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Guest Workout

Martial Arts and Iron Tone Phil Morris


Call it the second generation, Hollywood-style: Second-generation actor Phil Morris--his father is the late Greg Morris--plays chief purser Will Sanders on TV's second-generation "Love Boat." The first "Boat" was launched in 1977 and dry-docked in 1986. This Aaron Spelling revival, christened "The Love Boat: The Next Wave," sails into its second season on UPN on Friday, 9-10 p.m.

During breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey, I asked Morris whether he was having as much fun doing this show as his dad used to have at work. Morris, who lives with his wife and two children in L.A., said, "You know, I learned from watching my father do 'Mission: Impossible' that the family environment is the way to work, and so ours is very much like a family. I mean from Mr. Urich [Robert Urich stars as Capt. Jim Kennedy] on down. We like to hang out together. We work out together."

Question: Work out on the ship?

Answer: On the ship. The real ship. They have a gym there. And then when I finish work, I go to class. I've been studying with this master--Master Hawkins Cheung--for 10 years, and I'll step in and teach the class--it's called wing chun kung fu--while he's gone.

Q: You're serious about this, aren't you?

A: I honestly thought at a certain point that if things didn't go well with acting that I would open a martial arts school because I find it to be so grounded. I've been doing this for 10 years. Kung fu is as much spiritual to me as it is physical. It's not me being a tough guy. It's my attempt in my life to create balance, harmony, peace, and it's odd that I've chosen a martial arts way, but that's my road.

Q: What do you do besides martial arts?

A: Three to four days a week, I lift weights mainly for tone, strength and definition--not size. I'm more interested in being able to utilize a greater percentage of my strength than acquiring strength and size that I will never use in my life.

Q: What kind of a program do you have at the gym with weights?

A: I ride the bike first thing for 20 minutes and then I stretch. Then I do what I call push-pull. Let's say it's a Monday and I work chest and back. I'll push on the bench for one series of exercises and then go to the cables and I'll pull. For the legs I'm squatting and doing half-squats and then I do leg extensions so everything is balanced.

Q: Do you do anything outside the gym?

A: I play two-man volleyball all the time on the beach, so that's part of my workout. I run in the sand. I think more people need to get out and get active, get off their duff.

Q: Do you diet--as in diet?

A: I just watch what I eat. If I don't eat three times a day, I'll lose weight. I have to keep putting stuff in.

Q: How much do you weigh, and how tall are you?

A: 175. 6-1 1/2.

Q: You want to tell me how old you are?

A: 39. 1959. April 4.

Q: That was fast. You don't lie about your age.

A: I'm happy to open my eyes every day. I don't have to lie about a thing. You know what I mean? When I stop having birthdays, then there's cause for worry. "Phil won't be having his birthday today. He's taking a nap, thank you."

Q: You're up in the morning and you start off with what?

A: I don't eat anything before I go to the gym. So I come home and I have a bowl of oatmeal and two hard-boiled eggs. And then for the afternoon, teriyaki chicken with rice and grilled onions and a bunch of soy sauce, and that probably is too much sodium, but I eat it. I drink water as much as possible because I am so active that I'll dehydrate.

And then for dinner, it's on. I mean, it's on. I like to have chicken or pasta, and I have to have a huge salad and dressing on it. But I will have steak, man. I will eat an In-N-Out burger in a heartbeat. As long as I know that two of the three meals are solid, I'll go hog wild on one. And I don't justify anything. I have it because I wanna have it. I realize the down side. I don't know if I wanna live to 110.

* Guest Workout runs Mondays in Health.

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