What He Did: Downey bulked up 20 pounds to weigh 170 at 5’8” tall.
Why He Did It: Iron Man director Jon Favreau wanted Downey to have a physique that looked like “he had the power to forge iron”.
What He Ate: Downey followed a diet of 3,500 calories, eating up to eight times daily. His staple foods included steak, legumes, broccoli, and even skim chocolate milk (for protein).
His Workout: A typical upper-body workout for Downey was the following:
Weighed Pullup (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
Weighted Dip (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
Swiss-Ball Bench Press (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
Cable Row (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
Continuous Tension Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
BOSU-Ball Pushup (3 sets of 15–20 reps)
Suspension Pushup (3 sets to failure)
Suspension Row (3 sets to failure)
Lateral Raise (3 sets of 8–12)
Kettlebell Swing (3 sets of 40 reps)
Sand Bag Throw (3 sets of 12–15)
Plus: Downey needed to be in shape for more than just looking the part. His Iron Man costume weighed 90 pounds.
Downey says: “I prepared for the screen test [for Iron Man] so feverishly that I literally made it impossible for anybody to do a better job.”