Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine training and diet

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Fat Burning, fitness, fun
Tags: , , , , ,


Over the years Hugh Jackman has done some pretty incredible things with his physique from X-men 2 & 3, X-men Origins, and most recently, The Wolverine.

What we see in his physique in the latest film is a well-balanced upper body and extremely lean.

As much as I’ve been a fan of these movies, I’ve found that the methods used to achieve his physique have been nearly as well guarded secrets as project Weapon X itself.  Even those sources that claim to know how he was trained presented very vague and generally unbelievable routines (and most have been sales gimmicks). – M&F mag will be publishing a Wolverine inspired issue in August, but if it is as disappointing as their Man of Steel one, I think what I outline below will serve you much better.

Some people go as far as to suggest that he used steroids to achieve the simultaneous muscle gain and fat loss, but I personally don’t believe anabolic agents were involved, primarily because I’ve done some pretty amazing things with my own physique in the last year, and have come across some pretty effective methods that aren’t commonly practiced among amateur trainees.

Putting on my detective’s hat and doing a little research I’ve made some interesting discoveries and logical conclusions.  First let’s consider that Hugh Jackman is a Hollywood star and has access to the world’s elite training and nutrition experts… even more so than most professional bodybuilders do.

Still, there are some clues left behind that can help gear a training program towards his style of physique. First let’s look at…

Weight Training:

I suspect to get his abs to “pop” he trained them frequently for a good two or three months. A very effective way to do this is to alternate upper/lower ab training with oblique training for 5-10 minutes prior to each workout during a cut (while focussing on muscle gain this amount of ab training is overkill, and I prefer to focus on core strength).

The rest of his resistance training was probably a strategic combination of strength training and endurance/GH training.

While training to get cut, it is important to incrementally increase intensity. This could come in the form of gradually increasing volume, adding a second training session on certain days, as well as progressing from straight sets to supersets to tri-sets to giant-sets.

The actual training split you do can vary based on your own perceived weaknesses. For me that means making back and delts a priority. A cool way to stimulate the muscles enough to both spark grown and allow for recovery is to do a sort of zigzag rotation. For example (this is one of my favourite training splits btw):

Day 1: Chest, Biceps, abs
Day 2: Back, Calves, obliques
Day 3: Shoulders, Triceps, abs
Day 4: Legs, obliques

Day 1: Legs, abs
Day 2: Shoulders, Triceps, obliques
Day 3: Back, Calves, abs
Day 4: Chest, Biceps, obliques


Cardio training should also increase in intensity, which will mean the incorporation of HIIT style cardio. For a long time the way I did this was jogging/sprinting and going by the standard 1 min high, 1 min low format that a lot of people recommend… but there is a far better way to cut through the fat!

Using an upright stationary bike you can make your high intervals insane! go FULL OUT for only 15-20 seconds and don’t hold back! It will usually take 2-3 minutes on a low-speed to recover and go onto a second high interval. Do this for about 15-20 minutes.

The goal for each session, or at least each week is to increase the total time spent at the high intensity. This can be done by lowering the rest periods or by slightly increasing the high interval time by a second or two.

At the end of a HIIT session I want to keep track of how many seconds at 100% intensity I did and in how much time.


Dr Martin Young & Molly Bray conducted research published in the International Journal of Obesity that would suggest eating a high fat, high protein breakfast is the best way to keep a healthy metabolism.

Along these lines, Charles Poliquin suggests eating a meat and nuts breakfast. I personally find that whole eggs and some added fish oil works quite well, as nuts tend to make me fat for some reason.

To get that lean you’ll have to be very strategic when it comes to carbohydrate intake. Carb cycling is the most popular way of doing this. If you can get your hands on The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle McDonald, he not only discusses how to go about eating extremely low carb, but also discusses the science behind it, which is information that I have found to also come in handy when truing to build muscle.

To keep it simple, when I’m trying to get ultra lean I keep my carbs below 100g per day for 3-4 days then have a re-feed day where I eat about twice as many carbs (and lower my fat intake) in order to “trick” my hormones into continuing the fat loss without slowing down my metabolism. These re-feed days are also important to help fill out your muscles since you will likely have depleted a lot of glycogen.

Another key point I want to mention is that when dieting I have had the BEST results when I log each and every thing I put into my mouth.

Doing this makes me accountable, helps me to adjust my diet as needed, and one of the most important things is that during the day I can remember when I’m due to eat again. Since I’ve already plugged a couple of people with whom I have no association, Here’s a little something I made that I truly believe will benefit anyone trying to get into the best shape of their lives, and I’ve set it at a price that is so low I’m not actually making any money on it either: Buffer’s Complete Training and diet log

When you are trying to get shredded while maintaining your muscle mass, Growth Hormone is your best friend… and I’m not speaking about IV drugs, I’m referring to naturally creating a hormonal environment that will be conducive to this. Definitely avoid carbs pre workout, and possibly even post workout. Supplementing with glutamine in large doses may help with this as well, as will taking melatonin before bed.

Related: Man of Steel training and diet

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Superhero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

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