While he’s appeared in countless shows and movies over the past two decades—and even done some directing—Adam Rodriguez is probably best known for CSI: Miami and, let’s face it, stripping down for Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL. Which is, quite frankly, nothing to be ashamed of when you are in kickass shape.

So when we caught up with him on the set of Speakeasy, we hit him up for a tip or two. What we got was so much more—a funny and frank discussion of the sacrifices required to look good (almost) naked.

Read on to learn the secrets and vices of this 40-year-old Yonkers native, who has recently popped up on Jane the Virgin and Empire. Then decide how badly you want an ice cream sundae.

“You go work your ass off in the gym, but at the end of the day, if you’re eating like shit, and you’re drinking, and you’re doing all the things that are part of enjoying life, basically, they get in the way of you having the body you might be going after.”

So you had to get into pretty ridiculous shape for Magic Mike. But with Empire and Jane the Virgin, you must be keeping fit even now, yeah?
You know, it’s hard to say these days I’m doing my best because now I know what my best looks like, and the last time I looked in the mirror, I was not at my best. Not even close. My goal these days is just not to get that body. That’s what I’m fighting against.

So what do you do to stay ahead of it?
Right now I’m trying to jump back on the horse. I basically am doing an hour of cardio plus some weights three, four times a week. But it’s really diet, you know?

I was going to get to that…
You go work your ass off in the gym, but at the end of the day, if you’re eating like shit, and you’re drinking, and you’re doing all the things that are part of enjoying life, basically, they get in the way of you having the body you might be going after.

I was listening to a Ryan Reynolds interview, because he’s done some superhero stuff where he’s had to get crazy ripped, and he’s like, yeah, food’s one of the great joys of life, and you kind of give it up, right?
Pretty much. It’s one of my greatest passions. Right now I’m eating whatever the hell I want, and I’m loving life, but for those movies… you need to cut your calories back. It’s simple math. Cut down the intake, increase the output, and the results are a six-pack after a period of time. They also include side effects of crankiness and lack of energy, but once you get to where you want to go, maintenance is a lot more pleasant. You’re eating whatever you want if what you want is protein, OK, and a little bit of vegetables, and some good source of fat, whether it’s avocado, or olive oil, or whatever the hell it is, but it just requires a commitment, man. It really does. You can’t be loose with it. Joe [Manganiello] might be the only guy that stays close on a regular basis.

All the time?
Yeah. That’s just his pocket in life. He really loves living like that, that clean a lifestyle. Myself, I’m more partial to red wine and chocolate sundaes and doughnuts and bread…

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So, when you were prepping for the movie, were you able to drink alcohol at all?
In preparation for the movie, probably didn’t have a drop. Had no alcohol. Had no sugar. One little comfort with sweets was I would eat just a really high-count dark chocolate bar, like 80 percent cocoa, and just have that taste of chocolate, but not anything sugary, because the sugar’s a killer. Especially wine, which I absolutely love, and beer, those two things convert to sugar, man. They’re not conducive to six-pack status.

When you wrapped the movie…
Oh, fuck, the first thing I did was go have a huge ice cream sundae. There was this ice cream parlor, Leopold’s, in Savannah where we were shooting. Some people go get laid when they get out jail. I wanted to go right to the fucking ice cream parlor. I had a huge sundae, and that was the beginning of the end for me, and I can’t believe that was only just over a year ago, and my body looks completely different…

It’s a lot easier to let yourself go, right?
Oh, it’s amazing how easy it is. I was in decent shape six week ago, and when I say decent, I’m still talking about, you know, 7 or 8 percent body fat away from where I was in the movie. It’s not even that you put on so much weight. Your body just changes shape.

Do you have a trainer?
When I’m in LA, a guy named Tito Raymond, I’ve been training with for a lot of years. He’s the best trainer I’ve come across. He’s in an elite group, and I love training with him. And then, of course, even when I don’t want to, I’m just like, oh, I’ve got to go work out because I know my friend is expecting me to show up.

That helps, the buddy system, basically.
Yeah, you’re held accountable. I was in Chicago for a couple months, and I knew that I’d have to take my shirt off at some point [for Empire], and so I trained on my own. I’ll put my toe in the water for a long time, but if the goal is set, if it’s like, hey, look, this is the date you’ve got to be ready for such and such, then I’m all business and it’s not a problem to switch on.

So, in a way, it’s kind of good that you’re being called upon for this stuff because it does keep you in shape.
Yes, absolutely. It’s keeping me from looking like 78-year-old Marlon Brando.