No more excuses for skipping gym sessions – here’s a sure-fire, bullet-proof program that can help anyone gain a substantial amount of lean, strong, functional muscle mass!
Although Marvel’s decision to cast Chris Evans as Captain America initially caused a great deal of controversy, his portrayal of one of the most iconic comic book heroes eventually won the hearts of millions fans, and nowadays we can’t imagine anybody else besides Evans playing the part with such verisimilitude.
Firstly, Chris Evans took a character who could have easily become a caricature and made him real and relatable by imbuing his interactions with earnestness, integrity and bravery without making the end result appear cheesy or cynical.
On the other hand, the actor’s dedication to sculpting the perfect superhero physique is equally worthy of praise as his successful character study.
Namely, to play the part of a hero who represents the zenith of the human potential for strength, agility, endurance, speed and reflexes, Evans managed to brilliantly transform his physique by powering through countless brutal gym sessions under the guidance of his trainer Simon Waterson.
Captain No Cardio
When you think of action movies, most people would presume there’s a lot of fighting, a lot of explosions, and a lot of running away from things.
It’s simply part of the parcel.
So it was a shock to find out Evans stayed away from too much cardio-specific workouts; it would take away from all the hard work he’d done in terms of building his body up.
Instead, he replaced the cardio exercises with circuits.
He explains: “Honestly, for Captain America I don’t do a lot of cardio because I’m not trying to lose weight, it’s all about putting on the muscle.
It’s big weights and training to put on the muscle.
I mean, we might do a few sprints just to make sure I’m loose and conditioned, but that’s about it, to be honest.
We’d warm up and do some intervals for 10-15 minutes.
“Really though, the cardio training comes from doing the circuits, which are much more effective because you’re working at a much higher heart rate. But you just leave the gym unable to move; it’s really intense.
Ultimately it is about the performance rather than just looking good, having big muscles.
“Ultimately it is about the performance rather than just looking good, having big muscles. In the film I have to sprint a lot, throw the shield, jump over things. But the circuits cover a lot of that.
There was no jogging, no rowing, no stationary bike—nothing. If I do cardio I’ll disappear (laughs).”
Anybody who knows anything about putting on size knows that lifting heavy objects and spending hour after hour in the gym is only half battle. There’s a lot more to it than just beating your personal best on the bench press.
The truth is, you need to put food inside your body to help build lean muscle; and it can’t be any type of food, it has to be the right type for you to reap the rewards you work for.
So to add to his back-breaking workouts, Evans also increased the amount of protein he consumed substantially to aid him in his bulking mission.
“I had lost weight in between filming “The Avengers” and this, so it was really about bulking up as clean as possible, so I had a high protein diet nutrition to play Captain America.
“The equation is around 2 grams protein per kilogram of bodyweight and that’s achieved with a bunch of chicken,” he laughs.
“But then I’d also consume other sources of lean protein and some protein shakes through the day. But the eating is the thing I like the least (laughs), because I’d feel full all the time.
The equation is around 2 grams protein per kilogram of bodyweight and that’s achieved with a bunch of chicken.
Porridge, Walnuts etc
“I’d eat porridge, walnuts, raisins, low-fat Greek yogurt, a scoop of protein and maybe sliced banana for breakfast, which is generally an hour or two before I work out. Then through the day I’d eat a lot of things with a good protein source, lots of fish and meat.
He adds: “Then I’d eat salad with the protein source, lots and lots of salad, lots of dark green, leafy vegetables, and then also a handful of almonds here and there.
It was basically a high-protein diet, but then balanced with vegetables and fruits and some complex carbs, things like brown rice and porridge.”
In terms of supplements to complement his workout, Evans used a diverse range to make sure that he was not only building muscle, but also so his body was able to fully recover from the intense gym sessions he would put himself through.
