After 11 years playing Luke Dunphy on Modern Family, Nolan Gould is ready to take his career in a new direction — and getting fit is part of that process.
While the actor, 22, had been enjoying his first real break post-Family when the pandemic began, he soon realized the extra downtime had led him to indulge in a few too many guilty pleasures.
“I spent six months basically on vacation,” Gould tells PEOPLE. “But I feel like now it’s time to kind of make a decision on where I want to go with my career, and one of the ways you can do that is by changing my look and my mindset.”
So he amped up his workouts and embraced a healthy new diet.
“I’ve been working out an hour and a half everyday with my friend Michael who is a personal trainer. We have a really cool socially-distant setup that has allowed me to get fit while also being safe. It’s been nice. Especially being unemployed in quarantine, having a reason to get up and stay motivated. It’s been something that’s been very healthy and positive for me in quarantine. It’s really changed my outlook.”
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Gould continues: “I kind of split stuff up throughout the day. I do an hour of strength training every day, and then 30 minutes of cardio and core throughout the day.”
The actor also put himself on a “pretty crazy diet,” he says, which consists of lots of lean protein and vegetables, and no more “teenage boy/bachelor”-type meal plans where you skip meals and then end up eating “four pizzas at once.”
“I’m eating so much healthier, even though there’s less of it,” he says. “What I get is actually really healthy food for you: lean protein, eating as many vegetables as you want and staying away from things like soda. Nourishing the mind, body, all that. And actually, for me the biggest thing was cutting out alcohol, for me that’s actually been very nice. I feel more clear-headed and have been doing as much writing as possible, being in acting class, taking all the steps I can so when the pandemic’s finally over, hopefully I’ll just be ready to go to work.”
Gould isn’t just on his health and fitness kick for aesthetic reasons. He also hopes to one day conquer some of nature’s most challenging obstacles.
“A lot of my life goals outside of acting have to do with the outdoors — I know I want to climb big rock walls in Yosemite, and so I want to get fit for that,” he admits. “One of my big life goals is to do the Pacific Crest Trail which is up the coast of America, Mexico to Canada and back.”
Getting physically stronger has also enabled Gould to rediscover one of his favorite hobbies from the past: parkour.
“I used to do parkour when I was a kid, and really loved it. Except, there became a point where I kind of started to plateau, or I couldn’t really do the next big move, and it actually scared me, and was getting hurt a lot,” he explains. “I dislocated my hip trying to impress a girl while doing parkour and that was the end. I was done after that, obviously.”
He continues: “Recently I’ve been going to different spots, wearing a mask and all that. And suddenly, I’m able to do all the things that used to scare me. I just hit my first double front flip recently . I’m obsessed with Keanu Reeves movies — my goal is to one day do my own stunts.”