(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Terry Crews might be known best for playing a character who loves to snack on yogurt at every possible opportunity, but don’t expect to catch the actor sneaking a bite before noon in real life.
The jacked former NFL player turned TV and movie star uses intermittent fasting to keep his physique impressive enough at 49 years old to be the constantly shirtless pitchman for Old Spice, larger than life police Sgt. Terry Jeffords on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and a superhero in the recently-released Deadpool 2.
A Day in the Life of Terry Crews
Crews told Vanity Fair that he begins every day at 4:45 a.m., but he doesn’t eat anything until almost nine hours later, at 2 p.m. That means that he spends a whopping 16 hours at a time without food, counting the time he’s asleep.
Instead of breakfast, he starts every morning with the first installment of a “very, very complex vitamin routine.” Crews said he winds up taking vitamins three times throughout the day.
To stay nourished, Crews drinks from a shaker cup filled with water and amino acids throughout the day. “This gets filled probably four to five times a day, and it’s pretty much a gallon by the time you get done,” he said.
That means Crews is running on nothing but vitamins and water by the time he clocks in at the gym to hone his legendary pecs (and everything else) at 6 a.m.
He starts with a five-minute warmup, then picks out an audiobook to help focus his mind while he crushes his workout.
Crews has a set routine for every day of the week, with each day focused on a different muscle group: Monday is legs; Tuesday is chest and arms; Wednesday is less weight-heavy, and dedicated to stretching, abs, and running; Thursday is back; Friday is shoulders and plyometric exercises.
Crews said he typically opts for four sets of each exercise, working with as much weight as he can handle without failure. His reps follow a descending structure from 10 (10, 8, 6, 4). That workout structure is a great set-up for gains, although we don’t know exactly what he’s doing since he didn’t share his go-to moves or rest periods. Every workout ends with a four-mile run, and he’s done by 8 a.m.
Clearly, the routine is working for Crews — but there’s one more secret behind his signature muscles. After showering to clean up his workout funk, Crews has an intense 30-minute, full-body grooming regimen that he credits for keeping his one-of-a-kind physique looking fresh. He shaves his head (he’s not actually bald) and rubs oil all over his body to stay smooth.
“I’ve always seen big lifting guys get stretch marks, but I get oiled all the way up,” he said. “I look like a nice, slick machine, it’s kind of wild.”
By the time Crews actually eats lunch, he crushes an omelette with bacon, a salad, and a protein shake. He eats a normal dinner at 6 p.m., and he doesn’t skip dessert. There are some benefits to skipping food throughout the day, it seems.
After all is said and done, Crews is in bed by 9:30 p.m.—minus the two nocturnal trips to the bathroom he needs to make after guzzling all that water throughout the day.
Should You Skip Out on Food for 16 Hours?
Intermittent fasting works for Crews and other celebrity hardbodies like Hugh Jackman — so should you start skipping meals to build up your own body?
If you ask health experts, the topic isn’t exactly settled. When MensHealth.com looked into the practice, we found that there isn’t a clear consensus whether or not fasting is a good idea for normal people.
Some studies seem to suggest that fasting has some health benefits, but according to Liz Weinandy, M.P.H., R.D., a staff dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, all current research is “preliminary.” What’s more, a 2017 study found that intermittent fasting is no more effective for weight loss than simply restricting daily calorie intake—so the long periods without food might not be having as much an impact as you think.
You might want to look like Terry Crews, but you don’t necessarily have the same resources to be sure you’re approaching your diet the right way. For now, intermittent fasting is considered to be relatively safe — but you should always be sure to talk to your doctor before embarking on such a major shift in your nutrition habits.
By Brett Williams