Although he is one of television’s premier muscle men, True Blood’s Joe Manganiello wasn’t always the beefy bohunk we drool over. Witness this middle-school photo of a scrawny Manganiello, above.
Now Joe, 36, is sharing the secrets to his transformation in his new fitness Bible, Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You’ve Always Wanted. “This book is designed to take away people’s excuses,” says the Bearded One. “I was not blessed with the genes to put on muscle weight. I’ve never touched a steroid. I had to bust my ass.”
Here are his top 4 fitness rules:
1. Challenge the impossible. “I’m not asking people to work as hard as they can. I’m asking you to go beyond what you thought was possible for yourself. That’s how you get in the best shape you’ve ever been, instead of just okay shape.”
2. Double your muscle groups for twice the results. “Work chest and back on Monday, legs and triceps on Tuesday and shoulders and back on Wednesday. Then restart the cycle after a rest on Sunday.”
3. Eat high-protein, low-fat meals every few hours. “You’re training your body not to store anything, and that in conjunction with a fat-burning cardio program raises metabolism.”
4. You get what you give. “I can’t think of anything else in life that gives you back a direct return the way training does. Focus on each breath, each rep, and you will see results.”
As if being scrawny wasn’t enough of a hurdle, Manganiello revealed to HuffPost Live that he also struggled with alcoholism that was so severe, he was “homeless, careless and broke with no career.”
There was a period of about four years where I needed to quit drinking. And the drinking got in the way [of my career]. And I talk about that a lot in the book. It was one of those obstacles that I had to get over and once again I needed to clear the road in order for these things to happen, so it really is an inside job. I had to clean up my act and figure that whole situation out.”
It’s been 11 years since Manganiello has had a drink.
Evolution features workouts and a diet regimen created by Ron Mathews, who trained Joe for True Blood and Hugh Jackman for The Wolverine. Below, the no-steroid-taking Manganiello talks to ET about how the book came together.