10 Movies That Make Men Want to Work Out

I say this with an unblemished record of heterosexuality (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Have you ever watched a movie that made you want to go work out afterwards?

I have.  Well, I’ve never actually gone out and done it, but real men would have.

What I have noticed is that these films usually feature men who were either previously unknown to mainstream audiences and/or have undergone amazing physical transformations.  For example, Arnie or Stallone films rarely have that ‘Wow’ factor because they’ve always looked that way, and in any case from my research it seems looking ‘cut’ is generally preferred to looking ‘buffed’.  Anyway, it’s no surprise that the Internets is filled with guides on how to transform your body to replicate the following movie stars.

Without further ado, these are what I think are the 10 films that have inspired more meatheads than any other.

(click on ‘more’ to read on)

10. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Gyllenhaal worked out so hard he apparently injured his jaw muscles

I first saw Jake Gyllenhaal, like most people, in the marvellous 2001 sleeper hit Donnie Darko as a scrawny teenager.  Nine years later, for the video game adaptation Prince of Persia, Gyllenhaal went all out and beefed up insanely for the role, as evidenced from the photo above.  Strangely, from what I can recall, the film did not do his new bod a lot of justice, as it was mostly covered up by skimpy clothes and poor lighting.  It appears since this film, Jake has more or less mantained the physique, as demonstrated in the film Love and Other Drugs.

9. Casino Royale (2006)

Craig proved the naysayers wrong with his physical transformation

Fans cried out against the selection of unimposing thespian Daniel Craig as the new 007 in Casino Royale, but they all shut up when those first beach shots of Craig and his new body were ‘leaked’ online.  And the film certainly didn’t disappoint, especially when 007 was tied up naked in a warehouse for no real reason.

8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Paparazzi shots of Jackman around the time Wolverine was filmed

The film may have been underwhelming, but all the buzz was about how Hugh Jackman (no spring chicken at 41) morphed his already impressive body into a veiny slab of pure muscle with midnight protein shakes and extra gym sessions.  Extra points for doing it at his age.

7. American Psycho (2000)

I remember Bateman saying he does a thousand crunches

Christian Bale was a child actor (Empire of the Sun) but was largely forgotten until he exploded back onto the scene in the wildly entertaining and equally disturbing American Psycho.  I remember seeing the film for the first time and wondering who the hell was this guy with the ridiculously cut bod?

Since then, Bale has dropped a zillion kilos for The Machinist and put it back on for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but his body was never more impressive than when he was Patrick Bateman.

6. Ninja Assassin (2009)

Yep. Rain did well.

Korean star Rain took on the role of the Raizo in the ultra violent Ninja Assassin and had two masive obstacles — learn English and transform his body into a masterpiece.  Apparently he worked out so much he vomited every day and dropped from 12% to just 6% body fat.  The result was very impressive — the lean look is now something a lot of guys strive for.

5. Twilight: New Moon (2009)

Lautner created Team Jacob with his new bod

Taylor Lautner was a scrawny little guy that was on the verge on being replaced after the first Twilight film because his character Jacob was supposed to undergo an amazing physical transformation in New Moon.  Lautner somehow managed to convince the filmmakers to let him stay on and proved they made the right choice when he filled out his body and sent millions of teenage girls screaming.  Good for him and New Moon certainly made every excuse for him to show off his hard work.

4. Blade: Trinity (2004)

Reynolds has made a living with his body

Former sitcom star Ryan Reynolds surprised a lot of people when he went shirtless in Blade: Trinity, stealing the spotlight from Wesley Snipes with his ripped torso.  Since then, his reputation as a washboard has been maintained through appearances in films such as the Amityville Horror remake and The Proposal, and I am sure we will see more of his impressive body in The Green Lantern.

3. Never Back Down (2008)

Gigandet’s workout is apparently one of the most popular on the web

When it comes to lean, ripped bodies, Cam Gigandet from Never Back Down is the poster child.  I can’t say much for his acting ability, but Gigandet’s head-turning, villanous bod in the 2008 martial arts film has allowed him to carve out a fairly decent career for himself as secondary characters (Twilight, The Unborn, Pandorum, Burlesque, Easy A, Priest, etc).

2. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club sent men sprinting to the gym

One of my favourite films, but I probably would have put this near the top of the list anyway.  Brad Pitt was already known for his impressive physique after exploding onto the scene with Thelma and Louise, but he took it to a whole new level with his shredded fighting bod in Fight Club.  There’s just something natural about the way it looks that makes it stand out compared the gym-built bodies you ordinarily see in movies.

1. 300 (2006)

Meat factory

Surely this does not come as a surprise.  300 just blew everyone’s minds with a plethora of pecs and six packs.  Most people focus on Gerard Butler but just about every single Spartan warrior deserves praise for their physiques, including Michael Fassbender (who maintained his bod Centurion).  It was so ridiculous it almost looked like the bodies were painted on.  No less than five people I have spoken to about 300 actually said the film made them want to work out immediately after walking out of the cinema.

Special mention: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

This hasn’t been released yet but by all accounts Chris Evans will be dropping jaws with his enormous muscles as the First Avenger, Captain America.

Looks about right

13 thoughts on “10 Movies That Make Men Want to Work Out”

  1. Ok, dude, I respect your opinion, but from what generation are you? Have your ever polled “Rocky” (any episode)? Stallone was no Bruce Lee, but have you forgotten all the scenes where he either punched a side of beef or worked out in Siberia getting ready for a fight? That’s pure testosterone, my friend.

    1. I’ve often wondered that myself. I am definitely not too old or young for Rocky (which turned me into a boxing fan) but perhaps I was too young to notice how cut up Stallone was in the films (I just thought he looked like one of my action man figurines). The thing with Stallone is that he’s always been a beefy guy, so there wasn’t much of a shock factor when I saw him with his shirt off.

  2. I think Fight Club is one of those films that can make you want to change many things in your life!

    Daniel Craig certainly made me feel inferior after watching Casino Royale but the film that got me working out (125 days out of a year cycling to work in 2010) was.. and this might surprise you – Wall-e

    Having watching how people had let themselves go so completely I didn’t want to be like that and got the bike out and back on it.

    I might have been humbled by the bodies in 300 but Wall-e showed me the consequences of not acting and got my but out of the car!

  3. HA! NICE ONE 🙂
    but yeah: u left out ROCKY… specifically when Stallone dropped weight and chiselled from Rocky 2 form to Rocky 3 physique….

  4. awesome. but what about Chris Hemsworth in Thor?? (i was gonna mention Rambo, but it looks like Stallone was already talked about heh.) Hemsworth deserves at least a nod for Thor. that body was rockin’ and everyone who saw it knows!

  5. Meliasmama,

    lol – my wife hasn’t seen Thor yet but I know it will get her attention for reasons beyond the CGI! My teenage daughter certainly approved of Mr Hemsworth!

    I haven’t seen The Nutty Professor (If Ed Murphy’s in a film I don’t watch it – a simple home rule I have) nor have I seen Super Size Me not for any particular reason just not got round to it.

    I liked, okay lover, the whole eco point of Wall-e as well so that probably helped – also it’s just so funny! Nothing like laughing so hard you cry then having a wake up call on a serious life point!

    Not that I look like the fat animated people – just your regular, could be fitter, slim built chap!!

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