When Daniel Craig went shirtless in Casino Royale, it was clear that the latest actor to play James Bond brought something new to the role: a ripped body. Like Jake Gyllenhaal, Craig turned to trainer Simon Waterson to get buff for his turns as 007, including the latest, Skyfall. Waterson had Craig on an intense program of circuit training, telling GQ, “The workouts were a blend of power lifting, with a lot of compound exercises thrown in. This allows you to work out extremely hard with heavy weights, and because it's so intense the heart rate is elevated. Therefore, you are working not only on the development of nice lean muscle tissue, but you're also getting a bit of cardio as well, and keeping your body fat down."
When Jennifer Lawrence was cast in The Hunger Games, her trainer, Joe Horrigan knew that packing on the muscle would be the wrong way to go, according to an interview he gave to Celebuzz. Lawrence needed to be lean and agile as Katniss Everdeen, a teenager fighting for her life on a televised battle to the death. Cardio was the order of the day. “We would hit the track around 10 a.m. and after a long warm up we did track drills, agility drills, medicine ball, sprints, and runs. This would last about an hour and half,” Horrigan told the gossip website. To handle all that sprinting through woods, climbing and jumping, Lawrence was also trained in the old French military art of parkour, said her stunt trainer Luci Romberg to Shape.
This Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain star may be better known as an art-house hunk, but for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, he went full-on action star. In order to bulk up for his role as a scimitar-wielding, horseback-riding warrior, Gyllenhaal enlisted trainer Simon Waterson, an ex-British Royal Marine. “We had to build a functional, strong and agile physique capable of dealing with a huge workload and stresses,” Waterson told Men’s Health. In addition to doing circuit training and plyometrics at the gym, Gyllenhaal did hour-long runs in a weighted vest—including 20 minutes running in sand—and parkour training, Waterson told AskMen.com.
In her new film We’re the Millers, this former Friends star had to get into “stripper shape” for her role as an exotic dancer (with a heart of gold, of course). Aniston turned to her friend and yoga instructor Mandy Ingber, who whipped her into shape with a program Ingber calls “yogalosophy.” “[Yogalosophy] pairs a traditional yoga pose with a toner, so it's like a yoga workout,” Ingber told the New York Daily News. “I incorporate cardio as well as other modalities, daily playlists, recipes, journal questions.” For example, to tone her calves, Ingber had Aniston combine yoga’s temple pose with plié squats for ten downward pulses, Ingber told the Belfast Telegraph.
When this British actor first started training for his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight series, he didn’t even have workout clothes, his personal trainer Harley Pasternak told Hollywood Life. Pattinson’s chiseled abs (seen here on the New Moon set) came courtesy of Pasternak’s 5-factor diet and fitness plan, which combines five healthy meals a day with strength and core training. For New Moon, Pattinson also worked with trainer Nathan Mellalieu, who used boxing drills to help the star gain a lean, muscled look, Mellalieu told Men’s Fitness.
If you have trouble motivating yourself to work out, you might be in good company with this Pirates of the Caribbean bombshell. What really gets Keira Knightley to the gym are the rigorous demands of a movie contract, she told IGN. “I always love training for films, because you've got such a specific goal,” She said. “As far as training in my own life, I just can't motivate myself at all.” That goal in the 2004 film King Arthur was to play a pugnacious, sword-fighting Guinevere opposite a beefed up Clive Owen. “When I accepted the role, they said, 'You really have to bulk up,' because otherwise you simply wouldn't believe that I could fight on equal standing with a man and come out all right,” she said. Knightley did weight training for two hours a day, four days a week, and also took up archery, sword fighting and—yes—boxing. “She was fearsome,” Owen told ESPN.com. “She was boxing during lunch breaks!”
Although he appeared almost gaunt in Les Miserables, Hugh Jackman is best known for looking jacked as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise. Those enormous biceps didn’t come from nowhere. Jackman has been working with his trainer Mike Ryan since 1989, according to an interview Ryan gave to Men’s Fitness. For X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan had Jackman in the gym by 4 a.m. doing up to an hour and a half of both cardio and weight training. To build muscle, Ryan focused on grueling “supersets” that combine compound lifts with isolation ones, “for example, go from a dumb-bell bench press straight into a flye,” he said. During peak training, Jackman was benching up to 315 pounds and leg pressing 1,000 pounds—and eating 6,000 calories a day.
Three months after having a baby and thirty pounds overweight, Uma Thurman was handed a script for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and asked to learn “three styles of kung fu, two styles of sword fighting, knife throwing, knife fighting [and] hand-to-hand combat,” she told Time Magazine. She put in some hardcore training with master martial arts choreographer Yuen Wo-ping, whose credits include The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. “They trained me five days a week for three months from nine in the morning until five o'clock at night and we were not to be late and I never got to leave early,” Thurman told IGN.
Gone are the days when Liam Neeson is only a prestige actor in films like Schindler’s List. Since playing a badass ex-CIA officer in 2009’s Taken, Neeson, 61, has become a bona fide action star—and he’s fit enough to do his own fight scenes. A boxer in his youth, Neeson prepared for Taken by spending several weeks in France learning parkour, he told Time Out Sydney. No slouch in his sixties, Neeson also stays in shape with kettlebells, stationary bike and—no surprise—a punching bag.
This svelte A-lister you may recall as Uhura from the recent Star Trek films or the blue heroine of Avatar dialed it up to eleven for her role as an assassin in the 2011 action flick Colombiana, enlisting Hollywood trainer Steve Moyer for the task, according to Shape Magazine. Moyer crafted her a toning regimen that sculpted her upper body with a resistance band and light weights, he told Popsugar Fitness. Go-to moves included plank pushups, resistance band pulls, and dumbbell curls. The goal of these exercises, Moyer said, was not to bulk up, but rather to achieve some lean, mean definition of the triceps and deltoids.
One of the most remarkable physical turnarounds in film history, Christian Bale went from muscular in American Psycho to emaciated in The Machinist, and then back to buff in Batman Begins. That last transformation, during which he gained 100 pounds (before losing 30 for filming), took only six months. Although he “couldn’t do a single pushup” when he started, his trainer Efua Baker bulked him up with “daily three-hour running and weight sessions,” according to an interview in People. His training included “heavy core training, plyometrics and resistance training,” according to Men’s Fitness.
For her turn as a boxer in Best Picture-winner Million Dollar Baby, Hillary Swank put on 19 pounds of lean muscle in 90 days. “If I'm going to play a boxer, I better look like a boxer,” Swank told ESPN.com. “My training was two and a half hours of boxing and approximately an hour and a half to two hours lifting weights every day, six days a week,” the actress said to MovieWeb. To bulk up her model-thin frame, Swank ate 4,000 calories and 210 grams of protein a day, putting down egg whites, protein shakes and flax oil every hour and a half.