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How Rob Lowe, 56, Stays in Leading Man Shape

Whatever Rob Lowe is eating, we’ll have two. Now in his mid-50s, the movie and television star still looks like Sodapop from The Outsiders (his first big movie in 1983 and a damn good film, ICYMI). The Manual was literally floored to hear that Lowe’s current diet and dad-bod kryptonite includes In-N-Out burgers and protein milkshakes. We sat down with the Brat Pack legend to get his diet and workout secrets so we can also be too good looking.

So, what in the world do you eat?

Rob Lowe: I’ve tried every style of eating and in my mid-30s I started a high-protein, low-carb diet. Basically it’s the Atkins way but I also call it ‘sustainable keto.’ It’s a little less rigorous and easier to maintain; very low carb, high protein, and keeping an eye on sugar.

Does alcohol count?

RL: It does count. I have an advantage there; I stopped drinking 30 years ago. If I was drinking it would be tough because I struggle with sugar and ice cream. Drinking on top of that would be a lot of calories.

You’re in a grocery store, what items are your quick-grab staples?

RL: One, a pressed vegetable drink. NOT a sugary one; I want mine to taste like I’ve licked the inside of a lawnmower. I eat veggies but don’t love them. Still, they’re critical.

I also load up on the things I love, like red meat and steak. If I need a quick-grab, I’ll go to In-N-Out and get a burger wrapped in lettuce, “Protein Style.”

Are you a snacker?

RL: I am not a snacker. I’ve tried eating five meals a day but now I don’t eat unless I’m having a meal. Snacking is also where you get murdered with calories. You grab a handful of M&Ms or a tiny bag of Fritos and that stuff adds up. I’m an all or nothing dude.

So, you mentioned ice cream earlier … we have a similar affliction.

RL: If I am feeling like I want to go off the rails with ice cream — which is a nightly thing— I have an Atkins shake. I felt like they had to be bull, but if I have one then I can walk away from ice cream or desserts. I always keep a shake or bar in the car.

For a guy who’s just getting started with low-carb, how can they stay motivated?

RL: My big tip is to aim for progress rather than perfection. We come up with so many reasons to not take control of our health, but doing a little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

Does it feel different eating low-carb?

RL: You’re not going to feel full in the same way — you don’t get lethargic or need a nap. On the other side, you might wonder if you ate enough and if you’re still hungry. You’ll learn that as a culture we overeat.

How do you kick cravings?

RL: Water! It’s one of those things everyone tells you, then you do it and it’s a game-changer. If I’m hungry and I pound water, it goes away. Hunger comes in waves so from time to time I’ll do intermittent fasting, which has been very helpful for me. While I’m fasting, if I get hungry, coffee and water were great little tricks.

Also, working out! When I do fasting to recharge myself, at the end hours where I’m dying to eat I work out (tennis, hike, a walk, it doesn’t have to be the gym), then I don’t even think about food.

Can you workout hard on a low-carb diet?

RL: The biggest lie of working out is that you have to carbo-load. I’ve found I’m every bit as strong or motivated with big protein and less carbs.

What exactly is your workout routine? Asking for a friend.

RL: Mostly cardio-based stuff and lifting. Today I’m doing a lift so I’ll properly eat and then do it. Or have a hint of a protein shake then a big meal after. Being in my mid-50s, I remind myself that it would be insane to train like I did in my 20s. Now it’s about injury prevention and longevity. On workout days I either do low-intensity or really, really high and not be in the ‘junk zone’. I want to feel like I’m dying or not doing anything.

How long does it take to start feeling a difference eating low-carb, high-protein?

RL: I’d say ten days to two weeks to break the cravings. I remember the days when the bread basket would come out and I HAD TO have it — had to. Once I broke that barrier, I could look at bread and pasta and not have it. I still eat it from time to time.

But back to ice cream … does that craving go away?

Sugar is the same but that’s a nut I have not cracked. That’s why I keep a shake and bar in the car.

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