A six-pack has taken on a whole new meeting for reality TV's party guy.
Syrus Yarbrough was 25 years old when he starred onThe Real World: Boston, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary this summer. And the former college basketball star's stint on the MTV series and his five appearances on The Challenge led to decades of partying for a living, forming unhealthy habits in the process.
"I tell people I've been 25 for 25 years," Syrus told E! News in a recent phone interview. "When you're touring the world and when you're paid to be you, it's a difficult thing. I was known as Sy the party guy, so I was partying my butt off and the butt got bigger and bigger!"
So longtime fans were stunned when Syrus showed up on the May 11 premiere of The Challenge: All Stars season three 40 pounds lighter than when he last appeared on season one of the Paramount+ spinoff. And since filming ended, Syrus revealed he has lost an additional 20 pounds, getting into the best shape of his life at 50.
"I feel completely reinvigorated. Honestly, every day is my birthday now," said Syrus, who was getting his miles in on a stationary bike at the gym while he was chatting with E! News. "It's amazing being back with the spotlight on me and get out there and show the world my natural life progression. It's a different kind of feeling when you are 50 years old and you still have the opportunity to get out there and compete."
And Syrus, who shares the honor of being the oldest cast member with Mark Long, showed up primed to compete this season, beating Tyler Duckworth in the first elimination challenge and proving he is ready to go toe-to-toe with the younger competitors.
"Being an ex-college athlete, you can't get that high again unless you get on The Challenge," Syrus explained. "So I've been waiting for this moment, I'm back in optimal shape."
Syrus revealed there were "several different factors" that led to his fitness transformation after an injury he suffered several years ago left him feeling "depressed" and caused him to "gain a bunch of weight."
Establishing himself as a TV personality after his time on The Real World and The Challenge, Syrus admitted the partying lifestyle ultimately took its toll.
"I was spiraling in this zone of just being unhealthy," he explained. "Partying every day, being paid for it, eating like crap, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It was just one of those things where I decided to make a complete change."
That meant giving up drinking, smoking and sugar, a plan Syrus put into place before the pandemic, which then kick-started his fitness regimen.
"I do 20 miles a day, either by elliptical, by bike or outside by foot," Syrus revealed. "And then I do the rest of my workout on top of that." That could mean a gym session or playing basketball, which he does three times a week when he's at home.
But Syrus took his commitment to his new lifestyle to the next level after he had "a little scare" when his doctor told him that his blood pressure was high.
"I didn't know, I felt great and that was one of the factors to push it further," he recalled. "I was already going down the road, but after that I was like, 'Look, no, no way. This changes tomorrow.' And I just put into place everything I needed to do to get that back in order. Here I am now, feeling better and healthier than ever."
Along with his daily workouts, Syrus follows the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, which he didn't even find challenging to stick to while filming All Stars.
"My mentality is we are casted on the show for several reasons, but I think one of the reasons I'm on the show is I'm an extremist," Syrus said. "I'm not an average person. Sorry to say it like that, but whatever the average person does, I'm going to do it five times that and that's just my personality. Even on my horrible days, I will still go and bang out five miles, so there's no excuses for that. I hold myself accountable for everything in my life, good and bad."
For Syrus, saying goodbye to alcohol and sugar didn't feel like a sacrifice, explaining, "I want to be in optimal shape by 60 and I want to live the longest life I can and in doing so I had to cut out a few things."
He continued, "The key to the whole thing is keeping it as sustainable as possible. People try to make a big deal out of it and I'm like, 'Dude, what are you tripping on? We can go to Burger King if you want, I don't care.' We can do anywhere and find something to eat, it's just the way you eat it. It's just a matter of willpower."
Still, Syrus did admit that a scene of him in 2006's The Gauntlet 2, in which he was wearing "a size medium Speedo at 238 pounds" and jokingly "popped, locked and dropped it," gave him an extra push to change.
"I was like, 'Oh my god, did they really just do that to me?!'" he recalled of the 2006 moment. "So my motivation from that point forward was to make sure I'm not the guy looking like that ever again. That was very embarrassing."
Now in peak physical condition at 50 years old, Syrus is looking beyond All Stars, revealing that he hopes to be cast on The Challenge's upcoming 38th season as well. "I'm ready to go," he shared. "My goal is to get back on the other one. I'm trying to stay as long as possible and show people that I still have the fight left in this old dog."
That means he wants to face off against the likes of Challenge beasts like six-time champion CT Tamburello, Fessy Shabaat and Cory Wharton, explaining, "I want to challenge myself on the highest level I possibly can and that's what happens every single day when I do anything."
Right by his side—literally—in his fitness journey is his fit fiancée, Stacy Elmer, who was on the elliptical machine right beside him as he spoke with E!.
"My girl's got a crazy six-pack," Syrus said. "I got her by 10 years already, so I was like, 'Look, I'll get a six-pack. I haven't had one in a long time.' She was like, 'Let's go!'"
That meant adapting the keto diet together and daily gym visits, with Syrus explaining, "So we got at it every day. That motivation that you find in a partner is unmatched."
As for their 2023 nuptials, the menu has yet to be finalized, with Syrus leaving the decision up to the bride-to-be about whether or not it will be a keto-friendly affair. "I might veer outside of that if she wants to," he said. "I don't have the need to, but it's up to her."
But, before their wedding, Syrus has another big celebration to throw as July marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of The Real World: Boston.
"I am doing a 25-2or-25 years party to commemorate that moment," he revealed. "I have to celebrate that because most people are like, 'You're old!' and I'm like, I'm happy to be old and I'm happy to still be here. I'm thankful for it."
Even 60 pounds lighter, he's still Sy the party guy.
Check out more of The Challenge: All Stars season three cast, then and now:
The Challenge: All Stars premieres new episodes every Wednesday on Paramount+.