He may be a Hollywood star, but the British actor’s route to peak health offers pointers for us all
Much has been spoken of Henry Cavill’s punishing diet and exercise regimes, unsurprisingly for someone synonymous with Superman, with real-life comic-book good looks. Since taking on the role of genetically enhanced monster slayer Geralt of Rivia, ‘The Witcher workout’ (involving daily fasting, cardio and weights session) has become a big search term, while his intense dehydration diet employed for shirtless scenes went viral. But behind the cape or leather armour donned for his characters, the British actor has some relatable rituals that non-superstars (or superheroes) can easily employ.
Work out beyond aesthetic reasons
Cavill confirms there's “a lot of gym work” in his weekly schedule. When he’s shooting a movie or series, “to make sure that I can survive it,” he trains twice a day.
“Yes, it’s definitely for aesthetic reasons,” he admits, “but it’s also for the ability to actually manage an arduous shoot for seven to eight months – or whatever it may be. Working 14-hour days does take its toll.”
Regardless, his ethos is about “trying to stay as healthy as possible.” That means “clean” eating, too.
When it comes to a healthy diet, knowledge and preparation is key
“The most important thing for diet is knowledge and preparation,” he tells us. “And it’s very difficult for us as people who are busy – running around doing our jobs – to gain all that knowledge.” His solution? “If you can find a person or company who can do the knowledge part for you, so you know what your goals are, they can at least give you the information so you can do food prep, for example.” This is “is enormously helpful”, Cavill says, allowing you to be in control of your nutrition.
“I have found food prep to be a massive saving grace for me, time-wise and health-wise, because then I know what I’m having and when.” Therefore, he can “eat as cleanly as possible when working”, and then “once a week I’ll have a meal that I really want to have and that’ll be off-diet”.
Extreme diets are only for extreme situations
Cavill will suffer for his art, but he knows it’s just that. On The Graham Norton Show he recently revealed how he would limit his water intake when filming for The Witcher. “On the first day you’ll have a litre and a half, and the second day half a litre, and then the third day, no water, and you’ll shoot on the fourth [day],” he explained.
Will this be a repeat performance? “When it comes to shirtless stuff I would absolutely do it again,” he says. “But I do not recommend it: it’s not healthy. It doesn’t feel good – but it does look good!” He tells us he only does the “the light version of it,” (apparently bodybuilders go hard). “But for me, if it sells a character to an audience then yes absolutely I’ll do it, but if it’s going to be a risk to my health, then no.”
The actor knows that he has a professional trainer observing him, “making sure that I’m okay and that I have all the right things going into my system”. For us mere mortals, it’s the opposite of what he’d recommend.