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How Tom Holland Got Into Nathan Drake Shape

Tom Holland is no lightweight in the movie industry. Defining the current generation's iteration of Marvel's web-slinging, fast-talking superhero Spider-Man isn't exactly a walk in Central Park. Landing the role of Marvel's beloved wall-crawler has catapulted the young actor to A-list fame. Of course, with two previous live-action incarnations of Spidey still fresh in the minds of moviegoers, Holland had rather large tights to fill.

While Tom Holland's connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains top of mind, he's endeavored to make his mark on Hollywood stardom by embodying a broad range of leading roles in a short amount of time. His breakout role occurred in the 2012 film "The Impossible," starring alongside Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as the son of a couple on a Thailand vacation amidst a disaster. He would then meet future Marvel co-star Chris Hemsworth on the set of the Ron Howard film "In the Heart of the Sea." During his Marvel tenure, he's also lent his voice talent to animated characters in "Spies in Disguise," "Doolittle," and "Onward."

Voice acting aside, Holland is no stranger to intense physical transformations. Now, video game fans are interested in seeing the actor's foray into the live-action realization of "Uncharted," an award-winning video game series about a young Indiana Jones-type adventurer seeking ancient treasures and evading the bad guys. Parkouring through ancient ruins and jungles requires a certain build — and Holland appears ready for the challenge.

Tom Holland began his fitness journey early

The Spider-Man actor always maintained a lean physique. According to a Q&A with GQ, Holland trained in gymnastics and dance from a young age for a role in "Billy Elliot: The Musical." After that, he maintained his acrobatic activities until ultimately landing the role of Marvel's web-slinger. The journey to fitness never truly ends — a concept that Tom Holland certainly understands. Naturally, he brings his own energy to his roles. 

During a 2019 interview with GQ, his "Spider-Man: Far From Home" co-star Jake Gyllenhaal discussed his experience with Holland, stating, "He's just so physical ... He literally flips into scenes." While a steady exercise regimen helped Holland establish the toned build we've witnessed in his performances as Spider-Man, being ready and willing to perform the most physically demanding tasks for a role is only born out of a long-term relationship with fitness and physical activity. Speaking to Men's Journal, Holland's trainer for "Far From Home," George Ashwell, shared that he "was excited to work with someone who was already such an athlete."

Who is Nathan Drake?

While Spider-Man is instantly recognizable by the masses, video game fans may be the only group within pop culture who can identify the character of Nathan Drake. Of course, Sony's relationship with Tom Holland was already solidified through his work with the Sony-Marvel Spider-Man co-productions. That symbiotic relationship organically led to Holland filling the boots of Drake, the star of the Sony PlayStation-exclusive "Uncharted."

Driven by an obsessive need to uncover ancient secrets, Drake's adventures take him to the most perilous locales in the world. His foes ensure that Nate must always work hard for the prize. Despite some definite similarities to classic adventure heroes like Indiana Jones, the character of Nathan Drake quickly set himself apart with his jovial, witty demeanor. While Drake and his partner, Sully, often seek riches, Drake often finds himself wrapped up in the thrill of uncovering mysteries while deflecting the greedy opposition in the form of mercenary groups hired by menacing villains. The series is filled with thrills, laughs, and even somber moments that have defined an era of action-adventure gaming. In short, it's easy to why Nathan Drake was chosen for a big screen adaptation.

Uncharted demands up the ante

Though Spider-Man naturally requires a certain physicality, "Uncharted" represents an even more intense pressure on its leading man. Anyone who has played the video games knows that Nathan Drake is hardly ever given a chance to catch his breath. Scaling buildings and mountainsides through climbing, swinging, and jumping are all staples of the in-game mechanics. Speaking on Variety's Award Circuit podcast, Holland stated that "the action sequences in Uncharted are the biggest action sequences I've ever been a part of. The cuts and bruises and bangs I got from dangling off of wires and falling off of things was ridiculous."

Combat in the "Uncharted" games is fast and frenetic. Hand-to-hand throwdowns are common in the series both in-game and during cutscenes. And when Drake isn't going on the offense, he's running for his life trying to avoid the hazards of the environments. The games' settings are larger than life and breathtaking by design. It's only logical that an action film of this caliber would truly test the mettle of any actor.

Tom Holland's secret weapon: EMS training

Holland had to be ready for the rough and tumble go he had during filming. The film would require endurance and strength training. Nathan Drake is no slouch and is most certainly packing some muscle underneath that iconic French tuck. One of Holland's tactics for toning his core muscles is complimenting his workout regimen with a bit of EMS training.

EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation. Essentially, a machine is connected to each of your major muscle groups and a low-grade electric jolt causes the muscles to contract at a fast rate during a workout routine. These contractions intensify the stress on these muscles, creating two-hour exercise experience all within 20 minutes. On the surface, it might sound like a cheat or a simplified routine for muscle toning. But according to Holland, it's a method that is not lacking in the pain department. During an interview promoting "In the Heart of the Sea," he discussed his first experience with the machine. "I didn't go to the toilet for two days," the actor revealed. "I couldn't sit down because I was in so much pain."

HIIT Routines are central to Tom Holland's workouts

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a workout routine that focuses on cardio and burning fat. These workouts can be catered to serve an individual's needs. A HIIT workout, in its basic form, is performing multiple sets of a specific activity (squats, rows, jumping jacks) and minimizing the amount of rest taken between each set. It's typically recommended that an individual rest no longer than one minute in between each set to achieve the full impact of the HIIT workout.

