Built Like Hercules: How Kellan Lutz Trained To Become Hercules

Grab a weapon and roar your battle-cry! Find out how Kellan Lutz torched fat, mastered sword fighting, and built a hero's body for his starring role in The Legend of Hercules.

He may be best known for his role as Emmett Cullen in the "Twilight Saga" film series, but Kellan Lutz has moved past the vampire gig and stepped into the shoes of a demigod.

The actor shed his yellow contacts and white skin in favor of a broadsword, helm, and shield for his upcoming role as young Hercules in "The Legend of Hercules."

Bodybuilding.com caught up with the actor to learn how Lutz built the body of a legend.

Built Like Hercules
Watch The Video - 08:25

Given his love for heroes, Lutz seems like a natural choice to play the son of Zeus. "I [have] always loved Hercules, He-Man, Tarzan—all those epic, classic heroes," Lutz says. "Now that I get to bring Hercules to life, my spirit is on fire."

His love and respect for the character gave Lutz all the motivation he needed to carve a godlike body. When he scored the role, his first priority became the gym. "I wanted to have three months of training. I wanted to get big like the guys who had already portrayed [Hercules]. I had some big shoes to fill."

Lutz only had two weeks to prepare for filming, so he focused less on mass and more on athletics and aesthetics.

However, Lutz's plans for putting on mass didn't quite pan out. "[Director Renny Harlin] called and said I would be leaving to film in two weeks," Lutz recalls. That left little time for adding serious size, but enough time to break out the chisel and work on definition.

Luckily, Harlin already had a unique vision for Lutz and his character. "He wanted me to be cut," says Lutz. "The movie is more about the legend—how [Hercules] becomes the man. It's the journey from his youth to his taking up responsibilities and becoming a leader." So, Lutz stopped worrying about size and focused on athletics and aesthetics.

Demigod Training

To physically become the hero, Lutz did more than just don a costume. He used cardio, resistance training, and creativity to build a body worthy of his character. "On set in Bulgaria, we didn't have a very big gym or much equipment," Lutz says. "I didn't have a lot of time, so I had to multitask and work multiple muscles at once."

The mythic Hercules was a demigod (a half-human or minor deity). His father was Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. Talk about a genetic jackpot!

The treadmill circuit below is an example of how Lutz used limited equipment to great effect. Not only is the circuit challenging, but it's fun and fast-paced, which helps Lutz enjoy the workload. "When I'm working out, I try to make it competitive," he says. "I make up challenges. I need it to be a game."

Treadmill Circuit: 3 Rounds

When asked about exercise selection, Lutz says, "I do these movements because I want my whole body, not just parts of it, to look like Hercules. I'm doing cardio to get cut. The bear crawls work my chest, and the dips work my chest, arms, and shoulders. I'm wearing a skirt for most of the movie and am quite naked on top, so I want to get a good pump. I also want that silhouette. I want to look godly."

Exercise On Set

Before, after, and even during his time on set, Lutz worked hard with minimal equipment. He also trained as he acted, whether on horseback or in fight scenes. "During filming, the hardest thing for my muscles was wielding the sword. It was 12 pounds. I've never been so sore in my life," Lutz confesses. "I had to learn the technique, and sometimes fight with two swords. Those things are heavy!"

"I like pushing myself. I like giving all that I have and more. It just feels good."

Even so, Lutz relishes anything he gets to learn on set. "I've done a lot of stunt work in my other movies, [and] there's always something new you get to learn. I learned a lot and pushed myself. I had a good time doing it," Lutz says. "I slept for maybe three or four hours a day for three months. The stunt guys told me to take some time to rest, but I like pushing myself. I like giving all that I have and more. It just feels good."

Upper-Body Circuit: 3 Rounds

Movie Star Motivation

Like everyone else, Lutz has good months and bad. "I love doing action movies because it helps keep me accountable. When I'm not working, I get a little lackadaisical with the gym," he says.

"There's no better time than the present to start something."

To keep things fresh and interesting, Lutz says he likes to try new things. "There are many people who can give you workouts. It's really great to do your own research and see what works for you."

"At the end of the day, I don't want my time in the gym to be a workout," Lutz says. "I want to have a good time. I don't want to be watching the clock the whole time; I want to look up and think, 'Oh my God, I've been here for two hours.'"

For those who have yet to start their fitness journeys, Lutz has a special piece of motivation: "You have to start today," he says. "You can't push it off until tomorrow because tomorrow will come around and you'll push it off again. There's no better time than the present to start something."

You don't need Herculean strength to get in the gym and achieve your goals. As Lutz says, "Don't get deterred by the big number. Don't think about 50 pounds. Instead, think about trying to lose one pound per week, or getting in the gym for a few days every week, or even just doing something active every day."

We couldn't agree more. He may play a demigod in the movies, but Kellan Lutz is human, just like us. He wants to create his best self, onscreen and off. His positive attitude, passion, and willingness to put his whole heart into his work are things we can all aspire to.

Photos courtesy of Millennium Films