It takes a special person to convincingly play a bodyguard of a superhero, but that's exactly what actor David Ramsey does as John Diggle on the Arrow television series on The CW.
As Diggle, Ramsey begins as the bodyguard for Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen, who doubles as the Green Arrow. Over time, the character of Diggle has become a hero in his own right. Ramsey's build and action skills made him a fan favorite and allowed him to become known as Spartan.
Before earning his role on Arrow, Ramsey had years of experience in both martial arts and strength training. Ramsey began to first put on serious muscle when he was cast in the role of Muhammad Ali in the 2000 TV film Ali: An American Hero. He talked about how he learned to bulk up in a March 2016 interview with Muscle & Fitness.
It was after being cast as Muhammad Ali (in 2000), and I met a world-renowned kickboxer Benny "the Jet" Urquidez. I still use the traditional stuff I learned from Benny - pyramid sets, forced reps, drop sets. I don't worry too much about the weight I'm pushing, I just want to exhaust the muscle from different angles. I also hold the contractions to increase blood flow; it's all basic, no fad stuff.
Ramsey credited Benny Urquidez with influencing his training early in his career. Urquidez taught him foundational concepts that help to add serious muscle mass. This allowed Ramsey to bulk up to around 200 pounds on his 6'3" frame.
Ramsey also has significant martial arts training, He began working on martial arts skills in the 1990s with Wing Chun, Jeet Kune do, and kickboxing. Ramsey credits this for preparing him for more action roles later in his career. It has clearly helped his performance on Arrow, where he does significant stunts, like using guns, swords, arrows, and hand-to-hand combat.
Nutrition is obviously a major component to maintaining a lean and muscular physique. Ramsey has to consume a high calorie diet to be able to maintain his muscles mass and support his long hours on set. He has to consume around 5,000 calories per day to keep his weight around 200 pounds.
I've always been a thin guy, so I eat around 5,000 calories per day. I'll lose all my mass and get a potbelly like my dad if I stop hitting the weights. I feel good when I'm around 200 pounds.
While he is best known as John Diggle, Ramsey has had many other significant roles, such as Anton Briggs on Dexter and Joseph on Mother and Child. His intense workout routine and diet plan, along with his acting, have made him a fan favorite on each of his roles.