How to get a James Bond Body

James Bond coming out of the ocean

Casino Royale was released on November 17, 2006. I saw it on the opening day and it instantly became one of my favorite Bond films of all time.

In my opinion, Daniel Craig is the most natural fit for the Bond role since Sean Connery hung up his tuxedo way back in 1971. Craig’s got everything you expect in a great Bond – and a little something extra.

That Body!

When Bond emerged, shirtless from the ocean there was a audible gasp from all the women in the audience. I haven’t heard a reaction like that since Brad Pitt revealed his inconceivable abs in Fight Club.

While the women were momentarily lost in their erotic Bond fantasies the men in the audience were all asking themselves one question – “Man, how can I get me a body like that?

With the release of Craig’s second Bond film, Quantum of Solace, that question was once again burning in my envious little mind, so I did some research to find out how Daniel Craig got that James Bond body. Now I’m gonna share it with you… Then I’m gonna head right on down to the gym to try it out…

Daniel Craig’s James Bond Workout

Daniel Craig in Tomb Raider (2001)

Reportedly… It took Craig only 6 weeks to get pumped up for “Casino Royale”. But let’s put things into perspective here – he didn’t exactly start from scratch.

In Tomb Raider Craig’s body was already pretty cut. But for Bond the pretty-boy, model physique was replaced by one that actually looked like it could go head to head with a bevy of world class thugs.

So, how did Daniel Craig pack on so much muscle in such a short amount of time?

Here’s what Craig said he did to get his James Bond body…

I gave up smoking and exercised 5 times a week. At weekends I ate and drank what I liked. The work out lasted only 45 minutes but we didn’t stop. Circuits, lifting, working weights and lots of pull ups. I can now bench press my own weight. I told my personal trainer, Simon Waterson, I’ve got to look like I could kill someone when I take my shirt off…

There is much contention about the exact training routine Craig used to get buffed up for Bond, but I’ve managed to piece together what I feel is a pretty good replica of his pre Bond work-out.

The following program is an all over body workout comprised of large compound exercises that will raise the heart rate while adding lean muscle tissue.  It can be used at any level, beginner to pro athlete.

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The Basics

  • This circuit is designed to be done 3-4 times a week i.e. every other day using the day off as sport specific or alternative exercise. (I do Yoga or Kick-Boxing classes on my off days)
  • Each and every repetition should be carried out with extreme focus and dedication toward the end result; make sure you squeeze and contract the muscle you are working during each repetition. Try to do each exercise with a slow, even cadence – a good rule is 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down. True development will only come from isolation, and not simply from “pushing the weight up” without regard to form and mental focus.
  • You should buy a little black workout book to record your results. It’s the best way to keep your consistency and training on track and to keep those strength and stamina gains going up.
  • You should go from one exercise to the next in a minimum amount of time to keep your heart rate high.
  • If you have time restrictions do half the circuit, choose what you like – mix and match.
  • While pushing yourself at the gym is important, it is also imperative that you focus on rest and recuperation; if you aren’t getting enough sleep, chances are that your gains will suffer. Get 8 hours of sleep a night as this is when the body repairs itself.

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The Routine: 6 Week Plan

You’ll be doing the same set of exercises for six weeks, but the weights used and number of reps will change from week to week. For example:

  • Week One – 15 reps at moderate weight (last two reps should be tough)
  • Week Two – 10 reps with the weight increased by 10%
  • Week Three – 20 reps (back to week one’s weight)
  • Week Four – 8 reps ( 15% increase over week one)
  • Week Five – 25 reps (back to week one’s weight)
  • Week Six – 6 reps ( 20% increase from week one)

The idea here is to not let your body get use to a specific weight. This will keep your muscles from plateauing.

Exercises

Do 4 sets of each exercise, 1 warm up then 3 Real Sets.

1. Clean & Jerk / Olympic Lifts (Shoulders) (Demo)

FORM: Start with heals on the ground, use a 6ft bar bell, grip just over shoulder width apart, chest high, look in the mirror 3 point move – thighs, flip to chest, push over head.

TIPS: Use a little spring in the knees to complete the move. Use overhand grip. Use the same technique in the downward phase and the power phase.

