Check out six men who've lost incredible amounts of weight, built unreal muscles, and more.
Brittany Smith and Men's Fitness Editors 1 / 13
As an actor, you can play a part or you can become an extension of a character—adapting the behaviors, ideas, thoughts, and personalities into your own until they pretty much become your own. We bring you six guys who’ve done just that. These men have helped make 2015 a year that's seen some major evolutions, overhauls, and even some growing up. This list celebrates and separates game changers from mere men, and highlights the physical feats you’ve got to see (and read) to believe.
Let their commitment compel you to make some health and fitness changes of your own.
Oscar Isaac's career has blown up since he nabbed a spot in J.J. Abrams’ forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens as a rebel pilot, but it was for his performance as Nathan, the tech billionaire and robot creator in last spring’s sci-fi hit Ex Machina where a different sort of awakening took place.
The 35-year-old Guatemalan-born actor wasn’t a scrawny coder in the flick; he was beefed-up and quite physical (for a scientist at the very least). The director, Alex Garland, wanted Isaac’s character to be superior in every sense. “It was important that Nathan was a formidable-looking dude—stocky and square-shouldered, with an aggression to him,” Isaac says. “That’s why I really focused on the bag and the weights, things that require quite a bit of aggression. I basically did that and tried to eat clean, but more calories than I normally eat,” he adds.
Dylan O’Brien, the 23-year-old star of last year’s surprising box office hit The Maze Runner and MTV’s series Teen Wolf used to spend his spare time on the diamond, playing in a pickup softball league on Saturdays. But for his role in the next Maze Runner installment, Scorch Trials, O’Brien and his stunt double had to pick up the pace.
O'Brien labored through weeks of intensive sprint and hill drills. “I had to get my legs in shape so I had a base for doing the running scenes 12, 13 times in a row,” he says. It wasn't in vain, though. The training came in handy for his role in Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon (2016), a retelling of the 2010 BP oil spill that brought down 11 crewmen on the exploding rig and ravaged the Gulf of Mexico. O’Brien plays the youngest crew member alongside cinema heavyweights Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg.
A little over a year ago Matt Bomer (you might recognize him from TV’s White Collar) lost 35 pounds, dropping to a mere 130 pounds for his Golden Globe–winning role as a newsman dying of AIDS in HBO’sThe Normal Heart. “I was a mess, my hormones were out of whack, I was starving,” the 38-year-old actor recalls. “My first focus was to get my body back in working order,” he says, for his next role in a little film called Magic Mile XXL.
But Bomer went one (huge) step further than just getting his body back to normal. He got downright shredded to reprise his role as Ken by—what else—a little help from his movie friends. Co-star Channing Tatum regularly pushed him. He got “my ass in the gym seven days a week,” Bomer says.
You can be jealous of Calvin Harris, the 31-year-old platinum dance-floor DJ, for many reasons. He’s one of the most sought-after producers, and the top-earning DJ on the planet: Last year he earned $66 million, according toForbes. He’s got one of the most impressive bodies in the business: If you haven’t seen it already, now’s the time to check out his Emporio Armani underwear campaign. Oh, yeah, and he nabbed the dream girl: Taylor Swift. So, how’d he do it?
Well, we can’t dish out too much advice on nabbing Ms. Swift, but we can give you a hint about staying focused and regimented on a busy schedule. "As long as you don’t drink, you eat well, sleep enough, and keep one of those little ab rollers with you everywhere,” he once said, “you’ll be good.” Throw in a lot of self-discipline and some egg-white omelets, and you’ll be on your way.
Michael B. Jordan has quite literally transformed from boy to man over the past decade as he’s transitioned from roles in HBO’s The Wire to NBC’s Friday Night Lights, then hit the big screen as the Human Torch in this past August’s Fantastic Four reboot, soon to be followed by the premier of Creed. In it, Jordan will play Adonis Creed, son of the one and only Apollo Creed. “Right now is the moment I’ve worked my entire career for,” Jordan says. “It feels good. It’s like, I’m here now.” So, how’d he transform his slim superhero figure into heavyweight fighting shape?
My body isn’t really shown that much in [Fantastic Four],” he explains, “my character is a teenager.” But for Creed: “I put the work in and trained and didn’t ask for any handouts,” he says of the process of bulking up, before proudly adding: “I look like a fighter.” See for yourself. Creed premiers November 25.
In the past, Miles Teller's roles didn't exactly require modelesque physiques. He played a meek drummer in the 2014 drama Whiplash and scientist, Reed Richards, in this past August’s Fantastic Four reboot. "If you’re playing Reed Richards properly—a guy who’s isolating himself and is obsessed with academics and studying and traveling and exploring—that guy is not going to the gym,” he says. But his latest film, Bleed For This (2016), has changed all that. “At the time I was 188 pounds and 19 percent body fat,” he admits, when he got the role. Not exactly the physique required to assume the role of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza, so Teller made some changes.
To play a first-class fighter, Teller cut back on partying, hit the ring four hours a day (and took boxing lessons at Hollywood's Wild Card Boxing Club), weight lifted for two hours a day, and saw a physical therapist most afternoons. As for his diet, Teller eliminated bread and alcohol entirely. “Breakfast was protein powder, ice, water, a splash of almond milk, and some frozen fruit—like, maybe, 10 blueberries,” he says. His other meals consisted mainly of chicken, avocado, spinach, and tomatoes, and he even consulted with a nutritionist and had a doctor perform blood work to ensure his caloric intake and fat-to-protein ratios were ideal for dropping weight and building muscle.
His regimen didn't falter when he went abroad to promoteWhiplash at the time, either. Despite jet lag, he was up at 3 a.m. hitting the gym. “Anytime I had two hours, I worked out,” he says. “It would have been embarrassing to be on-screen as a five-time world champion and not look the part.” Fast-forward to a month before filming began and Teller started working with boxing trainer Darrell Foster—the man who helped Will Smith become Muhammad Ali for 2001’s Ali.
And on that first day of filming? Teller weighed 168 pounds and had just 6 percent body fat. “We did this test: Without any fat, my body would weigh 155 pounds—just my muscle and bones,” he says. “That means I was carrying only 13 extra pounds. I felt superlight. I felt incredible,” he adds.