By: Morgan Urtso
Set photos by Bobby Quillard
You probably know him from his years on the daytime hit show Days of Our Lives. Melrose Place? Starship Troopers? Or maybe you recognize him as one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. Either way, the familiar face of Patrick Muldoon has graced screens of all sizes across Hollywood for years.
Since his college days as a tight end for the Fighting Trojans of USC, when his modeling and acting career began, Muldoon has made fitness a major part of his life. How does the actor balance his demanding career, passion for music (he’s the lead singer in a band called The Sleeping Masses), and active lifestyle?
Easy – he always keeps things interesting!
Ok Pat, you played football at USC, and while you were playing there, you were also acting?
Patrick: Yeah, while I was there early on I was modeling and then I got into acting. And at a certain point I figured out that I was much too small to make it to the pros, even though I’m a big guy. I’m 6 foot 2, 200 pounds, probably 210 in college, but that’s a really small tight end. I was getting run over by Junior Seau, so… I decided to become an actor and I’ve been one ever since.
How was it trying to balance that? Going back and forth between practice to acting?
P: It was crazy because during football season I had to be heavy, then during the offseason, for modeling and acting I had to be really thin. So it wasn’t working. It was just crazy trying to kick off the weight for work, then trying to put on the weight before spring ball. It was a constant yo-yo. And as a young kid it was hard for me to put on weight, so, and this is not very healthy, but I would gorge myself for football. So finally I would put on the weight, and then I would kick it off. And now I think because my body has that cell memory, I’m blowing up so much that if I eat poorly, I put on like 20 pounds. I could put on 20 pounds in two weeks, easy. Then, it was hard, but now that I’m older it’s really easy to put on weight.
And not necessarily as easy to drop it, right?
P: And much harder to drop it! Much harder. For sure. You get thicker easier as you get older.
So work-wise, I know you have acting, you have your band, The Sleeping Masses…
P: Yeah, did you see our video for Jessica Biel’s film Powder Blue? Watch it.
How do you find time between all that, your acting and your music, everything you’re doing, to stay in great shape?
P: I have to try to get in 4 days a week. The way my mind works, if I get too bored with a workout or things get too monotonous, I’ll findan excuse to miss it. I think everybody is that way – you make yourself busy to miss it. It’s gotta be something you look forward to, so you make it a pleasurable thing. If you’re just going in out of the office thinking, “oh I have to do 3 sets of 10 and run for a half hour” – my mind would be like well, that’s boring!
So I mix it up every 3 weeks. I’ll do free weights and run, or I’ll do pull ups and push ups and bodyweight work and run, things like that. And as far as running goes, sometimes for a couple of weeks I’ll hit the treadmill, sometimes for a couple of weeks I’ll hit the incline on the treadmill, sometimes I’ll run on the street or the track, and sometimes I’ll just run for a half hour then do 40 yard sprints. I think your body, because it has to adjust, responds better that way. It’s better than doing the same thing, just going to the gym and lifting weights and running for your whole life. You’ve gotta keep yourself interested.
You can’t plateau or you won’t see any progress.
P: Right, and my main thing is just have fun. So when I get bored with running on a track, I’ll go to Runyon Canyon and do that. So I make my cardio more of a hiking type thing.
I know you like Krav Maga and Boxing, are those examples of ways you keep things interesting?
P: Yeah! If the mind can attach to a purpose, the workout is just the result. I love boxing. It’s actually a sport. It’s something you can get better at, so your mind is attaching to something that’s actually useful. It’s self-defense, its cardiovascular, you’re learning something, you’re conditioning your body, and the byproduct is that you’re getting in shape.
As far as boxing goes, I have a great trainer in LA named Adam Lerner he has a gym called A4 fitness. Check it out if you’re in the area at A4fitness.com. I like it there because you can do ground fighting, kick boxing, boxing, or cross-fit training. It’s a new gym that has everything. I’ve been going there alot lately as well. You can train and compete.
You can do it with friends….
Patrick: Yeah, competition!
Are you a very competitive person?
P: Yes, very. If things get too boring, I’ll create competitive situations. I’m that kind of person.
So walk me through your workout routine, any given day.
P: Right now it’s bodyweight exercises. I go to the gym, stretch, and then it’s real simple workouts for me. I start off with pull-ups. I tryto get 5 sets of whatever I can do. I’m not very strong on pull-ups, so if I do 5 sets of 5 I’m cool. Then I do dips. 5 sets of 15 regular dips. And as far as pushups go, I want to get in 100 on the decline.
With what I’m doing right now, the results are interesting. Like when you see a gymnast, you know how they have that tapered waist and big shoulders? It’s a nice physique. With this kind of workout, that’s kind of what you get. Your back gets exercise; your shoulders work a lot, and so does your chest, so you get that tapered waist kind of look as a result of this kind of routine. So I’ll do all that, then I’ll get my cardio in – either on a treadmill, or I’ve been doing this Runyon Canyon thing a lot.
