Nearly ten years after his last appearance as Jason Bourne, Hollywood star Matt Damon is back again as the amnesiac spy (and all-round ass-kicker) in the fifth installment of the series. Damon, who was only 29 when cast in the first Bourne movie, looks phenomenal in the trailers of Jason Bourne that releases this month. While it’s not the first time that the actor, now in his mid-40s, has undergone a massive physical transformation for a role, it was understandably much harder this time. What went into the Bourne Workout then? “Now I’m 45 and it’s just brutal… I was on a very strict diet and spent a lot of time in the gym just making myself miserable,” he told the BBC in an interview.
To look and play the part of an agent who spends most of his time on-screen either being battered or giving it back, Damon enlisted Hollywood trainer Jason Walsh, who has been working with him since Elysium (2013). Only this time around, director Paul Greengrass instructed that Damon had to look both mentally and physically distraught for the role. “You have to look like you’ve suffered. And the only way to do that is to suffer,” Damon said in an interview with The Guardian.
And suffer he did. Walsh’s plan was simple: he was going to push the actor as far as he could possibly go, without breaking him. A chief weapon of choice here was the VersaClimber, a piece of cardio equipment that works out the entire body as you pull up and down with your arms and legs in a standing position.
“It demands the whole body to work as one unit, recruiting more muscle, oxygen, and ultimately more calories,” said Walsh. He had Damon take it on every day for 10-minute sessions that really boosted his metabolism and set him up to burn calories till much after. And this was just the beginning. To add more muscle on the actor, Walsh first put him through a rigorous routine of lunges, squats, and crawls that would not only increase his overall flexibility and strength, but also ensure that when it finally came to lifting weights, Damon would hold his own.
As per the Business Insider, the actor’s daily workouts incorporated 100 sit-ups, 300 push-ups, squats (50 reps), Squat jumps (50 reps), pull-ups with 35 pounds strapped to waist, single-leg squats with 125-pound dumbbells in each hand, and sled push and pulling.
“He loved Bulgarian split squats,” Walsh told Muscle&Fitness. “And those were really good for him because they helped him with mobility, but they also helped with strength. It’s a huge demand on the lungs and the metabolic system.”
Our team is so proud and honored to be a part of this project. This is a picture from day 1 of shooting and exemplifies that hard work and dedication pay off. MD is strong, and Jason Bourne is back my friends! Photo credit by the talented @jasinboland hand wrapping by legendary @mattbaiamontesboxingclub epic cooking by epic chef @babe_the_big_blue_ox #dedication #photooftheday @risenation @shawnvance #family #hardwork #earnit
A photo posted by Jason Walsh (@risemovement) on
Naturally, all this had to be complemented with an equally insane diet regime. Damon’s routine consisted largely of vegetables and protein, split up over six meals a day. Cutting out carbs helped further reduce body fat, leading to a lean and muscular look that we’ve grown to identify with Bourne. His food typically comprised eggs, lean proteins like skinless chicken breast, lean steak, salmon, large portions of salads, protein shakes, and energy snacks like almonds, flaxseed, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. For an actor who admittedly likes his beers and burgers a bit too much, Damon had to go almost 18 months without a whiff of either.
“He worked his a** off. A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to work that hard and work that long, we had been working out for a year and a half straight! I’m really proud of him,” said Walsh.