Jake Gyllenhaal’s Ripped Body In Southpaw – Natural or Steroids?

| by Truth Seeker |

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

The main reason why we are so interested in what’s happening with those actors is that we secretly hope to escape the daily misery by falling into their footsteps.

Hollywood comes with some sort of movie magic making the impossible possible even when it comes to common things like building muscle and losing fat. But are the Hollywood transformations really natural or maybe there’s more than it meets the eye?

Recently, we got hit by another transformation – Jake Gyllenhaal’s preparation for the movie Southpaw.

Let’s start will a little summary of the transformation:

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

  2. Jake Gyllenhaal regained the weight and added 15lbs 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, conditioning, and cardio.

  5. Jake Gyllenhaal gradually reached 2000 sit-ups a day. {source}

  6. The transformation took about six months.

  7. A total of 40-45lbs muscular bodyweight was gained.

Currently, there isn’t definitive info revealing Jake Gyllenhaal’s weight in the movie Southpaw, but thanks to the available data we can easily calculate an estimation.

For his role in Nightcrawler, he lost 30lbs. Since his starting weight was 180lbs, this puts him at 150lbs final weight for the movie. Then, he gained those 30lbs back + 15lbs of extra muscle. Therefore, his weight in the movie Southpaw has to be 195lbs.

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

Weight: 195lbs;
Height: 5’11 – 6′ {source}
Body fat: no definitive information, but many pictures reveal deep abdominal definition which equals 9-11% 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, men’s testosterone levels start dropping after the age of 30. Therefore, it’s hard to deny that age diminishes people’s muscle building capabilities. {source}

Too Fast

Jake Gyllenhaal regained the previously lost 30lbs and added 15lbs of extra muscle to his frame in six months.

Before saying that the first 30lbs were “easy”, consider the following”

Jake Gyllenhaal was not anorexic in the movie Nightcrawler. He was simply slim and lean. Photos from before his weight loss reveal that he had a few pounds to lose to get cut.

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

You can also 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.

A poor muscle building regimen?

2000 sit-ups a day are not the secret to chiseled abs. In fact, doing something like that reveals a hole in the training protocol.

Another barrier in front of muscle construction would be the enormous amount of cardio done for the movie. Despite what many people think, boxing is not a muscle building sport by any means. Hypertrophy is not its primary goal. 

This makes the gained 40-45lbs of muscle even more impressive.

Factors Suggesting that The Transformation Could Be Natural

Muscle memory

If Jake Gyllenhaal was that muscular before, it would be easier to reach the same level again. However, I failed to find similar information. It seems that in Southpaw he is in his best shape. Of course, we are just spectators and can never know everything about a person’s life. Maybe he was huge in the past, maybe not…

Supreme genetics

Being 6′ tall and weighing 195lbs in a ripped condition reveals very good genetics for natural bodybuilding. Is this the case for Jake Gyllenhaal? Who knows…

In conclusion

There are genetic freaks who can reach similar stats. However, an average person would have a really hard time getting to 185-195lbs @ 9% body fat at 6′ in six months 

Naturals with less favorable muscle building genetics will never enjoy similar numbers regardless of training efforts.

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  1. Matt

    Jake was quoted in interview that he was about top end of the light heavyweight weight – around 175 pounds.
    He also states that he filmed Everest between night crawler and southpaw and bulked up for Everest – so had to actually cut for southpaw.

  2. Dave

    Jake was jacked in prince of persia.

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