May 04, 2021 10 min read

One of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, Vin Diesel has kept up an amazing physique throughout the decades, seemingly not aging one bit.

Playing a badass on film, Diesel has created a workout and diet plan to cater to his needs and goals. Its basis is on fundamental bodybuilding rules, but his adaptability and knowledge have allowed him to stay sharp and on his toes.

If there’s anyone to emulate when you’re aiming to look good for a long time, it’s Vin Diesel.

Who is Vin Diesel?

Actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, Diesel seems to have done it all in his several decade-long career in Hollywood. He got his big break in Saving Private Ryan—a role which he got because a movie he produced caught the eye of Steven Spielberg.

He would go on to voice act in The Iron Giant, before being featured in The Chronicles of Riddick, the XXX franchise, and last but not least, as Dominic Torreto in The Fast and Furious series. And let’s not forget his role in the Marvel cinematic universe as Groot.

Throughout the decades he’s become a household name with a physique that seems to justify the ridiculous stunts pulled off on film. Over 50 years old now, he obviously knows what he’s doing with his routine to keep up with fitness.

The Diesel Dogma

It’s probably no surprise that Diesel’s training philosophy is very cut-and-dry, meat-and-potatoes, no frills attached. He does a lot of lifting—something that he’s no stranger to. He had a history of bodybuilding for 10 years before he started acting, and his job as a bouncer in New York necessitated that he maintain a bulky frame.

Therefore, a lot of his workout is inspired by this high-rep count, low/mid-weight training regime that’s fantastic for hypertrophy. However, he’s also switched his goals up throughout the years. This has been partly due to age, and partly due to the fact that he’s changed his goals for his acting roles.

For example, for his characters of Toretto and Riddick, he’s tried to create a more agile and lean frame, rather than bulking up. He wants to look good and look like he can kick some ass. This has resulted in some changes with his training.

Instead of going the classic bodybuilding route, he’s begun including things like yoga, Pilates, and jiu-jitsu into his workout routine. These are fantastic ways to develop flexibility, stamina, and agility—all necessary things for the badass he needs to portray.

He’s definitely no stranger to hitting the iron temple with heavy weights and high volume, but his holistic approach to fitness is definitely worth emulating. Especially if you’re wanting to look as good as he does when you’re over 50 years old.

Vin Diesel at the "Fast & Furious - Supercharged" Ride Press Event

The Vin Diesel Workout Routine

The defining feature of the workout plan outlined below is that it’s entirely done in supersets. Diesel is a big believer in “shocking” your muscles. That is, hitting them with a lot of volume very fast after a warm-up.

The exercises below are organized in pairs, where you put out the reps for the first one and immediately move to the next exercise. Once you’ve gone through the second exercise in the pair, you’re allowed to rest for one minute before going through the superset again.

Supersets have two main benefits.

The obvious one is that you’re finished your workout faster since you’re not resting as much. A potential drawback to this is that you need to keep the weights light enough to be able to go through a superset with proper form, otherwise you’ll be leaving gains on the table.

The other benefit depends on what kind of superset you’re doing. For example, if you’re doing two exercises back-to-back that use opposing muscle groups, muscle group A is going to be able to rest while you’re gassing out muscle group B.

On the other hand, hitting the same muscle group is a fantastic way to really ramp up the volume of training and seriously home in on one aspect of your body. Whatever strategy you choose to use, it’s going to be important that you implement enough warm-ups to get the blood flowing into your muscles.

Not only is this good for development, but it’ll also help you avoid injuries. Diesel also likes to include core and cardio workouts into his routine, whenever possible. As we saw above, he’s adopted a more holistic approach to bodybuilding than he used in the past.

Therefore, cardio and core workouts can come in many different forms. In fact, it’s good to switch things up so you’re ensuring that your muscles are being hit from every angle possible.

