Our cover guys are just like you. Sure, you might not be married to Sofía Vergara or have starred in epic films like Creed or Justice League; but you've surely struggled to shed fat, build slabs of muscle, completely overhaul your physique, and motivate yourself to get the hell moving. Well, so have they.
We've combed through the cover stories over the past year and picked out the smartest, most uplifting, and practical mantras, mottos, and pieces of advice from our cover guys. Read these when you're struggling to find your inner drive—or want to learn some A-list-worthy secrets.
“I love life. I love maximizing my potential in life. Understanding I’m putting myself in a position to become the best version of myself possible gives me energy.”
“The art of setting goals and accomplishing goals is what drives me.”
HIS TAKE ON PAIN AND PROGRESS
"If it feels good, you’re not doing it right. At the end of the day, what you love are the results. I don’t mind the awkward feeling. I don’t mind the blood, sweat, and tears that I put in to where I am today.
“Before I was in fake shape,” he says. “I looked like I was in shape, but then you’d take off my shirt and it was like, ‘No, no, no.’”
WHEN YOU'RE FEELING UNMOTIVATED, REMEMBER THIS:
“You get one life. You can take this opportunity to live it to the fullest and really, really put yourself in the best position possible to be on the Earth for as long as possible; or you can help death. Heart attacks are real. High blood pressure is real. The diseases and discomfort that comes with not taking care of yourself is real.”
AND IF YOU'RE NOT SEEING THE RESULTS RIGHT AWAY
“No short cuts!” Don't cave in.
“Don’t s*&%$ on yourself. That’s normally where it goes all bad. Those are the people who fail.”
"A lot of working out today is, 'Let’s make it an easy fix.' Do this, and do that, and you’ve got 60-second abs. My own personal approach to training is, I’m learning year after year after year and applying it and finding what fits and suits me best for my lifestyle. It’s been a long process. Now that I’m fit again, I think I’ve found a comfortable balance, which is enjoyable because we all like to go out for drinks and have pizza and have dinners and all the nice things in life, and not being a complete gym psycho."
"But I stay fit enough to feel comfortable with taking my shirt off at the beach, because someone’s going to take a photo, and then it won’t all of a sudden be, 'Hey look, fat Superman!' in the Daily Mail or something like that. It’ll just be, 'Hey, look, Henry Cavill at the beach,' and I won’t be ashamed to see that photo. So through my Instagram and my social media, I’m trying to sort of send the message out there that it’s a process. As much as I can, I like to get it out there that you don’t have to endure a psychotic, agonizing workout. You don’t have to leave it all on the floor every time. Hopefully through my social media I can help educate people."
... AND FEEDING OFF GOOD ENERGY (OR FENDING OFF BAD)
“Once you get to the level of being fit, there are days when you go, 'You know what? Today I just want to dig a very deep hole and jump into it.' Then sometimes your energy is really high and you think, 'I'm going to hurt myself today. Let's see if I still bleed!"
“Right now I’m probably the physically strongest I’ve ever felt. Not in terms of bench press or how much I can squat, but in how quickly I could get out of this room and destroy everything in my path. If the zombie apocalypse happened right now, I’d definitely be able to defend myself... I want to be lean, fast, and light. When I put on a T-shirt, I don’t want people to go, ‘Oh, that guy’s a bodybuilder.’”
WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU WANT TO DROP-KICK YOUR DIET
“After a while your body stops craving junk food and you look forward to these meals. There’s this trigger that happens after two or three weeks of dieting and eating healthy food, where your body switches its primary energy source from burning mainly carbohydrates to burning fat,” he explains. “And when it switches over, all your cravings change. You go, ‘Holy cow, I want kale and vinaigrette shredded with beets and a little bit of sweet potato!’”
WHEN IT COMES TO COMMITTING TO A REGIMEN, HE'S ALL IN
"I trained for 100 days straight for [a movie that fell apart]. It was a very strict diet—no wine, no bread, no pasta. If I had any carbs it was just healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, yams. I got as ripped as I possibly could—the best shape of my life. I get into it. And when I get into something. I get really into it. I'm up at 3a.m. training. Eating roasted chickens at 3:30a.m. I like it...and then I like for it to be over."
"I never wanted a boot camp type of existence. I want to work out, eat right, have fun, drink wine, eat burgers."
"Year to year, I always make specific goals that I want to achieve. I’ll get together with my trainer [Ron Mathews] and talk about what I want to do for the next year. True Blood, Magic Mike, those were very specific as far as the training regimen. I really had to train like a bodybuilder would for a competition."
