Kevin McHale, known best for his role as Artie Abrams on six seasons of Glee, no longer looks like the nerdy guy he once played on TV. The 30-year-old actor shocked fans by revealing his ripped body on in August, and now both McHale and his trainer, Eddie Baruta, are telling MensHealth.com everything you need to know about his dramatic transformation.
His stomach issues motivated him to get started.
"I had been working through an intestinal/digestion issue that was eluding diagnosis and that really took a toll on me," McHale says. "I was constantly in pain. I had tried so many different elimination diets — nothing was working. It got to the point where I was already feeling miserable because the intestinal issues, and plus the self-added guilt of not getting myself to the gym, it was a recipe for disaster."
But going to the gym gave him anxiety.
McHale admits he "hated going into gyms" at first because of his lack of knowledge about working out. "My anxiety came from, for example, if I knew 10 exercises to do, then I’d walk into a gym and think, 'I don’t really know what I’m doing,'" he says.
And his eating habits were his biggest challenge.
"Simply put, I had become 'skinny fat,'" McHale says. "I ate out almost every single meal. I was never going grocery shopping or making my own food. Either I wouldn’t have energy, or it would make me feel even worse. So that made me not want to go to the gym to work out."
McHale, who admits his diet consisted of mostly burritos and cookies, says his age was also a factor. "Looking in the mirror was like looking at someone else," he says. "I think that, and the impending doom of turning 30, I thought ‘OK, I have to stop this!’"
In June, he decided to make a change.
McHale signed up with Ultimate Performance Fitness, a personal training facility in Los Angeles, earlier this summer. He weighed 140 pounds at the time, but with the help of Baruta, his trainer, he lost seven pounds of fat and gained five pounds of muscles in the span of 12 weeks. He now weighs 133 pounds.
"My whole body composition is completely different," McHale says of his transformation. "The shape of my body is 100 percent different."
His diet put his body "in shock" at first.
"The first couple of weeks were the hardest because I was someone who was not eating healthily and my body was in shock," McHale says. "I wasn’t hungry and I couldn’t eat the amount of food I was supposed to eat. My calories for the day were not a lot, but I couldn’t eat them because I was eating protein and meats and fish. I was like ‘I can’t eat all this!’ Then once you train, your body needs it."
McHale says his diet consisted of mostly vegetables and lean protein during his first few weeks of the program. But as training progressed, he and his trainer incorporated rice post-workout, and by the end of the program McHale had an only all-fish diet.
Here is an example of McHale's diet plan from the early stages of his program:
Breakfast: 2 egg whites, 2 scrambled eggs, Avocado
Lunch: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chicken thighs
Dinner: Lean beef mince, Tortillas, Avocado
Snacks: 2 scoop plant-based protein powder, Hemp milk, Banana
He did full body workouts for 4 to 5 weeks.
"I realized over those first few weeks that the little changes and corrections during every single rep were what was really making the difference," McHale says. "After that initial period, we moved onto switching up the order, adding more weights and fewer reps earlier in the week and adding more reps by the end. Also, the pendulum squat machine is the devil."
Kevin's trainer made adjustments as time went on.
"We started the transformation with a more balanced routine which gave us the opportunity to improve work capacity, effort and execution," Baruta says. "Towards the later stages, I increased the frequency for the body parts which were lagging behind. [Kevin] suffered with some digestive issues during the process, which made him very weak at times. I introduced different techniques like rest pause, forced reps or drop sets."
McHale says, "Walking into a gym now is a completely different thing. I wasn’t intimidated by all the big muscly people, who knew what they were doing. I go in there and confidently do what I needed to do."
"Kevin did great by taking everything on board and his results speak
for themselves," Baruta adds. "His work ethic and embracing the process fully really helped him get his impressive body transformation results."