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Joe Manganiello talks low carb diet, 'True Blood' body and 'Magic Mike' muscles

Joe Manganiello talks about his diet and fitness.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Joe Manganiello stepped onto the stage of Queen Latifah's talk show on Monday, the howls of the crowd paid tribute to the "True Blood" actor. But this werewolf is howling for his own reason: Paying tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Arnold was my hero," Joe confessed. Now he's starring with his hero in a film called "Sabotage." The two have become friends.

"He even wrote the foreword on my book," added Joe. The book, called "Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted," reveals the secrets to Joe's "Magic Mike" muscles.

Queen Latifah asked Joe about the intended audience for his book. Flexing his ripped body, Joe proclaimed it a guide for everyone who is willing to do the work required to get fit.

"I wrote this book to take away everyone’s excuses. It takes hard work, but it’s all about having a great training program," said Joe.

And although physical effort is required, Joe contends that "training is mostly mental – it’s mind over matter. And the exact 6-week workout I use to get in shape for 'True Blood' is in here."

The diet detailed in the book consists of a low-carb plan that emphasizes protein power. Joe also takes advantage of the convenience of nutrition bars for getting enough protein into his diet.

In an interview with Men's Fitness magazine, Joe noted that his breakfast sometimes consists of a Pure Protein Bar and Muscle Milk Light. For a snack, he eats Detour bars or almonds.

A standard dinner includes boneless chicken and vegetables. In addition, Joe drinks a before-bed protein shake of Isopure.

When Joe is training for "True Blood," he avoids sugar with the exception of the natural sugar in fruit. He also avoids bread.

His diet reflects the change that many athletes are making from high carb diets for energy to low carb diets. Four of the top six men and women at last year's Western States Endurance Run (100 miles on mountain trails from Lake Tahoe to Auburn) followed low-carb diets.

In addition, earlier this year at age 36, low carb dieter and bronze medalist winner Bode Miller became the oldest Olympic skiing medalist. The latest studies as well as these individual success stories are rewriting the "rules" about how the body converts fat to energy during exercise, Dr. Stephen Phinney, author of "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance," told me in a recent exclusive interview.

Joe feels that it's important for his fitness to view himself as an athlete rather than an actor when it comes to his motivation for working out. "I train like a pro-athlete, not like an actor who's just trying to look pretty," emphasized Joel in an interview with Rachael Ray magazine.

However, he keeps that werewolf image in mind. "I work out six days a week to look like Alcide: big and strong, but light on his feet and agile like a werewolf," he added.

And if you think that he's become accustomed to his routine, Joe says it continues to be rough. "I work out with my trainer, and it's completely brutal. We do Olympic-style lifting, box jumps, lunges and overhead push-presses."

For those who are wishing for a follow-up to the original "Magic Mike," Joe has announced plans to use his werewolf muscles in a sequel. "Magic Mike 2" is planned for the fall, according to the Playlist. "It was the most fun I've ever had, and I can’t wait to get back in and mix it up with those guys," said Joe gleefully.

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