Hugh Jackman is an undeniable fitness icon. For more than a decade, the actor has played the adamantium-laced Wolverine, wielding mega muscles and a seriously ripped body. And while his Hollywood special effects team does a great job giving Jackman superhuman powers, Jackman’s physique—minus the indestructible claws—is all him.
It’s long been part of an actor’s job to buff up for a role if it calls for it. But with the Aussie actor, fans have taken notice of his intense dedication. In turn, Jackman has been open with his routine both on Instagram and to outlets like Men’s Health.
Jackman’s Wolverine prep process isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re willing to follow a fairly strict diet and a seriously strict workout regime, perhaps you’ll get your own Marvel franchise—or at very least you’ll look the part. Here are the basic principles of Jackman’s diet and exercise regimen.
The Hugh Jackman diet
They say that the body is really made inside the kitchen, not the gym. As such, the foundation of Jackman’s bod is plenty of protein and green veggies. All this despite the occasional Instagram shots of him chowing down on pizza, with the hashtag #WhatDetox?
The beauty of the Wolverine’s diet is this: While it stresses high protein, and admittedly, a lot of food, dieters aren’t limited to eating the same baked salmon every day. Instead, you can mix and match your proteins, choice of carbs and your favorite protein shakes.
Jackman does follow a strict carb-cycling and calorie-cycling schedule. This means that some days he eats more protein or fewer carbs, based on what’s in store at the gym. His diet also involves intermittent fasting, which has been the topic of much fascination, and many scientific studies, as of late. Chris Hemsworth and Silicon Valley executives are among the many, many fasting devotees.
But back to Jackman’s diet. If you follow his plan, you’ll be consuming between 4,000 and 4,500 calories most days. Much of the workout focuses on bulking up and building muscles, so you’re trying to gain weight. Ideally, you’ll eat about six meals a day to reach this calorie count.
The intermittent fasting part follows a 16/8 schedule. This means you’ll eat for eight hours a day and fast for the remaining 16, with the eating window opening up after that initial morning workout. According to Jackman’s trainer, the Wolverine’s daily menu might look something like this:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal and eggs, perhaps served with fruit or nuts on top
- Lunch: Fish, avocado and broccoli
- Mid-afternoon: Chicken and brown rice with greens
- Dinner: Steak, broccoli and a sweet potato
- In between: Jackman sometimes has a protein drink before retiring to bed and between breakfast and lunch.
One site covering the diet and fitness plan mentioned that wannabe Wolverines could enjoy a variety of meals like turkey stir fry, grilled tuna steaks and more. The formula consists of a starchy vegetable, a lean protein and a cruciferous vegetable like kale, broccoli or spinach.
That being said, Jackman’s regimen requires him to measure everything he puts into his body, essentially focusing on his diet similarly to how professional athletes do during training season.
The Wolverine workout
According to Jackman, he does not train for more than an hour at a time—but that one hour is pretty intense. Generally, you’d do about 3-4 sets on the circuit, including things like bench presses and incline dumbbell flies.
Jackman says that the sessions were built with a four-week program in mind. Fitness routines consisted of a lot of deadlifts, push-ups, squats and bench presses—all pretty standard stuff. Then, the actor and his trainer would change things up. They’d start by doing reps of 6-10, then building up to 18 reps per set.
But don’t get carried away trying to build Wolverine’s muscles. According to Jackman’s trainer, David Kingsbury, the actor kicked off the regimen using lighter weights and higher reps. Eventually, he moved toward heavier weights and fewer reps as his strength increased. This process is known as a progressive overload workout. The goal here is to prevent the body from burning out and plateauing after a few weeks, while building big, yet balanced muscles.
In the end, a lot of the foods Jackman consumes are pretty standard fare: oats and fruit for breakfast, a reasonable amount of carbs, plus things like steamed veggies and chicken for dinner. It’s the diligence—the multiple gym sessions, the six meals a day and the lack of flexibility—that take the Wolverine plan to challenging places.