Hollywood transformations – All that glitters is gold?
Looking at some movies, you can witness incredible transformations. There seems to be a recession in Hollywood these days; there are less good movies in cinemas than ever. However, we could mention a few really memorable transformations from the past few years. There are a lot of guys dreaming about getting into awesome shape in a few months, just like Mark Wahlberg did in Pain and Gain or Daniel Craig, when he became a kickass James Bond. We should not forget about Christian Bale either. Or Matthew McConaughey, who had some particularly memorable moments lately. Teen- or twenty-something kilos up or down, and you just can’t believe your eyes when you see their next movie. How the heck? Well, bodybuilding is a sport of illusion, and Hollywood is the world of illusion. No wonder that bodybuilding and Hollywood often go hand in hand.
All that glitters is gold?
We have received a lot of photos from a lot of guys, telling us explicitly that they want to look just like a certain actor in a certain movie. And asking us the big question: which supplement they should take, how much and how long to achieve this. Questions like this make me think. A lot of ideas keep crossing my mind, so I decided this topic is worth an article. It’s not easy to explain how it goes. It’s not like you buy 2 sacks of Mutant Mass, eat them up and at the end, you will look like your idol. And then comes the best part: when their react like “OK then, what do you recommend?” Well, for example, totally different genetics, a plastic surgeon, enough time and money so you can focus solely on training and eating etc.. Of course I don’t tell them that. If they are still not getting it despite our detailed explanation, they are simply hopeless.
There was a guy who insisted that he should buy Mutant Mass. Don’t ask me, why. He apparently got hooked on this stuff. He sent us a photo of Gerard Butler or some other guy from 300 and he insisted that he WANTED to look like that. And for some strange reason, he saw the answer to his dreams in Mutant Mass. “Read The Yellow Capsule; eat right; buns are not the right carb sources etc.”. We explained it all to him from zero in 3 weeks. Meanwhile, he kept sending us photos of himself each week and kept asking whether he could start taking Mutant Mass. He just wouldn’t get the point. Maybe he was thinking this mass gainer was the solution itself, and the only reason why I didn’t recommend it to him was that I didn’t want him to look like Leonidas in 300 because I was jealous. Who knows...
What all these guys had in common is that they all fell for this Hollywood crap. Actually, this is not really crap. What makes it crappy is the multitude of misleading articles and training programs you can find all over the Internet. We have published several articles of this kind ourselves, too. It only happened once that I forgot to mention this is not as simple as that; and comments kept coming, saying this is tabloid crap. And they were right! :)
All in all, this is not as simple as it could be. As in many cases in the world of bodybuilding and fitness.
Famous transformations and all behind
Back in the time of American History X, we were all stunned by the transformation Edward Norton, a fragile and innocent little guy went through to play the lead role. This was probably one of the most memorable movie metamorphoses. Our hero bulked up about 15 kilos in less than a year. And, before the brainstorm could begin, I’m telling you: You need absolutely no drugs to achieve a physique like that. Take a closer look: he is a relatively short and skinny guy. A perfect subject for a personal trainer to present a most spectacular transformation. During that time, he basically had nothing to do but to eat, eat and eat. And train heavily, of course. This is the best possible scenario: you have someone by your side, who will tell you what to do; no doubts, no worries. You are just doing what you have to do, and the results keep coming. That’s what good personal trainers are for. By the way, Ed was trained by a guy named Anthony Cortes, who had already transformed several celebrities before. The “magic” program: 6 meals a day and a training regimen with heavy weights and compound exercises. This is ideal for a “gym virgin” like Edward. For a body that is not accustomed to weight training, this is enough to reach significant progress in a few months, especially if this is the only thing he needs to focus on during that time.
From skinny little guy to tough bald man – the two characters are closer in time than you might think
For short and skinny guys, a typical Hollywood trick is focusing on the chest and shoulder area. Remember the movie? Ed looked the best when he was shown with a naked upper body: round pecs, nicely separated delts... while he had virtually no lats, and there was nothing special about the guns or legs either.
Still he looked cool, and everybody was amazed by his transformation. Anthony Cortes did not deny it himself: the primary targets were the chest and shoulder areas. And this gave such an optical boost to Ed’s physique on the whole that the other, less developed areas were practically left unnoticed.
On the other hand, Gerard Butler is somewhat luckier when it comes to genetics; his frame is more massive and masculine by default. The full training regimen of the movie 300 can be found all over the Internet in several interpretations. However, there was no magic about it either: only freakin’ hardcore weight training combined with various functional training methods. In this case (still talking about Butler), the primary goal was to improve body composition. The rest is really illusion, makeup and effects. And the result was breathtaking.
