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How Robert Pattinson got ripped for The Batman

If you want to be Batman, you want to be buff. 

That fact's not lost on Robert Pattinson, the English actor who went from the Harry Potter franchise to the Twilight franchise to a whole host of critically acclaimed indie films before landing the coveted role of Bruce Wayne in director Matt Reeves' The Batman

The film — an "almost noir-driven" tale that places emphasis on the thoughts and emotions of Bruce Wayne, who will exercise the full scope of his world-class detective skills that many film adaptations have overlooked — isn't set to fly into theaters until October 1, 2021. But just because production on The Batman was suspended indefinitely on March 25, 2020 and its release date was bumped from its original June 25, 2021 slot didn't mean that Pattinson could go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for it all to blow over. The pressure was — and remains — on for Pattinson to attain and maintain a strong physique so he can slip into the iconic Bat-suit and be limber enough to perform at least some of his own stunts.

In October 2019, a few months before principal photography began in London in January 2020, Pattinson revealed that he was in the "early stages" of buffing up for The Batman (via ComicBook.com). When Pattinson, the rest of the Batman cast and crew, and essentially the entire world began sheltering in place amid the coronavirus crisis, the actor admitted in May 2020 that he hadn't exactly been listening to the advice of his personal trainer — despite also being aware that his co-star, Catwoman actress Zoë Kravitz, was giving it her all even in self-isolation.

That said, Pattinson is known for being a bit of a scamp, stretching the truth, and saying some weird things during interviews. Remember that time he lied to Matt Lauer about having witnessed a clown die? Or when he shared his culinary "creation" that consisted of microwaved pasta, processed cheese, and sugar? Point is, Pattinson was likely stretching the truth when he said he was "barely doing anything" to prepare for The Batman

The actor has put in effort in his own way, and is taking this whole "being the new Bruce Wayne" thing seriously, though some comments of his have suggested otherwise. Here's what we know about how Robert Pattinson got in shape for The Batman.

Robert Pattinson's "bulking" diet to prepare for The Batman

They say that abs are made in the kitchen but revealed in the gym, and Pattinson implemented a pretty particular method of eating to build a superhero physique

In his own words, Pattinson is "an extremist" when it comes to his eating choices — in that he'll go on a months-long junk food bender before it comes time for him to drop weight. Pattinson apparently took this approach for The Batman, as he previously teased that his everyday menu consisted mostly of pizza up until it came time to prepare for filming. "I'll eat nothing but pizzas for months so by the time I have to diet, my body is like, 'Thank God. Please only healthy stuff from now,'" he said during an interview while promoting his October 2019 film The Lighthouse (via BuzzFeed). "I've been bulking."

For those unaware, bulking is a common dietary practice, and can be done by everyone from professional athletes to bodybuilders in their off-season to actors needing to gain body mass for a certain role to an everyday person wanting to literally bulk up their body — either in preparation for a "cut" (a period of fat and weight loss intended to reveal the muscle built in the bulking phase) or simply to keep extra pounds on their frame because they want or need to.

There's no one "right away" to bulk, though two of the most popular and well-known methods are clean bulking and dirty bulking. Those who clean bulk gain mass by eating in a caloric surplus — intaking more calories than their basal metabolic rate (BMR), the total amount of energy one expends simply by being alive — and choosing healthier foods to chow down on. Think oatmeal and brown rice; almond and peanut butter; proteins like salmon, chicken, and lean beef; and healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and full-fat coconut milk. Those who dirty bulk, on the other hand, smash in calories from all kinds of sources — the more calorically dense, or "dirtier," the better. 

It certainly sounds like Pattinson mostly dirty bulked for The Batman, but he did end up switching from his self-admitted pizza-only diet to a healthier one.

Robert Pattinson made a few dietary sacrifices post-Batman bulk

While his best friends may have been Papa John and Little Caesar at one point, Pattinson has now adopted a "cleaner" diet — and has cut out more than just the saucy, cheesy, doughy delights that he loves to do so. In a fresh feature for the health and fitness magazine Healthy For Men, it's noted that Pattinson "cut down on alcohol" and reduced his intake of processed meat in addition to resisting the temptation of fried foods — all in the effort to "accelerat[e] his physical transformation" (via Twitter).

