Sylvester Stallone’s bulging muscles are more famous than the man himself. His bulky frame is the actor’s trademark and one that he has pushed to its absolute limits – especially whilst playing Rocky Balboa in the epic boxing franchise, Rocky, which boasts seven films.
His rippling abs and biceps were the result of extreme physical training and an even more extreme diet, which Stallone himself recalls as “dangerous”. The highly defined torso and arms of Balboa were the envy of men and young boys around the world, but the story behind them certainly isn’t. In a recent Instagram post, Stallone explains how he was loyal to an “extremely high protein diet” in order to get his Rocky III body. In the film, Stallone ‘fights’ Mr T’s character, Clubber Lang, and takes home the victory, but it wasn’t without sacrifice that his character’s win could be believable. The Oscar-nominated actor confessed that in preparation for the blockbuster, he ate nothing but “small portions of oatmeal cookies made with brown rice and up to 25 cups of coffee a day with honey and a couple of scoops of tuna fish”. This was combined with a physically demanded exercise routine, in order to sculpt him into the iconic Rocky Balboa. However, this restricted diet came with several health scares and lots of hazards, with the actor admitting that he often felt “light-headed” during filming as he lacked “physical and mental energy.” To combat this “light-headed” feeling, Stallone admitted that he would do handstands on set between takes to “try to get some blood back into [his] head so [he] could carry-on with the complicated fight choreography.” “I may have looked pretty good on the outside but inside it was very dangerous thing to do,” Stallone wrote on Instagram. “At the time my body fat got down to 2.9 which is a really dangerous level.” To highlight just how dangerous, it is recommended that men between the ages of 20 and 40 have a body fat level of between eight and 20%. Making Stallone’s 2.9% frighteningly low. Explaining what kept him loyal to his radical diet, Stallone wrote:
“I wanted the movie to be about change. How people have to adapt to different challenges because if they don’t they will be conquered. I will always believe the adaptation is the key to survival and that’s what this story was all about. While getting smashed by Superstrong, CLUBBER LANG continuously four months of rehearsal plus the fight, tended to wear a person out so I would literally go to the corner between rounds, when I wasn’t directing and try to get some blood back into my head so I could carry-on with the complicated fight choreography.”
Stallone, has always been in good shape, and is regularly dieting for movie roles. However, now at 71-years-old, the extremity of his dieting has tamed: “When I’m doing a movie, I eat the same thing every day,” he said. “For lunch, it’s tuna salad or chicken salad and coleslaw. That’s it. For dinner it’s either veal and rice, fish and rice or steak and rice. ” “It gets boring; boy, does it get boring.” However, when not filming it would appear that Stallone has a more sensible diet where he allows himself a few treats. “My favorite snack would have to be Fritos, no doubt about it. Fritos and mayonnaise,” he once said. So there you have it. If you want to be ripped like Stallone, you have to essentially eat nothing and work out like an animal. You’d have to be brave or stupid to try it! Meanwhile, Stallone has made it clear that he will be taking a step back from directing after a hugely successful career behind the camera. What can you expect of the star in the future? Watch to find out…
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