The Jack Reacher Physique

 The Jack Reacher Physique: How Fast Can You Change Body Composition

Actor Alan Ritchson has been all over the headlines lately with the new season of “Jack Reacher” on streaming services.

The Reacher character is big—really big. The first book in the series lists him as 6 foot 5 and 250 lb.

Tom Cruise, who is reportedly about 5 foot 8, played Reacher on the big screen in 2012 and 2016, so it was noticeable when the much larger Ritchson took on the role for the TV adaptation. 

According to a February 2022 New York Post article, Ritchson normally weighs 205 lb.—but he put on 30 lb. to play Reacher. In a November 2023 Instagram post, Ritchson said he’s 6 foot 3 and 240 lb.

So is that sort of transformation common?

Read on for the answer. 

SUBHEAD: Changes Take Time

First, celebrity transformations don’t tell us much about what’s possible for the average person.

Think about it: If it were your job to gain muscle for a role, you’d have a whole team of people helping you hit your goal. You might have a personal trainer, a chef, a massage therapist, a lifting coach, and so on. You’d have tons of time to train hard and recover. Adding muscle would literally be your job, and you’d have lots of top pros to help you do it.

And remember that lighting, camera work, skillful editing, and even surgery can be used to alter appearances.

Beyond that, some celebrities have admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to alter their appearances relatively quickly, or they’ve been caught with illegal products that could be used to do so. Of course, many actors deny using steroids and other similar products, but we’d be silly to think every single actor has a 100 percent natural physique.

The long and the short of it is this: The human body is capable of amazing transformations, and some very rare people can add muscle with impressive speed. But for 99 percent of the population, changes take longer, and they are less dramatic.

What we can say for certain is Ritchson’s 35-lb. muscle gain is uncommon, especially when you consider that he isn’t carrying much body fat.

On Instagram, Ritchson has said he’s “not an expert,” and he encourages people to “get to the gym” and “just do something.” That’s great advice, but you won’t look like Reacher after a few months of random workouts and good nutrition.

 Real Talk

The bad news is that you cannot expect to gain 35 lb. of lean muscle in a year or less—and that statement becomes more and more true as you age. Older people put on muscle more slowly than young people. It’s also uncommon to gain even 20 lb. of lean muscle in a year.

The good news: You can make significant changes to your body at any age. We’ve seen this time and again. People who work out regularly, eat well, and get lots of rest start to look different and perform better. But the changes happen slowly. They don’t come overnight.

Here’s a very reasonable “transformation”: We’ve seen many people lose 5 lb. of fat and gain 5 lb. of muscle in a year. This isn’t uncommon, extreme, or out of the ordinary. In fact, some people go beyond 5-lb. losses and gains.

You might say, “That’s so far from 35 lb. of ‘Reacher muscle,’” but the reality is that trading 5 lb. of fat for 5 lb. of muscle is an amazing accomplishment that should be celebrated. If you make that trade, you will look different and feel better. 

Now, you can certainly set larger goals. We’ve helped people lose or gain way more than 5 lb. But we make those changes with slow, steady progress over time. We create detailed programs, adjust them regularly, and help clients with nutrition, rest, recovery, and stress management. 

We just don’t promise quick fixes, miracle glow-ups, and unreasonable results.

If you want to lose a significant amount of fat or gain a significant amount of muscle, we can help—but the changes are not going to happen overnight. You’ll need to commit to the process and do a lot of work, both in the gym and the kitchen.

But remember this: Significant body changes are possible with time and effort. You can definitely alter your body composition to improve appearance, health, and performance.

The best plan? Talk to an expert coach about your goals—click here to book a free consultation. 

We’ll find out what you want to accomplish, and then lay out a plan and a timeline for you to review. And then we’ll provide the accountability you need to get to your goals—whatever they are.