Acting is a job that entails long and daunting hours, especially when it comes to being a regular cast member on a television series. So it’s easy to make excuses to miss a workout or eat a quick lunch that is not of the healthiest variety. But don’t tell that to Reno Wilson, who has taken on the dual role of fitness student and instructor.
“On the set of “Mike and Molly” when we have ‘hiatus Fridays,’ I teach a spin class right there at Warner Brothers Studios,” the veteran actor says. “We have two weeks on and one week off, so we get to do it frequently.”
Being so cognizant of his health and fitness wasn’t always the focus of the 44-year-old Brooklyn, New York native. He was well into his career when he made it a lifestyle. “I was always a husky kid – and wore a size husky,” he recalls with a laugh. “I’ve gone up and down in weight for roles in the past and have done that several times – drop it, do the role, it goes back on and then I have to lose it again.”
But when his daughter – who is now 12 years old – was first born, Wilson’s wife wanted to lose the weight she had gained during pregnancy. So it seemed like a perfect time to do it together and he has been “steady with it ever since.”
Wilson began by using a program from Happy Body with a routine that consisted of dumbbells, anaerobics and a diet maxing out at 1,500 calories per day. In addition, a friend of his was an avid runner so they began doing a daily 2.2 miles around a local lake (five-to-six times a week) and slowly worked their way up to 4.4 miles.
After a while, Wilson – whose career began in 1988 as Howard on “The Cosby Show” – cut out some of the running and added more weight training in order to build a bigger upper body for a movie role. But with that comes a caveat.
“The diet has to be (stricter) because you’re doing less cardio.”
So depending on what he is acting in, Wilson may alter his workout slightly. But the man who has been cast as Officer Carl McMillan – the partner of star Billy Gardell – since 2010 knows that it’s easier to land a role while being in shape than out of shape.
“As an actor, you have to think about it,” he comments. “If they ask you to take your shirt off (during a reading), you have one less thing to worry about. You don’t need a six-pack to act but it behooves me to be ready.”
Here’s what a typical week look like for Wilson:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – weight training
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday – Spin and Yoga
*Friday spin during filming
Sunday – off
*45-minute spin class, 1-hour yoga and right into a YAS class (30-minute spin, 30 minute yoga)T
Approximately 2,000 calories a day focusing on protein, consisting of:
*Herba Life protein shake for breakfast
*Herba Life protein shake for lunch
*Mixed nuts, fruit, protein bar – snacks
*Dinner consisting of protein and vegetables, yams
“My goal is to eat a gram of protein per pound of my bodyweight.”