Whether you’re an A-lister or an average guy, you’re expected to follow what’s known as “Murphy’s Rules” when you set foot in trainer Patrick Murphy’s famed Industry Gym in Los Angeles. Fortunately, these simple training protocols have nothing to do with Murphy’s Law, the idea that anything can go wrong. will be mistaken.
Murphy’s Rules, which include keeping your abs tight with every rep and maintaining proper head alignment, among other things, have helped hundreds of men and women get into the best shape of their lives, including some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
In recent years, Murphy’s has helped support Keanu Reeves’ middle-aged body through relentless high-intensity film shoots on set of several John Wick movies. He also provided Zac Efron with the level of vascularity of an elite bodybuilder which helped him stand out even alongside Dwayne Johnson on the set of Baywatch.
Suffice it to say, Murphy’s wisdom can help men of all ages achieve their fitness goals, whether it’s improving your mobility and extending your best years, or simply increasing the intensity of your workouts to prepare you in time for summer. While Murphy generally offers his advice for a fee, he was always ready to give us some clues about how he helps clients like Efron and Reeves quickly transform their bodies. Use them to your advantage and take your training to the next level.
You helped prepare Keanu Reeves’ body for the rigors of the John Wick movies. What does it take to prepare an actor’s body to undergo ringing like that?
That’s right, Keanu’s body went through the ringer while filming the John Wick movies. I’ve been training talent for over 25 years and the role of John Wick is the most demanding I’ve ever seen. All the scenes of judo, jujitsu, gun fu, blows and stunts were repeated over and over again, Daily.
I’m an expert in corrective exercises: resetting and recovery were Keanu’s keys to a successful shoot. I brought in an amazing trigger point person, Jodi Mainwaring, who worked on Keanu’s body daily. Cold dipping was also performed often. I also used a cryo gun to quickly ice around his joints whenever he needed it.
Keanu is no longer a spring chicken. When it comes to preparing someone over 50 to endure this level of punishment, were there any additional special measures you had to implement as part of the training itself?
I take pride in producing fitness programs that provide the most benefit with little or no risk. I think that’s one of the main reasons studios hire me to train talent. The exercises I prescribed Keanu covered stabilization, muscle endurance and strength. We performed high reps with bands, cables, free weights, and calisthenics. I use lots of balance tools – foam pads, half balls, discs – coupled with resistance training. After the workouts, Keanu felt more put together than broken down.
Speaking of depression, are there any nutritional differences you need to consider as a client ages? Do you need to take into account factors such as their rate of protein absorption or vitamin deficiencies that aging men might be susceptible to?
Absoutely. Optimal performance requires optimal nutrition and supplementation. This includes clean and balanced meals, recovery supplements that support circulation, and the client’s soft tissues, nerves and more. Optimal hydration is also very important.
I’m also a big believer in probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and cultured vegetables. I also like a variety of probiotic supplements to help restore the bacteria in your stomach.
What about flexibility or flexibility issues? Do your older clients have issues in these areas, and does this change the way you approach their training in regards to fears of potential injury?
Proper active warm-ups with active stretching are important when getting ready to play, and static stretching – actively holding the stretch – is important for cool-down. According to the client, stretching overactive muscles is important, but stretching weakened or elongated muscles can be detrimental. Maintaining overall body balance, strong neutral stances, posture and alignment are key. How you sleep or even how you stand can influence how quickly you recover from your workouts, as well as your risk of injury.
What are some of the common ways aging men are bound to adapt their workout regimens?
As you get older, you should try to adhere to risk/benefit exercises. It is not necessary to train your legs by loading a barbell on your back. You should also transfer burpees to other high-risk exercises. Keep in mind that exercises can create negative adaptations and trigger the injury cycle. Numerous the exercises, performed with corrective exercise guidelines, create positive adaptations for the human body.
Are there any popular training styles or methods that you would recommend to an aging client do not to commit?
I’m not a big fan of boot camp classes or exercises derived from survival training. These exercises promote positions that cause the people performing them to adopt poor postures, which can easily lead to injury.
You worked with Zac Efron to help him prepare for his role in Baywatch; he was blessed with the ultimate big-screen beach body. Can you explain what the ideal beach body is and how men can make rapid progress towards achieving it over an 8-12 week period as summer approaches?
First of all, I always say change begets change. To create this change, I like full-body large circuit workouts for the first four weeks of my multi-phase training plan, followed by two days of upper and lower body workouts in phase two of this plan. After that, they split into three days of push, leg, and pull days.
I’m also a big proponent of creating variety in training. That’s why I gathered my Show & Go program. This is a simple to implement rep scheme program that features the exact same mass shredding and building rep schemes I used for Zac Efron. Baywatch program. The variety of the training plan destroys plateaus and helps clients reach their full potential.
All of this forces you to frequently change your workout splits, change your patterns, change your rest periods, change your rep tempo, change your supersets, and more. When you take this approach, it will take you to the promised land as you program high-risk, ego-focused exercises and take more of a corrective exercise approach. I like to talk about positive coping training.
Are there any specific nutritional tips or meal prep tips you would advise people to implement if they are trying to get as lean and shredded as possible in three months or less?
If you only have three months to get lean and shredded, I would advise anyone in this position to go on a complete diet. This means they should stay away from highly refined and processed food products like cereals, crackers, tortillas, or basically any flour-based products. I would also advise them to stay away from any product with added sugar. It is always better to consume plain or unsweetened products.
Protein powders are refined and can also be sweet, right?
If you’re using protein powder, make sure the container label says what you’re consuming is organic, plain, and unsweetened. No matter what you take when you’re trying to shred fast, you want to avoid any added sugar.
So couldn’t a person do everything you suggest without necessarily following a complete diet? Why is the complete diet aspect so crucial?
Consuming whole foods eliminates food-like products with late expiration dates. A late expiration date means the product is a chemical crap storm loaded with preservatives, fillers, binders, emulsifiers, and many other unnecessary ingredients. You also need to stay hydrated: organic coconut water is amazing for hydration. Remember, the cleaner the diet, the better your liver will be able to do what it’s supposed to do. If you don’t have a proper diet, your liver becomes too busy detoxifying the body to be of any use to you in any other way.
Do you think the lure of achieving an ideal appearance is motivation enough to get most people to achieve their physical goals in just 60-90 days?
Rather, it is about establishing a way of life. Being healthy and happy for yourself and how you influence others around you is so rewarding. Sure, it feels good to look good, but that’s what a healthy diet and exercise program will do for almost anyone. We are all different in our own way and we need to find what drives us to be a healthy influence on ourselves. We all have to do the inner work before the outer work becomes evident.
Getting in shape and looking great for a movie role is one thing, but looking and feeling great in your 60s, 60s and beyond is the new benchmark.
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