Superman arguably has the most versatile superhero physique. It is not because he can fly, shoot lasers through his eyes, or military press a car. Superman’s burly physique does justice to the cape and is shredded enough so he can remain undercover as Clark Kent. For us mortals, it is a complex combination that can take a lot of hard work and time to master.
While we are no acting skill critiques, we can vouch for Henry Cavill’s physique in the DC movies. He certainly looked the part and left the Superman fans in awe.
The 38-year-old Brit already had the most crucial thing required to play Superman. We would go as far as to say it was one of the main reasons why he got the part. If you still have not figured it out – we are talking about his jawline. He could cut a pizza with his sharp jawline. Not the best of examples, but you get the point.
Cavill was no fitness noob when he landed the role of Superman. He got shredded to the bone for Immortals (2011). He then had to bulk up for the titular role in Man of Steel (2013). Not to mention, he looks spectacular in the Netflix series Witcher.
Related Read: Henry Cavill Preparing For Witcher Looking MASSIVE
The Coach From Krypton
Henry Cavill hired Mark Twight, a personal trainer (and world-class climber), to help him prepare for the role. Mark is a badass in his own right. In his 2002 book, “Kiss or Kill,” he explained: “I made life or death decisions like I was choosing between brands of beer.”
Mark Twight is also a no-BS kind of a guy, Cavill say about his trainer Mark Twight:
“He asked me a lot of questions about my goals. Then he asked, ‘would you like to do steroids or HGH to get you where you want to go?’. I immediately said no.’ And he said, ‘Good, because if you did, I wouldn’t train you.”
Twight is not new to celebrity transformations. He worked with the cast of 300 and knows a thing or 300 about physique transformations on a deadline.
Cavill trained for Man of Steel in Twight’s exclusive gym, Gym Jones, where, in Henry’s own words – “comfort is purposefully avoided, and physical and psychological breakdowns occur.”
For The Henry Cavill Superman Transformation Program:
1. Get Comfortable Being a Jack of All Trades
The Superman workout program is not confined to one training philosophy. Henry Cavill underwent a six-month grueling training program to prepare for the role. His training consisted of a mix of:
In this training program, you will be switching between the training techniques mentioned above to look like an individual who can lift heavier than Eddie Hall and run faster than Usain Bolt.
2. Eat Your Way To The Superman Body
To be successful in this training program, you will have to fall in love with food. Henry Cavill was allegedly eating more than 5,000 calories per day while preparing for the Man of Steel.
Apart from the food, you will have to load up on supplements, especially if you cannot get the daily recommended doses of essential nutrients through your diet. Some of these supplements include:
3. Train in Phases
There are four main stages of the Superman transformation program:
- First phase: Preparation – Includes doing light workouts to prime your muscles for the grueling training ahead.
- Second phase: Bulking – In this phase, Henry put on more than 20 pounds and achieved a burly physique.
- Third phase: Cutting – Burn off excess body fat and get ready for the camera.
- Fourth phase: Maintenance – According to Mark Twight, one of the biggest challenges was to keep Henry at the same fitness level over the 120-day filming period.
4. Heavyweights and High Number of Reps
Henry Cavill and Mark Twight stayed clear of the intensity vs. volume debate. To do justice to Superman, Cavill needed to look both – big and strong. The best way of achieving this is by lifting in all (low, mid, and high) rep ranges.
In a typical training program, most people either lift in the 3 to 6 or 10 to 12 rep range. While the lower rep ranges (3-6 reps) are good for increasing strength, higher rep ranges (10-12 reps) excel at achieving muscular hypertrophy.
In an interview with ShortList, Cavill admitted that his training was “excruciating” but that he’d also broken through boundaries he didn’t know were possible.
5. Make Protein Your Bae
You need to load on high-protein and calorie-rich foods to get as big as you can within six months. Make these protein-rich foods a part of your grocery list:
- protein powder
- coconut milk
- heavy cream
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6. Cardio Is Life
Henry Cavill had to get ripped for Man of Steel, and he could not do it without cardio. Leaning down can accentuate your muscular density and improve body proportions. Superman, starting from comics to movies, has a very shoulder-centric look. Cavill’s goal was to build a V-taper with broad shoulders and a very tight waist.
Cavill performed a 20-minute fasted cardio session at a heart rate of 125 to 135 beats per minute to burn the excess body fat. Some fasted cardio options you could choose from include:
In a Men’s Health 2019 interview, Cavill said, “Out of all the things I’ve done in the past, I think the fasted cardio stuff is actually working best for me.”
Henry Cavill Superman Diet Plan
Since the Superman transformation program follows four different phases, you should not follow the same diet plan throughout the six months. While you might start with eating 5,000-6,000 calories (depending on your current weight), you should gradually lower your calorie intake to 3,500kcal as you enter the fourth phase of the program.
Henry Cavill made the switch from 5,000 to 3,500 calories when he hit the 100kg bodyweight mark. You might also have to adjust your cardio along with your diet to burn the stored body fat as a source of energy.
