How To Get One of the Best Physiques in Hollywood
How old do you think Tom Hardy is? Like just based on his physique and his looks? 29? 30? Wrong, Tom Hardy was born in 1977. That means in 2 years Tom Hardy will be 40 years old and will most likely still look better than you.
It’s crazy isn’t it? Someone can looked so jacked AND so young simultaneously. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise though, scientists have known for a long time that working out helps keep us young.
It’s funny how actors and athletes are perceived as being worlds apart when in reality an actor goes through the same training cycles as most professional athletes and bodybuilders.
Christian Bale is a great example of transforming your physique in record time, but take a look at Band of Brothers style Hardy in 2001 and the 3rd Batman film Hardy. Bane Tom Hardy looks like he ate Band of Brothers Tom Hardy!
So how does he do it? What are his training and diet secrets? And how can you learn from, or even emulate him?
The Magic Formula: Hardcore Training & Diet
Tom Hardy’s training and diet regimen is not a constant thing, he has used his regimen to create completely different body shapes over the years. Compare his physique in Bronson to his physique in Warrior and on the surface they look very similar, but in reality he had completely different results in mind.
For Bronson he had to bulk up ridiculously fast, and try to emulate the physique of a British Prisoner who had a reputation for massive arms/shoulders, a barrel chest, large gut, and relatively tiny legs.
As a result his training was based around compound lifts for the upper body (Bench press, Shoulder press etc …) and lifting his rather large looking trainer over his shoulders in a fireman’s lift. Apparently his trainer weighs 16 stone and is known as “Pnut” for reasons that are not made immediately clear.
He appears to have been following a high-volume approach which he claims were to “send messages to his muscles”. It’s not obvious what he means by this, but either his trainers advice got a bit lost in translation or his trainer is a tad crazy.
You don’t need volume training to send your muscle messages, you need to send messages to your muscles to perform any movement. Odd.
His diet at the time seemed to consist of pretty much everything, the goal was to increase his bodyweight by 7lbs a week for 5 weeks. Chicken and Rice was his main meal choice, with pizza, ice cream and Coca-Cola added on top.
Regarding his bulking diet for Bronson Hardy said:
“For Bronson, I put on about 7lbs a week — with no steroids. In the end I’d put on about 2 and a half stone by eating chicken and rice, which was my staple diet throughout the day. Then I’d have a pizza, Häagen-Dazs and Coca-Cola: So not good stuff, butI had to put weight on”
“I did very non-specific exercises such as press ups, push ups, abs work and resistance training … “
In Warrior he was playing a mixed martial artist with very low body fat, who had spent his life in the ring. Tom Hardy had not. This meant that not only did Tom need to train like crazy so that he could look the part of a mixed-martial artist, he had to train as a mixed martial artist. This required up to 8 hours training per day for up to 7 days a week, for 10 weeks.
All that hard work though paid off, as he looked straight up ripped when it counted most.
He ate 6 small meals per day, focusing on keeping his protein levels high and carbs relatively low. Whilst it is not possible to find an accurate macro split of his diet he was described by JJ Perry (his coach at the time) as “Carb-depleted, angry and moody”.
This doesn’t necessarily mean he avoided carbs, it is more likely that he consumed a load of carbs but they weren’t sufficient for the amount of activity he was doing. If he was avoiding carbs however, that would be a controversial move. Training for 8 hours per day without carbohydrates is madness!
According to the production notes from the set of “Warrior” Tom Hardy’s training program consisted of:
· Two hours of Boxing
· Two hours of Kickboxing and Muay Thai
· Two hours of Choreography
· Two hours of Heavy Lifting
This all resulted in Tom gaining 28lbs more muscle within ten weeks, all without steroids. Which is remarkable, the guy must have been eating everything in sight!
Regarding his diet for Warrior Tom was quoted as saying just this:
“It was a carb depleted diet with 5-6 meals of protein separated throughout the day. A lot of chicken and broccoli and not much else. Eating in this way ensures your body will not store fat, but it’s extremely tough to keep it up while also following a grueling workout routine.”
What About Bane in Batman?
Tom’s workout and diet for the role of Bane, a prison raised bruiser was similar to Bronson although incorporated more weight training. The resulting physique was a cross between the lean MMA fighter Warrior body type and the huuuuuge Bronson type. Tom’s Bane physique is probably our favorite.
