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Nutrition and Training with Henry Cavill

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By: 
Scott Welch

Scott Welch: I understand you have a background in rugby and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Did you ever incorporate any of those moves into your training?

Henry Cavill: When I was playing rugby, I was a young man in school, and I believe schoolboy rugby training has come a long way since then. But we were just doing the regular kind of training by being on the field with the ball. And we weren’t necessarily spending loads of time at the gym. But as far as Brazilian jiu-jitsu is concerned, having trained with Roger Gracie, yeah, I’ve tried to incorporate some of those things. But sometimes it can be tricky. As much as I love BJJ and the sport that it is and what it stands for, and what it feels like to do is fantastic, it’s not necessarily the most cinematic of sports or martial arts. It tends to look a lot like two people cuddling rather than fighting. And then one of them goes to sleep.*Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Scott Welch: This morning, I have to admit I tried the exact stack you use of the MuscleTech 100% Grass-Fed Whey mixed with blueberries and oatmeal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the vanilla flavour, so I had chocolate. Is that usually how you sort of put that breakfast together?

Henry Cavill: Yes, usually I go with the vanilla. The chocolate is still good with the berries and oatmeal, but it feels a little heavier for breakfast. I found that when it was winter, for some reason, the chocolate and berries and oatmeal was a fantastic combo. But in the summer, I prefer the 100% Grass-Fed vanilla with the oatmeal and berries.Scott Welch: In terms of training, obviously recovery on set is super important. And you obviously must have stunt actors and things that help you. But how often are you able to actually train when you’re filming versus not? I looked on Instagram, and I saw some really creative uses of ladders and things that you use on set. But how often do you get to train when you’re filming versus not?

Henry Cavill: It’s a good question, the question of able versus just forcing it in and making it happen. Two different things. And I do my utmost to get in four sessions a week, Monday to Friday. And if there’s a facility to train, either if I’ve set one up at my house, or if there’s one at the studio, I will use that and whether it be pre-dawn or whether it be post-work and just trying to get one in before going to bed, it’s an absolute necessity. And it’s very, very important.

Scott Welch: Now you have a huge amount of muscle mass. MUSCLE INSIDER does a lot of content about Arnold Schwarzenegger and some other people—Dorian Yates, another countryman in the UK. Have you ever experienced what Arnold had experienced where he had actually had to lose muscle mass for certain roles, and he had to take his weight down for Hollywood. Has that ever happened with you?

Henry Cavill: I haven’t experienced that yet. I mean, obviously Arnie had a fair bit more muscle mass than I have had. But it’s something which I’m toying with. The idea of it is always difficult because you go through—especially with traveling around a lot and not having a trainer all the time and things always being in flux—one can end up going through peaks and troughs of being in shape, or having the right kind of muscle mass or the right kind of lean muscle. And so all you’re doing is you’re targeting getting back into that shape for a role. Now that I’m starting to establish and set up more of a regular set of facilities for myself, no matter where I am in the world, it is going to make it easier for me to be finessing and toying with my physicality and where my body sits at. So there may indeed come a time when I’m going to try and drop a little bit of muscle and get super, super lean to look a certain way for a job. But it all depends on the job and it hasn’t happened yet, but it may very well happen in the future.Scott Welch: That brings me to another question about the ability for you to have all access to what you need. I know from watching The Rock and seeing some of the struggles that he goes through, and I’ve seen some actors that have movie trailers that have a gym inside. Do you have anything like that or have you had anything in the past like that?

Henry Cavill: I do not yet, but I’m getting those things set up and it’s a huge investment. But it’s something that I’ve come to realize is a worthwhile investment because with my physicality being so important to a lot of my roles, it’s something worth having.For example, setting up in the same way that The Rock—Dwayne—has. He has a marquee with all his gym equipment in it. And to have that outside your house. So either you get up early and you go to the gym before you get to work, or you get home, you can put your feet up and then go, “Right, I’m gonna go crush my workout,” and it’s right there. That is enormously helpful. And while I have nothing on that scale just yet, it’s definitely something that I’m investing into to make the whole thing a more efficient process.*Photo on right courtesy of Instagram.

Scott Welch: Now, injuries in the past. I read about an interesting injury you had: your hamstring. Any other injuries you’ve faced over the years?

Henry Cavill: The hamstring was probably the worst one. I did, however, have a partial tear of my LCL (Editor's Note: Lateral Collateral Ligament) during Brazilian jiu-jitsu, in fact, and that required a little bit of recovery, but nowhere near as bad as the hamstring. That was quite unpleasant. I didn’t like that.*Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Scott Welch: I saw you do Copenhagen planks. I had never even seen that exercise before. And I couldn’t help but see how you train, which was more of like a cross-functional training. Do you still do a lot of that throughout your week when you break up your training?

Henry Cavill: No, I don’t. That was enormously helpful for the hamstring recovery and building up all the small muscles around it. The Copenhagen plank, if I remember correctly, really focused on adductors, and it helped that enormously. And that was required for support with my sprinting and everything else; otherwise, the hamstring was going to take too much on it. And we wanted to rehab the hamstring without causing it any further damage or anything else around it either. And so that kind of stuff which Freddie Murray, my physio at the time, was taking me through was all essential towards the recovery of the hamstring.

Scott Welch: The UK has been a little bit behind on the sports nutrition side versus the United States. I mean, obviously, there are some great successful companies that are in the UK. When did you first get introduced to using sports supplements?

