by mark morrison
PHOTOGRAPHS BY art streiber
Thomas Jane was shot exclusively for Men's Fitness at the Rosslyn Hotel, in Los Angeles.
fter more than two decades in Hollywood, Thomas Jane has seen (and performed) plenty of stunts on the sets of blockbusters such as The Punisher and Deep Blue Sea. But while riding to the gym earlier this year on his Urban Mover, an eco-friendly electric skateboard with monster wheels, the star of HBO's hit comedy Hung found himself cast in an unlikely action sequence. "It was pouring down rain in L.A.," he recalls. "I was cruising down the sidewalk and started fishtailing from side to side. I raced by this guy and went, 'Woo-o-o-o-o!' He turned and I started showing off—and the skateboard started to hydroplane and spin out. I flew off the board, tucked my shoulder, hit the ground, did a 360-degree flip, and landed on my feet." ^^
JANE, 41, limped the rest of the way to the gym, where they cleaned him up and called a doctor. The damage? A cracked rib and bloody knees. The actor credits years of working out and knowing how to protect his body with saving him from more drastic injury. "If it weren't for my training, it could have been a hell of a lot worse," he says. Of course, he went on to work out that same day.
He trained four times a week to prepare for the second season of fiun^(which returns June 27); last season he earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role. Jane plays Ray Drecker, a life-whipped, cash-strapped high-school coach in suburban Detroit who decides to market his most substantial asset (an extraordinarily large penis) and become a stud for hire. Once he sees how lucrative his side-hustle might become, Drecker "dusts off the old weight set" and starts "taking his body a little more seriously."
Jane embraced that same fitness philosophy years ago. Though he had played football at Thomas Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. (a Washington, D.C., suburb), he dropped out to pursue acting and lost the zeal for training. "I was always a physical guy," he says. "If I wasn't outside, I wasn't having fun. But 1 didn't really like the gym." Not that he could afford one. Nor much of anything else. At 19, he sold his 1969 Carnaro to pay for acting classes and found himself virtually homeless. During a pause in the MF photo shoot, which took place on the rooftop of a downtown L.A. hotel, Jane looked out over a scruffy cityscape of warehouses, flophouses, and parking garages and the memories flowed like a film trailer. "It's nice that we're shooting here because I used to sleep in these welfare hotels," he says. "I know them well."
By his mid-20s, Jane was a "skinny, hairy kid with a beer belly." When he finally landed his first major role, in the 1999 aquatic action-adventure movie Deep Blue Sea, he was concerned with how he'd look on-screen in a sleeveless wet suit. That ultimately led him to the gym, but he didn't have much of a plan. "I would screw around with weights, try to come up with a regimen—a do-it-yourself workout—but I didn't understand that I needed to cat more protein, too. I was really roughing it!" He gained a little mass, increasing his weight from 155 pounds to just over 160. His primary physi-cial achievement, however, was learning to scuba dive for the role. Now, he explores the deep blue sea wherever he travels, including dives off the shores of Egypt, South Africa, Puerto Rico, and (his favorite) the exotic Palau archipelago southwest
Jane performs hiswarmups barefoot to activate more muscles.
of Micronesia. "It's not only a great exercise," he says, "but it's the closest you can get to traveling to another planet."
This new workout regimen, as rudimentary as it was, combined with his athletic skills made Jane a natural for his next big role, as New York Yankee legend Mickey Mantle in the 2001 HBO film 61*. Former Dodgers outfielder Reggie Smith began training the actor to be a switch-hitter and helped him understand the payoffs of a nutritious diet. "Reggie had me eating tuna fish in the morning, lunch, evening, snack," Jane says of his effort to increase his muscle mass. "Mickey was built like a bull." Jane bulked up to 190 pounds, an old-school 190: "It wasn't about definition," he says. "Mickey and those guys didn't have six-packs. They were farm boys, corn-fed, and they were big. That's the kind of look I was going for."
As much as he has enjoyed the challenge of shape-shifting for his profession, Jane typically avoided the gym once the final
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scene was shot, allowing his diet to "get a little wonky" and his hard body to grow soft. "On the day I would wrap a movie, my old ritual was to have a six-pack of Guinness and half a dozen Krispv Krcme doughnuts waiting in my trailer. That was my reward."
Those awful habits died hard when Jane met trainer Christine Hazelton, owner of KOR Health and Fitness in Los Angeles, who helped him prepare for the 2004 film adaptation of DC Comics' The Punisher. "She is the one who made going to the gym fun," Jane says. "She turned it into a science—the mystery of how your body actually grows a muscle, the meditative aspcct of lifting weights and working through the pain." After a few weeks, the studio brought in trainer John MacLaren who put Jane on a one-hour, twice-a-day Navy SEAL weight-training program that got him to the ripped 180 pounds that fans of the film recall. But the actor reunited with Hazelton for the proposed Punisher sequel and has worked with her ever since. In 2005, the pair spent six months doing traditional bodybuilding, with Jane getting his bench press max to 325 pounds and his body weight to a muscular 200. It was all for naught, though; Jane bailed on the project over objections to the script.
With the pressure off, the actor resumed the kind of metabolic acceleration that training Hazelton favors; it allows him to stay at a lean, superfit 178 pounds, which suits his life and works perfectly for the Everyman appeal of his role on Hung. "I'm a textbook average guy," insists Jane, who admires craggy Hollywood actors such as Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Deadwood's
"MY OLD RITUAL WAS TO HAVE A SIX-PACK OF GUINNESS AND HALF A DOZEN KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS WAITING IN MY TRAILER"
Ian McShane, and relates more to the real-guy physicality of Clint Eastwood than the Terminator-esque Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I'm 5'10", I wear a model suit size—40 regular, 32-inch-waist pant—and a size 10 shoe. Everything about me is prototypical."
Everything, he volunteers with a grin. "I even have a right-down-the-middle-exactly-average cock."
To maintain his physique, Jane scrupulously adheres to a six-meal-a-day diet. He starts with oatmeal or egg whites an hour before his workouts and has a protein shake after. Three times a week (or once a week during production), Hazelton puts him through a one-hour, full-body circuit program. She starts with mobilization work, using foam rollers and fascia balls to promote mobility, followed by "prchab" to help prevent injuries, and then a dynamic warm-up moving in all planes of motion.
For the next 40 minutes, the trainer alternates two pushes, two pulls, two lower-body, and two core exercises—which she always switches up to keep workouts fun and Jane's metabolism high. Jane completes two demanding sets with very little downtime, to keep his body burning calories. "Thomas likes to look like a normal guy," Hazelton says. "So I keep him as functionally fit as possible."
As Green Day blares from speakers in an L.A. gym, Jane grunts his way through a Turkish get-up, going from on the floor to standing upright while lifting a 35-pound kettlebell perfectly straight in the air. "Thomas is a very disciplined guy," Hazelton says. "He's got a quirky, crazy side that makes him fun to be around. But he works really hard. I can push him to his max and he'll try to push out two more."
DAYS LATER , the actor is smoking a Cuban cigar ("my last vice") on the L.A. rooftop. Now married to Medium actress Patricia Arquette, the father of a 7-year-old daughter, star of a hit show, and the model of fitness, Jane is quite far from his past without being too removed from it. "Sometimes, I drive my Maserati by park benchcs that I've slept on," he says. "I feel a small sense of achievement." Yet no matter what he may say, there's nothing "small" about it. mf
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