For 10 years, Chris Hemsworth worked his ass off to play Marvel’s favorite Asgardian god. His secret sauce; old school bodybuilding and eight meals a day. (Unless you believe Joe Rogan who thinks most superhero celebrities are juicing.)
But the 39-year-old actor isn’t solely into healthy habits for a shredded physique. He told E! News that he maintains his fitness, “because it makes me feel better.” And after the release of Nat Geo’s docuseries Limitless, the A-lister has a newfound appreciation for longevity and what it takes to improve your healthspan.
With ice baths, sauna, functional exercises, and plenty of red meat, Hemsworth may be the prime celebrity example for healthy living. Here’s everything we know about his workouts, diet, and health habits.
He Works Out Like a Pro Athlete
Training for roles is a full-time job, Hemsworth told Men’s Health. Despite the grind, he knows it’s incredibly rewarding. ”You have to look at it like a professional athlete,” he said
That kind of work ethic requires five efficient days in the gym. His friend and trainer Luke Zocchi focuses Hemsworth’s training on functional bodyweight and weighted exercises while cutting back on rest for less gym time.
“It’s surprising how challenging functional exercises can be, even without heavy weights,” Zocchi told Men’s Health. “[Hemsworth] now moves better in everyday life and has improved his core strength.”
Hemsworth shared an Instagram post of his 1,000-rep bodyweight workout—which is as intimidating as it looks.
- 200 mountain climbers
- 200 bodyweight squats
- 200 push-ups
- 200 flutter kicks
- 200 sit-throughs
He Loves Red Meat
While we don’t know exactly how much red meat Hemsworth eats, his trainer implies that it’s a lot. “Sometimes, I’m surprised how much red meat he eats ’cause it’s like he just doesn’t get sick of steak—he can just eat it any time of the day, at breakfast or whatever,” Zocchi told Eat This. “He loves it. It’s weird. In his genetic makeup, that’s what he likes to do.”
You should aim for 350 to 500 mg of red meat per week, or about three portions. While red meat is a strong source of protein with essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins, a high intake of red meat may increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death.
He’s Got a Few Necessary Supplements
These plant-based proteins carry plenty of benefits, including brown rice for athletic performance, hemp protein for immunity and fiber intake, and pea protein for digestion. One 2022 study found plant-based protein had similar effects to strength, power, aerobic capacity, and body composition when compared to whey protein (1).
Hemsworth will also have, “a serving of BCAAs along with a magnesium and zinc supplement,” before bed, Perera said.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) kickstart muscle growth and may help repair muscle tissue. Studies show taking magnesium and zinc before bed improves total sleep time and may lead to better sleep quality (2,3).
He Cheats With the 80/20 Rule
Yes, even Hemsworth cheats a little.
“When we’re doing all that stuff for Thor, we roughly work on the 80/20 [rule]—80 percent of the time we’re good and 20 percent of the time, we have a little bit of naughty food,” Zocchi told Eat This. “To keep your sanity, you need to have a little bit of chocolate, a little bit of ice cream,” he says.
Or a whole lot of pizza, wings, and beer.
And Hemsworth confirmed his favorite cheat meal was both pizza and ice cream—just not together, he told IMDb.
He Loves Ice and Heat
“One of the biggest benefits from ice baths is mood elevation,” he said in an Instagram post. “I think it’s because when you’re in here, you feel like you’re dying. And when you get out, you feel like you’re alive again, which makes you very happy.”
Zocchi told Insider that Hemsworth ice bathes in the morning for around three minutes. We’re sure Hemsworth enjoys the many benefits of a cold plunge including reduced muscle soreness, improved sleep, better immunity, and stress relief (4,5,6,7,8).
He also steams in a post-workout sauna for 15 to 20 minutes, says Zocchi. Sauna promotes muscle recovery and may reduce memory loss. One 2021 study found sauna can benefit heart and brain health, prevent the effects of aging, and extend your healthspan (9).
He Can’t Control Fear
Hemsworth told Men’s Health that during his eight-month audition process for the movie Red Dawn, his anxiety proved to be a detriment. But he changed his mentality to stop self-analyzing and make the most of his opportunity. Now, he lets things happen and doesn’t define himself based on one moment.
“Beating yourself up after the event because you screwed up [doesn’t work],” he said. “You can’t control that. When the fear comes, it’s easy to think that everything depends on a single moment. But nothing does. No single moment ever defines your journey.”
With mental health as an important pillar in his life, Hemsworth told Vanity Fair that he now lives with a big “sense of gratitude and love for life.”
He’s Learned Invaluable Longevity Tools
Thanks to National Geographic’s Disney+ show Limitless.
In the six-part docuseries, Hemsworth puts his body through a series of physical and mental challenges, including a 100-foot grueling rope climb, a walk across a crane protruding off the roof of a 900-foot tall skyscraper, and exposing his body to extreme temperatures—all in efforts to understand the limits of the human body.
But his latest project didn’t come without an ominous health warning. After getting bloodwork done for Limitless, Hemsworth learned he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, which increases his risk for Alzheimer’s by eight to 10 times.
“Like everything in the show, I went, ‘Okay, great. I now have to work on this more,’” Hemsworth told Vanity Fair. “If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life. When you have a preposition to cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, anything—it’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, and fitness. It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”
While Hemsworth said he would step away from acting for the time being, he told Vanity Fair, “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation.”
It just may be a while until we see this famous Aussie on the big screen again.