Ryan Kwanten, a thrill-seeking bad boy in HBO's True Blood, keeps his own blood pumping with a vigorous approach to life
Ryan Kwanten pauses on a ridge along the Temescal Canyon Trail, above the hazy concrete desert of Los Angeles. "What do you think everyone else is doing right now?" he says, smiling. "They're not up here, that's for sure. That's the beauty of it."
Kwanten, 32, has the lean, strong look that Holly wood loves, and he built it outdoors, focusing on functional strength rather than gym-built abs. Years ago, in his native Australia, he even moonlighted as a professional triathlete.
His pro racing days may be over, but he trains like he's still competing. Athletics keep him resilient, he says. "When I'm rejected, I can come back and say, 'You know what? I'll win the next one.'" Here's how he concentrates on the path forward.
1. Use time wisely
You're never too busy to exercise. "If you have a minute to yourself, utilize it to the fullest," he says. Between scenes he stretches, does pushups, and shadowboxes while practicing lines. It helps him focus and keeps him energized all day.
2. Break away
Los Angeles has about 7,000 miles of blacktop, but Kwanten prefers the trails. "It takes the tedium out of running," he says. "You gain balance and coordination. No two steps are the same." Instead of aiming for distance or heart-rate goals, he chooses routes with distinct midpoints. "Whether it's that high peak or the end of a beach, it's great to have something you can touch that lets you know you're halfway there. You don't find that on a treadmill."
3. Challenge yourself
Kwanten joins friends for group trail runs, bowls in a league, bungee jumps, and bikes along the Pacific. (He swims in it, too.) "There's a lot to be said for muscle confusion," he says. "The moment you have monotony, your muscles can fall asleep. Variety makes you much more balanced."
4. Strip down your diet
To prepare for a shirtless scene, Kwanten employs a get-ripped-fast trick that can help any man looking forward to a beach weekend. He cuts down on refined carbs, opting for protein and vegetables. He also avoids alcohol, and drinks water or protein or vegetable shakes instead. "It's boring, but it's not a crash diet," he says. "I'm still eating the same amount of food, and I only have to keep it up for a few days."
5. Add your own weight
Kwanten knows he can't fully build his body without strength training. He does that at home with body-weight exercises: pushups, situps, pull ups, skipping rope. "I love old-school stuff," he says. With situps, he focuses on his core and tries not to reach or stretch his neck. He favors a thick rubber jump rope and does varied intervals -- say, a minute of doubles and then 2 minutes of singles. He'll do that while watching the first half of a Lakers game, and stretch for the second half.
Sunday, August 16, 2009