Taylor Lautner Workout/Transformation
“I was in the gym five days a week, two hours a day,” Taylor Lautner says in the August issue of Interview
magazine. “At one point, I was going seven days straight. I had put on a lot of weight, and then I started losing it drastically, so I was worried. It turned out I was overworking myself,” he said. “My trainer told me that I couldn’t break a sweat, because I was burning more calories than I was putting on.”
Taylor Lautner adds his workout regimen started as soon as filming wrapped for Twilight, the first film in the hit vampire saga.
“As soon as I finished filming Twilight, I knew I had to get to work right away; there could be no waiting involved,” Lautner adds. “The day I finished Twilight, I came home and started bulking up. For New Moon, I’m 30 pounds heavier than I was in Twilight.”
Taylor Lautner isn’t a naturally strong guy, but his career depends on becoming brawny. Between the first and second Twilight films, his character grew into a powerful werewolf. That meant he needed to gain 30 pounds of muscle in a year. Which he did.
Think about that: Taylor Lautner used to be a 5’10″, 140-pound, bony teenager, and now he’s a rippled fitness animal. If he can overcome physical shortcomings, anyone can. “Inexperience works to your advantage,” says Jordan Yuam, Lautner’s trainer and the owner of Jordan’s Virtual Fit Club. “The less muscle you have, the easier it is to gain muscle mass more quickly.”
Your strategy: Eat right and follow a smart, strategic workout regimen. “Maximize your genetic potential,” says Yuam. “There’s no reason you can’t gain pounds of muscle in a year.”
Here’s how to follow Taylor Lautner’s lead and build strength at frightening speed—without working like a dog.
To grow large, your body needs to become comfortable with heavy loads. “That’s why I had Taylor ‘taste’ a much heavier weight,” says Yuam, who would stack a bar (or use dumbbells) with about 40 percent more weight than Lautner could normally lift 10 times.
So if you can lift, say, 120 pounds 10 times, go with 170 pounds. Then, using a spotter, perform only the lowering half of lifts. (“It’s critical that your spotter be strong enough to lift the weight back up by himself,” Yuam says.) For a bench press, that means slowly lowering the weight to your chest. This lets your body adjust to the new weight even before you’re ready to raise it. The move is taxing on your muscles, though, so limit your “tasting” to 2 or 3 sets of 5 reps every other week.
Heavier isn’t always better. To maximize gains, Lautner regularly varies reps and the amount of weight he lifts. “If you want a balanced body, you have to do that,” says Yuam. The more your muscles are forced to adapt to a new routine, the more they grow. Instead of always doing 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, for example, occasionally reduce the weight and shoot for 4 sets of 15 reps. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that men who regularly varied their rep counts and trained different muscle groups increased their bench strength by 28 percent and their leg-press strength by 43 percent.
Free weights are best, but they have a drawback: Some parts of a lift are easier than others, so your muscles aren’t being worked consistently. That’s why Lautner often attaches giant rubber bands to a bar or dumbbell he’s going to lift, and then anchors the bands to the base of a power rack or a pair of heavy dumbbells. “The bands create more tension, making the lift harder and forcing your muscles to peak out at the top of the movement,” Yuam says. As a result, your body recruits more muscle fibers and works them harder, accelerating growth. Bands are available in most gyms.
“I was exercising so hard that I began to lose weight,” says Lautner. Sound great? Not if you normally have trouble building muscle mass. When it’s combined with weight training, cardio saps strength and limits muscle growth, especially if you spin your wheels for longer than 20 minutes before or after lifting, according to researchers at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. So be careful not to overdo it. “If you’re trying to gain lean mass, focus on weight-lifting with the proper technique and the right plan,” Yuam says.
“A lot of guys hit their abs every time they hit the gym,” says Yuam. “That’s why so few of them have six-packs.” Your abs are like any other muscle group, and the same rule of muscle building applies: Don’t overwork them. Lautner targets his abs only 3 days a week and does a combination of exercises to work his entire core. “The result is a balanced, more detailed musculature,” Yuam says. One of his favorite combinations is the hanging leg raise to reverse crunch, holding for 7 to 10 seconds. That works your whole core, preventing a muffin top.
