In a busy weekend for the Hollywood A-lister, Jake Gyllenhaal stunned fans with a reveal of his staggering new physique before going on to wow crowds with a brutal knockout victory. Here we look at his new MMA movie, how he got so shredded for the role, and the blow-by-blow of his big Vegas fight.
Like all A-listers, Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to major transformations. In a career that has spanned dark and demented roles in Donnie Darko and Nightcrawler, the tragic romance of Brokeback Mountain, and the much underrated comic book villain Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Gyllenhaal is a veteran in an industry that demands thorough and confronting metamorphoses.
This is equally true of his physicality as it is of his demeanour. Much like Christian Bale and Robert De Niro before him, Gyllenhaal has overhauled his physique on several occasions to prepare for roles. Most notably, he lost over 30 pounds when prepping to play the lonely and troubled protagonist of 2014’s Nightcrawler, only to have to regain all of it (and more) in readiness for 2015’s boxing flick Southpaw.
This weekend, Gyllenhaal revealed one of his most stunning transformations to date. The weigh-in for UFC 285 – headlined by Jon Jones’ fight against Cyril Gane – became a mere sideshow after Gyllenhaal stepped out to film a scene for his upcoming remake of 1989’s Road House.
Gyllenhaal, who has just celebrated his 42nd birthday and is set to play Elwood Dalton in the remake, shocked fans by stepping up and removing his top during the weigh-in for his fictional fight with champion Jax Harris, revealing an absolutely shredded new body for the role.
Appearing to have gained a significant amount of weight in muscle mass – with his shoulders, chest and core all looking especially pumped-up – he also appears to have cut his body fat percentage to previously unforeseen lows, making for an all-around chiselled look.
Somehow, this was only the first surprise of the weekend. The following day, Gyllenhaal appeared again, this time to film the aforementioned fight in front of a live audience. After a full-scale walkout to the octagon, Gyllenhaal proceeded to take a vicious knockout win.
Absorbing the first few faux-blows from Harris before flying at Hieron with a brutal uppercut followed by a ruthless flying knee, he finished the job with an extra flurry of punches before pushing away the referee who had stepped in to end the fight.
The question hot on the lips of forty-something men around the world is a predictable one: how can I get in shape like Gyllenhaal, especially in my somewhat advancing years? The answer, as so often the case in Hollywood, is very straightforward: a lot of hard graft alongside a lot of carefully chosen supplements.
Though the details of Gyllenhaal’s workout for Road House are yet to be released (we expect them to make up a considerable chunk of his publicity interviews) his training regime from 2015’s Southpaw gives us a pretty good idea of what it takes to get this ripped…
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Jake Gyllenhaal’s workout routine
Gyllenhaal reported started every morning with an eight-mile run followed by a thousand sit-ups, and this was before the day’s official training had even begun. Sessions would consist of short but intense bursts of jump-rope training (a favourite for boxers both on-screen and off) and then intense strength and conditioning training.
The latter part would consist of another 1,000 sit-ups, at least 100 pull-ups, tricep dips, push-ups, and intense medicine ball training. This would all be interspersed with boxing technique sessions and sparring. You’ll notice that the focus here is on bodyweight exercises and functional training, rather than on pumping as much iron as possible; this is because boxing requires a far greater emphasis on agility, power, and muscle endurance rather than just pure strength.
More important than any workout routine, of course, is diet. Again, we can take Southpaw as a good template for his Road House diet. Though he may be shredded, his intense workout schedule required a lot of fuel, reportedly eating 6-7 meals a day, one every three hours.
Unsurprisingly, the meals were full of all the classic gym-bro good stuff: fish, chicken, eggs, and a lot of carbs to keep him fuelled through the day. On top of this, a lot of nutrient-dense fruit and veggies, all mixed in with a perfectly curated cocktail of supplements, including vitamins and protein shakes.
Some (likely very jealous) fans have already thrown out accusations that his supplement regimen may have included some under-the-counter substances too. We’ve seen no evidence of this to date. Though it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility, it seems more likely that all the trainers, facilities, good food and financial motivation that Hollywood can provide are likely far more effective in getting an actor in shape than anything that comes in a syringe…
For now, we’ll have to wait for the full details of the training regime to come out and to see the cinematic fruits of Gyllenhaal’s labour. Though middle-aged men around the world should take hope from Gyllenhaal’s transformation, we’d also advise them not to set the bar too high. If someone blocked out six months in your diary and put a ten-million-dollar reward on the table, we’ve no doubt you could get battle-ready too. Until then, don’t beat yourself up… Let Jake do it for you.