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Brad Pitt Fight Club Workout & Diet: Tyler Durden Routine

by Chris DavisJul 28, 2012
The Brad Pitt Fight Club Workout is one of the most popular workouts of all time. This is due to the results that lean muscle sculpting can deliver. On screen, and at 6% body fat, Tyler Durden was the definition of lean and mean. Pitt’s goal was to find a workout routine that would chisel his body down, while building muscle.

Brad Pitt’s Fight Club workout centered on training a different muscle group each day. He would then allow the muscle group to rest for the rest of the week. This is similar to the Brad Pitt Workout for Troy, where he focused on one muscle group a day, and just “killed it.”

brad pitt fight club workout

Brad Pitt was able to showcase so much lean muscle because he is an ectomorph. Ectomorphs, or “hard-gainers” are those people who find it hard to gain muscle or fat. No matter how much they eat or train, they can’t seem to gain weight.

So, Brad Pitt utilized this to his advantage by going for a look that showed off his lean muscle-Tyler Durden look. This was achieved by doing high reps and eating a lot of protein. If you are not an ectomorph, it will be hard to chisel your way down to 6 percent body fat.

brad pitt workout

Most ectomorphs find success in low-rep, high intensity workout routines. This was the opposite of what Brad Pitt did in his workout. Still, he allowed for optimal rest. This is also important for ectomorphs to do. Because it is so hard for them to gain muscle, 2-3 days of rest, if not a week is best when trying to gain muscle. Brad Pitt would often use a Nautilus machine instead of doing free weights. This is because the machines tend to build max resistance where your muscles are strongest.

People do it everyday. They talk to themselves. They see themselves as they’d like to be. They don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it…The things you own end up owning you..It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything. – Tyler Durden Quote, Fight Club

Fight Club Workout Routine

brad pitt

The Brad Pitt workout comes from his interviews with Men’s Heath UK. Here is the exact workout:

Directions:

  1. Do 3 sets of each exercise, 15 reps each time.
  2. Make sure to rest for 60 seconds between each set.
  3. Find a weight that allows you to complete at least 15 reps.
  4. Make sure that you use good form, and are fatigued at the 15th rep.
  5. If you find 15 reps easy, make sure to go up in weight next set.

Brad Pitt Fight Club Workout Monday Routine = Chest Day

The Brad Pitt Fight Club workout starts with chest on Monday, then rests that muscle group for the rest of the week. The chest routine utilizes pushups as a good warm up. Bench Press and Incline Press are the core of the workout, with cable flys to extend range of motion and flexibility.

3 sets of each, 15 reps:

Tyler Durden says:

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars.

 

Brad-Pitt-fight-club-face-chest

Brad Pitt Fight Club Workout Tuesday Routine = Back Day

Brad Pitt used Tuesdays for his back routine. He would warm up with Pullups. Then he would transition into seated rows to add bulk and get that V-shape in his neck. Working your back gives you that V-shape, while increasing the strength of your punch.

3 sets of each, 15 reps:

Go for 5 Pull Ups per set, since they are just a warm up. (Use a resistance machine, or have a partner hold your legs if you need, for support)

Tyler Durden, Fight Club quote:

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.

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About The Author
Chris Davis
Chris Davis
Chris Davis brings you the most popular celebrity workouts & diets. His goal is to make you stronger! Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google.
109 Comments
  • Mike
    Aug 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Wow, I thought it was impossible to look that good. I guess the Brad Pitt workout does exist. It just takes a ton of work if you wanna look Brad Pitt.

  • Mike
    Aug 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Yea, I wish I had a Brad Pitt body, where I could just workout and get that skinny. Mesomorphs FTL

  • Taylor
    Aug 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Brad Pitt workout looks crazy. I want his physique, but I don’t have his body style. For me, I gain weight no matter what I do. I still want to try this, and that fasting, to see what happens though.

  • Sander
    Oct 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I am an ectomorph so this is perfect for me but I can’t do 25 pushups or 5 pullups. What should I do then?
    Do as much I can every set so until failure?

    • Chris Davis
      Oct 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Yes, you could just go to failure. Even better, find a way to use less of your body weight each lift. For pushups, do 25 while on your knees. This will give you the support you need. After a few weeks, try elevating your legs on a small platform. This will help you use your shoulders and upper chest.

      For Pullups, there is a machine at most gyms that allows you to change the resistance to a comfortable level. If you are at home, you will need a partner to hold your legs. Otherwise, you can rest your legs on a chair until you gain enough strength. Your back muscles will gain strength quickly over time.

    • Joseph Cox
      Jan 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      If you cant do full pushups, do half pushups until you can do 20-25, then increase your range of motion until you are doing full pushups. If half-pushups prove too hard, then progress from kneeling pushups (leave feet in contact with the ground at all times). For pullups, you can start with half pullups. Jump all the way up and then lower half way down and pull yourself back up. over time, increase your range of motion. if half pullups are too much, then jump yourself to the top of the bar and work on building up to a ten second negative. then, add a pause after each second during the negative. If you can hold yourself for 10 seconds on the way down AND pause in 10 different places on the way down, it is time to try the half pullup again. there is no shame in working from a quarter pullup to eventually moving all the way through. Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone pays their dues before they can do the heavy/impressive techniques. I hope these tips really help.

  • Matt
    May 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Great article, thanks!
    So should a faithful follower complete 3 sets of each exercise before moving onto the next? For example: finish 3 sets of 15 reps on flat bench before moving onto incline and so on…
    Thanks for your time!

  • Terry Gardner
    May 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Great article! But does anyone have any advice as to how a mesomorph should change/revise this workout/diet to best suite his/her body type? Thanks!

