Alan Ritchson Had to Gain 30lbs in 8 Months For Reacher – Here’s How He Did It

How did Alan Ritchson transform into Jack Reacher, gaining 30 pounds of muscle in just 8 months?

This article dives into his intense journey, revealing the secrets of his rigorous workout routines and strict diet plan. What did Ritchson eat to fuel such massive gains? How did he balance muscle-building exercises with his daily life? And what role did testosterone therapy play in this drastic transformation?

Join us to uncover the strategies and challenges behind Ritchson’s remarkable physical change for his iconic role.

Early Life and Career of Alan Ritchson

From Small-Town Beginnings to Hollywood Stardom

Alan Ritchson was born on November 28, 1984, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but spent much of his early life in Niceville, Florida. Growing up in a small town, Ritchson had a relatively normal childhood.

He showed an early interest in music and performing, which led him to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University.

Early Career and Initial Breakthrough

Ritchson’s first foray into the entertainment industry was through modeling and music. He started his career as a model, appearing in various catalogues and ads.

His chiseled features and charismatic presence soon caught the attention of television producers. In 2004, he made his television debut as a contestant on the third season of “American Idol,” showcasing not just his singing talents but also his charismatic personality.

Although he didn’t win the competition, it opened doors for him in the entertainment industry.

Transition to Acting and Rising Fame

Following his stint on “American Idol,” Ritchson transitioned into acting. He landed his first major acting role in 2005, playing the character of Arthur Curry/Aquaman in the popular TV series “Smallville.” This role was pivotal in shaping his career trajectory, bringing him recognition and acclaim in the superhero genre.

Over the next few years, Ritchson took on various roles, demonstrating his versatility as an actor. He appeared in shows like “CSI: Miami“, “90210“, and had a recurring role in the comedy series “Blue Mountain State“, where he played the character Thad Castle. This role allowed him to showcase his comedic talent and physicality, further broadening his range as an actor.

Major Film Appearances and Evolution as an Actor

Ritchson’s film career also began to take off. He appeared in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013) as Gloss, a role that leveraged his physical prowess and screen presence.

Following this, he starred in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014) and its sequel as Raphael, where he performed both the physical and voice role. These roles underlined his ability to perform in action-intensive roles and further solidified his standing in Hollywood.

The Pinnacle Role: Becoming Jack Reacher

The pinnacle of Ritchson’s career came when he was cast as Jack Reacher in the Amazon Prime series “Reacher” (2022). This role required him to undergo a massive physical transformation, gaining 30 pounds of muscle to embody the character’s imposing physicality. His portrayal of Reacher was met with critical acclaim, showcasing his ability to lead a major series and bringing a new depth to his acting repertoire.

Gaining 30 pounds in 8 months

It’s a full-time job to eat enough to put on 30lbs. I had an assistant whose only job was to bring me food. It was like a conveyor belt of smoothies and protein.”

Alan Ritchson

Alan Ritchson’s transformation into the formidable Jack Reacher involved a remarkable journey of dedication, humor, and hard work.

Given the task of gaining 30 pounds of muscle in just 8 months for the role, Ritchson embraced the challenge with gusto. He humorously shared that his approach to eating was so intense that it felt like a “full-time job to eat enough to put on 30 pounds.”

o meet the studio’s requirements, he consumed over 4,500 calories a day, including 300 grams of protein. His diet was based on the 80/20 rule, with 80% consisting of healthy, whole foods such as rice, chicken, eggs, turkey, fish, and vegetables, and the remaining 20% allowing for some flexibility, including occasional indulgences like pizza.

Ritchson even went as far as building a gym in his house to toil hard every day and with complete dedication work towards the goal.

Ritchson’s dedication to his transformation was further highlighted by the creation of a home gym, where he relentlessly pursued his fitness goals.

This home gym became the epicenter of his intense workout routine, which included weight training exercises such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts, as well as bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and burpees.

