Milo Ventimiglia

Of course, the demands of a hit show mean it’s often a challenge to keep up a regular workout schedule. “It’s either wake up early in the morning or go late after work,” says the actor. “I also bring dumbbells to my trailer and see if I can’t maintain there.” And when he’s tempted to blow off a session now and then, he calls to mind the example of a previous mentor. “When we were on Rocky,” recalls Ventimiglia, “I saw the discipline that [Stallone] had. Physically, he put himself through hell to get into shape. Even when we were shooting the boxing scenes, he was constantly drinking from his water bottle because it contained all these vitamins and supplements.”

Stallone also stands out for Ventimiglia as a potent example of what can be accomplished in Hollywood, given the proper combination of determination and talent. “He wrote the film, he directed it, he starred in it. And he was always in good spirits, always calm,” marvels Ventimiglia. “If I could do that, do it all—producing, directing, acting—I’d love it.”

To that end, he devotes the majority of his non-Heroes energies to working with Divide Pictures, the three-year-old production company he runs with longtime pal Russ Cundiff. In addition to the American Eagle deal, Divide has feature films and assorted TV projects on the docket, all of which Ventimiglia hopes to have his hands in. By his reckoning, it’s this extracurricular work that keeps him balanced in his life. Says co-star Ramamurthy: “I don’t think he would know what to do with himself if he only had one thing on his plate.”

“Don’t get me wrong—would I love to be sitting on a beach right now? Hell, yeah,” exclaims Ventimiglia. “But if there’s an opportunity to do great work and in turn it’s going to give me a chance to work with talented people down the line, I’m not going to pass that up just because I want to work on my tan.” By the same token, Ventimiglia has no interest in parlaying his Heroes welcome into boldfaced status in the celebrity tabloids: “I would hate it if my publicity overshadowed my actual career. That would suck.”

Unfortunately, on that front, the press and adoring public may not cooperate. The success of Heroes has already thrust Ventimiglia and his cast mates onto magazine covers and into celebrity-news programs on a regular rotation. The blogosphere practically hums with Heroes fan sites, not to mention Ventimiglia-centric pages with names such as The male stars of the show were even given a glossy two-page photo spread in People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue. “My friends were like, ‘So, you think you’re sexy?’” chuckles Ventimiglia. “They couldn’t wait to give me shit about that.”

Ventimiglia is happy to go along for the ride, but he’s careful not to buy in to the hyperbole of it. If the journey of his physical transformation has taught him anything, it’s to avoid extremes and to make sure he’s prepped for the long haul. “When you fall into perfect balance with yourself—mentally, physically, spiritually—that’s when you find you’re content,” says Ventimiglia, the dark rumble of his voice softening a shade. “That’s when you can sit back and enjoy everything around you, when you’re right there, in the middle of it


Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.