Jance's philosophy was simple. "Jance immediately reminded me: food is medicine. Focus. Training. Food. Rest. These are the key ingredients for success," the actor continues.
Somerhalder switched to a clean, strict diet rich in protein, fats, vegetables, good carbs and plenty of the water. He needed to grow quick, so he upped his meals to five or six day while ditching the alcohol, nearly. "Alcohol is not your friend when training this hard, so I only snuck in two light beers over the course of two weeks. They were glorious," he jokes.
Somerhalder set himself the challenge of making his character a very different man come season's end, "a formidable adversary." But with just 10 days to go, he resorted to unorthodox measures.
"It is simple: train 4 days hard. Rest 4 days and shoot or compete. Only 4 days of training BUT 3 - 4 times per day," he explains.
"How was I going to do this while prepping, production meetings, location scouting, costume fittings, camera tests and rewrites? All of the things you need to go into production. The other kicker was we needed 10 days of actual shooting but only had the money for six days so it was going to be intense."
Here's what Somerhalder's crash workout looked like:
- 4 days of hard training, 3 - 4 Sessions per day
- 4 days of rest - only light fasted cardio first in the AM
- Night before shooting: eat a stack of pancakes and sleep.
Pro Tip: The goal is to train with so much frequency in those first few days to produce so much damage to the muscle they have only one thing to do: grow. Rapidly. As you take those few days off your body is just in repair mode building muscle fibres.
By the end, Somerhalder was burnt out, (he) "would be in the gym for 30 minutes, grab my script pages, protein/carb shake and get into the infrared sauna to help move the blood around while rolling calls. Then run back into the meetings, scouts and back into the gym screaming and grunting as Jance coached me through it all. I would then collapse after hours and hours with our writing into bed and think - 'oh shit I’ve got to do it all again in 6 hours.'"
But Jance's plan worked: Somerhalder had put on nearly five kilos in two weeks, his arm almost 2 inches bigger. "Swann looked like someone had temporarily inflated him with a bicycle pump. And that’s how Swann will stay for a good while."