Skinny Yoked: In Pursuit of Lean Mass

Learn How Captain America Got So Anabolic!

Note: This profile is for Captain America Chris Evans, if you’re searching for British TV Presenter and Top Gear Host Chris Evans then you are in the wrong place. Particularly if you are trying to build a body like his..because he don’t got one..

There’s being fit, and then there’s being Superhero fit. Captain America was the result of Government Funded Experiments and is probably America’s most famous Steroid taker (until Lance Armstrong came along).

It is truly impressive that a mere mortal such as Chris Evans has managed to play the part so effectively and it is clear that this man has found the right combination of diet and exercise to produce these results.

While some proclaim our Hollywood action hero stars are getting “too buff” all gym rats know this is itself an oxy-fucking-moron. Too buff? Ha! How about Hollywood is finally stepping it’s game up and taking fitness seriously when trying to convince an audience an action hero could actually kick ass in real life! We’re not fooled by just masks and capes anymore..

chris evans body

One of the difficulties with filming Captain America was that Chris had to produce two wildly different physiques. At the start of the film we see him as a light, skinny, weakling who gets pushed around. Now interestingly it appears that this body shape was actually a body-double with Chris’ head CGI’d in, however before filming began Chris still had to add 20lbs of muscle!

His whole training program was based around one scene (where he comes out of the pod) which made it the equivalent of a bodybuilder training for a contest. Everything was geared towards peaking at this time, in an interview Chris talked about having to constantly stay pumped during the long shooting schedule for this scene. Performing bicep curls and push ups between takes.

Did He Take Steroids?

There’s been a lot of discussion on forums and social media speculating whether or not Chris Evans took steroids to get in the shape he was for Captain America. This kind of talk comes up every time a new action movie comes out. 99% of the time it’s just basement dwelling jellyfish looking for an excuse not to work hard themselves.

Attributing somebody else’s success purely to some “cheat”, even though as we know, you still have to bust your ass on steroids to grow, is a quick and easy way to comfort yourself in not working hard to achieve a similar physique. At 6ft even and at 200lbs Chris’s size isn’t mind blowing.

Looking at all his action shots he’s not hugely massive, shoulder aren’t absolute boulders and his body fat percentages look to be in completely “natty” parameters.

chris evans transformation

Can we guarantee Chris is natty? Of course not, we’re not his physician, we don’t have his blood work. But looking at all the images and video footage available, his transformation and physique don’t look radical enough to suspect serious steroid use.

Could he have used some performance enhancing drugs? Possibly. We know chemicals like Ostarine and MK-677 have been used for years among collegiate and professional athletes, and we do know through our own research that these chemicals can help build lean muscle, but again, as with the steroids question, without blood work EVERYTHING is speculation.

Let’s focus on something that is a little less speculative; his actual workout!

A look at Chris’ Training Program

Chris Evans has his own personal trainer from London named Simon Waterson. If you have some cash, like Hollywood bank, you can look into hiring Simon yourself via his official website. Simon seems to specialize in film star transformations and has worked with the likes of Daniel Craig, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Pierce Brosnan.

Simon apparently trains alongside his clients, so would have been completing the workout with him (a pretty novel training method). His programs are based around high weights and low reps, concentrating on compound lifts and movements such as bench presses, pull ups, military presses, barbell squats and deadlifts.

Simon also incorporated plyometric movements and bodyweight exercises, and has stated that he enjoys combining movements. For example hip thrusts and pull ups, or the ‘metabolic deadlift’ which he describes as a deadlift into a squat thrust into a press up!

Each session lasted 2 hours and he performed one session per day, this seems almost light compared to some of his fellow actors’ training regimes but in reality is still a brutal regime.

captain america bench press

The sessions were divided into muscle groups, following a traditional bodybuilder split. Back and Chest, Biceps and Triceps, and a whole session dedicated to legs.

Each session would also have a cool down and ab and core exercises to finish off. His trainer would also manipulate grips and angles to transform run of the mill exercises into something completely different.

For example, changing the angle of a bench press to incline, or changing the grip to either wide, normal, close, or underhand. The aim was to work different muscles in different ways and prevent tedium from ruining the session.

This program sounds like it is pretty straight forward, nothing crazy or eyebrow raising. Just simple bodybuilding, the difference being that the intensity would be higher than most people are prepared to train at and the sheer volume of training would also be higher.

Combine that with a good diet and supplementation and it is no wonder that Chris Evans looked the part of a super soldier, he was trained just like one!

Chris’ Diet

In an interview Chris talked about having to eat every 2 hours or so as he was trying to bulk for the part. The interviewer didn’t seem to find this cause for pity and in fact stated that it sounded pretty amazing!

Chris pointed out that sadly he wasn’t eating pizza and burgers 24/7 (a lá Tom Hardy) but was instead eating plain chicken and rice. Throw in some broccoli and you have just about the most Bro meal ever here!

natty

Now this isn’t to say that chicken, rice, and broccoli isn’t perfectly acceptable dieting foods but in recent years many fitness experts have proven time and time again that you don’t need to eat ‘clean’ to get results and that paying attention to your macronutrients and calories in versus calories out will allow you much more flexibility with your food choices.

Normally I’d just say “if it worked for him then who cares” but he clearly didn’t enjoy eating plain chicken and rice continually throughout the day so this should have been addressed. The take away message here is, you don’t need to eat boring food to get a good body but if it’s simpler for you then eat away.

The Supplements

In an interview with Bodybuilding.com Simon talked about the supplement stack that he had Chris Evans taking during filming for Captain America. He was taking 180g of protein powder per day, BCAAs, Glutamine, and Fish Oil supplements.

Combined with diet this adds up to a hell of a lot of protein, some would say too much. Considering a diet consisting of chicken breast at every meal would probably have adequate protein to fuel muscle protein synthesis alone there is not much need for so much whey and casein protein to be added.

Again, with the amount of protein already in his diet, there seems little need for additional BCAAs which are found naturally in chicken, fish, and eggs! Same deal with glutamine.

supplements

We use BCAAs when we’re doing prolonged workouts and especially when cutting since our total whole food protein is usually down a bit and BCAAs can help keep you from going catabolic and losing your gains. We’ve even put a list together of our favorite BCAAs (stimulant free since we usually pair with a pre-workout anyways which is loaded with caffeine).

Simon made no mention of using caffeine or creatine supplementation, which is odd as these are both proven performance boosters and would not be naturally found in the diet. Well technically they would, but not in the dosage required.

On the whole the supplement stack is harmless but probably a bit of a waste of money, 180g of protein powder on top of a high protein diet is just overkill, as are BCAAs and Glutamine. The fish oil is fine but would not be responsible for any real physique improvement.

Skinny Yoked Conclusion

Chris Evans has got himself an excellent trainer who clearly knows what it takes to get results. He said himself that training actors is a lot more difficult than training professional athletes because whereas athletes train as part of their job, actors have to train around 14 hour work days.

So whilst you yourself might not have the money to train with celebrity trainers, you probably have as much free-time (if not more) to train as most actors. So what’s your excuse now? That’s what we thought…

Sources

  • http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-james-bond-builder-skyfall-trainer-simon-waterson.html
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc7cAAyjBZc
  • http://www.coachmag.co.uk/exercises/celebrity-workouts/1932/chris-evans-%E2%80%93-captain-america-workout
  • http://www.simonwaterson.com/index.php/simonwaterson
  • http://superherojacked.com/2015/04/30/how-chris-evans-transformed-into-captain-america-workout-routine-and-diet/

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