2. Squats (Legs) (Demo)

FORM: Feet shoulder width apart, chest high, barbell resting on the back of your shoulders, arms only supporting, the bar.

TIPS: Ensure you go down to 90 degrees. Push always through the heals & don’t lock out.

3. Bench Press/Push-Ups Superset (Chest/Triceps/Shoulders) (Demo)

Each set of Presses should be followed immediately by a set of Push-Ups.

FORM: Lye on a flat bench, grip is just over shoulder width apart lower the bar to the chest then breathing out return to the start position without locking out.

TIPS: A count of 3 seconds down as well as 3 seconds up.

4. Pull-Ups/ Chin-Ups (Lats) (Demo)

FORM: Start with a wide overhand grip, pull up slowly, ensure your chin goes all the way over the bar, lower yourself down slowly to the bottom then start again.

TIPS:  Always complete all reps.  If this is two difficult then use a pull up machine to aid you (Usually called a Gravatron).  Start on a free bar and end on the Gravatron. For example, 3 real Pull-Ups to exhaustion, then 12 more on the Pull-Up machine = 15 reps.

5. Dips (Chest/Triceps) (Demo)

FORM: Ensure that when your on the bar you cross your legs at the back end, your elbows go to 90 Degrees. As with Pull-Ups always complete all your reps. Do as many as possibly free, then switch to the Gravatron.

6. Dumbell Bicep Curls (Biceps) (Demo)

FORM: Keep your elbows locked in & always do the full range of movement.

TIPS: Try to squeeze the muscle to get the mind to muscle function going this applies to all the exercises.

7. Dumbbell External Rotation (Demo)

FORM: Lay down flat on one side on a flat bench. Using a light dumbbell start the exercise with your right arm fully against the right side with the elbow flexed at a 90 degree angle and pinned against the left hip bone. Do not move your upper arm from this position during the exercise. Slowly raise the dumbbell by rotating the right arm upwards while maintaining your 90 degree bend in the elbow. When your lower arm is pointing straight up, lower it down until it is almost touching the bench. Repeat. Do not move your torso during the exercise.

8. Ab Routine – 1 set of each of the following:

Abs Start with 15 reps on the first set 20 on the second and 25 on the 3rd set.

  • Crunches – Normal everyday crunches knees bent slide your hands to the top and repeat.
  • Crunches, legs raised – Straight away legs up and crossed hands on temple bring elbows & knees together.
  • Ab leg raises – legs straight in the air lift with no momentum your lower back 3 inches off the ground.

TIP: Remember that abs are all one muscle you train one you train them all, but don’t over train them.

9. Cardio

End with a 1000m Row as fast as you can on Level 10. ( Substitute accordingly if your gym has no Rowing Machine ) Record your results.

NOTE: Daniel Craig only did cardio work when his body looked a little heavy or he wanted to show his abs more. This meant 10 to 20 minutes, two to three days per week, working at 85% of his age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR).

10. Don’t forget to stretch!

Contraversy

Although this work-out routine was allegedly the one Daniel Craig used to bulk up for Casino Royale, it’s not without its detractors.  Some trainers believe that if you do the same few movements over and over for an extended period of time, you’re leaving yourself open to injury.

Askmen.com came up with their own version of the Bond Workout . It’s a much more typical “Body Part Split” routine where you work on different parts of the body on different days.

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Diet Plan

There is truth to the saying “you are what you eat,”. You’ll never get a Bond-like body eating chips, candy and fast food. If you really want to change your physique, you’ll have to make sacrifices… Sorry!

Before beginning your work-out regime, you should organize a diet plan and commit to it. This might mean cooking food every morning to make sure you don’t miss a meal throughout the day. The goal is to get your body on a regular eating plan in which you will eat by the clock instead of when it’s convenient.

You should be consuming between five to eight meals a day — no exceptions. If you starve yourself, your metabolism will shut down, which means that if you are smaller, your body won’t grow, and if you are overweight, your body will hold onto fat.

