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May 08, 2021 9 min read

Whether you know him as Batista the former WWE professional wrestler or as an actor in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, the first thing that you probably think of when you think of Dave Bautista is that he is insanely ripped.

If you’ve never watched wrestling before or any of his movies, just know that the guy is jacked. If you want to get Hollywood or WWE superstar level jacked, then follow this guide to get on Dave Bautista’s level. 

I’m breaking everything down from what he eats in a day to his complete workout plan so you can get as ripped as he is. You may never be in a movie or a pro wrestler, but you can get jacked like Batista.

Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards

Dave Bautista’s Philosophy and Motivation

What’s the secret behind Batista’s success both in the ring and on-screen? He credits a lot of his wins in life today to what he learned through challenging experiences he went through as a kid and young adult.

Batista was born just outside of Washington DC in Virginia where he and his parents lived in what he says was poverty.  While he says it was hard for him, he also says he learned a lot about hard work from watching his parents struggle to get by. 

By the age of 13, he was stealing cars and had already seen multiple people die from gun violence in his front yard. He continued down a rocky path for a few years and even landed himself on probation for getting into a fight with someone outside of a bar.

The turning point for him came when he had to ask a coworker to borrow money so he could buy Christmas presents for his kids.  That shame he said is what woke him up and made him realize he needed to make a change. Right around that same time, he started getting involved with bodybuilding. 

He credits it for saving his life.  After that in 1999, he tried out at the World Wrestling Championship Power Plant which kickstarted his successful wrestling career.  In the next 19 years, he would go on to win 4 World Heavyweight Championships and 2 WWE championships. 

He was even competitive in martial arts as an MMA fighter after giving jiu-jitsu a try. Amidst his very successful wrestling career, Batista also started his acting career.  After a friend asked him to play a part in one of his productions, Batista was hooked on acting. 

That led to his eventual iconic role as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers. You could say that his early life struggles paved the way for his success later in life.  All of the lessons he learned as a kid he applied to his career as an athlete and actor. 

Being a wrestler, fighter, and actor all at the same time requires Batista to be in the best shape possible at all times.  To do so, he follows a hypertrophy lifestyle, meaning that he’s eating and working out to build as much muscle mass as possible. 

For him, it’s a necessity so that he can achieve his goals as an athlete and actor while also making himself feel good.

In a 2019 interview, Batista talked about him going from wrestling to acting and said, “I went broke. I lost everything. I couldn’t get a job and I said that I will never go back to wrestling until I prove what I set out to prove, and that was that I can make it as an actor.” 

There are a few lessons we can learn from Batista and apply them to our own fitness lives including:

  1. Use your challenges to propel you forward
  2. You have to make sacrifices for what you want
  3. Work hard and be consistent to get what you want

Batista’s muscle-building workout routine and diet are no joke.  But, if you stick to his philosophy and follow his lead, you can get equally built.  Maybe you won’t join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but you will get jacked.

Dave Bautista’s Hypertrophy Diet

There’s a consistent theme that always seems to pop up in Dave Bautista’s diet: clean eating.  He really values putting good, quality food into his body.  That said, you probably won’t find him eating a lot of:

  • Processed and refined foods
  • Fried foods
  • Foods with artificial ingredients
  • Sugars
  • Trans fats

Also, he’s specifically said in the past that he doesn’t eat red meat, pork, or gluten. On the flip side, the foods that he does eat are those that are high in protein, have some carbs, and are low in fat. For example, he says that these particular foods have been the basis of his clean eating diet for years:

  • Tons of green vegetables
  • Lean, high protein sources
  • Whole grains

Protein is obviously the biggest element in his diet.  Batista also says that he’s not afraid to go for carbs and high-calorie foods considering how busy his schedule is. Additionally, he doesn’t necessarily restrict himself to a certain number of meals per day. 

Rather, he just eats when he’s hungry. He’s not the kind of person to restrict himself when he wants to eat. However, Dave Bautista has had to alter his diet several times throughout his career to help himself get in the best shape possible. 

Especially when he first became a bodybuilder and when he made the switch to MMA.  When he made that switch, for example, he had to lose about 30 pounds and lean out quite a bit.  That meant decreasing the carbs a bit. Also, Batista has been on both plant-based as well as non-plant-based diets before. 

After leaving the WWE and preparing for the Avengers movie, Batista chose to go vegan.  You can try following either-or of his diets.  And, if you’re hesitant to go plant-based, just remember that if it worked for Batista, it could work for you too.

Vegan proteins food

Batista’s Diet Before He Went Plant-Based

When Batista is not entirely plant-based, his eating habits are plain, simple, and include many common clean foods such as:

  • Fatty fish and lean chicken
  • Eggs
  • Spinach and other greens
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes and oats

It’s nothing fancy and it's something that most people could manage.  Here’s a better idea of what his meals look like during the day:

Meal 1: Pre-workout or a caffeine pill

Meal 2: Eggs, oatmeal or whole-grain bread, spinach, protein shake

Meal 3: Post-workout protein shake

Meal 4: Greens, fish or chicken, potatoes, or rice

Meal 5: More greens, fish or chicken, cottage cheese, potatoes or rice

Meal 6: Protein shake

If you want to eat like Batista, give this simple meal plan a try for a while.

Batista’s Plant-Based Diet

Batista is just one of many athletes and movie stars who have gone plant-based in recent years.  When he was filming Avengers, he along with 9 of his co-stars including Chris Hemsworth went either almost or entirely vegan.  The one food he said he couldn’t eliminate from his diet though was eggs. 

