TV

EXCLUSIVE: Darren McMullen reveals the insanely strict diet that got him ripped for SeaChange

This sounds .... awful.

By Rebecca Sullivan
When Darren McMullen first walked into the audition for his role in the new SeaChange revival series, he had no idea it would require him to take his shirt off.
But that's exactly what happened when McMullen tried out for the part of "30-something, impossibly handsome, ripped marine biologist" Findlay Knox, a character who has already sent pulses racing with his steamy shirtless scenes and rock-hard abs.
"It was a chemistry read with Brooke [Satchwell, who plays Miranda Gibson] and the casting director said 'By the way, this is a shirt-off scene'. I'm like 'You're joking? Are you kidding me?'. They said 'Didn't your agent mention it? If you're uncomfortable, that's OK'," McMullen told Now To Love.
Ever the professional, McMullen immediately collected himself and did what was required - getting shirtless in a room full of strangers, with zero preparation.
"Brooke is so lovely. She said, 'If it's any consolation, this is very awkward for me having guys take their shirts off all day in front of me' and we hit it off from the get go," he said.
"I said to myself, 'If this goes my way and I get the job, I'll hit the gym'. But when I got the job, I realised there were only two weeks between when I found out and when we started filming. And two weeks is not a long time!"
We'll just leave this picture here. You're welcome. Channel Nine
So with such a short time frame to make some big changes, he immediately got to work to prepare his body for those shirtless scenes.
"I had to give up pretty much everything I love, so wine and carbs. I'm a huge fan of Italian food and I still haven't had Italian food," he revealed.
"I've always said that I hate the gym, but I wish I got offered a role that I needed to be cut for that would force me to do it, and it happened."
Darren sweating it out in the gym. Instagram
With the help of two personal trainers - one in Sydney and one in Los Angeles, where McMullen recently lived for years - Darren embarked on his two week stint of extremely disciplined, healthy living.
"I asked my trainer 'How do I do this?' and he said 'No carbs at all' and 'No alcohol'. I said 'That's not going to happen', so he said if you really must go out, drink vodka sodas. Cutting out wine was hard. I do enjoy a glass of wine or two or three or four," McMullen joked.
"But I didn't eat carbs, except for the night before [filming the shirtless scene] you have a huge carb meal and in the morning [as well], then you hit the sugar pretty hard and dehydrate yourself the night before. That's a trick that the bodybuilders use. They don't drink water."
Darren's character's Findlay's opening scene in the SeaChange revival series. Channel Nine
He immediately hits it off with Brooke Satchwell's character Miranda. Channel Nine
As for exercise, he tried to "do some form of exercise every single day", whether than was "hitting the gym or walking instead of using the car".
But you might be surprised to find out that McMullen wasn't doing hundreds of sit ups or crunches everyday to get those abs.
"I didn't actually do any ab work. Abs happen naturally when you're working everything else," he said.
WATCH BELOW: Sigrid Thornton talks about her return to SeaChange. Story continues after video.
It's an incredible physical transformation for a man who says just a year ago he would describe himself as "probably the most unfit and unhealthy person imaginable".
"I never saw the benefit of embarking on a healthy lifestyle," McMullen revealed.
"In my teens and twenties people would tell me the benefits of being healthy and I just didn't believe them.
"People have these beautiful cars that they fill with the best fuel because they run better, but we have these amazing machines, our bodies, that we fill with crap day in and day out.
"I want my life to be as long as possible and since I've changed my diet I just feel better than I've ever felt in my life. It's incredible. I wish I came to the party earlier."
SeaChange airs on Channel Nine on Tuesday nights at 8.30pm