Henry Cavill’s 5 Best Tips for Building a Heroic Body

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Few Hollywood stars can boast the legit training credentials of Henry Cavill. Having bulked up to Kryptonian proportions to play Superman in 2013’s Man Of Steel, the 32-year-old slimmed down significantly for his role as thief-turned-spy Napoleon Solo in Guy Ritchie’s update of 1960s TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E., only to have to put it all back on and more for next year’s eagerly-anticipated Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

His body transformations are all the more impressive given the gruelling nature of his schedule, which regularly saw him fit punishing workouts that would leave most gym-goers whimpering in the changing room – courtesy of first Gym Jones founder Mark Twight and, more recently, Michael Blevins – around brutal 14-hour shooting days. Here, Cavill explains how he managed this superhuman workload and achieved such otherworldly results.


Put simply, it’s the only way to get things done. ‘The key is to block off chunks of time,’ says Cavill. ‘Don’t just write a list of things to do and try to get them all done as you go through the day. Wherever possible, give yourself a specific time and timeframe for each task, and you’ll be far more likely to actually get it done.’ This includes everything from meals and checking emails to hitting the gym. The more structured your day, the more productive you’ll be.


‘Normally I find that mornings are the best time for me to train, but when I was filming Batman vs Superman, that meant training at 5am, which wasn’t ideal,’ says Cavill. ‘The other option was training at 9pm after a full day of shooting which didn’t work either, so I ended up having to do what I could when I could to maintain my fitness. Really the best time of day to train is whenever you feel the strongest and you feel like you can actually perform at your best and get stuck in.’ This might require a bit of trial and error and may depend on your schedule, but it’s worth working it out to maximise your results.


‘A lot of guys get caught up in only eating chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, but I couldn’t do it – I’d shoot myself,’ says Cavill. ‘You can allow yourself to have a bit more variety, especially if you’re mass gaining. You can’t eat crap all the time, but you can enjoy a good burger. It’ll help you mentally as well as physically.’ And the occasional outright cheat meal isn’t out of the question either. ‘During the Batman vs Superman shoot there was a great place called the Vinsetta Garage in Michigan where we ate pizza and burgers that were second to none,’ he says, wistfully.


‘Sometimes I’ll have days when I’m on my way to the gym and I’m just not feeling it,’ says Cavill. ‘At that point my coach, Michael Blevins, will say “OK, let’s just feel it out a bit”, and often I’ll find that once I get started, my energy will start kicking in and I’ll realise that actually I’m OK and good to go. But if by that point I’m still struggling, we’ll use the time to do something lighter instead, like go for a walk.’ The lesson? If you’re feeling tired, start your workout and gauge your body’s response. You might surprise yourself – but a scaled-down active recovery session is still far more productive than doing nothing at all.


‘You’ve got to find someone who’s really passionate about what they do, and isn’t just being a trainer to feed their ego because they think it’s cool,’ says Cavill. ‘Everyone’s got an ego, but you want somebody who’s thinking about you, not themselves – someone who’s prepared to really tailor what they’re doing to suit your needs.’ Not sure where to start with the host of PTs at your local gym? Watch them training their existing clients and see how much attention they’re actually giving them. Don’t be afraid to book one-off free trial sessions with multiple trainers in the same gym either – only the ones with huge egos will take it personally if you opt for one of their colleagues instead, and you’re far more likely to find one who’s in tune with your goals and personality.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is in cinemas nationwide on Friday 14th August

Ben Ince

Between 2010 and 2016, Ben was the deputy editor of Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Ben also contributed exclusive features to Coach on topics such as football drills, triathlon training plans and healthy eating.