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The Best Celebrity Workouts and Training Routines of 2019

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Getting into shape for a movie or TV role isn’t easy. Even though Hollywood stars do this for a living, it can take months of preparation and hard work to get into the shape they need to play a superhero, villain, or just a really fit character. In 2019, there were plenty of those. Whether it was Henry Cavill using all he learned getting in shape to play Superman to transform for Netflix’s The Witcher, or Keanu Reeves getting into fighting shape for John Wick 3, these stars went above and beyond to get ready for their roles.


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To find out just how these stars got it done, we spoke to some of the trainers they used—and sometimes the stars themselves—throughout 2019 to nail down the workouts, diets, tips, exercises and training programs they used to make it happen. Take inspiration from these stars to hit your own workout goals.

Here are the top celebrity workouts, training tips, and routines we rounded up in 2019.


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Keanu Reeves: ‘John Wick: Chapter 3’

What He Did: As someone who already trains in martial arts, Reeves brushes up on his training for every John Wick film. Along with doing work on the gun range with Navy SEALs and rehearsing stunts with the crew from 87eleven Action Design, Reeves also teamed up with physical trainer and movement specialist Patrick Murphy. To get Reeves ready, Murphy designed programs with big circuits that have a large volume of reps and minimal rest.

What His Trainer Says: “Keanu is an animal,” Murphy previously told Men’s Journal. “I never have to convince him to do another rep. John Wick needs crazy endurance, a powerful core, and grip strength. I spent a lot of time dreaming up different combinations and pairings of exercises.”

The Workout: Murphy designed a 3-round shoulder circuit for Reeves that included reverse flys, external rotations, band presses, and pushups with alternating hand taps. Check out the detailed workout here. 

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John Wick / Lionsgate / John Wick: Chapter 3

 

John Krasinski: ‘Jack Ryan’

 

What He Did: To go from Office worker Jim Halpert to spy/analyst Jack Ryan, John Krasinski teamed up with trainer Simon Waterson, who has worked with Daniel Craig on the James Bond films and many other Hollywood actors. A former British Royal Navy, Waterson used his military experience to help create an original program for Krasinski that included five days a week of physical conditioning and weekends of recovery work like yoga and physiotherapy. Once he was done training, Krasinski was able to bang out 400-pound deadlifts with ease. 

What His Trainer Says: “I liked to look at our training and make sure that what was onscreen matched what would be born out of his routine and his job,” Waterson previously told Men’s Journal. “My belief is that aesthetic is solely a byproduct of good performance.”

The Workout: One of Waterson’s workout programs for Krasinski included a warmup with work on the treadmill and row machine before going into a 4-routine conditioning circuit. Waterson also put together a push/pull strength circuit and a finisher with stretching bands. Check out the detailed workout here. 

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Jack Ryan Season 2 / Amazon Studios / Paramount Television

Zachary Levi: ‘Shazam!’

 

What He Did: Levi started out working six days a week, and sometimes twice a day using “beyond-failure training” to get bulked up into heroic shape. Levi worked with trainer Grant Roberts at Granite Gym in Los Angeles and also put in time at SWAT Gym in Toronto while in production on the film. To help bulk up ahead of filming, Levi trained with Don Saladino, who has worked with actors like Ryan Reynolds on Deadpool and David Harbour on Hellboy. Levi’s favorite workout to do? Deadlifts. It works out your entire body in a very good way,” Levi said. “It makes you a whole lot stronger, and the motion of it, my mind-body connection is pretty good with it.”

What He Ate: Levi had a strict diet and ate between 3,000 to 4,000 calories per day. The breakdown included 35 percent protein, 55 percent fat, and 10 percent carbs, plus a tablespoon of fish oil for his dessert. 

Levi Says: “[I was] basically just maintaining six days a week, weight training,” Levi previously told Men’s Journal. “I was eating 3,000 calories a day and trying to put on mass. Because I’ve [usually] hovered around a 200-pound dad bod. I’m stronger and healthier now than I’ve ever been in my life.”

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Peter Yang

Tom Holland: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

What He Did: Going into the Spider-Man sequel, Holland had lost weight for his previous role, so he worked with London-based trainer George Ashwell to bulk back up for the Marvel film. Ashwell started working with Holland about six weeks before shooting, meeting almost every day and working on a program that focused on a combination of big fundamental lifts and functional movements for mobility. Once filming started, Holland kept working: He trained in gyms that were built alongside the movie’s stunt rooms in London, Prague, and Venice.

What His Trainer Says: “I was excited to work with someone who was already such an athlete,” Ashwell previously told Men’s Journal. “The script that we were handed had a pretty big shirtless scene. So we wanted to make sure that he looked his very best for that.” The training team had a goal of Holland gaining 14 pounds of muscle without adding any body fat. “Tom smashed it,” Ashwell said. “The kid is a machine.”

The Workout: Dubbed his “Spider-Man Circuit,” Ashwell put together a four-exercise circuit that Holland would do for five rounds. The routine included deadlifts, incline press, dip bar leg raises, and weighted dips along with 30 seconds between each exercise. Check out the detailed workout here. 

The Diet: Ashwell adjusted the way Holland was eating, making sure that each of his meals had at least two fist-sized portions of protein, two fists of carbs, and two fists of greens. Holland was eating half of that before they started training, and doubled it to help bulk up. 

