Friday, April 25, 2014

How Hollywood actors look ripped

Sean Connery in the 1960s vs. Daniel Craig in 2006
Brando never did crunches. Al Pacino didn't slurp protein shakes. ... But not one of today's leading men can afford the luxury of a gym-free life. You simply don't get your name on a movie poster these days unless you've got a superhero's physique... Today's actors spend more time in the gym than they do rehearsing, more time with their trainers than with their directors. ...

For much of Hollywood history, only women's bodies were objectified to such absurd degrees. Now objectification makes no gender distinctions...

Since 5 percent body fat is nobody's natural condition, fitness plans are geared to peak on the days of the sex scenes or shirtless moments. To prep for these days, trainers will dehydrate a client like a boxing manager sweats a fighter down to weight. They often switch him to a low- or no-sodium diet three or four days in advance, fade out the carbohydrates, brew up diuretics like herbal teas, and then push cardio to sweat out water – all to accentuate muscle definition for the key scenes.

The last-minute pump comes right before the cameras roll. Philip Winchester, the hero of Cinemax's action series Strike Back, recalls seeing the technique for the first time on the set of Snatch: "Hundreds of extras were standing around," he recalls, "and Brad Pitt would drop down and do 25 push-ups before each scene. I thought, 'Why is he showing off?' " Then Winchester figured it out. "I realized he was just jacking himself up: getting blood flowing to the muscles. I'd always wondered, 'How do actors look so jacked all the time?' Well, they don't. Now we ask: Is it a push-up scene? When I shot that Strike Back poster, I was doing push-ups like a madman, saying, 'Take the picture now! Take it now!' " ...

Sometimes a superhero's journey begins with the needle prick of a syringe full of human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone, or steroids. ...

Zim has seen the benefits of hormone therapy firsthand. "These people who look younger and fitter – a lot of them are using growth hormone and testosterone; the size comes from the testosterone, the virility and the youth come from the growth hormone."

On set, actors swap tricks of the fitness trade – and the phone numbers of trainers and doctors who will prescribe testosterone or HGH, no questions asked. ...

Tom Hardy's more caustic explanation of his Dark Knight Rises physique: "No, I took Smarties," he replied when a reporter asked if he'd juiced for the role. "What do you... think?"
--Logan Hill, Men's Journal, on how the action hero look is made. HT: Marginal Revolution. See also the previous post on preparations for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.