Henry Cavill: I would say the first time was introduced to using sports supplements was way back around Man of Steel when I was working with Mark Twight and Michael Blevins, who later became my trainer as well. And that was the first time I was really introduced to it in a big way. Of course, I’ve gone far deeper down that rabbit hole now. And especially not being quite the spring chicken that I was, it’s important to make sure that I have all of that supplementary support to make sure that my body is firing on all cylinders. And I’m gaining the most from all these hard workouts they do on top of the hard work.Scott Welch: MuscleTech has always been a company that’s rooted deep in science. What attracted you to working with that, because obviously, you being as famous as you are, you can have anything you want, but you choose to use the best. What made you decide to partner up with MuscleTech?

Henry Cavill: Well, it was two things. It was having a long and storied history in that company. And you know that they’re gonna go for it when it comes to making sure they’re going to take that next step. They’re going to take major steps to doing it, and the quality of ingredients was enormously important. And not only that, but the second thing was their idea of this strength redefined, which is that strength takes more than just muscle. And this is something which I’ve been trying to share with people across my fan base and my followers, which is that, yes, training very hard in the gym and having great trainers and everything is fantastic. And it really helps towards stuff. But it’s not the key ingredient. The key ingredient is something that we all have in us, and that is that strength, that perseverance, that determination, and things like that we have available to all of us. And I love that MuscleTech, which is this storied supplement company, is saying that it’s not necessarily about muscles; it’s about what you have inside first that leads to the muscles.

And here’s a whole bunch of fantastic quality ingredients with many access points—whether it be their elite level, whether it be their mid-level, whether it be their starter level—which makes it easier for people to think, “You know what? I can do it too.” And I think that’s the key thing: just giving people that sense of belief and keying into that inner strength of theirs. And when we started speaking and MuscleTech had their branding and that idea and that message which they were sending out, that’s the kind of thing which I think is important, and has proven to be very important, especially over the recent trials and tribulations we’ve been going through with COVID.*Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Scott Welch: What is your favorite flavor of the Amino Build for your essential amino acids?

Henry Cavill: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite flavor. That’s the kind of thing where the watermelon is one which I’ve been doing a lot of just because it’s the one I had on tap recently. And I like that it’s refreshing. It’s the kind of thing which, when you’re working out—I was working out in Florida a lot recently as well; it’s 900 degrees, just sweating—you don’t really want something which is too sweet and heavy, but you do want something which has a little bit of sweetness to it. And the watermelon one works really well for me.*Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Scott Welch: Have you ever experimented with the ketogenic diet or anything like that? Because obviously looking at your breakfast plan and having the incorporation of carbohydrates that you do, you don’t shy away from having carbs in your body. I think it’s a smart move. But have you ever experimented with any other types of diets like keto diets?

Henry Cavill: I mean, many, many moons ago, I played around with this before I was sort of going through very physical stages and training very hard. I haven’t tried it recently. And the trick with that is just making sure that your stomach can handle it. And it works for some people. I haven’t tried it myself, as I say, but one thing I have learned is that if you find something that works for you, keep on doing that. And every single body is different. They respond in different ways. And indeed, that response will change over the years as the body ages, as it gets used to things or as it adapts. So it has different external influences on it. It changes, and so if it works for you, then yeah, go for it.Scott Welch: What have you done differently in your training? Obviously, you’re 38 years of age, but as you’ve aged, have you changed any of your training from how you trained maybe 10 years ago?

Henry Cavill: Well, how I trained 10 years ago was with a different trainer. And it’s a very different style of training. It was more sort of functional fitness and not CrossFit style, but it was kind of the pre-CrossFit style. And how I’m training now is all about creating an aesthetic. I’m now also implementing sprints in to create a bigger engine as well, because the engine is going to benefit my work life, having that fitness in-built. But also, the kind of training I do now is a lot of the bodybuilding-type stuff that is useful for work because it can create that certain aesthetic without exhausting me before a long shoot day. And that kind of stuff. If you’re doing exhausting workouts and a long shoot day, it’s maintainable for a short period of time. But if I’m going from job to job to job over a two-year period, I need to make sure that I can be getting my training in without crushing myself so I can actually do the thing which I’m supposed to be there for, which is performing a realistic character entertaining the audience.

*Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Scott Welch: Any favourite bodybuilders that you’ve followed over the years? Any that inspired you and how you’ve given it in the gym?

Henry Cavill: It’s difficult to say there are any, particularly. I wouldn’t want to name anyone. Sure, I think all bodybuilders. One thing is that I’ve learned a lot of respect for them and what they do. To get to that level, to put on that kind of mass, to have that kind of control and discipline, and then to get that lean—that is insane. Like, the level of lean is the crazy bit while maintaining that size. And it’s extraordinary. I went to watch Dany Garcia, my manager, perform and do a show, and to see it in real life is enormously inspirational. To see these ladies up onstage, who were the definition of musculature and the level of lean on them was extraordinary. And it was like nothing else I’ve seen before, and that was inspirational. But I wouldn’t want to name any one particular person. But for those people out there who haven’t tried it, it is beyond difficult to get to that level, and my hat’s off to them for sure.Scott Welch: Last question: Any time to have a post-workout Guinness? Does that ever fit into your regimen in the off-season?

Henry Cavill: In the off-season? Absolutely, depending if there’s any rugby going on as well. That definitely helps. But I do love to maintain balance between work training and lifestyle. There’s one thing that sitting at home and staring at the walls has taught me is that life is here to enjoy and to live. And I want to live it healthily, but I also want to have fun doing it. And so it’s about finding that balance. And so absolutely, I think there’s always room for pleasure in that. Absolutely.

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Some photos courtesy of Iovate Health Sciences. *Additional photos and/or videos courtesy of Instagram, YouTube or Muscle Insider Magazine, Inc.