While The Hunger Games series has generated more than $2 billion in worldwide box office revenue and produced a megastar in Jennifer Lawrence, the franchise has also showcased a few young stars with its supporting cast: Liam Hemsworth, Amandla Stenberg, Willow Shields, and Evan Ross.
Ross—the son of Diana Ross, the singer, and Arne Naess Jr., a Norwegian shipping magnate and mountain climber—released several singles and appeared in small roles, including the revamp of 90210, before taking on the role of the heavily pierced cameraman Messalla in the third and fourth Hunger Games films.
When he is not on set these days, he is raising his six-month-old daughter Jagger Snow Ross with his wife Ashlee Simpson, the actress and singer. “We’ll switch off,” he said from his Los Angeles home. “I’ll do an hour and a half workout while she’s watching the baby, and then she’ll do an hour and a half while I watch the baby.” All the while, he must maintain an action-film-ready physique.
Evan Ross, 27, actor and singer
Most days, Ross exercises in the driveway of his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles with a trainer, combining moves that use his own body weight with a routine that incorporates weights and dumbbells.
“We usually start with some cardio: boxing, some exercise with the slam ball, pullups, pushups, dips,” he said. “That’s the warmup. A lot of focus on the core, taking everything slowly.”
Next come the weights, combined with squats, planks, and chest presses. For the presses, he begins with a set of 50 repetitions using a 20-pound dumbbell for each arm, then 40 reps with 30-pound weights and so on, until he’s down to 10 reps with 50-pound weights. He then does the reverse: 20 reps with 40 pounds, 40 reps with 30 pounds, and 50 with 20-pound weights.
“By the end, I can barely lift my arms,” he said.
Ross works out with a dip bar, pullup bar, a medicine slam ball, and a Bosu ball.
He opts for drop-crotch sweatpants from Topman, worn with his bright orange sneakers. To ease the pain in his hands from dips and pullups, Ross has recently discovered Nike Alpha Training Grips. “They’re incredible,” he said.
While he was getting in shape for his recurring role in ABC’s Wicked City (which was recently canceled), his workout had a larger aim. “It’s more than getting the body to look sexy,” he said. “I wanted to get fit for my baby.” The regular exercise has helped him endure the boot-camp-like challenge that goes with the early months of being a father. “When you’re up with a baby all night long, working out helps you have endurance,” he said. “You start the day in a good place.”
He employs the services of Ramona Braganza, a former NFL cheerleader and celebrity trainer who has worked with Jessica Alba, Zac Efron, and Ryan Reynolds. “She’ll work around your body goals,” Ross said. “She’s about how it’s mental, how it’s about focusing and being positive about your body. She helps me and my wife.”
“We’ve been on a crazy diet because of what I’m trying to do,” he said. “A lot of protein. Chicken, basically. When I wake up I have a normal breakfast of turkey bacon and eggs, and some carbs. Right after I work out, I’ll do a protein shake. Then I’ll have two chicken breasts, which my wife will eat with me. She’s really good at making them. I’ll have another one at lunch with a lettuce wrap with some rice. At night, if I eat early, I can have sushi, but just sashimi.”
Dojo is his favorite local spot. “You can get jellyfish and live sea urchin and incredible stuff there,” he said. “I finally got Ashley to try some of that.”
The Bonus Round:
He tries to throw in some cardio every evening, a run or some time on the elliptical machine. “For a while, I was doing too much,” he said. “I’m naturally thin. I wasn’t able to create enough muscle. I was burning too much.”
Shooting the action sequences for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 was more grueling than any of his training sessions. “People are like, ‘How was it with the green screen?’” he said. “We didn’t shoot with the green screen at all. It was all real: tunnels and water for three weeks straight. Shooting that movie was the hardest workout I’ve ever had in my life.” NYT