“Supplement-wise I used a bit of glutamine, whey protein shakes, branched-chain amino acids, then 500mg supplements of Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids every single meal to make sure that my joints were functioning well—I needed it because the working out was so intensive, especially with things like the gymnastics.
“The branched-chain amino acids were basically there to fill the chain of repair of protein. The glutamine was used to stop me going catabolic or burning muscle tissue as energy, and was also good for my immune system.
“I think the protein shakes during the day would be normal whey-based shakes containing around 30g protein. But then before going to bed I would gulp down a protein shake that was primarily casein, for slow-release protein overnight.”
Read the rest of this article to learn exactly how he did it.
Training – Captain America Workout
Since the goal was to help Evans build a big, strong, well-proportioned body that looks realistic and functional, Waterson gave the actor a training regime based on low-rep, high-weight sets of big compound lifts, including squats, deadlifts, incline bench presses and weighted dips.
But Captain America isn’t only muscular, he’s also agile and fast, so in order to fire up his fast-twitch muscle fibers and improve his stability, endurance and stamina, Evans also did a ton of bodyweight exercises and plyometrics and even took gymnastic classes.
“I’ve always liked going to the gym, but these weren’t normal gym sessions. I was puking at the gym. They were brutal, absolutely brutal”, reveals the actor.
Here’s the program that turned Evans into a lean & mean fighting machine in just a few months:
- Standing Military Press: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Medium-Grip Barbell Incline Bench Press: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Kettlebell Thruster: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Close-Grip Barbell Incline Bench Press: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Incline Push-Up: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Kneeling Military Press: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Weighted Push-Up: 2 sets x 5 reps
- Weighted Bench Dip: 3 sets x 8 reps
- One-Arm Kettlebell Row: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Incline Hammer Curl: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Overhead Cable Curl: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Incline Inner Biceps Curl: 3 sets x 8 reps
- EZ-Bar Curl: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Barbell Squat: 1 set
- Front Box Jump: 2 sets x 10 reps
- Barbell Deadlift: 2 sets x 10 reps
- Chin-Up: 2 sets x 10 reps
- One-Arm Kettlebell Swing: 2 sets x 10 reps
- Kettlebell Sumo High Pull: 2 sets x 10 reps
- Weighted Pull-Up: 2 sets x 10 reps
Gym efforts aside, the key part of gaining the amount of lean mass required for the proper portrayal of his super-soldier character was the strict high-protein diet that Evans followed for three months – some say that’s one of the greatest clean bulking diet plans out there – and which included 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
“I’d consume multiple sources of lean protein and a few protein shakes every day.
It was basically a high-protein diet, but it was balanced with dark green, leafy vegetables and fruits and some complex carbs, things like brown rice and porridge,” explains Evans.
Eat Like Chris Evans
Make sure you give your body the proper fuel it needs to aid you in your quest to look as buff as Chris Evans does in “Captain America: The Winter Diet.” This is a high protein diet so you can keep your muscles fed after an intense workout.
Chicken Sausage Frittata
- 1 chicken sausage
- 1/2 cup zucchini
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 dry basil leaves
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Captain America Porridge Combo
Chicken Caeser Pita
- 2 x 6oz chicken breast
- 1 hand full Romaine lettuce
- 4 medium sized pitas
- 2 whole wheat pitas
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp dry mustard
- Two crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp anchovy paste
Tuna Burger And Salad
- 1 can of light chunk tuna
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup dry oats
- Garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups Romaine lettuce
- 1 cup chopped vegetables
Chicken And Peppers With Brown Rice
- 2 x 6oz chicken breast
- One tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- one cup uncooked brown rice
- A large sliced red pepper
- 1 medium sliced yellow pepper
- A cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp salt and pepper
The Make-It Bacon Paleo Chicken Classic
Note: this is for a crock pot
- 1 lb cubed chicken breasts
- 1/4 lb chopped bacon
- 1/2 white onion
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp garlic
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp pepper
- 2 tbsp chipotle sauce