After admiring his physique, I bumped into this Men’s Health article about how Jason lost 17 pounds in six weeks and how he grew all his muscles. It’s an eye opener to someone like me who loves sugar and spends 30 minutes doing only abs exercises. Jason’s entire routine takes just 35 minutes. But he does it six days a week, and the pictures show he is doing something very right. I love his comment in the article: If Statham’s workout is your model, you should understand that, at times during our talk, he referred to it as horrible, nauseating, bastard, murder, nightmare, and priceless, preceding each description with the word “f–king.”

Jason's muscles pop in Transporter 3

Statham’s Secrets of Superlean

Actor Jason Statham took on a brutal new training regimen and dropped 17 pounds in 6 weeks. So, what are you waiting for?

“He’s a bit lardy, isn’t he?” Jason Statham says in his gritty British voice, chuckling. He’s referring to the man in two pictures he’s holding, a pair of classic “before” shots, one from the front, one from the back. Indeed, the man in the photos has some extra dough, and not the green kind. There’s muscle there for sure, but no definition at all. Jason Statham isn’t ripping on just anyone: He’s the guy in the photos.

Jason Statham’s weight gain came the same way it does for most of us: a few too many beers and a couple of extra servings, compounded over time. Work out hard and you’ll crave calories as fuel at the same time you loathe the millstone they can form around your middle.

“I never gave a f–k about a calorie,” Statham says. “An apple? It’s good for me. I’d have five. Bananas? Eat the bunch.”

Statham was staying active at work, filming the shoot-’em-up War, in which he has his first fight scenes with a worthy adversary — Jet Li. But the pounds crept onto his torso and hung there like the remembrance of meals past.

Now Jason Statham brushes aside the ugly photos on the coffee table in his living room and gives me a dose of his current reality: He lifts up his shirt. He’s shredded — rumble-strip abs, cords in his chest, veins in his arms.

“That’s 17 pounds in 6 weeks, mate,” he says, and then plops down on his sofa again. “And that’s working out 6 days a week for, at most, about 35 minutes a day. I’ve never, ever gotten results like this before.”

That’s a bold statement from a man who used to be on the British Olympic diving team and lists mixed martial arts (that’s UFC-style fighting) as a hobby. In fact, he sounds like an infomercial. So what’s the secret?

Prepare to sweat. And hurt. And, well, eat. But only enough to stoke your fire, not smother it.

Jason in jail in Death Race


The Workout

If Statham’s workout is your model, you should understand that, at times during our talk, he referred to it as horrible, nauseating, bastard, murder, nightmare, and priceless, preceding each description with the word “f–king.”

What follows are his general guidelines and some sample exercises. For a typical week’s complete workout, go here.

He works out every day but Sunday with Logan Hood, a former Navy SEAL that runs Epoch Training (www.epochtraining.com). Saturdays are reserved for hour long sustained trail runs in the Hollywood Hills while the other 5 days are spent at 87Eleven, a full service action film company and stunt studio located in a converted warehouse near the Los Angeles airport. Hollywood stuntmen own and train at the unique facility. There are trampolines, climbing ropes, heavy bags, barbells, kettlebells, crash pads, and a complex apparatus of pullup bars.

There are only two real rules to the workout.
1. No repeats. “I haven’t had one single day in 6 weeks that has been a repeat,” he says. “Every single day has had a different combination of exercises. Obviously, you repeat exercises over the course of 6 weeks, but you’ll never do that workout you did on Thursday the 23rd of August again. It always changes, and that’s what keeps it so interesting.”

2. Record everything. Some workouts are timed, but all work is tracked so that intensity can be maximized. Heavy lifts are recorded so that percentages can be calculated and used in other workouts. “All of this is important,” Statham says. “If you want to get faster, stronger, and healthier you have to record and track progress. Making progress is the primary goal of the training I’ve been doing.”

he's the man with the abs

The workout consists of three stages.
Ten-minute warmup: Statham uses a Concept2 Rowing Machine (www.concept2.com)because it’s low-impact and works the cardiovascular system as well as all primary muscle groups. This is the easy part.

Ten minutes at medium intensity: This works the body and preps it for stage 3. There’s always variety. This portion of the workout consists of either:

1. Heavy lifting using compound movements like the front squat, deadlift, or power clean. Never more than five reps at a time.

2. Short circuits of various exercises with light weights.

3. Various carrying exercises with kettlebells or sandbags.

4. A progression of about 15 kettlebell exercises.

5. Various throws with medicine balls.

Interval training: This is the brutal final stage that “blows every gasket,” says Statham. “You’re crying for air. It redlines the heart into oblivion.” Again, variety is key — either different exercises, or one exercise done according to an interval structure. Here is a list of some of Statham’s exercises. Pick six to make a circuit.

Note: You may not have access to the equipment needed to do some of these. The point is to find a balance of total- body work, so you can pick six basic exercises you can do at home and go full-out. Statham does one six-exercise circuit five times. Rest for as long as you need between exercises. And know your limits.

The Eating Plan
Statham credits intelligent eating for his rapid weight loss. And he’s not starving: He downs 2,000 calories a day. For Statham the eating plan depends on the following execution, which he’s religious about (ahem, except for one night of beers a few weeks in).

1. No refined sugar or flour at all, ever. Bread and pasta are out, as are sweets of any kind. No fruit juices. No booze. “That’s the hardest part right there,” he says. His dessert every night is plain yogurt with fresh fruit.

2. If it goes down your throat, record it on paper. “This is the bible,” Statham says, holding up a black hardbound journal. He writes down everything he swallows, including water (he tries to drink 1 1/2 gallons a day — that’ll keep you feeling full). “Writing everything down makes it impossible for you to muck it up,” he says.

3. Spread out the calories. Statham has six small meals daily. The foods aren’t surprising — egg whites, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts, and protein shakes. But the 2,000-calorie limit is gospel.

Statham’s Circuit Picks:
Ball Slams
Pick up a 20-pound rubberized medicine ball, raise it above your head, and then smash it down on the floor as hard as you can. Do 20 reps.

Rope Climbs
Do 25-foot climbs using your arms, not your legs. Aim for five reps.

Pullups
Statham jumps from one pullup bar to another above it; it’s called “Dyno.”. But the traditional move still works your shoulders and back. Do 8 reps.

Snappers, or Whip Smashes
Attach 25 feet of heavy-gauge rope to something secure, like a fence or railing. With both hands, lift the rope above your head and use a whip-like motion to smash the rope against the floor. Do 20 reps.

Hanging Knee Raises
Hang from a pullup bar, bend your legs and curl your knees toward your chest, and then lower them. Work up to 20 reps.

Burpees
With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat, thrust your legs back, do a pushup, pull your legs back under, and jump as high as you can out of the squat position. Do 20 reps.

Bear Crawl
Walk on all fours, facedown, across the whole length of a basketball court. Go up and back three times.

Farmer Walk
Hold a heavy kettle bell in each hand, with your arms at your sides. March the length of the gym, and then march back. Do 3 reps.

Front Squats
Hold a barbell in front of your shoulders. Bend at the hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then push back up. Do 20 reps. Statham can do five at 1.25 times his body weight.

Rope Pulls
Tie 25- or 45-pound weight plates to a 50-foot length of rope. Pull the rope in until the weights reach you. Do 5 reps.

Weighted Stepups
Hold a kettle bell or dumbbell in each hand, step up onto a bench, and then step down. Do 20 reps.

Compound movements
Statham does bench presses, squats, or deadlifts with with about 75 percent of his one-rep max, and never incorporates them into a circuit. “My workout always changes. That keeps it interesting.”

There is a video here demonstrating some of these exercises.