The Celebrity Workout: True Blood’s Joe Manganiello

It takes a certain kind of man to play a werewolf. So it’s fair to assume that Joe Manganiello was a decent physical specimen when he turned up to audition for HBO’s True Blood. But after he landed the role of the lycanthrope Alcide Herveaux, Manganiello realized he still had some work to do.

“When I read the books True Blood was based on, I saw that Herveaux had biceps the size of boulders. Then I learned that wolves can run 50 miles at a time,” the 34-year-old Pennsylvania native says. Manganiello required a rare combination of brute strength and agility, so he called in Ron Matthews, the Hollywood trainer who transformed Hugh Jackman into Wolverine. Matthews explained that Manganiello was plenty ripped but that body fat obscured all of his definition. “I was constantly mistaken for a professional football player,” the actor says. Through Matthews’ program of low-weight, high-rep, cardio-intensive workouts, Manganiello dropped 15 pounds and lowered his body fat from 18 percent to 8. The new regimen made his muscles longer and more limber, boosted his endurance, and made him lighter on his feet. “The idea wasn’t only to make me look a certain way but to move a certain way,” says Manganiello, whose bare-chested heroics helped him become the hit show’s newest heartthrob. “I didn’t want to be like one of those statuesque eighties action stars.”“I needed a sinewy, animalistic look, so we carved down my body.” — Joe Manganiello

Get His Workout
Manganiello exercises twice a day, six times a week, starting with a cardio session on an empty stomach. He keeps it low-intensity to ensure he burns fat, not muscle. In the evenings, he hits the weights, never doing the same workout twice by switching up reps, sets, and exercises. Here’s a typical week.

MONDAY 
a.m.: Elliptical 
p.m.: Legs, chest

TUESDAY 
a.m.: Interval sprinting 
p.m.: Back, triceps

WEDNESDAY 
a.m.: Elliptical 
p.m.: Shoulders, biceps

THURSDAY 
a.m.: Interval sprinting 
p.m.: Legs, chest

FRIDAY 
a.m.: Elliptical 
p.m.: Back, triceps

SATURDAY
a.m.: Interval sprinting 
p.m.: Shoulders, biceps

SUNDAY
Rest

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