In an ideal world, we’d all look like Michael B. Jordan: muscles ‘popping,’ breath steaming and guns shining. The reality is, for most of us, such an image remains a mildly erotic visage. Of late, however, men’s magazines have taken to suggesting it’s possible to look like your celebrity of choice, whether it be Chris Hemsworth, Jason Momoa, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jason Statham or – of course – Michael B. Jordan.
All you have to do is train like them, right?
Whether it’s “I trained like Hemsworth for 30 days” or “I ate like Momoa for a week straight” these articles miss a crucial point: if you don’t have the same body type as someone (let alone their financial resources and a personal chef) no amount of training will give you their body. To get the inside word on working out like your favourite A-Lister (and what you actually can do to increase your chances of looking more like them), we spoke to two fitness experts: the personal trainer of Michael B. Jordan himself, Cory Calliet, and 9Round Bowen Hills Club Manager, Nick L’Barrow.
First up was Mr Calliet, renowned celebrity trainer, who told us, essentially, that taking on the task of exactly mirroring any other human’s rig is inevitably flawed: “Celebrities aside, it’s important to first understand that every body is different before taking on any physique goal.”
That’s not to say you can’t try, but that you need to set your expectations realistically: “Not to deter you, but… Are you foundationally similar (height, body type, etc), to the physique you are trying to achieve? Are you starting from a similar point to where they started?” These are all important factors to consider.
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He then offers a ray of hope, saying, “If there are differences, it does not mean you can’t achieve what you’re after, it simply means you will need to be patient in getting there and be smart in your approach.” He followed this up by saying, “Make sure your nutrition plan accounts for your body type and supports the goal, and understand that you will need dedication and consistency to be successful.”
As for the best exercises, Calliet told us, “Many think this [changing your build] means doing different exercises and lifting nothing but heavy weight. Although there is truth in going heavy, you need to force the muscle to beat plateau by working beyond the burn too.” To do this Calliet recommends you choose “4-6 exercises to target a specific muscle group and keep this consistent for about 6 weeks.”
“You need to shock the muscle to make it grow.”
Specifically, these are his instructions: “Each week, vary the types of sets you do; for example, lightweight burnout, regular sets of 8-12 reps training with weight around 75% of your max, supersets, static holds for strength, tempo reps, etc. Keep the muscle guessing.” Some of Calliet’s favourite exercises are “dumbbell split squats, weighted walking lunges, barbell bent-over rows, seated shoulder press, dumbbell waiter curls, and lateral raise variations.”
We then got in touch with 9Round Bowen Hills Club Manager, Nick L’Barrow, to see what he thought. Is it possible to look like your favourite celebrity? Here’s what he had to say: “It’s great to have influences that inspire and motivate your fitness goals, whether they be celebrities, social media influencers or otherwise. But at the end of the day, celebrities who are in top physical shape often are so thanks to an entire team of people ensuring they stay on track, from personal chefs and trainers to physios and other coaches.”
“The likes of ‘The Rock’ can create figures that the everyday person could not easily replicate,” L’Barrow continues, “because maintaining this shape ahead of a movie is essentially their job, and they are 110% dedicated to that.” The problem is, “Most people can’t train for two or more hours every day, or eat a specific, clean diet 100% of the time. It would be unrealistic then to think it is possible to get this body by normal strength training and eating relatively healthy, protein rich foods, for example.”
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If you really must build the physique of your idols, L’Barrow says the best thing you can do is “heavy strength training with minimal rep sets,” which is a “major natural testosterone booster and aids your metabolic rate significantly, ensuring you can get that ‘bulky’ look easier.” That said, he urged us to keep in mind “genetics and the science of your unique biology does play a huge part in our physical shapes.”
“While shifting and changing your body type is possible to an extent, things like bone density and your natural physical build (whether that be lean and tall or short and stocky) has a huge impact on how much you can realistically alter your shape.”