    • Chris Davis
      May 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Mesomorphs have more work to do, if they want to look like Brad Pitt. Opt for a protein intake of 1.5 grams per pound of your body weight. Eat slightly more carbs than that, but stay away from refined (flour, sugar) carbs.

      For training, mesomorphs want to keep their body guessing by changing up everything about their workouts. This is because mesomorphs require intense workouts in order to shed pounds. Change which cardio machines you use to compound this effect.

      Also, change the amount of reps you do while lifting. Use the Brad Pitt workout routine listed above, but change the number of reps each time. The Hugh Jackman Wolverine Workout gives you an idea of how to change up your reps efficiently.

      Most importantly, you can turn this into a circuit training workout. Do 1 set of each exercise without rest, then immediately move on to the next. Once you’re done with an entire circuit, rest 1 minute. Then, perform the circuit again at least 2 more times. This will prioritize fat-burning over strength training, which is what you will need to look like Brad Pitt.

  • BILLY
    May 31, 2013 at 10:21 am

    What about abdominals, What trianing . Thanks

  • Jun 12, 2013 at 6:47 am

    what about legs ??.treadmill dosnt pass for training legs,gonna have classic built up top body combined with chicken legs,seriously needs a leg workout in there !!.

    • Chris Davis
      Jun 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

      I agree it would be nice to have a legs workout, since they’re 60% of the muscles in your body. However, Brad Pitt never mentioned a leg workout for Fight Club. As a result of not working out his legs, it’s very likely Brad Pitt had chicken legs for Fight Club. It’s hard to tell, because he’s wearing pants for most of the movie.

      In Fight Club, Brad Pitt said he wanted to emphasize his chest and shoulders, at the expense of the rest of his body. However, for the movie Troy, Brad Pitt certainly has a leg workout (and it shows!). See Brad Pitt’s Achilles workout for Troy here.

  • Jun 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Yes he does where pants alot in the film,hence why he probs never trained legs,anyways i myself currently started this routine this week and boy and i sore,but il shall be adding a leg workout at night on the friday and still do the cardio run friday morning,along with 3 other runs during the week,i also suggest for people to kalories at 12 kals per 1 pound bodyweight example a person weighing 170 pounds would take 170 x 12 = 2040 per day do this for 2 weeks then further reduce to 11 kals per pound for the next 2 weeks then down to 10 kals per pound for the last 2 weeks,and further week could be added to a low 9 kals per pound for 1 week only,keep protein high around 0.8 – 1.2 per pound and plenty of healthy fats and veg,lots of water,diet is key to this programme,and by keeping to this will ensure fat loss along with the programme and cardio,myself would do more than the 1 suggested cardio on a friday but does say brad would do extra if needed on weekends but i do 2 HITT sessions per week along with a long jog,also recommend to buy some wrist straps for back routine on this programme seriously when trying to do all the rowing exercises with heavyish weights at 15 reps each with only 1 min rest in sets,dosnt give your forearms alot of time to recover and your forearms will be exhausted and tire out before the 15 reps unless your lifting like 5 kg lol i do 60kg for the first week on both seated row and pulldowns anyways thansk for the routine wish i could post after pics,anyways hopefully people will take onboard my advice more to so of the diet side and the results will come.

    • Chris Davis
      Jun 14, 2013 at 4:50 am

      Robert, Good idea on adding in more HIIT training. Most people will need that to get in better shape. The only reason Brad Pitt didn’t run more, is because he’s a hard gainer. He found that too much exercise would prevent him from gaining muscle. Therefore, Brad Pitt would focus just on weights and diet during the week.

      Let me know how your progress with the Brad Pitt workout goes. And, if you want a place to post your progress, I recommend the Google+ Fitness community I belong to: https://plus.google.com/communities/105008312335704126105.

    • Joseph Cox
      Jan 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Just a side note, that would be 12 calories per pound of LEAN bodyweight. you must subtract the bodyfat percentage before using this method. Otherwise, you are taking into account that your bodyfat can burn calories, which in the long run, it pretty much doesn’t. Dont forget that or your math will have you overeating!

  • Kyle Royal
    Jul 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Hey, I am following this routine as we speak, actually 2 weeks in, but i got to thinking: I’ve always been a lean guy, im about 135lbs and 5’10 or so. Now the problem is I can only bench about 5lbs on each side on a 15lbs barbell so that gives you an idea of how my strength is. My question is should I be going for 15 reps on each exercise? Ive heard that lower reps and larger weight helps build muscle, should I be trying to build up to where I can bench 165lbs / 15reps? Or will the routine actually help me build up to that point? I’m just starting out and needing some advice because I’m not too terribly sure.

    • Chris Davis
      Jul 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Kyle, I agree it would be smart to do lower reps/higher weight for your case. Traditional bodybuilding uses the 8-12 rep range. I suggest this range, as it will help you develop mass and definition. Once you’re a bit stronger, experiment with going up to 15 reps. The Brad Pitt workout was more about definition, than mass, so he used that upper range to get in shape.

  • Tom Kelner
    Jul 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    That is completely wrong. Brad Pitt is a total Mesomorph. You can see that just by looking at his body type. Look up the definition.

    • Chris Davis
      Jul 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      I disagree. I think that Brad Pitt is clearly an ectomorph. He has admitted that it is very hard for him to gain weight. He admits to having a very fast metabolism, and really wanted to focus on getting more lean muscle mass for Fight Club. He had a very scrawny body before training for Fight Club.

