When Joivan Wade auditioned for DC’s Doom Patrol, it featured a section he wasn’t used to for, say, Doctor Who. “You do a tape, you do dialogue, etc, but they said we need him to stand up half-naked to see what his body type is, if he’s muscular enough,” he recalled, “and that’s when I realised this isn’t just based on my acting ability.”

Acting in the superhero age is now as much of a feat of athleticism as it is a feat of drama. Joivan Wade is no stranger to this, as he’s now playing former Teen Titan cyborg in the new TV show, which also stars Timothy Dalton, Matt Bomer and Brendan Fraser.

Luckily, Wade is no stranger to keeping trim. He used to play football – and wanted to go professional – until he went to the Brit School and would work on his fitness in the school gym instead. But it’s all gone into hyperdrive now that he’s a caped crusader.

“I see, now, why, the training is important,” he explained. “I do stunts, apart from what could potentially kill me, I do everything else and so even doing those things, if I wasn’t as physically fit as I am I wouldn’t be able to play the role essentially.”

That being said, being bulky is great for Doom Patrol, but it might not be great for Wade’s other roles. Is it safe, I asked, to be oscillating wildly in muscle mass just for work? “If you have the right people around you you’re going to be OK,” he said, “but if not, yeah, it’s very dangerous.” Luckily Wade is not the kind to do things by halves: an entrepreneur, a performer and an athlete, I wanted to know how he manages to keep organised, jacked and learn all his lines at the same time.

Sunday

“Sunday is when I prep. We’ve got great catering on set, so I can get three-four meals a day, but when I’m training I eat five meals a day. So I meal prep usually a fish dish throughout the week that I can take out to accompany my meals.

I just like to do as much of nothing as possible. Reset my mind. I have my businesses back in the UK that give me an opportunity to plug in and make sure everything is going all right back here and plug in with the team back home and let them know I’m still alive. I use that day to chill out, try and get as much as I can done, but mainly just resetting my mind and chilling.

No carbs when I’m not working, so on Saturday and Sunday I don’t eat any carbs ‘cos I’m not burning any, I’m not working out. A high intake of fibre and salads to stay lean.”

Monday

“I train five times a week, usually three-four times with my personal trainer. That’s an hour, hour and 15 minute session, depending on when I’m shooting. Usually I’m training in the morning before I go to work and if I’ve got a 5am call I’ll train at 3.30am or 4am or after I finish work and the schedule permits – three days a week with my trainer, two days with myself. Each day I’m training a different muscle group: Monday is back, Tuesday is chest, Wednesday legs, Thursday arms, Friday shoulders. Within that session I’m doing cardio as well as weight training. I’m trying to achieve muscle mass as well as staying lean.

It gets difficult when we’re shooting really early, if I’ve got a 6am call because of my make-up and aesthetics that takes an hour, hour and a bit, so if I’ve got 6am on camera I need to be there at 5am, which means I need to leave at 4.15am, so I’ll be up at 3.30am so I’ll train at the end of the day. But if I’m not at 9am then I’ll train at 6am and then head into work.”

Tuesday

“If I’m scheduled to come in after breakfast, I won’t eat on set for a good six hours. I’ll need to eat something in the morning, then eat something in there.

Sometimes we’re on call for a day, so we feel like we’re off. Based on that it feels like I can meet at a different time with my PT, then we’ll get called in at the last minute – ‘It’s raining, we’ve got a rain cover, we need to bring you in in the next two hours.’ In that situation I hadn’t trained in the morning, I was going to train in the evening, then I’ve missed that training day. On the next day I’ll do a two hour session to make up for everything I missed out on. But yeah, usually you can pick up on what’s going to happen. If you know we’re shooting Monday through Thursday, you look at the schedule, you know we’re on location rather than the stage, then you know if it’s going to rain we’re not going to shoot that and then you backtrack and say OK I need x number of sessions this week because next week I’m probably gonna be shooting. It’s fluid, it chops and changes, but you get the pattern after a while.”

Wednesday

“If I’m doing press, I usually try and train in the mornings. I find if I don’t, and I leave it, I get tired throughout the day. My usual will be eating five boiled eggs, go into the gym, then eat my oatmeal, then get cracking with whatever press I have. I try to meal prep or get a meal prep company or buy a certain amount of meals throughout that day while I’m travelling. It’s pretty similar to set life, it’s just about working through it really. It just substitutes being on camera for being in a meeting.”

Thursday

“If you’re on the stage everything is within a 200m radius. On location it’s very different, you’re wherever it is and the travelling is different, I can’t leave all my meal preps in my trailer, our set might be half an hour away so they’ll keep us at set for lunch so I’ll have to bring everything, otherwise I miss certain meals. And that’s not good: when you start having five meals a day your metabolism speeds up and you start to crave – every two hours you want to eat – and your brain does a similar thing, it starts to react, and so if I don’t have that meal I get hungry and your brain doesn’t work. Once you get into that pattern you do have to stick to it. Otherwise you’re causing yourself harm.”

‘Fraturday’

“Fridays we call ‘Fraturdays’ because we tend to start later on a Friday, which means that you still have to do the 16 hours: if you start at 5pm you’re not finishing until the 8am Saturday morning, then you go home and you sleep and by the time you wake up it’s 4pm and your Saturday is kinda gone.

On a Fraturday, the fact that you’re doing one means we probably worked the Thursday late also. So they’ve pushed it, we can’t be called until 12 hours after wrap time. I might have got in at 3am that day, but still esentially get up after five hours to start my regime and my PT in to train in the morning. If I’ve gone to bed at 3am, I’ll be up at 8am and then I’ll train from 8-9am, go through my beats and study for that day and then go into work, but I’ll have hopefully prepped everything meals-wise on Sunday, otherwise I’m prepping before that. Because by the time we get in, I’ll have missed that breakfast opportunity and sometimes lunch as well.

If I get an evening off, I’m usually just chilling out, you’re working so much. I live next to a movie theatre so I go see a movie or chill in my house. Most of the time once you finish working you need to go home and learn lines and beats for the next day. Most of my evenings or nights are filled with learning stuff for the next day. It’s 16 hours on set, then an hour or two at home ready for the next day. So that’s when the Sunday comes in: chance to prep everything meals-wise and to get everything studied script-wise so you’re only picking up a few lines later. Otherwise it can mess up the whole week.”

Doom Patrol is currently showing on DC’s Universe’s streaming platform in the US  and will be arriving on a UK streaming service this summer. 

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