Be Strong. Be Fit.


Jake Gyllenhaal’s Workout For The Prince Of Persia

July 7th, 2012 · 2 Comments ·

“Being an actor is so hard. Being in shape is so hard, too, and being paid to get into shape is even harder.”  Jake Gyllenhaal, 2010.


I started to know Jake Gyllenhaal from the movie The Day After Tomorrow in 2004, but I believe it was the movie Brokeback Mountain that really made him popular.  He is a good actor.  Most of us know him as a tall and lanky figure with good acting talent, not an action hero.  Recently, I was amazed by his transformation when I watched Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.  Impressive muscles on shoulders, chest and arms.  He even graced the May 2010 cover of GQ Magazine and got a place in the top ten “Men’s Health 2010 Best Summer Bodies”.

Four months before shooting Prince of Persia, he engaged Simon Waterson, who has also trained James Bond such as Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig for Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.  Simon’s challenge is to bulk up Jake Gyllenhaal, but the muscles have to be in at the right places.  More importantly, he has to be agile and functionally strong.  With hard work, Jake Gyllenhaal transformed his light frame into a agile sword-fighting warrior with muscular body.


Jake Gyllenhaal’s Workout

  • Jake trained twice a day, an hour for each session.  Sometimes, 3 sessions a day.  He performed an hour and a half of cardiovascular exercise while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest.
  • He did not like to exercise only indoor.  He did horseback riding.  He practiced Parkour.  He jumped over walls, climb up and run on them.  He also ran through sand wearing suit or armor.  His training concentrated on movement rather than pure body building so his body would perform naturally.
  • He did at least ten sets of plyrometrics (squat thrusts, pull up with weighted vest, medicine ball press ups, jump switching hands), followed by five 27-yard hill sprints.
  • For his second workout, he did his resistance training with body weight at gym.  He trained on one body part daily, doing five sets of six to eight reps.
  • As for his abs, he did different abs workout, including crunches and hanging leg raise.
  • This brutal routine lasted for four months.  He was living an athlete’s life.  The transformation of body shape got him into a hulk-like warrior body shape, but also prepared him to withstand rigorous stunts and months of filming without getting injured.
  • There were few moments when Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to give up and having much self doubt about the transformation.  However, set by set, mile for mile, pounds for pounds, he managed to push it through.  He was committed to being the best.
  • Once the filming started, the pre-production workout has to be tweaked to avoid over training and burnout.  The workout routine was changed to be less intense. He trained 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week and alternating cardiovascular exercise with strength training.  It is a 50-50 cardio and resistance training split.

As you have seen, there is no secret about the exercise.  It is his dedication that gave him the six pack abs and muscular body.  Mentally and physical have to be strong.  I have to admit that not every layman have the time to commit the same way like Gyllenhaal has done so.  Just imagine two workout sessions a day and running around the sand.  Unrealistic for most of us.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Diet

  • Jake ate mainly whole foods.
  • He ate six times a day – three meals and three snacks.
  • He took protein shakes and protein bar as supplements.
  • Morning: Fruits, nuts and coffee
  • Lunch: Healthy carbohydrate with meat and salad
  • Dinner: More protein food such as fish or skinless chicken breast

In an interview, the trainer admitted that Jake was very committed.  After filming Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Jake still works out to maintain his shape.

It was his great acting talent that got him many invitations to act in good movies, and not his body.  However, with his great physique and ability to perform stunts now, I am sure the door is opened for him to be in more upcoming action movies too.  After all, fitness and body shape play a role in deciding whether actors get cast or not nowadays.








Category: Motivation

If you like this or other articles in this blog, Subscribe to today. It is free.
Scroll down to leave a comment. I really want to know what you think.
2 responses so far ↓
  • John P // Jul 17, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    While one must scoff at statements from people like Jake at how hard it is to get paid to get in shape, when they have so much money they can hire personal trainers, nutritionists, & professional cooks, when they have so much time they can spend literally hours each day working out, I will point you to former supermodel Kimora Simmons. (Kimora could be a good topic for a future article, Mun. Or Oprah. How money cannot buy you a healthy body if you don’t have the drive to become healthy.)

    My wife used to watch Kimora’s show and I would watch with her and be unable to believe how big (fat) she was, given that after her modeling career was over she was still involved in the fashion industry. It was even more crazy because she had a personal assistant, a nutritionist, a personal chef, and even a personal trainer, and yet she was so fat for someone who was paying all these people to get her into shape.

    But as I continued to watch the show I saw why: she had no self-control.

    In one scene Kimora and her personal assistant went to a fast food restaurant and although her assistant had been told to watch and control what she ate, she did her best to trick him so she could eat the unhealthiest food on their menu. She even stole her assistant’s food and quickly stuffed it into her mouth, or would hide it to eat later. It was pathetic. Here was this woman paying these people to help her get back into shop, and yet she had no desire to actually get into shape, no self-control to succeed.

    So while you might scoff at Jake saying how hard it is being paid to get into shape, if you have no self-discipline, no drive or determination, no self-control, it would actually be very hard.

    Kimora and Oprah are evidence of that. Both are very successful women but they have no self-control when it comes to diet and exercise and being healthy.

  • Neal // Feb 16, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    It is possible to keep fit even if you don’t have as much time for that as a movie star. For me taking intensive workouts 3 or 4 times a week usually is enough. To get more strength for such workouts I am taking dietary supplements which contain a bunch of vitamins and other natural compounds which quickly refill my energy supply. It helps to stay in great shape and gain muscles.

Leave a Comment