Batman V Superman: Battle for Best Body

The superheroes square off in the action-packed blockbuster, but behind the scenes, Affleck and Cavill compete for the most shredded physique.

World's Finest

Affleck’s size as the Dark Knight was a formidable 228 pounds, with a mere 7.9% body fat. And to make sure Affleck didn’t balloon to 250 pounds, he enlisted renowned nutritionist Rehan Jalali to design his diet. A typical day of eating: egg whites and oatmeal in the morning; salad, double protein, and vegetables at lunch; fish or chicken at dinner with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli. “We were seeing that in our sleep,” notes Norton. “Rehan designed a great diet, and Ben followed it to the letter.”

All in all, Norton puts Affleck’s discipline in sticking with a nutrition plan and training regimen right up there with that of the best athletes he’s ever worked with—guys like basketball great Kevin Garnett and hockey legend Ray Bourque. Affleck understood that being a movie star isn’t always about red carpets and love scenes—it’s damn hard work.

“It’s funny, people always talk about how it’s easy for celebrities to get in shape because they have a support team,” says Norton. “But the work can be done only by you. Nobody else can do it for you. That’s the cool part about the iron game. It’s equal for everybody. You make a choice, you commit to your process, and you’ve gotta get it done day after day after day.”

Superman Henry Cavill

Meanwhile, on the other side of the “v,” the Brit playing Superman was working equally hard in the gym. To get himself ready for the film, Henry Cavill reteamed with Mark Twight, the supremely meticulous strength coach and co-owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, UT, who had helped Cavill add 20 pounds of muscle for Man of Steel (and who had served as lead fitness trainer on Snyder’s groundbreaking 300). Not only had Cavill already been through the body-transformation process before, but he also had a couple of other advantages over Affleck. For one, he’s more than 10 years younger. (Cavill will turn 33 in May.) And for another, he’s not out directing big-budget movies in his spare time.

SEE ALSO: The Super-Jacked Superman Workout

He is, however, a very in-demand actor. So Twight came back into the picture while Cavill was busy shooting The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the U.K. in August 2013. Just like Norton and Affleck during Gone Girl, Twight couldn’t alter Cavill’s size too much at first. Instead, he worked on establishing a great foundation and bringing up Cavill’s level of conditioning and strength. When that movie wrapped near the end of 2013, Twight and Cavill had a couple of free months before shooting was to begin on Batman v Superman.

To give you an idea of his commitment to the project, Cavill spent his Christmas holiday in Salt Lake City at the gym—eating a lot, sleeping a lot (usually nine hours a night), and training a lot. The target body type this time around was similar to what it was for the first film, only larger. (So it goes with sequels.) Cavill came to Twight early on and said, “Look, I want to be bigger and stronger.” It was music to Twight’s ears—and probably Snyder’s as well.

Cavell and Affleck Talk Training

Transforming their bodies into believable physical representations of the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader involved super efforts from the film’s dynamic duo.

Henry Cavill: “I remember many moments when I wanted to quit. Not the training altogether, but every time a session goes from not hard to hard, the negotiation starts in your head. Part of you is making excuses to quit. Another part of you is arguing against those excuses. If you don’t want to quit, you’re probably not working hard enough.”

Ben Affleck: “We knew going in that the preparation involved would be demanding. If the audience was going to believe I stood a fighting chance taking on a superhero, I was going to have to physically match the size and power Henry [Cavill] had dauntingly established in Man of Steel.”

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