Chris Pratt has held major roles in the movies “Moneyball,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” and “Her.” He has also played a prominent role in the hit TV series “Parks and Recreation.” Never before has the 35-year-old actor had to drop 50 pounds in five months though. To land the starring role in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Pratt had to transform his body from a porky 275 pounds to 225 pounds of lean muscle. To do that, he hired personal trainer and former Navy SEAL Duffy Gaver. Gaver has worked with Brad Pitt (“Troy”) and Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) among others, successfully transforming some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Chris Pratt’s Guardians of the Galaxy Workout

To play the role of the superhero, Star-Lord, Pratt had to look the part. For five months, he trained for six days per week and consumed a diet of around 4000 calories per day. His diet consisted of nutrient-dense foods and emphasized “clean” eating. He also upped his water intake significantly. During this time period, Pratt didn’t even have one sip of beer, sticking to the strict guidelines. The workouts developed by Gaver had bodybuilding and conditioning elements to make sure Pratt built muscle and shed the excess fat on his frame. Strength training revolved around compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench press. Some of his conditioning activities included boxing, swimming, running and mountain-biking. Here is one of Pratt’s signature high-intensity circuits, courtesy of Muscle & Fitness magazine:

The Circuit

Directions:  Perform the following circuit five times through without resting in between each round.

1. Run – 800 m

The 800-meter, or half-mile, run is an excellent way to get conditioned. It is a physically-taxing exercise that stresses both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

2. Clean (95 lbs.) – 15 reps

The clean is a complex Olympic-style movement that hits the entire body. It requires plenty of practice and power to complete this dynamic compound movement.

To perform the movement, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and under the barbell. Squat down with an overhand grip and arms fully extended. Start the movement by extending the hips and knees and pulling the bar up. Keeping the bar close to your body, jump upward extending the body, pulling your body under the bar and allowing the elbows to rotate underneath. Catch the bar on the front of your shoulders while moving into a squat position. Finish the movement by performing the upward portion of the squat.

3. Bench Press (205 lbs.) – 10 reps

The bench press is one of the most common compound movements that you will see in the weight room. It primarily targets the pectoralis major, anterior shoulder and triceps as well as the core.

To perform the bench press, lie flat with your back on the bench. Grip the barbell with an overhand wide grip and hands equal distance apart from the center. Lower the weight to the middle of your chest and then press it upward until your arms are fully extended.

4. Box Jump (30 in.) – 5 reps

Box jumps are a great way to build explosiveness. This plyometric move targets the entire lower half of the body.

Start by standing in front of the box. Squat down and then explode with your lower half, jumping onto the box and landing softly. Step back down and repeat.


Pratt’s circuit is physically-imposing even for some of the most conditioned athletes on the world. The circuit covers 2.5 miles of running, 75 cleans, 50 bench presses and 25 box jumps. By performing circuits like this six days per week, Pratt cut 50 pounds, improved his bench press and overhead press by 50 pounds, elevated his squat from 205 pounds to 275 pounds and boosted his deadlift from 225 pounds to 315 pounds. As Gaver puts it, Pratt is now ripped at 225, but also “monstrously stronger.” He now possesses superhero strength.