For real? Jake Gyllenhaal credits training for unreal Roadhouse body transformation

When Jake Gyllenhaal entered the octagon at UFC 285, he sent ripples across the mixed martial arts community. He even managed a highlight-worthy flying knee ‘knockout.’

The 42-year-old actor was actually shooting a staged combat scene for the Road House movie. It is a remake of the Patrick Swayze-starring cult classic from 1989.

In the remake, Gyllenhaal portrays Elwood Dalton. He seemed completely shredded during the weigh-in for his fictitious middleweight title match against champion Jax Harris. The character was portrayed by Jay Hieron, a former mixed martial artist and UFC competitor.

Even though Conor McGregor also features in the movie, Gyllenhaal’s toned body has drawn the interest of both casual and die-hard fans.

Gyllenhaal in 2017

The Oscar-nominated star’s incredible change for the movie is evidence of his thorough and committed devotion to his art. But achieving the toned body of an MMA competitor is no simple task.

In reality, it took numerous hours of intense work in the gym. Gyllenhaal worked out with his trainer Jason Walsh at Rise Nation, a training facility in New York.

Gyllenhaal in Roadhouse

As part of his preparation for Road House, Walsh said that Gyllenhaal often attended his VersaClimber courses. He said: “He was going there [Walsh’s studio] a lot especially since we were trying to get him into UFC fighter shape.”

The Brokeback Mountain actor hasn’t revealed all the specifics of his training for Road House. But a look at his intense Southoaw training regimen provides an idea of what it takes to be chiseled.

Gyllenhaal in Southpaw
Gyllenhaal in Southpaw


Gyllenhaal allegedly worked out twice a day and gained 13 kg of muscle. Before the movie came out, Gyllenhaal made an appearance on The Howard Stern Show. There, he spoke about the ridiculous amount of workouts he was doing.

He revealed: “I trained twice a day for five months. I started at three miles and eventually, I was running eight miles. I would go and work out for two hours doing mitt work, heavy bag and speed bags.”

“Over five months, every single day, twice a day you just start learning the techniques. It took me two months to get the speed bag and feel confident with the speed bag.”

In a different interview, Gyllenhaal described what an ordinary day at the gym might entail. It included:

  • 1,000 sit-ups
  • An 8-mile run
  • 1-2 hours of boxing/sparring
  • 1 hour of core workouts
  • 1-2 more hours of boxing/cardio
  • 1 hour of weightlifting (shrugs, bench press, tire flipping, etc.)
  • 1,000 additional sit-ups before bed

Additionally, he would do two or three rounds of the following core workouts:

  • Pull-ups (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Arm walk-outs (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Bicycle crunches (1 set of 20 reps)
  • One leg/arm plank (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Dips (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Pushups (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Deadlift (1 set of 10 reps, 1-2 minutes of rest)

And he had an equally rigorous weightlifting regimen:

  • Dips (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • Crunches (1 set, 25 reps)
  • Weighted pull-ups (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • Barbell squats (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • Barbell deadlift (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • DB shoulder press (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • Walking lunge (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • Dumbbell shrugs (1 set, 8-12 reps)
  • Bench press (1 set, 8-12 reps)

Although Gyllenhaal’s exercises were undoubtedly tough, he also had to focus on his diet for the role.

The Road House actor allegedly had six or seven meals a day, about every three hours. He consumed a lot of carbohydrates in the morning to fuel his exercises and increased his protein intake in the afternoons and nights to help grow and repair muscle.

Gyllenhaal stated in an interview with “My diet would consist of lots of eggs, chicken, fish, bananas, apples, almonds, cacao beans, raisins, goji berries, rye bread, pasta, couscous and potatoes, and lots of steamed vegetables and salad: avocado, tomatoes, broccoli, and other dark-green leaves.

“Nothing was fried, and everything was as natural as possible. I would drink plenty of water throughout the day, as well. In terms of supplements, there was vitamin D3 and vitamin C, and then also protein shakes.”

It clearly paid off since he did look extremely ripped in the movie.