Step to the Side Most weightlifting exercises involve moving forward or backward; they don’t train your body to explode in other directions. Lautner needs a versatile body because he does his own stunts on the screen. (And you need one for everyday life. Your basketball crossover will be lousy without it.) The solution, Yuam says, is to perform side-to-side exercises in addition to traditional lifts. These boost your ability to move in any path. For example, work a few sets of lateral hops and lunges into every leg workout.
Training and eating are only two-thirds of the muscle-building equation. “The other third is recovery,” says Lautner. He takes every third day off and never works out more than 5 days a week. “If you constantly pound your muscles, they’ll never have time to repair.”
Your hard work begins in the gym, but your kitchen plays an equally big role in your transformation. “How much you’ll eat depends on how much you want to weigh,” says nutrition expert Alan Aragon, M.S. Use his simple steps in the following three slides to add as much as 10 pounds of new muscle next year.
Goal weight x (workout hours per week + 9.5) = daily number of calories
Example: Say you’re 180 pounds and want to add 10 pounds of muscle. Your goal weight, then, is 190. If you plan to work out 3 hours a week, do this: Add 3 + 9.5, and then multiply the sum (12.5) by your goal weight of 190. Result: 2,375. That’s your daily calorie goal.
Use this key to figure out how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrate you should eat each day.
goal weight = grams of protein
half your goal weight = grams of fat
daily calories – [( protein grams x 4) + ( fat grams x 9)] / 4 = grams of carbs
Example: For your goal weight of 190, you’ll eat 190 grams of protein and 95 grams of fat. For carbs: Multiply 190 by 4 ( to yield 760), and 95 by 9 (to yield 855). Add them together: 1,615. Now subtract that from your 2,375 daily calories, to yield 760. Divide that by 4. Result: 190. That’s your carb goal, in grams.
Determine how many meals you’ll eat each day, and then break down your total allotment into equal portions. “It doesn’t matter if you eat three meals a day or six,” says Aragon. “As long as you stay within your guidelines, you’ll see results.”
Yuam helped Lautner pack on 30 pounds of lean muscle (and a monster six-pack) for New Moon by hitting the actor’s core with a variety of exercises that work every muscle between the hips and chest. Check out the moves that made Lautner land the number-one spot on Access Hollywood’s “Top 5 Hollywood Abs” list in the following five slides. Weave them into your own workouts for similarly impressive results.
Taylor Launter’s Workout
1: Swiss Ball Pikes
Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight (your hands should be slightly wider than, and in line with, your shoulders). Rest your shins on a Swiss ball so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without bending your knees, roll the Swiss ball toward your body by raising your hips as high as you can. Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward. Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps.
2: Reverse Crunches
Lie face up on the floor with your palms facing down. Bend your hips and knees 90 degrees. Raise your hips off the floor and crunch them inward. Pause, and then slowly lower your legs until your heels neatly touch the floor. Do three sets of 15 reps.
Lie on the floor with your calves on a Swiss ball and your arms at your sides. Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips off the floor so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Pause for a second, and then bend your legs to roll the ball toward your butt. Straighten your legs to roll the ball back out away from you, and then lower your body to the floor. Do three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Grab a chinup bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip (or use elbow supports, if available), and hang from the bar with your knees slightly bent and feet together. Simultaneously bend your knees, raise your hips, and curl your lower back underneath you as you lift your thighs toward your chest. Pause when the fronts of your thighs reach your chest, then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps.
5: Prone Cobra
Lie facedown on the floor with your legs straight and your arms next to your sides, palms down. Contract your glutes and the muscles of your lower back, and raise your head, chest, arms, and legs off the floor. Simultaneously rotate your arms so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling. At this time, your hips should be the only parts of your body touching the floor. Hold this position for 60 seconds, then rest one minute. Repeat three times.