Muscular man during his workout on the street

Day 1: Chest

Superset One:

  • Bench press: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Decline bench press: 4 sets of 8 reps

Superset Two:

  • Dumbbell flys: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Push-ups: 4 sets of 12 reps

Superset Three:

  • Incline dumbbell press: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Low cable crossover: 4 sets of 8 reps

Day 2: Triceps

Superset One:

  • Overhead triceps extension: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Skullcrushers: 4 sets of 8 reps

Superset Two:

  • Reverse grip triceps push-down: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Incline barbell triceps extension: 4 sets of 8 reps

Superset Three:

  • Triceps dumbbell kickback: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Dips: 4 sets of 10 reps

Day 3: Back and Shoulders

Superset One:

  • Dumbbell shoulder press: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Lateral raise: 4 sets of 8 reps

Superset Two:

  • Lateral pulldown: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Bent-over row: 4 sets of 8 reps

Superset Three:

  • Deadlift: 4 sets of 5 reps
  • Shoulder shrug: 4 sets of 8 reps

Day 4: Legs

Superset One:

  • Barbell squats: 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Standing calf raise: 4 sets of 8 reps

Superset Two:

  • Sumo squat: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Lunges: 4 sets of 12 reps

Superset Three:

  • Front squats: 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Power clean and snatch: 4 sets of 6 reps

Rest Days

Even if you’re called Diesel, you’re still going to need rest. And that goes double for anyone maintaining the training schedule outline above.However, that also doesn’t mean being lazy. We talked about how Diesel has been incorporating a more holistic perspective towards fitness.

Rather than going the bodybuilding route with bulging muscles, he’s placed a greater focus on things like flexibility, agility, and stamina. Don’t get us wrong—you need rest days to allow your muscles to develop, along with the mental benefits.

However, incorporating some type of movement into your rest days is also a good way to go, and it kills two birds with one stone by helping you improve on other fitness metrics (i.e., flexibility, etc.). For Diesel, that usually means including either core or cardio (or both) workouts on his off days.

But activities such as hiking, sports involving cardio, or swimming, can also provide for good active recovery days. Not only will you be developing other important fitness skills, but you’ll also be developing skills in whatever you choose to do.

Fueling Up Diesel

The Vin Diesel diet is nothing fancy, much like his workouts. But that kind of simplicity is also its strength. Unlike several other celebrities and athletes we’ve looked at in the past, Diesel doesn’t do any particular diet. He finds his success in the fundamentals of eating well.

That is, no processed carbs, a lot of clean, whole foods, and keeping the macros in check. For example, he’ll begin his days with a breakfast that contains a lot of high-quality carbs. This means carbs with a lot of fiber, like oatmeal.

Processed carbs like sugary cereals, white bread, and donuts, are obviously not a great idea if you’re looking to stay lean. In fact, some diets completely opt out of eating carbs as a fuel source in order to cut down body fat. The rest of his meals place a big emphasis on protein.

The benefit here is that protein is the building block you need for growing muscles and developing strength. If you’re not getting enough protein, you’re not going to get very far with your gains.

There’s also the added benefit that protein is excellent at filling you up and satiating hunger—if you’re looking to cut down on body fat, including more protein is a good way to control eating. However, not all protein is built equal.

You will want to stick to leaner cuts of meat for the most part. Although fat is important, there are healthier sources of it (such as chia seeds). Especially in your last meal of the day, you might want to consider cutting back on the fat as much as possible, so your body can burn as much of your body fat as possible when you’re sleeping.

Of course, these are just general guidelines. Cutting and bulking phases play a big role in Diesel’s diet, as they do with everyone else’s. If you’re bulking, you’ll be wanting to eat more overall, but also not skimping on the carbs.

Protein is always important, but a cutting phase will cut back on the calories and especially the carbs. Here is a sample meal plan that Diesel might follow on the day-to-day:

Breakfast:

  • Cup of porridge
  • Raisins
  • Chia seeds
  • Apple, cranberries
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Almond butter
  • Banana

Lunch:

  • Tuna
  • 2 cups of vegetables;
  • Or, 2 cups of brown rice
  • cup of green beans
  • 2 slices of turkey breast
  • 1 sweet potato

Dinner:

  • 2 slices of chicken breasts
  • 1 bell pepper
  • Asparagus
  • a cup of brown rice
  • mango;
  • Or, broccoli
  • a cup of quinoa
  • 2 fillets of salmon
  • mixed salad

But his diet has also changed as he’s progressed through his life and his career. For example, he has a 10-year history of bodybuilding before he became an actor. Furthermore, he had to bulk up a lot for when he worked as a bouncer at a New York club.

