Mark Wahlberg doesn’t do anything in his life halfway, and his preparation process for filming is no exception. In the 2013 film “Pain & Gain,” Mark plays a bodybuilding criminal with a taste for money and a plan for extortion. He knew he had to look the part, and his background in bodybuilding and passion for fitness gave him a head start. But like anyone else, Mark had to work hard to push his physique to that level of muscle. Being a Hollywood star doesn’t make muscles work any differently or grow any faster than anyone else’s, so he had to spend some serious time in the gym.
In just seven weeks before filming “Pain & Gain,” Mark Wahlberg packed on 40 pounds of muscle. He had closed his previous movie at just 165 pounds and knew that by the first filming day of “Pain & Gain” he needed to be at 205. But he didn’t let the numbers intimidate him; he simply set his goal and then achieved it.
That amount of weight gain in that short of a time is an incredible achievement that requires immense dedication, and there is a lot to learn from his methods. The Mark Wahlberg “Pain & Gain” body is a model for how much hard work and commitment can really pay off, and you can incorporate aspects of his diet and exercise plan to blow up your own gain goals.
Mark Wahlberg: Exercise Routine
If you ask his personal trainer, Mark truly trains like an elite athlete. The pride he takes in meeting and exceeding his goals, the laser focus he applies to fitness and other areas of his life, the intensity with which he pursues excellence – these, his trainer declares, are the qualities that put Mark on the same level of a professional athlete.
In order to gain 40 pounds of muscle in less than two months, Mark knew he had to create an efficient but effective workout plan. There couldn’t be any unnecessary exercises, and each component had to be carefully considered. Creating the plan was very much a science with Mark evaluating past supersets that had proven to give him the best results. By doing this, he was able to create his own routine that enabled him to crush his 40-pound goal.
So what did his day-to-day look like? Generally, Mark has always followed a five-day fitness routine, most often taking Wednesday and Sunday as rest days. He understands that rest days are just as important as the days spent in the gym and that skipping them can actually slow down your progress. On the five days he does hit the gym, Mark gets right down to work. Among his friends and colleagues, Mark is famous for hitting the gym before anyone else has even started their day, often busting down the gym doors at 4 am. This determination powers him through his intense daily workout and beyond.
For Mark Wahlberg, weight training has always been at the core of his workout routine. Especially when he was working towards his “Pain & Gain” 40-pound goal, he wanted to build muscle, not fat. This requires a big focus on weights with plenty of variety to target different muscle groups. The key to building muscle quickly is to hone in on the large muscle groups like your chest, legs and back. If you want to work out like Mark, earning your own impressive results, then get ready for the best challenge of your life.
First, Mark starts with a warmup that would be a whole day’s worth of exercise for someone else. You’ll start by foam rolling your glutes, hamstrings, quads, abductors and lower back. Then it’s time to get moving. Exercises like lateral band walks and dumbbell rear lunges will warm up your muscles, and two minutes of jumping rope will push you to your limit. You may think jump ropes are better suited to the playground, but you’ll soon learn that they’re no joke.
Then it’s time the real pain – and gain – to begin. Deadlifts are often referred to as the king of all gain exercises, and for good reason. With the power to strengthen all of your body’s muscle groups, as well as build serious mass, deadlifts are a Mark Wahlberg favorite. To really do things Mark’s way, make sure you are challenging yourself with the amount of weight you’re working with. Lifting heavy will help maximize your gains, so don’t cheat yourself out of a good workout.
Start yourself off with barbell deadlifts, four sets of eight clean reps. Keep an eye on your form; bad form cannot only affect your progress but also lead to injuries that will halt your gains altogether. Then tackle four sets of eight clean pulls, four sets of eight reps worth of hang snatch pulls, and the same number of sets and reps for dumbbell rear lunges. Continue with the four sets of eight reps model and add in push presses, push squats and one leg barbell squats. After four sets of eight barbell bench press lifts, you’ll cycle back to the barbells deadlifts, four sets of eight.