I haven’t hiked Runyon yet, but I’ve heard it’s awesome. I used to hike Camelback Mountain in Phoenix in the middle of summer, so I think I could probably handle Runyon Canyon. Not as many Gila Monsters there, haha…
P: Oh yeah, that’s another thing I do. I run from Gila Monsters.
That’s a great workout – I bet you’d clock your best 40, running from a Gila Monster.
P: Oh yeah, I’d get shredded!
Speaking of shredded, they say looking good is 80% diet, 20% working out. What’s your diet like?
P: Well when I really want to cut up, it’s protein and as many green vegetables as I can eat. I try to keep it under 1500 calories a day. That’s it. It’s simple with me. I hate eating fish, so it’s just chicken and spinach or kale – any green thing I can get my hands on. And apples. Apples are good for digestion. So when I’m really serious about my diet that’s what I do. No alcohol. Tons of water.
With my body, I’ll hit a certain weight and it’s really hard to get below it. I think your body really demands that you have a certain amount of calories when you’re working out, because you’ll get sick if you diet too much and then you’re pushing the body too hard. You have to make sure that you get lots of protein. And the other thing I’m addicted to is Pellegrino.
Pellegrino? Interesting. Why?
P: I don’t know! I think drinking water is boring to me. It’s just like my workout, I have to keep my mind interested. Pellegrino has carbonation, then I’ll squeeze fresh lemon in there. For me, it’s just refreshing.
So at any point throughout your acting/modeling career, has there ever been a role you’ve had to train really hard for?
P: No, actually. I always have my target weight, just like a fighter has, I have a weight that I have to hit before I start working. So when I get a job, I drop to that number and I always hit it. It’s always been like that. I’ve never really had the type of role where I’ve had to gain so many pounds. But I look forward to that day, because I can do it in about a month.
I was going to ask! If you had to pack on some LBs for a role, how would you do that comfortably? Being someone who’s so physically active how would you do that?
P: I wouldn’t care! I love food. I love food and I love wine. I have a large appetite. That’s why the dieting thing, for me, is just a process of trying to keep the horse in front of the stagecoach. I would have no problem gaining weight because I would just eat everything. You’ve never met anybody who can eat more than me.
I know a few guys who could put down pretty much anything, that’s a bold statement! I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. So when you’re not eating everything in sight, you do Krav Maga. Tell me about that, why you like doing it so much and what it does for you.
P: I started Krav Maga a long time ago. I had been boxing a lot prior to that, and I was like ok, I have to keep myself interested. So I started to research what is actually strength effective, without the Karate Kid training style – there’s no use for that in real life. I wanted to find a Martial Art that people use out there in the military and actual combat. And that’s what Krav Maga is known for.
You’re not going to learn 15 thousand variations on how to kick or punch, you’ll learn 4 things that you drill over and over and over and over thousands of times into your muscle memory, so that when you’re in a situation where your body’s scared, your body takes over and reacts for you. Mentally you could be in fear, but your body reacts for you. So Krav Maga, besides being really effective in street fighting, is a conditioning process. So that’s what I really like about it. And it also evolves into kick boxing, boxing; they incorporate all the different major schools. Then once you get into it, it’s competition, it’s fun, and they do a really good job of keeping people in line and keeping a level of discipline.
Are there any other things you like to do to stay active?
P: Yeah, definitely. I think sprinting, not on a treadmill but outside, is such a natural thing that’s in all of us. Because it’s probably how we stayed alive for thousands of years, haha. When you look at Olympians, at the bodies on sprinters, their physiques look like they’re carved out of marble. That tells you that our bodies are meant to have these quick bursts of energy. That’s how we’re built.
And so, you don’t have to time yourself or anything like that, but sprinting – do like 10, 40-50 yard sprints twice a week. Watch how your body changes.
And when you were playing football, what was your fastest 40?
P: Oh, I was slow. I had a high 4.6, close to 4.7. I was a slow tight end.
Ok well we won’t race then. Are there any exercises you can’t stand? You may do them because it takes sacrifice to look good, but you can’t stand them?
P: Yeah, I hate squats! I think it tears apart the cartilage in your knee. I never liked squats. It was huge in football, but I’m one of the lucky ones who has had no knee or ankle long-term injury.
P: The machine at the gym where your legs are anchored and it’s weighted. So you’re squeezing down with your arms, and up with your ankles. Like a crunch machine with weights. I’ve found that If I don’t use weights on my abs, I don’t see any difference. Either that or get a 25 pound weight and do incline crunches.
P: Really the big thing is military press. The combination of pull-ups one day and military press the next. Try that for a week and watch how your shoulders pop.
And last, especially since you don’t like squats, what about the butt?
Patrick: My butt!? Guys don’t work on their butts! But, I guess run uphill if that’s your thing!