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Embrace your inner warrior: Fitness tips from the gods

Category: 300 News
Article Date: March 7, 2007 | Publication: National Post | Author: Bob Thompson

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Gerard Butler whipped himself into the shape of a Spartan warrior king for the film version of Frank Miller's graphic novel, 300, which opens on Friday. This is how he did it.

"I had already been training for three months before the boot camp for the film," recalls the six-foot-two actor, who claims a few of his friends "commented on me being fat" before he started his regimen.

Perhaps that's why "I went a little crazy training maybe six days a week, two hours a day doing the weights and the cardio."

The 31-year-old was also jogging a few miles each day. "I did circuit training, using a lot of primitive type tools like kettle bells, medicine balls and rings and these huge elastic things attached to the wall where you'd have to run and then stop and hold."

When Butler arrived in Montreal, where 300 was being filmed, he joined the "boot camp" with the other actors, who were encouraged, in the great Spartan tradition, to compete with each other during the "warrior work outs."

"Outside of that I got another trainer who was a bodybuilder, so I was going from the movie training to my trainer and that was an added two hours each to the boot camp, and then on top of that I started with the stunt people doing the sword stuff."

During the shoot, Butler says he also kept up the weights and cardio, "probably pumping 10 or 15 times a day, sometimes before every shot." The upside? He looked like the chiselled Greek god he was supposed to. The downside? He was in pain most of the time. "I had tendonitis in almost every part of my body," he reports. "I had a bad injury in my forearm, which still comes up when I go back into the gym. I had a rotator cuff injury. And I pulled my hip flexor."

Was it worth it? "I hope so," he says. Does he still work out?

"After the film, I waited nine months before going back into a gym," Butler confesses. "It felt difficult. But I was warned that I should have tapered it off, not stopped."


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