June 14, 2024

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Alan Ritchson Shares His ‘Reacher’ Diet and Workout Routine

3 min read

ALAN RITCHSON’S DIET and fitness routine has changed a lot over the last couple of years. The actor only started training seriously with weights once he got the call that he’d been cast as swole action hero Jack Reacher. “Up until then, my basic workout was pushups, pullups, dips, and situps,” he explains in a new episode of Men’s Health‘s “Gym & Fridge.”

Once he got the role in Reacher, however, Ritchson realized he had a lot in common with the character, especially regarding their philosophy around food. “To Reacher, a calorie is a calorie, it doesn’t matter if it comes from fat or sugar,” he says. “Reacher will eat anything that works for him.” His own outlook, especially during the months when preparing to film the hit Prime series or the upcoming movie The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, isn’t so different.

“I eat whatever the hell I want, and I’m not kidding,” he adds. “I eat the healthiest when I’m on set, because I have somebody cooking for me.”

Of course, eating 4,000 calories per day is only one half of the equation for building Jack Reacher’s body: after feasting on cookies and key lime pie, he “punishes” himself with five workouts per week. He favors cable exercises when training at home, as these machines are hard to find in hotel gyms, and focuses mainly on upper body work to achieve that large-and-in-charge look.

Then he puts those muscles to use in fight choreography training: “Every time I think my cardio is on point, I go do a little fight training and I get gassed in three minutes and realize I’m not even close to what I should be.”

He’ll then use his recovery time in the sauna to also work on his mental wellness, and sees those 15-minute spells as meditative “zen time.”

Ritchson is not training to failure or chasing new PRs in his workouts; rather, his goal is to maintain this exact physique for as long as he possibly can. “I want 22 seasons of Reacher,” he says. “I want to be 100 years old and still playing Reacher.”

To avoid over-training and risking injury, Ritchson limits his gym time to just 20 or 30 minutes, but for those 30 minutes, he’s going hard. On a particularly intense day, after torching his lower body, he’ll then aim to hit 100 heavy reps on the bench press, starting at an incline and moving down to finish on a decline. But if it means he gets to keep on indulging his sweet tooth, he believes it’s all worth it.

“This is the thing; people will be like ‘oh, he eats whatever he wants,'” he says. “When I go into that gym, I’m like, ‘I deserve to die for how I’ve eaten,’ so I’m going to try to work myself to death. What I would love to find in my life is a balance, where I kind of eat healthy and then don’t have to work quite as hard. But I’m not doing it yet. I like cookie dough too much.”

Headshot of Philip Ellis

Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.

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