Matt Barr created a 'basic' skill for acting

Matt Barr created a ‘basic’ skill for acting

If you happen to check into a hotel where Matt Barr is staying, while filming his latest project, chances are you’ll see him running around the parking lot. The ‘Blood & Treasure’ and ‘Walker: Independence’ star will find a way to stay active even with the busiest of schedules. So M&F caught up with the main man to find out why the 38-year-old actor is still in demand. for those who expose shirtless scenes, how he approaches workouts, and whether or not he’d be up for the ultimate challenge of getting into superhero shape.

You grew up in Dallas, with a football coach for a father (Mike Barr coached at Purdue and Southern Methodist universities). So, you must have been introduced to training from an early age?

Highligths. Of course, having a soccer coach for dad. We were doing exercises when we were probably 2 and a half years old. When I was a child, I remember my father throwing a ball and asking me to catch it with my left hand and then my right hand. They were little athletic exercises!

As a committed artist, you have changed your figure to suit different roles during your career. How did you come up with a strategy to add muscle, for example?

The hardest thing for me is gaining volume and a bit of mass. I did that for a few things but never to the point of, like, Thor. He thinks it’s a consumer issue. It’s amazing how many calories you need to eat, and even when you think you’re eating a lot, you need to eat twice as many. You also have to lift heavy weights, and what’s hard for me, as a big runner, you have to cut back on all the cardio. At least I do and it’s hard because I miss the runners high. If I don’t do these things, I will naturally stay pretty skinny.

You have a busy schedule with filming, so it can be difficult to find a regular routine with your diet. How do you approach this?

The only consistency I have is that I will eat the same thing for breakfast. It will be one of two things. It’s either oatmeal with berries or banana with a bit of honey, or I’ll just eat plain scrambled eggs maybe with avocado. Other than that, I really eat whatever I want, but I exercise six days a week, whether it’s cardio or weightlifting. But for me, breakfast has always been very important. For me, this is the foundation of where the whole day takes place.

Throughout your career, you have been asked to take off your shirt in front of the camera. When you know a scene like this is coming up, what goes through your mind? Does it force you to kick your fitness routine into high gear, knowing that those scenes will live forever?

I do [think about things like that]. Maybe obsessively sometimes. I think he lives forever, and I’ve never seen him as a “vain” thing as much as it has to fit the character, you know? It’s just something that I really enjoyed: this challenge of staying in shape. We live in an elevated cinematic world.

What actors did you like to watch when you were a kid?

It was always Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones”, Kevin Costner in “Dancing with Wolves” and, of course, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. These are examples of guys who have stayed in incredible shape. They could play a wide range of roles and you really bought them not only as action heroes but also as vulnerable human beings. (embedded)

Do you have a personal trainer?

You know, I train alone. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a coach. I did specific stunt training, but this is different. In terms of training, I like it solo. Maybe in the future, if I need to gain 30 pounds of muscle, I might need some help, but I haven’t done that challenge yet. I can’t wait. But training for me is physical and mental. It’s my meditation and I’ve always liked it to be a solo experience.

What does a training week look like for Matt Barr?

I really like full body workouts. I alternate these full body days with cardio days where I sprint 40 meters or do long distance running. Depending on the role I’m playing, I might lift a little heavier, or he might be lighter just to hold. I love swimming: this is perhaps one of the most secret weapons as it is a full body workout. It’s amazing what it does for my heart. I do a lot of sit-ups and refuse sit-ups. Also, something I like to do is hang from a pull-up bar. I will be holding a ten pound dumbbell and doing crunches, center and side to side, while suspended. I do the same movements with a medicine ball.

Have you ever done intense stunts that really challenged you?

I remember doing cable work, and it takes that real core strength to be able to move. I think I did some wirework in “Blood & Treasure” where I crashed through a roof and fired a gun. I had to land, play a role, then get up and shoot…while wearing a tuxedo! Fighting while doing wirework was something I needed to practice for. And, randomly, I also remember doing a dance scene and trying to get my dance partner. It was possibly the hardest thing I have ever done! [laughs] Patrick Swayze made it look easy. Everything revolves around the core. If you have a strong core, you can kind of build from there and do almost anything. Even in your dialogue scenes; stillness and breathing come from the core. It’s all about physical self-awareness.

“Walker: Independence” was a critical hit for The CW Network. As “Hoyt Rawlins”, you find yourself in a bare-knuckle boxing match. You look great in this scene. Did you get pumped up before the camera rolled?

I did it. I definitely had my Bowflex on and was doing a few loops before shooting that day. But, I think if you stay in shape, it helps. We’ve done a whole cowboy camp, everything horse-related, and again, there’s a lot of groundwork there too.

If the right offer came along to play a superhero-like character who needed to add those 30 pounds of muscle, would you take up the challenge?

I really want this! I would really love the challenge, and I’d be interested to see how my body reacts to it, you know? Whether it’s muscle, or even just gaining weight for something, and maybe the challenge of dropping it before completing the project. I’d be all for it, but I’ve always loved pushing the boundaries of what we humans are capable of. Could I really do what Chris Hemsworth did for “Thor”? Could I really put on a lot of weight and look like a linebacker? I can’t wait!

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