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MF Guy: Laz Alonso

How this former investment banker got in shape while scoring the role of a lifetime.

Laz Alonso is a walking contradiction. He’s a guy who, while working 90-plus hours a week at Merrill Lynch as an investment banker, got into the best shape of his life. He’s also a guy who passed on a six-figure Wall Street income to pursue acting, slowly climbing the ranks to land a lead role on A&E’s hit Breakout Kings.

There may be some parallels between Alonso and his role. “The character [Charlie Duchamp] is kind of a contradiction,” Alonso explains. “He has a heart condition, and because of that he pushes himself harder.”

Landing the role can be credited to his commitment and hard work both in and out of the gym. “I got serious about [fitness] in high school. All my buddies were big, and I was a 155-pound rail,” he recalls. “It was a crash course of ‘I want to keep up with these guys.’ ”

Once filming begins, Alonso’s workday can last up to 16 hours and include hundreds of takes, so in addition to lifting regularly, he does cardio and calisthenics whenever he can. Equally important is his diet. For that, he turns to exercise physiologist Darren Burke, Ph.D. “For the most part, it has been healthy carbs made up of fruits and vegetables. We also recommend fish, chicken, red meat, and Promasil for his protein intake,” Burke explains. “He follows a diet very similar to that of the professional athletes we work with.”

Breakout Kings has Alonso on the cusp of stardom, but, as usual, his ultimate goal will surprise everyone. “I just want to be part of a quality product,” he says. “Maybe a film where [I] have two lines. If it’s a really good film that moves people, I want to be a part of it."

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