“The Gun Show.”
That’s what loveably dumb jock Ryan Shay calls his rock-hard body on the hilarious ABC sitcom Suburgatory, season two of which premieres tonight (9:30 p.m. EST).
And while Parker Young, the 24-year-old actor behind the built-abs-that-build-storylines has always been in good shape, he admits his latest role has forced him to fine-tune his workout routine to perfection.
“It’s a lot different than when you just have to be fit for a sport,” says Young, a former high school football captain who also played soccer and basketball growing up. “The big challenge is looking ripped and lean without being too big, because on camera, it’s easy to appear thick.”
Getting ripped and lean, it seems, used to be a no-brainer for Parker. As a former athlete, he loved training with a purpose—for speed, strength, agility, explosiveness—and fed off of the sense of comraderie and competition that sports provided. So when he was looking for a new workout to keep him motivated, it’s no surprise that CrossFit clicked. And now, he says, he’s addicted.
“You show up, there’s a workout on the board, the clock starts—I love that you’re always competing,” he says. “Plus you start to develop a friendship with the people you there all week, which in L.A., can be hard to come by.”
For the past year or so, Young has been calling BRICK CrossFit in West Hollywood home, heading there about five times a week. And when he’s specifically prepping for a shirtless scene, he’ll supplement with morning runs and switch to their SpeedX class, which is a CrossFit spin-off that uses lighter weights while amping up the cardio.
Light weights sound too wussy? First off, it’s not. Secondly, respect the goal.
“Come on. I’m playing a high school kid!” he says. “I can’t get super-jacked.”
Young’s Top 3 Nutrition Tips For Cutting A Lean Physique
1. Eat clean—kind of like a caveman. “Diet is probably the biggest thing. In theory, I stick to how I could eat if I lived a thousand years ago. I take processed foods off the menu, and stick to things I could hunt or gather, with more fruits , vegetables, and nuts—and less meat. Dinner for me is usually some version of chicken or fish—I love salmon—with grilled vegetables and salad.”
2. Learn to make a killer shake. “I love making smoothies post-workout. My favorite—depending on the day—is either a chocolate whey protein shake with banana and peanut butter, or one with vanilla and berries.”
3. Don’t be afraid of a massive meal. “I was going through a breakup and started doing MMA training. With it, I got hooked on something called the Warrior Diet. The idea there: When warriors would go into battle, they wouldn’t fill up on a huge meal—it would weigh them down. So during the day, I would keep my energy up with fruits and vegetables, then go home and eat a huge feast at night. I was my leanest I’d ever been.”