      Brad Pitt’s physique for Fight Club clearly shows that ectomorphs, or “hard gainers,” can get muscular if they do things right. Brad Pitt had to focus on diet and weight training to get muscle on his body. He skipped cardio most of the week, because it is hard for ectomorphs to gain weight if they’re doing a lot of aerobic exercise.

      Still, current research is supporting the idea that no one is just one specific body type. Instead, we are likely a combination of 2 different body types with multiple genotypes affecting the body. In this sense, maybe we can agree that Brad Pitt is a mix of ecto/meso.

      The takeaway is that if you find it hard to gain muscle weight, then focus on weight training with rest between each set. Skip cardio most of the week, so that your body can focus on repairing muscle. Eat a lot during the day, even before bed.

      If you find it easy to gain muscle, but also fat, then focus on turning your weight lifting routine into circuit training. Do one set of each exercise listed above without stopping. Rest one minute, then perform the circuit at least 2-3 more times. Limit your caloric intake.

  • LoneRanger
    Aug 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    What about lower body work out?? we can’t ignore them atleast in real life.

    • Chris Davis
      Aug 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      I agree, it would be nice to have a leg workout. But since Brad Pitt did not mention doing one for Fight Club, I can’t list one here. If you look at the pictures from his movie, you can see that it shows. Since he’s a hard gainer, he may have been focusing on definition in the upper body. If you’re looking for a good leg workout, I like The Rock Workout and The Wolverine Workout.

  • Something
    Sep 11, 2013 at 4:47 am

    And what about the diet at the weekends? What did he eat in the pre and post work out time if he didn’t work out that days?

    • Chris Davis
      Sep 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      It’s best to stick to the same sort of diet. But, you don’t need the whey protein shake or banana, unless you’re feeling sore from the previous workout days. Stick to the rest of the diet for the weekend. Starting out, it’s okay to have a weekend cheat day once in a while. Brad Pitt was very intense, and stuck to the diet all week long.

      • Something
        Sep 13, 2013 at 1:34 am

        So, I should still drink the protein shake at the weekend? And if I don’t feel sore from the previous workout, what do you recommend to eat during that hour period (thinking that I can’t be without eating for more than 3 hours)?

        • Chris Davis
          Sep 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

          The opposite–don’t drink a whey shake on the weekend, unless you’re still sore and need it for recovery. The key to a perfect diet is to eat a mix of lean protein (fish, chicken, tofu), healthy fats (flax, chia, almond, walnut), plus green (vegetables) and brown (steel cut oatmeal, sweet potato, brown rice) carbs.

  • John
    Sep 17, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    There’s no workout plan for the abs?

    • Chris Davis
      Sep 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Brad Pitt never revealed what he did for abs. It is likely that most of his success came simply from a clean diet and cardio. Still, if you want an abs workout from someone with a similar physique, Get Ripped Abs With Rob Riches. He shows you what you need to do, beyond just diet and cardio.

  • Dany
    Oct 1, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I did the two first days of this work out and it seems to be very short . (about 30 minutes per day) is it alright ? or maybe i didn’t understand you ?

    • Chris Davis
      Oct 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      You’re right, this is a pretty short workout. Still, make sure to follow the directions:

      Directions:

      Do 3 sets of each exercise, 15 reps each time.
      Make sure to rest for 60 seconds between each set.
      Find a weight that allows you to complete at least 15 reps.
      Make sure that you use good form, and are fatigued at the 15th rep.
      If you find 15 reps easy, make sure to go up in weight next set.

      Many people don’t lift heavy enough, and don’t need the full minute to rest. Make sure, if you have a spotter, that you’re lifting heavy enough so that you can’t do more than 15. Go up in weight if you can do any more than 15 reps with good form.

      Also, the Brad Pitt workout is short because he is a hard gainer. This means he would focus on just one muscle group, then get out of the gym and onto the recovery phase. If you’re not a hard gainer, you’re free to add to the Brad Pitt workout. But I think you understand just fine.

  • Matt
    Oct 6, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Would it be ok if i can only train 3 times a week to do 2 workouts back to back seen as they only take 30 mins,?eg chest followed by back in the 1 session?

    • Chris Davis
      Oct 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Yes, that’s a fine way to do it. The reason that Brad Pitt focused on only 1 muscle group a day is because he’s a hard gainer. He wanted to only work a muscle group once, then give it the rest of the week to recover.

      If you find that your body is able to recover quickly–and you’re able to train just as hard–then go for it.

  • John
    Oct 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think this has too many reps for build muscle, am i wrong?

    • Chris Davis
      Oct 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      For strength, 1-6 reps at a very heavy weight is optimal. For size, 8-12 reps with heavy weight is what science says is best. For lean muscle, 12-15 reps is the way to go.

      Brad Pitt’s goal for the Fight Club Tyler Durden workout was lean muscle. This is why he used the 15 rep range. If your goal is pure strength, go for 1-6; size 8-12; lean muscle 12-15.

      At each of these rep ranges, the key is to make sure that you’re absolutely fatigued by the last rep. If you can do more (with precise form), then you aren’t lifting heavy enough. Also, diet is the key to the Brad Pitt workout. If you’re not eating properly all week long, then your gains are going to show it.

  • bob
    Oct 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    with intermittent fasting.. since im 100% ectomorph.. is it possible that ill lose a bit of muscle mass? thankx

    • Chris Davis
      Oct 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Intermittent fasting is for people looking to lose weight. I would not use it if your primary goal is muscle gain. If you’re 100% ectomorph, then I would stick to the Brad Pitt diet. Still, you can look at the Hugh Jackman workout. He’s not a 100% ectomorph, but he is a good example of an actor that got amazing intermittent fasting results.

