300: Spartan Challenge
Do you remember the movie 300?
Above - Gerard Butler as King Leonidas of SPARTAAAAAA
300 - The Zak Snyder directed movie that was released back in 2016
It was the story of the fictionalised retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae in the Greco Persuain Wars
That used some green screen effects
Where King Leonidas of Sparta (Played by Gerard Butler) leads his 300 Spartan soldiers into battle against the Persuian God King Xerxes -
Yep pretty cool film...
That kind of took off and exploded due to the interest in the 'physiques' of the 300 Spartans warriors
Why it now also has a cult following...
Above - Its me, Spartan Anton Hedges, men's health, fitness, longevity expert in my late 40's now! Free Warrior Wellness Guide Here: https://anybodyspt.lpages.co/foundation-guide/
There was lots of talk and buzz about these guys got into shape, similar to any of these movie transformations
Think Brad Pitts iconic fight club physique: (pending)
Were these guys actually in such (similar) great shape or was it CGI and green screen etc?? Hmmm
Well, having worked as a health and fitness professional for over 20 years I do lots of research and challenges, for my own personal interest but also to improve the service I offer to all my warriors both online and locally
This may include workout challenges and what with also being a film geek I wanted to learn more about this movie and how they achieved this 'spartan warrior look'
It will be similar to previous challenges I have posted including the Northman - Viking Warrior
Who just like the Spartans, they also would require real USABLE strength as opposed to just brute strength alone
Bear or Wolf - Bear - Big, bulky, and less mobile or Wolf - Athletic and technical, able to perform/fight etc = USABLE
And agility is more usable than brute strength alone - The physique is a result of developing USABLE strength, stamina, and skill for mock battles - The 'appearance' is the consequence of fitness
Anyhow, whilst researching this movie over quite a vast period of time and trying out a variety of so-called 300 workouts I would also search for details about the CGI. It was always implied that there was NO CGI involved!!!
That was until a couple of years ago, where Zak Synder confessed that he made all the actors get in shape BUT he STILL wasn't happy so then also added extra CGI so as to make everyone look like perfect Spartan fighting machines.
Side note - Which is actually what i think is wrong with this fitness industry.
Now I know it's a film but it doesn't offer any transparency, similar to the fake filtered social media bullshitters people compare themselves too and then we wonder why mental health is so bad?
It took me near on 15 years to find out that CGI info
This was also backed up by another research article I found regarding the trainer for the 300 movie, Mark Twight, and what he had to say about Gerard Butler:
''Not every actor is willing to put in the gruelling hours toward achievement physical perfection.
Trainer Mark Twight, who trained the cast of 300, says star Gerard Butler lacked the proper discipline. “He’s not mentally equipped,” Twight says. “Gerry does not want to do the work that other people are doing.”
Meanwhile, an unnamed actor echoes that sentiment: “Gerry goes straight for the cream puffs, man. He works out hard, then he likes to drink beer. He’ll get big, but he’ll never get ripped.”
Above - As you can see, Gerard is NOT as ripped as demonstrated within the actual movie, see top picture and below, and yes it may seem harsh as Gerard is in 'good shape' for the average guy. However, the point is he was meant to be a Spartan warrior king for this movie, not just to look ok for an average guy. Probably why Snyder wanted the extra CGI
Below, you can now see the CGI difference clearly as well as in that headline picture at the top of this post?
That said, all these actor guys were put through their paces by Mark Twight
Including this 300 rep routine that was all over the internet after the release of the movie and just one of the workouts I have attempted -
SPARTAN 300 WORKOUT (Mark Twight) The 300 Workout consists of 300 reps of both bodyweight and weighted exercises (that hit every muscle group. It emphasises both muscular strength and endurance) done straight through in a circuit formal with little to no rest between exercises.
EXERCISE - REPS
Pull Ups - 25
Deadlifts - 50 using 135Ibs
Push Ups - 50
Box Jumps - 50 using 24 inch box
Floor Wipers - 50 Holding 135Ibs at arms length
Kettle or Dumbbell Clean Press - 25 each arm using 35Ibs
Pull Ups - 25
Depending on your fitness level, the 300 Workout can take 15–45 minutes to complete.
