There's a lot of pressure that comes with being the strongest man on the planet. Just ask Eric Close, who played a souped-up government agent in the short-lived CBS cult fave Now and Again. "You're working 16-18 hour days, and then you've got to go to the gym all the time," he sighs to TV Guide Online. "And then on top of that, you're trying to learn your lines and have a family life. It was insane."

And although Now and Again lasted only one season — CBS pulled the plug in May 2000 — Close admits it took him a full year to recover from all those crunches and pull-ups and curls (oh my!). "It really takes a lot out of you," sighs the 35-year-old actor, confessing that his physique soon returned to less-than-Supermanly proportions. "I started looking and going, 'Man, where did that six-pack go?' You realize how much work it takes to be in phenomenal shape."

Luckily, Close's latest TV gig — the CBS drama Without a Trace (premiering Sept. 26 at 10 pm/ET) — won't require him to log so much overtime at the gym. Still, don't look for the onetime Santa Barbara hunk to be transplanted into John Goodman's body anytime soon. "I'm going to do mostly running and maybe a little lifting," says the happily married father of two, who plays an FBI agent searching for missing persons in Trace. "I might also work out with some of the guys in the FBI... to get a feel for their banter and what they do."

If early buzz is any indication, one thing Close won't have to find in the near future is a job. Next to CSI: Miami, Trace is considered CBS's most promising new fall entry. Of course, Close knows better than to buy into advance hype. "Now and Again tested really high and was really popular, and that went one season," he points out. "So, I think everybody's approaching [Trace] with a humble attitude.

"I really hope we have a long run," he concludes. "But at the same time, we're just going to show up and do the best we can."