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How Joe Manganiello got his monster physique

How Joe Manganiello got his monster physique

In the interview below, we find out how the former star athlete, True Blood’s Joe Manganiello built his monster physique and fulfilled a childhood dream.

Before the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama acting gods and Hollywood producer-writer-director Alan Ball came calling, Joe Manganiello aspired to be a naturally lean and ripped athlete. Little did the 6’5” varsity basketball, football and volleyball letterman know as a steroid-snubbing teen that his acting dream job would be the motivation for him to develop the cut, carnivorous body he always wanted.

As the HBO vampire-centric hit’s resident werewolf Alcide Herveaux — the benevolent half-man, half-monster assigned to protect star Anna Paquin’s Sookie Stackhouse — Manganiello channels his athletic past to unleash his inner animal. He achieves this through a beast of a cardio- and protein-intensive regimen he calls the “Werewolf Workout.” The six-day-a-week, twice-a-day fitness routine is the brainchild of celebrity trainer Ron Matthews, who sculpted Hugh Jackman’s physique for the “X-Men” star’s role as Wolverine.

For Manganiello, who credits his family’s Pittsburgh blue-collar background for his work ethic, it’s all part of the job. And as HBO’s new beefcake werewolf, the actor exercises another tried-and-“True Blood” maxim: You are what — or as remains to be seen with Alcide — whom you eat.

Muscle & Body: You’ve said you prayed as a kid to become a werewolf. Is Michael J. Fox to blame?
Joe Manganiello: [Laughs] Partially. I was a huge fan of “Teen Wolf.” But I was really more of a fan as a little kid of the black-and-white monster movies — the Bella Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. stuff. Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I had monster figures. I drew monsters all the time. I read all of the Stephen King books to the point that my father started taking the books from me. I attended a Catholic elementary school. I went to church every morning at 6 a.m. praying that God would turn me into a werewolf. I’d heard as a little kid that if you pray hard enough and your faith is pure, God will answer you. But after a few weeks of praying with all of my heart, it wasn’t happening. So I started thinking there wasn’t a God, it’s all a big gyp.

M&B: So now your faith has been restored?
JM: Yeah. I jokingly tell Alan Ball, “You’ve brought me back to Jesus.”

M&B: You’ve said that the role helps you unleash the beast within.
JM: That’s what is so interesting to me about werewolves in the pantheon of monsters. Growing up as a naturally big kid, you’re taught to be responsible, not lash out, not use your size. I think there’s a definite parallel between that and Alcide. Being a werewolf, there’s a real sense of catharsis letting that beast out.

To read the rest of this interview, go to Muscle and Body Magazine

Written by Lynnpd

Lynnpd has an avid interest in the entertainment industry from classic movies to all things True Blood. With a background in art, she enjoys creating in Photoshop, running web sites and finds the internet an exciting place to be. Lynn lives in the LA area and attends as many Hollywood related events as she can. She has covered events for the both websites in the LA area; read all about it at