Kit Connor Talks About the Unrealistic Body Standards Facing Male Actors


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Kit Connor seen wearing a shirt and black pants before the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week on February 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

Image Source: Getty / Jeremy Moeller

What do you expect two guys to talk about in a weight room? Jokes about skipping leg day, maybe, or even what a mutual friend on GymTok is up to. But sometimes, it goes much deeper than that. “Heartstopper” star Kit Connor and YouTuber Nathaniel Massiah linked up in England for a heavy strength workout, and while they did chat about all of the above, the rest of their conversation may surprise you.

On March 26, Massiah posted a photo from their workout on Instagram along with a YouTube video of their gym session. He captioned the photos, “Me and @kit.connor = average movie high schoolers 🥷🏽,” while the video was captioned, “Training Movie Star KIT CONNOR For His Next Film.” Fans sounded off in the comments on YouTube, writing things like, “Only Kit Connor can make me watch a gym video” and “‘Heartstopper’ fans are getting their heart stopped by this video.”

“The reason I got into the gym was kind of deep, to be honest.”

The pair hit the gym for a “push” workout, meaning a workout full of pushing movements that mainly work the chest and triceps muscles. In the video, they worked their way through the weight room doing bench presses, shoulder presses, machine chess presses, and cable-machine triceps extensions, among other things.

Connor even set an impressive PR on the bench press. “I normally train with dumbbells, so I haven’t trained bench press in a while,” he said, while still knocking out some reps with a whopping 105 kg (or 231 pounds) on the bar, beating his earlier maximum of 100 kg.

At one point, Massiah asked Connor about how he got into acting and working out, and it led to a discussion about body image and the expectations set by Hollywood.

“The reason I got into the gym was kind of deep, to be honest. When I got cast in ‘Heartstopper,’ it’s based on a comic book, and the character that I’m based on is like 6’2″, very big,” Connor told Massiah. “And I was shorter than I am now, and skinnier. . . when it got announced, there were some people on the internet going like, ‘He’s a bit too skinny to play him.'”

Connor explained that he saw those comments and started “eating loads” and figured he might as well start training, too. “I started just doing push-ups,” he said in the video. “I was doing like 200 push-ups a day, and the only thing developing was my chest.” The actor soon realized he should strengthen other muscles as well and started hitting the gym.

Though he started working out because of unwanted criticism about his body, in the end, Connor said working out was good for him in general. “It’s good for your mental health, I think,” he added, and Massiah agreed. “That’s probably the biggest benefit because when you get into the gym for a while, it’s not even about how you look, it’s more about how it makes you feel,” Massiah said.

The two then went on to chat about the false representation that sometimes occurs in movies and TV shows, especially those in which adults play high schoolers. Connor was high-school age when he was cast on “Heartstopper” and thus looked like an actual higher schooler instead of an adult who fans may be used to seeing depict that age on screen.

“Obviously for us, we’re looking at the other actors who are playing teenagers, and we’re like, ‘I don’t look like that,'” Connor said, “but then that’s kind of the point: we’re supposed to look like teenagers.” Massiah agreed and admitted that “it’s an unrealistic standard,” but one we’ve become used to — hence, why the internet made comments about Connor’s casting.

Connor has since wrapped filming on “Heartstopper” season two, but his weightlifting routine has fans speculating that he could be prepping to join the Marvel universe. His “Heartstopper” costar Joe Locke was recently cast in the upcoming “WandaVision” spinoff series, “Agatha: Coven of Chaos,” with many believing he will play Wiccan, the teenage version of Wanda’s son and a member of the Young Avengers. Although, there is another member of the young team called Hulkling who is yet to be cast, as far as we know. Could Connor be the chosen one?

Watch the full YouTube video and the rest of their workout below.

— Additional reporting by Joely Chilcott

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