Hugh Jackman’s weight loss journey: intermittent fasting, calorie counting, and a lot of chicken helps the actor lose pounds and get shredded

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Altogether, that adds up to 8,300 calories a day.

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As the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes, the daily recommended caloric intake depends on age, sex, height, weight and level of physical activity.

To put things in perspective, it advises active males between the ages of 51-55 to be eating an estimated 2,800 calories daily. That means Jackman was eating enough calories a day to fuel three men in his category.

The actor also went into severe calorie deficits at times. He gave an update in an Instagram story in January 2024, posting meals with drastically smaller portions. The first was a serving of cod and a few stalks of asparagus; the second contained a few bites of broccoli and cottage cheese.
To bulk up, Jackman ate meals that included salmon. Photo: Shutterstock

While it is unclear how many of these meals Jackman ate in a day, the Men’s Health magazine estimated each meal to contain 130-150 calories, putting the actor in a substantial calorie deficit.

Extreme low-calorie diets are only recommended for people experienced in cutting weight or those who have professional guidance, says the outlet.

In 2016, Jackman revealed to Men’s Health that he was no stranger to the bulk and cut of a bodybuilder’s routine, nor was he new to the daily calorie intake adjustments he had to make during it.

Protein

Jackman in a still from The Wolverine. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film

In a 2023 interview with American broadcaster Chris Wallace, Jackman revealed he was prepping for his superhero return by upping his protein intake “the old school way” – with food, not steroids.

“I’ve eaten more chicken. I’m so sorry to all the vegans and vegetarians and to the chickens of the world,” he said.

In 2017, the actor also told Men’s Health that he keeps a protein shake by his bed. “If I happen to wake up at night, I down it before I go back to sleep,” he said, suggesting that “it keeps the muscles repairing and the metabolism going”.

Jackman upped his protein intake by eating a lot of chicken. Photo: Shutterstock

A strict meal schedule

To achieve the physique to play Wolverine, Jackman reportedly ate nothing for 16 hours a day, meaning all food had to be consumed during the other eight, says Men’s Health.

This is known as a “16:8” intermittent fast, which gained popularity in 2013 after David Zinczenko wrote The 8-Hour Diet, a book touting the diet’s weight-loss benefits.

“I feel so much better on it,” Jackman said in an interview with Men’s Fitness magazine, name-dropping Zinczenko’s diet plan. “I sleep so much better.”

Jackman regularly goes to the gym and has a weekly workout routine. Getty Images

A regular workout

Jackman’s workout routines have involved clapping push-ups, bench presses and a whole lot of weightlifting. His go-to gym hack incorporates light weights as a warm-up before exercising – a technique he learned from bodybuilders to prepare his body for heavier lifts.

Similarly, Jackman’s trainer David Kingsbury once devised an eight-week “progressive overload plan” for the actor’s workouts, according to Business Insider.

Jackman during his final curtain call for the hit revival of The Music Man on Broadway. Photo: Getty Images

He started with lighter weights, gradually increasing the load while reducing the number of repetitions. The plan called for workouts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with rest days on Thursdays and Sundays.

Jackman’s time on Broadway has also helped him stay active. The actor took a singing and dancing role in the musical The Music Man from December 2021 to January 2023, and he attributes his fitness to the gruelling rehearsals and performances.

As a result of doing eight shows a week singing and dancing, “I’m fit. So I’m healthy. I have a good place to start,” he said.

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