  • john
    Oct 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    three reps of 15 on each exercise means actually doing the weight 45 times?
    I’m not to strong at all. Can I lift ligher weight so that I reach that number?

    • Chris Davis
      Oct 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Yes, 45 reps total. You can go down in weight if you need to. Also, the important thing to remember is that we’re all guilty of trying to get our workout done too fast. The best thing you can do is give yourself 60-90 seconds of rest between sets. This should give you the strength you need.

  • Tom
    Nov 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I’m a very easy gainer. Can I do too much cardio and fat burn on a daily basis? Seems to me I’d have to crush the cardio equipment to get that chiseled (in addition to following the routine and diet).

    • Chris Davis
      Nov 13, 2013 at 6:13 am

      Yea, easy gainers would have to do a lot more cardio work to get that chiseled. The key to it all is diet. A chiseled body is 20% workout and 80% percent diet. There is no limit in theory to how much cardio you can do. But, I would suggest 20-30 min of intense HIIT interval training each day (in addition to the workout). Doing a lot more is just going to burn you out over the long haul. So, just worry about sticking to your diet and taking it a day at a time.

  • Fed
    Dec 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    What about leg workouts? When can we include them ?

    • Chris Davis
      Dec 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Since Brad Pitt just works one muscle group per day, you can add a leg workout wherever you want. I suggest you do it on Wednesday. That will give you extra time to recover between the back and shoulder workouts. You might also want to do it before/after the cardio.

  • mark
    Jan 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    There is no source for this article, where is the proof that this is even the routine pitt used to get in shape for fight club?

    • Chris Davis
      Jan 7, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Sorry if it’s unclear. On page 1, it does say:

      “The Brad Pitt workout comes from his interviews with Men’s Heath UK. Here is the exact workout”

  • alexei greene
    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:46 am

    would a arm workout not be required then either ?

  • Jeff
    Jan 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I’m somewhat confused on the fasting and diet thing. I am also an ectomorph and feel following the diet would be the most beneficial route to achieve my goal of this but I’ve never dieted before and I’m unsure how to breakup meal times in eight hours between the fasting for 16. It said he never went more then three hours without eating but in the diet instructions it said to only eat during an eight hour window so then he had to have consumed all meals then, right? Of there were an example schedule or a rough idea of when I could plan eating or whatnot that would be greatly appreciated.

    • Chris Davis
      Jan 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      As an ectomorph, you don’t want to use the intermittent fasting approach. You want to eat every 3 hours, like Brad Pitt did. Just focus on eating clean food, as listed in the Brad Pitt Fight Club diet section.

      The intermittent fasting approach is only for people who need to lower their total caloric intake to lose weight. Only consider it, if you’re looking for a new approach to weight loss.

  • Josh
    Feb 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    As far as the diet is concerned.. what do you recommend if your workout time falls after diner. Do you have a small snack in the mid afternoon and still have the protein shake in the evening?

    • Chris Davis
      Feb 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Yes, you want to keep your metabolism stoked. Drink a protein shake post-workout for sure. The only reason not to would be if whey protein affects your sleep. This is usually not the case, as casein protein is usually the culprit. So, as long as your sleep is not affected, drink one post-workout.

  • Jeff M.
    Feb 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Does the protein shake have to be whey? I was talking to a personal trainer recently who told me that as long as you eat protein (i.e. chicken, fish, etc.) directly after your meal you can stick to just using casein protein in your protein shakes. I ask mainly because eating healthy can be expensive and I wonder if I can avoid buying both whey and casein protein.

    • Jeff M.
      Feb 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      I meant to write “as long as you eat protein (i.e. chicken, fish, etc.) directly after your workout…”

    • Susan Matilsky
      Feb 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      But were you REALLY speaking to a personal trainer?

    • Chris Davis
      Feb 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Sure, you can avoid both if you want to. Whey protein is a staple in bodybuilding, because it is already broken down for quick absorption. Using whey protein, post-workout, is the quickest way to bring your body back into an anabolic (muscle-building) state.

      When it comes to absorbing protein, here’s a brief chart:
      Whey: 30 mins
      Eggs: 2 hours
      Lean Meat: 3-4 hours
      Casein: 7+ hours

      As you can see, whey is best when it comes to keeping your body in a muscle-building state. If you don’t use it, then you had better eat a meal right after working out. The longer you wait, the more your body will break down it’s own muscle for energy.

      If you’re having a hard time gaining weight, I highly suggest whey or BCAA’s as a supplement. Hugh Jackman’s trainer has Hugh take BCAA’s instead of whey because whey protein can lead to bloating/inflammation in some people. If you’re still having trouble gaining weight, then take casein, so that you stay in an anabolic state while you sleep.

  • Yanick
    Mar 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    How come Brad Pitt seems to have such nice abs, but I have not seen any abs workout? And I am wondering if you can workout before lunch and what is time of the day it is decent to start with breakfast. Thank you.

  • Chris Davis
    Mar 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Brad Pitt didn’t do much abs because you need a low body fat percentage, more than anything else, to get visible abs. You can workout anytime you like. If you’re a hard-gainer, eat 1/2 hour before you workout. Make it a meal of carbs/protein. If you need to lose weight, then you can do empty stomach, early morning steady state cardio. This is the best way to burn fat and get your abs to show.

  • Matthew Biggs
    Mar 14, 2014 at 4:49 am

    I have been doing this exercise for about a week now, and I feel I could always be doing more than what I am doing, as I only spend about 35 minutes in the gym. Should I do 2 workouts in one day? So I do Chest and Back on Monday then do Chest and back again on Tuesday? and do the same with the workouts on the 2 other days.

