T Nation

Movie Stars

Hi everyone

My rant today is to do with movie stars and how they get into such good shape for a movie in 4 months or less.
I look at ryan reynolds who put on 20 odd pounds in a short amount of time,i checked his training program he used and it was very simple
1 bodypart a day for 6 days straight going heavy on all exercises for a about 1.5-2 hours daily.Now ive been training for 8 years and i would love to gain 20 pounds of muscle quickly but im stuck on the ol 10pounds average muscle per year,at 6-4 235 i need all the muscle i can get.So my question is what do these guys do eg-will smith,tobie mcgurie reynolds that makes them “huge” in such short time.I have a couple of suggestions
1.great trainers-but that cant be right,we here at t-nation have the best trainers in the world right at our fingertips.
2.steroids-maybe? this one would make the most sence since millions of $ are riding on the success of the movie so these guys will do everything to make sure they “look” the part
3.new to training-maybe these guys have never trained before so BAM as soon as they hit the weights they go fantastic gains?

Can anybody else add anything.Id like to hear from CW,CT because im assuming that some movie stars would have dropped by their training facilities.


My take is that most movie stars’ rapid muscle growth would fall into one of two categories: newbie gains or muscle memory.

Most movie stars are lean, and sometimes downright scrawny, with generally average muscle, albeit generally rather cut. With this starting point they are newbies and have great potential for growth on that frame. With the close supervision of a top strength/conditioning coach and nutritionalist, they could easily pack on 10-20 pounds quickly.

As for muscle memory, it has occured to me that some stars may have alot of time to train in their downtime, have trained before for other roles, or trained alot when younger before becoming stars, but now, lacking the time may have slimmed down. It is alot easier to put on muscle that one used to have then fresh muscle.

Finally, I would note that creatine supplementation can add 5-10 pounds of water in the muscles in most people. This is not an effect that I think trainers would overlook when getting their stars bulked up for roles, both for the mass, and for the added strength/endurance which would allow for heavier training also.

Well, I’m no CT or CW, but I would say that number 3 is the greatest possibility.

The three stars you mentioned were seriously skinny before they started training.

Remember, they’re still not big by any means, they just look that way on screen. The camera is funny that way.

My guess would be that most movie stars who bulk up probably have never lifted a weight prior to that in their life. Also, they probably up their caloris considerably. In a sense, they would get that newbie effect were they grow like a weed just because it is new to them. Of course, they may also be getting some “help”, but I would guess most of it is due to being a new trainee.

but can they squat 3x bodyweight?

No? Then lets move on to the next issue


I believe that it’s a combo of #3 and “Help”. Like you said most have a lot of downtime, and never have lifted before.

So imagine, the guy had NOTHING to do but prepare for this role that was his ONLY focus, and he had professional assistance. Like Hillary Swank for instance had her trainer call her at night to remind her to drink her protien shake. (wouldn’t we all love that)

Well after this lets say he puts on 20lbs of muscle. Said actor usually would go back to his old ways…but maybe he likes how he looks now and got addicted to the iron.

If you really didn’t have shit to do except promo’s and acting classes and what not- training would be easier for you as well.

I noticed this phenomenon with rapper’s most notably. Lets say dude had to hustle to get his record out and maybe he slanged along the way too. Well just based on lifestyle even if he did lift he probably wouldn’t be spending money on protein or be getting a good night’s sleep.

Throw a few million dollars at him. A Protien, a personal expense (i mean ‘trainer’), some good night sleep in his posturepedic bed with the supermodels to keep you warm…

a few months a skinny motherfucker with the IQ of a rock can turn into fairly well developed motherfucker with the IQ of a rock.


Also, they are not in that kind of shape for extended periods of time. I assume that the length of time it takes to make the movie is the max amount of time that they would stay in that kind of shape, but it is probably only for certain scenes that they “peak.” They peak in the same way that a bodybuilder would in getting ready for a show; we know that bodybuilders arent ripped all year long.

Take a look at Brad Pitt in Fight Club vs. the cover of Vanity Fair recently. No doubt he was still ripped but not in the same kind of shape with low bf. Also, I am sure that water depletion and carb loading are techniques used. This obviously can’t be kept up for very long.

Most of these stars come off the shoots saying that they could never maintain this condition on there own, nor would they want to

personal chefs/nutritionists are another benefit. no expense is spared. its easy to eat a lot of meat when its fillet minion prepared by a world class chef

I’d say because they usually are newbies and you get very motivated when you earn $5million +

Also these guys are probably adding 20 lbs and still only weighing 180. The camera adds weight so someone who is scrawny say renoylds propbably only weighs 160 normally and 20 plus another 10 from the camera and he’s much bigger.

I think the biggest thing with movie stars is an unlimited budget for trainers, peronsal chefs, etc. and a schedule where the exercise is actually scheduled in explicitly, as in required, rather than being shoved in whereever it will fit.

