Chris Evans dressed as Captain America.

Getting in shape to look good for the summer takes a lot of care and effort. Getting in shape for a superhero movie takes an almost fanatical dedication. No one knows that better than Kumail Nanjiani. The Silicon Valley actor and soon to be Marvel star hit the gym hard in preparation for his role in The Eternals. He eventually posted the result of that hard work in an Instagram photo that almost immediately went viral and more importantly, led to a conversation with Captain America himself Chris Evans.

Kumail Nanjiani recently appeared on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, as well as fellow guest Rob McElhenney, to discuss working out and specifically, men’s bodies. During the conversation (which you can listen to here), the group talked about how caring about your body that much makes you feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially around other men who aren’t that interested. They said it’s important to find other people who can connect with you on that level to keep you going, which is when Nanjiani talked about how much he appreciated getting a shoutout from Chris Evans (and also The Rock). Here’s a portion of the quote below…

“You have to really really care about it in a way that’s not cool. The best one who reached out to me who I don’t know is Chris Evans. Chris Evans reached out to me. I don’t know him. I’ve never met him still, but he got my email and was like, “I know how much work that takes.” That was the best one, and the Rock commented on the Instagram.”

So, there are a couple of great things about this. First, this is another check in the good guy column for Chris Evans. I love the idea of him seeing the picture, tracking down Kumail Nanjiani’s email and sending a thumbs up. That’s really cool and shows he’s an empathetic person.

In addition, it’s also cool to think about him as the leader of the Marvel all-stars in real life. I know Robert Downey Jr/ Iron Man may have gotten the majority of the press, but there are a lot of fans who see Captain America as the leader of the Avengers and Chris Evans as the leader of the team. It’s wonderful to think about that extending into real life where the actor is the defacto leader of the bunch who is concerned about things like their physical fitness and that they’re all eating right.

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I never thought I’d be one of those people who would post a thirsty shirtless, but I’ve worked way too hard for way too long so here we are. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I found out a year ago I was going to be in Marvel’s Eternals and decided I wanted to transform how I looked. I would not have been able to do this if I didn’t have a full year with the best trainers and nutritionists paid for by the biggest studio in the world. I’m glad I look like this, but I also understand why I never did before. It would have been impossible without these resources and time. So big thanks to @grantrobertsfit who started working with me at the beginning of the year and made me understand true physical pain for months and months. Then, once we started shooting, a massive thanks to @davidhigginslondon and his team (@ellispartridge, @thebeardypt, @tomcheesemanfitness) for training me almost every day and making me strong, limber and injury free. I can almost touch my toes now. (And thank you for forcing me to do cheat meals David.) Matthews Street Catering for their delicious and healthy meals. And finally, the biggest thanks goes to @emilyvgordon for putting up with me complaining and talking about only working out and dieting for the last year. I promise I’ll be interesting again some day. #thirstyshirtless (Photo by @markupson.) (edit: I left off one very important person: @lancecallahan who trained me for 6 years and helped me build the foundation I could use to do this. Thank you!)

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Obviously, it’s worth acknowledging The Rock commenting on his Instagram, as well. You could make a case that Dwayne Johnson is the biggest movie star in the entire world right now, but since posting on an Instagram requires less effort and there’s not the Marvel connection, I’m deprioritizing him in this story. Still really cool though.

And finally, I’d be foolish not to at least bring up that the single best thing to come out of this shirtless photo of Kumail Nanjiani going viral probably isn’t the email from Chris Evans or the Instagram comment from The Rock. It’s the deal he worked out with Pornhub. Get after it, Kumail. You’ve earned it.

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