Actor Steven Krueger is popping to sports activities to remain aggressive in Hollywood

Steven Krueger is the multifaceted actor, who first rose to fame with his roles in 'Pretty Little Liars' and 'Two and a Half Men' before landing the memorable role of 'Josh Rosza' on 'The Originals.'

w Krueger plays the assistant coach of the young women's soccer team as "Ben Scott" in "Yellowjackets," but tells Muscle & Fitness that building his physique to be believable as a sports coach wasn't easy. Luckily, Krueger, who played tennis seriously in his youth, has a competitive spirit that still influences him to this day.

So ahead of the much-anticipated return of "Yellowjackets" (Showtime, March 26), we sat down with the star to find out more.

"I started playing tennis when I was 4 years old," says Krueger. “I played all the way through high school and started to get very competitive. The problem with me growing up was that I was the same height as I am now. I was 6ft 1in and weighed about 140lbs so I was a twig. All the traditional sports you can think of; Football, baseball and even basketball, I was just too small to play and got pushed around a lot. Football and tennis were the sports I naturally took up.”

While scholarship opportunities for Steven Krueger to play tennis at college were a reality, a love of acting had developed and stolen his heart, and the desire to pursue the Division I game was gone. netheless, the competitive spirit developed by tennis was of great value for a career in the theatre. Starting with the desire to fill in this frame, which is over two meters high. "I grew up in Florida with a bunch of guys who went to the gym," he says. "By the summer after my freshman year of college, I was sick of being this skinny, tall, lanky kid, basically. So I made a very focused effort all summer to gain as much weight as possible.”

Bobby Quillard

Steven Krueger is focused on being screen ready

As a hardgainer, Krueger says he consumed more than 6,000 calories each day to fuel weightlifting sessions. "I've reached my goal," he says. “I gained about 30 pounds in that one summer. I filled in." But to this day, the actor says he finds it easier to lose weight than gain it. "I still think if an opportunity came up to do a superhero movie or something, I'd work with a trainer and I could do it, and I've done that a few times in my career."

While Krueger no longer primarily trains his body to be ready for a match, he always focuses on being ready for the screen. "I think actors only come in two states of physicality and fitness," he shares. "I'm either in 'character form' or 'Steven form.' Yellowjackets is actually a great example because before we started Season 1 I was working on another show at the time ("Roswell, New Mexico"). I'm playing an ex-collegiate footballer (on "Yellowjackets"), and this '90s look might be a little bulkier, so I made an effort to gain about 12 pounds or so before we started filming, because I really do wanted to see."

In "Yellowjackets," the football team, staff, and coaches must survive in the woods after a plane crash, and that's how Krueger understood that if he started the season with a little more bulk, he'd be able to lose weight as the show progressed and helped give the illusion that he was starving to death in the forest. Krueger says that when taking on new projects there is often very little notice or time to prepare, so he always wants to stay in shape so he can be ready to shoot within a month.

For the second season of "Yellowjackets," Krueger lost about 12 pounds to fool viewers into believing he was going into the woods without food. "I think it's an important part of being an actor," says the star. "Physicality is so important when it comes to impersonating a character, so I think whatever you can do to make yourself feel like the character, the better your performance will be."

Steven Krueger has competitiveness in his DNA

There's no doubt that Steven Krueger approaches his scenes with the same enthusiasm he had for sports. "I think every athlete that grows up has this natural competitive nature," he shares. “When I was younger I participated in a lot of things. I even took part in debate tournaments. I think competitiveness has always been in my DNA. I think acting has replaced sport in a way. This is an incredibly competitive industry.”

In Yellowjackets, Krueger has more to worry about than just his weight. He also had to face a new acting challenge as his character loses a leg early in the show due to the aforementioned plane crash. "They didn't tell me until after we shot the pilot," says Krueger. "It actually happens in episode two. I honestly panicked a bit because I had never done anything like this and there are two elements. There's the physical element and you have to deal with all the pain and how to move and how to function and of course [in real life] I still have the leg, so what do I have to do with it to make it look like I don't have a leg?” he notes. "Then of course there are also the psychological elements that come with such a traumatic injury, so I spent several months researching, talking to people and learning as much as I could."

With unpredictable shooting schedules, Krueger needs to be flexible about where and when he trains. "Every week I do yoga maybe once or twice, I do interval training a few times a week, I do some bike classes, go for a jog or just get on a treadmill and set it to the highest incline. Keeping your body guessing all the time is so good for it," says the actor.

In addition to his work at the gym, where Kruger also enjoys performing traditional exercises like bench presses and squats, he's also a big advocate of the outdoors. The busy actor finds that nature gives him the balance he needs to put the intensity of Hollywood work back into context. He has also developed a fondness for pickleball. "To be honest, I play a lot more pickleball than tennis," Krueger shares. "I still pick up a tennis racquet from time to time, but I like pickleball so much more because it's just easier on the body. It's a small square, you don't have to walk that much. Pickleball is great, you can pretty much play with anyone.”

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