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May 09, 2021 10 min read

We all remember when they announced Ben Affleck was going to play Batman, there was a lot of confusion and doubt that he’d be able to pull the role off, but when the time finally came, he blew it out of the water.

A lot of his ability to knock this role out of the park was looking the part. He spent almost two full years hitting the gym to get the perfect physique for the crime-fighting billionaire. If you’re looking to get built and cut like the super genius martial arts master, then read on to discover his secrets.

Batman DC Multiverse Series action figure standing in front of a Gotham City backdrop


Ben Affleck’s idea of Batman was closer to an MMA fighter than the 90’s style superhero with their massive muscles and three-foot thick necks. This approach meant that he was going to be focusing on building well-defined muscle while keeping a slim and agile frame.

This kind of training requires a lot of bulking and cutting, it also calls for an insane amount of food and time. Ben Affleck worked on his Batman body almost every single day of the week for over six hundred days. He kept his diet tight and he kept his hands on the weights

The way he dove in headfirst shows up a lot about what it really takes to tighten up your body and get shredded. He worked with a personal trainer and almost totally turned his life around 180-degrees. His training for this role is a great one to study for getting cut because he needed to eventually look strong enough to go toe to toe with Superman himself. A convincing performance, in this case, includes looking the part.

The Diet

To get his body looking and feeling right, Ben Affleck’s diet was easily the most important part of the entire process. Anybody that spends any amount of time in the gym on the regular will know that their body is going to be constantly burning through and reappropriating their food.

If you’re going to even think about trying to pursue a physique like this, you’re going to want to start thinking about how your diet looks. The best place to begin is from a foundation of knowledge.

What Does Your Body Need

Your body has three main nutrients that it uses for keeping it happy and healthy. Your body needs energy, insulation, and building blocks, and especially so when you’re working out as much as you’re going to be when following the Ben Affleck workout routine.

Your energy is going to come primarily from carbohydrates. Your body uses glucose to power itself, when you’re feeling lethargic, you’re probably either not getting enough sleep or you’re not getting enough energy. This is why so many tips for getting through a long workday include having some fruit or some starchy foods for a quick boost of energy.

Your body is always delighted to get a little bit of a boost to get yourself going. It’s a lot like having your computer plugged in or putting gas in your car. This aspect of your diet is criminally underrated when it comes to fad diets or advice from armchair nutritionists. You’re not going to have the mental fortitude or the physical energy to get through your workouts.

Striking a healthy carbohydrate balance is going to make or break your diet. If you get too carb-happy, your body is going to convert all of your unused glucose into fat cells, but if you’re depriving yourself of the good stuff, then you’re going to feel lethargic and you’re not going to have the energy to get anything done.

Useful Fats

In your journey to shed the pounds and show off your muscle, then you’re probably going to start avoiding fats like the plague. You should know that your body needs a little bit of fat to operate properly. Your brain and body need fatty acids to run well and they can’t make these kinds of fats on their own.

Your body also needs fats to absorb essential nutrients and vitamins like Vitamin A and Vitamin B. In fact, those two vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning that your body absolutely will not be able to absorb them into your body without them.

Protein Power

The most important part of your diet is going to be protein. Your body, from tip to toe, is made out of protein.

This is usually what people mean when they say “you are what you eat.” Your body takes all of your protein and uses it to rebuild and create cells within itself.

Protein is going to be especially important for folks that are going to be trying to build muscle. The entire process of building muscle is all about breaking your body down and building it back up, and protein is going to facilitate that. If you’re not watching the amount of protein your body is taking in, then you’re leaving gains on the table and wasting your time.

Protein shakes and protein-rich meals are going to be the key to success in your fitness journey, so take this part of your diet seriously if you don’t want to be spinning your wheels.

muscle building foods

How Affleck Does It

Ben Affleck didn’t have to figure this all out on his own, he did all of this work with a nutritionist based out of LA named Rehan Jalali. Jalali is most well known for his “six-pack” workout and diet regimen. Affleck did his work with him because he was more than just some random nutritionist schmuck.