Finally, you’ll close out this part of the workout plan with four sets of eight inverted rows and a farmer’s walk, completing two sets of 100 yards (with about two minutes of rest). All of the exercises in this set should be performed as a relatively fast tempo with 90 seconds of rest after completing each complex.
Now for the second phase of your workout – are you tired yet – do two sets of six standing bicep cable pulls or three sets of eight. if you can stand it. Repeat these numbers for the cable chest press, the leg press, triceps pushdown and the seated side lateral raise. That wraps up the incredibly intense session, but you still have a different version incorporating other moves for the next time. Squats, pull-ups and weighted curtsy lunges are among the muscle-building moves in that round. He wants to be sure to give his shoulders fair time and attention, too, so for Mark Wahlberg, shoulder routine moves are also crucial.
What you may not realize is that recovery is just as important as the moves you do and the weight you lift. Giving your muscles enough time to rest in between sets will prevent them from going into calorie-burning mode. Burning calories won’t give you the gains you want – resting will help propel you towards your goals. Also, making sure you are taking a proper recovery supplement to rehydrate is critical. As a founder of Performance Inspired Nutrition, Mark is very selective about the quality of supplements he puts into his body. That’s why he only uses PI Nutrition’s Rehydration Powder or the Post Workout BCAA. Replenishing your muscles and maintaining your hydration will keep you at peak performance.
Now, there’s no way around it: This workout routine is one that most people would shy away from. It is intense, long and requires arduous dedication and commitment. But as you can see from Mark’s incredible physique, it just plain works.
The Mark Wahlberg Diet Plan: “Pain & Gain”
Like anyone with serious health and fitness goals, Mark understands that half of the work is done in the kitchen. No matter how hard you hit the gym, if you are eating junk your body will surely look like junk. The first thing to do is to cut out as many refined sugars and processed, carb-heavy foods from your kitchen as possible. Do you eat cereal? Throw it out. Frozen French fries? Toss those, too. At some point, you have to ask yourself which is more worth it – the few moments of enjoyment you get from eating something sweet or a lifetime of physical prowess and the achievement of your goals.
Once you toss out the junk, you have more room for nutrient-rich foods. Focus on proteins like lean meats, eggs and nuts. Vegetables should also have a place on your plate, providing invaluable vitamins and minerals.
In order to put on the kind of weight Mark did for “Pain & Gain,” you have to devote as much time and energy to eating as you give to your daily workouts. While preparing for “Pain & Gain,” Mark discovered that the ideal solution was to eat upwards of 12 times per day, even when you aren’t necessarily feeling hungry. This enables you to take in the number of calories you need to be successful with your goals.
Your biggest diet focus should be in the protein category. Protein is the macronutrient responsible for building and repairing muscle, so you can imagine how important it is for the “Pain & Gain” plan. Because it can be challenging to consume enough protein from traditional food sources, Mark regularly drinks protein shakes. With PI Nutrition, he has the choice between Mass Gainer or Inspired-Bars, packed with protein. Both options help to produce impressive results, with Mass Gainer being Mark’s favorite for really packing on the muscle.
Along with his day full of food, Mark regularly takes a multivitamin. This ensures that he stays in good physical health and doesn’t run down his immune system with all of the hard work. Killing it in the gym is difficult if you are ill, and even if you just don’t have the proper nutrients that you need. A quality multivitamin will round out your day.
Mark Wahlberg: Big Gains
With numerous blockbuster films under his belt and a host of successful businesses, Mark has worked incredibly hard to achieve his dreams and goals. He truly knows and understands the meaning of the phrase, “No pain, no gain,” and lives his life by that motto. He hits the gym hard, eats clean and, best of all, maintains a positive, can-do attitude that carries him through just about anything.
Use his “Pain & Gain” diet and workout routine and you’ll start seeing gains not only in terms of muscle mass, but you’ll also build more respect for yourself after you tackle the incredible challenge. Powering through an intense health and fitness regime can be very tough but, if you put your mind to it, it can absolutely be done.