Some of Hollywood's biggest male stars really put in the work in 2017, whether it was for work or just because they simply decided to get fit(ter).
And to be fair, while a number of these actors and celebrities were already in pretty good shape—looking at you, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Wahlberg, and Jason Momoa—those guys got even more shredded for roles in films like Thor: Ragnarok, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Justice League.
But 2017 wasn’t all about superheroes gaining more muscle. Jonah Hill completely transformed his physique, dropping the 40lbs he gained for 2016’s War Dogs as he transformed himself into a lean, mean, boxing workout machine. Christian Bale, no stranger to body transformations, did one again, but instead of gaining muscle he added pounds of flab for his next movie role. (That's not exactly what we'd consider aspirational, but it is extreme.)
Take some inspiration from these celebrities into 2018 as you try and hit your fitness goals.
Here are the 15 most incredibly extreme celebrity body transformations of 2017.
As the lovable, donut-eating Sheriff Hopper on Stranger Things, Netflix audiences got to know David Harbour when he sported a doughy belly sticking out over his cop-uniform belt. But once he got cast in the Hellboy reboot, Harbour hit the gym—hard. Working with trainer Don Saladino, the Stranger Things star went from flabby to repectably muscled and lean, employing a workout comprised of deadlifts, kettlebell squats, and bench presses to become what he called a "big, demon monster”.
Hellboy, directed by Neil Marshall and starring Harbour, Milla Jovovich, and Ian McShane, will hit theaters on Jan. 11, 2019.
Most people recognize Jonah Hill for his portly figure and hilarious performances in films like Superbad, The Sitter, and This Is the End. But after gaining 40lbs for his role in War Dogs in 2016, the actor decided to swing back to the other end of the spectrum. Hill had previously slimmed down for his role in 22 Jump Street in 2014, but his newest transformation appears to be his best yet. Hill showed off his lean, athletic figure in Los Angeles while leaving the gym, and while filming his new series Maniac with his Superbad co-star Emma Stone. Hill also has taken up boxing to help stay in shape, just like these seven NBA stars.
When it comes to body transformations, Tom Hardy is as experienced as anyone in Hollywood. Between his roles in The Dark Knight Rises—when he added more than 25lbs of muscle to his frame to play Bane—Mad Max: Fury Road, Taboo, The Revenant, and Warrior, Hardy has bulked up, leaned out, and done everything in-between to make sure his body fits his character. While he has admitted he’s “paying the price” for some of these transformations, Hardy hasn’t been slowing down: For his movie Venom, in which he’s portraying Eddie Brock and Brock’s ultra-powered alter ego, he's been working out with pro MMA fighters, doing kickboxing, jiu jitsu, and boxing to get shredded for it.
The frequent Men's Fitness cover star always stays in great shape—Wahlberg previously transformed his body in films like Pain & Gain, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriots Day—but he took things to another level in 2017. This year, he got ridiculously shredded for Transformers: The Last Knight and for Mile 22, a new film he's working on with frequent collaborator Peter Berg. Wahlberg told Men’s Fitness that he wants to get into the best shape of his life for that film, in which he stars as an elite CIA field officer, and one way he’ll do that will be to “starve himself—no wine, no pasta, no meatballs”. Based on a recent Instagram video of Wahlberg in the gym lifting, it’s clear he’s getting ripped for the film.
Josh Brolin’s getting some CGI-enhanced help for his role as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but he had to transform his body the old-fashioned way to play Cable in Deadpool 2. Brolin beefed up his physique to take on the role of the cybernetic-enhanced hero, adding pounds of muscle to his arms, chest, and shoulders. The first official look at Cable on Instagram showed just how far Brolin went to get in shape for the role—he got even more jacked than co-star Ryan Reynolds, who has some of the best abs in Hollywood.
Chris Hemsworth already looks like a Norse god in his everyday life, but, somehow, the Aussie actor got even more jacked for his next turn as Thor in the 2017 smash-hit Thor: Ragnarok. Hemsworth shared a bunch of his workout videos on Instagram as he trained for Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, showing off the barbell curls, heavy rope workouts, fight training, boxing, pullups, and med ball workouts that got him bigger and stronger than ever.
Like his buddy Jonah Hill, actor Craig Robinson is known for his burly figure and performances on projects like The Office, Mr. Robot, This Is The End, and Hot Tub Time Machine. But in 2017, Robinson decided to make some major changes, ditching alcohol and meat in his diet. The results were impressive: Robinson dropped 50lbs, giving himself a much leaner and athletic physique for his new show Ghosted, co-starring Adam Scott.
"I haven’t been drinking since January. I just put down the alcohol,” Robinson said. “I was going to detox. I had heard—I don’t know how true it is—you can regenerate your liver in six months. I was like, let me see if I can go six months, and I just haven't gone back, and then [I’ve been] working out and I’ve been trying this vegan lifestyle, too."
