Kellan Lutz has pushed himself up into the A-List with his lead in The Legend of Hercules. If you want an epic upper body and the six-pack of a Greek God, this is how to expand your physical horizons.
You might recognize the 6ft 1in figure of Kellan Lutz from the acclaimed HBO series Generation Kill - the most realistic portrayal of 21st century warfare yet filmed. Or perhaps you remember his role in Immortals, starring opposite a pre-superman Henry Cavill.
If you come clean, though, you know him from Twilight films (the trailers, of course). The series grossed over $3 billion worldwide, but the 28-year-old actor got more out of teen blood-sucking than a grown-up career. "I was bored," he says."They put us in these mall apartment complexes - the fans and paparazzi were outside the whole time. So I bunkered down in the gym; it was my escape." Hysterical teens aside, Lutz's mentality is probably familiar.
Now he's officially broken out. As The Legend of Hercules' titular hero, Lutz turned weightlifting lore on its head to build muscle and shunned cardio to burn fat. The result is a body big enough for the son of Zeus with abs that pop in 3D. This is all the training advice you need to start your own physical legend. You won't recognize yourself by March.
01: Less Weight, More Muscle
Hit the heavy stuff too hard and it's a painful penance - as any man who's winced his way down the stairs two days after a squat session know. That's why Lutz built his body on high reps and low weight. "I used to curl 55kg three times and think I was killing it," he says. "The next day my back would hurt like hell." Like science explain: a McMaster University study found using 30% of your max lift until failure stimulates more growth than heaving away at 90%. "Just go until you get the 'pump'," says Lutz. "You'll feel bigger instantly and won't be sore the next day."
02: Play Dumb with Your Diet
"For Immortals, we all had dietitians: every hour they'd hand you eight almonds or a plate of spinach." So far, so 'Hollywood'. But for Hercules, Lutz was on his own. He opted for simplified Paleo diet - heavy on protein and avoiding grains like the wrath of Zeus. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels and cut body fat, without making you come across like an 'intolerant' LA princess. At restaurants, Lutz's temptation-dodging tip is to disregard the menu entirely. "Just ask if they have salmon and avocado and if they mind throwing together a salad for you. It's being deliberately ignorant, but it works."
03: Make Heroic Abs A Reality
On set, Lutz relied upon the exertion of playing a demigod cutting his way through scored of mythical foes to keep his six-pack in shape. "Staying upright on a horse is hard on your abs, and swinging a sword really hits your core as well as your arms," he says. Granted, there are no horses or swords at your local gym, but the point is that unreal abs are built with instability. Perform planks with you feet hooked in a TRX (horse) to destabilize your lower body, and swing a kettle ball (sword) in place of the basic up-down motion of a barbell. You don't have to dress up - but it helps. "Swinging a 4kg sword around wearing superhero clothes? I mean that's just fun." We're inclined to agree with him.
04: Your Gym is Expendable
If you train with action hero royalty every day, you can skip this bit. As the newest name on the roll call of celluloid muscle that is The Expendables, Lutz picked up a few tips: "Sly walks around on set with a weighted bar. When the camera stops he pumps it; that's why his forearms are huge." Lutz has his own take: "Now I always pack a resistance band. Stand on one end and curl: it's an arms workout anywhere." At £6 (powerhouse-fitness.co.uk) it's a tiny price for entrance to the fitness elite.
05: Hate Cardio? Then Skip It
"I had a full-body scan, and it turns out I have dense bones," says Lutz. "The specialist asked if I liked swimming and I was like, 'I love it.' She said: 'But you sink, right?'" If you're not a natural in water, don't force it. Likewise, if your trainers rack up more mould than miles the road's not for you. "I'm not a fan of running," says Lutz. "I burn fat with bodyweight moves in between gym sets." Perform press-ups or crunches between each set of lifts (see Lutz's workout) to burn extra calories. Use his regime to build up your chest, shoulders, arms and abs. It's not exactly fun but it's 99% better than a 10K trudge in the rain.