Andy Whitfield as Spartacus

Added to the September 11th sadness was the death yesterday of actor Andy Whitfield, the former star of TV show “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” which launched in January 2010. Portraying this muscular superhuman character was Whitfield’s big entertainment break. Two months later, a routine check-up revealed that he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and in 18 months he was gone. Life is a bitch sometimes.

Whitfield was from Wales but lived in Australia and was a relatively unknown actor until he was chosen for the series, a sex- and blood-soaked version of the early life of the Thracian gladiator who led a slave rebellion against the Roman ruling class from 73 to 71 B.C.

In December 2009, Andy was highlighted in a Men’s Health article (below) about how to exercise when you are busy and build up those beautiful muscles that earned him the part. Who would have imagined what was waiting for him just three months later. I hate it.

Ponder this scenario: You’ve just received a treasured job offer—a dream situation for your career, in fact—but it comes with a few unusual requirements. You have to go shirtless on the job, millions of people will watch you work that way, and oh yeah, you need to achieve and maintain 10 percent body fat or they’ll fire your ass. However, because you’re so busy doing this job, you have only 45 minutes, 3 days a week to exercise. Assuming you take the position, what would you do with that time? Go for a run? Hit the elliptical machine? Search the job boards? Hire a body double?

Andy working on his abs on set


This is precisely the predicament faced by Andy Whitfield, who plays the lead in the Starz television drama Spartacus: Blood and Sand (think Gladiator meets 300), which premieres January 22, 2010. “I’m filmed virtually naked in my Roman skivvies all day long,” says the 37-year-old actor. “So when I look in the mirror I’m driven by both vanity and fear.” You can probably relate.

It’s natural to assume that an actor has far more time for exercise than the average guy does. But Whitfield’s schedule probably isn’t much different from your own. After all, he has a wife and two young children and spends most days on set from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “For Spartacus, we’ve committed 100 percent of our production time to creating great scenes,” says Whitfield. “So all the training I do is on my own time. And that’s pretty limited.” Sound familiar?

Now consider that job offer again. If you were Andy Whitfield, what kind of exercises would you do to stay lean on the job?

The list of exercises can be found here . The one he is doing in the picture above is described here :