Scott Foley has been acting professionally for more than 20 years but he's only just become "the guy who takes his shirt off" — in his 40s, no less! — thanks to his role as Jake Ballard on "Scandal." Wonderwall.com got the scoop on the "Felicity" alum's exercise woes while he took a break from working out with trainer-to-the-stars Gunnar Peterson. (The longtime friends are co-hosting the Propel Electrolyte Water Co:Labs Fitness Festival in Los Angeles on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, 2017.) Scott also dished on what it takes to achieve his "Scandal" bod, how it feels to be entering the hit drama's final season, how he celebrated 10 years of marriage to "Grey's Anatomy" actress Marika Dominczyk, what the legacy of "Felicity" is to him and more! Keep reading for the highlights from our chat…
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Scott Foley on achieving the perfect body for his "Scandal" role:
"It's tough. I was doing a show called 'The Unit' a few years ago before I started 'Scandal,' and it was a military show. I didn't have to, but I chose to sort of bulk up and be a bigger, thicker character for that. Naturally I slimmed down a little after. But for 'Scandal,' I wanted to slim down even more knowing that it was one of those shows where they're gonna say, 'Hey, you're the guy who takes his shirt off!' — which I've never really been before. So I always try to stay fit and healthy. One of the big things for me is not hurting myself and not getting injured. I do a lot of running on the show. But for me, it's about staying 10 days, two weeks away from peak conditioning. So I have to keep my eating in check, which is really tough when the wife cooks like mine does and craft services are available at all times. That's the biggest part: the eating. But the prolonged effect is making sure that my body stays lean and ready to go at any time. So if I get a script like I did the other day and it says, like, Jake's got his shirt off, I can call Gunnar [Peterson] and be like, 'Hey, dude, I've got my shirt off in two weeks, here's what we gotta do. And he'll say, 'Alright, come in.' We'll schedule maybe one or two extra workouts. But I really tailor my diet for those two weeks leading up to it."
Scott Foley on the exercise he hates the most:
"For a while, I was doing CrossFit, which I love, but CrossFit involves a lot of heavy weights fast. One in particular is a deadlift, and God, I seem to throw my damn back out every time. It hurts. I can't go to the toilet for like three days afterwards because my legs are so damn sore. Deadlifts are something that I hate. I know how important they are to a lot of people, but for me, we try to find other exercises to work the glutes and to work the legs that aren't just standard picking up weights off the ground."
Scott Foley on struggling with exercise injuries:
"I have three little kids who want to be picked up and jump on the trampoline and go swimming. On top of that, I've got a TV show that says, 'Hey, you've gotta be here at 6 A.M.' If I throw my back out, I just can't do it. So it's really important for me to make sure [I don't hurt myself]. And then we do a lot of stunt work on the show, and I try to do as much of that as I can. The older I get, the less I do. But it's important to stay healthy. That's a bigger conversation: staying healthy and what fitness does to keep you younger and keep you flexible and nimble and add some longevity to your life."
Scott Foley on his long-term relationship with trainer Gunnar Peterson:
"I've been working out with Gunnar for almost 20 years now. … It makes me feel pretty damn old. … I was with this other trainer in Brentwood [in Los Angeles] and someone else was training there — a friend of mine — and he said, 'Hey, I heard you play tennis,' and I said, 'I do!' and he said, 'I've got this great group of people — we play tennis every Tuesday. Do you want to come up?' So I joined them, and the tennis court just happened to be at Gunnar's old house. That's how I met him. He had a gym at his house and was training people there, and we sort of hit it off. I said, 'Hey, I'd love to come in and workout with you,' and it just happened. I've been literally through two or three different gyms of his. I know his kids and his family. We've been friends for literally 17 years."
Scott Foley on co-leading the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival with Gunnar Peterson:
"All the exercises are gonna be exercises that Gunnar's put together for this fitness festival. He will be the one leading the class and I will be the dummy sort of showing everybody how I do it — and maybe how not to do it. But I'll be up there with him working everybody through these moves and exercising as well. There's not gonna be a whole lot of pressure on me to do it right. I think it's gonna be a fun way for people to exercise together and for Gunnar to put together a workout that maybe people haven't seen before — something that is new for them with some exercises that they haven't done before."
