May 03, 2021 10 min read

When it comes to charisma, comedy, and a ripped physique, there are very few that can hold a handle to Terry Crews.

Although he’s had a successful acting career, he’s probably still best known for his role as the spokesperson for Old Spice commercials. And at over 50 years old, he looks as ripped as ever.

Looking as good as Crews doesn’t just come by as an accident. He’s carefully tuned and crafted a routine over the past few decades that keeps him in consistently amazing shape. With some heavy, fundamental lifts, intermittent fasting, and enough rest, you too can follow in Crews’ footsteps.

Who is Terry Crews?

Born on July 30, 1968, and hailing from Flint, Michigan, Crews got his start as a professional football player. Starting in 1991 in the NFL as a defensive end and linebacker, he would retire six years later in 1997.

What really made him a recognizable face was the Old Spice commercials, but since then he’s also appeared in several popular shows and movies. These include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Arrested Development, and The Expendables.

You don’t achieve this much success and a physique like his by being lazy—that’s for sure. Through his hard work and diligence, Crews has become one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Add in his charisma and ripped body, and you’ve got a recipe for a juggernaut of a man.

Down below we’ve outlined his training philosophy, his workouts, and his diet. While Crews may be a difficult man to compete with, he’s a great person to try to emulate.

Cardio and Crews

Although he may not have a runner’s physique, Crews makes sure to include plenty of cardio in his routine. In fact, he’ll always find time for it—even when he’s filming around schedules.

He usually tries to do 4 miles per day, finishing that up in about 30 minutes. In fact, he says that this is when he takes the time to learn his lines. Due to the endorphins created by running and also the increased blood flow throughout the body, you’ll be impressed with a boost in your mood and potentially some more brainpower.

Cardio also has the benefit of keeping you lean. Although you may want to opt for high-intensity cardio rather than steady-state, just in order to emphasize cutting fat while maintaining muscle. This brings us to the more important aspect of Crews’ training.

Terry Crews in the Iron Temple

Although cardio may hold an important place in Crews’ training, there’s no way he’d be that ripped if all he did was cardio. To get the kind of physique he has, it’s going to take weights—a lot of them.

While he says that he sees the benefit of bodyweight movements, you’re going to want to include some sort of resistance with weights. The fundamental movement of picking something up and putting it down again is, after all, a fundamental part of the human body.

This thinking also dictates the type of exercises he does. They’re heavy and they’re simple—there’s not much more you need other than that. By focusing on complex, compound movements, he can hit a lot of muscle groups at a time while also using plenty of weight.

 Terry Crews attends 2019 Comic-Con International

 The Terry Crews Workout Routine

Crews is an early bird, getting his workouts and cardio in first thing in the morning. We’ll talk about this further down but working out an empty stomach can have its benefits as well, especially if you’re looking to stay lean. How early for Crews?

By 6 am he’s usually training. Crews does a four-day split during the weekdays, taking Wednesday off for a solid cardio session. This is how that’s broken down:

  • Monday: Shoulders, Arms, and Abs
  • Tuesday: Back 
  • Wednesday: Cardio
  • Thursday: Chest, Arms, and Abs
  • Friday: Legs, Triceps, and Abs

You might notice something unique in that chest and back aren’t on the same day, but who are we to argue with Crews—obviously it’s been working out for him. Along with implementing a lot of cardio, you’ll also want to be doing your share of stretching and warming up.

A solid warm-up will ensure that blood is pumping into your muscles, which will in turn help in force production. After all, you don’t want to be leaving any gains on the table.

So, without further ado, here is the Crews workout plan.