Diet, intense workout, makeup and effects: This is Spartaaaa! This is Spartaaaa!
In the case of Daniel Craig, we could see the result of an easy diet. This was not a secret: it was more about optical boost. A little bit more focus on the delts and pecs; reduce body fat a bit, and that’s all, basically. No drugs. Just a few dirty little tricks. The most common tricks among actors.
Not a big difference. Still, a little bit more muscle density and a little bit lower body fat, combined with better lighting can work wonders: he looks twice as big.
Christian Bale: Now HE is a tough guy. He can play with his weight and shape his physique the way he (or the producer) wishes. Within an 8-year period he has played several roles, doubling or halving his bodyweight, whatever was required for the given role: fab or flab. Most probably, Bale did not rely solely on the advice of experts, but he may be familiar with his body himself, and has plenty of experience on how to pack on X kilos of muscle or, on the contrary, how to flush it all down the toilet.
This is far beyond the light transformations with celebrity coaches...
For many years, the highly talented Matthew McConaughey had been type cast as “the handsome guy”; but finally he managed to break out. In his early roles (mostly rom-coms), the main role often went to his sexy body. But in the past 1-2 years, he matured for more serious roles, like in the movies Dallas Buyers Club or True Detective. During his glory march through these roles, McConaughey would gradually flush many kilos of muscle mass down the toilet, even though it took him many years of "fitness freak" lifestyle to attain it, maintain it and refine it. The finishing stroke was Dallas Buyers Club. In this movie, the HIV positive character Ron weighed about 60 kilos. This was not a Hollywood trick: McConaughey was destroying himself systematically. And he may recover the biological disaster he has done to himself in the same purposeful manner.
McConaughey: From beach boy to HIV-positive medicine dealer
The movie Pain and Gain usually triggers fierce debates about Mark Wahlberg and his supposed drug abuse. But anyone who has ever delved more into his career regarding the past 20 years knows that Marky has always looked good. He made a fitness video series of his own and he used to function as an underwear model for CK, too. All in all, his physique got him at least as much fame as his “bombastic”, 3-hit music career. He also possesses a gym of his own and anyway, he has been training for about 20 years now. So, Pain and Gain was just as much of a challenge for him as a good bulking. See our previous article on this topic. If you take a closer look at his physique, you can see that he looks basically the same as usual, only much more bulky, covered with more fat and water.
Dwayne Johnson is another dimension: note that he started to work with George "The Pro Maker" Farah (who also works with Kai Greene) recently.
To sum it up: Spectacular Hollywood transformations are mostly backed by a few basic tricks; it’s more about optical boost, and much less magic than you might think. This is especially true in the case of actors with virtually no training experience: the simplest bulking diet and training regimen will make them fit for the screen. Plus, many characters are never shown in full on the screen, so it is enough to focus on a few critical areas. However, this does not mean that drugs never get a role. You might remember Brad Pitt in Troy: his head got much bigger, while the rest of his body was basically left unchanged. Bad Pitt! Real action heroes like Arnold or Sly do not belong here. Their respectable characters are always based on their appearance They do not need to transform, since they look good all the time. Alright, now that they are past their twenties, they might need to work a bit harder to stay in shape. Yes, they might use some “magic potion” every now and then. However, the overall picture is not as grim as many of you might think. On the other hand, there is Adrien Brody in Predators: this meager guy packed about 15 kilos on himself, still he was thin. But at least, he was lean. A natural born ectomorph; gives absolutely no rise to any gossip about drug use. Otherwise he wouldn’t have looked the way he did. He was criticized a lot for it, since he obviously could not compare with Arnie’s physique. This is not nice. Poor Brody!
So, those of you guys who believe every Hollywood actor uses drugs for certain roles, think again: for such celebrities, all the important factors for development are granted. Why would they risk the DEA putting them into jail? They have everything they need to shape themselves suitable for a given role: time, money and the best personal trainers. Your life would be much easier, too, if you could forget all the hassle of preparing your food, wouldn’t it? Instead, your staff would put nice dishes of steaks with lovely salads on your table every day. Plus, you could use the best supplements and, last but not least, you could get enough rest. And this would be your full time job for months.
Chest covered, and the magic is gone.
However, you should not overvalue supplements. As we have told you a million times, and we will a million more times: none of the supplements is a “magic potion”. Without proper diet, they are worth nothing. And I will always dissuade you from ordering ANYTHING from our webshop, if your motives are as insane as the guys I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Because this is not the point. What really matters is what we keep repeating all the time: proper diet, training, rest, and supplements as required. Full stop. And never let your frustration lead you astray. You shouldn’t buy Mutant Mass just because you think it would bring you 300 and Sparta.
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