    • Chris Davis
      Mar 16, 2014 at 6:29 am

      The Fight Club workout is easy for some people. Brad Pitt is a hard gainer, so he didn’t require too much lifting. Instead, it was about focusing on one body part per day. For Pitt, diet is the key to the Fight Club workout. If you want to stick to this workout, then make sure you’re lifting as heavy as you can, with proper form and breathing.

      If it’s still too easy, I suggest trying a harder workout. Check out The Rock workout, The Wolverine workout, or the Magic Mike Joe Manganiello workout.

  • Christopher Donne
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I want to have his look but have size, he looks like he does have pretty alright muscles, not just ripped small ones. 1. Should I follow it, but with 12 reps for more size.
    2. Eating every three hours in theory for always protein and carbs?
    3.Also my go to carb is brown rice how much of that i don’t want to overdo it? Can i over do the protein or carbs?
    4.Do you recommend a suitable leg workout to fit this routine?
    5. HOW LONG DO WE DO THIS ROUTINE FOR, months? weeks? how long did he do it, don’t your muscles get used to it and not gain?
    Thanks

    • Chris Davis
      Apr 3, 2014 at 1:05 am

      1. The science says optimal rep range for size is 8-12 reps (where you can’t do anymore after that). Brad Pitt is a hard-gainer. With hard-gainers, it is sometimes optimal to go further, but I haven’t read any good science on it.
      2. Yes, protein and carbs every three hours. Again, this is if you’re a hard-gainer. You can go longer if you’re not.
      3. It’s easy to overdo the carbs. The answer is different for everyone. Some experimentation, and maybe even getting My Fitness Pal app will help find the sweet spot for your individual case.
      4. See below for other workouts I suggest.
      5. Three months is a good time to stick to, and perfect, a routine. After that you want to start looking for something different. You can always come back to it later.

      I highly suggest you check out The Magic Mike workout (which, I’m doing right now) and the Wolverine Workout. They are both similar to the Brad Pitt workout, but are more focused on adding size. They both also have great diet plans. Let me know how it works out.

  • Christopher Donne
    Apr 3, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Thanks for the quick feedback, I’m gonna do the magic mike instead it looks good. I just think maybe the cardio before every workout is too much?

    • Chris Davis
      Apr 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      At least do 10 minutes. The goal is to get your heart rate up into the fat burning zone (130 or higher), then maintain that by lifting back-to-back supersets. You see people in the gym sitting there for way too long, bringing their heart rate back down. You want to keep moving. You can also do some cardio afterwards.

      • Christopher Donne
        Apr 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm

        Im lean already, just not my stomach, got a little belly, well maybe just a layer covering abs, cardio everyday? before and after a workout too? what about the high intensity it suggests on page 2 where does that fit in? Seems like Joe said he was already pretty big and just cut down fat, I want to purely gain a good amount of lean muscle, will this still work, seems like too much cardio, ill end up and olympic marathon runner

        • Chris Davis
          Apr 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm

          Feel free to cut down on the cardio. His goal was to get a six-pack, while getting even bigger. Cardio and diet are the recipe to six pack abs. If you’re primary goal, for now is to just bulk up, then you’re fine doing cardio 2-3 times a week at most. Most of the cardio he is doing is at a low pace, for fat burning. HIIT is the best way to burn fat (excluding early morning workouts on an empty stomach).

          • Christopher Donne
            Apr 4, 2014 at 2:07 am

            OK, well i have the same goal to gain muscle and get abs, but i dont want to be as big as him, im trying to get to a body for modeling, not huge, but lean and defined. So if i did only HIIT for cardio and the workouts would it work? The diet is fine, but i wonder if im eating enough?

            • Christopher Donne
              Apr 5, 2014 at 1:56 am

              Also thanks so much for replying, no one ever does, so I’m asking anything i doubt about it, my problem has always been structure and if I feel i dont know stuff i get very unmotivated, I was thinking maybe i would do the HIIT workout suggested before weights? would this suffice?

              • Chris Davis
                Apr 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

                The cool thing is that the Magic Mike workout is a 2-week program, so you get a little variety going back and forth. Do cardio whenever you prefer it. I generally like to hit the iron first, then cardio after. As long as you eat a meal of protein/carbs a half hour before your workout, you’re fine doing either part first.

            • Chris Davis
              Apr 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

              The ratio of cardio/diet is a little different for everyone. Brad Pitt is a hard gainer, so he only does cardio once a week. Joe Manganiello puts on weight easily, so he has to do a lot of cardio, and eat sweet potatoes as his main/worst carb, in order to get a six-pack. Since everyone’s different, you have the challenge of finding what’s right for you.

              The way to do it is to log your cardio/diet and see the results. Get the My Fitness Pal app, so you have an accurate system of knowing your intake/cardio, to really know what’s right for you. HIIT is probably fine, but if you want to lose more, then do the slow-cardio, too.

  • J C
    May 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I am 5′ 4″, 121 pounds, work at office from 9 am to 7 pm (3 to 4 meal time), no so good diet, I do not do weight-lifting, I do similar of the to get ripped six pack abs try this workout with Rob Riches, 3 times a week for one week and 2 next week, ants (www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvfUTG8vJbY) 120 every week. I´ve been doing this a year and a half, I am lean and my abs feel good and strong but not visible yet. I am an easy gainer and I do not want size, however I´d really like to get a six pack, should I do HIIT and intermittent fasting, but for how long? Or maybe just trying the fight club diet for a few months and keep on my routine could help?

