Meet the legends… Actually, you most definitely already know them! HFR is bringing you our list of the fittest male legends who are not only cemented in our culture- but are also still going strong. Each of these men have legendary backgrounds- whether it be in acting, producing, sports, or a combination of the three, and are deserving of recognition. These champs have affirmed that fitness is about a lot more than pushup repetitions. Fitness is a mental and physiological state that requires strength, dedication and a true love of pushing oneself- well past your plush slippers and comfort zone.
“These men are an inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world. And I hope, that with this list, they will continue to inspire you to live a fit, healthy, and fulfilled life.”- The HarperCollins author of the fitness book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the fittest Hollywood legends in no particular order:
- This on-screen action hero does a combination of strength training and cardio
- Stallone hits the gym 6 days a week
- Exercises twice a day- even on a bad day
- His intense regimen includes deadlifts and squats
- Tire flips
- Cable machines
- Versaclimber for cardio
- Pull-ups carrying an extra 100 lbs on his body
- Rests minimally between sets
- Pilates reformer for his core strength
- Stallone eats 4 times a day.
- “I think of my body as a sports car”, explains Sly. “I’ll fill it with ‘fuel’ for the job it needs to do. If I know I’m going to be working out then I’ll prepare myself with the right nutrition to enhance my training, but if I know I’m not going to be exercising that day then I usually cut my intended calories in half for that day.“
- His lean muscle mass is what keeps him able to workout hard- even into his 70s
- “People think retiring is fun. Well, maybe, but if you have a certain kind of fire inside, there is no end in sight.” -Sylvester Stallone
- Starts his days with a workout, bike rides 45 min a day, and does an evening cardiovascular workout at home
- Schwarzenegger loves waving to his fans and passers-by during his bike ride
- Trains daily at Gold’s gym at 7 am
- His primary areas of focus are his biceps, chest, and arms- but doesn’t lift heavy anymore, he does lighter weights but high repetitions
- Stretches and warms up better than in his youth
- During COVID, he published an equipment-free workout guide on his Reddit so that people could stay fit in quarantine!
- Schwarzenegger says he now stays away from meat and animal proteins when possible, but still enjoys a steak every once and awhile. “There’s this misperception that [animal protein] is the only way you get big and strong,” he said, but he finds that he actually “feels better on greens.”
- For a treat, Schwarzenegger has what he calls his “secret protein drink” — a German drink called Radler that combines lemonade and beer.
- Put a whole raw egg (including the shell) into his protein smoothies for added calcium
- “Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.” -Schwarzenegger on exercising
- This legend is a cancer survivor who is still going strong
- Actor and martial artist is still as hardcore as ever and his students prove it
- Uses Total Gym and is a spokesperson for the machine
- Works out with his wife as follows: On Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays he does a 15 minute routine on Total Gym, then does the elliptical for 30 min or fast walks for 2 miles, does crunches for 10 min, and stretches for a few minutes.
- On Tuesdays-Thursday-Saturdays he does martial arts training: he starts by stretching and then does isolated kicks in slow motion. Then he will do hand and feet combination strikes on a heavy bag. He finishes with kicks in the water and swimming.
- Norris has held a nonprofit youth fitness program for over 2 decades- Kickstart Kids has taught ‘character through karate’ to over 85,000 kids
- Chuck Norris is using his legendary name to promote health and fitness to the youth!
- “A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do.” – Chuck Norris
Jean Claude Van Damme
- He agrees with the saying that “you are what you eat”. He no longer feeds his muscles with the same foods he did 10 or 15 years ago, and he nourishes his body- that he refers to as a machine.
- He does cardio and aims for 168-170 beats per minute
- Bike rides
- Weight trains for 40 minutes
- He chooses stamina over strength, and listens to his body, he does lots of repetitions rather than focusing on brute strength and maxing out
- He walks into the gym every day and asks himself which muscles want to be trained that day and does two muscle groups a day
- Loves ballet and said it has greatly improved his flexibility and dexterity, in addition to keeping his mind focused
- Told Men’s Health he can still do his signature splits!
