Not growing? Well it seems the best way to put on an incredible amount of mass is to star in a superhero film. That’s how Chris Evans packed on 30 lbs of muscle in 3 months to get ready for Captain America 2. As you know, I’m highly sceptical of the actual amount an actor gained for a particular role. However, according to Evans, his gym workouts were not fun, he was, “puking at the gym. They were brutal, absolutely brutal.”
So what exactly did these brutal gym workouts look like? Well, let’s take a look at the 5 key takeaways from Chris Evans’ Captain America workout:
Performed No Cardio
It’s a shame just how many folks are doing cardio when trying to bulk up. Evans explains why he did not do cardio: “Honestly, for Captain America I don’t do a lot of cardio because I’m not trying to lose weight, it’s all about putting on the muscle. It’s big weights and training to put on the muscle. I mean, we might do a few sprints just to make sure I’m loose and conditioned, but that’s about it, to be honest. We’d warm up and do some intervals for 10-15 minutes.”
The question of cardio is still a bit subjective. I believe you should keep your body type in mind. For example, an endomorph such as myself who gains both fat and muscle easily, it’s best to do so some high intensity sprints or full body circuits once or twice per week to keep the fat levels down. Still, don’t be afraid of packing on a little bit of fat along the way. It’s inevitable if you’re going to be training hard and eating big.
2-Hour Training Sessions
I lift 4 days per week, 45-60 minutes per session. I’m dead after 30 minutes or so. The addition 10-15 minutes is just me pushing myself to do more. So in order for Chris Evans to go on for a full 2 hours, he must have had his nutrition, sleep, and supplementation game right.
Here’s how a typical session went: “We would take two muscle groups, whether it was chest and back or biceps and triceps and we would just destroy those muscles, literally, destroy them for just over two hours. Then we’d cool down with core and abs.
Sorry, not 2 hours.. OVER 2 hours PLUS core and abs. I was skeptical how Charlie Cox, the actor who played Netflix’ Daredevil, could train for 3 hours straight. I guess it was following something along the lines of what Evans did, it could very well be possible!
Train 5-6 Days per Week
With my current regimen I feel HUNGRY nearly all the time. I’ve trained 5-6 days per week in the past while eating 500 calories more than I do now. It was difficult for me to stuff all that food down my face, but it was still not enough food and I ended up hitting burnout after 2 weeks!
This is the very REAL challenge of an average gym goer. There is no clear cut formula between how many calories you need to recover and how much food you can practically deal with. After a few weeks, you just get tired of eating.
So if you’re going to attempt a 5-6 day per week training regimen, you’ll have to EAT. The following are a list of foods on Chris Evans’ daily menu:
- protein shakes
- low-fat greek yogurt
- salads w/ protein
- brown rice
That looks like a nice mix of protein, fats, and carbs to me! When packing on muscle, it’s very important to include an ample amount of carbohydrates. Just make sure these carbs are coming from clean sources.
Stuck to the Basics
“The training regimen was based on heavy weight/low-rep sets of the classic compound lifts. I did stuff like squats, deadlifts, shoulder press, incline bench presses, weighted dips, and chin-ups.”
This is gold. There are just way too many gimmick programs out there. There are people on YouTube (I won’t name names) coming out with their own new unique exercises to try in the gym.
All that stuff is great, and maybe some stuff works, but you can’t run away from the basics. These are the tried and true movements that WORK. All the greats did them, so why wouldn’t they NOT work for you?
Included Bodyweight Movements
According to Evans, he would, “mix up the free weight stuff with bodyweight stuff. I’d do lots of different weighted pull-ups, weighted dips, press-ups with a plate on my back. Simple-but-effective exercises, basically the classic bodyweight and bodybuilding stuff.”
Bodyweight movements pose a challenge to many people. They can bench press a lot of weight, but can’t do 10 good pushups. They’re hard, they get your heart rate up, and they work.
Don’t forget them.
These are some really great principles to check your current program with. However, I don’t agree with the sheer training frequency Chris Evans used in getting in shape for Captain America.
He’s an actor. You’re not. Therefore I recommend a more balanced routine such as Scott Sonnon’s TacFit BAD45. Click here to learn more.