I know that all the actors did do it regularly and made a note of their time(s) where they had a little friendly competition amongst themselves with the actor Andrew Pleavin, who played Daxas,
Achieving the fastest time of 18 minutes and 11 seconds
(Been a while since I have attempted by I have completed in under 20 min)
Some of the articles I have researched and said that all these actors did this daily/regularly, however, I'd be very surprised if they were doing this much volume daily without the vital rest and recovery. Its really not going to end well!
Which is why I have also seen it suggested to follow the routine Mon, Weds, and Fri whilst having rest/recovery days on the Tues/Weds alongside Saturday cardio and full day of rest on Sunday before repeating the next week
Although in reality I expect they were doing a variety of workouts alongside this 'challenge' occasionally, so as to be able to monitor if their times were improving and progressing (Great motivation tool for any GOAL)
With regards to variations there are also modified variations that are easier especially for beginners that then allow you to progress as and when you are ready.
Example of modified BODYWEIGHT 300 workout so NO equipment is required:
Exercise - Reps
Rows (modified - TRX etc) 15
Squats - 25
Push Ups - 15
Jumping Jack/Star Jumps - 50
Mountain Climbers - 20 (10 each leg)
Close Hand Push Ups - 10
Rows (again) - 15
This totals 150 reps so you would then repeat for a second round (yep you'd have to repeat the rows again)
Now note your time and attempt tp beat it next time so you continue to progress and compete with YOURSELF!
Of course there were also lot more of these 300 workouts out there due to the popularity and interest of this film
One of the main 300 routines I have followed and reverted back to, from time to time )remember these are occasional challenges due to the sheer volume/stress) is the Steve Maxwell kettlebell 300 workout
As mentioned, agility and real usable is what's required and kettlebells are an amazing functional gym in the palm of your hand. Another reason why I incorporate a lot of kettles within my personal training
And Steve Maxwell, who I have trained and certified under through all types of training as well as kettles, was the FIRST coach who introduced KB'S to the USA from Russia, designed this routine, and similar to Mark Twights routine. it is a time challenge, although safety/form is vital, where men should AIM to complete the challenge with 16kg and ladies 8kg.
Above - Quick demo of Steve Maxwell's Kettlebell 300 Challenge
I would follow this KB challenge once per week over a 4-6 week period, alongside a couple of other routines as well as mindful nutrition, before reducing my quantity of work for recovery. Even more important now I'm over 40 :o
With regards nutrition?
Well, for any of these body shaping goals what you are consuming will be vital
Not just for the way you look but also the way you FEEL -
Put good stuff in = Get good stuff out
And if you've been following for a while our energy levels are vital for our OVERALL wellbeing!
The main aim for these actors would have been eating well balanced nutritious foods like lean proteins, whole grains and pulses, fruits, and vegetables, and dairy to support exercise recovery, muscle building and fat loss!
Eating for the purpose (health, wellbeing, a specific look) instead of eating for pleasure which should be an occasonal thing. Although this may have to be even more occasional during such a challenge to really benefit results
Especially if you are working that hard physically, why would you then not go all in?
(why it's a challenge for a movie - unlike sustainable everyday health, fitness longevity)
That will usually be a mindset issue - Revert back to Mark Twights experience of Gerard Butler during the production.
Even if just for a short while for a movie role (Which Gerard wasn't prepared to do regardless of what you see on screen) or fitness challenge - As we know this almost impossible to sustain and have a life which is why I exercise all year (for my wellbeing) but throw in a couple of occasional challenges annually..
As they are great to help keep interest, focus, and motivation (which doesn't run out we just get distracted) and I also enjoy seeing what my body can do as it ages another year
If you'd like some help with the nutrition for the 300 and these other challenges then feel free to grab my free warrior wellness guide, my personal blueprint, that includes, meal plan examples, my daily dozen rules, optional free online challenge and a whole lot more: https://anybodyspt.lpages.co/foundation-guide/
Anton 'This is SPARTAAAA' Hedges
PS - REAL USABLE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING!
Sources - Me, Mark Twight, Healthline, Muscle&Strength.com