Brad Pitt Fight Club Workout

Brad Pitt in Fight ClubEarlier this year we took a brief look how Brad Pitt’s and Daniel Craig’s training methods differed. Daniel Craig trains to develop larger and bulkier muscles, whereas Brad Pitt looks more like a lean, mean, fighting machine. Brad Pitt’s ripped body is most evident in the films Fight Club (1999), Snatch (2000) and Troy (2004).

His appearance in Thelma and Louise in 1991, as JD, was his first main Hollywood role, and also where his body was first seen and admired, but his role as Mickey O’Neil, the gypsy boxer in Snatch, and Tyler Durden in Fight Club, really got people excited about his toned and ripped body.

By the time he appeared in Troy in 2004, he had beefed up a little bit, and looked more athletic then in previous roles. However many people criticized his poorly defined calf muscles, so his workout was certainly not complete. But Arnold Schwarzenegger had the same problem in the early days of his bodybuilding career, so we can forgive Brad for not focusing on calves over pecs and biceps.

So, how does Brad Pitt stay in such great shape? Many people, when asked which celebrity they would most like to look like, still say Brad Pitt. We also get asked the question here: “how do I workout like Brad Pitt?“.

Brad Pitt’s Fight Club Workout:

Brad Pitt wearing a suit and smilingMany of us have been inspired by Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden in Fight Club, so this is what we shall take a closer look at today. How to build a lean and powerful frame, which is essential for a lightweight boxer, Brad Pitt followed this style of workout.

To get a body like Brad Pitt, a combination of intensive interval training and some quality weight training is required. The weight training needs to be specific and also intensive, so it is vital to split the routine up into separate sessions to avoid overtraining and injury.

It is thought that Brad Pitt splits his training into four weekly sessions, each focusing on a separate area, in his case a chest session, a back session, a shoulders session and an arms session. Weekends would be rest days and Friday just cardio. There are no rest days in between the weight training days, as weight training is done Monday to Thursday.

Boxing Training With Bobby Frankham

Brad received boxing training from a real life gypsy bare knuckle fighter, Bobby Frankham. In an article in the Sunday Mirror (Sep 19, 1999) some of the training was discussed.

“We have had one session so far and that was practising with pads. The idea is to get him throwing punches in the correct way so he really looks like a proper boxer. In a couple of weeks time he will be round doing some more intense training, which will include shadow boxing, light weights and bag exercises. He won’t find it any trouble as he is very fit.”
Brad is not a bulky guy, so for Fight Club the emphasis was on developing a lean and athletic strength. Light weights were used during boxing training workouts and then heavier weights used to develop strength. He followed a standard weight training program which is followed by boxers and martial artists to develop core, functional strength.

Monday – Brad Pitt’s Chest Workout Day

Tuesday – Brad Pitt’s Back Workout Day

Wednesday -Brad Pitt’s Shoulders Workout Day

Thursday – Brad Pitt’s Arms Workout Day


Intensive cardio training:

Criticism of Brad Pitt’s Workout

It is thought that Brad Pitt followed this routine from his Snatch and Fight Club days. However, by the time he was working on Troy, he had bulked up quite a lot, but this routine had neglected his legs. A good all round weight training session really should have much more emphasis on the larger compound weight training exercises, such as the squat, lunge and deadlift. Also, if calf muscles are not responding, adding calf raises is essential to avoid have disproportionately large thighs compared to calves. No one wants to see chicken legs on a guy, with giant rugby player calves above skinny stick thin calves!

Also the above workout does not include any core training. Brad Pitt has an excellent set of abs, and must have done some serious six-pack training routines. We must assume that in addition to the weight training routine above, he also did a range of sit-ups, crunches, leg raises and side bends to work his abdominals. Most likely these were incorporated into his Friday intensive interval training routines, and maybe he also used some core bodyweight exercises to warm-up. We recommend that if you want to look like Brad Pitt, also focus on core conditioning exercises.

Brad Pitt’s Fight Club Diet

Some say that Brad Pitt is a vegetarian and that he would consume healthy proteins from pulses and dairy plus supplements to help him beef up for his more athletic roles. However, we have not been able to confirm whether Brad eats meat or not. What follows is a diet that will help you put on muscle, and it includes lean meats, which Brad Pitt did not necessarily eat. Brad, if you are reading this, please let us know if you ate meat when bulking up for Fight Club or Troy. Cheers!

  • Breakfast: 6 eggs and 75g of oatmeal with raisins. Occasionally Pitt would replace the eggs with a protein shake, if his schedule was tight
  • Midmorning Snack: Tinned tuna in whole wheat pitta breads
  • Lunchtime Meal: 2 x Chicken breasts, 75-100g brown rice or pasta and green vegetables
  • Mid-afternoon Snack: This is the pre-workout meal: A banana plus a protein bar or whey protein shake
  • Post Workout: Whey protein shake and a Banana.
  • Evening Meal: Grilled fish or chicken, brown rice or pasta, vegetables, and salad
  • Evening Snack: Casein protein shake or low fat cottage cheese (provides a slow release protein).

