The latest issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine has a featured article on Batman Vs. Superman covering the physique transformations of Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot.
Regarding Ben Affleck, who worked with his Town trainer, Walter Norton Jr, highlights include:
After consulting with Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder, they decided they didn’t want Affleck to look at all like he did in The Town. And they definitely didn’t want him to look like Christian Bale or Michael Keaton. They were thinking bigger. Much bigger.
In fact, initially some within the studio even had the idea that Ben could transform himself into a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. “We got a good chuckle out of that,” says Norton. “You’re talking about maybe the best body of all time.” Eventually, more logical heads prevailed, and the target look for Affleck became an MMA heavyweight fighter.
“With Batman, we had to get a physically imposing, powerful look,” says Norton. “And that takes a lot of reps. You have to be in the weight room day after day after day, so it certainly was a process.”
For 15 months, Norton and Affleck trained anywhere from 90 minutes to 2½ hours a day, typically six days on and two days of.
"We often worked out at 5 in the morning, or late at night.”
When filming for Batman v Superman finally began in Detroit in 2014, Affleck worked out daily in a three-car garage converted into a gym, using a hybrid program that was equal parts bodybuilding exercises and functional movements.
“Because we knew we had to train for such a long period of time, you’ve got to be a little more joint-friendly,” says Norton. “But you’ve got to add muscle, so there was certainly an aesthetic muscle-building element to it. He got very good at chinups and pullups. He’s very good at inverted rows. He added a lot of weight to his glutes and his legs that he hadn’t had before. His calves got a lot bigger. Certainly he’s got a great frame.”
Affleck’s size as the Dark Knight was a formidable 228 pounds, with a mere 7.9% body fat. And to make sure Affleck didn’t balloon to 250 pounds, he enlisted renowned nutritionist Rehan Jalali to design his diet. A typical day of eating: egg whites and oatmeal in the morning; salad, double protein, and vegetables at lunch; fish or chicken at dinner with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli. “We were seeing that in our sleep,” notes Norton. “Rehan designed a great diet, and Ben followed it to the letter.”
Henry Cavill re-teamed with Man of Steel trainer Mark Twight:
Cavill spent his Christmas holiday in Salt Lake City at the gym — eating a lot, sleeping a lot (usually nine hours a night), and training a lot. The target body type this time around was similar to what it was for the first film, only larger. (So it goes with sequels.) Cavill came to Twight early on and said, “Look, I want to be bigger and stronger.” It was music to Twight’s ears — and probably Snyder’s as well.
“In [Man of Steel], Henry didn’t have another superhero to be next to, apart from General Zod,” says Twight. “In this one, because he was going to be next to Batman a lot, the general consensus was that he needed to be a little bit bigger.”
“His diet was in the 5,000-calories-a-day range, which is typical for anyone of his size in the gaining phase,” says Twight. “He still ate relatively clean, but he loved it because he had a lot of latitude.”
They paired this nutrition plan with grueling two-hour workouts in the gym. Pretty soon, Cavill’s measurables rose. “Six months into Batman v Superman,” says Twight, “his numbers were through the roof.” His deadlift neared 500 pounds. He was front-squatting 335 pounds. He did a lot of shoulder work, because there’s never been a superhero who didn’t have broad shoulders and a narrow waist. With Twight’s assistant, Michael Blevins, Cavill even spent time doing gymnastics work, like tumbles and handstands.
“We hit a lot of PRs compared with [training for the first movie],” says Twight. “And some of that, too, was not only improved physical ability but also the psychological changes of being confident enough to go after a heavier weight. You know, he was willing to take a little bit more of an aggressive attitude to the weight. And he was so much more physically capable on this one.”
The result was impressive. On Man of Steel, Cavill got up to 199.8 pounds and was cut down to 190 pounds for shooting. On Batman v Superman, Cavill topped out at 220 pounds and was walking around at 202 pounds, with 7 or 8% body fat. Which means he gained an extra 12 pounds of muscle compared with his shape for the first movie — when he was already rather big.
Twight also trained Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman:
Twight calls this nine-month process — including three months with her, one on one, in Tel Aviv — “challenging and immensely satisfying.” One of the primary challenges: convincing the slender 5'10" Gadot that it was OK to add a significant amount of weight. Twight says it required her to make a transformation in self-image and body image.
“Anytime you present someone with a really radical change, it’s hard to get them to buy in 100% to the idea,” says Twight. “So we took it in incremental steps. We went from a model to a high jumper, in terms of an athletic look. And then once she was comfortable with that, then we’d go a little bit further.”
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" has a March 25, 2016 release starring Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Ray Fisher as Cyborg with Callan Mulvey, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch and Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves.
Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.