How Actors Got Into Shape For Their Beefy Roles

Just because an actor may look incredibly ripped or in shape in a movie, that definitely doesn’t mean that is their natural body type. For many of them, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and the close watch of a personal trainer to achieve the shocking bodies that we see on the screen. Here’s a list of some of the biggest body transformations in terms of muscle on film. Take a look to see exactly how they did it and what they did for these roles. Would you be up for the challenge?

Henry Cavill As Superman In Man Of Steel And Justice League

Cavill in Justice League
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

When you play the role of Superman, you must be in peak physical shape, considering that the superhero has the ability to lift objects of essentially any size.

So, when Henry Cavill is seen shirtless in Justice League, it’s evident that a lot of work went into getting this specific look. He worked with legendary trainer Mark Twight who worked on films such as 300, who had Cavill on a strict regiment of heavy Olympic lifting on a regular basis to get that “super” look.

Alexander Skarsgard As Tarzan In The Legend On Tarzan

Alexander Skarsgard in The Legend of Tarzan
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

If you think of a man that grew up in the jungle with apes and swinging from trees, you would imagine he would be pretty ripped, which is exactly what Alexander Skarsgard is in The Legend of Tarzan.

To achieve this jungle-man look, Skarsgard would eat an estimated 7,000 calories a day and did “nothing but eating and training” for eight months to prepare for the role. However, there was an emphasis on eating, which he says he did in different phases over the course of several months, of course, on top of a rigorous workout routine.

Jason Statham As Jensen Garner Ames In Death Race

Statham in Death Race
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Luckily for the producers of Death Race, Jason Statham has always been concerned with his health and staying in the best shape possible. Therefore, not all that work was needed to get the actor in peak physical condition.

However, for the film, he focused on functional training, doing a series of five different exercises on a regular basis, as well as an extensive warm-up. Other than that, he mostly stuck to his own routine, which proved to already work for him.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau As Jacob Harlon In Shot Caller

Coster-Waldou in Shot Caller
Saban Films
Saban Films

Although most audiences know the actor for his role as Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones, he took on a new form for the film Shot Caller. With his character serving extensive time in prison, he had to look like he spent the majority of his time working out, receiving help from trainer Jesper Mouritzen to help him with his diet and packing on muscle.

Coster-Waldau recalls that putting on 20 pounds was the hardest part, which included a lot of eating. However, to look like he got into shape inside a prison, that’s exactly what he did, training with the same exercises inmates in prison do such as squats, burpees, push-ups, and more.

Zac Efron As Matt Brody In Baywatch

Zac Efron in Baywatch
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Zac Efron has almost always had a body that’s made fans go crazy over him, but he took things to the next level with his role as Matt Brody in Baywatch. In the film, he is incredibly lean and shredded and needed help to accomplish this.

In order to bulk up, he would follow an incredibly strict nutritional plan as well as perform high-intensity cardio and resistance training. There was a lot of focus on his back and biceps on his heavy days, although his washboard abs didn’t need all that much work.

Manu Bennet As Crixus In Spartacus: Blood And Sand

Manu Bennett in Spartacus
Starz
Starz

As a gladiator, training was essentially all day every day. As a matter of life and death, it was crucial that these ancient fighters were not only extremely muscular but as agile as possible too. So, in the show Spartacus, this is what the producers were going for, especially with the character of Crixus.

To get this gladiatorial body type, actor Manu Bennet performed a mixture of resistance training with functional movements, as well as hardcore combat preparation. By the looks of it, they succeeded.

Jai Courtney As Kyle Reese In Terminator Genisys

Courtney in Terminator
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

When training for Terminator Genysis Jai Courtney’s trainer commented that, “The dude is a genetic freak. It was the first time I’d ever trained someone where we literally had to be careful not to lift too much.” Essentially, the focused on functional training to shave some of his weight and give him that ripped look.

On top of that, he was on an extremely low-calorie diet, which affected his energy levels. His trainer went on to add that some of their exercises including “Plyo box jumps, pull-ups, planks, plank push-ups, side planks with rotation, medicine ball slams, battle ropes, TRX rows,” among other things.

Jamie Dornan As Christian Grey In Fifty Shades Of Grey

Dorian in Fifty Shades
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

For the film Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan had just four weeks to prepare for the role, so it was key that he got in the gym as soon as possible, focusing on his upper body with bodyweight drills.

On his workout routine, Dornan commented, “There’s a lot of hanging around on sets so I use any downtime to work on my arms and core with press-ups and crunches. I’ll aim to do around 50 [press-ups] in the morning and loads more throughout the day, whenever I have time. I also like to go swimming as often as possible.”

Dwayne Johnson As Roadblock In G.I. Joe Retaliation

The Rock in GI Joe
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Because everyone knowns Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as one of the most built and physical actors in the industry, when it came to G.I. Joe, the goal was to maintain and bring out muscle definition. To do this, he teamed up with Aaron Williamson, and the two would begin a brutal training regiment starting around 5 am each day until they basically dropped.

According to Williamson, “Every session was different, we both used head nods and hand signals to communicate if we had our headphones on. We’d do sets of 50 reps, do endless drop sets, we’d lunge for what seemed like miles.”

Tom Hardy As Max In Mad Max: Fury Road

Tom Hardy In Fury Road
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

By no means is Tom Hardy a small man, as apparent in his films such as Bronson and Warrior. However, for his role in Mad Max, Hardy had to actually do the opposite of bulking to get that athletic and fit look.

