How Hollywood Actors Gain Muscle For Movie Roles

Every once in a while, a Hollywood actor will make such a dramatic physical transformation for a movie role that it gets people talking.

For example, Christian Bale re-worked his entire physique when he gained over a 100lbs for his role in Batman Begins. Ryan Reynolds shocked everyone when he got ripped and muscular for his role in The Amityville Horror.

And Ed Norton was nearly unrecognizable after gaining 35 pounds of muscle to portray a skinhead in the movie, American History X.

How Did They Do It?

Guys everywhere are wondering how these actors made such dramatic transformations.

And while the exact training and eating plans could only be discovered by interviewing each actor individually, we can reverse-engineer a plan by reviewing some common training philosophies that each actor recently revealed in public interviews.

So without any further ado, here are the…

Top Five Keys To Massive Muscle Gain (Hollywood Style):

Key #1: Eat To Grow

There are some “arm-chair” experts who swear that you only need a small amount of protein to build muscle mass. The thing is… sometimes laboratory research doesn’t hold up to well in the real world. The protein case is a prime example. Any guy who’s actually gained a significant amount of muscle mass will tell you that you must increase your protein to make consistent strength and muscle gains.

It’s been alleged that Ed Norton openly admitted to using steroids to gain weight for his role in American History X. I can’t seem to find any of those admissions online anymore, but I do see in every interview that Ed Norton talks about upping his protein intake in order to increase muscle mass. Ryan Reynolds talks about eating 8-10 protein rich meals per day in order to make his transformation.

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Key #2: Training Heavy To Build Muscle Mass

If you want to build appreciable muscle mass and massive strength, you cannot train with light weights. You must literally force the muscles to grow by training with ever-increasing loads.

Christian Bale attests to this fact:

“I couldn’t do a single push-up and so we had months ahead of us. I was just down at the gym with this good crazy ex-marine trainer friend of mine who just made me lift just impossible heavy weights for… months on end and then eventually managed to get in shape like kind of just in time for the beginning of the movie.”

Christian Bale, interview with

Key #3: Massive Motivation

Let’s face it: When you’ve got millions of dollars on the line, it can be pretty motivating to make sure you get to the gym and get your protein down. Ed Norton now receives anywhere from $1-8 million dollars per film. And you can be sure that Ryan Reynolds and Christian Bale aren’t working for peanuts either. And while money might be a very big reason why these actors are motivated to get into shape, the next key is what makes it all happen fast…

Key #4: Deadlines

There’s an old saying in business that any project will always expand to fulfill the time allotted.


If you’re given six months to write a term paper… it will take six months. But if that very same instructor only gives you three days, that very same project will only take three days. The same principle carries over to muscle gain. If you give yourself a long time to gain muscle mass and strength, it will take a long time.

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But if you give yourself a tight deadline and fully commit to the task, don’t be surprised if you accomplish your goal in less than a fraction of the time. Deadlines are powerful and each of these actors had to gain muscle while working against a hard and fast deadline. Set up your own deadlines for maximum results. Don’t just say you want to gain 20lbs of muscle. Set up an end date and stick to it.

Key #5: Make It Your Job

Finally, each of these actors made muscle and strength gain their “jobs.”They didn’t have to go to an office or a construction site each day. It was their job to get in shape for their movie roles.

You will have to work a little harder, but you can harness the same principle. Make it your job to gain muscle and strength. Sure, you probably already have a job but make gaining muscle and strength your second job.Clear out any obstacles that will hinder your progress.

And if you feel like skipping the gym, tell yourself that it’s not an option because you’ve got to “go to work.” Follow these five keys and you’ll be on your way to building serious “Hollywood Muscle.”


by Matt Marshall