- “Ballet is very posed and very relaxed, and that takes impossibly hard work in your body and mind. Yet it all must look effortless, isometric, perfect. So I take that to the martial arts. The mix of the ballet and karate together gave me my style of fighting.”– JCVD
- This martial arts expert views exercise as a major life component
- Does all his own stunts in movies, no matter how complex
- Today, his primary focus is cardio and low impact weight-lifting
- Chan runs 3 to 5 miles daily as a warm up
- Fighting is still a key factor of his life- but with boxing and sparring
- Boxing and sparring allow Chan to feed his love of competitive fighting and exercise
- His diet is very healthy and low carb, he allows himself cheat days occasionally, but works out harder afterwards
- “We learn martial arts as helping weakness. You never fight for people to get hurt. You’re always helping people.” -Jackie Chan
- There is no rest day for Cruise. He chooses to stay active regardless if he’s shooting for a movie or not
- In 2013, he told an interviewer that he’s trained every day, pretty much his whole life
- Some of his favorite activities include biking, hiking, airplane flying, motorcycling
- He rock climbs
- When it comes to prepping for a role, Cruise says he “trains pretty hard.” In fact, he dedicated a year prior to his role in The Last Samurai training every day for 6 hours to master sword fighting in different environments
- Used military training for his roles that needed it
- No stunt double needed. Cruise often executes his own stunts during action scenes so he works hard to keep his physique, stamina, and strength top-notch.
- He has said the stunt work is physical and can be painful but he understands that sometimes he’s going to get hit
- Cruise balances a healthy diet, weightlifting, and cardio to stay in shape.
- “I love what I do. I take great pride in what I do. And I can’t do something halfway, three-quarters, nine-tenths. If I’m going to do something, I go all the way.” -Tom Cruise
- Often seen jogging around NYC
- Has made a career of acting in action-packed, fitness filled movies
- While Neeson uses a stunt double on set, he handles all of his own fighting scenes
- Always stretches and warms up
- Believes flexibility is the key to longevity
- Has done a lot of fight training in his career- from karate to military-style combat
- “There’s a discipline to getting up at 6, working 17 hours, and then coming home to work out,” he says.
- “When I’m in the city, I do eight miles around the park with a walking partner. I do an extra loop—and the usual boring push-ups and sit ups.” – Liam Neeson
- Pitt is no stranger to roles where he’s had to keep a toned, muscular figure. His feature in Troy and Fight Club demonstrates that Pitt is a pro of staying in shape for his demanding roles
- Does around an hour of cardio daily
- He avoids fried items, dairy products, and processed foods whenever possible to look his best. Pitt makes these dietary choices by cutting out soda, indulgent sweets, and white flour.
- Pitt allocates a different weekday to exercising certain muscle groups. He spends the remainder of his week and/or rest days doing cardio.
- GQ outlines his actual workout regimen for his role in Fight Club
- He has said, “I believe you make your day. You make your life. So much of it is all perception, and this is the form that I built for myself. I have to accept it and work within those compounds, and it’s up to me.”
- His mother was a martial arts master and she used to run a wushu school, so he started my training with her.
- He says of his early martial arts training “there was a quick fascination for what the body could turn into, as well as with the physical aspect of martial arts.”
- Used to take the subway out to Roxbury, which was about an hour or more, to get out to a boxing gym- one full of firefighters ready to fight ” I was a peculiar sight there—this skinny Asian kid—but they would hold the bag for me and teach me things. I spent months there.”
- He is a multiple-time Wushu tournament champion
- Yen has displayed skill in an array of martial arts, being well-versed in Tai Chi, Boxing, Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wing Chun, and Wushu.
- Got into bodybuilding to get into “action-star shape”
- Weight lifting
- Boxing with a heavy bag
- “I was just relentless in my pursuit to be as good as I could be. I would set insane goals for myself. For example, I would challenge myself to do 10,000 side kicks on the hanging bag, and put it in my notebook. So I would be spending just hours doing side kicks, and at the end of the day I would write down, however many hundred kicks it was. By the time I reached 10,000 kicks those side kicks were so strong. There were multiple times when I ripped heavy bags off the wall—maybe about 10 times. I would go into boxing gyms and eventually I would kick their heavy bag off the ceiling.”– Donnie Yen
- For this Top 10 Fittest Hollywood actor, age really is just a number
- Denzel does ten rounds of intense boxing- five days a week regardless of whether he’s training for a role or not
- Weight trains
- Has a trainer
- Washington follows a strict low carb, high protein diet
- A diet rich in protein is great for fighting age-related muscle decay
- One of his favorite meals include chicken or fish with brown rice
- “In order to achieve your goals, you must apply discipline and consistency – and never confuse movement with progress. Because you can run in place and not get anywhere. Peace.” -Denzel Washington
- This actor-director bulks up for movie roles with a trainer 3 times a week and three-hour training sessions
- Gibson exercises weekly to promote blood and oxygen circulation
- His workouts include aerobic cardio and light weight lifting
- He believes that the growing pains that come with age can be combated with exercise
- The Expendables 3 actor has also commented on his lower back feeling better since upping his intensity at the gym!
