Most of us have noticed over the years, from watching movies, actors and actresses go through painstaking mental and sometimes physical transformations to bring their characters to life. As a highlight of some of the more dramatic physical transformations, Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull" and Charlize Theron in Monster come to mind.
We, in the bodybuilding and fitness community are more interested the "Buff" and "Chiseled" look. Most of us leave the movie theater after seeing the likes of Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky and Rambo movies talking more about his physique than the actual movie itself.
Stallone has always been known through the years for being in phenomenal condition, however the trend continued with amazing body transformations, such as the Edward Norton's beefed up physique in the movie "American History X" and Christian Bale in the latest Batman movie. The standout among the Hollywood stars to gain acclaim for his ultra fit looking physique is the ladies favorite, Mr. Brad Pitt.
Pitt's physique first gained the attention of the public when he took his shirt off to kick the ass of his alter ego in the movie "Fight Club," Tyler Durden. Pitt's character displayed an ultra lean physique that was ready for action and during interviews for the movies promotion, body fat percentages as low as 4-5 percent were claimed while weighing in at approximately 150-155 pounds, and the claims are not too far off the mark.
Again, a few years later "Bradford," whom his close and personal friends like to refer him as, impressed us even further when he played "Mikey the Pikey" in Guy Ritchie's movie "Snatch" Brad had put on some serious muscle, what looked like around 15 pounds, which we all know is no mean feat.
Later again Pitt improvised on his physical prowess in the epic movie Troy, where he played the Ancient Greece's greatest warrior Achilles. So the question looms, how did Brad Pitt, who was never really known as a buff action star transform his body into one of the world's most admired physiques?
Well the answer is relatively easy: with the aid of fitness professionals. Pitt designed an effective training regimen and supplemented that with a sound nutritional program.
The training program below illustrates the type of workout Brad did on a daily basis while getting in shape for Fight Club.
3 sets of 15 repetitions were carried out per exercise, and maximal weight for the rep-range was used. This is an ideal philosophy to use when designing your own workout, most of you will have noticed while in the gym there a lot of the individuals working out are doing the same old ding dong, day in day out, with minimal results.
The most important factor to remember is that the muscles must be stressed during the workout; carrying out 15 reps is one thing, making each and everyone of those reps count is another story.
Your 13th, 14th and 15th reps should be a struggle, you're fighting to squeeze out those last few, it is these reps that stimulate your muscle fibers into adapting and becoming stronger so that the muscle becomes its function!
Cardio was only performed on Fridays, this is due to the fact that Pitt is naturally known as an ectomorph, and that is, his body composition is naturally lean and light. So to compensate, his resistance training program was carried out at a fast pace, resting for only 60 seconds between sets.
Should an individual be either of the other two body types (mesomorph—bulkier but still lean, or endomorph—heavily built with higher body fat) the amount and frequency of cardio performed during your weekly routine will or at least should vary to suit your body type and fitness goals.
Ectomorph's such as Brad Pitt need less cardio than mesomorph's such as Bob Sapp (Pride fighter and co-starred with Adam Sandler in "The Longest Yard").
Changes For Differing Roles
Changes were made to his program when getting ready for the Role of "Mikey the Pikey" in Snatch where Brad needed to increase some muscle mass, and again in the movie Troy for his role as Achilles.
The basic component of the program, which is outlined below is sound so all that needed to be done to change to a mass building cycle was to increase the weight being used, this would lower the target rep range to 10-12 repetitions per set while still maintaining the same recovery period between sets of 60 seconds.
The change in physique is evident when Pitt strips off the shirt in Snatch to reveal his hard muscle! However, for his role of Achilles where Brad had to wear, for want of another word, a skirt, and proudly displayed a well-developed pair of legs, and you will notice that previously leg workouts had not been a concern of his.
Pitt's leg development in the movie Troy was nothing to write home about in bodybuilding terms, but they did display balanced development and an athletic standard of development, one can only assume that previous to this a better pair of legs could be seen in a bucket of KFC!
To achieve the standard of leg development displayed in Troy, Brad followed the same set and rep principals as he did to develop his upper body. He used exercises like leg extensions, leg curls, squats (alternated weekly with leg press) and both seated and standing calf raises.
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The above regimen when carried out with a sound nutritional plan is ideal for building a lean sleek athletic physique. The nutritional plan followed by Brad during his pre movie conditioning was a basic pre contest diet, in that the carbs were low, the fat intake was low and the protein intake was high.
Also important was to include plenty of greens in the diet, such as broccoli, spinach, and leafy salads. Great sources of protein for such a training plan should include lean beef, chicken and turkey. A supplement stack including a whey protein product, creatine monohydrate, a multivitamin, and a thermogenic aid.
So now that you have the Hollywood edge when it comes to getting in shape, your training program no longer need be the "Pitts."