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How Simon Pegg Transformed His Body For Inheritance

You might not recognize British actor and comedian Simon Pegg these days. Apparently, he's been hitting the gym hard the last several months in preparation for his role in the upcoming film Inheritance. Recently, he revealed his amazing transformation — defined abs and biceps plus a slimmer frame — through a photo posted on his personal trainer Nick Lower's Instagram and Twitter accounts. According to Lower's Instagram caption, Pegg went from 171 pounds to 152 pounds, and his body fat dropped from 12% to 8%.

It's a pretty dramatic change. But Inheritance, an indie thriller, is shaping up to be a pretty dramatic movie. The story follows a family that's thrown into turmoil when its patriarch unexpectedly passes away, leaving his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that just might destroy their lives. Pegg will be joined by Lily Collins as costar.

Pegg's new look was a surprise to many fans, but he isn't new to the fitness lifestyle — far from it. He's been working out for years for his role in the Mission: Impossible films, transforming right along with his character Benji Dunn. "I looked like a potato in MI3," Pegg told Men's Journal once. But he didn't stay that way, and he's certainly not that way anymore. Here's how Simon Pegg achieved his shocking body transformation for Inheritance.

He put in the time

According to Pegg's trainer, the process of getting him in shape for his new film took six months. Consistency is key when it comes to reaching fitness goals, and although to fans it might seem like Pegg's transformation happened overnight, the change actually took day after day of putting in the work and doing the small things right.

Pegg's strong fitness base certainly helped, too. Could someone who had never worked out a day in their lives look like Pegg in six months if they started working out and eating right tomorrow? Possibly — but the process they'd have to go through to reach that point probably wouldn't be safe or healthy. Pegg, meanwhile, has been working with trainer Nick Lower for several years, so when he started his Inheritance workout program, his body was prepared. He had a good strength base built up, he was used to disciplining himself, and he was familiar with the process of working with a trainer toward an end goal. That helped him reach his current level of fitness after six months of work.

He put in the miles

Part of Pegg's training program was running 37 miles on the trails every week. Running is a good way to lose weight and get healthy, but trail running might be even better — according to Core Running, it's a good functional workout because the uneven terrain improves your balance. In other words, just going for a jog on flat ground will tone your leg muscles and improve your cardiovascular health, but it might not get you in shape for other activities. Trail running can help you and your body be ready for anything — maybe even doing stunts on a film set. And if muscle definition is your main goal, trail running doesn't exclude that either: Running downhill puts four to five times your body weight on your legs, so it increases your strength by leaps and bounds. Thanks to his weekly trail runs, not only do Pegg's muscles look good now but he's also probably fast, agile, and ready for anything.

He kept his goals in mind

According to trainer Nick Lower, Inheritance required Pegg to be "very lean" and to have a "specific body shape." Bodybuilding.com says there are six main principles when it comes to getting lean: incorporating regular resistance training into your lifestyle; increasing your intake of fiber; realizing that not all calories are created equal (and experimenting with what works for you); combining macronutrients wisely; not doing excessive cardio; and tracking and recording everything.

It seems like Pegg, who has always been more naturally lean anyway, ticked most of the boxes here as he worked to become even more so. He did plenty of strength training and resistance work, he followed a good nutrition program (more on that in a minute), and it's evident from Lower's careful statistics about Pegg's journey that he kept careful track of Pegg's workouts. After all, recording the journey is the best way to enjoy the end result.

He maintained a good attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude during exercise is important, but it isn't always easy. Pegg did admit to "occasional mild grumpiness" on Twitter, but with the kind of grueling workout schedule he followed, who wouldn't? This does bring up an interesting point about how important mindset is when it comes to fitness (or honestly, to anything). An Elite Daily article cites a scientific study that suggests positive thinking can actually have a tangible impact on your workout results. In the study, people who compared their fitness and health progress to those around them (and subsequently decided they were not as healthy as the people who did "more" than them) were 71% more likely to die sooner than the others, even if their levels of fitness were actually the same.

So while Pegg might have been grumpy about the occasional early-morning trail run or punishing "Torture Tuesday" circuit, we're guessing that most of the time, he kept smiling. He might not have made as much progress if he hadn't.

He followed a 'sound nutrition plan'

Eating clean is another area where Pegg has extensive experience. While preparing for Mission: Impossible, Pegg followed a strict diet program with the help of Tom Cruise's personal chef; stews, chorizo, and dates stuffed with peanut butter and sprinkled with coconut all figured into the plan. During Mission: Impossible training, Pegg's trainer shared some diet details on his blog, writing, "We have tweaked his nutrition plan based on the results of a DNA test...  His recommended 'diet type' is low-carb as his geno-type suggests. The nutrition plan he is following is based on this but adjusted for his training and goals."

How did Pegg's Inheritance diet compare to his Mission: Impossible meals? We can't say for sure, because his fitness goals for this latest film are different. But people who are trying to get lean typically eat lots of protein (like chicken, eggs, and salmon), and it's obvious that Lower knows what he's doing. If Pegg wanted to keep those peanut butter coconut dates in the plan, though, we wouldn't blame him — those sound delicious. When it comes to getting lean, nutrition is half the battle, and Pegg certainly put in his time in the kitchen as well as the gym.

He mixed it up

Pegg's workouts included a mix of strength work, circuits, and core conditioning. Circuit training is a high-intensity type of workout where you cycle through strength and endurance moves, and it works because it combines cardio and resistance training, helping burn fat, build muscle, and increase overall endurance. Pegg's trainer had him doing circuit workouts years ago when Pegg was preparing for Mission: Impossible (in one YouTube video, Pegg referred to circuit training as "Torture Tuesday"). According to Men's Journal, Pegg performed the following circuit as part of his training at the time:

  • Single Leg Step-Up (Left)

  • Single Leg Step-Up (Right)

  • Box Jumps

  • Leg Raises

  • Cardio (2 minutes): Cross-Trainer Sprint

Pegg would perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and then do it again, until he'd completed the entire workout three times. There's no word on the exact contents of Pegg's circuits for Inheritance, but it was probably something pretty similar. And looking at that Instagram photo, it's not difficult to tell that Pegg focused on strength work and core conditioning, too.

He surrounded himself with encouragement

Pegg has encouraging words coming in from all sides. Each day in the gym, his trainer helps motivate him and get him into action. His mom is one of his biggest supporters, too — on Lower's Instagram photo, she commented, "Amazing Nick so proud of Simon and you for the plan and support."

His fans are definitely on board, too. When Lower posted the photo of Pegg's transformation, his notifications were flooded with support. "Get it Simon!" commented one fan. Another Instagram user said, "Is there a way this guy can be any more inspiring? Big Simon fan since he made me feel like it's not just okay to be a geek, but awesome as well. And now that transformation is mindblowing!"

Much like the power of positive thinking, support from the people around you is instrumental in reaching any goal, fitness-related or otherwise. With Pegg's recent transformation, he's definitely feeling the love. We can't wait to see the true fruits of his labor when Inheritance arrives.