Henry Cavill 5,000 Calorie Superman Diet Plan For Bulking
- 56-gram protein powder
- 3 cups milk (low fat)
- 2 cups cereal
- 2 cups blueberries
- 6 tbsp almonds
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese ( low fat)
- 56-grams protein powder
- 2 cups grapes
- 3 tbsp barley
- 1 1/5 oz sunflower seeds
- 4 1/2 oz chicken breast
- 4 oz cheese (low or non-fat)
- 3 whole pita
- 4 cups vegetable soup
- 12 peanuts
- 4 crackers
- 49 grams protein powder
- 1 1/2 cups yogurt (plain and low fat)
- 1 1/2 tbsp barley
- 3 tbsp almonds
- 1 tsp olive, flax, hemp, or salmon oil
- 2 tangerines
- 11 oz beef (lean cuts)
- 4 cups cauliflower
- 2 cups rice
- 6 tbsp almonds
- 1 1/3 cups fruit juice
- 11 oz turkey (breast, skinless)
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 1/4 cup onions
- 1 head of lettuce
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 6 tbsp almonds
Henry Cavill 3,500 Calorie Superman Diet Plan For Cutting
- 5 egg whites
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup oats
- 1 apple
- Multi-vitamin/fish oil
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 chicken breast
- 6 oz tuna
- 2 slices wheat bread
- 1 banana
- PWO shake (probably just water/whey)
- 1 pear
Meal #4 (chicken wrap)
- 1 large 10″ flour tortilla
- 1 6-oz. chicken breast
- ½ cup lettuce (chopped)
- ½ tomato (diced)
Meal #5 (shake + potato)
- 8 oz milk
- 1 cup oats
- 1 scoop whey
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 small yogurt
If you did not notice, Superman loves his protein shake. We have put together a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right protein supplement. Take a look.
Henry Cavill Superman Workout Program
You will be eating a ton of calories on this transformation program. If you do not put them to good use, you will look less like Superman and more like the Toyman.
A typical workout in this program can last up to 2.5 hours. And no, you will not be spending a minute of this time scrolling through Instagram. Put your phone away and focus on annihilating your muscles.
Disclaimer: Since Henry Cavill performed most of his Superman workouts at Mark Twight’s exclusive gym, the exact details of his routine are not known. We have put together this Superman workout from information gathered from different sources. The six-month workout program is divided into two weekly routines:
Superman Workout #1: CrossFit
You will be following a CrossFit routine in the first week of the Superman workout program. A CrossFit program combines high-intensity movements with strength-building exercises. It will improve your core strength, endurance, and stamina.
The CrossFit program will also help you burn through the surplus calories you will be eating in the first two phases.
Goal: Lift 10,000 lbs as quickly as possible by performing one rep of each exercise without pausing for rest. You are free to use any weight you are comfortable with, but limit yourself to one rep per round.
- Bench press
Tuesday is a sprint day. Rest for one minute between each set.
- 50-yard sprint – 8 sets
If you are an intermediate lifter, using 50lb dumbbells, perform the following exercises for as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes:
- Bent Over Rows – 7 Reps
- Power Cleans – 7 Reps
- Push Presses – 7 Reps
Perform eight rounds of the following exercises:
- Kettlebell Swings – 20 Reps
- Sprint – 60 yards
One round should last less than 60 seconds. Rest for two minutes between each round.
In nine minutes, do as many rounds as possible of the following exercises:
- Back squats – 3 Reps
- Pull-ups – 6 Reps
- Push-ups – 9 Reps
Superman Workout #2: Bodybuilding
After the CrossFit week, you will switch over to a bodybuilding routine for the second week. Your goal with the bodybuilding plan will be to build strength, muscle mass, and conditioning.
Monday – Upper-Body
- Incline dumbbell press – 4 Sets 5 Reps – 2-Minute Rest
- Flat dumbbell press – 4 Sets 5 Reps – 2-Minute Rest
- Weighted pull-up – 4 Sets 5 Reps – 2-Minute Rest
- Dumbbell or barbell row – 4 Sets 5 Reps – 2-Minute Rest
Tuesday – Lower-Body
- Deadlift – 5 Sets 5 Reps – 2-Minute Rest
- Front squat – 5 Sets 6-8 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Front lunge – 4 Sets 8 Reps (per leg) – 1-Minute Rest
- Calf raise – 5 Sets 12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Chest & Back
- Incline dumbbell press – 4 Sets 8-10 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Cable crossover – 4 Sets 10-12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Weighted chin-up – 4 Sets 8-10 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Seated cable row – 4 Sets 10-12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
Friday – Shoulders & Arms
- Seated dumbbell press – 5 Sets 8-10 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Side lateral raise – 5 Sets 10-12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Front lateral raise – 5 Sets 10-12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- Preacher curl – 6 Sets 10-12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
- EZ-bar skull crusher – 6 Sets 10-12 Reps – 1-Minute Rest
Saturday & Sunday – Soft Tissue Work & Rest
Alternate between CrossFit and bodybuilding week for six months.
While discussing the Superman workout program, trainer Mark Twight revealed his secret tailpipe technique that plays a role towards the end of a workout.
The tailpipe is a tag-team routine that pushes you towards exhaustion. Why is it called tailpipe, you ask? Because it will make you feel like you sucked on one.
The tailpipe involves the following exercises:
- Row 250m
- Hold two 24kg kettlebells in the ‘rack’ position while concentrating on your breathing
- Rest for 45 seconds.
- Switch with your partner, and repeat until you have done three rows and three racks
Since Henry Cavill’s Superman workout includes a range of training principles (bodybuilding, CrossFit, Olympic lifting), it will be best to work with multiple coaches who can teach you how to correctly perform the exercises.
The Superman workout and diet program is not your typical 12-week run-of-the-mill transformation plan. After these six months, you will learn a lot about your body and how it responds to different training and diet routines.
Now, put on your cape and go, save the day.
Photo via @henrycavill Instagram.