Al­most ‘Magic’

MAKE HEALTHY YOUR NEW HAPPY We find out just what it takes to get ripped like the men of “Magic Mike XXL.”


Celebrity trainer Ron Mathews first started work­ing with Joe Man­ganiello six years ago, when the ac­tor was cast in HBO’s “True Blood.”

Back then, Man­ganiello was 6'5” and weighed 240 pounds, and Mathews re­mem­bers him say­ing, “‘I want to get big­ger; I want to be mus­cu­lar.’ And I told him, ‘Ac­tu­ally, you need to get smaller.’”

It’s re­lated to the cam­era adding 10 pounds: “When you do a slow work­out, you tend to look big in per­son, but you look a bit floppy on­screen,” he ex­plains. “Tak­ing his body fat down makes mus­cles pop on­screen.”

What it takes to take it off

But Man­ganiello had to push his reg­i­men (de­tailed in the book he and Mathews worked on to­gether, “Evo­lu­tion”) even fur­ther for the male strip­per se­quel “Magic Mike XXL.”

“For ‘Magic Mike,’ he wanted to look re­ally big and cut,” Mathews says. “It’s a very phys­i­cal role with the danc­ing; it was about look­ing good but also mov­ing well with co­or­di­na­tion like an ath­lete. It was about train­ing to be able to per­form, as op­posed to just stand­ing there in front of the cam­era and look­ing good.”

Train­ing meant work­ing out six days a week — twice a day. Morn­ings were car­dio (on an empty stom­ach) then in the af­ter­noon or evening, Man­ganiello did weight train­ing. The work­out takes about an hour, in­clud­ing a warm-up and a cooldown, and it is very fast, with few breaks. “The idea is to keep his heart rate very high,” says Mathews.

The role of food

The right diet is a huge part of the reg­i­men, and Man­ganiello was a dream client. “He is in­cred­i­bly dis­ci­plined,” says Mathews. “The good thing about him is that he doesn’t need a lot of va­ri­ety, so if you tell him that’s what you need to eat, he will do it over and over again.”

When you’re work­ing to­ward a fit­ness goal, Mathews says, food is not for plea­sure; it is just another tool. Man­ganiello ate six meals a day, roughly 500 to 600 calo­ries each with 30 per­cent pro­tein, 30 per­cent fat and 40 per­cent carbs. Each meal was pretty sim­i­lar and con­sisted of eggs, chicken, veg­eta­bles and rice or pota­toes. The calo­ries could also come from a big salad or sushi, as long as you go easy on the rice.

“When try­ing to lose fat while keep­ing your mus­cle, you need to make sure you get enough calo­ries, be­cause if you don’t, you will lose mus­cle,” ex­plains Mathews. “You need to be able to main­tain your frame and have enough energy to pur­sue your work­out.”

Morn­ing: Af­ter­noon: Ex­am­ple se­quence: Fol­lowed by some func­tional ex­er­cises: CLAUDETTE BARIUS, WARNER BROS.

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