Monday: Shoulders, Arms, and Abs

  • Upright Rows: 2 sets of 6 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 2 sets of 6 reps
  • Power Clean and Jerk: 2 sets of 6 reps
  • Jump Squats: 2 sets of 6 reps
  • Alternating dumbbell front lateral raise: 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Arnold Dumbbell Press: 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Side Lateral Raise: 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Rear Dumbbell Flyes: 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Hammer Dumbbell Curls: 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Ab Crunches: 1 set to failure
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 1 set to failure
  • Treadmill running for 30 minutes (3.5 miles at 7mph)

Tuesday: Back 

  • Barbell Deadlifts: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Pull-ups: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Rocky Pull-Ups / Pull-Downs: 1 set of 15 reps
  • Side-to-Side Chins: 1 set of 6 reps, right; 1 set of 6 reps, left; 1 set of 3 reps, middle
  • Reverse Grip Bent-Over Rows: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Seated Cable Machine Rows: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Treadmill running for 30 minutes (3.5 miles at 7mph)

Wednesday: Cardio

  • Cardio: Treadmill running for 45 minutes

Thursday: Chest, Arms, and Abs

  • Power Clean and Jerk: 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets of  8-10 reps
  • Incline Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Biceps Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Bar Dips: 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Push-ups: 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Leg Raises: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Treadmill running for 30 minutes (3.5 miles at 7mph)

Friday: Legs, Triceps, and Abs

  • Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 8-10 reps (30 seconds’ rest between each)
  • Leg Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Hack Squats: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Crunches: 1 set to failure
  • Hanging Leg Raise: 1 set to failure
  • Treadmill running for 30 minutes (3.5 miles at 7mph)

Rest Days and Cardio

Along with exercise and diet, rest is a key ingredient in any well-rounded fitness routine. But when we’re in the thick of things and excited for more gains, it’s sometimes difficult to start subtracting things from our routine rather than adding.

But subtracting things can sometimes put us ahead, especially if we’ve been sidelining proper rest and recovery through our training. Sleep is when your muscles recover and grow, and without a solid eight hours (for most people), you’re going to be clipping your wings before you can seriously get off the ground.

That being said, rest also doesn’t equate to being lazy. Incorporating some sort of active recovery—usually steady-state cardio—is a great way to keep your body functioning in tip-top condition.

For example, using your rest days for some light cardio, or even going hiking or playing a sport. This may not seem like a lot when you’re doing it, but in the long term it adds up and also puts you in a healthier mindset.

Not to mention the added benefits of doing something outside, which by itself is a good way to boost mood. A consistently impressive physique over the long term is only possible when rest is properly factored in. But this also brings us to the third ingredient: diet.

 Actor Terry Crews during Comic Con Experience 2015

Terry Crews and Intermittent Fasting

As grueling as the workout outlined above may be, it’s not going to get you anywhere if you don’t back it up with the proper diet. After all, it’s often said you can’t out-train a bad diet. So, what does this look like in Crews’ world?

The most important aspect of his dieting is that he’s a big proponent of intermittent fasting, and a pretty intense intermittent fasting at that. For example, he’ll often try to stick to a feeding window between 2 pm to 10 pm. This means that he’ll eat his first meal at 2 pm, and his last meal at 10 pm.

His mornings are focused on working out, skipping breakfast, and then digging into lunch and dinner. The idea behind intermittent fasting is simple and effective: if you’re trying to lose body fat, you need to eat less. And if you want to eat less, just restrict the time you have available to eat.

Working out on an empty stomach is also beneficial, as it helps your body dip into its fat store in order to power you through. If you’re looking to get lean and muscular, this is a solid way to plan your eating. Of course, you don’t need to go to the extreme of fasting for 16 hours.

If you want to attempt intermittent fasting, try simply not eating for 12 hours. Since you’re already asleep for (hopefully) eight hours, this essentially means you’re just restricting your late-night snacking. For some, this can be enough to really put a dent in their body fat.

While it may seem grueling at first (and it was for Crews as well), your body does adapt to the change in feeding schedule at a certain point. Of course, you also want to make it as easy as possible for yourself by not jumping into the thick of things with a 16 hour fast.

Furthermore, you should also be paying attention to the food you’re eating during your feeding window.

