EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a preview-only version of Joe Manganiello's cover story in the April 2016 issue of Men's Fitness. For the full story, including exclusive content, download the issue now or pick up a copy on newsstands on March 21.

Meet the real Joe Manganiello: the guy Sofia Vergara fell head over heels for, Pee-wee Herman wrote his new film for, and—due to a staggering new set of fitness goals—crowds at CrossFit Games may soon be cheering for.

In the April 2016 issue of Men's Fitness, he opens up about fried chicken and burst biceps, his newest projects in the pipeline, his ongoing physical transformation, and what his plans may be for starting his own modern family.

Joe Manganiello is actually a huge Pee-wee fan.

"When the casting was announced, Paul got upset because people who were talking about it online were treating it like it was a stunt-cast cameo. But I’m playing me. I love Pee-wee. I mean, I saw Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in the theater as a kid, and that was mind-blowing. I watched every episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse and [his second full-length feature] Big Top Pee-wee—I saw it all. When I read the script, I laughed hysterically. I remember Sofia was in another room, and she kept asking me, “Are you OK?”

 

 

Manganiello's workout plan is always evolving.

"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."

 

 

And for his next trick? Demolishing CrossFit.

"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."

 

He literally burst his biceps during filming for 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. I was injured early on and had to continue shooting—you know, the show must go on. There was no question. So I had to continue performing on it."

 

On starting a family:

"I’m not ready to make any kind of announcement like that, man. It was tough enough trying to make my wedding happen out of the public eye. The last thing I’d want to do is curse that part of my life before it even happens."

Download the April 2016 issue of Men's Fitness at mensfitness.com/gettheissue or pick up a copy on newsstands starting Monday, March 21.