Tom Hardy’s diet and workout plans are a key component of the method actor’s career. He immerses himself in the lifestyle of the character he is portraying, and doing so, often results in putting on lots of weight, losing lots of weight and adopting training principles specific to each character.
His roles in Warrior, Bronson and The Dark Knight Rises led him to assume different diets and training styles to transform his body.
Tom Hardy’s weight changes drastically, depending on what role he’s prepping for. For example, he put on a whopping 30 pounds in three months to get ready for Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. That was coming off his role as a lean fighter in Warrior, which had left him much slimmer than he was in Bronson, filmed only a short time before.
So how does he do it? Well, he follows strict diets and role specific workout plans.
Training for Warrior
Tom Hardy’s fitness level was crucial to his role—and physique—for Warrior, a sports drama about an ex-soldier turned MMA fighter. In the 2008 film Bronson, he’d played a prison boxer who was plenty big, but also carried plenty of fat. To get ready for Warrior, he adopted a cutting diet—typical to what a bodybuilder would use—to shed fat.
He was eating a reduced-calorie diet, consisting largely of lean proteins like chicken breast, and green vegetables like broccoli. Carbs were cut out, for the most part, to keep him from storing any fat. He would keep his metabolism revving by eating five or six meals per day, while focusing on a training routine that used Muay Thai, boxing, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu.
Bulking up for Bane
After Warrior, Hardy had to put on some serious muscle to play super villain Bane. It’s hard to know exactly what his workouts consisted of, but it looks like he went on a pure mass building training program. There is speculation that he adopted a 5×5 training program to pack on as much muscle as he could—and there are reports he packed on 30 pounds in three months.
In addition to a 5×5 program, he likely boosted his calories so that he was in a 200 to 300-calorie surplus every day, making it easier to build quality muscle. I’d image his diet was still pretty clean, focused on plenty of protein, quality carbs and healthy fat. He was likely getting about 1.6 – 2 g of carbs per pound of body weight, the same from high-quality carbs and the rest of his daily calories from healthy fats.
A 5×5 training program involves training every second day, using a weight where you’re doing five repetitions for five sets. The weights will be pretty heavy, so you’ll be resting for 2-4 minutes in between sets, using only compound movements. The schedule looks like:
Bench Press: 5×5
Overhead Press: 5×5
Bench Press: 5×5
Shoulder Press: 5×5
Same as Monday
It’s possible he did some accessory workouts on the weekends, but it’s hard to say. Be sure to alternate your squats and deadlifts on successive days.
Mullis, S., “Tom Hardy Workout,” Ask Men web site, 2016; http://ca.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding/tom-hardy-workout.html, last accessed August 26, 2016.