Lifestyle

Henry Cavill’s Health Habits Make Superman Look Weak

The actor doesn't mess around when it comes to his fitness and nutrition routine.
By Austin Letorney
November 3, 2022

Henry Cavill recently graced DC fans with the news they wanted most; he will return as Superman. The 39-year-old Brit now leads Hollywood (with his chiseled jaw and superhuman physique), but it doesn’t come without its fair share of hard work—in and out of the gym.

From fasted cardio and muscle-building supplements to rosemary water and prioritizing his mental health, here’s everything we know about the wellness habits of the Man of Steel.

He Works Out 6 Days a Week

“I will have different workouts for different parts of the week, depending on which muscle group I’ll be working,” Cavill told GQ.

He prioritizes lifting four days a week. He starts with legs, then the next day hits chest, triceps, and calves. The third lifting day is back day, followed by shoulders and biceps rounding out the fourth day.

When it comes to staying lean, the key for Cavill is fasted cardio. “I get up in the morning, I will have a coffee, and then I will do some cardio for half an hour,” he says.

One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that doing aerobic exercise in a fasted state leads to higher fat oxidation—the breakdown of fatty acids to decrease body fat—than exercising after eating (1).

As for those massive biceps, Cavill trains with strength coach Dave Rienzi who also works with The Rock. Rienzi told Men’s Health that isometric hold biceps curls are a go-to arm builder for Cavill.

Isometric exercises build and maintain muscle, while also stabilizing your joints for less stress and a lower risk of injury.

He Loves His Polar Watch

When asked by Bodybuilding.com what his favorite fitness tech gadget is, Cavill touted his Polar watch.

“I get a lot out of [that watch]. I could do my workouts without it, but it would be a bit more of a hassle. And it can track, as a guesstimate, how many calories I’ve burned, but super useful for my running,” Cavill said.

He didn’t specify which Polar watch exactly—and Polar has plenty of watches—but the general online consensus is that he uses the Polar Vantage V2. Minimalist in design, it’s loaded with smart training and recovery tools needed for Cavill’s fitness priorities.

His Supplement Stack Is…Stacked

In between training and acting, Cavill somehow found time to take on the role of Chief Creative Director at the supplements company MuscleTech. So it’s only natural that many of his supplements come from the brand. In an article, he discusses why he takes the stack he does, saying, “[I want to] make sure I’m alive and well and everything is running smoothly and I’m taking full advantage of my workouts.”

Protein

As part of a protein-packed breakfast (more on that later), Cavill uses MuscleTech’s Grass-Fed 100 Percent Whey Protein Isolate. Why whey protein isolate? It’s a more filtered form of whey with 20 grams of protein that is absorbed faster and offers a more pure source of protein.

A 2020 study found that whey protein combined with resistance training increases muscle mass and may alter body composition with additional fat-free mass (2).

Pre-workout

MuscleTech’s Shatter Elite pre-workout is Cavill’s pre-pump choice with ingredients including caffeine (350 mg, or almost 4 cups of coffee), L-citrulline, and beta-alanine.

One review from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition notes that caffeine’s effects on exercise performance include improved muscular endurance and strength, and better cognitive function, like attention and vigilance (3).

As for L-citrulline and beta-alanine (two widely used ingredients in most pre-workouts)? One 2020 study found citrulline can improve blood flow and enhance exercise performance and recovery, while a 2018 study found beta-alanine increases power output when lifting heavy weight (4,5).

Morning Supplements

In a recent Instagram post, Cavill talks about two more of his morning go-to supplements: MuscleTech Amino Build and Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite.

Amino Build works to make sure he doesn’t end up burning any muscle during particularly strenuous workouts. BCAAs—the building blocks of protein—have been shown to improve indicators of muscle loss, like muscle strength and function, as well as decrease muscle soreness (6,7).

Hydroxycut, a weight loss supplement, “helps you get that nice cut you might be looking for,” Cavill says.

Celeb Health Habits

His Diet Is Simple—and Includes Cheat Days

Cavill starts his day with a two-part breakfast. First, he downs a protein-packed shake including one and a half scoops of whey protein isolate (vanilla), one cup of oats, and some berries, he told GQ. Part two is an omelet with ham.

Meals two and three both include chicken and curry sauce (because he likes the flavor), but one meal is combined with white rice and the other with brown.

His fourth meal of the day is about four ounces of beef with sweet potatoes—as crispy as possible.

Before bed, Cavill squeezes in more protein powder—two scoops this time—and mixes his shake with straight H2O.

