Ever wonder why all of the protagonists in K-dramas are slim and have great physiques? These actors are always eating rice and ramen in the dramas, so why so sexy? I snap back into reality and remind myself that they are just portraying roles and that, as stars, they need to look perfect. The work for physical perfection is all behind the scenes. This led me to find out what regimens these Korean celebrities do to look the way they do.
In a recent video interview in Allure Korea, the trainer of Asian Adonis Gong Yoo revealed the fitness program of the immortal-looking actor. The personal trainer disclosed that Gong Yoo goes to the gym every day and goes for a full-body workout with a routine that includes chest and bench presses and using various machines. If he has an upcoming appearance, he goes to the gym two times a day. (Wow, I can’t relate to this discipline.)
As for the award-winning actor ‘s diet, he goes easy on the salt and seasonings. He consumes chicken breast, sweet potatoes and veggies. If he wants to have a cheat day, he asks his trainer first. Then that’s not cheating, is it?
Another buff actor is Kim Soo-hyun, with abs like pan de sals. You can look at the results of his hard work in Real and Secretly, Greatly, where he goes shirtless and displays his body in all its glory. He has mentioned in past articles that he actually likes working out and regular physical exertion. He is also sporty, engaging in bowling, badminton and skiing. He loves bowling so much that he wanted to be a professional bowler and even applied to the Korea Professional Bowling Association.
Not to be outdone is Bench global endorser Park Seo-joon, who shows off his chiseled bod — when needed for a scene, of course. He exhibited his muscular and defined figure in his roles as a mixed martial arts fighter in Fight My Way and as a champion fighter in Divine Fury.
In an episode of the show Yon’s Kitchen last year, Seo-joon was featured doing his daily exercise routine, which starts with an early jog in the neighborhood. (I wonder if his neighbors ambush him? Sorry, I digress.) In a nearby park, he continues the routine with stretching and finishes off with a combination of pushups and pull-ups. However, when he trains for a role, like that of the fighter in Divine Fury, his training intensifies, where he has a rigorous workout routine for eight hours a day combined with a strict diet. I am not kidding.
“Crush ng bayan” Hyun Bin didn’t show much skin in Crash Landing on You, but you can see that he had a bulky physique and not the usual slender figure he naturally has. He worked out to have a more muscular frame and even sunbathed for a darker complexion.
You also see his fit body in the 2010 movie Late Autumn, where he plays a gigolo/conman and the 2014 Joseon period film Fatal Encounter. In his role as King Jeongjo, the be-dimpled heartthrob had an exercise routine that included steps, rope and exercises — without using gym equipment — to depict a realistic fit king of that era.
Jung Hae-in, with his boy-next-door charm, created a buzz in Something in the Rain, where he played a younger lover to Son Ye-jin’s character. He has been quoted that to maintain his good looks and toned body with washboard abs, he eats healthy, avoids alcohol and vigorously works out. I guess this is when he is due to film a movie or drama. In his “walk-cumentary” series Jung Hae-in’s Travel Log last year, he ate and drank his way through New York.
The famous IU diet, named after the K-pop queen and actress, consists of an apple for breakfast, one sweet potato for lunch, and a protein shake at night.
Last but not least is superstar Lee Min-ho, who is tall and lanky. At 6’1”, you can see him display his fit build surfing in The Heirs and in the gritty movie Gangnam 1970.
In a past interview, Min-ho mentioned that in his twenties he was careless and didn’t pay much attention to his health. The 33-year-old star continues, “I’ve begun to feel the limitations of my physical fitness. Now I’m paying special attention to the idea that I can get as much energy as I want, as long as I take good care of myself.” Let’s just say he looks good always, effortlessly.
How Korean actresses stay slim
As for Korean actresses, they are really not va-va-voom curvaceous but are lucky to have the slight Asian frame. They are so, so slim. In fact, there is a famous diet called the IU diet, named after the K-pop queen and actress. Reportedly, this consists of an apple for breakfast, one sweet potato for lunch, and a protein shake at night. (Wait, let me stop eating my cookie right now.)
Knowing this, I was still shocked to see the tiny waist of Seo Ye-ji. Netizens who analyzed her waist have claimed that it measures 18 inches or thereabouts. Just so you know, the average waist during the Victorian corset era was 22 inches. What is her secret? Genetics and exercise. Unlike many of us, she was born with it. She is one of those rare people who finds it difficult to gain weight. She doesn’t even skip meals or diet. She does yoga and ballet. She is perfection.
Another actress known for her lithe figure is Jun Ji-hyun. She is quite tall at 5’8” and has legs for days. I heard that she likes to work out a lot and has been called by friends a “workout freak.” In an interview, Lee Min-ho even mentioned that she continued to exercise on rest days during the filming of Legend of the Blue Sea. She is an early riser, jogs and does yoga daily. However, when it comes to diet, she isn’t strict and eats what she pleases.
Actress Park Min-young seems to reverse the aging process and looks younger each year. She has an hourglass figure in a 5’5” frame. You can see her curvaceous figure in dramas or on the red carpet. According to reports, she weighs around 110 pounds and has a 24-inch waist. Again, very Victorian.
When she starts filming for a role, she immediately goes on a diet and fitness routine. For City Hunter, she did judo, which the role also called for. To lose weight for Healer, she danced a lot as a form of exercise. She also dieted before filming What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? For quick weight loss, she does the three-day apple diet, in which one only consumes apples until 7 p.m. daily.
Though it is obvious that these Korean celebrities were born with good looks, they still make a serious effort and work at it. It’s not easy, but the results are nothing but fabulous.