“Because I was training hard in the gym throughout the whole process, it became difficult for any injuries to heal,” Cavill tells Men’s Health. “You stress the muscles so much when you’re super-dehydrated and tired at the end of the day that little things can happen, like muscle pulls, which never quite go away.”
Because Cavill was juggling a hectic filming schedule and getting little sleep, Rienzi’s job was “quite a challenge.”
“He had to find a way of leaning me up while putting on muscle mass without completely crushing me every day,” Cavill says. “But, of course, it does crush you. After eight months of shooting, I was in quite a dire state. But we did it. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy at all. But Dave Rienzi knows his stuff. He’s an excellent trainer.”
Considering Cavill does all his own stunts, most of the pair’s workouts were done in the weight room. Rienzi describes these sessions as “hybrid of bodybuilding and athletic or functional training, focusing on pre-hab movements, core training, muscle activation techniques and mobility”.
“Henry’s filming schedule on The Witcher was very demanding,” he continues. “His training had to be very focused and efficient while not overly taxing his CNS [central nervous system].”
Instead of heavy lifting, they focused on moderate weights and various techniques to increase time under tension. Translation? Greater gains.
And while his fitness program changed constantly throughout filming, typically Cavill was hitting the gym five days a week (honing in on one muscle group at a time.) He was also prescribed fasted cardio six days a week to burn fat, boost his metabolism and “create a nutrient-rich environment where his muscles could recover and grow.” This usually meant four solid-sized meals and two shakes, although in the lead-up to any shirtless scenes, they cut back on carbs and fat to lean him out.
Cheat meals were also a key factor in “[replenishing] his body” (either Italian food or a burger in the car on his way home from shooting.)
“That always sounded amazing,” Cavill says, “but because it was pitch black, you ended up with 60% over you and 40% inside you.”