- Lost 30 lbs in 8 weeks with a health coach in 2018
- “I’m eating my Wheaties and doing pushups, you know. That’s about it. You eat right and exercise.” -Mel Gibson on achieving his Expendables 3 body
- He also said “It’s kind of getting rid of the middle-aged tire and sort of promoting circulation, aerobic exercise and blood flow circulation, stuff like that. I have been working really hard at it.”
- Iron Man and The Wrestler star has instilled his movie training routine into his daily life
- Even in his 60s, Rourke still trains and looks like an athlete
- His training sessions start with 30 minutes to an hour of cardio
- He enjoys running and sprinting for cardio
- Rourke follows up his cardio with 300-500 situps!
- Mickey enjoys flipping tires for weight training
- Does cardio on the assault bike
- Battle rope training
- Weight training
- Competed in a professional boxing fight in 2016
- I think from the boxing, I gained discipline and focus as well as a strict daily regimen to stay in top condition. It is something that you have to be consistent with to constantly take yourself to a higher level.” –Mickey Rourke
- Was 5-time chinese national wushu champion
- He no longer fights: 33 years, seven broken bones, five titles, and 34 films.
- For cardiovascular training, Li runs and bikes
- Li believes a workout is that much more beneficial if you have a handle on the stress before you start sweating. He wants people to think happy thoughts “During training you need to think about happy things. I can guarantee the bad energy inside is bothering you. Even if you train for 2 hours, it will still be bothering you for the other 22.”
- Of all his conditioning techniques, meditation is his favorite, and he practices it at least an hour a day and has gone as long as 14 hours. Li insists that his mental stretching directly affects his body-which he needs to stretch for only 15 minutes afterward.
- “After you meditate, the inside is already limber,” says Jet Li “So it’s easy to stretch the outside.”
- Hollywood’s favorite badass is still in shape, even in his 70s
- The Machete and Predator star lives up to his tough-guy roles by regularly working out twice a day
- Today, Trejo focuses on low impact weight training
- This Hollywood villain believes it’s not all about weight- it’s about repetition
- Has a home gym with a treadmill, a bike, a bench press, and a squat rack
- He has 5 dogs and he walks each for 20 minutes daily
- Danny Trejo currently enjoys running, and has even participated in marathons
- Boxes- hits a bag and jump ropes but no longer spars
- Before stepping on set, Trejo makes sure to go even harder at the gym in preparation
- “I look at the script. If I see a part that says shirt-off, then I go to the gym.” –Danny Tejo on preparing for his movie roles
- This legendary Italian-American actor-producer has tackled many macho movie roles
- The intense training that came with these roles gave De Niro a solid ground for acquiring and maintaining his fitness
- It’s no surprise this Raging Bull champ and Godfather actor was ablel to maintain his vitality- he still enjoys exercising- especially on set
- For his role in Cape Fear at age 48, he got down to 4% body fat
- Has a daily personal trainer
- Hired a boxing trainer- the same one Sylvester Stallone uses
- The 73 year old was spotted flexing his muscles and doing push-ups onset of his recent comedy, Dirty Grandpa
- “Movies are hard work. The public doesn’t see that. The critics don’t see it. But they’re a lot of work. A lot of work.” -Robert De Niro
- This movie star remains healthy by living in the slow lane
- “Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it,” exclaims Eastwood
- This life-long non-smoker is renowned for his knowledge in health and fitness
- Eastwood’s son; Scott claims he taught him to be health-conscious
- “Healthy body, healthy mind; that’s what he preached to me.”-Scott Eastwood about his father
- Eastwood practices transcendental meditation- which is great for achieving spiritual consciousness and a general state of peace
- The 90-year-old hasn’t let age stop him from being a regular at the gym
- This talented actor, filmmaker, and singer is a weight lifting enthusiast, who enjoys the health benefits that come with strength training
- Walks in nature daily
- “I never wanted to build huge muscles and bulk up like a competitive bodybuilder, but I realized very quickly that the best way to keep your muscles strong, hard, and fit was with weight training. And once I got into weight training, I never gave it up.” -Clint Eastwood