At 38, Travis Van Winkle wasn't always so torn. The actor struggled with his weight in his twenties before settling for Hollywood roles, including character Trent Sutton Demarco, whom he portrayed in Michael Bay's Transformers in 2007 and in a historic crossover, again in Bay's Friday the 13th Reboot in the year 2009 .
The actor says his teenage approach to fitness wasn't scientific enough, which led to water weight. Since then, Winkle has made dozen of TV and movie appearances on-screen, but it's his most recent debut in season 3 of the Netflix thriller You that has proven to be his calculated and more dedicated approach to getting in shape.
In an exclusive meeting with M&F, the handsome Californian describes the monumental achievement of gaining 10 pounds of lean mass and shares the preparation and method behind the muscle.
Travis Van Winkle fell in love with yoga as he was initially skeptical of the whole premise. He got so into yoga that 10 years ago he invested in a new studio called Urban 728 together with his girlfriend Stacey and teacher Joe K. “I had this euphoric feeling,” he says. “That is really an advantage. It is so helpful in detoxifying through sweat, connecting your breath with stretching, and I love the spiritual element of it. So I started in 2009 and it became something that I did once and wanted to do more and more. I did yoga five or six times a week. "
Travis Van Winkle's motivation to build muscle
Over the years, yoga combined with triathlon training (a discipline he has excelled in since childhood) became Van Winkle's main weight loss training to look camera-ready, but when the actor read the script for his character Cary Conrad, into you, he decided to transform himself by adding some larger muscles. “The idea came up when we really got to know the character,” says Van Winkle. “He is a leader of the people, the king of his impasse. He takes men on retreats, runs a successful nutritional supplement company, is a hunter, a proven athlete. All of these things are embedded in Cary. My feeling was that to really embody this guy I wanted to gain 10 pounds (muscle) and take the walk … And, # 2, millions of people are going to see this, and I'm going to be shirtless on the screen! "
Implementing the Plans “I met with Grant Roberts, who is a great trainer and nutritionist,” he says. "I had about two months to gain the weight, and then I kept it up for the next four months (of shooting)." Roberts is a well-respected coach who spruced up celebrities like Kumail Nanjiani and Eva Longoria. The trainer started by scanning the actor's body in 3D to identify focus areas for his training. In terms of nutrition, Roberts also set the number of macros the actor had to eat each day. It was a learning curve for the Californian because he had never measured his food intake using this method before.
The "5: 2" way
"My goal of building 10 pounds of lean muscle and losing fat at the same time was 240 grams of protein, 169 grams of fat, and 60 grams of carbohydrates per day," says Van Winkle. “We did this five days a week, and then there were two loading days. I would still have 240g of protein, then 200 to 400g of carbohydrates, but only 60g of fat. "
Breakfast menu 5 days a week: Half a cup of oatmeal. Half cup of blueberries. A cup of sugar-free almond milk and a scoop of whey protein powder.
Morning: 4 eggs with spinach
Having lunch: Salmon or chicken breast with broccoli and rice or sweet potato.
After training: His five days a week in the gym was followed by a whey protein shake with water, spirulina, a scoop of essential green powder, and a scoop (HCL) of creatine. "I would always put broccoli and spinach in my protein shake," he says, knowing that both are high in vitamins, fiber, and potassium. The training sessions were structured to focus on the areas that required the most work. Therefore, Travis Van Winkle trained areas such as chest, quadriceps and biceps twice a week.
Dinner: Salmon or chicken breast with Brussels sprouts.
Evening (10.30 p.m.): Casein protein shake to support muscle regeneration.
The actor also took omega-3 oils twice a day.
Thanks to its 5: 2 approach, the growing star was then able to enjoy burgers and pizza over the weekend while achieving its macro goals. "Grant says that these are not cheat meals, but your load meals," says Van Winkle. "Because I wanted to gain weight, so you train on Saturday and Sunday and on Monday and Tuesday you train the areas of your body that you want the most gains." Carbohydrates are directed into the area where you work in the gym. “That was all strategy,” he says.
Preparation for a successful shoot
After gaining weight, Winkle had to stay in great shape through a number of tedious shoots, including a dramatic episode 5 in which most of his scenes are set in the woods. “I worked diligently with Grant to come up with a plan,” says Van Winkle. “In this particular episode, the preparation was really intense. You water, and then you water quickly. I would load with carbohydrates the night before (large scenes) and load with carbohydrates the morning before. And on the day of shooting, I did mini pump sessions with weights before each setup. I prepared every meal before going to work, ”he says. “I would make 2 omelettes with spinach. I would make 2 chicken breasts with spinach and asparagus. There's not a lot of sodium in there. I knew that these meals were pretty much only used to reach my macros and wouldn't affect my editing. "
Winkle's pre-take pumps have also been carefully thought out. "Before every pumping, I had a rice cake and a scoop of raisins," he says. "When we switched to the night shots, I was exhausted, but what I love about this job is that you are faced with a challenging situation and you are up to the situation … because you have to."
Trust in the process
Travis Van Winkle found that the actor wasn't hungry or irritable while feeling both cutting and maintaining his extra muscle, but actually enjoyed having a process that was clearly mapped out. "When you find yourself in that pocket of very focused eating in order to achieve a specific goal, your energy levels go through the roof," he says. “I thrive with structure. I was really proud that I put the work and dedication into getting there because I felt like it really helped me get to places on set (mentally and physically) that I wouldn't have reachable. I didn't want to roll out on this project so I doubled up and took my focus to insane levels. It feels great to be strong. ”After mastering Carey Conrad's male alpha body for HER, the actor says he's now ready for whatever Hollywood has to throw at him.