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The Dark Knight Workout: Getting Ripped & Finishing Strong!

His workouts and nutrition program mirrored that of most of us in the fitness and iron game. Mr. Bale's physique and screen presence had to be perfect for this summer's biggest blockbuster. Here's how he did it!

Christian Bale Had To Reveal An Impressive Physique.
"Christian Bale Had To Reveal An Impressive Physique."

It isn't hard to want the life of a celebrity. While most of them may have fame and fortune, a ripped physique is still not the norm. No matter the line of work, attaining a lean physique still takes considerable work and mental fortitude.

I often laugh when I hear people say that the only reason celebrities look great is because they have more money, personal trainers, and time. Well, in some cases, these things can often spawn a worse physique! Having a lot of time and money on your hands can lead to over eating, laziness and being complacent. We as humans all have the same physiology and therefore can all benefit from the same techniques to attain the leanness we all envy.

In his upcoming epic movie, "The Dark Knight", Hollywood superstar Christian Bale had to reveal an impressive physique. After all, he had to fit in a skin-tight suit, maintain six-pack abs, and still have a screen presence of being tough. Not easy to do.

Surprisingly though, his workouts and nutrition program mirrored that of most of us in the fitness and iron game. Mr. Bale's physique and screen presence had to be perfect for this summer's biggest blockbuster. Here's how he did it!


The goal of this summers "Dark Knight" was to have a very lean yet muscular physique, similar to the goal of many of us on Hence, his diet was set up to take advantage of the anabolic window to support muscle growth and limit fat gains.

To do this, most of his carbohydrates were consumed in the morning upon wakening and after his workout. Times when glycogen would be at it's lowest and absorption of nutrients would support muscle rather than fat gains. His choice of carbohydrates would mostly consist of those that were low on the glycemic index and would therefore keep insulin levels and energy more stable.


Christian Bale is known for his ability to transform his physique for various roles. For the Machinist he dropped to double digits on the scale. In fact, many were worried that he wouldn't be able to gain enough weight to play the role of the "dark knight."

Mr. Bale not only pulled it off, but brought forth a physique that many would be lucky to develop over years of training! For anybody to accomplish this, they must possess desire and knowledge. It's one thing to really want a great body, but knowing how is just as important.

Great Body On A Tight Schedule

"Christian Bale In The Machinist."

So he only had a few weeks to get the job done and we can all relate. Granted, we may not make 20 million dollars for attending our next reunion in ripped shape, but at least we can hold our head high and know we truly accomplished something.

While it isn't advised to cut or gain weight quickly, it can be done within reason. Many don't advocate this because it is d@mn near impossible. Dropping weight fast often leads to considerable muscle loss and a scrawny physique. Gaining weight fast often leads to little muscle gains and a lot of fat. So, if we are playing against the odds and trying to get in great shape fast, we better be 100% on the money.

Workout Setup

To make significant changes in your physique it helps to have been there before. "Muscle Memory" is one our greatest allies. If you were muscular and lean before, it is much easier to get there again, hence another reason to get in great shape, even if it's just once! Christian Bale had been there before and knew his body possessed the ability to become lean and muscular.

The Dark Knights Objective And Goals

Attain A Lean Muscular Physique In Less Than 8 weeks

  1. Do not sacrifice muscle for weight loss-obtain a balance and watch the mirror!
  2. No cheating on nutrition-must be 100% perfect.
  3. Treat each set and rep like it's our last.
  4. Each cardio session must be planned and pushed through.

The Nutrition Plan

  1. Consume just enough calories to gain or preserve muscle while still losing fat.
  2. Keep insulin to an absolute minimum, knowing it is most valuable at breakfast and post workout.
  3. Consume most carbohydrates in the form of green vegetables and low on the GI scale, such as rolled oats, ezekiel bread, and green vegetables.
  4. Protein must be high-at least 1.25 g/lbs of bodyweight

The Training Plan

  1. Train to failure on each set-this will activate the most high threshold fibers to initiate growth.
  2. Favor more volume than intensity as the extra time in the gym will burn more calories. Over training is not a major concern... we have a movie to make!
  3. Reps in the 6-12 range with various tactics such as supersets and drop sets.
  4. Use mostly compound exercises to stimulate the most muscle.
  5. Train 5 days per week with cardio 7 days per week.

Workout Setup

This will hold true for all workout days.

Set 1 Setup 4 Sets x 6, 8, 10, 12/ Rest 2 Minutes Between Sets

The high threshold fast twitch fibers will be activated right away with the heavy weights. The higher reps that follow will stimulate other more endurance oriented fibers. Wake up the fibers early and reap the rewards later.

All weights should be chosen accordingly, so that the reps listed are able to be performed. As an example, don't pick a weight you could get 12 reps with for your 4 rep set. Also, don't forget to warm up thoroughly!

Batman Charges Into Action On His New Bat-Pod.
"Batman Charges Into Action On His New Bat-Pod."

Set 2 Setup 3 Sets Of 10-12 reps/Rest 1 Minute Between Sets

Now since we have awoken the giant, we will continue to punish you with higher reps and more intensity. Now we are going to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps with one minute of rest in between. Again, pick an appropriate weight. For example, the first set pick a weight that will allow 12 reps, but maybe you could have gotten 14. This way by the third set you will really have to struggle to get 10!

Set 3 Setup Two Supersets & One Drop Set/Rest Just Long Enough To Catch Your Breath

Sorry, no pain... no gain! We have a deadline here and you don't want to look good. You have to look great! Two supersets and one drop set will finish off this body part.

30 minutes after each lifting session on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical. This will definitely continue the fat burning as your lifting session will significantly reduce your stored glycogen, which makes fat that much easier to tap into.

Don't forget to consume a fast digesting carbohydrate and protein source after your cardio session to start the rebuilding process. Also, I highly recommend taking in 10-15 g of BCAA and glutamine in the morning upon awakening and after your weight session to preserve muscle and protect your health.

The Dark Knight Workouts

Monday: Chest/ Triceps
30 minutes of cardio
    Tuesday: Biceps
    Abs: 3 triple drop sets. Do all three exercise without rest. Then repeat after 1 minute rest. Do a total of 3 sets with 10-20 reps per exercise!
      Cardio: 30 minutes
        Wednesday: Quads/Hamstrings
        Cardio: 30 minutes
          Thursday: Lats/ MidBack
          Cardio: 30 minutes
            Friday: Shoulders
            Abs: 3 triple drop sets. Do all three exercise without rest. Then repeat after 1 minute rest. Do a total of 3 sets with 10-20 reps per exercise!
              Cardio: 30 minutes
                Saturday and Sunday

                Cardio: 30 minutes each day

                  Nutrition Plan

                  Meal 1
                  Meal 2
                  Meal 4
                  After Workout, before Cardio
                  Meal 5: After Cardio
                  Meal 6: Bedtime


                  There you have it! The ultimate guide to your "Dark Knight" workout. Undoubtedly Christian Bale had to train this intensely to transform his body for this summer's most anticipated movie.

                  This workout will force your muscles to change and give you just enough protein and carbohydrates to build muscle, lose fat and keep you healthy. If you can get through six weeks of this, and are still standing, you might not recognize yourself. You might even star in a major motion picture... don't blame us though!