The other day, I came across an article describing the type of training Josh Brolin did to get jacked for his role as Cable – a time-traveling super soldier from the future – in Deadpool 2.
As you can see in the video below, which comes from his Instagram account, Brolin was in pretty good shape. Not bad for a guy who’s made the trip around the sun almost 50 times.
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One day I very well might have to pull a superhero head off (or two) so rack pulls help work the upper muscles needed to pop them off alleviating stress on the lower back region. #cablesmarts #cablemeditationsfortheday #cableswole @prevailactivewear #ivebeencabled @goldsgym #dogtown 🎥 by @kathrynbrolin
So how did he do it? And should you be doing the same thing? If you want to build muscle in your forties or fifties, is Josh Brolin’s workout the way to go?
What Did Josh Brolin’s Workout Routine Look Like?
The actor was in the gym 5-6 days a week for around three hours in total, split between two daily workouts.
Brolin wasn’t lifting weights the whole time, though. His training consisted of mobility work and circuit training in the morning and more traditional bodybuilding-style workouts in the afternoon.
Josh Brolin’s workouts were designed by former bodybuilder Justin Lovato, who talks more about what he had Brolin doing in the video below:
Watching videos of Brolin working out may well get you fired up and motivated to get off your arse and step up your attempts to get in shape.
And the type of bodybuilding-style training that Brolin was doing is relatively easy on your joints, making it ideal for anyone who wants to build muscle in their 40’s, 50’s or beyond.
However, following Josh Brolin’s workout is no guarantee that you’re going to end up with Josh Brolin’s body.
For one, very few people have the time, or the inclination, to spend three hours in the gym 5-6 days a week.
Without the incentive of a multi-million dollar paycheck at the end of it all, most actors wouldn’t either. For them, it’s all part of the job.
So even if you did try to follow Josh Brolin’s workout routine, chances are you won’t stick with it for very long. Not unless you had a very large financial carrot dangled in front of you.
In truth, getting in shape doesn’t require going to the gym three hours a day, five or six days a week. For most people, 3-4 hours a week is plenty. That’s more than enough to get the job done.
Josh Brolin’s Body is Different to Your Body
You also need to consider the influence that genetics have on the shape of your muscles, as well as the speed at which those muscles grow.
Everyone is built differently. Anatomical variations from person to person means that even if two people did the same exercises, sets and reps, they won’t end up looking the same. No matter how much work you put in, your genetics have a big say in determining the way you look.
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Drop sets to the point where you can't even lift the weight of your own arms. @justindlovato is my friend…usually, but when he pushes me close to tears, I know, deep inside, that he actually wants to play Cable even more than I do. #friendswhotortureotherfriends #FuckingBrolin #fuckingcable #ryanreynoldsismybitch @iambuilt @goldsgym #100%clean
So even if you followed Josh Brolin’s workout and diet plan to the letter, doing the same exercises and eating the same food, that’s no guarantee you’ll see the same results.
Was Josh Brolin on Gear?
Given that he is nearly 50 years of age, Brolin’s jacked appearance in Deadpool 2 led to much wringing of hands and pointing of fingers from people who say he was using anabolic drugs.
Here’s what Brolin had to say to the steroid curiositors:
“I have nothing against people who use them. My goal is to stay clean. It’s way harder, and knowing it’s one shot away is always tempting but for what? It’s more fun for me knowing I’m doing it this way.
“For those that think it’s impossible: fuck off. For those that realize that your body type and work put in will dictate your best results: that’s all that matters. We all look differently, thank God. One person might have to put twice the work as someone else. Suck it up, it’s worth it.”
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Off Day Workout: Warm up 10 mins on treadmill 15 incline at 3mph. ••• 45 mins boxing ••• 1.25 hrs lifting (warm up essential then heavy for 8 to 12 then two drop sets much lighter and slow). 4 sets of those. ••• 30 cardio (either elliptical back and forth from 15 to 21 in minute and 2 minute intervals). ••• Abs: 3×10 hanging leg raises all the way to the top and squeeze; 5xone minute planks mixed with 3x 20 (10 each side) slow bicycles with a one second squeeze at the top of each one). ••• Stretch. ••• Diet: 3 hard meals of chicken or salmon (for vegans can sub with mushrooms or quinoa) and a cup of veggies and 48 almonds a day (120g to 220g of either yams or black rice after workout or at night) and three protein shakes of @gardenoflife raw with greens. One cheat meal or even day (depending on your goal or sustainability) a week. ••• Supplements: @gardenoflife probiotic; and various @hbmaxmuscle natural supplements for fat burning and recovery: BCAAs and Glutamine (I'll write them down when I get home). ••• As for the steroid curiositors: I have nothing against people who use them. My goal is to stay clean. It's way harder, and knowing it's one shot away is always tempting but for what? It's more fun for me knowing I'm doing it this way. For those that think it's impossible: fuck off. For those that realize that your body type and work put in will dictate your best results: that's all that matters. We all look differently, thank God. One person might have to put twice the work as someone else. Suck it up, it's worth it. But remember to have fun. If you drink, don't forget to get drunk and get a cab home. If you love sweets, have a donut then get back on board without looking back. The problem is when we go off the rails, we tend to give up. Don't listen to that voice. Forge ahead. As much of an asshole as Deadpool is, he inspires us to want to kick his ass as we laugh at his jokes. Be like Cable: train to thump on Deadpool. @iambuilt @justindlovato @stephjlovato @goldsgym #cableswole #doit @prevailactivewear #givemeafuckingdonut
Brolin did admit to using drugs, but only nicotine tablets, which can help to suppress your appetite as well as raise your metabolic rate .
