Pittsburgh native Joe Manganiello was captain of his high school football, basketball and volleyball teams. He played varsity in all 3 sports and graduated with honors. He also acted in his high school’s production of Oklahoma!, but borrowing equipment from the school’s tv studio to make films with his friends is what first sparked his interest in acting. Sports-related injuries pushed Manganiello to audition at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. He did not get in on his first try, but was accepted the following year. He auditioned in New York and Los Angeles and first found small roles in tv, but his breakout came in 2009 when he was cast as a werewolf on the HBO series True Blood. He has also acted on the big screen in films including Magic Mike. He directed, produced and acted in La Bare, and he won an Emmy for narrating a documentary about Pittsburgh’s pro hockey team, the Penguins. He also wrote a book on health and fitness called Evolution. Manganiello has millions of followers on social media. He married actress Sofia Vergara in 2015. Manganiello is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs about 225 lbs.
Joe Manganiello’s Diet
When he initially needed to get shredded for the role of werewolf Alcide, Manganiello adopted a super clean diet of animal protein, plenty of veggies, complex carbs and protein shakes. He would eat 5-6 times per day, and every meal or snack contained protein in the form of animal protein, egg whites, or a protein supplement. He ate a lot of chicken and fish, but also threw in the occasional steak. He made a point to vary his veggies and all of his meals, but he usually started or ended the day with a protein drink, and protein bars also got eaten at least once a day. He would have nuts every day, a small amount of fruit, but otherwise avoided sugar. Manganiello still follows a strict diet that is formulated off his basal metabolic rate.
- Low-Medium Carb 25% 25%
- Low-Medium Fat 20% 20%
- High Protein 55% 55%
Manganiello may have played a werewolf, but his diet was not purely carnivorous. He also ate plenty, but it was all wholesome, natural foods, and very little that came out of a cellophane wrapper, protein bars excepted.
Don’t Starve Yourself
Manganiello is careful about what he takes in, but he definitely eats. His trainer says if you’re looking to build muscle, it’s important not to make the mistake of eating too little, and having your body end up using your muscles for fuel.
Power Up With Protein
Protein predominated in Manganiello’s diet with regular infusions from whey protein shakes, bars, meat, fish, steak, and sometimes bacon.
Manganiello’s trainer uses the following formula to calculate basal metabolic rate: (height in cm x 6.25) + (weight in kg x 9.99) — (age x 4.92) + 5. You should eat 500 fewer calories than that number.
Sugar Free Snacks
One of Manganiello’s few treats was sugar-free chocolate almonds, but he would only have a few.
Once a week, Manganiello would indulge with a cheat meal, but even that was pretty controlled: a double cheeseburger on a bun, half an order of onion rings and a half-order of cheesy tater tots. His big splurge might be a package of sour candy.
What to Eat
Egg whites + a few whole eggs
Veggies of all kinds
What to Avoid
Manganiello on the Pillars of Health
‘[A] balanced diet, adequate sleep, plenty of fresh air, ample sunshine, and regular workouts will become [your] basic principles of living.’
Manganiello on Sugar
‘The biggest diet mistakes start and end with sugar. People eat way too much of it, and they don’t realize how much of it is lurking in everything we consume.’
Manganiello on his Diet
‘I eat to build. If it doesn’t build something, it’s superfluous.’
Manganiello on the importance of Good Habits
‘In order to make permanent changes, you need to instill habits that will allow you to replicate your efforts.’
Mangainello on Expectations
Remember, realistic expectations lead to realistic goals, which create real results.’
Joe Manganiello’s Fitness Routine
The 80-20 Plan
Manganiello’s trainer Ron Mathews developed a system which is practical for people who don’t want to live at the gym. Manganiello can take it easy 20% of the time so long as he does what he needs to the other 80%. This holds true for his diet as well.
When he needs to get cut, Manganiello will start the day with 45 minutes of cardio such as cycling or jogging on an empty stomach, which burns fat.
Manganiello aims to work out at least 5-6 days a week. Even if he misses a day, 4 days is still enough to keep him in shape.
About 6 weeks before Manganiello needs to look shredded, he kicks it into high gear and returns to hardcore training.
To keep his core photoshoot-ready, Manganiello does a concentrated abs routine for 10-15 minutes at least every other day.
Manganiello’s trainer keeps him moving and has him do supersets to maintain a high level of intensity throughout training. He does not get much time to relax.
Don’t Skip the Legs
Magnaniello focuses on his legs twice a week, because legwork boosts metabolism and growth factor. If he misses a workout, it’s never this one.
Manganiello put in the time to get to where he is today. How worked intensely for years to sculpt his body into what he has now.
