The True Blood Diet…

April 13, 2011 |  by  |  Celebrity Fitness, Healthy Eating

Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse)

When Anna Paquin isn’t taking off her clothes on True Blood, she’s showing off her killer body in tight tops and short shorts. How does she shape up for her skin-baring role? She admits she works her butt off to stay in tip-top shape. That means swimming, running and boxing, Bar Method, Core Fusion and pilates classes, plus working out on the elliptical and stationary bike she keeps in her garage.

Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse)

Despite having one of the best bodies in the business, Ryan Kwanten did not get his physique in the gym. He started boxing as a teenager and became state championship in the welterweight division for the 13-15 age group. Since then he’s done everything from soft-sand running, hiking, surfing, triathlons, biking, and swimming. He’s even a two-time biathlon winner in Los Angeles (2006, 2007).

Several years ago Ryan turned to yoga. At first he wasn’t too keen on taking up such a “girlie.” “That first class I was looking across the room and seeing girls and even guys putting their feet behind their heads, and I thought, Wow, that’s where I want to be. And I’m sort of naturally competitive, so once I sink my teeth into something I’m not going to let go.” And now? Ryan Kwanten is a Vinyasa yoga instructor who’s as flexible as a contortionist.

To get extra lean for a particular scene or photo shoot, for 2-3 days beforehand he changes his diet to a ‘paleo diet’, which is mainly based around protein and vegetables, with few refined grains and carbs. This lessening of carbs means his insulin levels stay stable, which is the key to burning body fat round the clock, as the body cannot use fat for energy when insulin levels are high.

Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux)

Joe Manganiello who plays the werewolf Alcide Herveaux, had to get ripped for his shirtless scenes to stay on par with Anna Paquin and Ryan Kwanten. When he started preparing for his True Blood role, Manganiello weighed 240 pounds with 18% body fat. Therefore for him, ” it was about becoming more defined and cutting up the mass [he] already had,” said Manganiello. He worked out 6 days a week, twice a day! For three of the days, he used a workout routine created by his physical trainer. Manganiello also trained on his own three more times per week. He’d do his cardio in the mornings, and his strength training in the afternoon.

Manganiello’s diet was key. He grew up on a organic diet, so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice for him to cut back on sweets, processed foods, and the like. Manganiello stuck to a 2500-calorie diet to drop him from 240 pounds and 18% body fat to 230 pounds and 8%. “It’s all about converting your body to a protein-burning engine and feeding it constantly,” says Joe Manganiello. He eats every 2-3 hours for a total of five meals. In addition, Manganiello made sure he always had healthy snacks, like sulfur-free mangoes, almonds, and whey protein, available when he got hungry. As for his main meals, he keeps it pretty simple with a protein (e.g., fish, chicken, etc.), a salad, and vegetables.

Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton)

Rutina Wesley, the actress who portrays Tara Thornton, has an upper body that exudes strength — she looks like she could smash it in an arm wrestling comp! If you’ve wondered how to achieve the kind of shoulders and arms that Rutina has, Fitness has the scoop. The mag recently talked with her on how she maintains such a fit body. Rutina told Fitness that when it comes to working out, she does a mix of cardio and strength three times a week. A trained dancer, Rutina also fits in time for yoga. But what we really wanted to know is how she gets those arms. Rutina’s regimen is a totally achievable at-home workout that anyone can do:

“About every other day, I do a special 30-20-10 push-up circuit: 30 push-ups and 30 tricep dips, then 20 of each, then 10 of each.” Rutina’s 30-20-10 method sounds intense, but effective. Give it a try this week, and let us know how it worked for you.

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About the author

Alumni Wellness is dedicated to maximizing health, fun and happiness for the long term. We experiment cooking with whole foods, discover exciting heart pumping activities, and play with cool gym and kitchen gadgets. You know… Fun stuff!


  1. Ever notice how good EVERY actor on True Blood looks? They prepare and take care of themselves for real, and here is how.

  2. Very good post, this site is in my bookmarks now.

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