Tom Hooper Doing Battle Ropes
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine

On the new Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, Tom Hopper plays a character who possesses superstrength. And right now, it looks like the actor shares the same superpower.

We’re at the ultra-exclusive Performix House gym near Manhattan’s Union Square, and Hopper is putting on something of a clinic. As a photographer snaps picture after picture, Hopper holds himself in midair on the gymnastics rings for what feels like ages, keeping his hands close to his sides, his body arrow-straight, and his face totally relaxed, as if the feat were effortless. It’s a bit like Vince Vaughn’s “still holding” gymnastics scene from Old School, only without the assistance of CGI (and definitely without the cigarette).

After this, the 6’5″, 210-pound Hopper will knock out a few dozen ring dips, slam a pair of battle ropes against the ground until it feels like the floor is going to crumble, and shove a sled loaded with hundreds of pounds of iron down a strip of artificial turf. All with the politeness of a debonair English prince.

The kicker? This isn’t even Hopper’s first workout of the morning. The actor trained at a different gym before the shoot just to get his blood pumping.

Such is life for Hopper, who seems determined to be as healthy and fit as humanly possible. Which is how you end up with a physique like Hopper’s: tiny waist, big shoulders, substantial pecs and biceps, and a V-taper in full effect. He looks like a cross between an Olympic swimmer and a professional rugby player. With, to top it off, the handsome face of a model.

“The thing with Tom is he takes such good care of his body,” says Sam Rosati, a friend who worked with Hopper in Toronto on the production of The Umbrella Academy. “Whenever Tom is in Toronto, the city experiences a shortage of chicken breasts.”

For those of you reading this and thinking, “OK, but who the hell is Tom Hopper?” here’s a primer. Born in the middle of England, Hopper played sports as a youngster but also took an early interest in acting, often dressing up and doing impressions for family and friends. As a teenager, he performed in school plays and studied drama in college. That’s when his passions for fitness and entertainment intertwined.

“As I went into the acting world, I wanted to stand out as an actor because it was so competitive,” Hopper says over a post-workout bottled water. “I realized there weren’t that many young dudes from Britain who were bigger and muscular. So the first thing I thought was to try to get big.”

Long story short: It worked. After bulking up, Hopper began landing roles in low-budget movies and on British TV shows, usually portraying menacing types—soldiers, swashbucklers, that kind of thing. He played the burly knight Sir Percival in for 26 episodes, then starred as the pirate William “Billy Bones” Manderly in the Starz series Black Sails. The show became a cult favorite, and its costuming allowed Hopper to regularly show off his arms, to the point where they now boast their own Instagram fan account.

After the success of Black Sails, Hopper snagged a memorable role in the HBO megahit Game of Thrones, in which (spoiler alert) Hopper’s character ends up getting burned alive by a dragon. (It’s the thing Hopper gets asked about the most—along with his arms.) Next, he had a supporting role in the 2018 Amy Schumer movie that you might’ve caught on a plane.


All the while, though, Hopper was busy with a couple of other pursuits. First, he got married and had a couple of kids with his wife, Laura. Second (and more relevant to this magazine), he began to fine-tune his training philosophy.

Rather than achieving a certain look for a particular role and then bingeing on burgers and fries after the production wrapped, Hopper started maintaining a lean, ripped body year-round. He did so with a two-pronged attack: training nearly every day in a huge converted garage at his home in England and sticking to an incredibly clean diet, eschewing all refined sugars and processed foods in favor of natural sweeteners and lots of organic meats and vegetables.

“The nutrition came into it, and it became a fully rounded thing,” Hopper says. “Ultimately it became about health—about how I can be the healthiest and fittest version of myself.”

Hopper’s imposing physique proves useful in his latest project, The Umbrella Academy. Based on a bunch of graphic novels from musician Gerard Way of the band My Chemical Romance, the show tells the story of a dysfunctional superhero family who reunite after their adoptive father dies and soon realize they’ll have to try to save the world.

The show, which premieres Feb. 15, has a lot of potential. Its showrunner comes from the TV series Fargo, and it co-stars Ellen Page of Juno fame. Hopper plays the leader of the family, Luther, a gruff, muscle-bound enforcer who, under the surface, is actually quite sensitive. Hopper says the originality of the series is what excites him the most.