I have no idea whether Brolin used anabolic drugs to help him build muscle. Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. There’s nothing about his physique that can’t be achieved naturally, given the right genes and enough hard work.
However, drug use is not uncommon in the entertainment industry. Some of the physiques you see on screen are unlikely to have been built without some kind of pharmaceutical assistance.
When results are everything and large amounts of money are at stake, chances are that drugs won’t be too far behind.
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you’re a famous movie star. One of the top actors in the world. You’ve just been offered a part that requires some serious body recomposition.
You need more muscle and less fat than you have right now, and you need both things to happen in a hurry.
You’ve hired a personal trainer, who has you training hard twice a day, every day. You’ve employed a chef, whose sole mission in life is to make sure that you’re eating the correct amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat. You’ve had a genetics test to make sure that your diet and training program is a perfect match for your body.
However, despite following the greatest training and diet program ever devised in all of human history, progress is slow. You are gaining muscle and losing fat. But it’s not happening fast enough.
Millions of dollars are riding on your ability to show up on set with a body to rival that of the Farnese Hercules. But at this rate, you’re not going to be ready in time. All that money, as well as your reputation, is about to go down the pan.
Even with the various “live in the moment” apps on your phone, you’re feeling anxious and stressed out. Despite the best efforts of your mindfulness consultant, you’ve had more than a few sleepless nights, panicking about whether or not you can pull this one off.
So, what are you going to do?
You’re probably going to do what a lot of people in your position have done, and take drugs to speed things along.
“[PED use is happening in] more than just sports,” says former head of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), Victor Conte, who spent time in jail for supplying athletes with steroids.
“In mainstream movies and action hero type stuff, it’s rampant. I’ll see photos of these guys. You can tell in a heartbeat if they’re using. Guys just don’t all of a sudden put on 25 pounds of muscle in two months for a movie role.”
Anabolic drugs, such as testosterone, can generate a rapid amount muscle growth in a very short period of time, making them ideal for actors on a tight schedule.
In one trial, US researchers injected a group of men with 600 milligrams of testosterone every week for ten weeks . The men gained, on average, over half a pound of muscle each week, all without lifting a single weight.
If you have all the diet and supplement boxes ticked, you’re training hard every day, and taking 2-3 different drugs at the same time, you’re going to see dramatic gains in a very short period of time.
How Did Josh Brolin Get Jacked?
The main change that Brolin made to his physique was to lose fat. Over a period of 11 weeks, he lost around 30 pounds, going from a tubby 210 to a shredded 181.
He also built some muscle, although exactly how much is hard to say. But it’s not like he replaced every pound of fat lost with a pound of new muscle.
In other words, he lost a large amount of fat while gaining a much smaller amount of muscle.
And the principles Brolin employed to do so are the same principles that anyone can use to do the exact same thing.
1. He followed a diet that put him in a calorie deficit, which is what allowed him to lose fat.
2. He made sure to eat enough protein.
3. He trained with weights 5-6 days a week.
And while he was doing plenty of other stuff (cardio, boxing, circuit training, etc.) along with it, those are the three key principles that were responsible for the majority of his results.
He was also under a massive amount of pressure to look the part.
As a result, he worked hard. He was consistent. He stuck to the plan.
When there are millions of dollars riding on the way you look, missing workouts and not sticking to your diet isn’t an option.
SEE ALSO: THE MUSCLE BUILDING CHEAT SHEET
If you're fed up spending hours in the gym with nothing to show for it, then check out The Muscle Building Cheat Sheet.
It's a "cut the waffle and just tell me what to do” PDF that tells you exactly how to go about building muscle. To get a copy of the cheat sheet sent to you, please click or tap here to enter your email address.
ABOUT THE AUTHORChristian Finn is the nation’s leading authority on science-based, joint-friendly ways to build muscle. A former "trainer to the trainers," he holds a masters degree in exercise science, and has been featured in or contributed to major media on two continents, including the BBC and Sunday Times in the U.K. and Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness in the U.S.