Strong is the new skinny! Kevin McHale decided it was time to transform his body and his life. The results: He gained five pounds of muscle, went from 16 percent body fat to a shredded 7.8 percent and carved out six-pack abs. The 30-year-old Glee alum shares the details of his inspiring 12-week weight loss exclusively with Us Weekly.
“I had become skinny fat,” the former Virtually Famous host reveals to Us. “I had been working through an intestine and digestion issue that was eluding diagnosis and that really took a toll on me. I was constantly in pain. I had tried so many different elimination diets — nothing was working.” From there, his weight increased and his confidence plummeted. “It got to the point where I was already feeling miserable because of the intestinal issues, plus the self-added guilt of not getting myself to the gym or eating as healthy as possible. It was a recipe for disaster,” he explains.
It was then that the actor — who played wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams on the FOX musical hit for six seasons — decided to make a drastic change. He signed up for four to five workout sessions a week at Ultimate Performance, a personal training-only studio in Los Angeles.
“My trainer, Eddie, started by asking me about my health goals and really wanted to know that I’d be fully committed — and I was,” he tells Us.
Although McHale wasn’t a gym newbie, the consistent sessions helped boost his confidence in executing moves with perfect form and forced him to see what he was physically capable of. “Eddie pushed me to the point of failure, conditioning me to be comfortable with that, knowing that I could push myself harder than I thought I could. And when I couldn’t, he would be there to quite literally take the weight from me,” he shares. “I realized over those first few weeks that the little changes and corrections during every single rep was what was really making the difference. After that initial period, we moved onto switching up the order, adding more weights and fewer reps earlier in the week and adding more reps by the end.”
To also help him reach his get-fit goal, McHale had to learn how to eat healthily and alter his go-to foods. “I was most excited and most scared for the diet. I was hoping I could do it, but I don’t have the best eating habits in the world — [I like] burritos and cookies,” he says. “I was intimidated by the prospect of having to completely relearn everything I knew about food and learn to make elaborate meals.” In order to help rev his metabolism and burn fat, McHale followed a balanced daily diet that included complex carbs, healthy fats, vegetables and protein.
Another secret to his weight loss: keeping a food and daily routine journal, which he shared with his trainer at each workout. “I became obsessed with logging my food,” he says. “I’d also be rating my energy, sleep and digestion each day. Knowing if I had a proper night’s sleep would directly correlate with how I was training and eating obviously, but when you track it for three months you can see trends and patterns — I loved it.”
To stay on track and not be sidelined by cravings, he used Sundays as a time to curate meals in advance so he always had something on hand. “Meal prepping for the week was a revelation. I never needed to worry if I had something healthy at home to eat,” he explains.
In the end, yes, he is happy about what he sees on the scale — and in the mirror — but McHale feels that his transformation is as much mental and emotional as it is physical. “[Before,] I felt bad about my body,” he shares. “When you’re investing your time and energy into yourself in this way, it changes so much of your life.”
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