This not only meant that he was eating more, but he could probably get away with eating a bit worse. Now that he’s focusing more on stamina, agility, and flexibility, that kind of diet doesn’t work as well.

Furthermore, at over 50 years old, age is also starting to become a big factor. Your body tends to increase its body fat percentage as you grow older, so sticking to veggies and lean meats becomes doubly important if you’re still looking to maintain a ripped physique.

Much like how his workouts have changed over the years, the Diesel diet is all about adapting to changing circumstances and goals. After doing this for so long, he also probably knows his body very well at this point.

That means he can stay on top of things and always know what his body needs in order to not only look its best but also feel its best. And that kind of knowledge only comes with years of experience—so, better start sooner rather than later.

Supplementing Diesel

Although Diesel hasn’t necessarily discussed any supplements he may possibly take, there are several that would be useful not only for gaining muscle, but also for well-rounded health.

Whether or not Diesel takes these, it’d be a good idea for yourself to consider implementing them into your workout routine. One of the most ubiquitous supplements is whey protein powder.

Whey Protein Powder

There’s already a massive emphasis on high-quality protein in Diesel’s dietary plan. But if you’re planning on working out a lot and gassing out your muscle consistently, then you’re probably going to need even more protein. At least if you want to make things easier for yourself.

Whey protein comes from whey—the water that sits on top of yogurt when you open up a container. It’s an especially high-quality protein source and is a fantastic whey to turbocharge your gains. We already know that protein is the main building block of your muscles, but it helps in several other areas as well.

For example, things such as tendons, skin, organs, various enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters all need protein in order to function and develop properly. Proteins are created out of amino acids, with nine of them being “essential”: meaning that your body can’t produce them and needs to ingest them instead.

Whey protein contains all nine essential amino acids—and a lot of them—making it a terrific supplement for gaining strength and size. Furthermore, whey protein contains two amino acids that are thought to be even more important when it comes to working out.

These are leucine and cysteine, with leucine being the most growth-promoting amino acid out there. Part of the reason is that these amino acids are processed in the muscles, rather than in different parts of the body like the other essential amino acids.

There’s also the added benefit of whey protein being quick to absorb. While discussion does exist whether it’s better to supplement with before or after a workout, even taking it through the course of the day to up your calories and protein intake is a good strategy—at least when you’re in a bulking phase.

The last thing to remember is to make sure that your whey protein is of high quality. You don’t want any fillers or other gunk getting in the way of your gains, so ensure that you’re getting it from a reputable source.

Actor Vin Diesel attendspress conference at the Marriot Hotel

Inside Diesel’s Mind

The diet and workout routine outlined above is sure to put you on the path to bulging muscles—whether or not you share Diesel’s genetics. However, it’s just as important to take care of the mental aspect. This is a factor that the actor seems to stress when talking about his working out.

Part of taking care of the mental side of things is resting enough.

Not only do you need a proper sleep schedule with eight hours of sleep in order to maximize your gains, but you also need it in order to maintain a good mood.

Rest may sometimes seem useless, but the benefits will compound and payout in dividends later on. This leads us to our next point: Diesel stresses the need to de-stress sometimes. Yes — working out is important and eating healthy is even more important — but it’s even more important to take things one step at a time.

It’s essential to be consistent with your lifestyle, but you don’t want to burn yourself out or injure yourself. Some days you might not be able to hit your goals. Sometimes even for weeks. But what matters is that you bring yourself out of that slump — whenever that is.

And that’s one of the biggest takeaways from Diesel’s approach to fitness: the importance of the mind and the body. If you’re doing things to make your body feel good over the long term, looking good and feeling great are going to come with time.

The point is to keep your eyes on the prize, don’t stress over the little things, and work hard without burning yourself out. After all, fitness isn’t a sprint. Working out in order to look better next month isn’t a good mindset to cultivate.

Rather, you want to be looking at the long-term and listening to your body in the process. And that is how you can expect to have the Vin Diesel body and mindset when you’re over 50.


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