To hear Mark Feuerstein talk, you’d have no idea the 45-year-old actor is as fat-free as the New York high school champion wrestler and Princeton University football player he was before he discovered acting, or that he was named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People" in 2003.
Best known for his starring role as doctor-on-call Hank Lawson in USA Network’s beloved series “Royal Pains,” he would rather tell you about his adventures at Burning Man or how poorly he trained for the annual Malibu Triathlon, which he’s done five times now (finishing in a very respectable 1:54 this year, in the top 25% of the field). His latest projects include a reboot of the show “Prison Break,” debuting on Fox in March, and the Netflix comedy “Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later.”
How do you keep the wrestler’s body after age 40?
It’s not easy. It is much harder to maintain a workout regimen with three children at different ages. My workouts are very eclectic and disparate over the last eight years, ranging from hiking in Runyon Canyon, some mountain biking and going to Soul Cycle with my wife on Mondays at noon, when you get the most coveted classes. At 10 to 11:30 on Sunday, I’ll do vinyasa yoga class at YogaWorks. I do the Malibu Triathlon once a year. And I went to Burning Man last summer.
Burning Man? That’s a workout?
It's an unexpected workout for your brain and body. You spend every moment on a bike — all day, 10 to 15 miles a day, riding through the desert. That's how you get around: 70,000 people riding their bikes all around in fake fur, velour, ’70s prints, vintage clothing, all while covered in dust. Before that, I didn’t own a jumpsuit, but now I own three: that of a USA postal worker, a neon-green camouflage onesie and a velour leopard-print with bunny feet. It's a very specific look, one that I won't achieve in the other 360 days of the year. For four days I looked like a true ’70s icon or degenerate moron, but I fit in.
Did the cycling help get you ready for the triathlon?
Well, I never train that much for it. I don't do the workouts. I was in the ocean twice before this year’s race — once for five minutes. That’s why I stood on the beach on that Sunday morning filled with terror and dread. The shape of my path was serpentine, to say the least. Along the way, I hit every buoy and lifeguard, who’d point me in the opposite direction. My swim was embarrassingly long — 24 minutes. Not only am I not equipped with natural talent, but my body type and shape are like a lead weight.
That's not exactly true. You don’t have an ounce of fat on you. Do you keep a strict diet?
It ranges from the incredibly disciplined to the piggish, total engorgement and degeneracy. On any given day, I'll have my normal banana for breakfast, salad for lunch and some sort of vegetarian tempeh for dinner. Ideally, I’ll have no bread, rice and pasta, some protein, try to stick with vegetables, and limit the fruit smoothies. Sometimes I end up having two dinners, a healthy one at 5:30 with the kids and one at 8 p.m., like I did a couple nights ago with a couple of actors, Patrick Warburton and Rob Morrow, at a steakhouse. I'm not going to be the guy there having Brussels sprouts. I love ice cream and candy, so I'm constantly sliding back and forth between the healthy and not-so-healthy. Sometimes, if there’s nothing in the fridge we’ll go to the Burger Lounge and I’ll make myself proud with a side salad..
Do you feel pressure to look good in Hollywood?
Well, entire shows are predicated on it. But I make the fitness easy by working out holistically, making it fun and multitasking. I love hiking and camping, so I’ll learn my lines for a TV show or an audition while hiking up Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park, or camping out with my family at El Capitán State Beach or Yosemite or Idyllwild. I believe in the mind-body connection; learning the lines as you move, they seep in better. Now, if I was hiking in Idaho, people probably would stop me and say, "Sir, why are you talking to yourself?" But because this is L.A. and everyone else is also preparing for some audition, I’ll get, "Good luck, man."