With bags of charisma, an incomparable work ethic and the body to match, it’s safe to say that we’re quite big fans of Hugh Jackman here at Men’s Health.
Today, Wolverine pops his claws for the last time. In Logan, an aged Wolverine is coerced out of retirement, but the artificial laughter lines don’t do Jackman justice. He hardly looks 48 – it seems Jackman has finally found the real-life secret to Logan’s immortality. Want in? Of course you do. Which is why we’ve trawled our archives to bring you some of his coveted muscle-building tips.
Read on to get the jacked man’s look.
1. Berserker rage
When it’s just you and the bar, you’ve got to get angry to shift more steel. “My first five reps, I’m fine. But for rep eight, nine, 10, I think ‘Wolverine’.” Channeling his inner berserker helps Jackman lift big. “If I’m training on my own I scream – people look at me. They think, ‘God, this guy!’”
You too can let the beast out of its cage. The Drexel University health sciences programme found yellers applied an extra 10% of force during resistance training. Stick some heavy metal on your playlist and learn to love turning up the volume, providing you don’t mind the odd looks.
2. Protein, protein, protein
It’s no secret that good quality protein is the cornerstone of mutant gains. If your diet doesn’t match your gym work, it’s time to step up. “You need 2g of protein per 1kg of target bodyweight,” says Jackman.
But how do you fit that much protein into your diet? Shakes. “I always keep a protein shake by my bed,” says Jackman. “If I happen to wake up at night, I down it before I go back to sleep. It keeps the muscles repairing and the metabolism going.” Opt for casein protein overnight instead of whey, as its slower release feeds your muscles all night long.
Remember, supplements are only there to help. They should never be a substitute for real food. A well-rounded diet has more nutrients, fibre and minerals than supplements, and will help with your digestion. Get your diet right, first. That’s key.
3. Limit your carbs
While carbs are necessary to fuel a workout properly, beware the ides of starch. Processed carbohydrates will increase fat storage instead of fuelling your next deadlift. Jackman opts for whole grains in the morning to stock up on energy all day.
“I have oatmeal for breakfast, and brown rice or yams for lunch,” he says. After 3pm, Jackman institutes a blanket carbohydrate ban, as that’s when his metabolism slows down. It minimises the chances of fat storage. “If you just made that one change and did nothing else, you’d lose 11lb (5kgs) in the first month.” Follow the Wolverine diet plan and clawsome results are guaranteed.
4. Play the long game
Bulking up quickly with chemical aid will only create unsustainable gains, or beach muscles filled with water weight. Jackman, ever the pragmatist, opts for true strength.
“I didn’t want to bulk up quickly,” he tells us. “I wanted to do it slowly so I could look after my heart at the same time.” Steroid use has long correlated with high blood pressure and heart failure. With no other chemical than BCAAs, Jackman went on the hunt for lifelong muscle. “I started training a year before the film [X-Men] began. When you’re changing your body, it takes that sort of time to make permanent changes.” Don’t be disheartened with slow progress. If it’s good enough for Logan, it’s good enough for everyone.
5. The X-factor
Actors, boxers and athletes alike are notorious yo-yo dieters, training for a specific role or match. Not Jackman. “There is nothing on my radar to train for at the moment, but I’m in the gym five days a week.”
Is this a tad overzealous? Perhaps not. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found daily exercise slashes your ‘death risk’ by 40%. Smashing your leg muscles on Friday, for example, only to follow it up with a sedentary weekend, robs you of health benefits like lower blood pressure and improved brain chemistry. Can’t face the barbell again? Go swimming as a form of low-impact active recovery.
Source: Men’s Health UK