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How Christopher Meloni Got Jacked To Play Elliot Stabler Again For His Law & Order Return

Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) in the "Law & Order" franchise is a gruff, aggressive, and mercurial detective that sometimes lets his emotions get the better of him. An imposing figure both to his co-workers and suspects, Stabler's life has been marked with tragedy that causes the character to act in the manner fans of the hit franchise have come to expect. Before working as a detective, Stabler was a marine during the Desert Storm conflict, and was raised by abusive parents that left him with an unhealthy relationship with his father.

Stabler is one of the main cast members of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" from Seasons 1 to 12 (via IMDb), but he eventually retires from the role when ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation and anger management classes in order to keep his job. However, this only created a lull in the appearances of Stabler, and he was recently brought back to help the latest "Law & Order" spinoff, "Law & Order: Organized Crime," which premiered in 2021 (via IMDb). This was not a happy moment for the character, and his motivation to join this new unit is caused by the accidental assassination of his former wife by mobsters he was investigating. Considering that ten years passed before Stabler came back, how did the intimidating actor regain his impressive physique?

Meloni increased his workout routine and utilized fasting

In a recent interview on "The View," Meloni discussed what it was like coming back to the character after the passage of a decade's worth of time. When asked how he was able to get back into shape to deal with all of the jumping, running and fighting, Meloni said that it was a "double-edged sword" returning to the show. He said that the first thing that popped into his mind was that people would recognize the character, and then see that he's "aged a little bit." Because of this, the actor then decided to increase the intensity of his workout routine and stick to a strict diet.

He added that before filming he thought, "I'm going to double down on my workout regiment and my diet, and that's why I look a little bit different these days." Meloni clarified that not only does he engage in intense work outs, but also follows intermittent fasting between meals instead of getting rid of carbs. He stated that he would wait 14-16 hours between his last meal the previous day, and that he always works out before eating. He then joked, "I look at myself in the mirror, going, 'Here you are, 60 years old, you're an action star, and how's that working out for you?'" Judging by this comment, it sounds like the actor has a sense of humor about the effort he puts into maintaining the look of the character, which is definitely something to take into consideration while watching Stabler bust up criminal organizations in "Law & Order: Organized Crime."