Christian Bale is known for changing his physique to extreme extents to fit his role. The British actor, mainly known for being the face of Batman, has had physiques on both extreme ends, from extremely skinny to growing big depending on what his current role dictates.
Bale is one of the actors with varying diets and workout routines as they depend on what kind of physique he is trying to achieve. He seems to have understood how his body reacts to different diets and exercises, thus helping him achieve extreme physique changes.
Who Is Christian Bale?
Christian, whose full birth name is Christian Charles Phillip Bale, is a British actor born on 30th January 1974. Born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, he has USA citizenship and lives in Los Angeles. As a child, Bale and his family moved around a lot because his father was a commercial pilot.
He has been a professional actor from the age of 10 and first gained popularity at 13 when he was cast in ‘Empire of the Sun,’ The World War II movie. He gained broader recognition in the 2000 black comedy American Psycho where he portrayed Patrick Bateman, a serial killer.
Bale’s big break came in 2005 when he played the superhero Batman in Batman Begins. After the film was made into a trilogy, he repeated this role in two sequels; The Dark Knight in 2008, followed by The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. It propelled him into stardom after becoming one of the highest-grossing film franchises.
Some of his leading and supporting roles have been in movies like Batman Begins, American Psycho, Dark Knight Rises, and The Fighter. It is safe to say that Bale has had a successful acting career, winning over 80 awards.
He has received numerous nominations and awards for his role in these films and many others. Bale has had two Golden Globe Awards, four nominations by Academy Award, and eight Screen Actors Guild Awards. Ford V Ferrari movie won him the Best Actor award.
Some of his most recent awards are Best Actor and Best Actor in Comedy, both in ‘Vice’ won in 2019, and Best Actor in a comedy for his role in ‘The Big Short.’
Bale is married to Sibi Basics, and they have two kids. He is also a lover of dogs. His height is 6’0”, and he currently weighs about 176 pounds.
Now that we know more about Christian Bale, lets check out some of his training while filming Batman before we get into his workout routine and diet plan:
Christian Bale’s Workout Routine
As an actor, Bale commits fully to the roles he plays. To adequately portray his characters, he sometimes undergoes massive transformations. For instance, in 2018, Bale gained over 40 pounds in the film Vice when he played Dick Cheney, the US vice president. He lost over 70 pounds to play Ken Miles, a racing driver in Ford V Ferrari, a few months later.
There is a lot of work that he puts in to achieve such extreme transformations. The secret to these transformations is lifting compound weights and focusing on all body muscles. Bale also ensures progressive linear increases on the weights as his training intensifies over six months.
Bales’ main exercises are squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. Depending on the intended goals, you may modify this to include overhead press, back extensions, chin-ups. These movements are very effective in muscle building. Let’s have a look at Christian Bale’s workout routines during some of his most notable roles.
Batman Workout Routine
In the initial Batman movie, Bale needed to start extremely skinny in the role. As such, he did not pay much attention to interval training when preparing. Instead, he concentrated more on weight training and exercised for more days to achieve a skinny build.
Here’s a look at Christian Bale’s workout routine for his role in Batman. Each of these exercises features three sets each, but the number of reps differs.
Monday: Back Workout
- Military Press: 10 reps
- Standing Barbell Rows: 10 reps
- Shrugs: 10 reps
- Wide Pull-ups: 25 reps
- Power Cleans: 6 reps
- Deadlift: 10 reps
Tuesday: Arms Workout
- Concentration Curls: 8 sets
- Dumbell Curls: 8 reps
- Triceps Extensions: 10 reps
- Lying Skull: 10 reps
Wednesday: Shoulders Workout
- Front Raises: 8 reps
- Overhead Presses: 8 reps
- Side Raises: 8 reps
- Close Grip Pull-Ups: 25 reps
Thursday: Legs Workout
The first four exercises are ten reps each, while the last two are 25 reps each.
