Envying the physique of Marvel’s most badass anti-hero? While he might not be Thor or The Rock, Jon Bernthal’s workout from The Punisher brings traditional strength training and old-school bodybuilding fundamentals together in the perfect synergy.
In the series, he hits big, fights back, and isn’t afraid to break the rules, but in the gym and the kitchen, Jon Bernthal’s diet and fitness regime are among the most strict and all-encompassing of all the heroes in the new MCU. Since the actor from The Wolf of Wall Street, The Walking Dead, and The Many Saints of Newark’s popularity ballooned, The Punisher aesthetic has increasingly been sought out.
And the training regiment he followed isn’t for gym slugs glued to their phone while half-heartedly curling an underweight dumbbell; they’re for visionaries seeking to switch things up in their physicality. And considering that the series is the alter-ego of ex-military vet Frank Castle, Bernthal had to incorporate some serious MMA training for the combat scenes. But not to worry, because we’re gonna let you in on all the details on how to get The Punisher‘s body.
Who is Jon Bernthal?
Born in Washington, D.C, Jon Bernthal grew up in Cabin John, Maryland. He attended the Sidwell Friends School and graduated in 1995. He embarked on his tertiary studies at Skidmore College in New York but later discontinued. Uncertain of his future, Berthal took up theatre school in Moscow, Russia.
While Jon Bernthal was studying acting abroad, the budding thespian was noticed by the executive director of Harvard’s Advanced Theater Training and encouraged Bernthal to take up a graduate-level certificate study—which he completed in 2002 before moving to New York City to carve out a career as an actor. Since then, Bernthal has been cast in over 30 plays. He’s also had small roles in leading television series; How I Met Your Mother, CSI: Miami & the short-lived sensation Eastwick.
In 2006, he put his roots down in L.A., but his big-screen breakout didn’t come until 2011 when he was cast in The Walking Dead. Prior to that, he made his firsts role on a television series with the CBS sitcom The Class. After this, he had roles in films such as Day Zero and Oliver Stone‘s World Trade Center. Bernthal’s career slowly burgeoned until he appeared in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury & Baby Driver. The hotshot then took the lead in The Punisher and, most recently, has been cast in the much-anticipated The Many Saints of Newark.
In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Bernthal stated that he’s a method actor—he lives like his character—which makes sense because he was relentlessly embroiled in street fights in his adolescence and, at one point in his life, almost wound up behind bars. He’s the youngest of his two male siblings: who are also accomplished in their careers. Nicholas Bernthal is an orthopedic surgeon and professor at UCLA, and Thomas is a former NBC News producer and is currently the CEO of an organization. Bernthal shares three kids with his wife Erin Angle, who happens to be WWE wrestler Kurt Angle’s niece, and resides in California.
Height: 1.8m/ 5 ft 11 in
Weight: 77kg/ 170Ibs
Acting career: 2002-present
Jon Bernthal’s Diet Plan
For The Punisher, Bernthal followed a very simple diet and avoided junk, fast, and processed foods—except on cheat days. But, interestingly, there’s no official “Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher diet plan” on the web. Trust us, we’ve scoured every site and forum in existence—even the dark web. But according to an interview with Men’s Journal, Bernthal doesn’t adopt a draconian diet plan; he just ensures he focuses on eating healthy foods and training regularly in the gym.
Bernthal told Entertainment Weekly he leisurely walks the Brooklyn Bridge every day to keep his fitness up while following a simple diet. In fact, you can get an aesthetically sculpted body by increasing your physical activity and spending more time in the gym. Typically speaking, A-listers who are beefing up for a movie adhere to a 6 meal-a-day regiment; 3 large meals with 3 in-between-meal snacks. These types of diets come to over 3,000 calories; comprising a high amount of carbs, protein, fiber, and a healthy amount of fat, and replenish the body after the workout session. Some even adopt a pescatarian, Mediterranean, or paleo diet. But in most cases, it’s a pedestrian regime.
