The Brad Pitt workout has been in great demand since the release of Fight Club in 1999. His tight, athletic body became the envy of a lot of men. Pitt's character, Tyler Durden, epitomized what many Joe Six Pack guys consider to be the perfect body they'd like to have. As opposed to bodybuilder bulky, he is lean and muscular. Men want to be him, women want to be with him. Since men want to look like him, they seek the workout that would produce those results.
First Sighting: Thelma and Louise
Brad Pitt and his shredded abs first burst on the scene in Thelma and Louise ('91). While he had a small part in the movie, his physique made a huge impression on both men and women. While it was the first time his body was being admired on screen, it was just the beginning. Pitt's ripped body really became evident in both Fight Club ('99) and Snatch (2000), playing fighters in both movies. By 2004 in Troy, Pitt was noticeably more muscular, having added 10-15 pounds of muscle. Surprisingly, Brad Pitt has never been a fan of the gym, has smoked, and enjoys beer and junk food. On the other hand, he clearly understands how important working out and maintaining his "look" is to his career. He does what it takes to get the results he needs. Plus he's been incredibly blessed genetically.
Friday and Saturday: 1 hour on the treadmill at 80-90% MHR
Sunday - Rest
Brad Pitt was following this extremely regimented routine for the months leading up to filming Fight Club. The workout focuses on one muscle group per day (Mon-Thur.), then giving it a week to recover. Rest between sets was a relatively brief 60 seconds. 2 hours per week were spent on cardio.
Analysis: The Brad Pitt Workout
While the split workouts are a traditional bodybuilding format, the higher reps and rest between sets is not designed for building bulk, it's for developing lean muscle mass. Mission accomplished. It's estimated that Pitt's body fat was between 5-6% in Fight Club. The short rest intervals between sets would have kept his heart rate elevated, burning more calories, contributing heavily to fat burning.
Assuming the reports of his workouts are accurate, it's notable that there are no leg or ab exercises included in the Brad Pitt workout for Fight Club. He had to have been doing extensive ab work to have gotten the results he got. The lack of leg work was less of an issue because leg development was a low priority for this role, and the running he was doing would have worked his legs to a certain extent.
Ten Years Later: A Different Approach?
While you can't argue with the results Pitt achieved, I can't help but think that if he was training for that role now his trainer would consider taking a different approach (or at least I would). Over the last 10 years both research and real world experience has proven how effective both Whole Body Functional Training and High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) are at building the lean, athletic, muscular (but not bulky) look that Pitt displayed, and most actors and the public prefer.
Exhibit A for the effectiveness of functional training is the actors in the movie "300". The four months of functional training that prepared them for the movie produced legendary results. As with the Brad Pitt workout, there is a lot of interest in the 300 Workout. Functional training is an ideal mode for training for a fight movie. Not only will the look achieved be outstanding, it will prepare the actor for the fight scenes in the movie in a far superior way compared to the mostly machine based workouts Pitt did preparing for Fight Club. The Brad Pitt workout of the future should be Functional Training.
Diet is Key
While the Brad Pitt workout is an important part of the equation, he wouldn't have come close to achieving the lean muscular look he got without a strict dietary plan. In order to get to 5% body fat you have to be eating a low-carb, high protein, low calorie diet. Using whole foods high in protein like Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Lean Meat, Eggs and Cottage Cheese, along with Whole Grains, Green Veggies, Oats and Rice would be necessary.
Over the years, Brad Pitt has repeatedly shown the ability to transform his body for whatever his role requires. From lean, athletic fighter in Fight Club, to a beefed up warrior Achilles in Troy, he has shown what hard work and commitment can do and has become an icon for the ideal male body.