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Arguably, no actor works harder to get into character than Hugh Jackman. The role he's most used to playing, after appearing as him in as many as nine movies, is Marvel's Wolverine.
When the character was given its own film in 2013, The Wolverine, Jackman was keen to get bigger in size than he had been in previous films playing the role.
Despite being more than 100 years old, Wolverine's built like a brick s**t-house. Therefore, to really get into character, Jackman needed to put himself through a seriously intense workout and completely change his diet.
These days, I'm pretty sure CGI can just add muscle in post-production. Maybe they just spent that budget on getting Jackman in the first place. One thing is for sure: There were no shortcuts. Jackman had to workout like a madman and only had four weeks to mold himself into character. In order to reach his optimum, a little expert advice and support was required.
The brains behind the Wolverine diet and fitness plan is David Kingsbury, as seen in the video below. Described as "the exclusive trainer that builds Hollywood's best bodies", if anyone could transform the actor into mutant-strength material, it was this lad.
When Kingsbury was approached by producers at Pinewood Studio to meet an actor they wanted him to train 20 minutes before the meeting, a member of the crew called him up and told him that Hugh Jackman is on his way.
Smaller than usual, the actor had just finished filming Les Misérables, where he had to be in slim and lean shape. After a successful meeting with Kingsbury, discussing his goal for the role, Jackman chose him as his new personal trainer.
With no time to spare, the transformation began
The motivated and adherent Jackman got to work straight away - 8am the following morning, according to Kingsbury.
The trainer first encouraged the Wolverine star to train low reps with heavy weights for muscle gain. After that he increased the number of reps.
"By increasing your strength with the low reps, you increase your capacity with the higher reps, so I always plan heavy sets of the compound movements," Kingsbury told BodyBuilding.com. "The combination of the two styles brings the best gains."
The training was split into two phases; the bulk and the cut. "I like to bulk as clean as possible, with a better end result in sight," Kingsbury explained. "I calculated his calories to achieve the leanest muscle gain possible and adjusted them to his requirements every day."
The trainer suggested a combination of low-intensity training and intervals to keep bringing the body-fat levels down while bulking.
"The weight training remained more or less the same during the whole process, the only changes in his body fat levels came down to the volume of cardio he was prescribed and the amount of calories consumed," Kingsbury explained.
Jackman ate carbs on weight training days and went low-carb on rest days. What's all that about out? Where's the 'rest' in rest day if you're not allowed to eat what you want? Maybe just call it 'no-gym' day.
Clearly more disciplined than me, it was important for Jackman to consume the right amount of calories before filming started in order to be a believable badass onscreen.
The Wolverine diet consists of oatmeal, steak, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chicken, brown rice, spinach, fish and avocado. Sadly, Ben and Jerry's and cake wasn't up for negotiation.
He took a pre-workout supplement called Animal Pump, which has no sugar or sweeter in it.
"While bulking, we used creatine in the product, and when cutting, we reduced, and then removed the creatine," explains Kingsbury.
The Wolverine was a huge success and took a total of $414,828,246 (£335,648,717) from box office sales.
I won't have another word said about acting being a doss after seeing what Jackman went through to prepare for the role. It's possible that it's that dedication to the job that has led to an impressive 21 acting awards (nominated for 72) in his career.
According to a CBS interview in November 2006, his wife Deborra-Lee Furness advised him not to take the role when he was originally cast to play Wolverine in 1999. She later revealed she was glad her husband had ignored her on this occasion.
Happy birthday Hugh, I hope I'm that fit at 48 years old.
Featured image credit: Marvel Entertainment
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