Of course, everything changed during the casting. To bring charismatic and professionally ripped Cary Conrad to life, Van Winkle knew he would have to focus more on his training to reap the rewards – not just physically, but aesthetically as well. This led him to the expertise of celebrity trainer Grant Roberts, a man known to have transformed some of the world’s greatest talents like Kumail Nanjiani for The Eternals and David Dastmalchian for Dune.
A DM later and Van Winkle was in Roberts’ office for a 3D body scan, examining the parts of his body that he wanted to add muscle to. The result was a carefully curated 5: 2 practice plan that Van Winkle did mostly in his home garage around 2 or 3 p.m. The focal point of the plan was to hit certain muscle groups each day, which typically included four different exercises per muscle group. Van Winkle explains that he would do descending reps in each set (e.g. 12, 10, 8, 6 reps) and add weight as he descended the ladder. Rather than an hour four times a week, he spent two hours in the gym each day.
âI trained like an Olympic athlete,â says Van Winkle.
To ensure he can continue to perform at his peak, Van Winkle has also focused on recovery. âI took Creatine HCL every day after my workout, with dextrose in my protein shake within 30 minutes,â he explains. Weekly deep tissue massages and acupuncture were also a necessity, and he frequently used his massage gun. Bedtime was strictly 10:30 p.m., with Van Winkle getting up around 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m.
But as anyone who’s already embarked on a physical transformation can attest, nutrition is just as – if not more – important than training itself. Roberts fed Van Winkle six meals a day with an emphasis on macro counting. During the five days of the week, Van Winkle limited himself to 240 grams of protein, 130 grams of fat and 100 grams of carbohydrates, following it all on the MyFitnessPal app.
âI didn’t know what macros were before this,â he told Men’s Health. On weekends, he still aimed for the same protein intake, but halved his fat intake and doubled his carb intake. âI would have eaten cakes, donuts, burgers, pizzaâ¦ full of carbohydrates,â he says. “It helped me gain muscle mass and lean mass in the parts of the body that I had affected during my workouts on Monday and Tuesday.”
Building muscle to play a fitness entrepreneur is one thing, but how does an actor prepare for a shirtless scene? As Van Winkle will tell you, he took three days of water loading (drinking 2 gallons of water per day) and then didn’t drink water the night before the scene. The day before, he did not drink any water but went to the sauna and ate a high carbohydrate steak, a baked potato and wine. On the morning of the shoot, Van Winkle loaded up on carbs again, with six pancakes and blueberries in syrup. On set, he then ate a rice cake and a scoop full of raisins before doing a mini pumping session before stepping past the camera.
âI learned to put in the extra effort to get results,â he explains. Having said that, we strongly advise against doing such a thing without professional guidance and it must be said that Van Winkle was keenly under Roberts’ eye throughout the process.
After nearly five months of training, Van Winkle hit his goal of adding 10 pounds (or nearly 5 kg) of muscle. âI did everything Grant Roberts told me to do,â he admits. âIt became so normal for me, but I’m incredibly motivated and I knew I had to show up. When you don’t want to workout because it’s in pain, you have to get out of it. Go in and get the job done, and you’ll be glad you did.