Tom Holland isn't a stranger to HIIT routines, but he especially used them to tone multiple muscle groups at once during the filming of "Cherry." In the 2020 movie, Holland's character journeys from being a marine to a drug addict. He prepared appropriately for his scenes as an addict first, but then utilized HIIT to routines to bulk up all of his core muscle groups for the rest of the film.

According to George Ashwell, Holland's trainer, bear crawls were among his HIIT routines. It's an excellent cardio routine that benefits a broad range of muscle groups. Each set would be equivalent to 60 seconds of bear crawls followed by a short break. Dumbbell thrusters were another choice workout. For this set, place your feet square with your shoulders. Use low-weight dumbbells, then perform a squat motion and extend your arms above your head while rising. Traditionally, a full set would be 20 dumbbell thrusters followed by a short rest.

Mark Wahlberg, a true fitness inspiration

Tom Holland's co-star in the upcoming "Uncharted" film is none other than Mark Wahlberg. In the video game series, Nathan Drake's partner in crime is his friend and confidant, Victor "Sully" Sullivan. After originally being attached to the "Uncharted" film years ago as Nathan Drake, Wahlberg has now shifted into the role of Sully. Holland has shared via social media that he intended to keep up with Wahlberg in the fitness department.

Wahlberg is famously known for his intensity in the gym, and there's no doubt that this was a major influence on Holland in preparing for the role of Nathan Drake. During production, Holland posted an Instagram story showing off his shredded look, writing, "when working with @markwahlberg you gotta get after it!" That is no joke. Wahlberg doesn't mess around when it comes to his daily schedule, dietary plans, and workout regimen.

What does Mark Wahlberg's daily workout routine look like?

Wahlberg wasn't simply a mere inspiration for Holland, but the Nathan Drake actor stated that they're actually working out together. Therefore, it stands to reason that Wahlberg's gym routine helped sculpt the live-action Nathan Drake. As chronicled by Uproxx, his schedule focuses on maintaining a steady metabolism with multiple workouts, meals, and snacks dotting his calendar. There's no doubt that Wahlberg's day-to-day schedule returns impressive results.

Wahlberg's day starts at 2:30 in the morning — already it's not for the faint of heart! He eats a heavy protein and fiber breakfast by 3:15 AM and is then beginning his first workout of the day. This workout is followed by a protein-rich second breakfast. By 7:30 AM he's out on the putting green playing golf to relax while staying active. At 8 AM he's eating another protein snack and is then jumping in the cryo chamber at 9:30 AM for some R&R. Third breakfast rolls around at 10:30 before spending some time with work and family. Lunch is promptly at 1 PM before using the remainder of the afternoon for household duties and work. He is sure to fit another snack in there around 3:30. Wahlberg closes out his day with another workout at 4 in the afternoon, followed by dinner at 5:30 PM. He's then in bed at around 7:30 PM so he'll be ready to go again for that early morning alarm. 

What is F45?

In order to keep up with Wahlberg, there's a high probability that Holland adopted his famous Functional 45 (F45) workout routine. It's a 45-minute strength-focused HIIT routine. While this might fit in soundly with Holland's typical HIIT routines, it absolutely heightens the intensity. Wahlberg is such a champion of F45 that he has persuaded many of his fellow actors and celebrity friends to give it a go.

F45 consists of several stations that contain both cardio and resistance training exercises. These stations can be configured however an individual sees fit, pulling from any of the recommended F45 workouts. In this workout series, a person performs multiple sets of a particular workout before switching stations. The real kicker is that each set is typically performed in 45 seconds with a 15-second rest before repeating for a total of 45 minutes. The rest time is severely diminished from the traditional HIIT recommendation. Of course, the timing ratio can be adjusted and there are different variations and intervals of the circuit-style workout available.

A treasure hunter's diet

While Holland hasn't specifically revealed his diet plan for the "Uncharted" movie, it's likely that he was prescribed a diet similar to the one for his Spider-Man role. After all, Nathan Drake is known for displaying much of the same aerobic agility as the masked wall-crawler. It's also important that proper nutrition compliments the workout routines being performed for maximum effect. In fact, exercise alone won't drive significant weight-loss or muscle building changes. A person's dietary choices are a major catalyst for change.

As a word of caution, it's important to listen to your own body when making proper dietary choices. There is not necessarily a one-glove fits all answer. Metabolic rates vary from person-to-person, therefore caloric intake will also. For Tom Holland, it was necessary that he bulk up from his already-lean frame. Playing action heroes such as Spider-Man or Nathan Drake requires the frame that fits these characters' day jobs. According to Men's Journal, Ashwell ensured that Holland was consuming two fist-sized portions of protein, carbs, and greens for each meal. It's a simple dietary rule that went a long way in complimenting muscle growth.

Staying active

Of course, wrapping a project doesn't mean dropping exercise cold turkey and abandoning a healthy dietary lifestyle the moment the last scene is filmed. Actors are constantly keeping themselves active and striving to maintain healthy lifestyles so they can nab those coveted roles. After all, who knows? Maybe there will be an "Uncharted" sequel.

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to get off the couch after enjoying a lazy day? Newton's laws of motion clearly state that "an object at rest will remain at rest." Therefore, the opposite is true. If a person cultivates an active lifestyle, naturally the body will be more energetic. Tom Holland has always shown a high-energy gusto. He can attribute this to his recreational activity with gymnastics –- a hobby he's always maintained since a young age. During an interview with USA Today, Holland mentioned that he'd enjoy an outdoor adventure in between filming like skiing. Remaining active will only make it easier to lock down those coveted yet physically-demanding roles.