Jason Momoa is one of the grizzliest dudes in Hollywood—witness his build as the shredded “Miami Man” in The Bad Batch. But in 2017 he had to get even more jacked and sculpted to play Aquaman in Justice League and the upcoming 2018 Aquaman standalone film, in which the former Game of Thrones star is set to battle Dolph Lundgren and the shredded Yahya Abdul-Mateen as he becomes the King of Atlantis. Momoa did heavy rope workouts, dumbbell moves, and his personal rock-climbing wall to sculpt his physique into heroic perfection.
Zac Efron is normally pretty built, but for Baywatch he got his physique down to just 5% body fat in only 12 weeks of training, giving him rock-hard abs and a detailed upper body. Efron had to go head-to-head with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, so there were no shortcuts for the actor this time around. Efron got in shape with this intense three-day, 45-minute-per-workout program, and this hardcore diet plan. Efron got so shredded that even Johnson thought he was an "animal". Need more proof? Just check out these 10 times Zac Efron proved how shredded he is on Instagram.
Holt McCallany had a breakout year in 2017, stepping out of his usual supporting roles to take one of the leads on Netflix’s new hit series Mindhunter. McCallany transformed his body for that role—adding 25lbs of pudgy weight to play the chain-smoking, fast food-eating Bill Tench. But Mindhunter wasn’t his only project that called for a transformation. McCallany added rock-hard muscle for his role as a hardcore criminal in the prison drama Shot Caller, which also starred Game of Thrones’ favorite Lannister, the fair-haired (also shredded) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. McCallany wanted to have more mass than muscle on this project, so he bulked up with a steady diet of bench press, squats, and deadlifts, while staying away from isolated exercises that some actors use when, in his words, “you’re trying to get that beautiful Hollywood torso,” he said to Men’s Fitness.
McCallany summed it up like this: “With this character, he’s in prison, he’s the head of the Aryan Brotherhood, so what kind of a body would he have? Sure, he works out, maybe doing pushups and burpees in his cell, but he won’t have a great diet—he's eating prison food. This guy is not gonna be all cut up and shredded like it's Baywatch. That's not his life.”
Nathan Morris, one of the founding members of the iconic R&B vocal group Boyz II Men, had a transformative 2017. The singer dropped slabs of weight with an overhauled nutrition plan and workout routine, including cutting out sugar, starches, and bad carbs. Morris used interval training sessions, including “15 minutes of sprints at least four times a week and 15 minutes of core and resistance training," as well as eating more "green vegetables, good proteins, low-sugar fruits, and a good choice of vitamins". The results speak for themselves—take a look.
Just like Tom Hardy, Christian Bale is well-known in Hollywood for his hardcore body transformations over the years. Bale has added pounds of muscle for his role as Batman in The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, and he’s gone the exact opposite route by getting lean (and we mean lean!) for films like The Machinist and Hostiles. But Bale added another one to his list in 2017, and this time around it meant eating a lot of pie. Bale added pounds of weight to his frame to get the look of former Vice President Dick Cheney for Adam McKay’s biopic Backseat. On top of getting pudgy, Bale also worked hard on adding muscle to his neck to get his look as accurate as possible.
Since his character on Vikings can’t use his legs, actor Alex Høgh Andersen knew he had to focus on his upper body to get ready for the new season of the historical drama series. Andersen worked out three days a week, using this intense boxing-style workout made up of high-cardio drills and combos to build upper-body endurance. “It kills you every single time," he told Men’s Fitness. Give the workout a try, and find out how the actors on Vikings get into shape before stepping into battle on the show.
Getting the body of a full-time Crusader is no easy feat, and that’s why actor Tom Cullen completely transformed his body for History’s new series Knightfall in 2017. Playing one of the legendary Knights of the Templar, Cullen employed intense weight training for three months, then jumped head-first into a two-and-a-half-week boot camp with the entire cast. Some of the training included circuit-training in the morning, then boxing, sword combat, free-weight workouts, and then horse training later in the day. Cullen also overhauled his nutrition, eating all types of lean meat, including cuts of poultry, beef, and pork, and cutting out carbs after lunchtime. See the transformation results for yourself.
When you think of Academy Award-winning actor J.K. Simmons, the first thought in your head isn’t usually anything close to jacked, shredded, or ripped. But that’s exactly what Simmons did to his physique in 2017, adding pounds of muscle with an intense workout routine of hammer rows, lat pulldowns, the chest press, dumbbell press, and cable curls. In 2017, Simmons starred in Justice League as Commissioner Jim Gordon, and in 2018, he’ll appear in the Starz series Counterpart.