'SEAL Team' Star Max Thieriot Shares the Story Behind His Muscle-Up

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Last week, actor Max Thieriot, currently on CBS's military drama series SEAL Team, shared a truly inspirational before-and-after photo of his physical transformation while on the show (which has just been extended for season five). But as he tells Men's Health, the transformation actually took a decade. It was then that he saw our cover with actor Ryan Philippe showing the actor's transformation for his upcoming MacGruber film.
"Honestly, that's how it all started for me. This magazine came out ten years ago and I said if this guy can do it, so can I," says Thieriot.
As a child, Thieriot was always active, spending his time outdoors hunting and fishing. He played a lot of sports and began wrestling in third grade, which he continued through high school. He didn't like lifting weights and focused more on functional exercises.
"When this article came out in 2010, I weighed 145 pounds," says Thieriot, who is 5'11 "tall.
That's when he started exercising, but admitted that he didn't know what he was doing. He started lifting and followed training Brad Pitt did for one of his roles. Thieriot notes that he does a lot of cardio too, but quickly realizes that he was "an inherently thin, high metabolism guy, so I didn't have to do that much cardio." Shortly after losing weight, he says he gained 20 pounds.
From there, he began seeking advice from coaches and mentors in Los Angeles, including Eric the Trainer and Danny Hester. After getting his role on the SEAL team, it was a chance to use his job as an additional motivator to start training in earnest.
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS
"It was the perfect opportunity for me to have the excuse to really focus, exercise, and grow on my exercise and diet," he says. "I focused all of my energy on it."
Photo credit: Men's Health
At the time, he was told that he wasn't going to get a coach from the show team - so it was really up to him to get into the form he needed to be in.
"I had to invest the work and the time," says Thieriot.
How Max Thieriot trains for the SEAL team
Today, Thieriot prefers to work out at his home gym in Sonoma County, California. But when he's in Los Angeles he'll visit one of the many gyms he's a member of, including Crunch and Gold's Gym, where he works with Eric the Trainer or Hester. He also trains with his co-star AJ Buckley.
Photo credit: Max Thieriot
"For the last year, I've focused on increasing my shoulder and back width," says Thieriot. “The SEAL build consists of big shoulders, arms and traps. For my character (Clay Spenser) I wanted to show the development from the regular SEAL team to SEAL team 6. "
He follows two different routines using superset splits that focus on heavy weight and lower reps, followed by lower weight and higher reps.
“I do a lot of barbells to try and build size. I love the incline bench and almost always work with barbells, ”says Thieriot. His workouts are filled with moves like chin-ups, flexed barbell rows, deadlifts, squats, hamstring curls and leg extensions, tight-grip bench press, wide-grip barbell curl, military barbell press, delta bell flies, and lots of shrugs.
“I stick to one version for a few months, then I switch and do the other,” says Thieriot.
"It's more of a bodybuilder mentality, with days focused more on muscle groups," he says.
Monday - chest and triceps
Tuesday - back and biceps
Wednesday - legs
Thursday - shoulders
Friday - guns
Take days off, repeat
Monday - chest and back
Tuesday - shoulders and legs
Wednesday - guns
Take days off, repeat
How Max Thieriot eats to stay torn
Thieriot now maintains a weight between 185 to 195 pounds and aims to sit around 10 percent body fat. That also meant working on his diet.
"I did a lot of meal prep, but by trying it out, I figured out what works for my body," says Thieriot. “I like to eat and am a great foodie. I'm just trying to eat good, healthy food - no trash. I wake up and throw a scoop of whey when I wake up to get my metabolism going. "
He is demanding with his diet. For breakfast this usually means a cup of oatmeal, a cup of blueberries, four whole eggs, two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Kerry Gold butter. Or yam pancakes. "Right now I'm making these yam pancakes with my own recipe for 1/2 yam, 1/4 oatmeal, two whole eggs, a bunch of egg whites, some protein and I mix it up and make pancakes." As a morning snack, he eats whole eggs with Ezekiel bread.
"I exercise after breakfast and do pre-workouts. As soon as I lift, I have a banana and a scoop of whey protein," he says. "Then I start cooking lunch. It usually consists of Trader Joe's frozen white rice and chicken legs with teriyaki and a little avocado. It tastes good and is simple."
After lunch, Thieriot has protein shakes, almond butter and apples. Dinner isn't complicated. "Something like lunch, maybe steak," he says. "I'm not really crazy about amounts. I listen to my body. When I want sushi, I eat sushi. I just don't eat a lot of junk in general." The actor says he's staying away from dairy products and processed sugars like ice cream, candy and soda and instead gets carbohydrates from oats, yams and white rice. Protein are eggs, chicken, steak, game or salmon.
Thieriot's physical journey was inspired by the SEALs he and his teammates portray.
"Once you start obsessing about something and focusing on something, your mind can do amazing things," he says. "So many of these guys come through BUD / S [the intense training SEALs go through] because of their willpower and strength of mind. They push their bodies beyond limits. If another person can do that, I can force myself to stick to a routine . " . You just have to want it badly enough. It's easy to find excuses for everything. "
You can catch SEAL Team on CBS and Paramount +.

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Max Thieriot
US-American actor

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