Joe Manganiello is famous for keeping his chiseled physique in stellar condition all year round. Here’s a breakdown of the training and dietary specifics he uses to maintain a constant state of readiness

Muscle Minded

“With training, you continually keep pushing and learning, and that can bleed into all aspects of life – I love that, and I hold that very dear in my life. For me, my training is definitely about weightlifting and building muscle, but it’s also about remaining athletic. My workout does change slightly for different roles, just to service that part and that character and do it justice. But it’s about building the body and teaching my body to adjust to its own weight, especially if I get bigger – I want to be dynamic and flexible.”

Training Frequency

“I bust my ass six days a week and run a three-day split: chest and back, legs and triceps, then shoulders and biceps. It’s all about pushing intensity, and it is based on a concept known as metabolic resistance training. I do your conventional muscle-bodybuilding exercises at a high pace and I try to maintain the highest intensity for as long as possible. And the more you work at it – the weight and shorter rest periods all improve.”

Constantly Adapting

“At first, mentally I struggled with this new model of training because I wanted to be the big, strong guy in the gym at all times – clanging and banging. However, this method has got me where I wanted to be, and eventually I was able to lift the heavier weights again. Through the six days I make sure I hit every corner of my muscles. And with that I use free weights and your conventional Olympic-style lifting, yet then I do a lot of, lunges, rope work, kettlebells and bodyweight exercises.”

Intensity-driven Reps

“My circuit reps consist of sets of 20, 15, 12, 10, 5, 8, and 16 and I focus on good form. It burns like hell, but the results are awesome. I do your classic weights moves, nothing fancy. I take very little rest between each set. For example, with the chest and triceps, the first set will consist of 20 reps of maybe bench press followed by 20 reps of triceps push-downs, and then I’ll rest for a minute or so. After that, I’ll do 15 reps of bench press followed by 15 reps of triceps push-downs, and then another period of rest. I’ll complete this for all sets of each exercise, rest, and then move on to the next circuit.”

Hollywood Abs

“I train them (abs) three times per week–always before my workout. I do circuits, performing four exercises with no rest in-between. For example: 15 reps of hanging leg raises, 20 hip-ups, 25 reps of bicycles, and 30 crunches. I rest for a minute and then repeat for a total of three circuits. But then other exercises I use are toes to bar, reverse bicycles and mountain climbers.”

The Heart Muscle

“For cardio I mix up intervals with slow and steady cardio. High intensity and low intensity. I prefer indoor cardio because modern technology allows you to manage every training variable and it’s easier to monitor growth.”

Recovery Fuel

“Overall, my average diet is high-protein, with vegetables with every meal. I eat to build. It’s protein from sun up to sun down – protein and veg. I also drink a ton of water. With supplements I drink protein shakes, eat protein bars, take creatine, also glutamine and nitric oxide-releasing supplements, but other than that I’m not that big on supplements. I also have a cup of coffee before my workout or cardio sessions. I generally only have one major cheat meal a week. If I have to bulk, I take in more carbs. You can’t grow muscle and become significantly bigger without carbs. Some of these carbs can be healthy sources such as sweet potatoes and rice. I also factor in more mass-building movements when working out.”

Intentional Eating

“I eat to build. I eat 5-6 times a day, every three hours or so. My diet is strict, but not in a way that is not fun. I’m a carnivore so I eat as much meat as I can pretty much put down. I’m not someone who’s against fat, I’m against sugar when you’re training – I think that’s the number one killer. Get rid of the sugar and get rid of the bread. I eat high-protein, low-fat meals every few hours. Vegetables with every meal. You’re training your body not to store anything, and that in conjunction with a fat-burning cardio program, this approach raises the metabolism.”

Dietary Specifics

“Protein-wise my diet consists of: chicken breasts, protein shakes, mahi mahi, 4-6 oz steaks, buffalo burgers, protein bars, eggs, bacon, mackerel sashimi, clam sashimi, egg whites, lean sausages, tilapia fillet and pork chops. Then I add salads to these. Fruit and carbs wise I eat spinach, green beans, oatmeal, corn, sweet potatoes, asparagus, baked cauliflower, apples, green salad, corn, carrots, banana, broccoli, mango, asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt. And I have almonds and corn nuts. But it is 5-6 meals a day, eating protein every single meal. If it’s for a role where I have to reduce the body fat even further, I add more cardio and cut down the carbs even more.”

This article orginally featured in TRAIN issue 88. You can get a free subscription by clicking here.