Stephen Amell (Arrow)
One of the wisest decisions they made when adapting DC’s Green Arrow for television was losing the hero’s flamboyant goatee and replacing it with Stephen Amell being bare-chested. A lot. Who cares if Oliver Queen doesn’t technically have superpowers? He’s still a man who has two paving slabs for pecs and rows of cobblestones for abs.
He is, in other words, built. In fact, his physique is something of a plot point in the series, what with the sweaty training sequences where we see Amell/Arrow punish himself into physical perfection. More proof, if we needed it, that montage sequences are good for you.
Mike Colter (Jessica Jones)
As the unstoppable man-mountain Luke Cage, actor Mike Colter would be terrifying if he wasn’t one of the good guys. Resembling a statue carved out of very large boulders, this is a man you honestly do believe would be impervious to knives and bullets. So how does he maintain this kind of look? “I try to have a good diet,” Colter once explained. “Good diet” presumably being code for 36 chicken breasts for breakfast every morning.
Colter regards going to the gym as a chore, which is bad news for him since his character now has his very own spin-off series coming up and will be on our screens for some time. Keep hitting those weights, Colter.
Jessica Jones is available to watch on Netflix
Joe Manganiello (True Blood)
Owner of what is arguably the most iconic torso in US television, Joe Manganiello didn’t even need to act in True Blood – he just had to take his top off and all eyes were on him.
The man better known as werewolf Alcide is actually well known to be one of the most dedicated gym rats in Hollywood. Back when he was a struggling actor and working in construction to pay the bills, he’d follow each nine-hour stint with a shovel with a long session on the weights, and he’s just as disciplined today, with a booze-free, paleo lifestyle. Sorry carb-lovers, you don’t get a body like that from putting baguettes in your face every day.
Charlie Cox (Daredevil)
It’s reassuring to know that not all gym-built specimens of buffitude actually enjoy the process of attaining perfection. Rather fittingly for a chap who goes around with Satanic horns on his head, Daredevil star Charlie Cox went through hell to get his chiselled build.
Being naturally skinny, he had to work hard to bulk out his body by eating about seven times a day – and it wasn’t the fun kind of eating either. We’re talking lean meat and virtuous vegetables, in between gruelling hours with his personal trainer. "When we finished the first season, just on the off-chance that we were going to do it again, I didn't let myself completely go. I just couldn't bear the idea of having to start over again."
Daredevil season 1-2 is available to watch on Netflix
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
It couldn’t have been easy, taking over the role of Spartacus from original star Andy Whitfield. But Liam McIntyre pulled out all the stops, especially when it came to the gruelling training.
Needing to carve himself the kind of physique befitting a renegade slave-warrior, he put on around 13kg of pure, lean muscle mass. From the way he talks about it, it was pretty hideous – but the ripped, rippled results speak from themselves. He IS Spartacus.
Nick Jonas (Kingdom)
What does Nick Jonas think he’s doing, looking like this? His transformation from the baby-faced member of a boy band to present day man-hulk is so darn unlikely that we just don’t whether we can believe our lying eyes anymore.
You might not know too much about his band Jonas Brothers, but Nick Jonas getting the starring role in epic MMA drama Kingdom is a bit like if Mark Owen turned up as a drug-dealing gangster in Breaking Bad. What makes it all the more surreal is how absolutely convincing Nick is in the role of a tormented and beefed-up bruiser. Not that we should be surprised about that, given that he dedicated himself to a punishing training schedule while consuming 4,200 calories a day to make those muscles spring straight out of nowhere.
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