Max Martini takes his training seriously – which is one of reason’s he landed a major role in this weekend’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the highly anticipated major motion picture based on the best-selling book by E.L. James.
Playing Jason Taylor, the head of Christian Grey’s security team, Martini has already signed a three-picture deal to film the two sequels in the trilogy— even before the first installment is finished. (At the commencement of the interview, Martini was headed back to Vancouver and the “Fifty Shades” movie set.)
“If I showed up looking like a couch potato, they sure as hell aren’t going to let me protect Christian,” Martini says with a smile. “I’d be thumbin’ a ride home from the back gate of the studios.”
Martini performs a five or six-day weightlifting regimen that is more attainable while he is home in Los Angeles, California. “I have a phenomenal trainer— Eric ‘The Trainer’ Fleishman— who merely produces results,” Martini says matter-of-factly. “He said to me right off the bat, ‘Look, you’re an actor and we need to make you look like a superhero. Not too bulky but the kind of guy that when you take your shirt off, people will go, ‘Oh shit!’ That’s the guy who sells movie tickets.’ And he’s designed a routine for me based on those needs.”
But being an actor that has a heavy workload in film and on television, Martini needs to be prepared to train on his own and have a place to do so. “The minute that I get a job, I’m online finding where the bodybuilding gyms… the lifting gyms… are in that city,” explains Martini. “And I’ll get a hotel right near that gym.”
Life on the set can result in 14-to-16-hour days on occasion, so Martini does realize that there will be times when a missed workout has to be accepted. “You chalk it up as a day off,” he says with a slight shrug. But that is the exception rather than the rule and he will often find himself at the gym on the road at 10:00 p.m. to get his lifting in.
It is that type of attitude that gives Martini what many have called “the edge,” a hard-to-describe mental-to-physical approach that constitutes success in any walk of life.
“I approach my training the same way that I (do) acting— all in,” he says. “Before you get on screen, there’s a lot of prep work that goes into readying yourself. You have to know who your character is. You have to know where your character is coming from, his background. You also have to know where he is going and what he wants.
“Fitness also involves an equal amount of prep work,” Martini continues. “You have to know your body, where you want to take it and how to get there.”
Fleishman’s approach for Martini is one that relies more on his appearance that very day rather than a rigid training schedule.
“Eric does a lot of eyeballing,” Martini says, “meaning that we’ll figure out what body parts to work that day based on how I look. He knows where he wants to take me and looks at me like a sculptor would an art project. But by the end of the week, we will have hit everything.”
By picking and choosing the body parts on a daily basis, Fleishman is able to isolate certain areas of each in a very intricate fashion. “We focused on building a high, flat chest and broadened his shoulders by performing ‘jet reps’ of the upper back (using a limited range of motion),” the man known as “Eric the Trainer” says. “I instructed Max to contract the muscle after each working set followed directly by a big expansion/stretch of the area. We call this the ‘engorge phase’ of the movement and it expedited his physical transformation tenfold. This method summons blood to the desired regions, allowing those nutrients a direct delivery system to the areas where change is most needed.”
The above – coupled with a more bodybuilding style approach as opposed to a functional training system -has given Martini the appearance of “a movie star and not that of a fitness model,” as Fleishman described it.
NUTRITION AND CARDIO
The training aspect of his fitness lifestyle is the easy part compared to the diet and Martini admits that while he loves working out, food is a constant battle that he thankfully ends up winning in the end.
“I’m Italian so I’m programmed to eat carbs— a lot of them,” a laughing Martini says. “So this had to become a way of life for me. I eat very clean— good carbs like grains, wild rice, sweet potatoes and vegetables. I also eat lean meat, chicken, turkey and fish. I get my fats from almonds, avocados and very little peanut butter. And I always eat a piece of fruit after my workout.”
Because he prefers to eat every two and a half to three hours, Martini also has to keep a good supply of food with him and in his hotel room while on set or traveling. “The last couple of days, I was going to work with a backpack full of sweet potatoes.”
Here’s a basic weekly breakdown of what Max Martini does in the gym. The order may fluctuate, depending on what his trainer sees in him that particular day.
SAMPLE CHEST/BACK WORKOUT
Martini performs movements in this workout as as “jet reps,” meaning limited range of motion followed directly with the “engorge phase,” which summons blood to the desired region by holding a flexed pose for 10 full seconds. This two-step method creates specific and deliberate physical changes in the body, as detailed in Eric’s Get Hollywood Muscle program.
|Lateral Raise *drop set||2||8, 8, 8*|
|Incline Hammer Press||6||20, 15, 12, 10, 10, 20|
|Wide-Grip Pulldown||6||15, 12, 8, 6, 5, 5|
|Flat Bench Press||6||20, 12, 8, 6, 5, 5|
|Close-Grip Cable Pulldown||6||15, 12, 10, 10, 8, 12|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||4||10, 8, 6, 6|
|One-Arm Dumbbell Row||4||10, 10, 8, 8|
|Cable Crossover||4||12, 10, 8, 8|
|Cooldown: 3 sets of 100 “jet reps” push-ups|