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Robert Downey Jr’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

As a certified personal trainer, I always get asked, “how do I get to look like celebrity X?”

And the most common questions I get are about the exercise routines that some of the big superhero stars go through to get those ripped bodies.

One of the biggest transformations that we have seen in recent years has been Robert Downey Jr., who took on the character of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.

So, we spent a few weeks going through tons of social media posts and interviews where Robert Downey Jr. shared some details about his diet and exercises.

Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man Stats

  • Born: April 4, 1965
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 175 lbs

Robert Downey Jr. isn’t the most ripped celebrity in the Marvel Avengers world.

But for a man who is well into his 50s, he’s been able to achieve a whole-body transformation that is quite incredible.

The Iron Man Workout Routine

OK, now let’s take a look at Robert’s Iron Man workout.

He takes the approach of bodyweight circuit training, where he picks five to ten exercises to train and moves from one to the other after every set.

Robert Downey Jr. is also one of those guys who likes a bit of punishment by planning five sets of each exercise.

So, with about two minutes per set with a 30-second break, these workouts will take about 90 minutes to complete.

Monday: Legs

man at a gym using a leg press machine

The leg workouts heavily focus on keeping the movements slow and including some core workouts as well. And here’s exactly what a Monday will look like.

  • Slow bodyweight squat (5x8)
  • Leg press (5x12)
  • Hamstring curls (5x12)
  • Calf raises (5x15)
  • Leg raises (5x25)
  • Crunches (5x25)
  • Bicycle kicks (5x25)

Tuesday: Yoga And Cardio

bald man in a yoga position

Yes, yoga and cardio are important for men in their 50s as it’s a great way to increase fitness levels and maintain a strong physique.

Aim for 60 minutes of yoga to target all muscle groups and head on the treadmill for 20 minutes as a good cardio exercise.

Wednesday: Upper Body

man in a bench press machine at a gym

This is a total body routine, and we’ve seen a few videos of how intense he goes at these.

The great thing is that these are all compound exercise movements [1] that make your workouts more intense.

  • Shoulder press (5x12)
  • Standing Arnold press (5x12)
  • Romanian Deadlift (5x12)
  • Bodyweight pull-ups (5x20)
  • Lat pulldowns (5x12)
  • Bench press (5x12)

Thursday: Martial Arts

shirtless man boxing

If you’ve watched the Iron Man movies, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that Robert Downey trained in a Bruce Lee discipline known as Wing Chun.

It’s tough to learn and requires a lot of fitness and a strong physique, but it’s a great way to add some variety to your workout week.

Aim to do 60 to 90 minutes of martial arts to toughen up your body and learn how to through kicks and punches.

Friday: Full Body

man at home in a push up position

OK, here’s the last weight lifting day of the week, and it’ll be another tough hour or two at the gym. By targeting muscles all over the body, you’ll likely feel quite sore once you leave the gym.

  • Lateral raises with kettle bells (5x12)
  • Bodyweight squat (5x12)
  • Bodyweight push-ups (5x25)
  • Bent over rows (5x12)
  • Crunches (5x25)
  • Hanging leg raises (5x12)

Saturday/Sunday: Rest Days

OK, this is another important part of the Iron Man workout.

Your body needs rest periods to recover and build up new muscle tissue. It’s also important to rebuild strength so that you can go into another set of workouts and keep the pace up.

But make sure this is an active rest period where you do some walking and hiking to keep your muscles loose.

The Iron Man Workout Principles

robert downey jr. training outdoors with a trainer

Robert Downey Jr. has been working with personal trainer Brad Bose for many years.

We gathered from several interviews that there’s a heavy focus on circuit training and bodyweight exercises.

Much of that is probably down to the need for compound exercises as Robert Downey is quite older than his co-stars.

And the older you get, the more difficult it can become to build up muscle mass.

But looking at some topless photoshoots reveals that he’s made quite a difference on his muscles.

“It's hard to get out of the barrel. It's slippery around the edges, and people are happy to see you fall back in.” - Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr's Diet Plan

Here is a typical Iron Man workout diet plan for a day.

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with plant milk, bananas, and seeds; a portion of mixed fruit;
  • Snack:  Cup of unsalted nuts; a protein shake;
  • Lunch: Tofu stir fry with beans and lentils, or a large portion of brown rice or pasta
  • Snack: Protein shake
  • Dinner: Black bean veggie burger, sweet potato fries; a large portion of steamed vegetables

His Nutrition Principles

measuring tape on a weighing scale isolated in a purple background

So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the above workout routine requires a lot of energy.

And because Rober Downey is in his 50s, nutrition is even more important to get right.

There’s going to be quite a need for carbs to support that level of energy intake, and I would guess that he needs at least 2,600 calories per day. 

The other thing to point out is that Rober Downey has transitioned to a vegan diet since his involvement in the movie Dr. Dolittle [2].

That makes it a bit more difficult for protein intake, but it’s entirely possible to still get and remain ripped.

What Supplements Does He Take?

spilled bottle of capsules, and a spilled container of white powder

OK, there’s no magic supplement to look like Tony Stark, but there are two things you’ll need on a daily basis.

Protein Powder

Vegans are best off taking a blend of rice and pea protein to support recovery after workouts. Another option is hemp protein, which would give you a good amino acid profile.

Pre-Workout

Pre-workout supplements are ideal for raising your strength and reducing fatigue during workouts by just a few percent. But the effect of having the ability to lift more over weeks and months all adds up.

Are You Ready To Train Like Iron Man?

These are not pain-free workouts.

If you want to look like Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, even when you’re a lot younger, then you’ll have to put in the right amount of sweat and effort.

But with the right set of circuit training workouts and a strict and healthy diet, you can achieve some big physical changes in a matter of months.

Try this Iron Man workout out for yourself, and see if it worked out for you.


References:

  1. https://www.verywellfit.com/which-is-better-compound-or-isolation-exercises-3120718
  2. https://vegnews.com/2021/7/robert-downey-jr-nobell-foods-cheese

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