Chris Pratt: Staying the course

Chris Pratt was the fat boy who found fame by shedding the blubber and becoming an action hero. Now his inspirational story has moved on and the challenge is to stay consistent and find new ways to stick with it – ways which you can use today.

Unless, he’s in a Western, you’d be hard pressed to find Chris Pratt outside a movie that isn’t lavishly crammed with flashy special effects. It comes with the territory of being an action hero, which is something he’s chased for some time. “They are physical, and that’s part of the fun for me,” he explains, smiling when asked about the Marvel and Jurassic World movies. “That is an aspect of both characters that appeals to me. It is a lot of work to prepare, and a lot of work to make sure you can pull off the stunts and pull them off safely – although I still seem to end up getting my scrapes and bruises (laughs). They’re so rewarding, they’re dream-come-true roles.” Knowing what his job demands of him means he can’t let the physique slip, which is why we asked him what his new tactics might be.

Chris versus Chris

Life likes to imitate art it seems. Take the latest Avengers movie, where Chris Pratt tries to lord it over Chris Hemsworth in a verbal clash to see who would be the best Chris. And if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know the Australian won the battle, but Pratt isn’t taking it lying down with his next role. “It’s bulking season for me right now, I start filming Cowboy Ninja Viking in September, so I’ve been bulking for that,” he says, unaware of the irony of playing a Viking like the Australian Chris. “That’s based on a graphic novel and will be really fun – the script is amazing and it has been a passion project for years. I’ll start to lean up before filming. I find bulking the more enjoyable out of the two, like most people. I was cutting/maintaining for Jurassic World and as Star-Lord, so it’s nice to have a little session of bulking – getting that red meat in more consistently. I’m still being disciplined however, trying to bulk healthily and with some restraint,” he says with a laugh that suggests he’s on a dirty bulk.

If you can, stick to the 80/20 rule of good to bad foods, because being big doesn’t have to mean being unhealthy.

The Diet Seesaw

Like traditional bodybuilders, Pratt is used to making his weight seesaw up and down depending on his role. Doing it for so long has given him specific experience.

“When I’m cutting, there’s no alcohol and we’re specific with the calories and monitor the macros,” he says with confidence as if he’s a physique athlete leaning up for a show. “It is very planned-out. There’s no dairy and breads and nothing fried, which is upsetting. It’s multiple, well-planned meals a day, with a line-up of oatmeal, grilled chicken, eggs, steak, kale, spinach, fruit, raw nuts, yams, leafy green salads, healthy fish. Seriously, the diet is the hardest thing for me, I really enjoy the workouts and find them a lot more appealing. Both when I’m cutting and bulking I try to eat natural, wholesome foods.”

Sage advice because you don’t need to be unhealthy if you’re muscle bound, the goal is to match on the inside what you have on the outside.

Finding balance

He’s been fit enough for long enough to know there’s no going back, which is undoubtedly reinforced by the giant paychecks muscles bring. When asked to reflect on his journey to maintain the look that made him famous, he sings the fit life’s praises.

“It has been a great change – I’m so much more energetic and I sleep better,” he explains. “My skin and my spirit are better. It has helped my perspective with health – I do feel the benefits. My body feels more useful, and it has been great for my general wellbeing. It has definitely opened me up to different ways of pushing myself – from cycling, to running, sprint training, weight training, swimming and CrossFit.”

Consistency is king

Sticking to a healthy regime for a long enough spell can make you realize how interconnected everything is.

“What I’ve learnt as well is that being in shape is really about doing a bit every day and then staying consistent with how you train and how you eat and drink,” he says. “You understand the consequences of your decisions when it comes to food. When you’re in shape or trying to get in shape, you really do think about how eating a pizza with 1000 plus calories in five minutes, the effort it takes to burn those same calories – and the amount of things you can eat with those 1000 plus calories? That said, it is healthy to indulge and not feel bad about yourself when you indulge, but I think it is about monitoring that if you’re trying to get fit. Try to stay on the ball.”

To help with this, make sure to keep a diary of the food you eat and use it to record how it makes you feel while also taking note of your weight. This will give you evidence of the impact of these foods and activities.

Going the distance

Complacency is the enemy of consistency, which means if you do the same workouts using the same weights, your body won’t maintain – it’ll decline. Pratt knows this and has developed his own words of wisdom on the subject.

“Most people go up and down with weight, especially as they get older,” he says. “If you’ve got a health-related goal, the main thing is to make sure that it’s a goal focused on self-control and consistency. Instead of “after six weeks I’ll be at this specific weight”, think more like, “I will have six weeks of being consistent and exercising self-control”. Think of it as a lifestyle choice that will have benefits and see it as beneficial for health, but also as wellbeing on every level, you know? I think that’s a good approach for real long-lasting health.”

Words to live by, regardless of your fitness ambitions.

TRAIN

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