Also, as Pat mentions below, this is about as much as you should eat every day to be as lean as Brad Pitt.

  • Two bowls of protein – beans, nuts, meat
  • Three bowls of grains – oats, rice, wheat germ
  • The rest is fruits and veg – spinach, oranges, etc.

Web references and resources on Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt” By Karen S. Schneider in People, November 13, 2000 Vol. 54 No. 20.,,20132898,00.html

The strange friendship of superstar Brad and the gipsy bare-knuckle” by Andrew Buckwell, Sunday Mirror, Sep 19, 1999.

In 2005 wrote an article on celebrity workouts which included a section on Brad Pitt that included his weight training routine.

29 Comments on “Brad Pitt Fight Club Workout”

  1. What about nutrition. What I just read means nothing for the man who wants to follow Pitt’s routine without what food Pitt stays away from and what foods he consumes during his routine.

  2. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Rosemary,

    We have not yet had the chance to speak with Brad regarding his diet. However, to achieve the lean frame he had in Fight Club, he would have been on a strict “cutting diet”, i.e. packed with lean meats for protein, and no “empty carbs”, i.e. all junk food will have to be avoided.

    Also to be avoided are all fruits, fruit juices, rice, pasta, bread. Eat lots of leafy greens. Aim for high fibre food, high protein food, and healthy fats, with lots of protein.

  3. btw it’s Tyler Durden, not Duncan [well spotted – Ed]

  4. I do a search about getting the “Pitt” body ones every second month or so. Often new sites, very seldom new information. Let’s be clear about this: If you have excessive fat, even as little as 15-20% body fat, it will take a huge amount of time, eating right, and working out more than most hobby athletes. And that is more or less worthless if you don’t know exactly how much to eat and of what.
    Calories in – calories out = +- fat. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? What I would like to see is the exact amount of food, and exactly what kind of food, he ate during the months of exercise. But sites rather copy paste the same old formula found everywhere else. That (if I where a site teacher) is a D- in effort. Sorry to come down on you, there is some new stuff here but not the nitty gritty that really matters. The exact food intake is the key.
    Have a good one,

  5. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Linus, in our defence, this article is 9 months old now, and many people are copying us! But never mind about that. We shall try to find some more information on his diet / eating regime.

  6. It seems that one of the most comprehensive guides to what Brad Pitt ate during Fight Club is on However, remember that Brad was slim to start with, with a naturally fast metabolism, so his main goal was building muscle not losing fat.

    “Brad’s diet is the most important aspect when it comes to getting him in shape for a role. Don’t just think he trains hard in the gym, his diet accounts for much of his success in achieving the physique produces. For his Fight Club role Pitt took on a very strict and consistent diet eating six small meals a which included a Whey Protein Powder and on occasion some protein bars, no other supplements were used by Pitt, however much of his nutrition came from whole foods high in protein like Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Lean Meat, Eggs and Cottage Cheese. Carbohydrates were very clean and included Wholewheats and Grains.

    from whole foods high in protein like Chic Fish, Lean Meat, Eggs and Cottage Cheese Carbohydrates were very clean and included Wholewheats and Grains, Green Vegetables, Oats and Wholewheats and Grains, Green Vegetables, Oats and Rice Cakes.

    Breakfast would be: 6 eggs, 6 whites, 7 yellow and 75g of oatmeal with raisins. Occasionally Pitt would replace the eggs with a Protein Shake if his schedule replace the eggs with a Protein Shake if his schedule was tight

    Midmorning snack: Tinned Tuna in Wholewheat Pitta Breads

    Lunch: 2 x Chicken Breasts, 75-100g Brown Rice or Pasta and green veggies

    Mid-afternoon snack [Pre-Workout]: protein bar or Whey Protein Shake and a Banana

    Post Workout: Whey Protein Shake and a Banana.

    Dinner: Grilled fish or chicken, brown rice or pasta vegetables, and salad

    Evening Snack: Casein Protein Shake Protein shake or Low Fat Cottage Cheese (Slow Release Protein).”

  7. Okay, this is exactly how much of what you should eat every day to be as lean as Brad Pitt. Two bowls of protein. [beans, nuts, meat] three bowls of grains. [oats, rice, wheat germ] The rest is fruits. [spinach, oranges, etc.]

  8. It’s motivational to see Brad Pitt’s workout routine but quite something else to look for a secret formula in his training/nutrition. There is good information available all over the net. At no point in history was it easier to get ripped. And yes the abs start showing at 15% body fat and like Shawn Ray said in an article “if you don’t lose that film of fat over your rectus abdominus and obliques, you can go on doing ab exercises till the cows come home and you won’t see your abs”. While I am all for getting inspired by Brad Pitt’s heroic physique and enviable conditioning, learning the basic tenets of bodybuilding training and nutrition will ensure a royal road to the six pack for most people. And if you lift heavy weights in deadlifts, rows, military presses and pull ups where your abs act as stabilizers and will show once you strip away that body fat through good nutrition and cardio. No need for additional core exercises.

