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Get a body like Dirty Dancing’s Gareth

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Going... going... gone to heaven

Going…                                                        going….                                                           gone to heaven

What do you ask the man who plays the supersexy Johnny role in the Dirty Dancing musical (other than, are you free after the show?).

I’d been pondering this question idly, when I was sent some promo shots, and, well, it was pretty easy after that. It so happened that Gareth ‘Patrick Swayze’ Bailey went on a 12 week diet and exercise regime to play Johnny that added 5kg of muscle, lost 10kg of fat, and toned-and-buffed him from 92kg to 83.2kg.

My first thought on seeing the before and after shots was a forensic and utterly clinical, phwaarrrrrrrrr! (It’s a technical term, you may not know it). The second was, is there a way I can use this knowledge to encourage Mr Muddy to dig out his cobweb-laden dumb bells?

And so it came to pass that this post was born. Not in a manger (that would be weird), but in my grubby little mind.  So… for the gentlemen readers of Muddy Stilettos, and their ‘helpful’ partners, here are Gareth’s top tips to giving yourself a really Dirty body in 12 weeks. Go for it gents!



Lovely Gareth, what’s your secret to such a transformation?

There’s some science to it, but the one thing I’m sure of is that mentally you have to decide you’re going to make the change. Tranforming your is something we’re all capable of doing but if you’re not determined you’ll fall at the first doughnut. When I first got the job of Johnny one of the things I most wanted was the fitness to be able to perform eight show a week, but I also I felt that I needed the  physique to play Johnny because people come to see the show expecting the lead to have a body like Patrick Swayze. So I booked a personal trainer immediately and went for it.

Come on then, talk us through your regime

I had a goal, because I knew I was going to have to take my top off for production shots in two weeks, so I started training immediately and from that time I was in the gym every morning. I’d have 30g of oats and a protein shake for breakfast, do 30 mins cardio, then dance 10am-5pm in rehearsal. At 6.30pm I’d be back in the gym, doing 20 minutes of cardio and another 40 minutes resistance work. It’s no exaggeration to say that I trained solidly for 2 weeks. On the shoot day I got up at 7am, did 45 minutes training and 2 spin classes in a row! On the last five days I also took diuretics to get rid of the water retention.

It was pretty intense stuff really, and by the time I’d been doing it for 8 weeks, with low carbs and sugar, no fizzy drinks and all that, I was craving ice cream like hell. I’d sit in my room and cry for 15 minutes I was so hungry and tired. It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I managed it. My fitness trainer was brilliant, really encouraging and always on the end of the phone, he really helped me.


Would you advise your average guy to try it?

Rapid wait loss isn’t advisable really but being an actor is a strange business, and it was kind of necessary. I played a lot of sport as a kid, particularly county rugby, so I’m used to the discipline of exercising but the one thing you also need is the knowledge to sustain the weight loss because it’s so easy to bounce it all back on again.

Can you suggest a fitness plan for the Muddy man?

Over a 3 month time span you can achieve a lot. Muddy men! I’d advise regular training with 4 sessions a week – not only cardio vascular but resistance too as it’s just as important, because muscle burns fat and uses energy, so you’ll burn more when you’re sitting still. One thing I found was that eating smaller meals more regularly helped me stop cravings. Prepare your own food if you can if you’re eating at work, don’t go into the shops, you’ll only pick up a Kitkat!


How supportive was your girlfriend (*sniff*)?

I went through the bulk of my body training when I was in South Africa, so my girlfriend had to deal with stroppy tired phone calls rather than live through it. Bu whe we went out to dinner together I’d ask Lizzie to pick something off the menu for me so I didn’t tease myself. We’d call it ‘clean eating’ – lean meat, low to no carbs, veg and no booze. I needed her support to keep doing it, but she was great.

What to do when you veer off track?

Go back to your goal – what do you want to achieve, by when, and most importantly, why? Understand that if you’re goals aren’t massive, having one cheat day won’t ruin things but if you cheat five days out of seven you won’t achieve your goal. Being savvy with nutrition is important – if you have a jacket potato at 8.30pm at night it’s full of energy and you have no chance of burning it off watching telly, so don’t eat it.


Are you still working out?

I’m doing a lot of shows but I’m trying to maintain my body, so I’ll go to the gym and work on my chest a bit and bringing my shoulders out. I’m not adverse to a pizza once in a while, because doing so many shows it’s easy to stay in shape.

Are you free after the show?



Dirty Dancing at New Theatre Oxford,  9 Dec 2014 to 3 Jan 2015. Tickets £12.90 – £79.90


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