For part 1 in the “look like a superhero” series, we’ll be taking a look at Ryan Reynolds for his role in Blade 3.
So you want to look like Ryan Reynolds in Blade 3 huh? Sure he might be a jackass, and most likely full of himself…but DAMN the man is cut. First and foremost, let’s get a few things out of the way: RR was already in decent shape and had a low body fat percentage before he started his six months of training for Blade 3. Secondly, he has great genetics, he got paid insane amounts of money for this role, and he had a personal trainer and dietitian to keep him on track. I guess when you don’t have a day job or kids, working out for 3 hours and eating 8 meals a day is actually an option. Keep this in mind when you don’t look like this overnight.
As a guy who was already in great shape, had a low percentage of body fat, and only had to worry about adding lean muscle, Ryan only had to worry about adding good weight and cutting the little fat he had. You can see where this is going: Ryan was already in shape and had to get to an almost unhealthy body fat percentage for this role. As soon as the role was done, he took a break, because training this much was beyond crazy.
I’m going to start with the diet first, because it is absolutely the most important thing. I worked out for YEARS and couldn’t put on any weight; it wasn’t until I fixed my diet and I got big almost overnight. Ryan ate right and it shows. His diet consisted of eating between 6 and 8 meals a day, every 2 hours, with a lot of protein and complex carbohydrates in throughout the day and just protein (no carbs) after 8pm. He also ate a lot of protein and carbs immediately after his workouts to promote growth; the carbs to refuel his body so the protein can be recruited by the body to JUST BUILD MUSCLE. Where did he get all that protein? A lot of eggs, chicken, steak, protein bars, and protein shakes. For his carbs, he ate a lot of oatmeal! Good ole fashioned oatmeal (without added sugar). Sounds boring? It’s because it IS BORING. Ryan had it down to a science and treated his body like a machine, getting the exact amount of nutrients necessary to gain mostly muscle and not fat. My guess is that he probably spent the first four months putting on 15 lbs (10 of which is muscle, 5 of which is fat), and then the last two months cutting the fat, leaving just the muscle. If you’re going to gain weight, this is how it’ll happen.
Read more about why protein is so important here.
I’ve found a few different places where it lists a typical day for Ryan. From sixpackabs.com:
- Breakfast: 2 eggs, some “good” fat like a spoon of almond butter or slice of avocado, and 1 cup of oatmeal with applesauce
- Midmorning snack: protein bar
- Lunch: albacore tuna wrap or chicken and salad
- Mid-afternoon snack: protein shake (whey and water), protein bar, or apple and almonds
- Dinner: broiled fish or chicken, brown rice, vegetables, and salad
- Evening Snack: protein shake
Not only did Ryan eat 8 meals a day, but he also took supplements to help him get there. No, not steroids. He did take creatine (a BIG boost for building muscle), L-glutamine, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), whey protein powder, and a multivitamin. Three years ago, when I put on 18 lbs. in 30 days, I was taking a meal replacement supplement that had creatine in it, so I can attest to the fact that it does in fact work. However, I stopped using it since and have managed to gain plenty of healthy weight without it. I can tell you that it does work, I just choose not to take it.
Ryan worked out for probably 3 hours a day to prepare for this role. Now, that’s not three hours of weight training, but weight training and fight training and stuff like that. However, he did do some form of weight training six days a week. Ryan would work out a specific body part to almost absolute failure each day. Example: Chest on Monday, Legs on Tuesday, Back on Wednesday, Shoulders on Thursday, Arms on Friday. When I say failure, I mean FAILURE: he would absolutely destroy his chest on Monday, and then not work it again until the following Monday. To get maximum muscle building potential, Ryan would keep the number of reps in his sets between 6 and 12. (Why between 6 and 12 reps? Read here).
I don’t have his specific routine but I can guess his chest routine: Bench press (bar or dumbbells): 12 reps at a certain weight, wait only 1 minute, add weight, do 10 reps, wait 1 minute, add weight and do 8 reps, wait 1 minute, add weight and do 6 reps. Then repeat this with incline dumbbell flys (same structure of increasing weight, wait, and reps). Then repeat with another chest exercise until your body physically cannot lift anything. Want to get more complex? Superset some of these exercises with each other. Make sure you have a spotter for each exercise, because you want to struggle with your last few reps. If you can do it without a trainer, you should be probably be lifting heavier weights. A warning: You will be sore. Very sore. Which is why you won’t work that muscle group again for another week.
Now, He also exercised his abs religiously, and did so by allegedly doing between 500 and 1000 situps to start each workout. GOOD LORD. Personally, I don’t have time to do 1000 situps. Also, I don’t want to do 1000 sit ups! Eff that. I believe your abdominal muscles need rest in between workouts like every other muscle (although the do recover faster than other muscles, some say), so I would recommend giving yourself at least a day off in between ab exercise days. As for how to do the workout, once you can do more that 25 sit-ups at a time, doing MORE and MORE of them is a waste of time. I’d recommend adding weight (doing sit ups on a ball, with a 25 lbs plate on your chest, for example) instead of adding reps. Your workout stays the same length of time, you just up the intensity.
RR was already in great shape, and did NOT want to lose any weight, he needed to gain 10-15 lbs. of muscle. Because he was doing intensive fight training along with the weight training, cardio was definitely not something that would not be beneficial for him. By exercising daily, and doing the exercise and routines that I talked about above, Ryan was able to work his cardio INTO his weight training by minimizing downtime between sets.
Here is a training video from the set of Blade 3:
Blade 3 Training Video
So there you have it. Just think, if you have millions of dollars, great genetics, and all the time in the world to train, of COURSE you can look like this. If you don’t have those things, you just have to make do with what you have. I don’t have the time to train 3 hours a day and I don’t have somebody to prepare my meals, but I’ve managed to go from 173 lbs to 184 lbs. (keeping my body fat percentage at 9%) working out just 3 hours a week over the past two months. You can read about my current routine here. Once I get to 185 lbs, my goal weight, I’m going to REALLY analyze my diet, add in some extra sprints, and maintain my weight while decreasing my body fat. I don’t think I’ll be able to get down to 3% like Van Wilder here, which is fine. I work a full time job and I run this blog, so I don’t have the time or resources to get there. Ryan didn’t even maintain that level of fitness after the movie finished shooting, because THAT LEVEL OF FITNESS IS CRAZY! I’m sure he was glad to have his life back afterward.
My recommendation – read this story for entertainment, and then find a way to pick and chose parts of it that can help you become who you want to be. Find a way to be in shape, and be happy with that level of fitness.
Any questions regarding this routine leave a comment and I’ll certainly help out.