  9. i’m just curious why you would have to avoid ALL types of fruit.

  10. MotleyHealth says:

    Fruit contains fructose which is a type of sugar. Any sugar that you do not burn off is converted to fat. If you want to get really lean and ripped, you have to limit sugar as much as possible, and that includes not eating fruit.

  11. Brad Pitt is apparently only 5ft 11 and I’m a massive 6ft 6. Should I diet or workout different in any way?

    PS. I have trouble getting alert before work so I need my coffee. All they keep at work is full cream milk – so is one full cream coffee with one sugar going to set me back alot over the next 16 weeks? He sounds like he was pretty strict on himself.

  12. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi James, you can still perform these exercises. As for diet, you may need a little more. But Brad was training hard at the time, so if you do not match his intensity then you will probably do OK to not eat too much more. As for coffee, full fat cream is OK, although the sugar is best avoided.

  13. i am 21 years old and got a height of 5ft10 .
    i want to increase my height upto 6ft 2 please suggest
    me some workouts to increase height.

  14. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Nishant, there are no workouts that will help you grow 4 inches.

  15. How long should I perform the Fight Club workout? Two months, three months or what?

  16. MotleyHealth says:

    Until you hit a plateau, and then change, modify, tweak.

  17. Should I lift heavy weights on these workout exercises?
    What cardio exercises should I do?

    And also I want toned obliques.

  18. MotleyHealth says:

    Lift a weight that allows you to perform 2 sets of 8 reps for each exercise. If you complete the 8 reps without much trouble then make sure your increase the weight in the next workout.

    For obliques you need to do rotation / twist exercise. Bicycle crunches are one way, or pull downs with a twist, or side bends.

  19. @MotleyHealth: sugar can’t be converted to fat, that’s a myth. Sugar will always be burned in your body. However, since your burning sugar the whole time, fat can’t be burnt in the citric acid cycle. That’s why it seems like sugar is converted to fat. If you don’t believe that, look at both the structural formula of fat and the structural formula of sugar (glucose, fructose, saccharose, or whatever) and you’ll see what I mean.

  20. MotleyHealth says:

    Sorry Roman, but that is incorrect. Sugar is digested and converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles. Excess sugar in the blood supply is then stored in fatty tissue in the form of glycerol and fatty acids (triglycerides). Insulin triggers this transfer and is caused when sugar enters the blood.

    Any excess energy with the exception of alcohol can be converted to fat (that is not to say that drinking alcohol will not lead to weight gain, because it will, just not directly).

    Google “glycolysis” and you will find some information on how sugars are stored as fat. One way to think about it is that cows do not eat any fat and very little protein, yet they store fat and create fat (milk). Obviously cows are much more efficient at extracting the energy from grass than humans and have a different digestive system, but the point is, carbohydrate can be converted to fat.

    It is true that normally in humans carbohydrates are used as energy first, however, a diet that provides sugar (carbohydrates) will still be increasing the total energy intake, and also release insulin, which prompts fat accumulation, or at least prevents the breakdown of fat.

  21. MotleyHealth says:

    Oh, the other thing I forgot to say is that when your blood sugar levels are low, your insulin levels are also very low. This leads to a release of another hormone, glucagon. This hormone aids the breakdown of triglycerides to release the energy for use in the body. Only by limiting sugar can you increase this process. Basically the purpose of glucagon is to raise blood sugar levels so that the brain does not starve of energy.

  22. How do you think i could get a physique like Brads without weights

  23. Hey, i do ALOT of ab workouts, crunches, leg raises etc etc and i cant seem to get anywhere, i do have a six pac but its not as “sculpted” or ripped as i want it to be, im naturally lean and have a high metabolism so fat isnt the problem, any advice? the workouts i do are 3-4 times a week and are quite intense and i include core stability eg the plank held for 5mins. so any advice or workouts you can share will be appreciated

  24. MotleyHealth says:

    You probably need to add resistance – do weighted sit ups, hanging leg raises, weighted crunches etc. Also increase protein if you do not get much in your diet.

  25. Do you know how much brad pitt weighed at the time of filming fight club,snach and troy i have a very similar body type [im 2 inches taller] and weigh in at 66 kilos thanks

  26. MotleyHealth says:

    Not got that info to hand, will have a hunt around – it is bound to be out there on the web somewhere.

  27. I’ve been following this diet plan for a few days now and I have no problem with it except for breakfast. That is SO MUCH breakfast. I’m 6′ even, 175 lbs, and athletic; I’m just trying to get over this plateau I’m at/trying to tone up a bit more. I wake up hungry, but I can’t seem to make myself eat that much. How would cutting it in half affect the rest of my day? I.E. instead of eating six eggs and two cups of cooked oatmeal, eating three eggs and one cup of cooked oatmeal? Would it be better to do that, divide it up into two breakfasts, something else? Any help would be appreciated. The rest of the meal plan is great!

  28. MotleyHealth says:

    Try it and see. There are really no hard and fast rules here, do what works for you.

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