In the action thriller Jason Bourne, we once again get the chance to admire the exploits of the CIA’S most lethal former operative.
The star of the show Matt Damon looks jacked like never before and he’s clearly put in the hours in the gym to get ready for those close combat fights and jaw-dropping stunts.
Make no mistake about it: Christian Bale goes the extra mile when it comes to physical changes for film roles. In The Machinist he was almost skeletal in his starved appearance. For his role as The Dark Knight, Bale went the other way to fill the Bat suit. To get there he did a combination of resistance and core training, as well as plyometrics. In fact, Bale ended up 20 pounds heavier than director Christopher Nolan wanted and had to lose it before filming.
What you can learn: Don’t overdo bulking up, have a goal in mind and stick to it.
EDWARD NORTON IN AMERICAN HISTORY X
For his role as the neo-Nazi skinhead Derek Vinyard in the hard-hitting American History X, Edward Norton morphed from a lanky guy into a mercenary-looking figure with tattoos and a chiselled body. It’s not what you would expect from the one-time Hulk star, but it helped create a film that has become a cult classic. He utilised strength-building exercises and a high-protein diet to achieve the transformation.
What you can learn: Think working out is just for the bigger guys? Think of Ed.
MARK WAHLBERG IN PAIN & GAIN
We knew Dwayne Johnson would look the part in Pain & Gain, but we were all surprised when Mark Wahlberg turned up looking right at home beside “The Rock”. He was practically bursting out of his white vest. To achieve the look and a stout 212 pounds, he trained five days a week, starting with benching, then squats and lunges, and a lot of old-school stuff.
What you can learn: It doesn’t always come down to high-tech equipment and advanced training. Old-school still works.
HUGH JACKMAN IN THE WOLVERINE
To get into character as Wolverine, which we guess is some kind of mental beast mode, Hugh Jackman would take cold showers before going on set. His body, which appears more muscular with every film, was at its peak for The Wolverine. He worked long days with personal trainer David Kingsbury to look like the ripped Logan and sometimes only got 5-6 hours of sleep.
What you can learn: Sleep is overrated when it comes to achieving the perfect body for an action film. Wimps need not apply.
BRAD PITT IN FIGHT CLUB
The first rule of Brad Pitt’s training for Fight Club? You do not talk about… No, forget that; to get the pecs and abs women adored and men wanted, Pitt did a five-day workout and followed a strict diet. Each day he would develop one specific set of muscles, to ensure he was rested and able to maintain a consistent routine. His body fat went all the way down to five per cent in preparation for the brutal fight scenes.
What you can learn: Diet is key to achieving the perfect body, no matter your workout.
MICKEY ROURKE IN THE WRESTLER
Mickey Rourke has never really been thin, and the defined muscles he achieved for the sports drama The Wrestler probably deserve some share of his Oscar nomination. He trained with the retired professional wrestler “Afa the Wild Samoan” for his role as the ageing Randy “The Ram” Robinson, and the hard work paid off.
What you can learn: Study the masters of their crafts.