The content of Joe Manganiello’s lunch shouldn’t surprise any of his fans from True Blood: a flank steak with egg whites, green salad, a side of meatballs. Okay, maybe the green salad seems out of place for the alpha werewolf. The rest, with an estimated 65 grams of animal protein, seems about right for the 6-foot-5, 220-pound actor.
“I eat to build,” he says. “If it doesn't build something, it's superfluous."
Kick-start your own beach-ready transformation with the Men’s Health Best Summer Bodies of 2013—You might even be surprised to find out where Manganiello landed!
The 36-year-old actor has been building a muscular resume since 2006. In addition to his iconic role on True Blood, which he joined in its third season, he’ll play a DEA agent alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Ten, a January release. He also wrote a workout book, Evolution, which hits shelves in December.
Not bad for a guy who started out as his own worst enemy.
Just a week after finishing classes at Carnegie-Mellon University, he was cast as Peter Parker’s nemesis in Spider-Man. But by the time the movie premiered in 2002, he was essentially homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches. The reason is simple enough: He was drinking a bottle of whiskey and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, habits that began when he played Captain Morgan in bars in his native Pittsburgh.
But Manganiello’s comeback was anything but simple. He quit drinking and smoking in 2002, but wouldn’t work again as an actor for another 4 years. "I had to take the elevator all the way down, start from scratch, and build back up,” he says.
He delivered packages, worked as a roadie, trained as a fighter, and finally settled in on a construction crew, lifting 100-pound bags of cement all day and then hitting the gym to lift at night. He continued lifting hard and heavy when he returned to acting with a series of TV roles, and was up to 240 pounds when he got the call to play Alcide Herveaux on True Blood. That’s when he hired trainer Ron Mathews—best known for turning Hugh Jackman into Wolverine—to help him “look like an animal when the shirt comes off.”
The results are on display in the current issue of Men’s Health, where you can read more about Manganiello and the workouts that transformed not only his body, but his career. Plus, discover his worst fear, silliest mistake, and the secret to his sleeve-busting arms.
The July/August 2013 issue of Men's Health is on newsstands now. iPad and iPhone users can download the issue here.