Not only is Jalali famous for his “six-pack” routine, but he’s also the President of the Supplement Research Foundation. Rehan Jalali is also recognized nationally as a Certified Sports Nutritionist. He’s put in the work to get the certification and knowledge that it takes to prove that he’s able to push his clients to the next level with the most cutting-edge information.

They worked together and settled on a diet that worked for Ben Affleck’s body specifically. You’re probably not going to be able to follow this exactly because everybody’s needs are different, but there’s a lot to learn from seeing how Ben Affleck did things. Starting from the broadest strokes, they ended up making some sweeping bans on certain kinds of foods.

For example, they cut out dairy. Dairy has a decent amount of protein and it’s a great source of vitamins and minerals that you need, but it’s also relatively fatty and full of sugar and carbs. All of this could technically make it a good way to get a quick hit of energy in, but there are foods that are much more efficient that you can rely on.

In fact, they ended up stuffing his diet with those foods in place of something easy to overdo like dairy. It’s much better to get your carbs and vitamins from things like oatmeal, whole grains, and leafy greens. These foods have all of the benefits that dairy would have minus any of the detriments.

The most obvious of which is going to be the fact that people don’t tend to be oatmeal intolerant like what tends to happen with dairy in adults. Now that the carbs are checked off, we should look at where he found his protein. Protein is, after all the most important part of his diet since his goal was to become incredibly shredded.

He would eat about six times a day, and pretty much every meal he ate would include lean proteins like salmon, chicken, turkey, and eggs. All of that good stuff doesn’t just provide his body with building blocks for more muscle, it’s also an excellent way to suppress your hunger when you’re trying to totally retool your diet.

A good rule of thumb for a diet like this is to watch the balance of nutrients you have coming into your body. Rehan Jalali fine-tuned Ben Affleck’s diet down to some pretty specific percentages. They had Affleck eating about 35% lean protein, 45% carbohydrates, and 20% essential fats.

Now that we know that’s going on at a larger scale we can zoom in on the details of his diet. = The six meals Ben Affleck would eat have been broken down pretty clearly during interviews with Jacked Gorrila. Ben Affleck tells them all about what a normal day of meals would look like for him.

Meal #1 (Pre Workout):

He’d kick things off by getting his fatty acids in and he’d prime his body for a hard workout by throwing back some protein.

  • Fatty Acid supplements and a protein shake

Meal #2 (Post Workout):

After his workout, he takes some time to really refuel. His breakfast is full of lean protein, foods that are high in carbs to re-energize himself after expending all of his energy in the gym, and he even makes sure to top himself off with a little bit of flaxseed oil.

  • egg whites
  • oatmeal (1 cup)
  • banana
  • flaxseed oil (1 tbsp)

Meal #3:

This meal is there to keep his hunger down and get his energy up before entering the home stretch of his day. A simple protein bar is enough to get your mind off of your hunger and it’s also a good way to make sure you’re getting all of your protein in before the day ends.

  • Protein bar

Meal #4:

The last three meals of the day are just making up for the increased energy demands of your body as you start building muscle. This fourth meal happens around lunchtime and it’s a lot like breakfast, all of your nutrients are covered and it’s a great way to get your energy levels up.

  • chicken breast (baked or grilled)
  • medium sweet potato (cooked)
  • flaxseed oil (1 tbsp)

Meal #5:

This meal bridges the gap to dinner. A little fruit to give you a boost of sugar and some almonds are a lean way to get some more protein.

  • An apple
  • A full serving of almonds

Meal #6:

We end our day with a good amount of protein in the form of either salmon or grilled chicken, and complete the picture with leafy greens to ensure we’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy.

  • salmon (grilled or baked) or chicken breast (grilled or baked)
  • steamed Brussels sprouts
  • broccoli or spinach
Human Size Model of Batman from the Movie Justice League

Training Like Batman

Getting the MMA look is all about building as much muscle as possible and cutting your body fat so low that you’re practically stretched over nothing but muscle. There’s a lot of bulking and cutting involved in the process as well as breaking open the cardio can of worms.

