Alright Battlestar Galactica fans (and NF reader Mianbao), this one is for you.
So you want to look like Captain Lee “Apollo” Adama, huh? Who doesn’t! The guy is a freaking machine. Not only is he jacked and looks like he could rip your arms off and beat you with them wookie-style, he even has chest hair. That’s right, chest hair, like a real man!
Let’s talk about Jamie Bamber and how he prepared for his role as captain on this TV show. Unlike other superhero workouts (Ryan Reynolds in Blade 3, Gerard Butler in 300, etc.) Jamie couldn’t just get in shape for a two-hour movie and then slack off; he had an entire season for which he needed to stay in amazing shape (which is far more admirable and makes him a much better role model in my opinion). Jamie had to develop a routine and diet that would allow him to sustain the look for most of the year because he was either in the middle of a season or getting ready for the next one.
Normally I’d start with diet and exercise, but I wanted to make a special note of how Jamie would prepare for his role on BG every year. Jamie told Men’s Health, “I’m freakishly competitive, so I set a date to achieve a certain weight or fitness….I have a tendency to punish myself in my workout, which is hard when you want to keep something up all year round.” I love this guy! Freakishly competitive, completely self-motivated, and kicks his ass in the gym without being asked. This is the kind of guy that should serve as a role model to other people. Instead of just going through the motions in the gym, Jamie would always set a goal for a specific goal weight or amount of strength he should have by a certain date. Without that specific date ahead of him, he wouldn’t know what to aim for.
I strongly recommend you do the same; once you have your goal weight and date, tell EVERYBODY you know about it, hang up the date on your calendar, put it in your cubicle, post it on a blog, in your journal and then hold yourself accountable.
I think another important thing that separates Jamie from the pretenders is that fitness is a way of life for him; it’s not an hour in the gym here, a meal there. It’s just who he is and what he does. After each season is done, Jame gives himself a break and takes a month or two off from his ridiculous pace in the gym and with his diet. Why? It gives him something to aim for when he starts to get in shape again for the following season. And ya know what? He probably wants to live a normal life too, which is why he takes a break every once a while. It allows him not to get burned out, and stay focused. In the same Men’s health interview listed earlier, Jamie said, “I’m happiest when I’m really physically fit and I feel best about myself but there comes a boredom point where I just can’t sustain it.” When the filming season is done, he takes a few weeks off, eats burgers and fries, lives his life however he wants, and then he jumps right back into fitness and gets back at it.
Diet is ALWAYS the most important reason for somebody’s physique. If you see somebody with 4% body fat and ridiculous muscles, it’s because they workout AND eat right. Let’s go through a typical day for Jamie according to what he told Men’s Health:
- Breakfast – Oatmeal loaded with dried fruits, nuts, and dates
- Lunch – Salad, cottage cheese and balsamic vinegar. Grilled chicken with salsa in a burrito
- Snack – Plain yogurt with almonds, walnuts or pecans
- Dinner - Grilled chicken, tuna, or other lean meats
As you can tell, it’s all good stuff: Oatmeal for good carbs, almonds and pecans for good fats, chicken and tuna for good protein. Once again, if this seems like a boring diet, it’s because it is. Although the interview doesn’t explicitly say it, I can guarantee there is more to this diet than Jamie lets on; I have to believe there is at least protein shake or bar here and there, and he probably eats the food listed above in mass quantities so that he has enough energy to get through a morning of weight lifting and an afternoon of running 8-10 miles. If he ran 10 miles a day and worked out in the gym without eating a LOT of healthy calories, Jamie would be built like a marathon runner instead of what he looks like now.
- Lots of good protein and complex carbs every two hours throughout the day.
- Lots of good carbs in the morning to give him energy for his exercise and running.
- Good fats that his body can also use for energy while running.
- NO JUNK FOOD. NO SODA. Strict Diet.
If you think this is too much to handle, then you have to ask yourself how badly you want this physique.
Jamie is a big fan of both exercising and running, which allows him to stay both muscular and extremely lean. If you watch this video of Jamie, all he talks about is running, hiking, and tennis which is quite misleading. This man obviously has spent considerable time in the gym as well, he just keeps extremely lean with the running. If you’ll notice, he talks quite a bit about interval training, explained further below.
Jamie works out in the mornings by himself with just his iPod. When asked why he works out in the AM, he said, “I love the idea of the whole day being in front of you and not having to think about it — just getting up and going…I love the feeling of having that muscle burn.” Let this be a lesson to you: just because you don’t have a work out partner or a personal trainer doesn’t mean you can’t look like a superhero. Rule number 87: no excuses, play like a champion.
I also work out alone. I put in my headphones, I keep my head down, and my do my thing. I can’t tell you how important music is to me in the gym. It allows me to block out all distractions, put on my favorite song, and use the motivation from the music to help me through the stronger lifts. I’m convinced I can lift an extra 5 to 10 lbs each time because of a good song.
Unfortunately, Jamie’s specific routine is tough to find on the internet, so most of this will be estimated guess work and comparable routines from similar looking guys. Now because Jamie works out alone, I’d guess he does a lot of work with dumbbells and free weights instead of a barbell and machines. Dumbbells help recruit as many muscle fibers as possible in your body to both lift and lower the weight while keeping the weight balanced and steady throughout the exercise.
For gym exercises, Jamie most likely does a lot of complex lifts like incline dumbbell chest presses, squats, lunges, pull ups, deadlifts, and shoulder presses.
If you don’t have time to hit the gym 5 days a week (and most people don’t) I’d recommend instead doing a full body routine like this a few times a week. Just make sure you keep the intensity up BIG time, keep the time between sets 60 seconds or less, and keep your range of repetitions between 6 and 12 to build maximum muscle size.
Interval training. Jamie loves it, I love it, you should learn to love it. If you don’t know why intervals are so fantastic for building muscle and losing weight, read my article here. Even though Jamie loves to run, he hates running on a treadmill: it’s way too boring! Instead, he tries to run on open trails, along a river, on the beach, up some hills, etc. He finds a great spot to run wherever he is to keep his body constantly guessing and his mind away from boredom. He usually goes on an 8-10 mile run (NF note: damn Gina!), and will do different intervals throughout the run by picking a spot half a mile ahead, then sprinting 3/4ths of the way and then slowly jogging the final quarter to recover. I think the most important thing is that he doesn’t put a lot of thought into it: no heart rate monitor, no timer to keep track of pace. He just runs, sprints til he’s tired, jogs til he’s not tired, and then sprints again. How does your effort in the gym or running compare?
To read more about Jamie’s running techniques, read this Men’s Health article here.
There you have it. Jamie’s a machine when it comes to diet and fitness, so you should expect to be the same if you want to look like him. I don’t think you need to run 10 miles a day and work out two hours every morning, but I think you need to be absolutely dedicated and competitive like Jamie if you want to get anywhere close to his physique. Pick a date two months from now, set your goals, and then tell everybody about it. Bust your ass to reach those goals, and keep yourself accountable.
Eat right, lift heavy, run fast.
Who do you want to see in the next Superhero Workout? Leave a comment on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do the research.
Other posts in the Superhero series: