How To Get Christian Bale’s American Psycho Physique?

Ethan Rai
Ethan Rai

Christan Bale followed a strict workout, nutrition, and recovery regime to get into the “greek god” shape for American Psycho.

Many consider his physique the pinnacle of masculinity, big broad shoulders, washboard abs, and an aesthetic v-taper back combined with a low body fat percentage.

So, the number 1 question is: how can I achieve this physique?

That’s what this article will answer: no fluff or false promises, only factual information that has been clinically proven by sports scientists and a report that has been referred from the top personal trainers and nutritionists around the globe.

The Workout Program

This segment of the article will be broken down into 3 parts;

– Terminology
Exercises
– Workout plan.

These three aspects are vital for maximizing muscle hypertrophy which is our goal.

Building strong, robust muscle.

Terminology

Compound exercises are movements that train multiple muscle groups at once.

Why are these important?

Compound exercises build the most muscle mass, equating to burning the most calories in the shortest amount of time.

Examples of compound movements:

  • Bench press – Muscles worked; Pec’s, Triceps, Front deltoids.
  • Squat – Muscles worked; Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
  • Deadlift – Muscles worked; Quadriceps, lats, erectors, glutes, and hamstrings.
  • Shoulder press – Muscles worked; Front deltoids, Triceps.
  • Pull-ups – Muscles worked; Lats, trapezius muscles, biceps, and forearms.

Accessory exercises are movements that isolate one muscle group. 

Why are these important?

Accessory exercises are an excellent tool to bring up lagging muscle groups that require more time under tension due to insufficient stimulation from their compound exercises.

It is common to use accessory exercises as most people are genetically gifted to build more muscle in certain muscle groups than others. For example, if two people were put under the same muscle stimulation, their bodies would not grow the same muscle due to genetics.

However, you should not prioritize accessory exercises as the time spent does not equate to the most amount of muscle built for them to be a priority. In comparison, compound movements are worth prioritizing as they correlate to the most muscle mass built in the least amount of time.

So to conclude, do your compound exercises first and then your accessory exercises to maximize muscle hypertrophy and stimulation.

Examples of accessory movements:

  • Tricep pushdown  – Muscles worked; Triceps.
  • Bicep curls – Muscles worked; Biceps.
  • Leg extension – Muscles worked; Quadriceps.
  • Leg curl – Muscles worked; Hamstrings.
  • Hammer curls – Muscles worked; Brachioradialis.

HIIT cardio stands for High Intensity Interval Training.

This means elevating your heart rate extremely high for a given period, followed by an interval of rest to bring your heart rate back down.

Why is HIIT cardio important?

HIIT cardio is used by almost every professional athlete, as you can burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. Compared to steady state cardio, HITT can burn over 2x the number of calories.

For example:

30-minute bike ride – On average, 200 calories are burned.

30 minutes of HIIT Cardio – On average, 450 calories are burned.

HITT needs to be your bread and butter for our goal, which is to get an aesthetically pleasing physique!

Example of a HITT cardio session

Exercises

These are the following exercise you need to familiarize yourself with to follow the “killers” workout program. You must understand the mechanics of each movement to maximize your safety when performing these exercises and to ensure maximum muscle mass potential as good form will equate to the best contraction for your muscles.

Click the links below:

Rep Ranges

Reps or repetitions are a fixed number representing how often you consecutively perform an exercise.

For example, Bicep curls, the first half of the movement lowering the weight, is called the eccentric contraction as the muscle is getting longer. The movement’s second half, the concentric portion, is where the muscle contracts and shortens as the muscle returns to the top of the movement; that is what makes a single rep or repetition of bicep curls.

No rep range is considered the best; it’s much dependent on your goals; our goal is to build muscle, so we want to live in the 0-15 rep range, here’s why:

  • 1-5 – Studies and modern research show us that the best range to build strength is 1-5 reps, making the muscle denser and thicker.
  • 5-15 – Studies and modern research also show us that moderate weights maximize muscle mass potential as this rep range induces an immense amount of time under tension to the muscle. 15+ is considered endurance.

Sets

Sets represent a collection of a determined amount of reps to be performed consecutively.

For example:

Bicep curls – 3×15

This means 3 sets of 15 repetitions with adequate rest times in between sets.

1 set = 15 reps.

Rest Times

Rest times depend on what exercise you’re doing and what rep range you’re performing

Compound exercises usually require more rest time due to these movements’ workload. For example, bench press 5×5 would need 2-5 minutes of rest.

Compound exercises are typically performed within the 1-5 rep range, meaning when exercising in this rep range, rest times should be between 2-5 minutes.

Accessory exercises typically don’t require as long rest due to the workload being isolated to one muscle group and not multiple. For example, Tricep pushdown 4×12 would require 1-2 minutes of rest.

Accessory exercises are typically performed within the 5-15 rep range, meaning when exercising in this rep range, rest times should be between 1-2 minutes.

Ensure you have:

– Clicked, watched, and practiced all the exercises.
– Understood sets reps and rest times to follow the program effectively.

You are ready to start, now armed with the knowledge required to follow the program!

Nutrition

Although a good workout regime is critical, nutrition is arguably the most essential element to getting into greek god shape.

To fully grasp nutrition, you have to understand these 2 elements:

  • Calories 
  • Macro & Micronutrients

Calories

Calories represent the energy in items such as food or drink; our body needs this energy to function and exercise.

Weight gain results from being in a calorie surplus due to your body having excess energy, which is then stored as fat.

Weight loss results from being in a calorie deficit which means our body has burnt more calories than we have consumed; our body then has to get fuel from another source, fat.

How do I know how many calories I burn?

Believe it or not, we burn calories from just existing!

Simply breathing burns calories; everything you do burns calories. BMR refers to our body’s basic metabolic rate, showing how many calories you burn from existing.

You can find this out by using a BMR Calculator.

For example:

If you’re 25 years old, 180cm, and weight 60kg, you will burn1,605 calories daily before exercise.

Following the program, you will train 5-6 times a week and burn 2,769 calories daily.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the three primary sources of energy for our body; they consist of:

  • Carbohydrates (4 cals per g) – Essential for your body as carbs turn into glucose to give your body energy to function.
  • Fats – (9 cals per g) –
    Fats are vital for your body; they aid heavily in satiation, protecting your organs, and absorbing nutrients.
  • Proteins (4 cals per g)

Protein is our main concern, as protein is responsible for;

  • Building and growing bone density, muscle, skin, hair, and nails!
  • Repairing and growing torn muscle fibers, which happens when you workout.
  • Protein also regulates many hormones, especially when you are constantly in a cycle of repairing and growing cells.

The top protein sources are:

  • Egg – 13g protein per 100g
  • Milk – 8g protein per 100ml 
  • Yogurt – 10g protein per 100g
  • Fish(cod, basa, tilapia) –18g protein per 100g
  • Chicken and turkey (breast, legs, wings) – 31g protein per 100g
  • Soya – 13g protein per 100g

Micronutrients

Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Our body needs micronutrients in small amounts. They aid in:

  • Producing enzymes. 
  • Hormone Regulation.
  • Absorption of macronutrients.

There are a plethora of micronutrients that all have a role to play in keeping us healthy, the main ones that concern us and will aid in achieving our goals are:

  • Magnesium – Aids in relaxing muscles and preventing cramps.
  • Beta-alanine – Aids in fighting lactic acid buildups preventing fatigue/cramps.
  • Vitamin C – Major role in producing collagen, the foundation for bone formation.
  • Zinc – Aids in digestion, metabolism, and boosting the Immune system.
  • Vitamin D – Major role in maintaining strong bones. 
  • Iron – Aids in making your blood efficiently oxygenated. 
  • Vitamin B12 – boosts metabolism and improves coordination.

The fitness industry is saturated with vitamin supplements that promise you the world! A healthy, varied diet is all you need; foods such as:

  • Avocado
  • Lentils
  • Beetroot
  • Kale
  • Sweet Potato

Vegetables, and fruits, in any form; smoothies steamed boiled, are all excellent; they are low-calorie dense, meaning they keep you more satiated for fewer calories!

Diet

Everyone will have a different starting point; some will want to lose weight, gain weight or even maintain and recompose their body.

The following 3 classes will show you how to manipulate calories to get your desired body.

Overweight

You have some excess body weight you want to eliminate and replace with lean muscle mass.

Calories = Maintenance – 250 calories.

This will put you in a small calorie deficit to ensure you lose weight at a slow, steady rate and maximize fat loss, not water weight loss.

Once you hit a plateau on the scale, you can either work out more or remove an additional 100 calories from your diet.

Weight gain

You want to build some lean muscle while maintaining your lean frame.

Calories = Maintenance + 200 calories.

This will put you in a small calorie surplus; this is vital as you fuel your body to get bigger and stronger while ensuring you don’t gain any additional unnecessary body fat.

Once the scale stops going up, it’s time to up your calories by an additional 100 calories.

BMI test will show you if you are significantly underweight for your height and weight; if this is the case, Calories = Maintenance + 350 calories.

Maintenance

You want to change your body composition to be more muscular but stay around the same weight.

Calories = Maintenance – 100 calories

This is the slow and steady approach, putting your body in a small deficit to trim away some fat but eating enough protein and nutrients to build strong, dense muscle.

Keeping a Diet Log

Keeping a diet log is an excellent way to track what you eat. This can be written or typed. Simply record what you eat and keep an eye on the calorie counter; this can be done by looking at the nutritional value label!

Diet Log example:

Male 160lbs

Trains 4x a week
Calorie maintenance: 2515 cals
Goal: Lose weight
Deficit = 215 cals

 

Monday

Breakfast

4 boiled eggs, 3 pieces of toast

Lunch

Jacket potato with tuna, sweetcorn, and salad

Dinner

Chickpea and spinach curry  (retail cooking sauce) with brown rice

Snacks

Guacamole and 1/2 wholemeal pitta bread 4 squares of dark chocolate

Drinks

Small glass (150ml) orange juice

 

3L water

Total calories

2300

Final Thoughts

Whether this is the start of your fitness journey or you are an advance fitness advocate, the whole point of being fit is to be comfortable in your skin, boosting confidence and overall quality of life.

This article has covered the two elements of fitness; working out and nutrition; although one shoe does not fit all when it comes to fitness, you must experiment and find a way to incorporate fitness into your routine/lifestyle so it can be sustainable for your life.

Before starting any workout regime, always consult with a health professional/doctor if you are new to exercise or have any chronic/acute conditions that will inhibit your ability to exercise.

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Ethan Rai
Ethan Rai
Ethan Rai has a bachelor's degree in sport and exercise science & sports journalism and has also been a personal trainer for 6 years. He is a family man at heart and is passionate about staying in shape physically, mentally, and spiritually. At the same time, expressing his passion for creativity through writing.