What? You think it's weird that Bodybuilding.com has an exclusive look into Matthew McConaughey's training and nutrition for Magic Mike, a movie about shredded male strippers? Your girlfriend doesn't. Neither does your mom. Neither does any other female you've ever met. They want McConaughey's body, and so do you. At the very least, you probably want to look better naked.
Own up to it, dude: McConaughey is pretty damn diesel. He's always been known for bringing solid shape to the silver screen, but he dialed his physique to another setting for Magic Mike. The reasons are simple: He's shirtless in nearly every scene. He's the ripped patriarch of an all-male revue. Perhaps most important, he stars against Channing Tatum and True Blood's Joe Manganiello, both known for their killer shape.
Tatum stands at 6-foot-1 and carries enough muscle to play G.I Joe's team leader, Duke. At 6-foot-5 and a ripped 220 pounds, Manganiello can take your man-card faster than Domino's delivery service. Put simply, McConaughey had to get peeled to stand tall with his co-stars.
The Method Behind the Magic
Most guys will see this and think, "Sure, brah: McConaughey's in good shape, but he's got 14 trainers, 6 nutritionists, 3 home gyms and a flock of masseuses." Not quite. McConaughey's Magic Mike nutrition and training were handled by Chris Lockwood, Ph.D., CSCS, and supplement expert, and Gunnar Peterson, CSCS, the renowned celebrity trainer.
Bodybuilding.com caught up with the men behind the magic for an exclusive glimpse into McConaughey's Magic Mike prep. Peterson reveals Matthew's high-intensity conditioning routine and insane abs workout; Lockwood riffs on the diet and supplement plan he used to help McConaughey get chiseled.
2-Weeks To 6-Pack Abs: Insane Training
Gunnar Peterson has helped Matthew McConaughey train since Sahara in 2005. For his Magic Mike spot, McConaughey contacted Gunnar to get more shredded than ever. Gunnar shared some of the secrets behind Matthew's show-stopping physique.
Q. How come Matthew doesn't age and I do?
Gunnar: He's one of the few who keeps up his fitness year-round and on-going. The guy is a work-in-progress. It's fun when he rolls through the gym for whatever the next upcoming thing is, because he comes in at a high level and then leaves at a higher level. His 'out-of-shape' is most guys' peak level.
What were Matthew's physique goals for Magic Mike?
He wanted to look the part. He wanted to look like a guy who has run a male revue for years and has made it his life and livelihood. He wanted to be cut up and ripped up to be the old vet who can still hang with the young bucks.
We had two weeks. He came in at a decent level of fitness, but he wanted to drop some body fat. He wasn't looking to gain any size. So really it became all about conditioning and maintaining the lean mass that he already had. It was a tough peaking program. He came in every day, twice per day, for two weeks.
Is he one of those guys who accepts any challenge you throw his way?
Matthew is straight Texas -- he's a get-after-it guy. Literally. For his workouts, he'd get in, get after it and get out. He's a full gamer; he goes at anything. He'll get up from a set and go, "Whoo-hoooh!"
What did the workouts look like?
It was a lot of interval stuff, but it was more like ADD [attention deficit disorder] cardio than just intervals with weights in between. We went from cardio modality to cardio modality. For example, we'd do something like 4 minutes on one modality, 5 minutes on another, 6 minutes on something else and then go 6, 5, 4. That's half an hour.
This type of training recruits differently from a muscle standpoint. It keeps his brain engaged. Over the years, I've found that it's much easier for people to push consistently for 4 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 6 minutes than to push for 15 continuous minutes. It's very, very psychological.
So, you did circuit training?
It's funny, because I think circuits get a watered-down name. People see them and they say, 'Oh yeah, circuit training.' To me, circuit training is really involved, especially when I'm putting together programs.
It's intricate. You put a lot of things in there to elicit a response. It's not just about fatigue, it's about fatiguing someone while stimulating the muscle groups they're looking to stimulate.
You don't just train your strengths, but you don't spend the whole day training your weakness either. If you had to use a word to describe the training we did, 'circuit training' is the one you'd use.
What movements did you have Matthew do?
For the 4, 5, 6, 6, 5, 4 series, we did a lot of squat presses. It's a great metabolic movement: It emphasizes full shoulders, which helps makes the waist look smaller; and it's glute-centric.
For someone playing a male dancer, it's a movement that hits all the right spots.
He has great abs. What did you do to enhance those?
Ab development is light years beyond crunches at this stage. It's a ton of work in rotation. We did a lot of work from the insertion and a lot of angles.
We'd do leg raises at an angle, or leg raises at an angle with resistance. We also did a lot of planks.
This is a great series to stick in between strengths movements and the 4,5,6,6,5,4 series. Or, throw it in after a tough cardio session.
