Ryan Reynolds, most notably known for his superhero performances in Blade: Trinity, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Deadpool, was born this day, on October 23, 1976.
It wasn’t until Blade: Trinity, however, that Reynolds had to chisel a blockbuster body and get serious about his workout and diet regimen.
“That time changed my life because it taught me you can actually do things that were previously impossible,” recalls Reynolds.
It’s hardly accidental that after bulking up for Blade, his career took a meteoric trajectory. He acted alongside bigshot stars like Sandra Bullock and Denzel Washington and was offered countless other superhero roles.
“I can say Ryan is in the best shape of his life now,” says Saladino, Reynolds’s personal trainer. “There are better results coming now than he saw years ago.”
On Reynold’s birthday, let’s look closely at how he stays looking awesome.
It’s About the Diet
Diet is one of the most important things in either putting on or losing weight. You can exercise all you want, but without a strict diet regimen, it might take years before you see any results.
For Blade, Ryan obviously ate right. His diet consisted of six-to-eight meals a day every two hours with lots of protein and complex carbs and just protein after 8pm. After his workouts, he immediately munched on more protein and carbs — protein to promote muscle growth and carbs to refuel his body.
Reynolds mainly got his protein from chicken, steak, eggs and, of course, protein shakes. For carbs, plain oatmeal, fruits, and sports bars were his staples.
Let’s see how a typical day for Ryan might have looked like at the time of his transformation for Blade:
- Breakfast: two eggs, one cup of oatmeal with applesauce, a spoonful of almond butter or a slice of avocado
- Morning Snack: protein bar
- Lunch: tuna wrap, or chicken and salad
- Afternoon snack: a protein shake, protein bar, an apple, and almonds
- Dinner: fish or chicken, brown rice, and vegs
- Evening snack: protein shake
Reynolds also takes a few supplements, including creatine, L-glutamine, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and a multivitamin.
It’s About the Gym, Too
If you’re going to eat six-to-eight times a day, you’ll probably turn into a pig unless you exercise on a regular basis.
For Blade, Reynolds worked out for three hours a day, six days a week. Each day was devoted to a specific muscle: chest on Monday, legs on Tuesday, back on Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday, arms on Friday, and a combination of all on Saturday.
Ryan also exercised his abs religiously, allegedly doing between 500 and 1000 sit-ups to start each workout. If you have time and stamina to do that many, be warned, however, that after you’re able to do 25 sit-ups at a time, more will be a waste of time unless you add weight, such as a 25-lb plate on your chest.
According to Saladino, Reynolds’s trainer of eight years, everyone judges your physique based on your abs (or lack thereof). Needless to say, Reynold got lots of training in. Here’s his ab routine for Deadpool:
- Hanging Leg Raise: 4 sets, 8 reps/set
- Cable Crunch: 4 sets, 12 reps/set
- Landmine: 4 sets, 10 reps/set
- Up/Down Carry: 4 sets, 25 meters each
- Reverse Crunch (with lift): 4 sets, 12 reps/set
- Ab Roller: 4 sets, 12 reps/set
- Heavy Loaded Carry: 4 sets, 40 meters each
- Short Side Plank: 4 sets, 60 seconds each
But for the best fitness, it’s important to train more than just the abs. Instead of just smashing out thousands of crunches, focus on a few key exercises that will engage the whole body. Among Saladino’s favorites are deadlifts and squats, because you’re forced to recruit a whole lot of muscles.
Reynolds’s primary goal in Blade wasn’t to lose overall weight, but rather to gain muscle weight. That’s why he didn’t specifically concentrate on cardio; instead, he incorporated cardio into his weight training by minimizing downtime between sets.
Which worked out great for Reynolds, who’s not the biggest fan of cardio: “For me, that kind of sustained running is tough, mechanically speaking.”
But cardio is more enjoyable with nature:
“I Love Being Outdoors. I Get To Hike, Mountain Bike… Just Move. I’ll Even Bring The Baby With Me. In A Weird Way, It’s A Great Workout Because You’re Adding 20 Pounds To Your Bodyweight.”
While getting his body Deadpool-ripped, Reynolds had to gain another seven pounds of lean muscle, so it’s unsurprising that he went through a huge bulking phase. Saladino says that while getting Reynolds ready, he focused on building actual strength rather than just making Reynolds look good for the cam. To accomplish that goal, they concentrated on movement training every day before lifting weights. The movement prep consisted of dynamic stretching, three cardio circuits with ten reps of bounding, overhead shovel throws, and Turkish get-ups.
Saladino, while talking to Men’s Journal, admitted that he allowed for some flexibility in Reynold’s training schedule, and much of it was long-distance because of Reynolds’s crazy work schedule.
“Ryan’s such a hard worker,” says Saladino. “One day he came up to see me, having been working out on his own. And I was like, ‘Holy sh-t!’ He looked like a different person.’”
So in the end, it basically comes down to self-discipline. No matter what star trainers you can get, you need to work your a** off to achieve what you want. Reynolds is no exception.