What to eat

A balanced meal is made up of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats:

  • Protein – Your protein should come from a serving of either chicken, turkey, fish or egg whites.
  • Carbs – Get your carbohydrates from brown rice, oats, yams or sweet potatoes, whole-grain breads, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Fats – Your fats will come from healthy oils (canola, olive or flaxseed), nuts and avocado.

Keeping each meal balanced will ensure that you have the proper nutrients to both fuel you through your workouts and keep your metabolism functioning optimally. Feel free to consume low-fat dairy products a few times a day. Craig was big, but not as lean as a fitness model, so you can have moderate portions of healthy pasta and whole-grain bread, which are great bulking foods.

Stay away from fried food, candy, soda, chips, alcohol, enriched flour, refined sugar, and excessive amounts of preservatives and sodium. These foods have a much lower nutritional value and are likely to either make you fat or cause you to retain excess water — or both.

Typical Meal Plan

  • Breakfast – porridge with ½ a pink grapefruit or 2 poached eggs or brown bread (no butter)
  • Snack – Protein shake with some nuts or fruit/nuts & raisins
  • Lunch- Meat/fish with salad & small amount brown rice /or baked potatoes
  • Snack- Protein shake with nuts or yogurt/ rice cakes low fat cheese etc
  • Diner – Meat/fish with dark green leafy veggies i.e. asparagus, spinach, Broccoli

How much Protein and Carbs do you need?

If you want to pack on muscle you’re gonna have to eat massive amounts of protien, about one gram of protein per pound of body weight and two to three grams of complex carbs per pound of bodyweight.

If you’re a vegetarian (like me) you can find some great ideas for protein sources HERE.

Try to consume your carbohydrates with your first four meals and avoid them late at night so your body can burn more fat while you sleep. For late-night meals, healthy fats should take the place of carbohydrates; they will give your body more calories and energy, as they have five more calories per gram than protein or carbs.

Drink water all day to flush your organs of excess protein and toxins, as well as to drop excess water weight and stay hydrated. It would also be wise to take a multvitamin, as drinking water rids your body of important minerals.

Doing all this should give you plenty of energy and ensure that your body isn’t overloaded with excess glycogen that would get turned into fat.

Remember food is fuel that will allow you to train hard.

Nutrition Guidelines

  • No refined carbs after 2pm (white bread, pasta, white rice)
  • No starchy carbs after 5pm (any bread, any pasta, potatoes, sugary drinks)
  • Drink 2 ltrs of water every day
  • 2 pieces of fruit each day
  • Vegetables every day
  • Alcohol only on weekends
  • Eat 3 main meals + 2 snacks
  • Have a Pre and Post workout energy snack ( banana and a sugary workout/energy drink)
  • Take your supplements

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Supplements

There are thousands of supplements on the market, some work, some don’t. Below is a list of the ones that are pretty much universally accepted to actually do something beneficial for you.

  • Multi-Vitamins – The Animal Pak is considered by many serious Body-Builders to be the best.
  • Creatine – Allows for more explosive workouts and bigger gains.
  • Glutamine – For immunity and to prevent you from going catabolic (eating muscle)
  • Glucosamine – For joint health
  • Protine Shakes – For muscle tissue development. Experts say you should drink one before your work-out and another immediately after.  Gold Standard 100% Whey by Optimum Nutrition is considered to be the best.

My philosophy is – if I’m gonna spend an hour at the gym, I might as well get as much out of that hour as possible. This has inspired me to seek out any product that can give me an edge. I’ve only found three so far that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend:

The Animal Stak – Not to be confused with the Animal Pak Multi-Vitamins, the Animal Stak is a natural Anabolic Steroid booster – don’t freak out – I said natural.  I’ve been using it for two weeks and have seen no Ill side effects – only positive ones. I swear it increases my stamina, makes me 20% stronger and way more motivated.

BSN’s N.O.-Xplode – This is a pre-workout energy-drink mix that according to the marketing “produces immediate results in energy, size, strength, pumps, performance, mental focus, and training intensity”. Yeah… What they said! I wouldn’t dream of working out without this stuff.

The third product is, in my opinion, the most effective thing ever invented for increasing work-out intensity, stamina and motivation…

That’s right – the unassuming little ipod. Put some Rage Against The Machine on there and nothing can stop you!

Now, go work out.

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