Our most recent Mr. Bond, Daniel Craig, has always been an actor in good shape, going back to Layer Cake and his other films. Still, for Casion Royale and then Quantam of Solace, he got in even better shape. Unlike a number of celebrity workouts, the Daniel Craig workout was put together by a qualified personal trainer who has trained previous Bonds, and whose system would be effective for you or I.
To start with, Craig’s workout was built on him doing serious training Monday to Friday, then being free to eat and drink as he pleased on the weekends. He did give up smoking, but otherwise from following this workout just five days a week he was able to get in fantastic shape while having freedom on the weekends.
Craig’s workout week began and ended with circuit training days on Monday/Friday. These were a series of full-body exercises, cycled through with no rest between exercises and several minutes between sets. You see a similar setup in a number of CrossFit workouts, and this is a proven way to both work your muscles and your cardio at the same time. There are a number of studies that found a good metabolic effect from this, where your body remains in a heightened fat burning state for 48 hours afterwards. The circuits help you build up stamina while still working on muscle.
During the middle days of the week, Tuesday through Thursday, the Daniel Craig workout consisted of isolation exercises. Tuesday was chest and back day, Wednesday covered the legs, and Thursday focused on the shoulders and arms. Here are the individual circuits:
Monday/Friday: these exercises are done as circuits, where each exercise is done one after the other with no rest between each. Then, rest for 3-4 minutes after each set for a total of 3 sets.
a. Clean & Jerk
c. Bench Press
e. Tricep Dips
f. Barbell Curls
g. Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Tuesday: Chest & Back isolation exercises, for all do 4 sets of 10 reps
a. Incline Bench Press — do the heaviest weight that you can with good form for all sets
c. Incline Push-ups
d. Incline Dumbbell Flys
Wednesday: Legs isolation exercises, for each do 4 sets of 10 reps
b. Straight-leg Deadlifts
c. Hamstring Curls
d. Weighted Lunge
Thursday: Isolation day for Shoulders & Arms. For all exercises do 4 sets of 10 reps
a. Incline Bicep Curls
b. Tricep Dips
c. Lateral Raises
d. Shoulder Press
Friday: repeat Monday’s whole body circuit training
Saturday & Sunday: R&R day with the option of light cardio only
Let’s take a moment to analyze this workout. The circuit training days are good for the metabolic conditioning effect and for hitting everything at once, kick-starting muscle growth. The isolation exercises in the middle cover bulking and toning individual muscle groups. Note too the heavy use of the basic all-body exercises: pull-ups, deadlifts, and squats. These are the corner of most celebrity workouts, and should definitely be in your arsenal.
Now, as with the majority of actors, Daniel Craig was already in good shape before preparing for the Bond films. This workout would not have been nearly so effective if he first needed to drop a ton of fat or if he had not already worked out and built up some muscle before training. The way it’s structured, there will be some fat loss and significant toning and development of the muscles, but it would not take someone from out of shape into 007 shape.
If you are starting from scratch you can absolutely use this as a model, but would be advised to scale down the reps and weights to what you can safely handle, and also paying especial attention to diet as you get started. For your muscles to show as well as his, your body fat needs to be quite low (~10% should do it for most men). The average guy is well above this, so if that’s you begin by getting the diet under control.
Otherwise, the Daniel Craig Workout is one of the more well-rounded Hollywood fitness systems that I’ve seen and is well worth trying out. While we will probably never get to be James Bond, there is no harm in emulating the character’s fitness and style.
For more information on how to get a Hollywood body in the real world, check out the free Hollywood Fitness Guide to learn how to get yourself in Brad 007-worthy shape: it goes over just what it takes to slim yourself down to that <10% body fat level and build up the right kind of muscles to pull off the celebrity look