How ‘Ted Lasso’ Star Maximilian Osinski Got into His Finest Soccer Shape Ever
Maximilian Osinski’s real life could make for a memorable movie in its own right. The 6’4” actor was born in a refugee camp in Austria to Polish parents who fled their communist homeland. they all eventually made it to the United States in 1983. Osinski grew up in Chicago with a love of art and theater, and was a commanding presence on stage before gracing our television and cinema screens, but the ripped physique that he achieved in Season 3 of Ted Lasso (on AppleTV +) is something that took many years to perfect.
M&F sat down with the star, who is now living in London with his wife (Dichen Lachman) and daughter, to find out more about his fitness journey on and off camera.
To keep up with the Polish language, Osinski’s mother, Danuta, had him attend Polish school on Saturdays, and while he would have preferred to spend his weekends away from class rather than in it, he realizes now that those Polish lessons are where the seeds of an acting career were truly sewn.
When Osinski’s teacher grew tired of him playing the clown in front of his friends, he was instead dared to get on stage and recite a poem. The performance went very well and so Osinski became enthralled by the chance to connect with an audience. Soon he developed a hunger to learn more about the craft, consuming hours of “Inside the Actors Studio” episodes and going on to attend Syracuse University to gain a bachelor of fine arts.
While Osinski’s passion for performing took root from an early age, he reflects now that he wasn’t heavily into sports as a kid, and accepts that a lack of understanding around nutrition led to him becoming overweight. “I struggled with my weight, especially in my teen years,” says Osinski. “I wasn’t a sporty kid. We [as a family] never got into athletics or following sports teams in Chicago. So, it was never kind of in the family DNA.”
Hard Work Pays Off For Maximilian Osinski
Maximilian Osinski’s birth father, Zbigniew or “Ziggy” as he was fondly known, had to work incredibly hard to forge a life for his family in the United States, and this was never lost on a young Maximilian. The ability to keep forging on in the face of adversity is central to how he’s found success as an adult actor. Ziggy sadly passed away last September, but Osinski recalls that Dad had been very excited to learn that his son had booked a regular role on Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso. “He did instill a hard-working ethic,” says the actor. “Believe in yourself and just pursue your dreams, because he did that for himself.”
After leaving University, Osinski was able to find representation in New York and after many auditions and rejections along the way, our man started to bag some significant roles. Many people will know Osinski as Agent James Davis in Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” or Dennis in “The Walking Dead: World Beyond.” He’s appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, but the role of “Zava” in season 3 of “Ted Lasso” is perhaps the biggest yet.
In the show, streaming now, Osinski plays an ace soccer player who is both charismatic and insanely skilled. Osinski, who admittedly had zero soccer skills, managed to score the part by venturing to his local park and kicking the ball around on film. Since the actor wasn’t exactly adept at the sport, a slow-motion, arty vignette was created before being sent to the casting agents, and thankfully the decision makers loved it. Osinski then hired a soccer coach to develop his abilities, but also understood that being larger than life on screen was essential too, since that might allow the audience to forgive any potential errors in his footwork. The star spent hours studying the greats like Eric Cantona, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Lionel Messi, and other legends in the field. And so, whatever viewers think of Osinski’s own chops for soccer, they cannot discount the incredible mental and physical shape that he got himself into, in order to leave everything on the pitch.
Maximilian Osinski Enjoys a Sustainable Relationship with Nutrition
In finally taking control of his nutrition as a young man, Osinski realized that tracking calories did not mean that he had to starve himself or feel any less full, but this discovery came after some trial and error to lose weight. “I would do crazy stuff,” shares the actor. “I would put garbage bags around me and run around the block in the summer, just trying to sweat.” These days, Osinski’s approach to staying in shape is much less dramatic. He uses the My Macros+ app to track his intake. “Of course, I live my life. I go out for birthdays and on holidays I don’t even look at a tracker, but I’m so much more aware of food in a way that I wasn’t, when I was growing up as a young kid,” he says. “Now, I can eat a big salad with chicken and it’s like: ‘that’s barely any carbs.’ But if I want to, I can go have an ice cream bar and I’ll know; ‘ok, if I’m having this as a snack, I can probably go a little leaner for dinner.”
Even when cutting for Ted Lasso, Maximilian Osinski was still able to eat his favorite foods so long as he stayed accountable with his total macros. “I find this, for me, the most sustainable way.” Osinski says, adding that he enjoys carbs way too much to go full Keto. “I don’t feel like I’m on a diet, I feel like this is just my lifestyle.”
Maximilian Osinski Learned to Love the Process
“The pressure for me, was that I just wanted to feel fitter and stronger,” says Osinski. “For me, now, my workout routine is part of who I am as a person. I plan on working out until I literally can’t anymore.” Osinski works closely with his trainer, Ashley Bailey, and the duo switched to full gear to make sure that the actor’s physique resembled that of a world class striker in “Ted Lasso.” The week leading up to his shirtless scenes, Osinski did lower his carb intake until the day before filming, and then explains that he did a re-feed of starchy carbs, which helps to make the muscle’s look fuller. “Ash doesn’t do anything crazy, like; ‘You’re gonna sit in a sauna for six hours,’” laughs Osinski, who was aware that he was playing the character of a world-renowned athlete, and wanted to honor that by achieving the correct aesthetic.
In preparation for “Ted Lasso,” Maximilian Osinski hit the gym four days per week, comprised of two upper-body and two lower body sessions. On days where they had footballing action sequences to film, Osinski would train the upper-body sessions instead of exhausting his legs. “Being in a place where I’ve gotten myself to, physically, has definitely put me in a position that when a role like Zava comes up for “Ted Lasso,” I can do it,” says the actor. Still, Osinski points out that this was his toughest challenge yet, especially since it meant that he would be taking his shirt off for all the world to judge.
Coach Bailer had Osinski execute compound lifts such squats, deadlifts, and the bench press to work his major muscle groups. “They were heavy, and hard as hell,” recalls Osinski. “But they get you looking lean and strong, and that’s exactly what I needed for the role.” The star also did overhead presses and weighted pullups to sculpt his physique further. The actor says that the experience of working on “Ted Lasso,” a much-loved sports comedy drama, has been extremely positive, noting that the entire cast were welcoming and supportive, and should the opportunity arise for Zava to return, he will happily lace up the boots once more.
Still, Osinski didn’t wrap the project unscathed. “You know, it’s funny,” he shares. “I was injury free the entire time, and then the last day of the last football block, we were trying to do a closeup of Zava’s legs, and you’re tired, and for some silly reason I just stood on the ball, with my cleats, and the ball rolled, and I sprained my ankle. Not badly, but just enough to be thankful that it was the end of the day!” For Maximilian Osinski, it’s all just another day at the office for a hard-working actor. “I have this mentality now,” he shares. “It’s, ‘Stay read to be ready.’”