Alan Ritchson, the star of the new Amazon Prime series Reacher is garnering almost as much attention for his muscular physique as his acting. He started as a model. After being discovered on American Idol in 2004 (where he performed a striptease), Ritchson has steadily built his acting career, mostly on TV, including a recurring role as Aquaman in Smallville, a starring role on the short-lived Blood Drive, and, ongoing, the superhero Hawk in Titans, on HBO Max. Jack Reacher in Reacher is Ritchson’s biggest role, yet. And the 6’2″ 39-year-old certainly has the muscles for the high-energy action series.
In 2017, Ritchson told Muscle & Fitness he wanted to keep a swimmer’s body. So, he was doing lots of running (up to 13 miles daily) and bodyweight exercises like pullups, pushups, and burpees. He stuck to an 80/20 diet. This meant 80% of the time he consumed no dairy, no refined sugar, little red meat, and lots of salads and fish. As for the remaining 1/5: “I give myself permission 20% of the time to eat whatever I want,” Ritchson stated. “I’ll have a piece of pizza, and I don’t beat myself up about it.”
Recently, Ritchson has looked more like a linebacker than a swimmer. He’s dished workout and diet advice on his Instagram page.
On October 22, 2020, Ritchson wrote:
I get asked daily about my workout regimen. I don’t have time to answer the workout related questions I get. But I know it’s on a lot of people’s minds. So I think it’s time I let you in on what I’ve discovered. Ready for the secret? Here it is: I don’t have a secret.
I’ve got my own bodily goals and aspirations, things I’d like to achieve. I’m not there yet. Everybody is different in this way and every body responds differently to exercise and diet. But there is one universal truth when it comes to reaching your physical goals. Whether it’s losing weight or adding muscle, one principle remains the same…
There is no substitute for hard work; no powders, no goos, no fancy shoes will get you where you want to go without it. If you want to lose weight or lean out, put out more than you take in and make your heart beat harder than it did yesterday. It’s that simple. Doesn’t matter how you get there. If you’re trying to bulk or add strength, put more strain on your muscles than you did yesterday. It doesn’t matter how you get there.
Last November 3, he announced that he had shoulder surgery and had to take a couple months off and admitted: “The downtime started to take its toll mentally, What if I lose everything I’ve worked for? I should push through….” But, with no shoulder pain post-recovery, he came back stronger and bigger.
On the last day of last year, Alan Ritchson provided a glimpse of his garage gym as he trained with two of his three sons.
And on January 15 of this year, he wrote:
To the guys always asking for workout tips. I’m no expert. I’m never where I want to be. I’m grinding it out just like you. But let me simplify it for us…move something that fatigues your body and heart most days of the week.
But here’s a fun fact. Hypertrophy and strength training are two different things. Usually they compliment each other. High weight low reps (think: 4-6) will increase strength. Some growth in size (hypertrophy) will occur. But not as fast as if you did lower weight and higher reps (think: you can’t do more reps than 15-25 each set for 4 sets). Bodyweight exercise like push-ups, pull-ups, and dips can add plenty of size if you don’t have access to a gym. All you really need is you and the discipline to push.
To the people that keep asking, no I don’t do steroids and never have. If you know what those do, it’s obvious.
Just be patient and do the things today the you ten years from now needed you to do. Don’t expect the you two months from now to be the you you want to be in ten years.
All photos: Instagram