Chris Evans’ Captain America Workout

Chris Evans by Gage SkidmoreChris Evans is the latest Hollywood celebrity to transform himself from a skinny teen actor into a mighty action hero!

Chris Evans found fame in Not Another Teen Movie in 2001 when he was just 20 years old. He did some TV acting before making another teen movie in 2004, The Perfect Score.

His move into action was when he played Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four, a 2005 film which generally disappointed but Chris Evan’s really proved to be hot stuff, although it was another 6 years before he won his biggest action role so far – Captain America.

Captain America is likely to be a summer blockbuster, it is scheduled for release on July 22, 2011 just in time for the summer vacation. The film is directed by Joe Johnston whose career has seen him working on the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones as art director, and then The Rocketeer, Jumanji, Jurassic Park 3 and The Wolfman as director.

In Captain America Chris Evans plays the part of Steve Rogers, an unfit guy during the Second World War who is enrolled in a secret project to make the ultimate soldier. This plot makes it a perfect role for a Hollywood transformation, as we get to see him appear in the film in his weedy, pre-workout body and then as the muscular superhero that is Captain America.

Joe Johnston described the situation very well in an interview with

“Casting Captain America is really casting two roles…Steve Rogers before and after the transformation from 98 pound weakling to perfect physical specimen.”

So, how did he do the transformation?

Chris Evans’ Weight Training Routine

The only way to get that big is with a long and intensive weight training regime. Chris Evans’ transformation is very much like that of Christian Bale for Batman and Chris Hemsworth for Thor. There are no easy tricks to pile on this much muscle. It is a long process that requires many hours in the gym working out with highly skilled trainers and perfect nutrition to provide the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and other nutrients to maximize muscle development.

Of course, how do we find out what Chris Evans did to get in shape? There are numerous websites out there already cashing in on his name but to know how he got in shape we have to dig a little. The first step is finding out who his personal trainer was during his preparation.

Chris Evans was trained by Steve Zim who is a very well-respected celebrity trainer. He has trained actors and athletes alike. He has also written 3 fitness books, Hot Point Fitness, 6 Weeks to a Hollywood Body and The 30-minute Celebrity Makeover Miracle. He runs his own gym called A Tighter U in LA, and has featured in many of the top fitness mags.

He has trained Ashley Judd, Jessica Biel, Leila Ali (boxer), Ryan Stromsborg and Bobby Hughes (baseball) and most recently Chris Evans.

According to Steve Zim’s websites, Chris Evans, along with all hos other clients, followed the same routines that he shares through his mobile phone app (how modern of him!) called ZimFit.

“They all followed the same routines and methodologies featured in our mobile app.” Steve Zim.

So, on to the weight training routing that builds muscle like Chris Evans. Always start with a warm up, some light cardio to get the blood flowing, and then before each set of exercises warm up with a light weight, generally around 25% of the first work set.

Well, we know that Steve Zim’s approach is to do a different workout every day so that the muscles do not become accustomed to the training. He uses split routines to divide the workout so that a few exercises are done each session to allow daily training and prevent over-training.

Here you can learn from Steve Zim how he trains his clients, as he visited Google in 2007 to explain his methods as a part of the Authors@Google series.

The way Steve trains is quite different to normal. Steve recognized that when people exercise they do not always work efficiently with traditional movements. For example with a dumbbell kickback the whole tricep is not worked, so Steve developed a kickback with a twist. His program ensures that you work the muscles to a greater intensity to generate more muscle growth.

Steve uses 20 weight training exercises which provide 2 exercises for each of the 10 body parts. You always start with your larger body parts (biggest muscles) first then work down to the smaller muscles.

He uses light weights to separate and build muscles, performing 3 sets of 20 reps for each exercise. He suggests a minimum of 3 days weight training per week. Really there is no point in going through the workout here as it will be so similar to a traditional bodybuilding workout. The best reference point is possible the Full Body Weight Training Workout Split Over 3 Sessions.

He also explains the importance of nutrition and how to eat to ensure that your body burns fat when exercising and then the body is replenished again after workout to ensure muscle wastage does not occur. We have talked about protein timing and post workout nutrition in previous articles.

The key is really to keep performing cardio to ensure that dietary fat is burned off and perform weight training when well fed (not first thing in the morning) and also to have a post workout meal that provides both proteins and carbohydrates to refuel and aid muscle growth. As you get bigger and workout more intensively whey protein supplements will be required to give more energy and protein, however, in the early days this is not required as too much protein will lead to fat accumulation.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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