In addition to Captain America, another Marvel Comics superhero, Thor came to Cinema in year 2011. Chris Hemsworth, an Australian actor, was chosen to play the role of superhuman who is popular for his unique hammer. If you have seen him in A Perfect Getaway and Star Treck movie, in terms of size, he was not big at all.
In the comic, Thor is a 500 pound man with big muscles. Chris Hemsworth had to resemble this image, the “Hollywood action movie look”. After this name came up in news mentioning he would be Thor, many comments were posted saying “He is too skinny.” Those words actually motivated Chris to worked out harder to prove them wrong. After the transformation, he added 20 pound of muscle to become 220 pound Thor, brawny enough to lift the hefty hammer. What many did not know, the director, Kenneth Branadh, did not choose him for his body shape. Kenneth wanted him for his Viking look, as he knew that almost all actors’ body could be transformed.
Chris Hemsworth’s Workout
Chris Hemsworth had always been an active guy doing many outdoor activities including football, rugby and surfing during his leisure time. He also boxed. He already has a lean body with good set of abs muscles. However, he still had to put on additional 20 pounds of lean muscles on his 6’3″ frame.
Hemsworth was trained under Michael Knight for 3 months. No pain, no gain. Hemsworth had to undergo intense training. Surprisingly, he never worked out at gym before that. So, if you have ever hit the gym, you are already one step ahead.
Knight divided Hemsworth’s routine into two segments.
- First two months for body building which is based on heavy weight and low repetitions initially. Mainly compound exercises. Then, the trainer got him to try different weights, reps and even speed in lifting weights forcing his muscles to grow. Chris had to stay on his toes. Chris enjoyed it for the first week, but the second week, he admitted that it was plain tough.
- The last one month is total body circuits focusing on shedding excess body fat. Chris Hemsworth trained with tire flips, sledgehammers, kettlebells with different weights, log presses and prowler sprints. His physique requires body symmetry and these activities help. The director even set up a wood chopping area for Chris to train so that he could wield the big hammer (Mjolnir) correctly in the movie. His hammer was not light. Though it was a prop, it was not as light as toothbrush. It needed to be heavy so that it forced Chris to show off his arm muscles on the screen while swinging it.
At the end of the day, trainer added yoga work for flexibility.
In short, his regime is a heavy combination of weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise. Chris Hemsworth was filming Red Dawn (2012) while training for Thor. If you pay attention closely while you watch Red Dawn, you may notice the Hemsworth’s neck actually grew from scene to scene.
Chris Hemsworth’s Diet Plan
Adding 20 pounds of muscle within short period of time was challenging. Chris Hemsworth had to take huge amount of protein (chicken breast and fish), green vegetables (spinach and broccoli) and fruits. He has complained numerous time in interviews that eating when he was not hungry was exhausting. Also, he did not eat any junk food, no pizza, no hamburgers and anything that tasted delicious. All healthy food.
He needed protein sources to grow his muscles. The carbohydrates from fruits helped him rebuild muscles by slowing muscle protein breakdown. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber which strengthen cardiovascular health and their antioxidants assist muscle recovery. He ate scarfed quinoa and avoided rice.
Chris ate six meals a day. He took 1000 more calories over his normal intake during training to build muscle mass.
In addition to workout and diet, the other thing which Chris did is to sleep. Yes, his trainer made sure he had enough sleep. Growth hormone is at peak when we are sleeping and this hormone is required to stimulate muscle growth.
After three months of hard work. eating and sleeping, Chris Hemsworth was too big for Thor costume. He was asked to eat less and did more metablic circuits to burn calories to get into the right size. Again, it was brutal. The good thing was that by shedding fat without sacrificing muscles, his body shape looks more defined with six pack abs.
After filming Thor, Chris Hemsworth has cut down his visit to the gym. Still, he is playing plenty of sports. After all, he needs to maintain his size to prepare for Thor sequels.
Hemsworth has great work ethics. He was committed to make the change. With combination of heavy bodybuilding, athletic body weight workouts, good diet plan and enough rest, he made it.
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