Simu Liu says he doesn’t work that hard on his body. His workouts? “Relatively undisciplined.” Diet? “A little bit more lackadaisical.”
But keep talking to him and you get the sense that he’s simply figured this whole fitness thing out. He’s not a gym rat, but he’s made playing sports with his friends a central part of his life—and learned how to chase the feeling of being “about to pass out” from a workout when he needs to. He loves food—stir fries, Korean BBQ, sushi—but uses intermittent fasting in order to eat whatever he wants.
Liu works hard: he’s put out music and even written a book that pays homage to his family’s origin story. He says he spent the first part of his life pushing to achieve goals set for him by his parents. That said, he not only understands their struggle, he hopes to honor it by continually pushing boundaries in his career. He says a big step there was working with Cadillac on the new fully-electric Escalade IQ.
And all of that pushing has gone hand in hand with prioritizing his mental and physical health, and he recently caught up with GQ to share more about what he’s learned about mental and physical well-being.
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and other high performers about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: Let’s start with your workout, since you’ve definitely been bulking up over the last few years. How do you stay fit?
Simu Liu: I think my workout regimen when I’m on a movie versus when I’m off a movie is very, very different. When I have people around me that can really whip me into shape and force me to be disciplined, which, I will be very forthcoming, has never been my favorite place to be. I don’t live for the gym. I don’t live to lift and get swole, you know what I mean?
But when I do, it’s definitely about high intensity interval training. It’s getting to that feeling where it’s like you’re just about to pass out but you’re not quite there. I’ve worked with really phenomenal trainers over the course of my career to be able to make sure that I’m at the peak shape that I could be or just feeling good for being on camera.
I grew up an athlete, I was on my varsity volleyball, basketball and rugby teams. When I’m not on a movie, I actually much prefer sports to being in a gym and lifting weights. I put a home gym in my garage, which I use relatively infrequently, but I have a basketball net in my driveway, which I shoot hoops on every single day.
So that just goes to show you what my exercise regimen is centered around—my buddies and I are always on a group chat about where we can find a nice run and we’re all about finding a place Saturday morning to go and hoop. Growing up in the world of sports, it’s so much more fun to do it in a team and competitive environment than to be knocking out reps in a gym—so that’s kind of where I’m at philosophically. That to me is far more important than lifting X-amount or benching this much. It’s about range of motion, getting a sweat on and spending time with friends.
How long are you shooting every day?
A quick one would just be 15 minutes—I’ll just do drills and some spot-up shooting exercises. But sometimes if I have a buddy that comes over and we get into a game of one-on-one, it can be literally hours.