Actor Chris Pratt is only the most recent Hollywood hunk to join a long tradition of handsome stars bulking up to play superheroes on the big screen. For his role in Guardians of the Galaxy, which premieres on Aug. 1, the 6-foot-2-inch actor lost 70 pounds—quite the shift from his last big role in Delivery Man, in which he played a doughy lawyer. Pratt showed off his new, ripped physique in an Instagram selfie, which he called "douchey." But if you ask us, his body transformation—and others like it—is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Herein, a look at flab-to-abs transformations from Pratt, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Evans, Andrew Garfield, and others.
Actor: Chris Pratt The Last Role He Got Buff For: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) On His Transformation: "I had lost the weight for Moneyball and for Zero Dark Thirty all on my own, without the help of any professional people guiding me through it," Pratt told Entertainment Weekly. "And both times, as soon as I got done, I crashed hard and gained a bunch of weight back. But this time I didn't, because I did it right. I worked with a nutritionist who was like, 'Listen, you're eating 2,000, 1,500 calories a day. You need to be eating 4,000 calories a day, you need to be eating 5,000 calories a day. You'll burn them all off, but you need to keep your metabolism going.' So now I can actually have a beer if I want to, or I can eat something bad if I want to, and I'm not going to immediately gain fat because I'm not starving myself. I'm just burning the fires really hot.''
Actor: Hugh Jackman The Last Role He Got Buff For: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) On His Transformation: "It's too hard to get in shape from scratch, and it's easier to stay in shape than to get in shape," Jackman said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. For Wolverine I really up the training. Right now I do about an hour of training a day and ride my bike everywhere. But I do about two-and-a-half hours of training a day when getting ready for the role, and foodwise I eat more, but I eat a lot stricter. Seventy percent of your physique is your diet, and diet is the biggest change that happens."
Actor: Andrew Garfield The Last Role He Got Buff For: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) On His Transformation: "If only I was actually Spider-Man, I wouldn't have to do any exercises—I would just get bitten by a spider and be incredibly strong," the young actor told Yahoo! "But I'm a human and that's unfortunate because I have to go to the gym 18 times a day in order to have any semblance of looking like a superhero."
Actor: Chris Evans The Last Role He Got Buff For: Captain America: Winter Solider (2014) On Their Body Transformation: "My body wants to be about 170 to 180 pounds, so to get it to 200 pounds, I have to eat a lot," he told Glamour UK. "It's not so much what you're eating, it's the quantity. Aside from the weight training, which is brutal—although when you walk out of the gym you feel great—it's in between the workout that's tough, just eating, eating, eating. It sounds pleasant, but it's not pizza and doughnuts, it's just bland chicken. Very lean, dry, simple food that provides protein. You always feel bloated and uncomfortable."
Actor: Chris Hemsworth The Last Role He Got Buff For: Thor: Dark World (2013) On Their Body Transformation: "It wasn't until Thor that I started lifting weights. It was all pretty new to me," Hemsworth admitted in an interview with Men's Health. He also stressed the importance of eating a lot of protein. "I feel as if I've been busy, but all I've been doing is eating all day. Eating when you're not hungry and taking in that amount of food is exhausting."
Actor: Henry Cavill The Last Role He Got Buff For: Man of Steel (2013) On Their Body Transformation: "I'm not eating 5,000 calories a day anymore. I was a lot bigger as Superman. A lot bigger. I'm not saying how much," Cavill told Details. "It's modesty about the weight—I've always been worried about my weight—but I also don't want to invite that debate: Henry weighs this, so he's the perfect Superman. Or, Henry doesn't weigh this, and therefore he's not believable in the role."
Actor: Robert Downey Jr. The Last Role He Got Buff For: Iron Man 3 (2013) On Their Body Transformation: "I'm required to say that I was doing Tracy Anderson training," Downey Jr. said in an interview. "I hate to say it, but Don Cheadle is actually in better shape than I am and he's more physically capable, but I'm not going to let it stay like that. I want there to be no question that the dialogue between Don and I on who is more fit is going to end by the time we do Iron Man 17. By then we'll both be old guys jacked up on growth hormone."
Actor: Christian Bale The Last Role He Got Buff For: The Dark Knight Rises (2012) On His Transformation: "I will adjust for what is needed," said Bale of his famous swings from buff to lean, "but only if I have quite an obsession about that role." He must have been obsessed with this one. Bale, who'd starved himself to get lean for The Machinist, put on 40 pounds of muscle through a diet of chicken, tuna, and lean vegetables—and working out for three hours with a trainer every day.
Actor: Ryan Reynolds The Last Role He Got Buff For: Green Lantern (2011) On His Transformation: "If I'm preparing for a film role I'll mainly lift weights," Reynolds said. "There's also a difference between doing aesthetic training to achieve a certain look and functional training, which I do if I'm preparing for a stunt-heavy film to help me avoid getting hurt."
Actor: Gerard Butler The Last Role He Got Buff For: 300 (2007) On His Transformation: "I wanted to look really strong," the Scottish star told Men's Health. "I've seen so many actors play these kinds of roles, and you see all this equipment on either a big belly or skinny little arms. You know that every bead of sweat falling off your head, every weight you've pumped—the history of that is all in your eyes. That was a great thing, to put on that cape and put on that helmet, and not have to think, Shit, I should have trained more. Instead, I was standing there feeling like a lion."