It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney is no stranger to extreme body transformations. For Season 7 of the series, McElhenney gained 50 pounds to play the character Mac, just because he felt it would be funny, since most TV characters get “better looking” as the years go on. McElhenney leaned into that idea for Season 13, sculpting a rock-hard six-pack and getting into ridiculously good shape.
McElhenney, who also created It’s Always Sunny and is a writer/producer on the show, felt that the physical change this time around was also all about the comedy of the change.
“I feel like … every time a male actor takes his shirt off in a movie or television show they seem to look like a greek god out of nowhere,” McElhenney told Decider during the Television Critics Association‘s summer tour. “I thought that is such a funny thing to explore if you have a character who has put in so much effort and energy to get as ripped as possible, and it literally took me months and months and months. And you show it off for essentially 45 seconds in one scene, and the [other] characters are not impressed. They tell you to put your shirt on. That seemed funny to me. It seems like a tremendous amount of effort for what amounts to 45 seconds of vanity and then it all goes away.”
McElhenney wrote about the physical transformation on Instagram, joking that “it’s not that hard” and that all you need to do to get it done is “lift weights six days a week, stop drinking alcohol, don’t eat anything after 7pm, don’t eat any carbs or sugar at all, in fact just don’t eat anything you like, get the personal trainer from Magic Mike, sleep nine hours a night, run three miles a day, and have a studio pay for the whole thing over a six to seven month span.”
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Look, it’s not that hard. All you need to do is lift weights six days a week, stop drinking alcohol, don’t eat anything after 7pm, don’t eat any carbs or sugar at all, in fact just don’t eat anything you like, get the personal trainer from Magic Mike, sleep nine hours a night, run three miles a day, and have a studio pay for the whole thing over a six to seven month span. I don’t know why everyone’s not doing this. It’s a super realistic lifestyle and an appropriate body image to compare oneself to. #hollywood
Clearly McElhenney is dedicated to his work—and to the comedy on Sunny. When he went through his 50-pound weight gain for Season 7, he spoke about he did it to The Wrap, saying he basically ate a ton of food for every meal.
“As I started off I was doing it with chicken breast and rice and vegetables,” McElhenney told The Wrap. “But when you’re four months in it and you have to muscle down 1,000 calories for the third time or fourth time in a day and you have to either eat three chicken breasts, two cups of rice and two cups of vegetables — or one Big Mac — you start to see the Big Mac and realize it’s a lot easier to get down … And then every once in a while I would eat three donuts. And every day one of my meals was a high-calorie protein shake.”