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.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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. 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.
“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
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 .
What Supplements Does He Take?
OK, there’s no magic supplement to look like Tony Stark, but there are two things you’ll need on a daily basis.
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, according to a study published in the journal Plants .
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. And my experience as a personal trainer has shown that people can get to their goals faster with a high-quality pre-workout.
Has Fitness Impacted Robert's Mental Health?
Robert Downey Jr.'s fitness journey has certainly impacted his mental health and recovery from addiction.
Embracing a disciplined workout regime, he found a constructive outlet for stress and a path to emotional stability. This physical transformation played a crucial role in his comeback, demonstrating the profound interconnection between physical fitness and mental resilience.
His story is an inspiring testament to the power of fitness to overcome personal challenges and foster overall well-being.
Benefits of Incorporating Martial Arts into Fitness Regimes
Incorporating martial arts, like Wing Chun, practiced by Robert Downey Jr., into fitness regimes offers multifaceted benefits.
It not only improves physical strength, agility, and endurance but also sharpens mental focus and discipline. This holistic approach to fitness fosters a deeper mind-body connection, enhancing mental clarity and emotional balance.
Martial arts also instill self-defense skills, boosting confidence and self-awareness, making it a comprehensive workout for both physical prowess and mental fortitude.
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