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Matthew McConaughey’s Workout Routine, Diet Plan & Supplements

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 16, 2021

Matthew McConaughey has gone through a lot of body transformations where he has played roles that were extremely underweight, overweight, and even totally ripped.

And being able to achieve that consistently requires a lot of dedication to the strict diet and exercise routine.

So, we decided to do some research and go through dozens of interviews where he shared some info about his exercise and diet to put together this Matthew McConaughey workout routine.

Quick Summary

  • Matthew McConaughey predominantly focuses on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups. 
  • He also has a strict routine that involves working out five days a week. 
  • You won’t find any junk food in his diet when he’s working on getting ripped, as he fully understands the importance of diet for his body.

Matthew McConaughey’s Stats

  • Born: November 4, 1969
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs

Matthew McConaughey has starred in some of the greatest movies, and his physical appearance went through a lot of transformation.

From dangerously low weight in The Dallas Buyers Club to a ripped man in Mud, Lincoln Lawyer, and Magic Mike, he’s had to lose and gain weight with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson numerous times.

Here’s what he does to stay in shape.

The Matthew McConaughey Workout Routine

We’ve split the Matthew McConaughey workout routine over five days, and each day focuses on a specific body part or cardio. But even on the weight training days, Matthew would do some cardio for half an hour to stay on top of his BMI.

Monday: Chest And Shoulders

man working out in a bench

There are a lot of compound exercises here that engage multiple muscle groups.

  • Dumbbell chest press (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Dumbbell flys (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Lateral dumbbell raises (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Overhead shoulder press (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Medicine ball push-ups (3 sets of 15 to 20 reps)
  • Stability ball climbers (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)

Tuesday: Legs And Core

feet view of a man using a leg machine

This is an important day as many people end up underestimating the need for leg workouts and then end up with the lollipop effect of bulky chest and arms and skinny legs.

  • Dumbbell forward lunges (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Stability ball leg curls (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Dumbbell squat (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • One-legged squats (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Calf raises (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Leg extensions (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)

Wednesday: Core And Cardio Routine

man in a russian twist position

Here’s the main cardio routine for 60 minutes, plus some core exercises as well.

  • Circuit training with a mix of cardio machine, jump rope, sprints, and finally kettlebell work
  • Abdominal twists (3 sets of 20 reps)
  • Leg lifts (3 sets of 20 reps)
  • Twisting planks (3 sets of 20 reps)
  • Reverse crunches (3 sets of 20 reps)

Thursday: Back And Arms

shirtless man working out

This is where Matthew’s personal trainer Gunnar Peterson gets him to focus on the glory muscles at the gym.

  • Dumbbell bicep curls (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Pull-ups (3 sets of 15 reps)
  • Dumbbell rows (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Push-ups (3 sets of 20 reps)
  • Bench dips (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Triceps Kickbacks (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)

Friday: Full Body

man in a plank position

This final day is not about one exercise set for one body part. It’s a great mix to stay limber and provide a final push of the week for your workouts.

  • Incline chest press (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Bicep curls (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Medicine ball push-ups (3 sets of 15 reps)
  • Dumbbell side lunges (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Dumbbell squats (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)
  • Forearm plank (3 sets of 90 seconds)
  • Walking planks (3 sets of 60 seconds)

Saturday/Sunday: Active Rest

Don’t sit on the couch all day feeling sorry for your sore muscles. Get up and do plenty of walking and even some light training on cardio machines to encourage muscle recovery.

His Workout Principles

Matthew McConaughey’s workout routine heavily relies on compound exercises, and it’s not geared towards maximizing muscle growth [1].

See, his movie roles so far required low body fat, but he hasn’t starred in movies where he needed to be superhero-fit or some sort of kick-ass villain.

That means he works to keep his abs tight, shoulders broad, and arms and chest well-formed to give a healthy and fit appearance.

That, along with his acting talent, has got him a permanent spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Matthew McConaughey Diet

If you plan a workout routine like Matthew McConaughey, you’ll need to put considerable thought into what you eat. Here’s an example of what a day would look like.

  • Breakfast: 4 fried or scrambled eggs, whole grain low GI toast
  • Snack: Fruit salad with greek yogurt and seeds, a cup of unsalted nuts
  • Lunch: Fresh fish. mixed vegetables and sweet potato fries
  • Snack: Protein bar
  • Dinner: Chicken or beef, steamed vegetables, a large bowl of salad

His Diet Principles

Matthew McConaughey is very careful with his diet and sticks to a healthy lifestyle to remain in great shape.

That means eating low glycemic foods (i.e., low sugar) and avoiding all types of highly processed and junk food.

I keep telling my clients who struggle with weight despite five workout sessions a week that they can't out-train a poor diet.

Fitness has to start with your diet, so take the advice from Matthew McConaughey and fix what you eat.

“Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.” - Matthew McConaughey.

What Supplements Does Matthew McConaughey Take?

protein powder and supplement pills

To support your Matthew McConaughey workout, you should also consider these two supplements.

Pre-Workout

People tend to underestimate pre-workout supplements. But when you’re training five days a week, even a small 5% boost in performance will make a huge difference within a few months.

Protein Shakes

That amount of training will also require plenty of protein to support your recovery times.

Ideally, pick a great quality whey protein shake to give you the full amino acid profile that your muscles crave after training [2].

Are You Ready For The Matthew McConaughey Workout?

There is no denying that to look like Matthew McConaughey, you’ll have to put in work. And the above routine isn’t going to suit everyone.

But with the right dedication and diet approach, you’ll see your fitness improve and your BMI go in the right direction.

Try it out for a few weeks and take advantage of the changes you see to keep you motivated.


References:

  1. https://www.quora.com/What-are-compound-exercises
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Amino-acid-composition-in-g-100-g-of-whey-and-pea-protein-supplements_tbl1_330149933

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