This year marks the 20th anniversary of Fight Club, David Fincher's magnificent adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel about a white-collar office worker who teams up with a soap manufacturer to form an underground fight club. The film is remembered for a variety of reasons, from the tight script, broody visuals and tremendous performances, but one that continues to stand out is Brad Pitt's rig in the prime of his career.
As the eccentric soap salesman Tyler Durden, Pitt is almost unrecognisable from previous roles. While he still sports movie star good looks, Pitt's body is a chiselled work of art that's hard to take your eyes off. Even now some two decades later, Pitt's body transformation is one few others have achieved, but if you're willing to give it a crack, here's what you need to do to obtain such a striking figure.
Pitt used a semi-bodybuilding type workout, meaning lots of repetitious exercises targeting certain areas of the body, such as chest, arms and legs. He would train one muscle group a day for four days before completing cardio workouts the final two days, with Sunday his rest day.
Monday – Chest
Push-ups – 3 sets of 25 reps
Bench press – 25, 15 & 8 reps @ 75, 88, 100 kgs
Nautilus press – 15 reps @ 36, 45, 60 kgs
Incline press – 15 reps @ 36, 45, 60 kgs
Pec deck - 15 reps @ 27, 31, 36 kgs
Tuesday – Back
25 pull-ups – 3 sets to fatigue
Seated rows – 3 sets @ 34, 36, 39 kgs
Lat pull downs – 3 sets @ 61, 68, 75 kgs
T-bar rows – 3 sets @ 36, 43, 50 kgs
Wednesday – Shoulders
Arnold press – 3 sets @ 25 kgs
Laterals – 3 sets @ 13 kgs
Front raises – 3 sets @ 11 kgs
Thursday – Biceps & Triceps
Preacher curls – 3 sets @ 27, 36, 43 kgs
EZ curls cable – 3 sets @ 23, 30, 36 kgs
Hammer curls – 3 sets @ 14, 20, 25 kgs
Pushdowns – 3 sets @ 32, 39, 45 kgs
Friday & Saturday – Cardio
Treadmill – 1 hour at 80-90% maximum heart rate
Sunday – Rest
Cardio The Key
The key to looking as shredded as Pitt does in this film is by having extremely low body fat. Pitt only weighed around 70kg during filming with a body fat of 5-6%, which is unbelievable. The average for a normal fit person is 12%, so that shows how dedicated Pitt was to his workout routine. That's why he went so hard on the treadmill, Pitt wanted to look toned not muscular. The weight training helped build his muscles while the cardio training enhanced his physique.
While Pitt followed a bodybuilder-type workout he didn't eat like one. Loading up on calories to put on muscle was not his endgame. Instead, he ate extremely clean, feasting on a diet of mainly chicken and fish, brown rice and pasta, green vegetables and oatmeal. He also ate several meals a day to keep his energy levels up. Highsnobiety published an example of what Pitt's daily eating routine would like.
Breakfast: Eggs (six whites, seven yolks) and 75g of oatmeal with raisins.
Midmorning Snack: Tinned tuna in whole wheat pita breads.
Lunch: Two chicken breasts, 75-100g brown rice or pasta, and green veggies.
Mid-Afternoon Snack [Pre-Workout]: A protein bar or whey protein shake and a banana.
Post Workout: Protein shake and a banana.
Dinner: Grilled fish or chicken, brown rice or pasta, vegetables and salad.
Evening Snack: Casein protein shake or low-fat cottage cheese (slow release protein).
Pitt's diet was less than 2,000 calories a day. He absorbed just enough carbs to get him through each workout and the right amount of protein to build muscle.