    • Chris Davis
      Jun 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Make sure to get up every hour while at work, just to walk around a little bit (if you’re in a sit-down job). The fun is trying different diets until you find the one you like.

      I would highly recommend HIIT plus Intermittent fasting. Stick to chicken, vegetables, and healthy fats. Try it for three months. See how it goes. And remember, abs are made in the kitchen!

  • Ruben Bojorquez
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hello I was reading your article and it is very informative and helpful. My question is how long should we stick to this workout before we know if it is really working or not and change to Circuit Training?

    • Chris Davis
      Jul 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      If your main goal is getting bigger, I’d take Brad Pitt’s approach. If you’re looking to burn fat, opt for circuit training. If you’re not sure, I’d say try the normal approach for a month. If you don’t like the results, kick it up a notch to circuit training.

      Having fun while you pump iron is the key. You should stick to the approach you enjoy more (as long as it fits with your goals). Remember though, that diet is the most important thing. So no matter which approach you take, it is your diet that will determine your body composition.

  • ed
    Sep 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

    what about ABS, don’t say nothing here about them??

    • Chris Davis
      Sep 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Brad Pitt never mentioned anything about his abs routine. He may have done them, but I can’t say. In general, abs come from great genes and/or a stellar diet. In addition, you need to find a way to burn fat. Steady-paced, empty stomach cardio workouts first thing in the morning, coupled with HIIT workouts in the afternoon, are the best way to burn fat.

  • Nico
    Nov 5, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Hey, thanks for the great article. I will be taking up this workout starting next week; I already started the cleaner diet to lose some fat preemptively.

    I just have a couple of questions. I heard that doing the same exercises every week will result in the body not gaining muscle; is this true, or would just raising the weight help to fix that? And also, I don’t have access to a gym four days a week, so it is possible to compress the workout into two days, or would that be too much?

    Thanks!

    Nico

    • Chris Davis
      Nov 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

      A lot of people (including personal friends) stick to this exact workout, and totally swear by it!. They have found the workout provides a challenge, and the diet keeps them lean. The idea that the same workout will stop working over time is a bit overblown.

      You’ve got the idea–if you never increase the weight, you’re going to hit plateau. If you increase weight, that gives your body a reason to react to the stimulus. So, adding the weight to a point where you’re constantly challenged is the key to any workout.

      That doesn’t mean you should stick to this workout forever. Try different ones, depending on which actor you want to look like/follow. Changing things up is a good idea over time to stress your muscles in different ways. You can always learn new things by trying new workouts.

      When I started doing The Rock’s workout, I was always sore. That’s where I realized just how important diet is when you’re constantly overtraining. Overtraining is generally a bad idea, but if you give yourself a lot of rest, and eat 8 times a day, your body has time to recover.

      On to your next question, yes you can combine this into a 2 day split. Eat more on these days to give yourself energy/recovery ability. Also, find something to do on the 4 days you’re not in the gym. I suggest looking at bodyweight workouts such as The Stephen Amell Workout for Arrow or the newly finished Jake Gyllenhaal Workout for Prince of Persia.

      • Nico
        Nov 8, 2014 at 12:44 am

        Thanks for clearing that up. Sorry for all the questions, but I was just wondering as to why there are three bicep exercises and only one tricep workout? And also, if I were to compress the workout to two days, would I make one day chest/back the other shoulders/arms, or another way? Thanks!

        • Chris Davis
          Nov 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

          I don’t have Brad Pitt’s answer to that question, so I can only speculate. The biceps are a much longer muscle, so hitting from different angles is needed to really work the bicep. The triceps are much smaller, and more easily targeted. The triceps get used on Monday, too, from those chest exercises.

          Brad Pitt’s Fight Club workout centered on training a different muscle group each day. He would then allow the muscle group to rest for the rest of the week. If you’re an ectomorph (hard-gainer) like Brad Pitt, I suggest sticking to his workout the best you can.

          If you find it easier to gain weight, then it’s okay to combine splits like you mention above. It really just comes down to whether or not your body can pack on the pounds, or if you’re a hard gainer. Sometimes, trial and error/experimentation is what you need to do to find out what is right for you. Of course, diet is important here, too. You’ll find that diet is the key to the Brad Pitt or any other workout you embark upon.

  • Nico
    Nov 5, 2014 at 5:34 am

    And just one final question: for the pre and post workout snack, would that mean both a protein shake and a banana before and after the workout?

    Thanks!

    • Chris Davis
      Nov 6, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Thanks for the question. It helps to know when readers don’t find something clear. I have updated Brad Pitt diet section briefly to elucidate my response.

      In sum, eat a banana before your workout. (Some celebrity trainers also have their clients take coffee/espresso (energy), or creatine (most proven supplement for lean muscle building), but never both because of…some science about mitochondria I won’t get into unless you want me to).

      Take a protein shake right after your workout. You have somewhere between 30-60 minutes to drink a shake, but I suggest sooner rather than later. If you really want a Brad Pitt body, I’ve found that the best protein shakes are just “Pure Whey,” not loaded with sugars or artificial sweeteners. (It’s MUCH harder to find a good brand than you would think).

      Artificial sweeteners in protein shakes (like sucralose sweetener) are just as bad. They kill off your stomach bacteria (the kind that assures your brain that you’re eating healthy). When you kill off good bacteria, you become more hungry because your brain thinks it’s not getting the nutrition you need. This leads to sweat temptations of the bad kind.

  • Aks
    Dec 25, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Hi Chris,
    I read the article and tried reading as many questions and answers.
    I am a hard gainer.
    If I start doing this 15 rep thing, will size of my biceps/triceps chest etc will decrease?
    I want the lean look but also want to add some size. So while doing this workout will I gain the size too?