For the film, it’s reported that he only ate one meal a day and did months of fight training. His personal trainer was ex-Marine Patrick “P-Nut” Monroe, who used weight-lifting and martial arts routines for twenty minutes four times a day to get Hardy into fighting shape.

Ryan Gosling As Jacob In Crazy, Stupid, Love

Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

To get that iconic Ryan Gosling chiseled body for Crazy, Stupid, Love, Ryan Gosling mostly consumed bananas and protein shakes while working out for two hours a day, four to five times a week.

In the gym, he would focus on his chest, shoulders, and core. Gosling commented that “After a while, they’re like pets because they [his muscles] don’t do anything useful. But you have to feed them and take care of them. Otherwise, they’ll go away.”

Will Smith As Muhammad Ali In Ali

Will Smith in Ali
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

When preparing to act as Muhammad Ali in Ali, it was essential that he got into fighting shape. This meant that he went from an already impressive 185 pounds to a lean 220 pounds. His regiment included six hours a day boxing, lifting, and running. He also cut out junk food and focused on high-protein, high-carb, and a moderate-fat diet.

Smith noted, “[Audiences are going] to understand every second of Muhammad Ali’s life…what he ate..how he viewed the world…how his mother felt about him and how his father felt about him.”

Brad Pitt As Tyler Durden In Fight Club

Brad Pitt in Fight Club
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

There’s no denying that Brad Pitt’s body in Fight Club is nothing short of impressive with is incredibly low body fat and well-defined muscles, which look great when beating someone to a pulp. To prepare, he trained chest and back on Mondays, arms on Thursday, and dedicated his Friday’s to cardio.

He also had to adjust his diet, which was high-protein and consisted of six small meals a day full of eggs, tuna, chicken, fish, oatmeal, and vegetables. His body in the movie is what many people strive for in the real world.

Daniel Craig As James Bond In Casino Royal

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale
Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

James Bond is known for being a notoriously fit character, considering all the fighting that he does throughout the franchise. So, when Daniel Craig took on the role, he wanted to stay true to this.

In order to accomplish this, Craig says he, “gave up smoking and exercised five times a week. At weekends I ate and drank what I liked.” Supposedly, his workouts were only 45 minutes but were incredibly intense and nonstop.” At the beginning, he told his personal trainer, Simon Waterson, “I’ve got to look like I could kill someone when I take my shirt off.” He succeeded.

Miles Teller As Vinny Pazienza In Bleed For This

Miles Teller in Bleed For This
Open Road Film
Open Road Film

Actor Miles Teller isn’t necessarily known for being the beefiest movie star in film, but that all changed when he acted as champion boxer Vinny Pazienza in the movie Bleed For This. He gave the role his all and started training when he was 188 pounds with 18% body fat.

He went on to add that “It started out with just diet and kind of fixing your body with that stuff and then I just got into really serious boxing training. I would do like four hours boxing, two hours weights [and] two hours of physical therapy.”

Hugh Jackman As Wolverine In The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

In order to become the clawed superhero that is Wolverine, Hugh Jackman was determined to go above and beyond to get the look that he wanted for the character. He did a lot of weight training which included bench-press, squats, and deadlifts, starting light and eventually increasing the weight as time went on.

Describing his routine, Jackman said, “I train from 4am every day, then I eat chicken seven times a day and a bit of overcooked tuna. It gets old fast. As for getting up early to train, my wife [Deborra-Lee Furness] kicks me out of bed and says, ‘Oh, stop complaining. You love it.'”

Chris Hemsworth As Thor In Thor

Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

In the first Thor film, Chris Hemsworth managed to pack on an impressive 20 pounds by working with former marine and Navy Seal, Duffy Gaver, and eating a diet of protein-rich foods.

For the upcoming sequels, Hemsworth’s daily workouts included two hours of ab exercises such as planks, crunches, leg raises, along with leg exercises such as deadlifts and squats. However, he has also had to lose weight for films such as Rush, although he admits that he’d rather put on weight than lose it any day of the week.

Josh Brolin As Cable In Deadpool 2

Brolin as Cable
Twentieth Century
Twentieth Century

For his role as Cable, actor Josh Brolin had just 11 weeks to transform into the massive villain. At 49 years old, Brolin went headfirst into his training, working out at least three hours a day, which involved cardio and calisthenics. According to Justin Lavato, the owner of iambuilt.com, Brolin was a bit chunky and also didn’t have the best muscle structure.

So, in the evenings, he would undergo a bodybuilding session that would still allow him mobility for the role. By the end of the training, Brolin had lost 30 pounds, resulting in a shredded body of 180 pounds of muscle.

Michael B. Jordan As Apollo Creed In Creed

Jordan in Creed
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

To become the iconic boxer Apollo Creed, Michael B. Jordan took the job seriously, drinking a gallon and a half of water every day, with a diet consisting of egg whites, brown turkey, and brown rice in the morning. Throughput the rest of the day, he would also eat chicken, spinach, protein shakes, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables.

Training-wise, his trainer, Corey Calliet, commented that “The sessions combine cardio and circuit training to melt fat off abs while tightening them, and each muscle group is trained with volume for a maximum pump.”

Chadwick Boseman As T’Challa In Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

If you’ve ever seen Black Panther, it’s easy to understand that a lot of work was needed for Boseman to achieve a specific body type and style of movement. Apparently, he had a different workout routine than the rest of his co-stars for him to has a cat-like fighting style.

To do this, Boseman took martial arts classes such as capoeira, karate, kung-fu, and jiu-jitsu. Although he also had some weight training, according to dietitian Lisa DeFazio, he surprisingly didn’t need to change his diet basically at all except maybe cutting out alcohol.