Alex Russell attends the Los Angeles premiere of Brampton's Own at Laemmle's Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre on Oct. 17, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

By Maria Neuman

When Alex Russell was 15, he hit a workout crossroads. "I got cast as Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain and had to learn to tap-dance," says the Australian actor. At the time, "I was skating up at my school on a Saturday and attempting to kickflip a seven-stair. (For nonskaters, that's rolling up to the top of the stairs, kickflipping, and landing at the bottom.) I probably tried it 30 times to no avail. The next day at musical rehearsal, I couldn't dance. I couldn't even walk without limping. I had to make a choice."

While his footwork and acting skills set him up perfectly for the role of wise-cracking Jim Street in S.W.A.T., it was his switched-up gym sessions with Hollywood trainer Paolo Mascitti that took his physique to the next level. Here's how he did it.

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S.W.A.T. airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Stream anytime on Paramount+.

BE CONSISTENT.

Traditionally, I'm a man of extremes. Before I met Paolo, I'd be working out night and day for a role, following crazy diets, etc. Then, when filming was finished, my discipline would go out the window. With Paolo I've become more balanced. Consistency in my workout and cleaner eating have become part of my lifestyle. He's also taught me that my body is capable of more—more exercises in a workout, higher weight, more sets, more reps, less rest.

ADD HIGH INTENSITY.

We mix in a couple of high-intensity days a week for cardio and fat burning. It'll typically start with five stations. For example, lunges with dumbbells, jump squats, jumping lunges, elbow-to-hands plank, and ball slams with a 15- or 20-lb. ball. We'll do that circuit five or six times. Then we finish with another circuit, but with fewer exercises. It's not my favorite day.

Alex Russell takes aim at the firing range in a scene from the show

FOCUS ON FUN.

I still love skateboarding, though I stick to the less dangerous tricks these days. I like to keep it simple: I skate in my driveway, practicing flip tricks. I'm thinking about building a little ramp.

BE CARB-CONSCIOUS.

My diet is focused on not spiking my blood sugar. So, low-carb, low glycemic load (GL) foods only. That's why my cheat days consist of pasta, bread, and pastries!

WHAT ALEX EATS IN A DAY:

Shirtless Alex Russell wearing sweat pants and jumping rope

Photo: Leslie Alejandro

Breakfast: Bacon/turkey bacon, eggs and spinach, coffee

Lunch: Salad with a generous portion of protein or a protein with vegetables, like steak and broccolini

Dinner: Lean protein and vegetables with cauliflower rice or salmon and tuna sashimi

Day-Off Treats: I'm a foodie, but my number one weakness is a cocktail. I love making them. Love the process, the presentation. I'm most proud of my whiskey sours.

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S.W.A.T. airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Stream anytime on Paramount+.

It takes a special kind of person to move towards danger rather than away from it. These people deserve our endless gratitude: doctors and nurses—whose bravery was especially visible during the COVID-19 pandemic—and the first responders in our country's police and fire departments who show their heroism every day. It's the perfect time to tune in to Paramount+ to celebrate their fictional and fearless counterparts.

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Photo: Sam Lothridge/CBS.

By Nate Millado

In the Season 3 finale of Magnum P.I., Higgins (Perdita Weeks) bid Aloha/goodbye and set off for Doctors Without Borders with Ethan—as Magnum (Jay Hernandez) grappled with his true feelings for his partner-in-crimefighting! How will the rest of your CBS favorites wrap up their seasons? Watch gives you a sneak peek at series sign-offs for the summer—and a few long-running hits signing off for good.

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Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS.


By Fred Schruers

When Aaron Rahsaan Thomas set out to reboot the legendary pulp classic of a mid-'70s cop show called S.W.A.T., there was a key and specific change he began with: "A lot of people may not realize this," he says, "but the original show was not set in Los Angeles, but in a fictional city. The very first S.W.A.T. team was created in Los Angeles, the city that has perhaps the most notorious relationship between their police department and communities of color. I feel like if you're going to tell that story, you lean right into that—what is the reality of a Black police officer in the city of Los Angeles?"


S.W.A.T. showrunner Aaron Rahsaan Thomas\u200b poses wearing a cap and a mauve jacket.

S.W.A.T. showrunner Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS.

As from-the-headlines as the show has become, given recent national struggles, Thomas knew he could revisit the world of cops chasing bad guys with a new kind of messaging: "Even as we pitched the show to CBS, [co- showrunner] Shawn Ryan and I approached the material about the tension between police and the community feeling that it's not so much that it's a timely topic as it is a timeless one."

Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Shemar Moore, Lina Esco, and Shawn Ryan\u200b of SWAT pose at a press event.

From left: Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Shemar Moore, Lina Esco, and Shawn Ryan.

Photo Credit: Michele Crowe/CBS.

That belief meant that even at S.W.A.T.'s unveiling three years back, before the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other such tragedies, the tensions encapsulated in the seeming dichotomy of Black Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter already were key to the show's approach. It was crucial to the vision that lead actor Shemar Moore's Hondo character be a Black man from a working class Black neighborhood. Thomas was confident he could meld the show's "kick-ass set pieces" with emotional character insights. As a key player in the success of such series as CSI: NY, Southland, and Friday Night Lights, Thomas was grateful that "I've been able to pick up a lot of really helpful habits and techniques as to how you manage a show and put a story together."

The SWAT team stands amidst the wreckage of a small plane on set.

The S.W.A.T. team, ready for action.

Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/CBS.

Thomas had been scouting locations for Season 3's finale (now postponed) when the pandemic clamped down. Along with the traditional "A" story (a nefarious plot by a murderous cartel boss), aspects of the city's racial legacy came to the fore. "Our finale was already going to deal with the flash-backs that help to tell the history behind the LAPD and the community—a story about a young Hondo back in 1992, when his [sometime Black Panther] father was a young man. That was in place before a lot of the unrest happened."

A SWAT team membemr wears a helmet with the visor down as he points a gun during a tactical advance.

S.W.A.T. team member Jim Street (Alex Russell).

Photo Credit: CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Finally, COVID-19 had to be addressed. In scenes involving multiple people, "there are masks and responsible distancing ," Thomas says. Still, he promises that the characters will feed into the action, "to keep up the pacing of a high-octane show that has momentum. This is an urgent, lean-forward show. We want to keep you on your toes at all times."

Originally published in Watch Magazine, January-February 2021.

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