With the new movie "Green Zone" in theaters, men everywhere are going to have new motivation to work out. The film’s star, Matt Damon, has a lean, muscular build that is the new ideal for men, which trumps the traditional bodybuilder look.
How should your training differ if you're going after this look? What's the best approach? We caught up with Travis Vowell — the personal training manager at Crunch 38th Street, the same gym Matt Damon trains at — to get his advice on recreating this body type and the strategies involved in the Green Zone workout.
Green Zone Training
Travis Vowell: Since Green Zone is an action-packed military movie, I would structure a boot-camp style routine. This type of workout combines strength exercises with bursts of cardio to get the chiseled look like Matt Damon had for this film.
AM: Can you give us a sample of what a workout in this program would look like?
TV: A boot-camp style workout would consist of high-intensity running (upward of 85 percent heart rate reserve) and lots of push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, squats, and lunges. And these are all exercises that use very little equipment, so readers can easily do them at the gym or at home. And with spring fast approaching, I would also incorporate some hiking over rough terrain with a heavy pack. A backpack full of books or jugs of water will suffice in case you don't own your own military gear. Hiking is one of the best ways to strengthen and tone the legs while burning some serious calories.
AM: For someone aiming for a muscular physique like that of Matt Damon in Green Zone, how often would you recommend they train in the gym each week and how long would each session last?
TV: Depending on your initial fitness level, I would dedicate a minimum of one hour, five days a week in the gym. This look is no joke, so be ready to put in a lot of time and energy for quick results.
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Green Zone Recovery
AM: Outside of the gym, are there any recovery techniques that you recommend to boost results from a program?
TV: Sleep. Honestly, when you are pushing yourself to the limit physically, nothing will benefit you more for recovery than a good night's sleep. And if you are a movie star, a daily massage wouldn't hurt.
AM: To get into the kind of shape that Matt Damon was in for this movie, what type of diet would you recommend a client follow? Just how important is the role of nutrition in developing this kind of body?
TV: It depends on your starting weight and fitness level, but no matter what, a balanced diet is always the best option. I would start with a 60-20-20 ratio, [which is] 60 percent carbs, 20 percent protein and 20 percent fat. In the end, nutrition will be the No. 1 determining factor when it comes to obtaining your fitness goals.
Green Zone Results
AM: If someone came to you and was in a time crunch and wanted to get results as fast as possible, as is often the case with movie stars who are preparing for a role, what would you recommend? Is there anything they can do in the short-term that would really help speed results up?
TV: I would never recommend anything unhealthy to my clients, so setting a realistic time frame is important right from the start. I would structure a routine that would require "two a days" at least three times a week. For example, we would train Monday to Friday at 7 a.m., and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday we would also add a cardio assignment in the evenings.
AM: Are there any supplements that you would recommend in order to get better results from this type of training plan?
TV: I would suggest a couple of key supplements to put the client in the best position for success. Everyone should be taking a multivitamin, especially those working out vigorously. I would also recommend NO7 Rage, a preworkout mix that you drink. It will give you an extra boost of energy during the workout allowing for more intense exercise. I would also take a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), which is a postworkout aid to help the muscles recover. Crunch offers a wide range of dotFIT supplements to help get you started.
AM: Finally, if you could give our readers who are unable to dedicate a large amount of time each day to training three pieces of advice to replicate the look that Matt Damon had in Green Zone, what would it be?
TV: I would say:
Find more time. Honestly, you aren't going to look like that with 10 minutes a day. [You need] a minimum of one hour, five days a week.
Change your diet. If you are looking to quickly start seeing changes in your body, the first place to start is your diet.
Total body circuit training. You get the most bang for your buck when you combine resistance with cardio.