    Aks

    • Chris Davis
      Dec 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Hey,

      Research shows that 8-12 reps is the best rep range for most people. If this rep range isn’t producing results, then I would aim for 15 reps. Higher reps won’t make your biceps/triceps or chest decrease.

      The 15 range is typically more used for people who want to look cut, and/or get conditioned. If your primary goal is to get bigger, start with 8-12 reps. For some, 15 is a more successful rep range, so you may want to experiment. Alter your workouts between the two, use the one that taxes your muscles harder.

      One thing I’ve found from the latest research is that it shows we’re all really a mix of body types (our genes are a combination of hard gainer/easy gainers). What this means is that we should focus less on body type, and more on the main thing that matters: Diet.

      Diet is always going to be the key to your results. Look at The Rock Workout & Diet or The Wolverine Workout to see what they had to eat, to gain weight. Again, feel free to stay around 8-12 reps and focus on diet. If you don’t see results, this means the 15 rep range is more likely for you.

  • Kyle O.
    Jan 21, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Hey thanks for the great information! I can’t wait to get started. A few questions though. Due to extensive work + school hours, I won’t be able to find time to workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, I’m willing to trade my Saturdays and Sundays with those days instead. Will this be okay since it won’t be back to back rest days? What exercise should I do in-between on Wednesdays? For example, I was thinking of considering Friday as my Monday, then doing the exercises Friday-Monday in the same order, with cardio on Wednesdays (Tuesday and Thursday as rest days).

    Thanks!

    • Chris Davis
      Jan 21, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Yes, it’s important to find a schedule that works for you. I like the idea of using Wednesday as a cardio day. You can also add in more cardio, if you find your body can handle it. Gaining muscle is harder for some, which is why Pitt only did cardio once a week.

      You may want to increase your dietary intake on days your active, and cut back on days you’re too busy. Although it’s more complex, check out The Wolverine Workout: How to Get as Jacked as Hugh Jackman to see how his trainer tailors his diet to match his days of activity/inactivity.

      • Kyle O.
        Jan 22, 2015 at 1:50 am

        Thanks for the reply! I’ll definitly go with the cardio on Wednesdays. I failed to mention that I am the epitome of an ectomorph (6’1″ and only 145lbs.), so I’ll keep the cardio to just the one day and see about adjusting the diet as needed, as you suggested.

        Thanks again!

  • Mar 27, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Hi, im an ectomorph, with chicken legs and at the border of being underweight and a balanced BMI. Since Brad Pitt was initially heavier before this workout, is this applicable to hard gainers who want to build mass and lean muscle??

    • Chris Davis
      Mar 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Yes, just remember the key is providing your body with the best nutrition. The book I’m currently reading, Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition, (by Ivy & Portman) takes this a step further with the crucial point that: it’s not enough to just consume protein. Timing when you consume protein is the key to muscle building. They suggest 3 “Nutrient Interventions” in order to build muscle and gain weight.

      Making sure you eat protein at the time your body needs it the most will help you the most. The crucial period is during and right after a strength workout. They recommend a drink with 20-26g of highly digestible carbs (glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin) and 5-6g of whey protein before a workout. During the anabolic phase (0-45 mins) post-workout, consume another shake with 40-50g of high glycemic carbs and 13-15g of protein.

      Have a 3rd shake up to 4 hours after a workout (this time consisting of just whey–and a bit of a casein if you can–without the carbs). When you start consuming protein in the right amounts and at the time, the results will come. Of course, you will have to add a legs day to your routine, as well. In terms of diet, (beyond the protein shakes) aim for 40-48% carbs, 20-26% protein and 33% fat. Check out The Rock Workout & Diet for a bigger picture on what to eat. Good Luck!

  • Michael
    May 7, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Hello Chris,

    I really like your website. I'm gonna try out this workout and diet, let's see how it works for me =)

    A couple of questions, I will have to modify it due to my schedule (on Tuesdays I have martial arts training and on Sundays I play tennis), which means I will only be able to do one day of the cardio routine.

    I'm not an ectomorph, I'm I guess between an endo and a mesomorph, do you think that removing one day of cardio but adding one day of martial arts training and one day of tennis be enough for cardio? Or should I try adding a bit of extra cardio in one of the days (say, Friday, which for me would be the biceps/triceps day)?

    Also, on cardio-only days, would you also take the protein shakes?

    • Chris Davis
      May 9, 2015 at 3:42 am

      Hi,

      It sounds like the cardio you're doing should be enough. However, it never hurts to add cardio "finishers" to your workout (Friday, for example). Adding cardio at the end of your workouts would be smart, if your goal is to lose weight.

      Whether trying to gain muscle or burn fat, diet is by far the most important thing. No need to take protein shakes on cardio days. Instead, try to make sure you're getting some carbs in before your workout. This will help ensure high intensity throughout your workout. Good Luck!

      • Michael
        May 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        Ok, I'll add some cardio finishers in some of the days then.

        Thanks for the info!

  • Raymon Wolfs
    May 28, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Hey Chris Davis!

    I got a some questions:
    1. Is this training either good for easy-gainers?

    2. Would it be bad to do this training for 1,5 month instead of 3 months, since I am 16 years old which means it's the best age for fast gaining.

    3. Isn't ''Whey'' a dangerous kind of proteinshake? There are some dangerous kinds I understood.

    4. I understood that not only diet is important, but good sleep is very important either. Is that true?

    • Chris Davis
      May 29, 2015 at 4:22 am

      Hi!

