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Moviegoers chase Spartan abs with ‘300 workout’

Category: 300 News
Article Date: April 18, 2007 | Publication: Air Force Times (Blog) | Author: Ryan Holewell
Source: Air Force Times

Posted by: DaisyMay

Gerard Butler and the other male actors in the blockbuster movie “300” did grueling exercise routines for several hours a day for weeks to achieve the look of Spartan warriors. Now, mere mortals are wondering whether it’s possible for them to do the same.

On the social networking Web site Facebook are groups dedicated to people who seek Spartan bodies. Stories about the “300 workout” — a circuit of 300 reps of various exercises some actors went through — have appeared online and in Men’s Health magazine. Yahoo reports that search terms like “300 workout” and “Spartan 300 training” are becoming increasingly popular.

But Mark Twight, the trainer who worked with the cast of the movie, says the “300 workout” was just one of many exercises actors and stuntmen went through.

The actors’ body transformations came from an intense training regimen that lasted 90 minutes to two hours a day, five days a week, for seven weeks before filming began. Twight and colleague Logan Hood led them through full-body workouts involving medicine balls, tires and kettlebells — weighted balls with thick handles — among other tools. The goal was to make them look “all sinewy and ripped.”

This kind of transformation requires a change in diet, sleep patterns, stress levels and attitude.

“If you can’t change your brain and your behavior, even the most perfectly designed and adapted training program will not work,” Twight says in an e-mail.

But even with diet and exercise, most people will never get the perfect pecs and six-pack abs they see on the silver screen, says Wayne Westcott, fitness research director at South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass. For about 90 percent of people, it is impossible to develop the body of a movie-star warrior. “There’s no way you can change your basic physique,” he says. “You do the best you can with what you’ve got.”

Though they might not wind up looking like Spartans, Westcott says, people can achieve up to a 50% increase in muscle strength in the first three months of a proper strength-training program.

As for the “300 workout” itself, Westcott says, it isn’t practical for the average person.

Though he’s glad the movie has inspired people to get fit, Bill Phillips, author of the 12-week strength program book “Body for Life,” says he hopes they don’t get hurt or discouraged in the process.

He says that by incorporating reasonable bodybuilding routines — 45 minutes of strength training, three days a week — people can see a change.


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