DAYS's Mark Hapka: Getting Into Tip-top Soap ShapeBy Janet Di Lauro Posted: Aug 16, 2010
Before he was a lean, mean soap opera star, Mark Hapka (Nathan, DAYS) wasn't exactly a candidate to appear shirtless at the beach, let alone on a television screen. In fact, the actor readily admits he was a former "fatty.""I come from a pretty bad nutritional background," admits Hapka, admitting he once lived on ramen noodles, tater tots and greasy fish sticks. "All that garbage."
The bad nutrition caught up with him as he got older.
"I put on quite a few pounds in college," says Hapka. "I was 265 pounds only a few years ago. I'm 6 feet tall, and none of it was muscle. I was a fatty."
Which didn't bode well for an acting career.
"Prior to getting DAYS, I did a lot of theater and musical theater, and I always played the comic relief," he explains. "I was always the funny, nice guy. I never played the leading man. I didn't even know there was anything behind it."
On a personal front, Hapka wasn't doing much better. "I never got any of the girls," he adds. "I never thought I was attractive." Then, one day, Hapka had an epiphany and everything changed. "I just made the decision to lose weight," he notes. "I remember eating pizza one day and trying to tie my shoes, so I could go down to KFC with my friends to eat. I got lightheaded and thought, ‘I'm way too young for this.'"
From that moment on, life as Hapka knew it changed. "I dropped the weight," he recounts. "I started working out daily. I changed my entire diet up, and my lifestyle. A year later, I had dropped 80 pounds."
Along the way, Hapka learned to cook healthy. "I'm extremely good at it," he boasts. "It's mostly trial and error. My friends always take advantage of that. They love using me for that."
Hapka laughs about the fact that he was nominated for his toned physique on soaphunks.net last year. "I was nominated for three categories, one of them being best pecs," he shares. "It's kind of funny, because I used to joke around about having man boobs. So I've gone from man boobs to best pecs."