“Bodybuilding Is Seen As Vanity,” Says Chris Hemsworth, in New Interview That Hits at Hollywood Body Expectation

Edward Cooper
·3-min read

As one of the headline roles in the multi-billion dollar Avengers and Thor franchises, a dominant force of nature in gritty 2020 Netflix hit Extraction and the man hand-picked to portray Hulk Hogan in a yet-to-be-named wrestling biopic, there are few better people than Chris Hemsworth to set the record straight on Hollywood's expectations on actors 'transforming' for roles.

Speaking to The Telegraph on how the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted his schedule, Hemsworth admitted that his prep for both the Hogan biopic and 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder has seen his fitness levels hit new heights: I', probably the fittest and strongest I've been before all the Thors. Having this time at home meant I explored different methods, to see how I can manipulate my body with just the right amount of powerlifting and bodybuilding workouts."

Now almost 10 years since Thor's original 2011 release, Hemsworth is acutely aware of the mistakes he made when prepping for his role as the God of Thunder. "For years I probably overtrained. People who do muscle-building often don't realise it's a sport that shouldn't be seven days a week, two hours a day. I was doing that in the previous Thors, and was coming up sorer, with less energy."

It's not just about a decade of physical pressure. It's a mental see-saw, too, especially when under the microscope of Hollywood films pushing actors towards certain roles and away from others. "There's an aesthetic that the role requires. Bodybuilding is seen as vanity, whereas if I put on a bunch of unhealthy weight, or got unhealthily skinny for a role, I'd probably be called a serious actor," Hemsworth explains.

Photo credit: Jun Sato - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jun Sato - Getty Images

"The training across 10 years of doing it is a full-time job. That and then a 12-hour shooting day – it's real grind. It's incredibly rewarding, too – you have to look at it like a professional athlete."

Which, as his trainer explains, is what Hemsworth does for these roles, albeit a little differently than before. "Chris has focused on functional moves with bodyweight and weighted exercises,” said Luke Zocchi, Hemsworth’s trainer and friend, in a separate interview with Men's Health. "He has reduced his gym time by cutting out rest periods. It’s surprising how challenging functional exercises can be, even without heavy weights. He now moves better in everyday life and has improved his core strength.”

That's not to say Hemsworth isn't having fun while training. In a recent video posted to his Instagram, the 37-year-old Marvel legend repped out a workout with friend DJ Fisher, hitting an upper-body session — with bicep curls and plenty of laughs, of course — alongside high-intensity bursts on a medicine ball and an assault bike.

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