- Leg Curls
- Leg Press
- Front Squats
- Back Squats
- Power Lunges
- Calf Raises
Friday: Chest Workout
- Bench Press: 8 reps
- Dumbbell Flyes: 8 reps
- Cable Flyes: 8 reps
- Dumbbells Flyes: 8 reps
- Wide Push-ups: 25 reps
Bale included some ab or cardio exercises to reduce fat and strengthen his core during each of these days. Further, he would alternate one-minute jogs and half a minute sprints for 20 – 30 minutes. As for the abs, Bale would also include three sessions of 100 varying crunches.
Patrick Bateman is the main character in this movie. He plays the role of a psychopath who doubles up as a serial killer.
When preparing for this lead acting role, Bale undertook more strength training exercises than is depicted in the movie. He engaged in low to medium reps using low weights. It helped him build dense body muscles without subjecting his body to excessive muscle growth.
Here’s a look at Bale’s workout routine that helped him achieve his Patrick Bateman role.
Monday & Friday: Strength Training
- Incline Dumbell Bench Press – 3, 4 – 6 reps
- Pull-Ups: 3, 4 – 6 reps
- Lateral Raises – 3, 8 – 12 reps
- Standing Dumbbell Curls: 2, 6 – 8 resp
- Bar Dips: 2, 6 – 8 reps
Wednesday & Saturday: Strategic Cardio Training and Abs
- Highly Intense Interval Training – 30 seconds, 12 reps
- Lowly Intense Cardio – 15 – 30 minutes walk
- Hanging Leg Raises – 3, 8 – 12 reps
- Kneeling Abs Wheel Roll Outs – 2, 8 – 12 reps
During these exercises, Bale takes rest breaks between one and two minutes. He rests during the other days, not featuring in his workout routine, and allows his body to recover.
Christian Bale’s Diet Plan
We have seen the various workouts Bale uses to achieve the different physiques. However, the exercises routine can only help him so much. Further attention to the diet is necessary to accomplish these physiques. Here’s a brief guide for the different diet plans Christian Bale was observing for some of his leading acting roles.
Batman Diet Plan
Bale was paying more attention to carbs and proteins to achieve the Batman physique. He has previously alluded to observing a 50-35-15 split for carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. This non-conventional approach follows his need to gain some body fat after his role in ‘The Machinist,’ for which he had lost massive weight.
Complex carbohydrates from vegetables were his most reliable carbs source. He avoided highly processed options. Often, he would eat plenty of vegetables before noon to power up his body for the workouts.
He would set a schedule for the various foods he was eating. On average, Bale would feed on one meal every 2 – 3 hours. It helped ensure that his body had the necessary protein and energy to enhance muscle growth.
The Machinist Diet
Bale had one of his most notable physical transformations when preparing for his role in ‘The Machinist.’ For this role, he lost more than 60 lbs but would soon after gain more than 100 pounds for his role in Batman.
To lose weight for ‘The Machinist,’ Bale fed on a starvation diet by feeding less than 500 calories daily for four consecutive months.
His diet mainly comprised smoked cigarettes, black coffee, tuna, and apples. Even though his diet helped him achieve his goals of bringing his weight down for this role, he does not recommend it.
What He Avoids
Bale’s diet depends on the goals he has for his role. He avoids anything that will hinder him from getting the physique he aims to achieve for the specific role
- Multivitamin: Bale is not big on supplements; however, he takes daily multivitamins, especially when he is on a low-calorie diet.
- Omega 3S: This is another critical supplement, whichever diet you are on. It helps support brain health, reduces inflammation, and improves the body’s overall wellness.
- Probiotics: It helps strengthen immunity besides improving digestion
- Vitamin D: The vitamin helps supplement the deficiency in most people as they don’t get enough of it from the sun. It is vital in Calcium absorption, reduces the chances of depression, improves overall health besides boosting weight loss.
Christian Bale has achieved a remarkably lean physique and a built one too. He features different exercises and diet plans into his schedule depending on his goals. Some of his diet plans, especially the weight loss ones, are extreme, and you may risk your health.
Bear in mind that the actors get paid plenty of money for the acting roles, and Bale would probably not follow some of these extreme routines if it was just for fun.
If you wish to incorporate either of his plans, pay attention to your current body needs. It will help you adjust Bale’s diet and workout routine to fit your needs. With the workouts, start slow and allow the body to build endurance. You will see the results if you remain consistent.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.