Even this wasn’t rocket science though, as he just followed a strict weightlifting formula of 5X5 and a diet probably similar to the lean Warrior diet just perhaps with slightly higher macros for a more “bulky” build.
On the 5X5 workout, it’s a classic workout split and pretty simple:
A simple and easy routine to get this type of look is to do a 5×5routine. That’s 5 sets of 5 repetitions with about 2-4 minutes in between each set.
You work out 3 times a week, and every other day you switch up squats with deadlifts. It would look like this.
Monday- Squats 5×5, Bench press 5×5, Overhead press 5×5
Wednesday- Deadlifts 5×5, Bench press 5×5, Overhead Press 5×5
And simply alternate and continue on. You add 10 lbs each time to the lifts except for overhead press which you add 5.
What Supplements Can Help Obtain These Physiques?
Never did Tom disclose any particular supplements he used in any of his body transformations for any of his big movies. He talks about food, and perhaps that is all he took, although we’d wager to bet he used a few supplements to help him achieve his looks. A few logical assumptions include:
Some Type of Preworkout/Intraworkout: With the rigorous training routines, especially on top of filming for other movies, energy will be in short supply, it’s only logical to supplement something that will get you pumped up for your workout. We’d recommend B-Nox Androrush as it includes 3 types of creatine, and creatine can help you add mad mass quickly.
We’d also assume for longer training sessions Tom would supplement with some type of BCAA, either something like O.N’s Amino Energy or some other BCAA intra workout supplement to keep his muscles fueled and to help avoid falling into a catabolic state.
Additionally, especially for beginner lifters which Tom would fall into (because he doesn’t weight train hardcore regularly) then something like Muscletech’s Clear Muscle would be a good supplement to add to his bulking stack as well.
University of Tampa studies had test subjects putting on 16 pounds of muscle in 8 weeks, which is an insanely short time, doing a workout program similar to the 5X5 routine Tom did for the role of Bane.
What can we learn from Tom?
The main thing you should take away from these two training programs is the amount of work required, people always dismiss celebrity transformations. “If I had a personal trainer, private chef, and $16 million in the bank I’d get results too” they claim, but could they really manage 56 hours of exercise per week for ten weeks?
Would they really be prepared to put their body through a training program as insane as that? Or a diet that was as extreme? For the majority of people it’s a good excuse not to do the work. “If I was rich enough” or “If I had the time available” are great reasons why you haven’t accomplished similar results. But they don’t diminish the amount of effort required by Tom and similar celebrities to achieve these truly inspiring transformations.
So how can you apply this to your own training and nutrition? Basically you can’t, unless you have similar goals. If you want to gain a tonne of muscle within 10 weeks then it is absolutely possible but will require you to train like never before!
If you want to build yourself up so that you look like Britain’s most notorious prisoner (Bronson) then you can do that too, and it’s a great excuse to build a huge upper body with tiny legs.
The point is that, not only was Tom training to transform his physique he was training for a ridiculously specific look for each of his films. You don’t need to do that, you have the luxury of deciding what you want to achieve and following a plan to do so.
Another lesson that you can gain from Tom Hardy is that high protein diets are a good idea for bulking, and that several smaller meals might be more appropriate than three big meals. If you can’t get all your protein in with whole foods, a solid protein powder, like Betancourts Prime Beef, might be a logical solution.
This is not because smaller meals boost metabolism or anything like that, it would just be easier to consume the amount of calories required across six meals rather than three.
When eating for bulking Tom constantly struggled to keep body fat increases to a minimum and this could well be an issue for you too. Remember that guessing calories is the fastest way to get fat and that a calorie tracking app could make all the difference.
Tom Hardy’s approach to fitness and nutrition can be summed up in the following way:
1. Eat lots to remain in a calorie surplus
2. Exercise at a high intensity for as long as you can per day
3. Use compound movements
4. Don’t avoid bodyweight movements either
Whether you’ve been lifting for years and just want to focus on Hardy-like muscle development (traps anyone?) or you are a beginner bodybuilder and you want to start out with a proven regimen and diet that will help you build muscle quickly (even if you have a high metabolism), Tom is a perfect role model to emulate.