The workout routine Ben Affleck followed was pretty simple, he’d just focus on a certain area of his body each day and dedicate a single day to cardio. This loose structure meant that he could adjust his workouts to fit whichever part of his bulking or cutting phase he was in.

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Arms

Your arms are some of the easiest muscles to show off, so this day tends to be long and thorough. Your arm days should target all of the major muscle groups in your arms, from your biceps and triceps in your upper arm to both halves of your forearms in the lower arms. Make sure you’re switching things up so your arms don’t get used to your workouts too quickly and you’ll be bulking up in no time.

Tuesday: Cardio

Ben Affleck’s cardio days would see him doing some popular workouts like The Jonestown Sprint Workout, Tailpipe Workout, Dirty 30’s Workout, and Sparrow’s Dozen. Our favorite of these has to be the Jonestown Sprint.

This is a circuit of high-intensity workouts that are designed to get your heart rate up and give you lean muscle that’s built for endurance. The Jonestown Sprint is easy to pull off, all you need is a little bit of room, some weights, and the mental fortitude to make it to the end.

  • Start by doing about 20 overhead barbell presses
  • While your heart rate is still up, head towards the pull-up bars and do a combination of 20 pull-ups
  • Once you’re done with the pull-ups, it’s time to start the circuit again
  • Repeat 2-3 times, and you’ll have thoroughly kicked your butt enough to jack up your muscle growth while improving your heart health

Wednesday: Lower Body

You know better than to skip leg day. Depending on whether it’s a bulk or cut workout, Affleck would focus on simple lower body exercises like squats, leg presses, and leg lifts.

If he was bulking, then these leg exercises would be performed with a lot of weight. Otherwise, he’d aim for low-weight high-rep exercise to burn fat and build endurance.

Thursday: Chest

Chest day is easy. We like to default to bench presses. You’re able to modify them slightly in order to target different areas of your chest, making it easy to chisel out the pecs you want without having to constantly track which exercises you’ve done in the week before.

Friday: Upper body workout

This would be a lighter day since you’re giving your upper body so much attention throughout the week. This upper-body day should be about low-weight exercises that allow you to build up your endurance so your muscle growth will pay off much more quickly in the long run.

Saturday: Back and Shoulders

Back and shoulder exercises are tricky to nail down, but the payoff is incredible. A strong back and broad shoulders are going to make your physique that much more impressive. Your shoulders are going to benefit most from compound exercises.

It’s hard to isolate them, and they’re a small set of muscles that tire out easily. If you can focus on working out your other muscle groups in tandem with your shoulders, you’re going to be spending your time in the gym more efficiently.

Rest For the Wicked

You’ve probably noticed that Ben Affleck didn’t work out every single day of the week. He was relentless and dedicated to the work when he was carving out this perfect Batman bod, but he also knew the importance of taking a break. Rest days are a lot like the diet you pair with your workout routine.

It’s a key part of the experience and achieving the results you’re looking for. It might be more useful to think of rest days as construction days. Your muscles have been taking a pounding nearly every single day, and they need an opportunity to rebuild.

Ben Affleck wouldn’t just sit around on these off days. Rest days are still an opportunity to work on your body. Going on brisk walks, stretching, or yoga are all excellent ways to get your body’s recovery process kickstarted.

Your muscles need food and blood flow to encourage growth, so be sure to feed yourself in a similar fashion to your workout days and keep yourself moving just a little bit so you’re getting the maximum amount of muscle growth.

Bend It Like Ben

Ben Affleck had to work extremely hard for a really long time to get his body to turn out the way it did for his role as Batman. He had to totally reconfigure his diet and his life had to revolve around the gym for two years. If you think you’re ready to dedicate yourself to bulking, cutting, and eating right for that long, then you’re probably ready to take this one on.

If you’re not sure there’s still a lot to learn here, from tidying up your diet to finding a workout schedule that works for you there’s wisdom everywhere in his experiences.