Taylor Lautner was born to be an action star.
Despite rising to prominence in the teen saga Twilight, and recently getting comedic kudos on these shores for his turn in the second season of BBC Three’s Cuckoo, Lautner wasn’t actually one of those overconfident, overly photogenic kids auditioning for cereal commercials back in the day.
Far from it: “From the ages of 7 to 14, I travelled the world competing in extreme martial arts – Tae Kwando meets gymnastics – and I’d wake up an hour before school each day just to stretch for an hour,” he tells us during a phone call to promote his new film Tracers.
A high-octane thriller, Tracers saw Lautner spend four months training with parkour artists in Los Angeles before going to shoot in New York on location, slimming down for a role which he readily admits himself was a world him away from “the bulky body builder type” he’d previously gotten into shape for.
And such is his dedication to his craft, we could think of no better person to speak to for the sequel to our original action hero workout. That's right, it's Judgement Day.
Tracers is out now on DVD
"As I get chased a lot in this movie, much of my role was about movement, getting from point A to point B in the quickest way possible. Which is parkour. In all honesty, this discipline got me in the best aesthetic shape of my life, an athletic look where I’m really cut but also in great cardio shape. Parkour will do that to you. You don’t need to run on a treadmill, which I hate, or lift weights for an hour. It literally encompasses everything you’ll need to do to get in shape. Don’t get too caught up in the lexicon - your vaults, your congs – just watch a few videos and start out slow."
COOL GUYS DON’T PASS ON EXPLOSIONS
"Plyometric exercises will help your fast twitch muscles so you can jump higher and move quicker, which of course always looks better on camera. I’ve been doing martial arts my whole life so height has been important. Skip across a basketball court with the goal not just to get across fast, but to get as much airtime as you can. Then there are leap frogs, where you literally imagine being a frog on two feet jumping as far as you can. It’s all to get your muscles exploding, which allow you to move faster, quicker and jump higher."
UPSIDE DOWN PUSH-UPS
"A brilliant and underused exercise is the upside down push-up. So you’ll need to put your hands on the ground, do a handstand, then out your feet up against a wall, and do push-ups. From there, you’re just using your bodyweight. That’s great for the shoulders and arms."
HIGH PROTEIN, LOW SUGAR
"It’s pretty simple but I try and stay away from carbs as much as I can. Obviously I'm human, I do eat them, so I just balance it out with a a heavy-protein based meal choice. Luckily, I’m a big chicken and steak fan. Though I don’t like fish, which is fantastic for you, so if you can do that then I'm jealous."
DITCH THE MACHINES
"The best thing in a gym is a dumbbell. You can work on every single body part with dumbbells. For the arms, you can do simple bicep curls, lateral raises for your shoulders – literally holding the dumbbells and bringing your arms straight to the side, or slightly forward which works on the front of your shoulder. You can bend over and raise it backwards for your triceps too."
THE SIX-PACK FORMULA
"To get a defined core, you'll need to go 50/50 on crunches and healthy eating. Which means doing the specific exercises like 100 sit ups per day and leg raises just won't cut it - you'll need to be doing cardio and have a really lean. You need the combination but it can be done.