The best summer bodies of 2014
The leading man’s midsection, the gold medalist’s abs, the action hero’s arms–we’ve seen the best that every ultra-fit A-lister has to offer. More importantly, we asked all 25 of them how they did it.
Kick-start your own beach-ready transformation.
To view the entire list of hot summer bodies, click here.
It’s easy for teen heartthrobs to get stuck playing the same role over and over. Maybe that’s one reason Zac Efron looked at his resume–three straight High School Musical flicks, not to mention the teen-friendly 17 Again–and decided it was time for a boot camp-inspired makeover.
“There’s something about me that’s always searching for the more challenging route, and the actors that I really admire are always picking things out of their comfort zones, trying to stretch to see where they can go,” he told us. “It just seems like the road less traveled.”
To break out of his comfort zone, the 26-year-old actor packed on 25 pounds of lean muscle for his role as a soldier returning from Afghanistan in 2012’s The Lucky One. Efron’s transformation relied on old-school workout techniques–a 5-day-a-week regimen of deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, and weighted pull-ups. Oh, and protein. Lots of protein. As in, six to eight meals daily, and up to 3,500 calories. Since then, he’s also flexed his acting muscles in more serious films like At Any Price and Parkland, as well as the hit comedy Neighbors. He also dropped more than a few jaws when he flashed his chiseled chest and abs at this year’s MTV movie Awards.
Johnson is one of those rare stars who switches between high-octane blockbusters (Fast 6, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and family-friendly flicks (Journey 2, Race to Witch mountain) without skipping a beat–or losing selling power at the box office.
This year, The Rock’s in (mythic) action mode, playing the Greek demigod Hercules. Such professional flexibility, however, comes with a price: He often has to gain or shed up to 20 pounds to meet the physical demands of a role. "The key to rebuilding your body is to keep challenging yourself," says the former WWE champion. "I get solicited by trainers from all around the world, and it's very flattering, but my answer to them is always, 'If the day comes that I can't kick my own ass more than you can, then that's the day I'll stop training.'" Follow Johnson's lead to build your own "Rock-solid" physique.
Gosling’s abs may look photoshopped, as Emma Stone shrieked in the 2011 hit Crazy, Stupid, Love. But there’s nothing fake about his transformation from lanky guy-next-door to ripped leading man. Gosling’s regimen has included grueling 2-hour Muay Thai MMA training sessions for roles that require a more-muscular presence, like the 33-year-old actor’s appearances in Only God Forgives and Gangster Squad.
He took a break from film acting this year to make his directorial debut with Lost River. So it’s tough to say which Gosling–the chiseled hero or quirky hipster–will show up in the actor’s next film, an untitled 2015 project from secretive director Terrence Malick. (Gosling is also notorious for avoiding the most-predictable route in his climb up fame’s mountain.) But to help him maintain his lean physique, Gosling’s trainers have at times prescribed a traditional Thai diet of green vegetables, rice, and fish. If he keeps that up, photoshopping won’t be necessary–regardless of the type of role he takes on.
Make your midsection look as ripped as Gosling’s with these six moves to a six-pack.
Beneath that famous black hat, McGraw has a buff body that many of the country star’s long-time fans may not recognize from his earlier, hard-partying days. “Early in my career–I think I was 19–I was so shy that to even get up onstage in a club, I'd need a few drinks," McGraw told us.
But after recognizing his weight and drinking habits for what they were–problems–the country star reformed his diet, his workout routine, and his body. His trainer has him on a strict regimen of kale salads and kettlebell presses–not to mention multiple 25-minute resistance-training circuits that include lots of pushups, squats, and crunches.
After his likeable, love-handled star turn on television’s Parks and Recreation, fans first got a look at a leaner Pratt when he appeared alongside Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in 2011’s Moneyball. The 35-year-old actor upped the ante for the following summer’s Bin Laden-takedown thriller, Zero Dark Thirty. For that role, Pratt got into the best shape of his life by training alongside Navy SEALs.
Since Zero Dark, Pratt has gained and lost 60 pounds (for a role), and is ready to flash his re-cut physique in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. “If you just bust your ass and get after it, all it takes is 6 months … to really get in shape,” the previously portly actor has said in interviews. (Beat your workout plateaus with this 5-move total-body muscle assault.)
As the literal and Hollywood muscle behind the many X-Men and Wolverine franchises–including this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past–Hugh Jackman is genetically blessed with size and athletic prowess. But the 45-year-old hero still looks the way he does–Roman armor chest and abs, stevedore forearms–because he’s one of the hardest-working actors in Tinsel Town.
"Deadlift,” he told us when asked to name the one exercise he would chose if he had to pick one for the rest of his life. “It hits pretty much everything." Fortunately for moviegoers, Jackman isn’t restricted to a single workout. From training with Sugar Ray Leonard, to the tai chi and yoga exercises he perfected for past roles, Jackman’s perpetually perfect physique is proof that you have to switch things up to stay at the top of your game.
Learn more about how Hugh Jackman stays Wolverine-fit.
While he started his career with goofball roles like national Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Ryan Reynolds didn’t allow himself to get pigeonholed as comic relief. Determined to become a legit action star, he packed on 20 pounds of muscle for the lead roles in movies like Blade: Trinity, The Green Lantern, and Safe House.
Still challenging himself as an actor, the 37-year-old Reynolds has several genre-crossing films, The Captive and The Voices, due out later this year. Fittingly, he also refuses to stick to any one routine in the gym. “If you hate your workout, you’re not going to do it,” he told us. His other secret? A lean diet of eggs, oatmeal, grilled chicken, protein shakes, and occasional supplements. “I gained a lot more muscle mass when I went on creatine,” he says. “And I never do any of that carve-starve crap.”
Get ripped like Reynolds with the diet plan the actor used to achieve an incredible 3-percent body fat.
Whether he’s acting, directing, or producing, Mark Wahlberg is never too busy to hit the gym. Of course, it helps when the gym is conveniently located in the back of your house. That proximity came in handy for Wahlberg when the 43-year-old actor added 40 pounds of muscle to play a bodybuilder in last year’s Pain & Gain.
“I'd wake up at 4:30 every morning, have a nice big breakfast–a pre-workout igniter–and then I'd hit the heavy weights,” he told us. A dozen daily protein-packed meals of steak, chicken, and fish also helped him add the muscle mass he needed–although he had to drop most of it in a month’s time for his next film, 2 Guns, which required a leaner but still cut physique. “I started playing basketball right away, full-court basketball every day to shed the weight.”
On working so hard so early in the morning, he told us, “It helps you feel good throughout the rest of the day. When I don't exercise and when I'm not eating good and clean, I feel sluggish.”
Follow the training tips Wahlberg used to get ring-ripped for his boxing role in The Fighter.
At 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, James is one of the most physically imposing athletes on the planet–a super-combination of coordination and strength that your television or computer screen just can’t do justice.
But while James was blessed with rare genes, he supplements his inherent physical gifts with a workout routine that most mortals wouldn’t be able to match. A mix of resistance-band workouts, body-weight exercises like pushups and planks, balance training, and lots and lots of cardio, the King’s workout is all about increasing speed, agility, and power.
Leap like LeBron with this workout plan.