I want to look like [actor/celebrity/picture], how should I diet and work out?

What’s important to understand about celebrity / movie workouts is that they are promotional fluff pieces that are rarely an accurate representation of everything the individual actually did. They lack information about an individual’s nutrition, recovery protocol, prior training history and other important factors, such as potential steroid usage, having everything tightly controlled by a trainer, and having far more time in the day to dedicate to training, eating, and recovering than an average joe. Take these articles with a gallon of salt.

Also important is that the person with your goal body may be genetically very different from you. They likely have different bodily proportions, such as limb or torso length, and different muscle insertion points than you do. As an example, in this image you can see the difference between high and low bicep insertions. There is nothing that the bodybuilder on the left can do to make his biceps look like the bodybuilder on the right, and vice-versa. It may be that you can never look exactly like your goal body.

The best way to approach this is to start by evaluating your goal body its degree of muscularity and its degree of leanness. A great example for comparison is Brad Pitt as he looked in Fight Club versus Brad Pitt as he looked in Troy.

For his role in Fight Club, Pitt was not all that muscular, but rather is mostly just lean so that the definition of his muscles shows through. In Troy, by comparison, Pitt’s physique has moved in the opposite direction – he clearly has a higher bodyfat percentage, but he is also more muscular. Running with this example, if your goal body was Fight Club, your dial for “Lean” would need to be turned up much higher than your dial for “Muscular”.

Viewing your goal body in this way takes the mysticism out of what you need to do to get there. The reality is that there is no actual Secret behind what actors / celebrities / others do to get the bodies they have. Brad Pitt did not apply any different fundamental principles of training for the part of Achilles than Chris Hemsworth did for ThorHugh Jackman for Wolverine, Christian Bale for Batman, Tom Hardy for Bane, or any other you can name. They simply trained in line with the goal, until they reached the level of muscularity and leanness they needed to be. Then their genetic makeup determined what that muscularity/leanness looked like when they were done.

If you have a certain person you want to look like, you can train in any of the many ways that have been proven to build muscle and/or lose fat, and you will get similar results. Carrying the example forwards, there is no such thing as a specific “Look Like Brad Pitt in Fight Club” routine, nor is there a specific “Look Like Brad Pitt in Troy” routine. Nothing that Brad Pitt did while training to star in Troy was uniquely tailored to creating that physique. In other words, you do not need a uniquely tailored training program to look (as close as you can get to) like some other person – you just need to be similarly muscular, and similarly lean.

The major difference between them and you is going to be the time it takes – it will likely take you longer if for no other reason than you will not be able to tightly control everything that goes into your regimen as they can or dedicate as much of your life to training. Keep in mind when comparing yourself that their physique is their livelihood, and yours is not.