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James McAvoy’s Wanted Workout

James McAvoy has been working out for his role as Wesley Gibson in Wanted. McAvoy famously said that he would prefer to eat dog poo that exercise, but unfortunately for him (and fortunately for his foxy co-star Angelina Jolie), he has been under the gruesome tutelage of celebrity fitness trainer Glenn Chapman. Glenn Chapman’s fitness routines involve the use of boxing pads, body weight exercises, medicine balls, skipping ropes, plus cones, ladders and cables for some old school circuit training, which provide intensive interval training workouts.

McAvoy needed to get ripped for his role as action hero Wesley Gibson, but did not want to bulk up too much. The perfect answer was circuit training with emphasis on intensive interval training. McAvoy said that the eight week fitness plan “knocked seven colours of shit out of him”. No pain, no gain.

Glenn Chapman’s advice for anyone looking to get fit and in shape is to go for interval training. Interval training focuses on building fast intensive workouts into a circuit training routine. To get in great athletic shape, long distance running, or hours on the stationary exercise bicycle, are not going to give you results. Exercise should include speed training, strength training and agility training.

Typical exercises in the hard-core fitness regime include press ups, squats, shuttle runs (sprints) running with weights (wrist weights or dumbbells), lateral jumps, box jumps and burpies (a combination of a star jump and a squat thrust). The key is to vary your speed while training, so have short periods of intensive activity followed by more gentle exercise.


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Interval training like this is common in most martial arts schools, so rather than employ an expensive personal training, it is recommended that you head off to you local kick-boxing or kung-fu school. For an intensive circuit training routine, perform a routine known as “the beast“, which is an intensive interval training routine.

A suggested circuit:

  • Press-ups
  • Half-sits
  • Tuck jumps
  • Clap press-ups
  • Sit-ups with twist
  • Squat thrusts
  • Dips
  • Crunches
  • Bench Step-ups or Burpees
  • Close arm press-ups
  • Dorsal raises
  • Star jumps

Perform each exercise intensively for a specified number of reps, or for a specified time (vary depending on your level of fitness) and then in-between each exercise either gently jog on the spot if indoors, or gently jog for a few minutes if outdoors.

The great thing about bodyweight circuit training is that you do not require any equipment to perform a very good workout. Although it is useful to use medicine balls, skipping ropes, cones, steps and boxes, a good routine can be done with nothing but your own bodyweight.

Diet and Nutrition Tips for Interval Training:

When performing intensive exercise routines you need to increase your protein intake, as protein is essential for muscle repair and muscle growth. A natural approach to sports nutrition can work well if you have the time to prepare meals – increase consumption of eggs, fish, chicken and red meat.


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Also staying well hydrated is essential, so drinking plenty of water is important. To determine how much water you require each day, a good guide is to divide your weight in kg by 30 to give the number of litres (i.e. if you weigh 80kg, you should drink at least 2.66 litres of water each day).

Actors like James McAvoy are lucky in a way, because their motivation to attain the physical fitness goals is to stay in work. For us mere mortals, it is harder. The best advice is to find a training partner, or get along to a fitness or martial arts club, where there is plenty of healthy competition. Nothing spurs you on more than when the guy next to you is running or skipping faster than you!

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  2 comments for “James McAvoy’s Wanted Workout

  1. josh
    March 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve been trying to get into shape for quite sometime now, and I gotta tell you, its not easy. I’ve never been one to work out and/or stay in shape, and I never really had a good structual foundation to follow. But these tips are incredibly helpful, thank you! Id never even heard of circuit training, but I will surely follow this workout routine.

  2. MotleyHealth
    March 24, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Hey Josh, glad to help. Structure really is important. Just writing your workouts down on a calender can really help – so long as you look at it each day! For example, for me Tuesdays is kettlebell circuits, Thursday and Saturday are weight training days. I try to take a long walk one day a week plus some shorter workouts thrown in. But, it is the walks and the shorter workouts that always slip when I get busy.

    We have a whole section on circuit training, so lots more for you to discover there!

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