Celebrities such as Brad Pitt are notorious for completely transforming themselves within a few months to get ready for a certain film role. Over the years Brad Pitt has slimmed, bulked and cut for various roles. Let’s take a look at some of those movies over the last 15 years that have seen Pitt take on the challenge of shaping up.
In Brad Pitt’s early years, photos show just how slim he was. In 1991’s Thelma & Louise, Pitt had a visibly much leaner look, this was actually his more natural build. Many would class Pitt’s body type as an Ectomorph, which is someone that is typically classed as a “Hard Gainer”, is flat chested, lean, lightly muscled, someone who takes longer than the average person to gain muscle and generally of thin build.
Being in his twenties at this time, diet and hard training was not that important to him, he naturally had a fast metabolism and only did some occasional weight training preparing for Thelma and Louise, it was ab training where he spent much more attention. Being naturally lean certainly helped Pitt with getting his abs in really good condition for the film.
It was not until appearing in Fight Club nine years later in 1999 that people really took attention to Pitt’s physique. He’d clearly trained and dieted hard in preparation for this one. After Fight Club was released Pitt became the envy of many men. His tight body was coveted, and many people sought a workout that would produce similar results. However, contrary to what most people thought, Pitt was actually at his lightest, weighing in at only 150-155 pounds, with body fat around 5-6%. It has been well documented that Pitt had an extremely regimented routine for the months before filming began. His workout was characterized by beating one muscle group up each day, then giving it the rest of the week to recover, similar to the kind of routine a professional bodybuilder would do. Finally, at the end of the week, he finished off with a good cardio workout. This put his body into fat-burning mode, which served to shed any extra padding that covered his muscles, giving him that chiselled and ripped look.
Here are the exercises that made up his Fight Club workout.
3 sets of each exercise, taking approximately 60 seconds of rest between each set. Pitt used a weight challenging enough that he could successfully complete 15 reps, no less (with the exception of pushups and pullups), but be fatigued on the last rep. Proper form was maintained throughout.
Monday – Chest
- 25 pushups
- Nautilus chest press
- Nautilus incline press
- Pec deck machine (chest fly)
Tuesday – Back
- 5 pullups
- Seated rows
- Lat pulldowns
- T-bar rows
Wednesday – Shoulders
- Arnold dumbbell press (like a military press, but start the action with palms facing in and end the action with palms facing out)
- Lateral raises
- Front raises
Thursday – Biceps/Triceps
- Nautilus curl machine
- EZ cable curls
- Hammer curls
- Tricep pushdowns
Friday – Cardio
Walking or (preferably) running on the treadmill for 45 minutes at 65% to 75% of your maximum heart rate
Saturday/Sunday – Rest
Nutrition & Diet
Brad’s diet is the most important aspect when it comes to getting him in shape for a role. Don’t just think he trains hard in the gym, his diet accounts for much of his success in achieving the physique produces. For his Fight Club role Pitt took on a very strict and consistent diet eating six small meals a day which included a Whey Protein Powder and on occasion some protein bars, no other supplements were used by Pitt, however much of his nutrition came from whole foods high in protein like Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Lean Meat, Eggs and Cottage Cheese. Carbohydrates were very clean and included Wholewheats and Grains, Green Vegetables, Oats and Rice Cakes, which were then tapered off in his last two meals of the day.
Midmorning snack: Tinned Tuna in Wholewheat Pitta Breads
Lunch: 2 x Chicken Breasts, 75-100g Brown Rice or Pasta and green veggies
Post Workout: Whey Protein Shake and a Banana
Dinner: Grilled fish or chicken, brown rice or pasta, vegetables, and salad.
Evening Snack: Casein Protein Shake Protein shake or Low Fat Cottage Cheese (Slow Release Protein)
* Would you like a Diet & Workout Plan based on Brad’s Fight Club Physique? We can set up a plan in just 48 hours. More info here
By 2000 when he began production of the movie Snatch Pitt’s body fat percentage had rose to approximately 8%, which was still very lean. Some would argue that he actually looks even leaner in Snatch, but not according to Pitt. Staying at the 5-6% he had maintained for Fight Club would not have been healthy. He cut to get the ‘Fight Club Look’ that was required for such a film. After the film, he relaxed his cardio and strict diet to ease himself into a more normal and manageable physique. So, what you see in Snatch are his heavy bulking efforts combined with a less strict diet. Pitt did not follow such a regimented program for Snatch, infact he barely trained at all.
Five years later Pitt was given an even more challenging body transformation, he needed to add 10-15 pounds of solid muscle for the movie Troy (2004). In order for Pitt to get ready for the role he dropped cigarettes and sharply cut back on beer and chips, although he did allow himself the occasional treat: McFlurry shakes from McDonald’s!!, “though it was more for a little taste of home, you know, a little Americana.” Pitt stated in a 2005 interview.
Brad used a low-carb, high-protein diet during the training for his role. Physically, Pitt prepared for the role with a year of intense training. “The first three months were daunting and not fun at all.” His days included two hours in the gym, two additional hours of sword work and four high-protein, low-carb meals. As a result, he gained about 10-15 pounds of brawn.
As you can see in the photos, Pitt was in pretty impressive shape in Troy, good muscle size and great proportion. He was also not looking so top heavy as he had in previous films (meaning his legs looked too skinny compared to his upper body). In Troy he’d visibly put some good mass on his thighs, which gave him a good overall appearance and a more proportionate physique. Weight training wise Pitt bought down the rep ranges compared to when he trained for Fight Club, he also lifted heavier this enabled him to add some muscle bulk.
So in summary, Pitt exemplifies that through hard work and dedication, someone who may not be genetically gifted at building muscle mass can actually overcome these barriers. Pitt would probably be the first to admit that he doesn’t have the ‘perfect’ body, but most would argue that he does represent what most guys would love to look like. Time to get training!