Only Bobby Holland Hanton has been James Bond, Batman, the Green Lantern, and Thor on the big screen. That's a lot of responsibility for one man—and one body. Good thing he has broad shoulders. And powerful pecs. And bulging biceps. At six feet one, 190 pounds, Holland Hanton, a former member of the British national gymnastics team, is Hollywood's go-to superhero stunt double, stepping in when action sequences require a pro and the script says close-up. It takes full physical immersion. "You have to not only look like the actor," he says, "but walk and perform like him, too." Between projects, he stays fit with circuit-training workouts five times a week, then tailors his program to achieve a specific shape for each role—Daniel Craig's 007 is a lean, mean machine, which called for more cardio, while channeling Thor, a.k.a. Chris "Man Mountain" Hemsworth (as Holland Hanton dubbed him), required heavy lifting. "It's fairly easy for me to lose or put on weight," Holland Hanton says. "The difficulty is to gain size but stay lean." He's currently filming 2014's Jupiter Ascending, doubling for Channing Tatum, who has called the role one of the most physically challenging he's had. Perhaps Holland Hanton is to blame. "Once you get the part," he explains, "you work with the actors, training them, helping them sculpt the body they need."
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Role: James Bond in Quantum of Solace
Body Type: Toned, long, lean
Prep Time: Two months
Key Workout: Pool swims
Daniel Craig was beefy in 2006's Casino Royale, but the actor slimmed down for his second Bond flick. Holland Hanton, who is three inches taller than Craig, needed to be equally streamlined. "It was less about focusing on muscle groups and more about trying to be as lean as possible," he says. Holland Hanton took to the pool, alternating long-distance swims with sprint drills for an hour a day, five days a week. "It was full-on, very intense," he says.
Body Type: Massive and muscular
Prep Time: Two to three months
Key Workout: Upper-body moves with heavy weights
In trying to match Ryan Reynolds' cut physique, Holland Hanton succeeded a little too well. "I was too bulky," he says. "I found it difficult to move and make the stunts I was doing flow. But I had to go through that stage to figure out what was good and what didn't work for me." His routine included chest presses (130 pounds, 12 reps, 4 sets), shoulder presses (45-pound dumbbell in each hand, 12 reps, 4 sets), and biceps curls (50-pound dumbbell in each hand, 12 reps, 4 sets). He also consumed a lot of white potatoes and pasta, which are tough for the body to break down and enabled him to add 20 pounds to his frame.
Body Type: Lean with big biceps
Prep Time: Two months
Key Workout: Curl pyramids
Christian Bale worked hard to give Gotham's protector some serious guns—and so did Holland Hanton. Five or six times a week, he performed curl pyramids using a 10- or 15-pound piece of scaffolding tube instead of dumbbells. The stuntman and a partner passed the weight back and forth, doing one curl, then two, then three, up to ten and then back down to one. Additionally, Holland Hanton did five bottom half-curls (arms extended downward, then bent to parallel with the ground), five top half-curls (from parallel to vertical), followed by five full curls, repeating the set four times.
Body Type: "Man Mountain"
Prep Time: Four to five months
Key Workout: Upper-body circuit
Replicating the massive, six-foot-four Chris Hemsworth proved to be the body double's most difficult challenge to date. "He's a huge guy," says Holland Hanton, who gained 12 pounds and added an inch and a half to his biceps and two inches to his shoulders and chest. "I'm not naturally that big. I had to work a lot harder than I normally would." To develop overall muscle mass while staying lean, he did circuit workouts focusing on his upper body and adopted a high-protein, extremely low-carb diet. For the first two weeks, it was only 25 grams daily of non-starchy carbs like broccoli and spinach. "It made me tired and lethargic, but I wanted to achieve the look," he says. "The third week, I doubled my carb intake to 50 grams a day of mostly brown rice or sweet potatoes."
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The Stunt Double's Diet Plan
According to Holland Hanton, sculpting a specific physique is "20 percent training but 80 percent nutrition." That means eating multiple clean, high-protein meals a day, like he did to get ready for Thor.
Breakfast: Grilled turkey breast, two boiled eggs, broccoli, a handful of nuts, water, and green tea
Mid-morning meal: Grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables
Lunch: Grilled cod with avocado and a salad with a teaspoon of olive oil
Afternoon snack: A handful of nuts and a protein shake
Dinner: Grilled steak or tuna with a baked sweet potato and broccoli, carrots, and avocado drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil
Late-night snack: Grilled turkey breast
Carb Up: Once a week, Holland Hanton does a carb re-feed to shock his system. He'll eat four sweet potatoes during the day, a trio of bananas after training, and a bowl of brown rice along with the rest of his dinner. The change in diet prevents his body from "getting lazy" and encourages it to burn fat.
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What's In His Gym Bag?
In addition to the pads, wrist guards, and harnesses, Hollywood stunt double Bobby Holland Hanton also lugs gear, grooming products, and grub from gym to shooting location. Here, a few of the essential products he needs to pull off all those gasp-inducing stunts.
"I do a lot of jumping in training, and these shoes don't add any extra weight. I love them so much, I recently bought three pairs."
"It's very important to not have your T-shirt flapping about while practicing stunts. These are skintight. I also like that they have temperature-specific lines for hot and cold weather."
"When I'm filming, they layer on makeup and prosthetics to match the character. I may have to wear [the stuff] for up to 18 hours a day, which makes my skin dry and flaky. This face wash is gentle, doesn't irritate my skin, and leaves me moisturized."
"The food at craft services is ridiculous. I have to stay away from that. My nutritionist says it's best to eat real protein, like eggs or chicken, but when I'm on the go or need something quick, I'll reach for one of these two drinks."