“There is no other superhero show like it,” he says. “It’s a far more grounded world than we’ve seen before. This is more about the humanistic side. The superhero stuff is the added seasoning.”

If the show catches on, it could be a life-changer for Hopper in terms of fame and money. (And his arms’ Instagram account will no doubt blow up!) But whether it becomes the next Stranger Things or just sort of fades away after a season, it’s a safe bet it won’t have much effect on that other huge aspect of his life: his commitment to optimal health.

Hopper says his daily training sessions and ultradisciplined diet have come to define him. It’s even a running joke among family and friends when choosing restaurants: Everyone else is concerned there won’t be suitable food for Hopper at whatever eatery they select.

“That’s the problem with trying to live this lifestyle,” Hopper says. “You have to kind of get over the fact that it can come across as high-maintenance. You’re just trying to do the best thing for your body—if that’s what you want. For some people, it’s too much. It’s too extreme. But I enjoy it. I get a lot out of feeling great.”

Hopper’s Full-body Workout

Hopper loves training with gymnastics rings and battle ropes to test his body in different ways while keeping the movements fluid and functional. Try this routine, which Hopper regularly performs at his home gym. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Ring Hold

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 1 min.

Ring Dip

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10

Battle Ropes Wave

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 1 min.

Battle Ropes Crossover

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 1 min.

Battle Ropes Slam

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 1 min.

Sled Push

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 20 yards



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Last week, I explored the impact of all the various foods, beverages, and food-like substances people consume while fasting—and hoping to maintain a functionally fasted state in the post, “The Definitive Guide To What Breaks a Fast.” Does MCT oil break the fast? What about coffee, tea, or bone broth?

There were more than a dozen, and I even did a follow-up. Today I’m going to discuss whether commonly-consumed supplements break the fast.

Let’s go:

Fish Oil

Fish oil is pure fat. If you’re taking the average supplemental dose of 1-2 grams of fish oil, it’s not a problem. That’s not even a teaspoon. It’s about 9-18 calories.

You may burn slightly less fat than you would otherwise, but in the grand scheme of things, a few grams of fish oil won’t break the fast.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is fish oil with extra vitamin D and vitamin A. As long as you keep the doses low enough, cod liver oil won’t break the fast.


Multivitamins do not break a fast. They are usually non-caloric. However, not all of their components will be absorbed very well on an empty stomach, so keep that in mind.

If you’re still not on board, note that in the older studies with really overweight people who fasted for upwards of a year straight, they usually supplemented with a multivitamin.

Food-Based Multivitamin

A popular one I’ve seen around—Alive, made from kale and raspberries—has just 2 grams of carbs per dosing. It’s not ideal, but it’s not a deal breaker—or a fast-breaker.

Gummy Vitamins

Gummy vitamins have the potential to be about 5-6 grams of sugar, a gram of protein (from gelatin), and a gram of fat (if including omega-3s) per serving, so they’d arguably break the fast. Plus, they taste like candy and are likely to stimulate cravings and make fasting harder.

Gummy vitamins break the fast.


Potassium is non-caloric and does not break the fast. In fact, it can help you handle the fast better by replenishing electrolytes.

Potassium doesn’t break the fast.


Creatine contains no calories and has no effect on insulin secretion (or glucose in the absence of calories).

Creatine does not break the fast.

Protein Powder

Protein powder provokes an insulin response, which opposes autophagy, which means you’re breaking your fast. Plus, protein powder contains calories.

I’m going to say “yes, protein powder breaks the fast.


If you’re strict and technical, then yes, collagen breaks a fast. There’s evidence that glycine—the most prominent amino acid in collagen—can inhibit autophagy, but it was a convoluted animal study where inhibiting autophagy with large doses of glycine after brain injury actually improved outcomes. It probably doesn’t apply to someone adding a scoop of collagen to their coffee. Besides, even if it slightly reduces autophagy, a little collagen won’t negatively impact ketosis, fat-burning, or energy intake.

