How to Get Jacked Like Rob McElhenney

If you’re a fan of the hit TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, you’re familiar with Rob McElhenney, and if you’re like us, there’s no doubt that you’ve been impressed by him.

While we were certainly impressed by his acting skills, we were even more impressed by his ability to transform his body from the actor who portrayed a portly bartender with a beery belly to a totally ripped Mac. While it may seem like his new physique appeared seemingly out of nowhere, we’re quite sure that achieving that 8-pack was challenging. 

Like so many fans, we were quite taken aback by his sudden and dramatic transformation, and we wondered how he did it.

So, we did some investigating, and we were quite impressed by what we found. Whether you’re currently carrying around a spare tire yourself and you want to transform your physique, or you’re just a fan of the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphiastar and you just want to find out how he dramatically changed his appearance and his health, keep on reading to find out more about Rob McElhenney’s incredible journey. 

how Rob McElhenney got jacked

Who is Rob McElhenney? 

First, let’s take a quick look at Rob McElhenney’s bio, shall we? An American actor, producer, and screenwriter, McElhenney hails from Philadelphia, PA, which is super fitting, as he came onto the Hollywood scene when he landed a role on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. He played the role of Ronald “Mac” McDonald on the comedy series.

Not only is he one of the show’s starring actors, but he’s also one of the developers and executive producers of the show – and he created the show, too. In addition to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, Rob also plays Ian Grimm on the Apple TV+ comedy series Mythic Quest. He was also a co-creator of the show, and serves as one of the writers and executive producers, too. McElhenney is also a joint majority shareholder of Wrexham AFC, along with Ryan Renyolds, another mega-star. 

Rob McElhenney’s life has truly been a success story ever since ”It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Not only did the show launch his career, but it also changed his love life. It was through the show that he met his wife, actress Kaitlin Olson, whom he hired to play the role of Dee Reynolds.

McElhenney and Olson became romantically involved around season 2 of the series, they were married in 2008, they purchased an old bar, called Skinner’s Bar, on Philadelphia’s Market Street, and renamed it Mac’s Tavern (for obvious reasons) in 2009. In 2010, the couple had their first child, a son, and had their second child, another son, in 2012. 

To prepare for the seventh season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, Rob packed on 60 pounds of extra weight and let his beard grow in to add some more dimension and humor to his character, Mac. Charlie Day, Rob’s co-star, was quoted as saying that the weight gain was “disgusting” and said that the whole cast and crew of the show were concerned about McElhenney’s health and safety.

After the 7th season was finished filming, he lost an astonishing 23 pounds in just one month, and he went on to lose even more weight later on in the year before season 8 started filming. 

To prepare for the show’s 13th season, Rob transformed his physique, yet again; however, this time, he got even more fit! In response to his transformation, he joked with a post on Intagram, which read, “Look, it’s not that hard.

All you need to do is lift weights six days a week, stop drinking alcohol, don’t eat anything after 7 pm, don’t eat any carbs or sugar at all, in fact, just don’t eat anything your life, get the personal trainer from Magic Mike, sleep nine hours a night, run three miles a day, and have a studio pay for the whole thing over a six to seven month span. I don’t know why everyone’s not doing this. It’s a super realistic lifestyle and an appropriate body image to compare oneself to.” 

How Rob McElhenney Went from “Fat Mac” to “Buff Mac”

So now that you have some background info about Rob McElhenney and you know that he had put on a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, and then lost that weight and completely transformed his physique in an even shorter period of time, like us, you might be wondering how he achieved such a dramatic transformation. Let’s take a look, shall we? 

In an interview with Men’s Health magazine, Rob McElhenney discussed how he managed to shed the weight and get that ripped appearance. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say in that interview: 

I’m gonna break it down for you, because it’s actually quite simple, and anybody can do this. Anybody on the planet can do this. First thing’s first: if you have a job – like a 9-5 job – quit that. Do you like food? Forget about that. Because you’re never going to enjoy anything you eat. Alcohol? Sorry. That’s out. So what you need to do – you have a chef, right? Like a personal chef? – make sure the chef makes you a lot of chicken breast. And make sure you keep your caloric intake at a certain level.

That comment is similar to the post he shared – and we highlighted above – on Instagram. Obviously, the actor was joking; he is, after all, a comedian, and that was his way of making light of something that was actually very challenging, and that he realizes is challenging for not only himself, but for everyone. 

Countering his transformation from flab to fab, Rob McElhenney first put himself through a weight gain phase. As mentioned above, before the filming of season 7 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he packed on the pounds to add some dimension to his character, Mac, and to make him a bit more comical.

During that weight gain process, he put on 50 pounds. Here’s what the actor had to say about his weight gain process when he was interviewed by The Wrap: 

As I started off, I was doing with chicken breast and rice and vegetables. But when you’re four months in it and you’ve hat to muscle down 1,000 calories for the third time or fourth time in a day and you have to either eat three chicken breasts, two cups of rice and two cups of vegetables – or one Big Mac – you start to see the Big Mac and realize it’s a lot easier to get down… And then every once in a while, I would eat three donuts. And every day, one of my meals was a high-calorie protein shake.

