Jake Gyllenhaal’s Ripped Body In Southpaw – Natural or Steroids? One of the most requested reviews by NattyOrNot.com's readers

Hollywood body upgrades have always had some serious impact on the lifting community. Every transformation is discussed in details on forums, websites, newspapers, YouTube videos and other media.

The main reason we are all so interested in what’s happening with those actors, is that we secretly hope to escape the daily misery by falling into their footsteps. After all, the media presents them as the epitome of happiness, success and meaningful life.

Hollywood comes with some sort of movie magic, which makes the impossible possible, and somehow all barriers are removed, even when it comes to common things like building muscle and losing fat. The question is: are all of those Hollywood transformations really natural or maybe there’s more than it meets the eye?

In the last few months we were hit by another transformation – Jake Gyllenhaal’s preparation for the movie Southpaw.

Let’s first start will a little summary of the main points concerning the transformation:

  1. Jake Gyllenhaal lost 30 lbs for his role in the movie Nightcrawler. {source}

  2. Jake Gyllenhaal regained the weight and added 15 lbs of muscle on top of it for his role in the movie Southpaw. {source}

  3. In the beginning, Jake Gyllenhaal trained two times a day for 90 minutes.

  4. After two months the workouts were increased to six hours a day – 3 hours of boxing and 3 hours of strength, conditionning and more cardio.

  5. Jake Gyllenhaal gradually reached a point where he was doing 2000 sit-ups a day. {source}

  6. The transformation took only about six months.

  7. A total of 40-45 lbs muscular bodyweigt was gained in six months.

So far there is no definitive data how much Jake Gyllenhaal weighs in the movie Southpaw, but given the presented information we can calculate an estimation.

For his role in Nightcrawler, he lost 30 lbs, originally starting at about 180 lbs. That puts him at 150 lbs final weight for the movie. Afterwards, he gained those 30 lbs back + 15 lbs of more muscle, which puts his weight at 195 lbs for the movie Southpaw.

With that detail clarified, we can conclude that Jake Gyllenhaal had the following stats in the boxing drama:

Weight: 195 lbs;
Height: 5’11 – 6′ {source}
Body fat: no definitive information, but many pictures reveal deep lower abs definition, which equals 9% body fat at most;

Factors Suggesting that the Transformation Did Not Happen Naturally


At 33-34, Jake Gyllenhaal is a kid by Hollywood’s standards. However, we all know that testosterone levels start dropping after the age of 30. Therefore, it’s hard to deny that age diminishes people’s muscle building capabilities. {source}

Short period of time

Jake Gyllenhaal was able not only to regain the previously lost 30 lbs, but also added 15 lbs of dry muscle to his frame in six months.

Before telling me stories how the first 30 lbs were him regaining what he lost back, consider the following:

Jake Gyllenhaal was not anorexic in the movie Nighcrawler. He was simply slim and lean. Photos from before his weight loss reveal that he had a few pounds to lose before abs can start showing.

We are not talking about Christian Bale/Machinist level of weight loss here. Jake Gyllenhaal was certainly slim, but not unhealthy looking. Thus, those 30 lbs should not be taken lightly either. It’s not easy to lose 30 lbs, some of which actual fat, and then gain all of it back as muscle, plus 15 pounds of more muscle.

You can even see that Jake Gyllenhaal’s bodyfat has not increased one bit for his role in Southpaw. Therefore, the actual muscle gain is enormous for six months and destroys many people’s idea of “noob gains”.

Poor muscle building training regimen

It’s 2015 and we all know by now that the secret to “chiseled” abs is not doing 2000 sit-ups a day, which according to the mainstream information was part Jake Gyllenhaal’s routine. This reveals a hole in the training protocol.

Too much cardio hurts muscle building

The amount of cardio done for the movie is counter productive as far as muscle building is concerned, which makes the gained 40-45 lbs of muscle even more impressive. Despite what many people think, boxing is not a muscle building sport by any means. Hypertrophy is not its primary goal at all.

Jake Gyllenhaal does not fit NattyOrNot’s guide for natural bodybuilders

195 lbs @ 6′ @ 8% body fat, is 5-10 pounds above our guide for natural bodybuilders. Let’s also not forget that the numbers in the guide are for elite bodybuilders and require years to achieve.

Factors Suggesting that The Transformation Could Be Natural

Muscle memory

If sometime during his lifetime Jake Gyllenhaal was 195 lbs of all muscle at 6′, it would be easier to reach the same level faster. However, I failed to find similar information and according to my data Southpaw is his biggest. Of course, we are just spectators and can never now everything about a person’s life. Maybe he was huge in the past, maybe not…

Supreme genetics

Being 6′ tall, or maybe even a little less, and weighing 195 lbs while presenting ripped and veiny abs reveals world class genetics in the world of true natural bodybuilding. Is this the case for Jake Gyllenhaal? What do you think?

In conclusion

There are genetic freaks who can reach similar stats with real hard work. However, for average people, getting to 185-195 lbs @ 8% body fat at 6′ would take way more than six months.

For the natural mortals who have less favorable muscle building genetics similar numbers will remain illusive, regardless of training efforts.

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