Last week, my cousin sister told me that she loves the werewolf in Twilight: New Moon. Not the fury animal, but the actor she was talking about, but Taylor Lautner (Jacob) who has spent most of his screen time shirtless showing his well toned muscles and 6-pack abs. Coincidentally, one of the blog readers (Rodrigo) have also suggested me to have a go on the topic on how Taylor Lautner built his body.
If you are a fan of Twilight, you know that Jacob was only a small part in the first movie, then he became a major figure in New Moon. Since Edward Cullen is absent for much in Twilight: New Moon, it is really Jacob who is the male lead in the film, as the werewolf competitor for Bella Swan’s heart.
Many did not know that because of major physical changes occur in Jacob Black in the second movie, the director initially wanted to replace Taylor Lautner with another more grown up actor. In order to keep the role, Lautner has gone all out to build his body with close to 30 pounds gain. Between the first and second Twilight films, his character (Jacob Black) grew into a powerful werewolf.
Stood at 5 feet 10, Taylor was 140 pound at the age of 16 (when he started training). He was then skinny with decent shape of abs, but not with muscles. Now, he has transformed from a skinny teenage boy to a ripped fitness animal. Much of the focus has been on his hard solid washboard 6-pack abs. This article unveil the secret of his incredible transformation.
According to Taylor Lautner’s trainer, Jordan Yuam, this teenager’s heart-throb has an advantage. He started with less muscle and body fat and therefore it is easier to gain lean muscle mass more quickly. Still, he had to work out extensively over a 9-month period before the shooting of New Moon to convince the director that he was still the right candidate for the role.
13 years old Taylor Lautner in year 2005
17 years old Taylor Lautner in year 2009
Taylor Lautner’s Workout Routine
1) Vary Weight with Different Number of Sets and Repetitions
Taylor lifted very heavy weight. One of the tricks was that the trainer made him take on 40 percent more weight than he could. Say, if Taylor could bench press 10 repetitions of 120 pounds of weight, Jordan increased the weight to 140 pounds by spotting him. With a spotter, Taylor performed only the lowering half of the lifts and the spotter did the work on the lifting up portion. Taylor would lower the weight as slow as possible to his chest. By doing so, the move put tremendous stress on the muscle.
To avoid his body to get used to the weight, Lautner trained on various weights. Sometimes, he lifted normal weight with 10 repetitions, sometimes he went with lighter weight with more sets and more repetitions.
2) Use Band
Free weights are good, but they are still not perfect. Some parts of the lift are easier than others. To get the muscles are being challenged consistently, Taylor Lautner attached rubber bands to a bar or dumbbells, and then anchors the bands to the base of a power rack or a pair of heavy dumbbells. For example, here is how a band can be used for push up, even it involves only body weight.
Band creates more tension, making the workout harder, whether you are going down or up. The muscles are forced to peak up when you are at the top of the movement. As a result, you will use more muscle fibers and work them harder.
3) Do The Right Workout For Abs
Lautner worked on his abs 3 days a week (on non-consecutive days) and he did other exercises to work his entire core muscles which included abs and lower back. You may be surprised that he only did it 3 days a week for the abs, but the truth is that in each session, the intensity of the abs workout was very high.
Here are what he did:
- Hanging leg raise – he hold the leg raise for 7 to 10 seconds when the legs are on top. (I will write about this workout soon)
- Reverse crunches for abs (I will write about it soon)
- Physioball pikes for abs
- Superman for lower back (I will write about it soon)
4) Train For Agility
Because Lautner had to most of the stunts, he had to be agile. Most weight lifting exercises involve moving forward or backward and this movement does not really train the body to explode in other directions. So, the trainer got him to perform side to side exercises in addition to traditional move. For example, instead of just moving forward with lunges, he did lateral hops.
5) Do Not Over Exercise
Initially, Taylor put on much weight, but then later he started losing weight dramatically. He has over trained because he went to gym 7 days a week without a day off. He burnt more calories than he was eating. So, he had to cut back the routine to 5 days a week. Also, he had to cut down his cardiovascular exercise too, which he used to do 20 minutes after lifting.
No doubt, training is important, resting is equally important. Lautner did not work out more than 5 days in a week. If he constantly pumped his muscles, they will never have time to repair themselves.
He made sure he had enough sleep every night.
6) Feed the Muscles
Lautner’s trainer used this formula to identify how much calories was required to build the muscle.
Daily number of calories = Goal weight x (workout hours per week + 9.5)
For example, if you are 150 pounds and you want to add 20 pounds of muscle to be 170 pounds and you plan to work out 5 hours a week:
Daily number of calories = 170 x (5 + 9.5) = 2,465 calories a day
Assuming, you have 5 meals a day, then break down the total calories into equal portions. In this case, divide 2,465 calories with 5 and you will get 493 calories in each meal.
Taylor Lautner’s Diet
Taylor Lautner actually had no complaints about the workout regimen, but he had much to say about his diet. He was told to eat almost every 2 hours. He was awakened by his trainer to take protein shakes, as early as six in the morning. Initially, the trainer fed him strict diet like 6 egg whites, bacon and toast, but it backfired as the young man lost appetite. So, the trainer told him to put anything in his mouth because he needed the calories in his body to bulk up. With his body fat at about 7% and high metabolism, just like Micheal Phelps, Taylor Lautner could afford to eat junk food, including McDonald’s biggest shake.
If you are also as young as him and happen to have a pretty skinny frame too, you may think of trying that also. However, I still recommend you to eat something healthy, instead of fast food. Remember that Taylor Lautner was involved in a highly demanding martial art sport since young age and he trained for 5 days a week to prepare for the role under the guidance of a professional trainer.
The current trend in Hollywood is what I call the “natural” amount of muscles with low body fat and right frame. Not the bulky type. Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, Rain, yes, they are also one of highlights of the transformation. But, Taylor Lautner is still a teenage at the age of 17!
As a hard gainer, this kid overcame obstacles and trained with much discipline and determination to have the massive muscle growth. One thing worth pointing out that he was a world champion black belt by the age of 12 at the Junior World Karate Championships. So, his martial arts background and his youth definitely helped a little. He definitely has built good set of core muscles. A tight core is where many martial art player derive the power from.
Laymen like us are not celebrities. Movie stars or singers have to be in the best shape all year round. We do not have the luxury to be able to exercise under the guidance of personal trainer for hours each day. Most of us have to sit at desk for 8 hours a day. Hollywood celebrities’ life is out of our reach, but that does not mean we should not strive to get healthier and to look good. Some people choose to make the change, others choose not to.
For Taylor Lautner, he did not have a choice, because either he stepped up with dedication to build the body, or he will lose the job to others. His determination earned him not only the second edition of Twilight (New Moon), but also the third (Eclipse) which will be released in June 2010. Rumor also said that he has landed the fourth edition (Breaking Dawn) too. You can expect him to grow in size as required in the movies. In fact, his workout not only saved his job, but also making him bigger and beefier Twilight poster focus than Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen).
I hope that you are motivated with this post. You can do it too, with determination.
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Category: Other Fitness/Sports Articles
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