Have you seen X-Men? If you have (and if you’re female) you’re probably smiling to yourself as you recall Hugh Jackman (why is he shirtless so much?) from this movie.
To say Jackman got in shape for his role as Wolverine would be an understatement. Jackman is ripped and has veins popping all over his chest, arms, and shoulders.
So you probably have to be Hollywood star to achieve these kinds of results, right? I mean, this isn’t the stuff of mere mortals. You’d need to be some kind of mutant to get in this kind of shape, right?
Not necessarily. You can have similar results to Wolverine. And here’s how.
Tip #1 Make it your job
Approach your training as though it was your occupation. Lucky for him, Jackman has incentives to look great on the big screen. About twenty million of them.
But what about the rest of us? We probably don’t draw huge cheques based on the results we achieve from our training. But let’s suspend reality for a second and pretend that we could. What would you change about your training? What time would you start? How many training sessions would you miss? What would your intensity be like during those sessions?
It doesn’t matter what we do for a living. Pretend that you are a big star and train accordingly. You will be on a forty foot big screen. And all your flaws and imperfections will be there for the world to see. And your subsequent offers and pay cheques will be related to your current training efforts. Kind of changes the approach we bring to our training, doesn’t it?
Tip #2 Do it first thing in the morning
With all this pressure riding on a jaw-dropping physique, when do you think Jackman trains during the day? The afternoon? The early evening? Over the lunch hour? Or first thing in the morning?
Jackman trains at 6 am. And he doesn’t miss sessions. And this is consistent with our most successful clients as well. The clients that achieve the best results, both in the gym and in life, train first thing in the morning. Those that wait until some time opens up during the day to get in a training session don’t achieve the same level of results.
Steal a page from Jackman’s approach and make training a priority in your schedule. Don’t leave things to chance.
Tip #3 Do it on the road
When Jackman is on remote locations filming other movies what do you think happens with his training? Do you think he does his best? Do you think he uses this as a time to focus on rest and recovery? Or do you think he does what it takes?
Obviously he does what it takes. And this involves flying in his trainer from over 20 years to work with him wherever he is in the world. Now I’m not suggesting you fly your team in with you when you are away from home. But you should still make preparations to be able to make sure your training stays on track. This might involve booking hotels with gym or near gyms. It means bringing your gear, shoes and maybe a bathing suit so you have multiple training options while away.
Tip #4 Build with a solid foundation
What types of lifts and exercises do you think Jackman used to build a strong chest, lats and legs? It wasn’t Zumba, the shake weight or power yoga. Instead his program was based on the basics of squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls. You simply don’t develop the type of muscularity and vascularity of Jackman’s physique by planking or stretching.
To have the physique like Jackman’s you need to use compound lifts with progressive intensity. This means exercises that cross multiple joints, working multiple muscles at once and trying to improve from one workout to the next. The improvement could be more load, more reps or completing the workout in less time.
Tip #5 Build Wolverine abs in the kitchen
We all know the expressions such as ‘you can’t out-train a poor diet’. But as a friend likes to say ‘it’s what you know that just ‘aint so’. The more intense the training, the better the nutrition needs to be. The more frequent the training the more important it is to fuel and hydrate accordingly.
Think of your body as a high performance super car. If you want to drive the car hard and frequently you are going need to fuel, monitor fluid levels and top things up more frequently. Ignore any of these and at best you risk running out of fuel on the highway. At worst you break down, need extensive and expensive repairs and can’t drive the car for a while.
Tip #6 Sleep to look good
Anyone that earns a living based on their physique or appearance understands the importance of getting enough quality sleep. To be a part of the cast of the 300 sequel the trainer’s requirement was 10 hours of sleep per night. Models for Men’s Health always make sure to get at least 8 hours before a photo shoot for the magazine. And during his training Jackman is up at 4 am for his 6 am training sessions. To do this he makes sure to get a minimum of 7 hours per night.
Steal a page from the success of the celebrity crowd and make sure to never short change yourself on your sleep. And while there’s nothing yet research-wise to support this it appears there may be benefit to getting more of the hours of sleep before midnight as opposed to after it.
Give these 6 tips a try to achieve your own Wolverine-like body. While you may not sign on for a multi-seven figure deal to appear in the next blockbuster you will do your best to have a beach-ready body for summer.