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“That’s Toxic and Terrible”: Henry Cavill and Hugh Jackman Confessing the Dark Side of Attaining a Superhero Physique Leaves Fitness World Mortified

Published 05/24/2023, 11:07 AM EDT

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Over the years, many actors have wowed moviegoers with their Greek god physiques. To ease fans’ excitement, they have often times divulged how they build their chiseled bodies. While strict training regimens, diet protocols, and intense workouts are part of the process, there are aspects that might do a lot of harm. Henry Cavill and Hugh Jackman have warned people not to attempt some of the extreme practices they’ve endured to appear shirtless before the camera.

While the comic book movie genre existed for decades, since Marvel began building its cinematic universe with Iron Man (2008), the genre exploded in popularity. After Marvel’s success, DC followed suit with the DC Entertainment Universe (DCEU). Soon, every year, multiple blockbuster superhero films started releasing, and the superhero physique became the new standard. While this also kick-started a boom in the fitness industry, something much darker went on behind the scenes.

Aesthetics over fitness

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About a month ago, the YouTube channel Outstanding Screenplays uploaded a minute-long video created with snippets from Henry Cavill and Hugh Jackman talking about dehydrating their bodies to look shredded for a scene. Cavill, up until recently, played the DCEU Superman and spoke about the technique on The Graham Norton Show. Hugh Jackman, who will return as MCU’s Wolverine in Deadpool 3, also explained the method on the talk show.

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According to the actors, they begin the dehydration process before filming scenes where they have to appear shirtless. However, it takes days, dropping the body’s fluids to unhealthy levels. In the video, the actors explain how, after months of bodybuilding training, they virtually stop drinking water three days before the shoot.

According to Cavill, “you can smell water,” on the last day. On the other hand, Hugh Jackman warned people not to try the technique during his interview. The month-old video has already raked up over 6 million views, and the fitness community can’t stop commenting on the harmful practice.

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A not so uncommon practice

Most sounded mortified and didn’t approve of depriving someone of water to look shredded from their entertainment. “How you can talk on camera when you’re so thirsty your mouth is probably so dry!?” wrote one fan. “And hollywood is selling this unhealthy concept to the world and telling us it’s the standard of ‘ideal body’,” commented another. “They need to stop making the actors unhealthy just for a certain look. That’s toxic and terrible for the actors,” a third YouTube user expressed.

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However, others revealed that the harmful process is more widespread than many might think. “Its the same thing for fighters on a weight cut. The practice should be outlawed,” wrote a concerned individual. However, some users seemed sarcastic with their comments. “High school & collegiate wrestlers rolling their eyes,” one user wrote. “Welcome to competitive bodybuilding… I have done this since age 15… I am now 54,” wrote another. Although alarming, it doesn’t seem like the practice will stop anytime soon.

Watch this story | Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger Unveils an Ingenious “4-1-1 Tempo” Method to Overcome Muscle Stagnation

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a sports writer at EssentiallySports who specializes in American sports. He has a deep understanding of combat sports, gymnastics, and weightlifting. He holds a Master's Degree in English Literature from a top university.
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Edited by:

Parth Sharma