Scott Foley on getting back to work on the final season of "Scandal":
"We had our first table read … and the script is amazing, but it's kinda sad right? It's the last season of this show where I love everybody there, and I'm gonna miss it when it's gone. Each episode we do is one step closer to not doing any more. We're really fortunate in one respect: that we have this time to appreciate it and to spend with each other and to say goodbye and do this one more time — because most times on television shows, you wrap a season and then you find out three weeks later at the Upfronts that they're not picking you up and you didn't have a chance to say goodbye or to appreciate that this might be the last time you're doing it. We know that now, so I'm really fortunate. That being said, I'm going to miss the show like crazy."
Scott Foley on directing episodes of "Scandal":
"I'm gonna direct one of the episodes this season — the third one. So I start that in August while I'm shooting [another episode]. It's always kinda crazy when you're an actor on the show and you're directing as well. You're shooting one show and prepping another and directing it and then you're doing post, so it's sort of crazy. But I love working with people and getting to be on the other side of the camera. You can appreciate how good [your castmates] are when you're standing opposite them, but to sit behind the monitor and then to give them directions and see how well they take it, it's really a blessing."
Scott Foley on what's in store for the upcoming final season of "Scandal":
"We had a table read for the first episode, and even that's gonna change. So I know nothing about what's gonna happen between now and when we wrap in March. It's just so crazy. … I wish I could say, 'Man, I've got this great scene coming up that you guys are gonna love with Olivia,' or 'Oh, I've got a great fight scene,' but I don't have anything to tell you. I'm so sorry!"
Scott Foley on his "Scandal" hiatus facial hair:
"I had grown a big hiatus beard that my wife hated. She begged me to cut it. So I did, but I left a little handlebar mustache that she hated even more that I rocked for a couple of days."
Scott Foley on how he spent his summer vacation during the "Scandal" hiatus:
"I was off social media for the summer. I made myself a pledge that I would get off it, so I did that. … We spent the first half with the kids at home doing a lot of swimming and running around. My wife is from New York, so we went back to the East Coast and spent a week with her family. Then we go to this family camp in Vermont. This was our third year now. The kids just love it. For my wife [actress Marika Dominczyk] and me, it's such a great break because they take our kids. All day long. They take our kids and we get to have breakfast and lunch and dinner by ourselves with some family time thrown in at the middle of the day. But we hike and we bike and we wakeboard and we do ropes courses and archery and all the stupid things you do at camp, but we do that as adults while our kids are taken care of doing that with their own camp. So it's a really special place for us, and I hope we do it forever."
Scott Foley on raising three young kids while he and his wife juggle successful careers as TV actors:
"The biggest thing that we work on — and it's difficult sometimes — is patience. Not just with each other but with our kids. It's very easy after you've been working for 12 or 15 hours a day to just want to sleep all day — or you get mad at the kids or one thing frustrates you and it doesn't work out. For us, it's about taking a breath and realizing how fortunate we are and how grateful we both are to have careers and jobs doing what we want to do. We have healthy children. At the end of the day, we're so lucky, and we try to instill that gratitude in our children. It's tough when they're 2 and 5 and 7, but you gotta start early, right?"
Scott Foley on celebrating 10 years of marriage with his wife earlier this summer:
"Can you believe it? We did not do anything special. We went to dinner and a movie. I can't even remember what we saw. It's great and it's really important and celebrating us is really important, but we like to celebrate us with the kids. We do it almost every day: We have dinner with them, we put them to bed, we read them stories, and for us, that's what we love to do. I wish there was a huge big celebration, but there was not."
Scott Foley on the legacy of "Felicity" as the show reaches its 20th anniversary next year:
"I still get people who come up to me and have no idea that I'm on 'Scandal' and have never seen anything else I've done and love 'Felicity.' People love that show — and me too! It still might be one of my favorite things I've ever done. To look back and say it's been almost 20 years since I shot that pilot, I just feel so lucky that I'm still working. That's all I ever wanted to do. I moved out here [to Los Angeles] as a kid right after high school. I was 18 or 19 years old. I just wanted to be a working actor. The fact that I've been able to do that successfully — do that and raise a family here — it's really great. I can only imagine that my other castmates feel the same way. … [We had a reunion] last year or the year before, and it was great to see them. It's been too long. You find yourself sort of falling back into old patterns and laughing about things that happened. I think we're all really grateful that was how we started our careers: with a show that people really revered like they did."