Alexander Skarsgard's unbelievably buff Tarzan body isn't thanks to CGI smoke and mirrors--it's because he ate right and went ape in the gym. The six-foot-four inch actor's impressive jungle man physique came courtesy of a ridiculously intense, 7,000 calorie a day fitness regimen.
His trainer and nutritionist Magnus Lygdback told JOE that before training, Skarsgard was a long-distance runner, completing four 10K laps each week. To get some muscled-up meat on those skinny bones, they ditched the running routine and started Skarsgard on a grueling three-month bulk-up.
"His cardio was great coming into the project," Lygdback said. "But he had to stop that and expend all his energy into lifting weights and building muscle mass."
They followed a four-day split, one day for legs, another for chest and front delts, and third for back and rear delts, and a fourth for biceps and triceps. Core exercises, which incorporated both static and rotational exercises, were done every other day.
Skarsgard did an additional power workout two mornings per week, which included yoga, resistance training, and sprints. This kept things comprehensive so each muscle could really pop.
If you want the nitty-gritty on how exactly he got so ripped, check out his workout plan here.
And because the Swedish actor is what you'd call a "hardgainer," meaning he's got the metabolism of a guy half his age, he had to eat a colossal 7,000 calories a day.
"Alex came in super lean and we started at 5,000 calories a day and he was losing body fat, so we had to up his calories so he was about 7,000 calories a day," Lygdback said.
Naturally, his diet was protein-packed, with an emphasis on fish, shrimp, and chicken (read the details of his diet here on JOE).
After the Herculean beef-up, Skarsgard began a four-month cut, which weaned him off 7,000 calories and added 20-minute HIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions each morning. But weight lifting was still part of the process.
"What people don’t realize is that heavy lifting is one of the best fat burners there are," Lygdback said.
"You burn more when you’re running around or when you’re doing high intensity training, you burn a lot at that moment. But if you combine that with strength training, you get the perfect combination."
But what really got Skarsgard his body was his attitude.
"He’s such a hard working man," Lygdback said. "He is a great human being. He is so determined and hard working. It was not hard for me to work with him."
Just watch him be all coy about it on a recent Conan:
Skarsgard's gains are testament to the marvels of weight training. The man looks convincingly ripped enough for audiences to believe he actually got fit swinging from trees, gnawing on nuts and berries and running around with Margot Robbie.