Simple and brutal, brother! 5 minutes on a cardio machine, followed by 1 minute of jump rope. Do that 9 times.
2-Weeks To 6-Pack Abs: Nutrition & Supplementation
Chris Lockwood is a PhD, CSCS and CEO of a nutritional research and consulting firm. In other words, he's a nutrition guru and supplement wizard. McConaughey called on him to get as shredded as possible.
QWhat were Matthew's goals for this role, both aesthetically and for function/athleticism?
Lockwood: Unlike the radical transformations many celebrities attempt in order to get into character, Matthew just needed to get dialed-in. He wanted to put on more size and get, as he put it, 'water moccasin-like shredded.'
However, Matthew's always in great shape, so Gunnar Peterson and I put on the finishing touches. We also worked on "peaking" him for the days in which he'd be in front of the camera.
Magic Mike is a movie about male strippers; so his physique goals had to match the movie's premise. In his previous films, I assume his physique probably added to his characters' broad appeal.
For his role in 'Magic Mike,' though, it seemed like the believability as the headlining patriarch of a male revue brought out a bodybuilder-like competitiveness in Matthew and the other leading actors in the movie.
Maybe Matthew also felt like the role would require an equally headline-making muscularity and leanness that he hadn't previously achieved. Whatever the motivating factor, the guy's work ethic and professionalism is probably only out-matched by his genuine likability as an all-around good dude.
What was Matthew's nutrition like for this role?
The guy's year-round meal plan is so awesome it brings a tear to my eye. Generally speaking, we only had to tweak the macronutrient composition of his breakfast and add three protein shakes to his day.
We did this to increase his meal frequency and total protein intake. Plus, the experimental whey protein formula I was giving Matthew provided other fat-burning, muscle-building and recovery benefits.
Specifically, we increased the lean protein sources and decreased the amount of carbs he was eating in the morning. Matthew was already reducing his carb intake as the day progressed, essentially cutting off starchy carbs after mid-day; and he was already eating a great lunch and dinner meal.
As far as his basic meal plan goes, he was already pretty much on-point. Three days prior to shooting particularly clothes-less scenes, I had Matthew reduce his water and sodium intake. I also added a low-glycemic lean mass gainer into his breakfast for a bit of extra carbs so he wouldn't get too flat.
On the actual day of shooting, I'd have him eat a small breakfast and sip on the experimental whey protein shakes during the day. About 30 minutes prior to a take, I'd have him start drinking the low-glycemic lean mass gainer and suggested that he sip on some good red wine to fill-out his muscle and bring out his vascularity.
This nutrition, combined with a solid "pump-n-pose" exercise regimen prior to and during takes, helped to transiently accentuate his shoulders, chest, arms and make his waist look even smaller and leaner than he'd already achieved.
We prepared Matthew for his shoot dates in much the same way we would prepare a bodybuilder or fitness competitor for competition day.
What was his supplementation like for this role?
What he was taking were great foundational products, so I told him just to stick with them until filming was finished. After filming, I'd create a maintenance plan and offer recommendations for better products (or brands) he could purchase.
One of the benefits of working with raw material suppliers, contract manufacturers and analytical labs is that I have the ability to custom formulate products for clients like Matthew. I'm not bound by what I can buy or bro-deal at the local nutrition store. Better yet, I can use ingredients at doses commonly too expensive for most consumer brands, and I can personally guarantee ingredient and product quality down to the letter.
I put Matthew on a thrice-daily dose of an experimental whey protein formula that I'd been working on (based on what I'd discovered during my dissertation research as well as some additional hypotheses I'd formed).
He took one shake immediately upon waking-up in the morning, another between his first and second meal of the day, and another immediately after his workouts or between meals two and three on non-training days.
I had Matthew consume a raw material ingredient called Promilin with each of his three carbohydrate-containing meals. The ingredient is a form of Fenugreek seed extract, which I recommend frequently to support fat loss, glycogen resynthesis and exercise recovery. It's also a great antioxidant.
Twice per day, prior to his first meal and before training -- or prior to his first and third meals on non-training days -- I had Matthew consume an encapsulation of 100 mg of Forskolin (from a 10% Coleus forskholii root extract) and 200 mg of 7-Keto DHEA.
The primary functions for having Matthew take Forskolin were to support fat loss and testosterone; the 7-Keto DHEA, as Dr. Oz recently realized and reported to the world, is just a solid fat burner and metabolic support product.
I also put Matthew on D-Aspartic acid. He took two servings per day, prior to meal one and immediately post-exercise on training days, or prior to meals one and three on non-training days. If he needed a boost on training days, I gave him a pre-workout product that included a combination of creatine monohydrate, taurine, CarnoSyn beta-alanine, n-acetyl-tyrosine, caffeine, n-acetyl-cysteine, vitamin C, vitamin E, and sodium-R-alpha-lipoic acid.