Manganiello never falls so far off the bandwagon that he has to struggle to get back on. He can have his 6-pack back in 6 weeks or less.
45 min bike/jog/etc. Any exercise that gets your heart rate up to 110-130 bpm.
Abs routine: Every other day
Glute-ham developer: 15 reps x 4 sets
Hanging leg raise: 15 reps x 4 sets
Bicycle crunch: 20 reps x 4 sets
Hollow rock: 20 reps x sets to failure
Sample Werewolf Routine
Chest & Back
1A Incline barbell bench press: 15 reps x 4 sets
1B Wide grip pull-ups: 4-10 reps x 4 sets
1C Lat Pulldown: 12-15 reps x 4 sets
2A Dumbbell fly: 12-15 reps x 4 sets
2B Pushup 15 reps x 3 sets
3A Dumbbell bench press: 12 reps x 4 sets
3B Bent-over row: 10 reps x 4 sets
4 Low-to-medium intensity cardio: 20 min
Legs & Triceps
1A Back squat: 10 reps x 5 sets
1B Jump squat: 10 reps x 5 sets
1C Bodyweight squat: 10 reps x 5 sets
1D Push up: 15 reps x 5 sets
2A Lying leg curl: 12/leg x 5 sets
2B Dumbbell lunge: 12/leg x 5 sets
2C Skull crusher: 10 reps x 3 sets
3A High box jump: 15 reps x 5 sets
3B Bench dip: 15 reps x 5 sets
4 Burpee: 15 reps x 5 sets
Manganiello on Exercise
‘Hard physical labor is the best work you can do for your soul, even if it’s gardening.’
Manganiello on Short Cuts
‘There is no shortcut to health and fitness…Any time you waste looking for a shortcut or magic pill is time that you could have spent working your a** off.’
Manganiello on Achieving
‘The more specific about planning and goals, the better your results will be.’
Manganiello on Pushing Yourself
‘You need to create goals that will make you uncomfortable.’
Manganiello on Limits
‘The exhilaration of pushing limits, rather than setting ceilings, can lead to some amazing things that can surprise even the biggest of dreamers.’
Manganiello on Quitting
‘The most important takeaway: the amateur quits while the professional fights through.’
Joe Manganiello’s Supplements
Other than his protein shakes, Manganiello doesn’t have much to say on the subject of supplements, but a daily multivitamin is never a bad idea when you cut out certain food categories, such as carbs.
Manganiello ate his veggies, but if you’re not as keen, a green supplement and fiber can help keep things moving through your system.
Looking to get cut? Caffeine boosts metabolism, allows you work out more intensely which can helps trim the fat.
Even people who live in southern California don’t necessarily get enough of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin D which needed for calcium absorption, and can also reduce depression, boost weight loss and improve overall health.
Joe Manganiello’s Lifestyle
Manganiello says along with diet and exercise, getting adequate sleep is key to being the best you can be.
On the Road Again
Manganiello is friends with John Feldmann, the lead singer of the band Goldfinger. He once was a roadie for the band, and toured with them internationally.
Manganiello’s first crush was Carrie Fisher. When he got the chance to meet her one day, she suggested they get married and make a reality show out of it.
Manganiello is trained in Transcendental Meditation. He practices every day for twenty minutes as soon as he wakes up.
Don’t Dis the D&D
Manganiello is a big fan of the role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.
While Manganiello’s career was taking off back in the early 2000s, his personal life was a train wreck. He was a homeless drunk who smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day and crashed on friends’ couches.
Manganiello on Meditation
‘There’s a reason why meditation is 4,000 years old…I’ve had some profound things happen to me while meditating.’
Manganiello on Playing Alcide
‘I feel like I’ve been pretending I was a werewolf since I was a little kid.’
Manganiello on Getting Sober
‘I quit [drinking] because that thing inside of me that was driving me to drink that way was causing me so much pain that I was starting to get afraid for my own life, and my own health.’
Manganiello on Perseverance
‘I’m glad that I lost, I’m glad that I failed, I’m glad that I felt that way and decided to do something about it…I never wanted to feel that way again and it drove me.’
Manganiello on Objectification
‘I don’t think there’s anything such as male objectification…Someone once put it to me: Women are sex objects and men are success objects. That was really interesting to me.’
Manganiello on Meeting Carrie Fisher
‘I’m lucky to have made it out of that weekend without getting married.’
Manganiello on Relationships
‘The best love advice I’ve ever received is probably: I’m not leaving the relationship; I’m just leaving the house.’
Evolution: The Cutting-Edge Guide
Pure Protein bars
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