Join Date: Aug 2005
Re: "DAT SMEXY": The Sexiest X-Men Photo Album
Thought I would post this about Hugh:
Hugh Jackman's 5 Life Lessons
Five life-changing moments that helped Hugh Jackman become a better husband, father, and actor—plus, at 43, one of the fittest superheroes on the planet
By John Mather, Photographs by Richard Phibbs, Posted Date: September 28, 2012
It all started on a cricket pitch in Australia about three decades ago. Thirteen-year-old Hugh Jackman, a.k.a. “Sticks” because he was all limbs, was playing slip—a position that puts the player very close to the batter. (For an American sports equivalent, imagine someone crouching with no protective gear next to a baseball catcher.) You have to make split-second, reflexive catches. And boom, here came the ball. Off to his right. He had to reach. He went up.
Sticks doesn’t remember the rest.
“I passed out because I’d ripped out all the muscles attached to the lower left part of my spine.”
Leading up to that moment, young Hugh had grown 11 inches the previous year. He was a self-described beanpole. His spine and legs had erupted into adolescence, and his muscles and tendons hadn’t had time to catch up. They were basically stretched tight, and reaching for that ball shredded them.
The good news: He made the catch.
Besides muscle and bone, a man is nothing but a collection of experiences. Our experiences force action, reaction. They cause pain and laughter. They leave deep, memory-flooded furrows in our minds, places we return to when we’re trying to make sense of new situations. In the end, like the way prehistoric life eventually becomes a fossil fuel, we’re (hopefully) left with something valuable: wisdom.
Lesson 1: Fitness begins at the core
Hugh Jackman has some memories. Good and bad. Painful and funny. They’ve made him the man he is today, and there’s a reason he wouldn’t give any of them back. For instance, that cricket catch. Sounds painful, but hardly life altering, right? Well, in many ways, that one moment helped Hugh Jackman become an actor. And a world-class dancer. And a man who at age 43 is stronger and fitter than anyone you know who’s half his age.
“I spent about 10 days lying in bed [after the catch],” he says. “I had a bad back for a couple of years. I had to do a lot of physiotherapy for it. What I couldn’t understand at the time was why the therapists had me doing a lot of stomach work.”
This was long before the word “core” had become fashionable. But Jackman had to slowly nurse his entire core to health and into good enough condition to support his back— forever, basically. So abdominal conditioning has been a priority for him ever since, and the foundation of training for every physical role he’s ever taken—from playing Wolverine in the X-Men films to his role as Jean Valjean in this year’s Les Misérables, probably the toughest onscreen transformation he’s ever had to make, he says.
“My transformation covers about 30 years. At the beginning, my character is released from prison, which was basically a labor camp. He’s emaciated yet known for his strength. So I was as lean and strong as I think I’ve ever been. I had sunken cheeks, this sallow look. Then in a matter of weeks during filming, the story jumps 9 years. I’m the mayor of the town and wealthy, so I had to change my look. So it took me about 3 months to get into that shape to be a convict, and then during 3 months of shooting I was eating nonstop and was 30 pounds heavier when we finished. That tees up with where I have to be for Wolverine.” (Click here to learn how Jackman's Wolverine costar Ryan Reynolds shredded his body to 3 percent body fat.)
Jackman has made some kind of physical transformation for virtually every film he’s done, from X-Men to Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain to the robo-boxing flick Real Steel. And all of it has started with ab work. (Chisel your core with The Exercise that Blasts Your Lower Abs.)
“Physically, that catch changed a lot for me. I feel like I had a head start. It made me more athletic in the long run. And it made me understand very early on that you need a strong core to protect your back.”
As a young man with a bad back, Jackman was forced to become passionate about fitness. And where else other than a gym would a fitness buff wind up working, especially when he’s trying to make enough money to pay for acting lessons? Ten years after his injury, Jackman was working at a fitness club in Sydney, when something else unexpected came around and changed his life.
Rest of the story:
When Hugh Jackman hit adolescence, his body rebelled. He grew 12 inches in one year, and as he told me, “I was this 14-year-old beanpole.” In a cricket match that year, the beanpole reached up for the ball, twisted, caught it… and passed out cold.
“I’d completely ripped out all the muscles at the base of my spine,” he says. “They’d been stretched to the tearing point because the bones had just gone crazy growing. They simply grew too fast for the muscles to keep up.”
It took two years of hard work and rehab for Jackman, now 6 foot 3 inches, to feel strong again. He’s been dedicated to core conditioning ever since, especially given the physical roles he’s taken on for film and Broadway. The experience also brought something to life in Jackman: a pursuit of challenge.
“Testing yourself is the only way you find out what you can really do,” he says. This mindset helped him eventually bench press more than 300 pounds and leg press 1,000 during his training to play Wolverine in the X-Men films.
Last edited by narrows101; 05-16-2013 at 10:13 AM.