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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    And also I want toned obliques.

  5. 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.

  6. @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.

  7. 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.

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