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.
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.
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.
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:
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.