The real life of Maximilian Osinski could make a memorable film in its own right. The 1.80 m tall actor was born in a refugee camp in Austria to Polish parents who had fled their communist homeland. They all finally made it to the United States in 1983. Growing up in Chicago with a love of art and theater, Osinski was a towering presence on stage before gracing our television and cinema screens, but the toned physique he achieved in Season 3 is courtesy of Ted Lasso (on AppleTV+). something that took many years to perfect.
M&F caught up with the star, who now lives in London with his wife (Dichen Lachman) and daughter, to find out more about his fitness journey in front of and behind the camera.
To keep up with the Polish language, Osinski's mother, Danuta, made him attend Polish school on Saturdays, and while he would have preferred to spend his weekends out of class rather than in class, he now realizes that those Polish lessons seeded an acting career that really became sewn.
When Osinski's teacher got tired of playing the clown in front of his friends, he was instead dared to take to the stage and recite a poem. The performance went very well, so Osinski was excited about the opportunity to interact with an audience. He soon developed a hunger to learn more about the craft, spending hours on Inside the Actors Studio episodes and attending Syracuse University to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
While Osinski's passion for performance took root from an early age, he now reflects on not playing much sport as a child and accepts that a lack of understanding of nutrition led to him becoming obese. "I struggled with my weight, especially in my teens," says Osinski. "I wasn't a sporty kid. We [as a family] never got into athletics or followed sports teams in Chicago. So it was never in the family DNA in any way.”
Hard work pays off for Maximilian Osinski
Maximilian Osinski's biological father, Zbigniew or "Ziggy" as he was affectionately known, had to work incredibly hard to build a life for his family in the United States and this was never lost on a young Maximilian. The ability to keep going despite adversity is central to his success as an adult actor. Ziggy sadly passed away last September, but Osinski recalls Dad being very upset when he found out his son had booked a regular role on Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso. "He instilled a hardworking ethic," says the actor. "Believe in yourself and just go after your dreams because that's what he did for himself."
After leaving college, Osinski was able to find representation in New York, and after many auditions and rejections, our man began bagging some significant roles. Many people will know Osinski as Agent James Davis in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD or Dennis in The Walking Dead: World Beyond. He's appeared in dozens of television shows and films, but the role of "Zava" in Season 3 of "Ted Lasso" may be his biggest yet.
In the show, which is streaming now, Osinski plays an ace soccer player (featured briefly in season 2) who is both charismatic and insanely skilled. Osinski, who admittedly had no knowledge of soccer, managed to score the role by venturing into his local park and kicking the ball around in the film. Since the actor wasn't exactly adept at the sport, an arty slow-motion vignette was created before it was sent to the casting agents, and thankfully, the decision makers loved it. Osinski then hired a football coach to develop his skills but also understood that being larger than life on screen was also important as it could allow the audience to be forgiving of potential mistakes in his footwork. The star spent hours studying the likes of Eric Cantona, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Lionel Messi and other legends in the field. Whatever viewers might think of Osinski's own skills for football, they cannot disregard the incredible mental and physical condition he has brought himself into to leave it all on the pitch.
Maximilian Osinski maintains a sustainable relationship with nutrition
When Osinski finally took control of his diet as a young man, he realized that tracking calories didn't mean he needed to go hungry or feel less full, but this discovery came after some trial and error to lose weight. "I would do crazy things," the actor shares. "I'd put garbage bags around me and run around the block in the summer just trying to sweat it." Today, Osinski's approach to staying in shape is much less dramatic. He uses the My Macros+ app to track his intake. "Of course I live my life. I go out for birthdays and I don't even check a tracker during the holidays, but I'm a lot more aware of food than I was when I was a kid," he says. "w I can eat a big salad with chicken and it's like, 'That's hardly any carbs.' But if I want, I can go to an ice cream parlor and I will know; "Okay, if I eat this for a snack, I can probably get a little leaner for dinner."
Even when he was cutting for Ted Lasso, Maximilian Osinski could still eat his favorite foods as long as he stayed responsible with his overall macros. "I find that to be the most sustainable for me." Osinski says, adding that he likes carbs far too much to fully focus on keto. "I don't feel like I'm on a diet, I feel like this is just my lifestyle."
Maximilian Osinski has learned to love the process
"The pressure for me was that I just wanted to feel fitter and stronger," says Osinski. “For me, my exercise routine is now part of who I am. My plan is to train until I literally can't anymore.” Osinski works closely with his coach, Ashley Bailey, and the duo went full throttle to ensure the actor's physique rivaled that of a world-class forward in Ted lasso". In the week leading up to his shirtless scenes, Osinski reduced his carb intake until the day before filming, and then explains that he went back to eating starchy carbs, which helps muscles look fuller. “Ash doesn't do anything crazy, like; 'You're going to be in a sauna for six hours,'" laughs Osinski, aware that he was playing the role of a world-famous athlete and wanting to do justice to it with the right aesthetic.
In preparation for "Ted Lasso," Maximilian Osinski went to the gym four days a week, consisting of two upper-body and two lower-body sessions. On days when football action sequences had to be filmed, Osinski would do upper body workouts instead of exhausting his legs. "Being at a point where I'm physically there definitely put me in a position where I can pull through when a role like Zava comes up for Ted Lasso," says the actor. Still, Osinski points out that this was his toughest challenge yet, especially since it meant he would take his shirt off for the whole world to judge.
Coach Bailer had Osinski do compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses to work his key muscle groups. "They were heavy and hard as hell," Osinski recalls. "But they make you look lean and strong, and that's exactly what I needed for the role." The star also did overhead presses and pull-ups with weights to further sculpt his physique. The actor says the experience of working on "Ted Lasso," a popular sports comedy, was extremely positive, noting that the entire cast was welcoming and supportive, and should the opportunity arise for Zava to return, he will gladly do lace up boots again.
Despite this, Osinski did not complete the project unscathed. "You know, it's funny," he shares. "I've been injury free the whole time and then on the last day of the last block of football we tried to do a closeup of Zava's legs and you're tired and for some stupid reason I just stood on the ball, with my cleats, and the ball rolled and I sprained my ankle. t bad, but just enough to be grateful that it was the end of the day!” For Maximilian Osinski, it's all just another day in a hard-working actor's office. “I have this mentality now,” he shares. "It says, 'Keep reading to be ready.'"