Giving up beer, saying so-long to salami and cured bacon, and not experiencing the satisfying crunch of something deep-fried may be difficult for us everyday people — even in the face of all the evidence saying that limiting intake of all those things may be beneficial to our health — but for Pattison, it's all part of the job. And from the way he described his pizza-heavy phase, his body probably thanked him switching to a healthier eating plan.

Robert Pattinson's newfound perspective on exercise

For actors looking to change their bodies for a film, a fitness routine goes hand-in-hand with their diet of choice. Sometimes, that involves very little working out and with a whole lot of pies – Christian Bale's combo of choice when he was gaining weight to play former Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice. Other times, it requires pushing a 5,000-pound Jeep across a parking lot and only eating junk food as a reward for working out, which is what Brie Larson did while prepping for Captain Marvel. Point is, the exercise (or lack thereof) that an actor does to transform their body for a movie is just as important as their diet. 

Pattinson's a smart guy, so he knows this. Thankfully, his new perspective on exercise made his Batman movie prep a easier. 

While speaking to interviewer Margaret Gardiner during the Lighthouse press circuit in the fall of 2019, Pattinson revealed that he was "weirdly looking forward" to getting in shape for The Batman — which is all thanks to his new feelings about exercise. "I didn't [like exercise] when I was younger. Now as I've kind of gotten older [...] I'm suddenly getting aware of aging. It's like I need to put some effort in, otherwise I'm going to need a hip replacement," he shared with a laugh. 

The actor followed up on that thought in a separate interview for The Lighthouse, stating that he would have to work out a lot to prepare for The Batman, which he was actually happy about (via BuzzFeed).  "I used to hate working out. In my 30s, I find it very meditative. It's weird," said Pattinson. "When you feel like someone's not forcing it on you, and you're doing it for yourself, it's a very different experience. I'm weirdly looking forward to it."

Robert Pattinson's Batman exercises include running, circuits, and mind-calming activities

When the time came to put thoughts into action and begin working out for The Batman, Pattinson kept his exercise routine varied. 

According to Healthy For Men, the actor would perform a "five-minute cardio workout," followed by a strength-training circuit consisting of "bicycle crunches, dumbbell side bends, double crunches, and a Superman" — a movement in which one lies on their stomach on the ground and lifts their arms and legs four to five inches off the ground in order to engage their core and back muscles. Pattinson also regularly ran — for five to ten kilometers (just over three to just over six miles), three to four times per week. Additionally, the actor took up boxing and had been spotted doing "military-style sandbag routines," likely to add excitement into his exercise regime and to increase strength and agility.

Beyond the standard gym stuff, Pattinson took time to unwind while still getting outside and moving about. Healthy For Men details that the actor "has always been an advocate of long walks as a way of loosening up and freeing the mind." Sounds like Battinson will be one balanced dude.

The Batman has been an exciting learning experience for Robert Pattinson

Speaking with Healthy For Men, Pattinson opened up about what it's been like to take on the role of Batman. For the actor, who's received most acclaim for his turns in dramas that didn't require physical transformations, he knows looking like Bruce Wayne is just as important as acting like him. He admitted that the lockdowns that world governments imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic have impacted his progress, but he's determined to keep going and do his absolute best as the new Batman, because ultimately, this has been an exciting learning experience for Pattinson.

"In every project I've ever taken on, I've come into it wanting to learn and to achieve new things," he said. "That's usually in the embodiment of a character and someone who has a different personality to me, but taking on a full physical transformation as well feels even more exciting [...] A few years ago, I would have run a mile from anything with a physical edge."

Pattinson continued, sharing that he does wonder whether he can live up to expectations in terms of both physicality and his actual performance — but he understands that's normal. Plus, he knows the onus isn't entirely on him to look unbelievably buff; Pattinson apparently plans to continue getting ripped, without damaging his body, and then let movie-making magic take care of the rest.

"You look at the true warriors of the superhero genre — [Chris] Hemsworth, the Rock, [Robert] Downey Jr., [Chris] Evans — and wonder if you're putting yourself in the wrong place. And yet, having spoken to a few, I know everyone is nervous when the opportunity [to play a superhero] comes about," said Pattinson. "It's all about pushing boundaries and building up to a point where you know you can do justice to the physicality required. And past that, so much of it is letting the special effects and on-screen exchanges produce the real magic. Overall, it's just very exciting."

Fans can see the fruits of Robert Pattinson's labor when The Batman hits theaters on October 1, 2021.