Fueling Up Like Crews

Although the time you eat is important, it’s just as important (if not more important) to be eating the right things. And even though Crews cuts back his feeding window, he definitely does not cut back on the quality of his food.

If you’re going to be following the workout outlined above, you’re going to be needing to get a lot of high-quality protein into you. The Terry Crews diet is full of lean meats, such as chicken. Healthy fats and carbs are also essential for your body to properly function.

While protein may be the building block of your muscles, you need a solid foundation on which to build your gains. That kind of foundation only comes from eating a well-rounded diet that’s rich in nutrients and minerals.

For example, you’ll want to be loading up on things like:

  • Green Vegetables
  • Lean Meat
  • Fruits and berries
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocados
  • Olive Oil
  • Yogurt

This also means avoiding heavily processed foods and simple carbs, such as sugary drinks, junk food, white bread, chips, donuts, etc—you know the drill. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a cheat meal (or cheat day). Crews uses Sundays as his cheat days when he apparently loves indulging in mac & cheese and steak sandwiches.

Whatever your vice, it’s important to make your cheat days a respite and a mental refresher—cheat days are not meant to ruin your diet. For Crews, that means sticking to his 8-hour feeding window between 2 and 10 pm.

Another key aspect is consistency. You want to be consistent with your workout schedule, but you also want to be consistent with your eating. Over the long term, this will help you better understand what you need to fine-tune your physique and your physical and mental health.

It also simplifies things and makes it easier to stick to your goals and your plan. If you’re eating similar things throughout the week or month, you’re going to be able to tell how many calories you’re eating and what macros you’re getting.

While this streamlining won’t necessarily have any direct effects on your gains, it will make the mental game that much easier. And if you’re planning on sticking with your gains for a while, then it’s best to pay attention to this.

But even with consistency, Crews still takes 60 days each year to write down everything he eats. This recording is done in 30-day parts throughout the year. The point is to ensure that Crews is actually sticking to his diet plan and not getting sidetracked.

And if you’re planning to get as ripped as Terry Crews, then this kind of scrutiny is what’s going to either make or break your plan.

Terry Crews’ Supplements

To stay as lean as he does while also maintaining so much muscle mass, Crews must include certain supplements in his daily routine. The most obvious is whey protein. Coming from the watery part of milk, whey is an amazing source of protein.

If you‘re looking to build muscles and maintain the bulk while also cutting back body fat, whey protein is a must-have. Just make sure to get a high-quality protein without any pointless additives. Get the good stuff, and your muscles will surely thank you.

If you want to get even more focused with your supplements, also consider taking BCAAs. These are a collection of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Whey is already high in leucine, but it’s worth paying special attention to this BCAA.

This is because, unlike all of the other amino acids, BCAAs are actually broken down in your muscles rather than your liver. The thinking is that because they’re broken down in the muscles, they play a much more important role in the development of their size and strength.

 Terry Crews at the "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2" Los Angeles Premiere

Finetuning Over the Long Term

As is probably obvious by now, the key to Crews’ success is his consistency over decades. If you’re looking for long-term gains, the finetuning may actually make things easier for you over the long term.

It goes without saying that might get more difficult to get into shape, but you’ll have more knowledge under your belt and you’ll be able to listen to your body better than when you were younger. Of course, this doesn’t just happen.

Crews has been working out to some effect for his entire life. That kind of dedication is going to teach anyone a thing or two, and if you’re looking to look as good as him decades from now, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what he’s doing.

This isn’t to say that this is a recipe for success at every turn. Rather, Crews says, one should embrace failure if they’re to grow and develop as a person. You’re never going to make everyone happy and you’re never going to be happy if you don’t express yourself the way you’d like.

Diet, rest, and workout are critical factors when it comes to achieving the physique that Crews sports. All three of these aspects have to be finetuned and revisited consistently in order to continue improving as you progress in your fitness journey.

But it’s the sort of mindset that Crews brings to the table that’s going to do the heavy lifting over the long term.


x