Additionally, he incorporated cardio exercises like running, cycling, and swimming to burn fat and enhance his physical conditioning. Despite the grueling nature of his training, Ritchson’s humorous anecdotes about the “conveyor belt of smoothies and protein” added a lighthearted touch to his extraordinary efforts.

His Workout Routine

Alan Ritchson’s workout routine for his role in Jack Reacher was intense and well-structured. Here is a detailed breakdown of his workout routine:

Monday – Lower Body

Deadlifts (3 sets, 12 to 15 reps)

Sumo squat (3 sets, 12 to 15 reps)

Hack squat (3 sets, 12 to 15 reps)

Walking lunge (3 sets, 12 to 15 reps)

Leg extension (3 sets, 12 to 15 reps)

Leg curl (3 sets, 12 to 15 reps)

Tuesday – Cardio

Running (up to 13 miles daily)

Bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and burpees

Wednesday – Chest & Back

Bench press


Bent-over rows

Incline bench press

Dumbbell flyes

Thursday – Arms & Abs

Hammer curls

Skull crushers

EZ bar curls


Sit ups

Press ups

Bicycle crunches

Russian twists

Friday – Shoulders

Shoulder press

Lateral raises

Front raises


His Diet Plan

Alan Ritchson’s diet plan for his role as Jack Reacher involved consuming around 4,500 calories daily, including 300 grams of protein.

He followed a diet based on the 80/20 rule, with 80% of his diet consisting of healthy, whole foods such as rice, chicken, eggs, turkey, fish, vegetables, and smoothies. The remaining 20% allowed for some flexibility, where he would consume foods like pizza occasionally.

His diet was balanced in terms of macronutrient intake and included healthy amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. He avoided dairy, sugar, processed carbs, alcohol, and synthetic additives, and instead focused on eating lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Ritchson ate seven small meals throughout the day to regulate blood sugar levels and maintain energy, and he relied solely on nutrient-rich natural whole foods.

Ritchson’s diet plan can be summarized as follows:

4,500 calories daily, including 300 grams of protein

80% of the diet consisted of healthy, whole foods

Foods included rice, chicken, eggs, turkey, fish, vegetables, and smoothies

Occasional flexibility for foods like pizza

Avoidance of dairy, sugar, processed carbs, alcohol, and synthetic additives

Seven small meals throughout the day to regulate blood sugar levels and maintain energy

Testosterone therapy

Alan Ritchson resorted to testosterone therapy after the first season of “Reacher” due to the physical toll his intense workout regimen and diet took on his body. Ritchson revealed that he “ravaged” his body to get into shape for the first season, which resulted in a broken acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his shoulder and a significant hormone imbalance. He emphasized that these issues stemmed from the stress and fatigue of building his physique too quickly, which was particularly challenging due to his age.

For the second season, Ritchson embraced testosterone therapy as a way to recover from these physical challenges and maintain his role as Jack Reacher. He highlighted the benefits of testosterone therapy, not only for muscle growth but also as a mood stabilizer. Ritchson is an advocate for testosterone therapy, especially for men in their forties and beyond, stating that it can be life-changing.

It’s important to note that Ritchson still committed to intense gym workouts alongside the therapy. He mentioned that testosterone therapy isn’t a “magic pill” but helps when combined with hard work in the gym. According to Ritchson, a small clinical dose of testosterone can make a significant difference in muscle growth and recovery, particularly for middle-aged men who naturally experience a dip in testosterone levels.

Ritchson’s approach to testosterone therapy was cautious, focusing on maintaining a muscular body through exercise and proper training, and relying only on a small, clinical dose of testosterone. His goal is to continue playing the role of Jack Reacher for many years without needing surgeries after every season.

The information about Ritchson’s use of testosterone therapy and its effects provides an interesting insight into the physical demands of preparing for intense roles in action series and the potential benefits of hormone treatments under medical supervision for recovery and maintenance.



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