You’re in great shape for The Expendables 3. Was their anything specific you had to do for the role?
I was already in shape after starring in The Legend Of Hercules, so I continued the diet plan I had during that and just ate right. Like Hercules, The Expendables 3 was shot in Bulgaria so I already knew where to eat and what restaurants to go to. It was kind of nice that I didn’t have to take my shirt off, although Sly [Stallone] joked that I needed to stop working out on set.
What fitness tips did you pick up during filming?
It was great working with all these athletes in this movie, everyone’s lifestyle is so active. [UFC women's bantamweight champion] Ronda Rousey was training for a fight, so I would always watch what she did and spar with her when I could. She would run up a mountain every single day. Then [former WBC welterweight champion] Victor Ortiz was boxing a lot because he also had a fight coming up, so I’d spar with him. You’d also see Randy Couture running with a weighted vest on and Jason Statham doing crazy mixed martial arts workouts. Everyone was very physical and we'd train together but we wouldn’t compete. We helped each other out.
What does your daily workout look like?
For me, I swim a lot. I’ll just go jump in the pool with my waterproof earphones and zone out. It's a great workout, and good for my frame. I’m not a runner; I’ve got really heavy bones. I also lift heavy if I have to look big on camera like in Hercules. I’m pretty strong.
Do you take any supplements to support your training?
I’ve never really been a fan of supplements. I take glutamine for muscle repair, but creatine just bloats me out. I eat a lot of protein though. When I was in Twilight, I got my weight up to around 220lbs (100kg) and I would eat two steaks a night. Big 12 ounce-ers. I didn’t have much to do up there. I was just the big guy who would randomly say one line here and there, so I worked out to stop myself getting bored.
The Expendables 3 features some iconic action stars. Who did you learn the most from?
Well, Sly. It’s his movie and he really allowed us to improvise quite a bit and he would say 'just have fun guys, don’t worry about the lines.' The script would actually get changed daily to make it more fitting and natural. It was kind of frustrating for [director] Patrick [Hughes] but the changes would always make it better. Sly’s a really smart writer in that way.
Did you pick up any injuries or have any close calls shooting the action sequences?
No injuries, apart from getting stuff in my eyes when motors blew up. My character rides motocross, so I really got to have fun learning how to ride with my stunt double. I’ve always wanted to ride motorcycles, so to actually do it and jump over tanks was amazing, although my stunt double did the massive stunt at the end of the movie. I would take the bike out and ride around the studio [makes motorbike noise] and everyone would be like, ‘there’s Kellan.’
Who is the fittest Expendable in real life?
Terry Crews! His muscles are out of this world.
The Expendables 3 is in cinemas from 14th August. Watch the trailer below
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Matt joined Men’s Fitness in April 2014 as features writer after spending several years writing for a luxury lifestyle magazine, swapping champagne and canapés for cardio and leg days.
Matt is a keen Thai boxer and his interest in fitness took off when he made the decision to compete semi-professionally and had to get in shape. Training aside, he says the worst thing about fighting is resisting the urge to apologise all the time.
Oh, and he’s still on the look out for a decent fight nickname after being told ‘The Best’ was reaching a little bit…
Favourite move: Any kind of squat variation
Favourite sport: MMA and Muay Thai kickboxing
Personal best: Competing in a semi-pro K1 bout
Targets: Sub-1hr 40m half marathon and winning a fight by KO
Scariest MF moment: Writing about myself in the third-person for this profile
Favourite MF website story: Spider-Man workout
Favourite trainer quote: ‘Hands up, chin down’ – every striking coach ever
Biggest gym crime: Avoiding the weights and sticking to the treadmill