Nearly 20 years later, legendary male model Fabio Lanzoni is still in incredible shape.
Even at age 57, the ‘90s heartthrob—whose flowing hair and ripped physique has graced everything from romance novels to not-butter spread commercials—hasn’t given up his daily routine when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.
On behalf of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter—which is debuting a new video featuring a toaster that can laser print your toast—Fabio was kind enough to chat with SI.com about physical fitness, politics and how to be your best romantic self.
Rohan Nadkarni: You are in outstanding shape. If I wanted to look like you, what’s the first step?
Fabio: A lot of people sometimes—I always think of the car analogy. A lot of people go a few months eating then they don’t eat so well anymore. It’s almost like you have a beautiful car and all of a sudden, for a month you put 92 or 91 of gas then for the rest of the year you go for the 83 gasoline. That car is going to break down. I believe in longevity. It’s not that hard. It’s nutrition and working out. If you follow the regiment, after a while it just becomes part of your life. Your body will not miss any of those things you think it will.
RN: What’s a normal workout day for you? What do you do to stay fit?
Fabio: I do about an hour, an hour-fifteen of weights. Then I do some cardio. You know, running, or stationary bike. Sometimes, maybe once a week I go dirt biking. That’s an amazing, amazing workout. People don’t realize that when you dirt bike with a motorcycle you can lose up to four to six pounds in four hours.
RN: Wow, that’s crazy.
Fabio: Yeah because most people don’t realize when you dirt bike you never really sit on the seat of the bike, you’re standing up and moving your body around. The bike goes, it’s not so much in the handlebar, it’s very much the center of the bike. It’s how you move your body around where your bike is going to go. You hardly move the handlebars.
RN: See, I didn’t know that.
Fabio: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the center of gravity for the motorcycle is your foot pegs. If you lean on your right foot the bike is probably going to go right. If you switch your body left, it’s going to left. It’s so incredible bikes today are so in tune with you—where you look, the bike is going to go. It’s how you position your body. The No. 1 rule is don’t look where you don’t want to hit. People when they go dirt biking, they see a rock, they hit the rock. They see a bush, they go right into the bush. So always look where you want to go.
RN: What’s your diet like every day? What are you eating every day?
Fabio: Rohan, it’s very simple. In the morning I get up, I have my oatmeal, I have, always, an egg whites omelet, sometimes with spinach, sometimes with asparagus, sometimes with tomatoes or mushrooms. I cook it with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I always do. I’ve been using it for 20 years. For lunch, I normally have cod or sea bass or salmon with some vegetables. And at night, the same, usually fish with vegetables. A lot of simple stuff and good, lean protein.
RN: When people bump into you on the street, what do they most recognize you for?
Fabio: Oh, it depends on the people. Of course, that line (I can’t believe it’s not butter) always comes out. People scream at me that line from the other side of the street. There are so many things, that’s just one of the things people always—they’re trying to be funny or trying to be cute. Or people come up to me and say, “Please, please say the line.” Even kids! Even kids ask.
RN: That’s awesome!
Fabio: I know, that’s funny.
RN: I saw you became a U.S. citizen earlier this year. Congratulations! I also went through that process some years ago.
Fabio: Oh, I love it. You know, I’ve been in this country a long time, it was my dream since I was 13 years old, that was the first time I came to the United States. Since that age I never wanted to go back. Unfortunately, I had to go back because my parents told me until I was a man, I couldn’t make my own decisions. So then when I was 19 I came back and I’ve been here ever since. It really is the greatest country in the world. Where you from Rohan?
RN: I was born in Bombay.
Fabio: Oh, you know very well, there are beautiful countries around the world, but America is something special, something other countries don’t have. It’s a mix of cultures, you have every single culture of every single part of the planet. That’s what makes it so different and so unique.
RN: How’d you celebrate when you became a citizen?
Fabio: It was incredible. I got all my friends, I went out with them and I celebrated. You know, it really, it was probably the greatest moment of my life. I always wanted it because I love this country more than anything.
RN: Well, then I have to ask, now that you’re a citizen, with the election going on, could you ever see yourself going into politics?
Fabio: I’m a people person. I feel like when you get into politics you have to pick and choose between people. I like when people are united not divided because people can only give their best when they’re united. You know very well, even the biggest empire in history will collapse from within when people are divided.
RN: I have one last question. Obviously you were very famous in the ‘80s and ‘90s for appearing on so many romance novels. I’m curious, do you have any tips on how men can be more romantic in their everyday lives?
Fabio: Just be yourself. Just be the best of yourself. When you’re trying to be somebody else, you’re an imitation, you’re a copy. But when you’re being yourself, you’re original. And you should be proud of being yourself and go with the flow.
RN: Thank you so much for your time, oh wait, the toaster!
Fabio: The toaster! We talked about politics and we’ve gone on but we didn’t talk about the toaster.
RN: I have a question about the toaster.
Fabio: It’s so unique. I’m telling you, it’s high-tech, it’s also gigantic. It’s huge. And it’s one of a kind because you can print any pictures or any image or any word on any piece of bread.
RN: So what is your favorite image or phrase to put on the toast?
Fabio: I love America.