know you’re get­ting a ma­jor work­out. I had to stop us­ing the prowler, though, be­cause it made me want to vomit. I fuck­ing hate it.

Dare­devil’s also one of Marvel’s pre­mier ass-kick­ers. How much of that did you ac­tu­ally do?

As much as they’d let me. I love that stuff, but I’m not a trained fighter so my tech­nique isn’t bril­liant. In ev­ery fight scene they found pieces for me to do that I could pick up pretty quickly, then they make it look good in the edit. My stunt dou­ble Chris was amaz­ing and the mask means you can get away with a lot, but we re­ally tried to use as much of me as pos­si­ble.

Dare­devil seems quite dark com­pared with the rest of the Marvel Uni­verse…

It is in­tended to be much darker. There’s a lot of blood, and the­mat­i­cally it’s much more adult. In the Dare­devil comics many of the fa­mous se­ries are very dark. I think a lot of Marvel fans will be thrilled.

OK, fi­nal ques­tion: what’s your num­ber one tip for a busy man – a lawyer with no su­per­pow­ers, say – who wants to get in bet­ter shape?

Here are the things that helped me. First, find out what time of the day you train best at. I can’t go to the gym at 5.30. I just can’t. I’d much rather go at 10pm. Sec­ond, you have to get through the first week. Get past the point where it hurts and you’re walk­ing like John Wayne be­cause you’re so sore, and then you’re in. The last thing is that if you can’t get out of the house, do some­thing like the Insanity work­out. I put one of those DVDs on and it ab­so­lutely de­stroys me. If you’re just look­ing to get a sweat on and lose a bit of weight, do that two or three times a week and you’re golden. Dare­devil is on Net­flix from 10th April

‘you have to get past the point where it hurts’

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