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios / Disney

Brad Pitt: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

 

What He Did: Playing stuntman Cliff Booth required a number of fight scenes for Brad Pitt—including one against Mike Moh’s Bruce Lee character—and they were all done without the use of stunt doubles. To help prepare, Pitt worked with Hollywood stunt supervisor Zoë Bell and veteran fight coordinator Rob Alonzo, many times in a training space located by the movie’s production offices in Los Angeles. 

The Workouts: Alonzo started Pitt off each day with a dynamic warmup he called “yoga for combat,” which included foundational martial arts positions combined with stretching. Alonso put a focus on Filipino martial arts since Pitt’s character was a former soldier who had experience with close-quarters combat. Pitt also did boxing training and traditional mitt work with Alonso.

What His Trainer Said: “I was impressed with his combos,” Alonso previously told us. “I knew that if Brad learned the principles of martial arts—like timing, spacial awareness, and range—he would be able to flow in the scenes much more naturally, like a real fighter would.”

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood / Sony

Henry Cavill: ‘The Witcher’

What He Did: To play the monster hunter Geralt in The Witcher, Cavill worked out for months to get ready with trainer Dave Rienzi, who has also worked with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Rienzi traveled with Cavill to Budapest during filming on the series, training with Cavill in between shooting days. Cavill posted some of his workouts from the gym during this time, writing that he learned in his training “it’s not the weight that matters, it’s the workout.”

What His Trainer Says: Rienzi posted on Instagram about Cavill: “Incredibly productive trip to Budapest to prep and train @HenryCavill for key scenes in the upcoming @Netflix series #TheWitcher. His choice to take things to the next level is no small task as he’s currently working a grueling shoot schedule working French hours (12+ hour days -no lunch breaks) plus an additional 2 hours for hair and make up prep. His 110% commitment is no joke.”

Cavill Says: In an interview about his training for The Witcher, Cavill said that he felt he was “in the best shape” of his life.

When Cavill was previously on the cover of Men’s Journal, he spoke about the training he did to play Superman: “There is no one Superman workout,” Cavill said. “There are lots of different kinds of workouts required for the Superman physique. It’s become a body-sculpting thing. You’re balancing the diet as much as you can, trying to keep the body proportionate.”

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The Witcher / Netflix

Kit Harington: ‘Game of Thrones’

 

What He Did: Playing Jon Snow and dealing with the wild world of Westeros took serious training, so Harington teamed up with celebrity trainer Dalton Wong, who has worked with Jennifer Lawrence, Olivia Coleman, and Harington’s Thrones co-star Gwendoline Christie. Wong focused on strength-training workouts for Harington, helping him build his back, glutes, and legs, but also making sure his workouts could work as cardio. Some of those sessions included 45 minutes to an hour of lateral lunges, deadlifts, and upper body push and pull movements.

What His Trainer Says: “We were doing a lot of full-body movements, rather than the typical isolation exercises,” Wong previously told Men’s Journal. “Lots of cable routines that would allow his body a fuller range of movement, because he would have to take that sword around the head.”

The Workout: One of Wong’s go-to workouts for Harington included a three-move warmup with knee hugs and lunge stretches before going into a four-round, four-move dumbbell routine. Check out Harington’s routine in detail here. 

Harington Says: “Once you put on that armor and get going, you’re sort of getting fit while doing it,” Harington told Men’s Journal. “I always felt fitter at the end of the show than I did coming into it. My worry now is that I always had that to come to get me in shape, now what jobs do I have to do that? I’ll have to pick them carefully [laughs].”

Kit Harington’s Muscle-Building ‘Game of Thrones’ Workout >>>

 

Game of Thrones / HBO

Brie Larson: ‘Captain Marvel’

 

What She Did: Larson teamed up with trainer Jason Walsh, who has previously worked with John Krasinski, Bradley Cooper, Emily Blunt, Jessica Biel, and Matt Damon. Walsh designed a nine-month program that included strength training, fight training, and weightlifting, helping Larson transform into someone who can push a 5,000-pound Jeep. Larson’s routine included squats, pullups, deadlifts, hip movements, and bilateral exercises, plus she had to prepare for stunt scenes. 

What Her Trainer Says: “We got deep into heavy progression, doing two-a-days, four days a week, sometimes five days a week unless Brie was feeling destroyed,” Walsh previously told Men’s Journal. She did the work—nutrition, recovery, sleep—everything required of her. The whole process took nine months of training, and we focused in on a number of key moves, including hip thrusts, which was a staple of our workouts.”

Larson Says: “It was nine months of full-time training. I was completely transformed by the time the movie started,” Larson previously told us. “I was not into working out before. I was an introvert with asthma. And now? I’m still an introvert with asthma, but now I can deadlift 225 pounds, do judo throws, hip thrust 400 pounds, and knock out 10 pullups in a row.” Read more about Larson’s workout here. 

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Marvel Studios / Disney

James McAvoy: ‘Glass’

 

What He Did: To get in shape to play The Beast, his superpowered alter-ego in Glass, McAvoy enlisted Swedish trainer Magnus Lygdback, who worked with Ben Affleck on Justice League. Lygdback created a program for McAvoy that started with 13-straight days of workouts before adding rest days. By the end of his training, McAvoy added nearly 20 pounds of muscle mass. 

What His Trainer Said: “I am incredibly proud of the results. Not only is James an amazing actor on camera, but he is not afraid of working hard off of it as well,” Lygdback previously told Men’s Journal.

The Workout: Lygdback put together a workout for McAvoy that included a 5-minute speed portion on an assault bike before going into a chest and arms workout. That routine had seven moves, including incline pushups, chest flyes, biceps curls, skullcrushers, and a superset of three other moves. See McAvoy’s full detailed workout here.