Here are the dos and don’ts of The Punisher diet according to Men’s Journal.
Foods to eat: Chicken, beef, steak, fish, jerky, salad, eggs whites, whole eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, nuts, peanut butter, fruits & vegetables
Supplements to take: Whey protein, protein bars & fish oil capsules
Foods to avoid: Fast food, gourmet burgers, fried foods, sugar, dairy & processed foods
You can follow this extrapolated diet plan that A-listers preparing for a role like the one in The Punisher, Creed, or Guardians of the Galaxy would follow.
- 3 scrambled eggs
- 2 cups of oatmeal or 4 pancakes
- 1 fruit
- Protein shake
- Small protein bar
- 225 g (8 oz) of chick breast or salmon
- 100-150 g of brown rice
- 1 cup of steamed vegetables
- Small protein bar
- 1 banana
- Museli bar
- 225 g (8 oz) of steak or another lean meat
- 1 large sweet potato
- Garden salad
- 200 g of ground beef
- 150 g of pasta
- Side salad with dressing
- Protein shake
- 50-100 g of walnuts
- 2 fish oil capsules
Jon Bernthal’s Workout Routine
Bernthal got into shape for the role via weight training, circuit-based workouts, plyometrics (that’s to improve your speed), Mixed Martial Arts and cardio. He also told Entertainment Weekly (EW) he knew some people in the military and was able to train with them to work on his physicality, which involved some obstacle courses and weighted drills and boxing classes.
The Punisher‘s training regime features isolation and compound exercise, with 8-10 repetitions for each set and 1-minute intervals. This maximises hypertrophy (muscle building) and ensures that all muscles are effectively worked. And for circuit training, the intervals and the workout length are one-third of a regular training session. They’re 15-20 minutes, with a 20-30 seconds break between sets and increase one’s stamina and amplify caloric expenditure.
Now, the MMA/boxing component of his workout is performed for 1-hour a week and encompasses sparring, grappling, battling ropes, rope skipping, tire slams as well as strength & conditioning training. Some professionally instructed stunt work also would’ve probably taken place, but that’s not to concern yourself with, because all your gonna need to follow is this weekly workout plan:
- Monday – Chest
- Tuesday – Legs & Circuit
- Wednesday – Mixed Martial Arts & Cardio
- Thursday – Shoulders & Circuit
- Friday – Full Body & Circuit
Trust us when we say that it’ll feel like a punishment (no pun intended).
The strength work here is for your shoulders, chest, and arms.
- Bench Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Incline Bench press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Wide-grip Pull-ups – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Overhead Tricep Extension – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Seated Rows – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Push-Ups – 3 sets of 25 reps
- Jump Ropes – 3 sets of 25 reps
- 1 Minute Heavy Bag
Tuesday: Legs & Circuit
- Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Squats – 3 sets of 8,6,4 reps (descending repetitions with increased weight)
- Leg Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Hamstring Curls – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Front Squats – 30 reps
- Burpees – 20 reps
- Box Jumps – 50 reps
- Sit-Ups – 40 reps
- Pull-Ups – 10 reps
- 1 Minute Heavy Bag
Wednesday: Mixed Martial Arts & Cardio
- Pull-Ups – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dips – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Push-Ups – 3 sets of 25 reps
Bernthal’s workout plan includes boxing or mixed martial arts to prepare him for combat scenes when filming.
- 1-hour boxing/ MMA workout
- 5 km/3 Mile Run
- 16 km/10 Mile Bike
Thursday: Shoulders & Circuit
- Military Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs – 3×10 reps
- Close-grip Pull-Ups – 3 sets of 8 -10 reps
- Lat Pulldowns – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Arnold Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Front Raises – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Side Raises – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- 15 Clean & Presses – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- 10 Wall Balls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Treadmill Sprint – 1 set of 400 Metres
Friday: Full Body & Circuit
- Preacher Curls – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Lateral Pull-Downs – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Curls – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Box Jump – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Pike Push Ups – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Superman Push Ups – 3 sets of 10-15 reps