Actor Greg Sulkin stays fit with social activities
British actor Greg Sulkin played professionally for football academies such as West Ham, Queens Park Rangers and even Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club as a youngster, but later rose to stardom off the pitch and on our screens, where he rose to prominence with roles in Sixty six, marvel’s Runaways, and as personal trainer and thirst trap Grant in Netflix Pretty smart.
M&F spoke to London-born Sulkin to find out how football and other social fitness activities helped get the Brit in screen shape for those crucial shirtless scenes. We also learned that the ambitious 29-year-old has his sights set on playing a future incarnation of the iconic spy, James Bond.
Sulkin, who is actually a lifelong Arsenal fan, played football at the academies of some of England’s most prestigious clubs from the age of 8, but suffered a knee injury at 13 , playing at such an elite level was no longer tenable and his dreams of following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry or Dennis Bergkamp were thrust into a grim reality. Little did the man from Westminster know a career in Hollywood was imminent.
“My mom saw a newspaper article, basically saying there was an open audition for a Jewish role in a movie starring Helena Bonham Carter,” Sulkin says. “It was directed by Richard Curtis and the entire Working Title team. I never wanted to be an actor and just went to my very first audition. Four weeks later, and many callbacks later, I ended up booking the lead role and so, I guess it was one of those situations where my injury in sports allowed me to have the opportunity to audition.
He adds, “To be honest, I think if I hadn’t passed that audition, I never would have gone on, because it wasn’t until I started playing in the industry that I got into it. really fell in love.” Incredibly, Sulkin was thrown into Sixty six, a film based on England’s successful World Cup campaign in 1966, having beaten 5,000 other hopefuls.
Yet as the knee pain began to fade, Sulkin couldn’t help but return to football whenever his busy schedule permitted, even making an appearance for Team GB at the 2009 Maccabiah Games ( the Jewish Olympics). Sulkin’s off-court career continued to flourish, scoring a role in Wizards of Wavely Place alongside Selena Gomez. “It was meant to be one episode and turned into four years on the show,” the actor explains. “I have happily continued to work and playing is 100% my career, but the fitness side of things has always been with me.”
Football is a social activity
For many, playing football isn’t just about doing cardio. There’s the post-game dissection of the highs and lows of every game, and the camaraderie that comes with sharing the love of the sport with your friends, but make no mistake, football burns fat. For example, a man weighing 180 pounds can burn about 900 calories during a 90-minute game. “I still play here in Los Angeles every Thursday night, to stay in my roots,” the actor explains. “It’s kind of like my meditation.”
Exercising with friends is a great way to stay accountable and motivated to exercise, especially if you play Rod Stewart. “He has a football pitch in his backyard,” shares Sulkin. “With a huge Celtic badge all over the grounds, there’s a nice little community there.”
While soccer, or football as it’s known in the UK, is Sulkin’s first fitness love, he acknowledges that it can be difficult to bring together 22 people, whose schedules are all suitable, so when matches aren’t possible, he’s keen to maintain his physique in other ways, making sure to train almost every day.
Climb the ladder of success
Sulkin is a fan of traditional bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. He tries to set aside 20-30 minutes a day for cardio, initially preferring the treadmill to hard concrete, but has more recently turned to the full body workout offered by the CLMBR. “I feel like it has a very low impact on my knees and joints, which is huge,” the athletic actor says. “I do the CLMBR at least four times a week.”
As with the sociability of football, the CLMBR also provides Sulkin with a sense of community as he enjoys taking his favorite instructor-led classes. “They walk you through the sessions when it comes to form, because form is so important. The open design of the machine allows me to look forward and maintain proper body position.
Greg Sulkin is ‘pretty smart’ about his preparation for shirtless scenes
The tone is set for Sulkin’s portrayal of Grant in the Netflix sitcom Smart enough from her very first semi-nude appearance. The actor shares that he commits to getting in top shape for several weeks away from these types of scenes, often doubling his workouts to twice a day if he deems it necessary, but once the filming finished, the star allows herself to relax. strict diet in order to balance his lifestyle, although he is still keen to maintain his fitness level. “Working out is one of those things where you can get addicted to, but when you get out of the routine it’s really hard to get back into it, so I’m never out of the gym for too long.”
Sulkin admits to having a sweet tooth, but understands that sugar is one of the first things he limits when his physique needs to be at its best. “Every person is different,” says Sulkin. “But, for me, rather than counting calories, I just try to have some common sense.” The actor is a big proponent of listening to his body and how it reacts to certain foods. He prefers to limit his red meat intake to no more than once a month, and finds his body responds well to fish and lean meats like chicken. “I like meatless foods too,” the actor says, sharing that he’s been transitioning to a much more plant-based diet lately. When
When it comes to her carb intake, Sulkin likes to make smart swaps, like replacing rice with quinoa. “I feel like it makes my body much tighter, rather than sluggish.” Sulkin also says he’s come to learn that what he puts in his body directly affects his mental health, so he tries to eat as many natural, whole foods as possible. “I feel really good when I’ve eaten carrots, fresh cucumber or spinach… those kinds of foods.”
Greg Sulkin continues to spy on his ultimate role
Throughout his career to date, Sulkin has taken on performance-requiring roles that include comedy, action and horror, but there is one character the Briton believes would be a major achievement if he could get the gig. “My goal is to be the first Jewish James Bond,” he says. “I grew up Jewish, it’s a big part of who I am, and I think anyone should always embrace their community and who they are. Plus, who wouldn’t want to play James Bond?”