"Now I’m getting close to 40, but I still have some really good years that I can push. So I think it’s really about becoming the best athlete I can be. A lot of my workouts switched to Olympic lifting, CrossFit training, things called EMOMs [short for 'Every Minute, On the Minute'] for cardio, where you have to put in a certain amount of work and then you get to rest till the end of the minute. But of course, as you go on with the workout the rest periods shrink because you’re getting more tired, so it forces you to fight for that; but it’s mostly about becoming practically stronger. It’s lots of snatches, cleans, deadlifts—real functional athletic movements."
"This past year I’ve broken almost every personal record I had on every list, so that was really fun. It would be fun to maybe compete in, like, a team CrossFit game. In the fall, I’d love nothing more than to have some kind of role that requires me to be as jacked as possible—just gigantic—and be able to train that way and really pack it on. But we’ll see."
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SUFFER SETBACKS
(Manganiello tore his biceps shooting a scene in Magic Mike XXL.)
"When I did come back and start training, I had to start really, really light. It’s a matter of healing—I had to baby it and take it easy for a while. And it’s not a quick injury to come back from—you’re really starting from scratch."
AND WHEN IT COMES TO TAKING DIET POINTERS
“…people giving other people diet advice doesn’t really work. People make blanket statements about diet—“Red meat’s bad, aspartame will give you cancer, fat is bad”—but you know it’s not true for everyone. One size does not fit all when it comes to diet.”
DISHEARTENED YOU CAN'T GET IN THE GYM? DON'T DISCOUNT THE WORK YOU DO OUTSIDE OF IT
"I have a gym in my house, so I try to work out when I can, but sometimes when you work so many hours, all you can do is get home and fall on your face. I'm also running through the woods in 103° heat and my crossbow weighs a ton, and I'm always riding bikes and building things, so the pounds melt off. But, you know, it would be silly if Daryl [Reedus' character on The Walking Dead] took off his shirt and had a six-pack."
AND GET IN THE HABIT OF EXERCISING YOUR MIND, NOT JUST MUSCLE
"I tried yoga, and I really liked it. I really want to get into transcendental meditation. People keep telling me I'd love it. I know Howard Stern does it. He says he closes his eyes in his closet for a few minutes, and it's like he's slept for three hours. That sounds amazing."
“When I was 27, I felt old. I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel healthy. I just wasn’t taking care of my body, and I had a body that wanted me to take care of it. In the end, someone is depending on me to show up on their set looking a specific way.”
AND AS FOR THOSE CRAZY CRASH DIETS CELEBS DO FOR ROLES?
(Bomer dropped 40 pounds to play a reporter who contracts HIV in The Normal Heart.)
"It's obviously something constructed by a medical professional... it's actually dangerous to perpetuate. You can die. When I finished, my testosterone levels were the same as a female's. My stomach was the size of a walnut."
WHEN YOU'RE STRUGGLING TO FIND PLEASURE FROM PAIN, JUST WAIT
"I hated [training]. You know, at first you feel like shit, you’re hurting. When things start getting a little easier, when you start lifting weight you never lifted before, when you start bench-pressing 225 pounds 10 times and it ain’t nothing, and then you start giving hugs to girls and they’re, like, feeling you up a little and you think, ‘What’s this?’—then it’s, ‘This is all right.’ So I learned to love it when I started seeing results.”
AND HAVE A DAMN CHEAT DAY
“My cheat days were incredible,” says Jordan, his voice full of pleasure as he recalls those meals. “French toast in the morning, Philly cheesesteaks in the afternoon...pizza. I did cheat days right!”
"In all honesty, I rarely do weight work. I don’t bench-press or anything like that. And especially over the past five months of being vegan, all my stuff is really high-intensity body-weight workouts like burpees and pushups and pullups and dips. I do a lot of pullups every day, and that’s where I get a lot of my strength from. And then burpees. Burpees are good for burning fat and really getting your heart rate up. You do 20 minutes or something of burpees, pushups, pullups, and dips, and that’s your whole body."
“You can’t wait for people to tell you [you have what it takes]. You have to tell them.”
When Teller was cast to play Vinny “the Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (the five-time world boxing champion) in, Bleed for This, he wasn't the obvious choice.
“At the time I was 188 pounds and 19% body fat. Breakfast was protein powder, ice, water, a splash of almond milk, and some frozen fruit—like, maybe, 10 blueberries. Anytime I had two hours, I worked out.”
And in the end...
“We did this test: Without any fat, my body would weigh 155 pounds—just my muscle and bones. That means I was carrying only 13 extra pounds. I felt superlight. I felt incredible.”