When it’s your JOB to get buff, you have all the time, every day, that you need, and you have a whole bunch of people worrying about the details to make sure it happens quickly and efficiently.

If we all had an entourage of personal trainers and chefs, plus two hours in each work day where we were required to hit the gym, I’ll bet we would add on a lot more poundage very quickly, as well.

Remember also that movies can be retouched just the way photos can now.
You can also tell when an actor pumps up for a scene. Because of myltiple takes they’ll be noticeably different in different shots in the same scene.
Also the numbers in the articles may or may not be true–often publicists make things up entirely.

bullcrap about newbie training for will smith anyway…he was huge in the Ali movie. Apparently his joints were consistanly sore from the added weight.

Anyone see Nick Cage in Con Air? What the heck was that? He said in an interview that he cut out dessert to get in shape???

When its there job/career/money/life to eat sleep and train…
its easy to see why they get results…

Waaaa! I wanna look like Vin Diesel! Waaaa!

Who the fuck cares about this shit. Anytime an actor has a big body change, they do interviews about it and they say they did the same things that all of us (who are serious) already doing or know about.

Listen, I can understand wanting to learn as much as posssible about training, but chances are it ain’t from no fucking movie star. The excuse that “If I had a million bucks and a trainer I could do it too” is just that, an excuse. Fine then. Become a movie star and do the same thing. I guess what bothers me the most is that I’ve been hearing that excuse from fat people for so long, to see it crop up on T-Nation is really disheartening.

Sure, a lot of the actors may be using steroids. If you want to, use some steroids. Just make sure you educate yourself.

Again, who the fuck cares about movie stars. They are there for your entertainment, not to be idolized and learned from. Save that for our soldiers and teachers.

apayne said it very well… who the fuck cares? I personally hate the idolization of movie stars, as if they were extra special golden people sent from heaven… uh, nope they’re not.

Anyway, aside from the mini-rant, I wanted to add that I doubt that actors would go in for steroid use, though I suppose prohormones/steroids might be considered. Bear in mind, I’m not a steroid expert here as I have little interest in them, but, it seems to me they have a chance, if not a tendency to change one’s facial appearance. There are also chances for gyno, acne, and if injecting, needle scars. Now, I know that it varies from person to person, most of the chances for sides can be handled by good during/post cycle therapy, but, I doubt actors would take risks of that kind with their body for a movie role, especially if they are a better known actor that could easily get another role.

[quote]Moon Knight wrote:
apayne said it very well… who the fuck cares? I personally hate the idolization of movie stars, as if they were extra special golden people sent from heaven… uh, nope they’re not.

Damn straight.

Personally - I’d really like to know how Seth Cohen got his fabulous body. Not to huge, but ripped.

That’s what I want to look like - 5’10", 145lbs, and ripped.

145 lbs and ripped… ok…whatever man to each his own.

I do have respect for Brad Pitt though because he said in an interview one time I believe during the elections when someone asked his opinion about this sorta stuff. That he said, something to the effect of “who care’s what I think I’m just an actor- nothing more than a man who plays dress up and wears makeup.”

That last part is almost a direct quote, gave me a lot of respect for him cause he’s down to earth and isn’t like, “I make money I’m better than everyone”. Seems like a guy you can have a beer with and just chill.

Ok… ok…some Surge, and pop a Spike.



Some or all of the above might be true relative to stars gaining muscle weight. However, keep in mind that their agents and or publicists do a great deal of lying about how much they gained. As far as how they look, camara angles and various forms of lighting also help a great deal.

When they work, they work hard.

Discipline, determination, and consistency for a few months under expert care.

A lot of people in show business are really driven and have put a lot of blood and sweat into getting their big breaks.

If you watch a documentary like that “Becoming Alexander”, you see that even a party boy like Colin Farrel will buckle down and put his all into his preparation when it is required of him.

Oh, and Angelina Jolie is an extra special golden person sent from heaven.

Some of these people will use steroids, but most don’t.

There are multiple reasons for the big change, much of which has been mentioned.

They often do not know how to work out, but many keep a lean body, and those are the actors chosen, not the chubby ones. So they will have the best development.

Second they do have the personal trainers. These are not people who go in to crate a healthy bulking routine, but to get these people as big as possible as soon as possible, and as lean as possible as soon as possible. This is why most won’t keep that muscle, because it is so much harder then normal.

That leanness is key because a lean body looks larger then a soft body. Also they can use lighting, focus, distance, and smaller supporting actors to make the guy look bigger. Stallone has gotten people fired because he felt they made him look too small. (By the way, I won’t tell you how I know that.)

Often a leading actor type will also have decent genetics, which makes him look like a leading actor in the first place. This is why you will probably never see this happen to Andy Dick.

Put all that together, and you have people looking like they put a lot of muscle on, sometimes when they did, and sometimes when they didn’t, and impressing all the normal people.

I have seen a lot of actors who’s bodies I would love to have, Jessica Alba for example, but she won’t let me borrow it.

Rainjack watches the O.C.! Haa-haa!