You may recognize him as the mysterious Jared Banks from daytime’s One Life to Live, but this summer actor John Brotherton will be turning fan’s screams of delight into screams of sheer terror in his latest project, The Conjuring.
Based on a true story, the movie tells the horrifying tale of how world-renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse.
It hits theaters on July 19, and if off-the-charts ratings from test screenings are any indication, we’ll be in for some major chills (so much so that it’s been upgraded to an R-rating from its original PG-13).
I sat down with Brotherton – who lives in L.A. with his wife, actress Alison Raimondi, and their two daughters, Shia and Saylor – to chat about how he maintains a healthy lifestyle despite a hectic Hollywood schedule.
Kinetic Fix: There’s a lot of talk about the pressure among leading ladies to stay fit; do you feel it as a male actor, as well?
John Brotherton: Absolutely. I remember one of my first days on ‘One Life to Live’ where I was wearing nothing but a flesh colored speedo for a scene so I could appear totally nude. My costar (with whom I was about to get very personal) was wearing a full nightie. I asked her, “Whoa, why am I the only one naked here?” She grinned and replied, “This audience ain’t tuning in to see me naked. Welcome to daytime.”
The reality is, Hollywood is vain and you are expected to look your best, always.
KF: What’s been your most physically challenging role to-date, and how did you prepare for it?
JB: Ironically, it was for a role I didn’t actually book. In 2010, I screen-tested for the title role in the remake of ‘Conan the Barbarian’ opposite Jason Mamoa (he eventually booked it). I had three weeks notice before the test, but I’m not exactly a giant, muscle-bound barbarian. So for those three weeks I was in the gym, twice a day, lifting incredibly hard with protein shakes before and after each workout – and more lean protein with every meal.
Each workout was focused on a specific muscle group (i.e chest, back, shoulders, etc.). I’d do three different lifts, five sets each lift, with reps of 20, 15, 10, 10, 10. Between each set I hit my core in various ways. The key was that I’d increase my weights every single workout.
It’s incredible what the body can do with intense hard workouts and the proper fuel. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but I know I made sizable strength gains in that short period of time.
KF: Wow! So describe a typical day-in-the-life for you in terms of diet & exercise, both during and between projects.
JB: I try to be consistent on a daily basis, but of course if a project is nearing, my training increases. Now that I’m in my thirties, my workouts have become less about ‘how much’ I can lift and more about full-body fitness. At the gym, I prefer to do a circuit rather than focus on one muscle group. I have a four mile run I try and do at least four days a week. I don’t exactly like to run, so for me, four miles is enough to push my body without the ‘torture effect’ kicking in. I also try and do the basics around the house, push-ups and pull-ups. Everyone should have a pull-up bar.
As far as diet, my house eats relatively healthy as a whole. We buy all our produce at the farmers market from local organic farmers, and we get all our meat from an all-natural butcher. Organic just tastes better and your body knows how to process it. Although, you’ll always find dark chocolate laying around and ice cream in the freezer. I’ve learned if you deprive yourself too much of the goodies in life, life just isn’t quite as fun…oh, and Sundays are reserved for pizza, of course. You gotta live a little, but all in moderation!
KF: Any tricks for eating clean on set despite 24/7 access to a buffet of craft service snacks?
JB: As much as I love and appreciate it, craft services can be the devil. There are always plenty of snacks on set, a lot of which is junk. Nuts and trail mix are my go-to snack. They satisfy the hunger bug and curb the junk food desire, especially if the trail mix has a few M&M’s to fend off my vicious sweet tooth.
KF: Last but not least, can you share a few of your favorite healthy-living tips with us?
JB: First, put up a pull-up bar somewhere in your house and throughout the day jump up and do a few at a time. You don’t have to break a sweat, just trigger your muscles. You’d be surprised how quickly your body adapts. Same with push-ups; bang out a few here and there, for instance during commercial breaks or in your kitchen while you cook.
Second, crash diets don’t work. They lead to binges and erratic behavior. Just stay consistent and, without indulging too much, don’t deprive yourself of the stuff that makes you smile and say “yummy.” If you’re happy, it’s easier to be healthy…which keeps you happy, and so it goes…
Finally, I grill everything! Meats, veggies, whatever. It’s hard to eat too unhealthy when cooking on the grill. It’s one of my favorite pastimes: Sitting outside in the So-Cal sun, sipping on some frosty beverage, watching my kids play and smelling the grill work…it’s magic.