      1. Yes, easy-gainers will do well with this training, but they have to think more about their goals. Do you want to get bigger? Then, you will have to lift more (and eat) more. Do you want to burn fat? Then, you'll want to do a lot more cardio (and eat less).

      2. Do it for as long as it makes you happy. Finding a workout you enjoy is the best route for an optimal outcome. At 16, soak in all the info you can about proper form/nutrition. (try new things, find what you like, but don't just do stuff that's easy)

      3. No, whey isn't dangerous (unless you consider milk to be dangerous, it's just the protein from milk). Whey is the most popular kind of protein shake because your body digests the protein from whey faster than just about anything (except eggs maybe). The quicker your body gets protein, the better your recovery.

      4. Of course, good sleep allows your body to build the good hormones, like testosterone, that you need for big gains.

  • Raymon Wolfs
    May 28, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Hey Chris Davis!

    One more question:
    Is the diet only good for ectomorphs? Or is it either a good one for not-ectomorphs?

    What would you recommend to me (16 yrs old, hard-gainer):
    Fasting or like eating every 3 hours?

    • Chris Davis
      May 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

      At your age, don't do any fasting. Your metabolism is already good where it is. There's a book called "Nutrient Timing" that's the best book for hard-gainers I've ever read. It's really science-y, so I'll try to summarize it quickly by saying:

      1) The most important aspect in gaining muscle is giving your body the protein it needs to grow.
      2) Have protein and carbs in your system before a workout.
      3) Drink a protein shake after your workout. (It needs to have simple sugars in it, most popular brands do).
      4) Have another protein shake, or other easily digested form of protein 2 hours after your workout.

      Good Luck!

      • Raymon Wolfs
        May 29, 2015 at 7:27 am

        Hi!
        Thanks for the reply!

        Sorry I made a little mistake there, I meant: (16 yrs old, easy-gainer).
        Do you maybe have any recommandation for that?

        Okay, so no fasting for me.
        But is there anything else I can do to remove the fat from my body except cardio (which I do too)?

        • Chris Davis
          May 30, 2015 at 9:30 pm

          Diet is the #1 way. Keep sugar, flour and processed food out of your diet for best results. You can also add reps, reduce rest or increase the amount of sets for a more fat-burning workout.

  • David Johnson
    Jun 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Hey,
    So I just tried this for the first time today and where I usually lift in the 8-12 range, I found that going to the 15 on the first set fatigued my muscles far quicker and I wasn't able to lift half as much weight wise as usual on the subsequent sets. Should I come down on the weight and build up or is it more effective sticking to this routine but staying on heavier weights within the 8-12 rep range. Thanks

    • Chris Davis
      Jun 6, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Hi,

      It depends on your goals. Stay in the 8-12 rep range if muscle building is your primary goal. Research shows this is the best rep range for maximum muscle growth. But, your goal may be similar to Brad Pitt. If you want to get lean, while building muscle tone, strive for the 15 rep range.

      It's okay if you don't get there every time. Experiment with lowering the weight, so you aren't fatigued by the 2nd-3rd set. You may need to rest a bit more between sets. Doing so will help you a lot. It helps combat the fatigue you're experiencing. Make sure you eat carbs/protein before a workout, to make sure you have the energy you need for the workout.

  • Michael
    Sep 2, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Hey Chris,

    I have always been a little on the chubbier side. Im 5′ 7- 5′ 8 and 160ish. I want to lose the extra body fat but get shredded like brad pitt. How should I alter the diet and workout for me? I also have diabetes but the carb intake is manageable with insulin (unless you recommend something else). Would you recommend the Zac Efron workout over this one since he is about the same height as me. I would like to have a body like there’s. Not bulky but more like the GQ look. What do you think? Thanks a bunch! Cant wait to start this!

    • Michael
      Sep 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Having a body like Joe Manganiello would be awesome too. I guess I would like a combo of all three. Thanks in advance for the help!

  • Moises
    Sep 2, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I just want to thank all of you for your questions and to Chris for all his replies, which are very helpful. I’ve learned a lot.

    Just need to learn more about supplements. What type of protein shake to drink (low-zero carb o high carb), when if any to drink amino acids drinks, when to consume bcaa and when to have creatine or other supplements with this Brad Pitt workout.

    Thanks again

  • Albert
    Jul 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

    The 5 step directions from Men’s Health UK make it sound like you are supposed to do 3 sets of an exercise with 60 seconds between each set, then move on to the next exercise. Your instructions here seem to contradict that . . . Also, the directions don’t mention doing them as a circuit, but you would recommend doing it that way?

  • Chris Davis
    Jul 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    My apologies. Hopefully, this makes things more clear:

    The way Brad Pitt did it was 3 sets of an exercise with 60 seconds between each set, then move on to the next exercise. This is because Pitt is an ectomorph, where it is tough to gain weight. It is important for ectomorphs (hard gainers) to rest between sets to ensure that they work as many muscle fibers as they can.

    Not all of us are that body type. Most of us are mesomorphs or endomorphs, where it easy for us to gain weight. The upside to this is that hitting the gym hard will result in big gains. The downside is that eating a large meal will result in the bad kind of weight gain. Most people fall into this category, and are called “easy gainers” as they can easily put on weight.

    For easy gainers, circuit training outweighs traditional training. This is because you want to weave in a cardio aspect to your workout to lose weight. This is the reason I suggested this modification to the workout. Do one set of each exercise, then move to the next. Only when your done with 1 set of each exercises, should you rest for a minute. Then, repeat the circuit 2 more times.

    I should make clear: This is not what Brad Pitt did. It’s just the modification necessary if you want to prioritize fat-burning. For many of us, this is what you will have to do, if you really want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

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