Steve Howey plans his training sessions like an addict. “I don’t work out for 40 minutes,” says Howey, who plays teddy bear bar owner Kevin Ball on Shameless, currently in its eighth season on Showtime. “Forty minutes is my warmup. I need two or three hours to get it done.”

One of the reasons Howey hits the weights so hard is to be a better father. “In the past, I was tired in the morning and grumpy as shit,” says the dad of three. “When I cut out the alcohol, I was much more attentive and had way more energy. If you want to be involved, you have to be healthy.”

Howey, who refers to Shameless as “soft-core porn but with really good dialogue,” has adopted the Arizona State wrestling team’s workout of carrying a 45-pound weight plate and never putting it down. The routine for the 6’4″ 225-pounder consists of around the worlds—“You know, those circles over your head?”—squat presses, and squat to shoulder presses. He does each exercise for 10 to 15 reps, catches his breath in between each set while holding the plate, then moves on.

Hanging Leg Raise

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“The workouts that are really good for my body suck the most,” Howey says. “Now that I’m 40, I have to be careful. Sometimes I feel my knee pop. It’s gnarly.”

If you want to see Howey in action, he works out at his local Equinox. “The trainers are like, ‘Are you training for something?’ And I’m like, ‘Life, man. Life.’”

3 Keys to Howey’s Nutrition

1. Learn to Love Veggies

Steve Howey believes a six-pack is made in the kitchen. So after not being fulfilled by a meal-delivery service, he listened to his wife—the gorgeous actress Sarah Shahi—and started stockpiling vegetables. “The only thing I could eat a shitload of,” he says, “was broccoli.”

2. Consistency is Key

When Howey is disciplined with his meals, he sees and feels a difference. “Eating properly for a week is more beneficial for me than hard workouts for a month,” he says. “My waistline and abs just pop when I’m eating right.”

3. Boring is Better

Recently, Howey started using the Blood Type Diet app, which tells him which foods he can indulge in and which ones to avoid. “I love coffee, but the app says it isn’t good for me. Coconut oil doesn’t work that well with me, either. What works for me is the cliché after-workout diet: chicken and broccoli. Sometimes it gets boring, but that’s what hot sauce is for.”

Shameless airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime.

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