Training like a Spartan for shirtless shots



by Liz Walker

Globe and Mail

My Goal

"I love the results. If you look at the previews of MVP, it looks like I never wear a shirt."

My Workout

Almost every day, a half-hour of cardio, on the treadmill or playing squash.

After that, the 300 Workout (based on the actors' regimen for the movie 300), a mix of rapid and intense exercises including box jumps, lifts, presses and crunches that he changes up each session. During the hour-long workout, reps are rapid and high (reaching 300 is the goal).

"It's focused on change, mobility and functionality. I don't like to repeat the same workout twice."

He's a big fan of floor wipers, a brutal ab crunch. "It destroys your chest and it destroys your stomach."

My Lifestyle

"I eat a lot of fast food but I make a habit of eating healthy substitutes. Instead of white bread, whole-wheat bread, low-fat foods.

"I'm known among my fiends as the guy who's going to eat healthy. I know exactly what I want to order when I go to a restaurant. I look for the healthiest thing on the menu. And I eat a lot of cereal. Like, a lot."

My Motivation

"I used to work out like a body builder, but I was beginning to lose mobility in my joints, and I said, What am I doing? I don't really want to be like this or look like this. You've got to change it up."

My Workout Anthem

"I gotta say it: I really love the new Britney Spears song, Piece of Me. I don't care, you can print that."

My Challenges

"I can always find time for it, but when I was shooting MVP, there wasn't much access to a gym. I used to work out in the trailer beside Matthew Bennett, who played the owner of the team, and he was trying to sleep, so he came knocking on my door and said, 'What are you doing?' I was trying to squeeze in a workout."

The Critique

"The 300 workout is a total adrenalin-junkie workout," says Lhara Eben, a trainer at Toronto's Eclipse Fitness Club. "For anyone who is in shape, who wants to push it, you leave feeling like a movie star who just conquered the world."

But, Ms. Eben cautions, this is definitely not a beginner's workout. It demands training without rests to the point of exhaustion.

When exercising this intensely, it's important to listen carefully to your body, she says. "The adrenalin is pumping big time so that you can push yourself even more, but you might not be as okay as you think you are."

Mr. Casey could also add more balance to his workout. Ms. Eben points out that he changed his weightlifting routine when he found himself stiff. "One of the first signs of overtraining is you start losing the benefits," she says, "maybe losing muscle tone or you get exhausted." She suggests he take a yoga class for variety. But Ms. Eben is more concerned about his diet. Although he's consciously making healthier choices at fast-food restaurants, he would be better off avoiding them altogether in favour of meals made with high-quality ingredients. "I think when you are working out that hard, you are relying on your body and it's going to be craving the best fuel - organics, lean meats," she says. "It doesn't sound like he's fuelling in the best way that he could."

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