He still gets a lot of credit though for being able to go without all other animal proteins. Why did Batista make the move to plant-based?  We’re not exactly sure.  But he once retweeted a video of a kid sharing all the reasons why he doesn’t eat animals. 

So, maybe Batista made the move because of his love for animals.  Or, maybe it helps him in the gym?  Again, we’re not exactly sure. But, I can say that seeing him being jacked in Avengers and knowing he was vegan during that time is a pretty good testament to the powers of going plant-based. 

The Supplements That Batista Takes

Batista takes a few different supplements to maximize muscle growth and recover properly.

1. Pre-workout: Before hitting the gym, Batista takes a pre-workout.

If you’re trying to get as jacked as Batista, then you might want to take one too. It’s not only going to up your energy levels, but it’s also going to help you build more muscle.  Sometimes as a pre-workout, he’ll just take a caffeine pill instead.

2. Vegan Protein Powder: Batista obviously needs a lot of protein.  To make sure he’s getting enough, he usually drinks a few protein shakes throughout the day.  He sticks to vegan protein powder since he’s been cutting back on animal protein.

3. BCAA: BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids.  They have several benefits including stimulating muscle protein synthesis which is the foundational process of muscle growth.

Batista takes them to grow his muscles, reduce soreness, and reduce exercise-related fatigue.

4. Fish oil: You should consider taking a fish oil supplement like Batista to have an overall healthier body. It has several benefits including promoting good bone health, reducing inflammation, and even burning body fat.

5. Vitamin D: Similar to fish oil, you should consider taking vitamin D as a means of staying healthier. It has a lot of the same benefits as fish oil and is particularly important to take if you’re not out in the sun every day.

6. DHEA: Lastly, Batista takes a testosterone supplement known as DHEA. However, he says this has little to do with him being in better shape though. Rather, he takes it to keep up with his younger-than-him wife.

Bodybuilder ready to lift heavy dumbbell

Dave Bautista’s Hypertrophy Workout Routine

Now for the part that you probably really came here for: the workout routine.  So, how does Dave Bautista create his signature body? According to Batista, when he’s training for wrestling, it’s all about weight training and getting bigger. 

On the other hand, when he’s getting ready for a movie or just staying fit for real-life, his workouts become more cardio-based and involve a lot of bodyweight exercises. These bodyweight exercises are essential for him because there are many days where he’s on set all day filming and can’t make it to the gym. 

Because of that, he’ll end up just doing a workout on set with whatever equipment he has available if any. Regardless of whether he’s on set or not though, he tries to make the focus of his workouts on getting his heart rate up high. 

Instead of doing only a couple of reps with heavy weight, he’ll do 15 reps with a slightly lighter weight, rest for a few seconds, and then go again. He says that this routine is what gets his heart rate up to a fat-burning zone while pushing his muscles to their limits.

Not convinced that bodyweight exercises are what give Batista his insane results? In an interview with Men's Journal, Batista said that he once did about 500 free squats in his room as a full leg workout.  He did 10 at a time, then rested for 10 seconds. 

He followed that up by doing 20, resting for 20 seconds, and continued to work his way up until he did 500 in total.  Again, if it works for Batista it could work for you too. Moreover, we can sum up Batista’s top workout tips with the following:

  • Burn fat by getting your heart rate up
  • Build muscle by doing more reps with slightly less than your max weight
  • Do weights or bodyweight exercises in intervals of working and resting
  • Get more done in less time by pushing yourself to your limits
  • Focus on each body part for only one day of the week

Now to his specific workout routine.  This is what his weekly schedule looks like:

1. Monday: Leg day

For each leg exercise, he’ll do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each.

  • Seated calf raises
  • Standing calf raises
  • Lying leg curls
  • Seated leg curls
  • Leg extensions
  • Leg presses

2. Tuesday: Rest

3. Wednesday: Shoulders and back day

Batista will again do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for each exercise other than for bent laterals.  In that case, he’ll probably do just 2-3 sets.

  • Front pulldowns
  • Rear pulldowns
  • Lateral raises
  • Barbell neck-press
  • Bent lateral raises
  • Dumbbell shrugs

4. Thursday: Rest

5. Friday: Chest and arms day

For his final workout of the week, Batista covers his chest and arms.  For this first set of exercises, he will do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each.

  • Incline bench press
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Tricep press
  • Regular wrist curls
  • Reverse wrist curls
  • Hanging leg raises

For this second set of exercises, he will do just 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps each.

  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Cable crossovers
  • Preacher curls
  • Triceps extensions
  • Crunches

6. Saturday/Sunday: Rest

As you can see, Batista makes the most out of his time by going as hard as he can in the gym and not wasting even a second.  As a result, he doesn’t need to be in there every single day or spend hours on end lifting.  For him, it’s all about making do with the time that you got.

Moreover, if you want to work out like Batista, make intensity your first priority.  When you walk into the gym, focus intensely on what you’re doing and don’t waste time.  Maybe you’re not like Batista and don’t have the duel schedule of an athlete and actor, but nonetheless, you can still go as hard as possible and get more done in less time.

Final Thoughts on Dave Bautista’s Workout and Diet Plan

You don’t need to be in the WWE or act in movies to join the fitness leagues of Dave Bautista or other legends like The Rock and John Cena.  Just try copying Batista’s workout routine and diet plan and see where it takes you.

Bonus tip: Have you considered giving up alcohol?  Dave Batista did after struggling with it in his early years and it’s safe to say that it positively impacted his athletic performance.