As for those cheat days, even Superman caves once in a while. Cavill’s kryptonite is deep-dish pizza. He told Men’s Health, “‘Cheat’ days are for cheating after all. I don’t feel like I’m on a diet all the time.”

He’s a Big Fan of Rosemary Water

So much so, that he partnered with the herb-infused water company No1 Botanicals. Cavill told Vogue that once he started drinking it, “my body started craving it, just like it would do with sugar.” He jokes his team thinks he’s addicted to it—and it sounds like they might be right.

No1 Botanicals uses rosemary, ginger, fennel, ashwagandha, and lemon verbena in its line of sparkling and still waters.

One 2018 study found rosemary water to improve memory and cognitive performance by up to 15 percent (8). Important components of rosemary including rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and the essential oil may help treat conditions including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease (9).

Cavill is such an advocate that he visited Acciaroli—a coastal town in Italy—as part of a short documentary with No1 Botanicals. Why? Because 1 in 10 residents live to be 100 years old and credit rosemary with their longevity. We’ll have what they’re having.

No1 Botanicals uses rosemary, ginger, fennel, ashwagandha, and lemon verbena in its line of sparkling and still waters.

One 2018 study found rosemary water to improve memory and cognitive performance by up to 15 percent (8). Important components of rosemary including rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and the essential oil may help treat conditions including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease (9).

Cavill is such an advocate that he visited Acciaroli—a coastal town in Italy—as part of a short documentary with No1 Botanicals. Why? Because 1 in 10 residents live to be 100 years old and credit rosemary with their longevity. We’ll have what they’re having.

He Aims for 8 Hours of Sleep

Fitting in a full eight hours is tough with such a busy schedule, but he does his best. “I aim for eight, but it depends,” Cavill told CelebWell. “Sometimes that is just impossible. So between six and eight.”

The National Sleep Foundation says seven to nine hours of sleep per night is ideal, but researchers say there is no magic number for sleep and the amount of sleep you get is based on your individual needs and lifestyle factors (10). More sleep leads to a better immune system, a stronger heart, and more productivity, and may also lead to reduced anxiety and more confidence (11). So it’s best to get as much shut-eye as you can.

He Knows Mental Health Equals Overall Wellness

“Only worry about the things that you can control,” Cavill told People.

As the lead role in Netflix’s The Watcher—and of course, Superman—Cavill seeks to master certain tools to stay healthy and productive when dealing with that A-list pressure.

In an interview with Vogue, Cavill reveals his top three strategies for staying mentally fit: find the right addiction, keep your body clean, and embrace convenience.

Cavill feels that living well, “means being clean and healthy,” every day and, “not poisoning your body to within an inch of its life every weekend.” Taking advantage of what’s convenient to maximize his time has proved helpful in his quest to achieve what he needs physically and mentally.

“We have all the necessary ingredients within us to become whatever we wish to become,” Cavill told People. “We have that strength, we have that resilience. And it’s just about keying into those necessary ingredients and then utilizing them to intentionally create a physical self as well.”

References
  1. Vieira, A., et al. (2016) Effects of aerobic exercise performed in fasted v. fed state on fat and carbohydrate metabolism in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  2. Duarte, N., et al. (2020) Intake of whey isolate supplement and muscle mass gains in young healthy adults when combined with resistance training: a blinded randomized clinical trial (pilot study)
  3. Guest, N., et al. (2021) International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance
  4. Gonzalez, A. and Trexler, E. (2020) Effects of Citrulline Supplementation on Exercise Performance in Humans: A Review of the Current Literature
  5. Mate-Munoz, J., et al. (2018) Effects of β-alanine supplementation during a 5-week strength training program: a randomized, controlled study
  6. Tejavath, A., et al. (2021) Impact of Branched Chain Amino Acid on Muscle Mass, Muscle Strength, Physical Performance, Combined Survival, and Maintenance of Liver Function Changes in Laboratory and Prognostic Markers on Sarcopenic Patients With Liver Cirrhosis (BCAAS Study): A Randomized Clinical Trial
  7. VanDusseldorp, T., et al. (2018) Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery Following Acute Eccentric Exercise
  8. Moss, M., et al. (2018) Acute ingestion of rosemary water: Evidence of cognitive and cerebrovascular effects in healthy adults
  9. Rahbardar, M., et al. (2020) Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders
  10. Chaput, J., et al. (2018) Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?
  11. Simon, E., et al. (2019) Overanxious and underslept