Have you seen Matt Damon lately? He's gigantic. He's colossal. He's a Marvel comic hero of amnesiac brute force better suited for a Kimbo backyard brawl than the mostly normal, if not cardiovascularly advanced, state of his Bourne of the previous movies.
Like Christian Bale's Batman and Daniel Craig's James Bond before him, Damon's new Jason Bourne for the Bourne franchise's latest, Jason Bourne, unveils an actor who may very well have practiced his lines from the squat rack of a prison gym. The 45-year-old turned an otherwise fit-dadbod into something college guys tape to the gym locker of their brains before starting a workout. The kind of body that people see and wonder, "How do I get that?"
Jason Walsh, a Hollywood trainer, started working with Damon for The Martian — and had trained Justin Timberlake and Justin Theroux before that — to create someone who looked like a bareknuckle brawler. And he did that program, on average, five days a week.
"He needed to look like he fights," Walsh said in a phone interview. "He's supposed to be tormented mentally and physically, someone who brawls because he can't sleep if he doesn't."
Walsh likes to use a machine called a Versaclimber, which is sort of like a treadmill, but for climbing, and retails for $2,000. Walsh posted the video below of himself, right, with Damon during a Versaclimber workout.
"It's intimidating and it's really hard," Walsh said. "But it utilizes all major muscle groups and reinforces proper movement patterns, but low impact. It doesn't have the stresses of running on the street or a treadmill."
But that's just climbing on an expensive and hyper-niche piece of equipment super fast. The rest of the program could be done in almost any gym.
Here's an example daily workout:
• 100 sit-ups
• 300 push-ups
• Squats (50 reps)
• Squat jumps (50 reps)
• Pull-ups with 35 pounds strapped to waist
• Single-leg squats with 125-pound dumbbells in each hand
• Sled push and pulling
That program, Walsh said, was Damon's workout right before shooting — the finishing touches on a year-plus of hard work. Before that, Walsh said, was the real work.
"If you're strong, I can condition you and get you lean in no time," he said. "But it's the foundation, the heavy stuff, that's important."
So Damon did heavy hip thrusts. He did Bulgarian split squats with 125-pound dumb bells in each hand. He pushed a 250-pound sled around a rubber, resistant floor and did big deadlifts and 400-pound rack pulls.
"The guy is strong," Walsh said. "He can push and pull things most people can't push and pull."
Damon, who considers himself a beer and burgers guy, had to get strict with diet, too. Damon's chef (bonus tip: hire a personal chef) cooked him about 2,000 calories of food a day during shooting, and, as shoot time came closer, slowly cut back his water to dehydrate him a little bit — important for getting that vascularity and the super-ripped look.
"I want people to know how long and hard it was, the kind of discipline it takes to build a body like this," Walsh said. "You can do this. This is the payoff when you give the investment."