Rob McElhenney’s Workout Routine

OK, so in order to achieve the now-chiseled physique that Rob McElhenney sports – and that seemingly everyone in Hollywood and the tabloids is talking about – you’re obviously going to need to work out. A So what did Rob’s workout entail? Here’s a brief breakdown, as per that comical Instagram post he shared (see above): 

  • He lifted weights 6 days a week
  • He ran 3 miles a day
  • He slept 9 hours a night
  • He gave up all alcohol. All of it. Not a drop to drink. 
  • He stopped eating after 7 pm. Not a single bit to eat after that. 
  • He kissed all sugars and carbs goodbye. All of them. 
  • He had the support and guidance of the personal trainer from Magic Mike

He also had a personal dietitian. His trainer and dietition planned every part of his life, down to the most minute detail, with extreme care, so that he could achieve a dramatic transformation in a super-short period of time. The following is a more detailed overview of Rob McEllhenney’s workout routine: 

Day 1: Chest and Shoulders

The following should be done in 3 sets, 8 reps, and you’re going to want to make sure that you are using a weight that will let you feel a serious burn so that you know you’re getting results: 

Day 2: Back and Arms

You want to keep going with the heavy weight loads and again, do 3 sets of 8 reps of the following: 

  • Warmup with stretches and a 3 mile run
  • Deadlifts
  • Barbell rows
  • Bicep curls
  • Lateral pull-downs 
  • Hammer curls
  • Weighted chin-ups
  • Weighted wide-grip pull-ups

Day 3: Core and Calisthenics 

In case you haven’t heard, calisthenics are outstanding, as they target several different muscle groups at one time while really only using your body weight to train. For core and calisthenics work, Rob’s routine includes the following: 

  • Warmup with stretches and a 3 mile run
  • Planks to push-ups
  • Jump squats
  • Burpees
  • Military push-ups
  • Ab crunches 
  • Chin-ups
  • Clash push-ups

Day 4: Shoulder and Arms

While you might be feeling a little sore after the workout you did on day 3, if you want to achieve a chiseled physique like Rob McElhenney, you’re definitely going to need to power through. Stop focusing on the pain and focus on your goal and the outcome instead. With the following workout (3 sets, 8 reps of each), you’re going to burn off more fat and buildup even more shoulder and upper-body strength

  • Warmup with stretches and a 3 mile run
  • Overhead presses
  • Barbell shrugs
  • Military pushups 
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Standing rows
  • Alternating front and side raises

Day 5: Legs

Now it’s time to focus on your gams. Again, with the following exercises, you’re going to want to do 3 sets of 8 reps: 

  • Warmup with stretches and a 3 mile run
  • Leg presses
  • Calf raises
  • Box jumps
  • Dumbbell lunges
  • Hamstring curls
  • Back squats

Day 6: Core and Calisthenics

For the 6th and final day, you’re going to want to focus on core and calisthenics again. Once more, you’re going to want to do 3 sets and 8 reps of each of the following: 

  • Warmup with stretches and a 3 mile run
  • Planks to pushups
  • Jump squats
  • Burpees
  • Military pushups
  • Ab crunches
  • Chin-ups
  • Clap push-ups

Rest Day

Ah! You did it! On the 7th day, you can take a well-deserved, much-needed rest. If, for some reason, you’re tempted to push through and do more workouts on this day, don’t! Avoid the temptation and force yourself to rest. You need to recover and to rest so that your muscles can recover – and so that you’ll be able to get back to it next week – but with even more weight. 

Now, it’s important to note that if you want to achieve the same dramatic changes that Rob mcElhenney did, you’re going to need to not only workout, but you’re also going to need to make some changes to your diet. And yes, the dietary changes are pretty dramatic, too. 

rob mcelhenney workout routine

Rob McElhenney’s Diet

It doesn’t matter how much you work out and how killer your workouts are, if you continue to eat like garbage – or you just aren’t conscious about what you’re eating – you’re going to continue looking like Fat Mac. Fit Mac is obviously the goal, so that means that you have to change your diet and finally embrace whole foods

But what did Rob McElhenney eat in order to transform his physique and boost his overall health? Some of the comments that he made in interviews and posts he shared on his social media profiles eluded to the dietary changes he made, including what he ate and what he avoided eating. 

What to Eat: 

  • Chicken breasts
  • Egg whites
  • Brown rice
  • Avocados
  • Veggies
  • Leafy greens

What Not to Eat

Of course, in order to achieve – and to maintain – a ripped physique, you need to be mindful of what you eat. That said, here’s a look some of the food items that Rob McElhenney avoids – and that you should avoid, too: 

  • Carbohydrates
  • Sugars
  • Junk food
  • Processed foods
  • Trans fats
  • Alcohol 

Supplement Suggestions

To ramp things up and up the ante, you might want to include some supplements to your diet, too. The following are some examples to consider: 

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