1. He’s Not Your Average Joe

I’ve met a lot of people who think the celebrities they see on the screen pop out of the womb in great shape, or that a great physique isn’t possible without some sort of performance-enhancing drug. None of that is true for me. Growing up, I was a scrawny teenager who couldn’t do a single pullup or dip. Failing at a young age motivated me. I didn’t shy away from a physical challenge. I just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

2. He’s Got The Write Stuff

This past year, I wrote a book called Evolution, which examines my own lifelong growth in terms of physical fitness, and how that discipline and philosophy rippled out into all aspects of my life. It seemed that everywhere I looked I saw garbage celebrity workouts and gimmicky fitness infomercials, and I wanted to do my part to change that mentality. The book is meant to motivate and inspire people to go beyond whatever they thought was possible for themselves.

3. He Trains Tough

When I’m training for a project, I do two-a-day workouts, splitting cardio and weight training. The focus is on maximizing intensity by trying to keep my heart rate up throughout. Most of my book addresses the mental aspect of training. The exercises are designed to train your body while dealing with the challenge of pushing past when your brain says stop. I don’t mind discipline, because the life-­changing results are worth it. I love the ­alchemy aspect of it, the transformation.

4. His Real-life Role Play

When I was cast on True Blood, there was no discussion from the “powers that be” about what kind of physical shape they wanted me to be in or what the character looked like. They hired me as I looked the day I met them. But I did see the role as an opportunity to transform physically. However, none of that outside stuff matters if the character doesn’t resonate on an internal level.

5. His Past Lives Sculpted His Present

I see everything in life as a lesson and an opportunity for growth. Looking back, my worst relationships were often the experiences that forced me to become the best man I’ve ever been. The goal for me has always been to find someone with whom I can grow and build something. All of my exes have taught me to be a better man and to step up my game a little more each time.

Follow Joe on Twitter: @joemanganiello