I’m going to say “technically yes,” but “realistically no, collagen doesn’t break the fast.” Avoid if your main focus is autophagy, however.

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs trigger an insulin response and thus stop autophagy…and the fast. That said, many proponents of fasted training recommend using BCAAs before a workout to help preserve muscle and improve the post-workout anabolic response.

I’m going to say “yes, BCAAs break the fast.”

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is fat soluble and thus comes packaged in an oil carrier, but the dosage is so small that it won’t affect your fast.

Unless you find that 1/8 teaspoon of olive oil ruins your fast, vitamin D won’t break a fast.


Probiotics contain no calories and will not break a fast. However, they are best absorbed in the presence of food—the food protects them as they travel through the digestive system, and most probiotics occur naturally in food—so taking them during a fast is probably, mostly useless.

Probiotics don’t break a fast, but why take them during one?


Pure prebiotics will not break a fast, as they contain no digestible carbohydrates. Prebiotic-enriched foods will break a fast, as they do contain calories.


Adaptogens are compounds, usually herbs or herb derivatives, that modulate your stress response. They improve your ability to tolerate and respond to stressful situations; they don’t blindly inhibit the stress response if the stress response is warranted. They keep you honest and counter unnecessary stress responses. They contain no calories, unless you’re chowing down on a big hunk of maca or ashwagandha root. In fact, most adaptogens have traditionally been consumed in tea form, extracting the active compounds and leaving behind any calories. Have at ’em.

Adaptogens do not break the fast.

Mushroom Extracts

Medicinal mushroom extracts come from mushrooms, which are technically food. But the amounts you take are so low—usually no more than a teaspoon—that they won’t impact your fast or provide any significant amount of caloric energy. Four Sigmatic has those “mushroom coffee” blends you add to hot water. They can get up to about 30 calories per serving, but even that’s going to let you maintain most of the fasting benefits.

Mushroom extracts don’t break the fast.


I used to keep the old Trader Joe’s melatonin on hand because it was half a milligram, whereas most other melatonin supplements are in the 3-5 mg range. It was also sweet, tasting like those white Valentine’s Day mint hearts you used to get back in the day. I haven’t come across any sweetened melatonin supplements since Trader Joe’s phased those out, but that’s the only thing I’d worry about on a fast.

Melatonin does not break a fast.

Final Note: Most supplements are okay to take on a fast, though the lack of food may make absorption more difficult. If you have any other questions about supplements on a fast, drop them down below. Thanks for reading, everybody.

On a related note, with supplements on my mind this week I thought it would be a good time to offer one of my favorite deals—just for the MDA community: 20% off my full supplement line, plus Primal Fuel and Collagen Fuel. It’s a great time to stock up on favorites or to try something new. Offer ends 4/24/19 midnight PDT. Use code WELLNESS20 at checkout. (Offer doesn’t apply for autoship orders.)


The post What Breaks a Fast: Supplement Edition appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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It’s no secret that a lot of crazy stuff goes down in Florida, but this 525-pound bench press, performed by high school junior Agelu Nunu, might just be the craziest.

The feat went down at the Florida High School Athletic Association Boys’ Weightlifting State Championship, which took place over the weekend of March 13, and the students were competing for the best total between the bench press and clean and jerk. (Yeah, we think that’s a weird combo, too.) The lift was a state record, according to USA Today.

At 6’0” and 285 pounds, the Panama City Beach Arnold High student also managed to clean 300 pounds. And his size and strength aren’t reserved for just lifting weights. Nunu is also a defensive tackle for the school’s football team and, according to the Gainesville Sun, already has offers from Arizona, Southern Mississippi, and Florida. We’re not sure if football will work out for Nunu but, if it doesn’t, he may definitely have a future in powerlifting.


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You know those times when you just want a little something to snack on? Like, you don’t need an entire protein bar, but you want a few bites of something tasty and satisfying? I have a lot of those times — before I go to the grocery store, when I’m beginning to prep a meal that’s going to take a while, when I’m back from a workout and I’m not quite ready to eat anything substantial … the list goes on. And guys, I may have found my perfect snack. Perfect Bites, the newest offering from the makers of the…

The post Healthy Obsession: Perfect Bites appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.

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