The good news: Tim McGraw is shirtless in the new issue of PEOPLE, showing off an impressive set of abs. The bad news: It takes (a lot!) of hard work to get the country star's rock-hard eight-pack. And when the 6-foot star, 45, gets ready to go out on the road, he turns up the workout to a whole new level.
"No one wants to grow up to be a rock star to sing the same song over and over again in a studio," says McGraw, who has maintained a 40-lb. weight loss in recent years. "The reason you want to do this is to be in front of thousands of people, playing that guitar and doing what you love. And when I'm on stage, I want to feel good."
McGraw will hit the work-out sessions hard in the upcoming months to prepare for his Two Lanes of Freedom tour in May; the new album hits stores next week. To make sure he has all the right moves, he trains with martial arts expert and stunt man Roger Yuan, 52, three times a day for five weeks prior to hitting the road.
"We work with pulleys, bars and do core training, strength and balanced movements to build up the muscles between the ribs and connective tissues," says Yuan, who also got Daniel Craig in shape to play James Bond. "I have trained a lot of people and many are hard workers. But Tim is another animal. I have to rein him in and have to tell him, 'You can't do that much.' There is no quitting in him."
Though McGraw says he still indulges occasionally, he trains and diets before tours because "it's part of my job," he says.
"I'll eat a cheeseburger now and then, and I love sweet tea," says McGraw, who works out around four hours a day when he's not performing. "I like to eat. I like food. That is one of the reasons that I throw that extra hour of working out in."