Walles is and up and coming screen and stage actor based in London, with appearances in blockbuster movies such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. He is also a former competitive figure skater and a self-confessed fitness freak. He talks us through his daily workouts.
Why do you exercise?
As an actor, I am definitely known for my physicality and body shape, especially because I came from an athletic background. What this means for me is that working out is part of my job, in the same way filling out an expense report might be a daily task for someone in the corporate world.
I definitely feel like it’s my job to be in peak physical condition all year round. Luckily, I love it, so working out is definitely a labour of love.
What does a typical day in the gym look like for you?
I usually power-walk to the gym – yeah I’m that guy! I live 4 miles away so it’s good 45min walk if I keep up the pace and a great warm-up.
Once I am in the gym itself, I tend to focus on skills. I actually never use cardio machines or lift weights. My whole exercise ethos is based on challenging your core through balance exercises, which invariably works out the body as a whole.
I usually start with balance exercises on the Swiss ball, which is an absolute favourite of mine. I alternate between balancing while sitting,kneeling, standing and planking across it. I then add unilateral movement to those basic positions – maybe holding a kettle bell in one hand while kneeling on the ball, or bicep curling with a Viper. I tend to not count reps but mentally make a note to work on a certain movement till I fail.
Once I am done with the ball, I usually move onto the Monkey Bars and dip bars, and work through various movements – swinging, one-armed grips, upside-down straddles. I have been incorporating the monkey bars into my workout for a year now, and the difference to my upper-body has been startling. It also feels like a necessary life skill, being able to cling and climb and hang – monkey see, monkey do!
Finally, I like to work through various stretches to finish the session. I have managed to retain virtually all the flexibility I accumulated whilst skating, and I want to keep it for as long as possible for injury prevention and overall well-being.
All this takes about 2 hours, and if I am not working, I may go back and do a second session later in the day, just for kicks!
How does that work when you are on set?
Ah, good question!! It really depends on the job. I always check what time I am being picked up to go to set, and if I can squeeze in an abridged version of my workout before, then I do. If I am being picked up at silly o’clock, then I take a Theraband with me and will do low-impact Pilates based exercises in my trailer that don’t make me sweat but equally keep everything in peak shape!
Luckily I have accrued enough good body karma over the last 20 years of training that if I have to miss a few days of exercise, I won’t turn into a pumpkin overnight. And being a devout paleo eater means I never eat in excess, which is half the battle when the catering on set is amazing, which it always is!
Do you have any tips for people who are struggling to get motivated to exercise?
Yes! My philosophy is “wear workout clothes when you go about your day to day life” If you are dressed for the gym already, chances are you will end up there at some point, because you’ve cut out one obstacle (undressing and redressing) which will put you off going.
Also always being dressed to exercise means you will naturally find the exercise in everything you do – you’re more likely to take the stairs a couple of floors than the elevator if you are wearing trainers rather than heels, or run to catch that bus. And all those little bursts of activity add up!
Walles will soon be appearing the new Transformers movie The Last Knight and can be seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be available on DVD in the spring.
Catch his workouts on Instagram @WheresWalles