Will Smith is no stranger for getting fit for a role. Over his long career, the 52-year-old actor has been seen in all manner of action roles, such as playing a fighting-fit Muhammad Ali, doing shirtless pull-ups in I Am Legend and leaping off cars and buildings as a comic-book hero in Suicide Squad.
He once said "I'm not afraid to die on the treadmill", talking about how he'll never be outworked – while also presumably using one of the best treadmills to get his body camera-ready.
However, post-lockdown, Will Smith shared a revealing photograph on his Instagram that got people talking. Shirtless with an open windbreaker, the screen icon revealed a paunch and a belly that although not large, was a far cry from his heyday as an action icon. The caption simply read: "I'm gonna be real with y'all... I'm in the worst shape of my life".
See Will Smith's transformation below:
A photo posted by on
While of course, there has been a lot of online body-shaming in response to the pic, there has also been a considerable outpouring of support. Commenting on the post, Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, that one) wrote "I’m crying for you, even though you’re still in better shape than 90% of America. Keep pumping! 💪"
Meanwhile, his Suicide Squad co-star Joel Kinnaman, himself no stranger to shirtless movie scenes, wrote "Fucking love it ❤️ That’s confidence...."
It's definitely relatable: even for your average 52-year-old man, Will hardly looks too out of sorts here. During the pandemic, the shelter-in-place orders have correlated to an increase in weight gain, according to this study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (opens in new tab). Will has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and should be lauded for posting a less-than-flattering shot of himself on such a public forum.
However, Will soon posted another, even more revealing body shot, unveiling his next project: embarking on a new 12-week fitness challenge in collaboration with streaming platform YouTube.
A photo posted by on
Smith wrote: "This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days grazing thru the pantry. I love this body, but I wanna FEEL better. No more midnight muffins…this is it! Imma get in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!!!!! Teaming up with @YouTube (opens in new tab) to get my health & wellness back on track."
Smith is going to have the support of the best trainers, nutritionists and equipment in his quest to look like a movie star again. But you don't have to be a millionaire to take on a healthy eating and exercise routine. We've got stacks of resources for anyone looking to get themselves back in pre-pandemic shape.
Even if you don't have one of the best ellipticals in your front room, you can still take on our HIIT challenge. Lasting 30 days, it's extremely time-efficient at just four minutes of hard work a day. Unlike a 20-minute steady-state jog, HIIT training asks you to work at your absolute maximum intensity, burning lots of calories and elevating your metabolism in a very short space of time.
If, like Will, you're over 50, doing resistance training with your bodyweight, the best adjustable dumbbells and resistance bands can help you develop muscle, which increases your base metabolic rate and reverses the process of atrophy. As you get older, your functional muscle wastes away and your range of motion becomes limited, so doing muscle-building exercise can roll back the hands of time and have you feeling younger, staying active and losing more weight long-term.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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