Charlie Cox had to seriously step up his game to play the title role in Marvel’s first Netflix series, “Daredevil.”
“The truth is, before I did this show, I’d never really been in shape, I never really had a gym membership, and I’d always just occasionally go for a run, that kind of stuff,” Cox told Business Insider.
On “Daredevil,” which just released its second season, Cox has to perform extensive fight scenes, exhibit great flexibility, and just look all-around awesome in the superhero suit. For a guy who wasn’t a gym rat to begin with, it takes commitment to keep his fitness level high.
“It was such hard work to get into shape, that when we finished the first season, just on the off-chance that we were going to do it again, I didn’t let myself completely go,” Cox said. “I just couldn’t bear the idea of having to start over again.”
“He’s committed. He’s the real deal,” Cox’s personal trainer and the creator and president of Arazi Fitness, Naqam Washington, told us.
Regarding his training style, Washington said, “Nowadays, people train to get optimal movement from their body. They train like an athlete. And I have an MBA and MMA background, so it works well with Charlie. We did modern, sport-specific, MMA movement.”
Here’s how Cox stays in “Daredevil” shape:
'Be really militant with your food and the regularity of your food,' the actor said. 'One of the difficulties for me is that I'm naturally very skinny, so the problem that I have is trying to keep weight on, put weight on. I have to eat six, seven times a day, and I have to have a lot of carbohydrates to try and fatten me up so I have something to turn into muscle.'
Washington explained that most of the work revolves around food intake.
'You grow or you lose weight outside the gym, and basically, a lot of it is what you eat,' Washington explained. 'So if Charlie wants to gain weight in lean muscle mass, his caloric intake has to be more than his energy expenditure, mathematically. If you want to lose weight, your energy expenditure should be more than your caloric intake.'
Cox works out three to six days a week, depending on where in the production schedule 'Daredevil' is.
'I never do seven days (in a week), because you are supposed to rest. I tend to do five days,' Cox said. 'Before the show, when we're building up to shoot the show, I try to do six days a week. I try to get myself into good enough shape so when we start shooting, I can concentrate on the show and the acting part of it and not worry about it so much. So basically, I can do weeks where I do three or four times a week.'
'He normally gives me an hour and 15 minutes,' Washington said of the duration of Cox's workouts. 'If I can sneak and take an extra 15-20 minutes, I'll take it. But he's usually strict, because he's so busy.'
'One day you go in, and do your shoulders. And the next day, you do your legs, and the next day after you do your biceps,' Cox explained.
But if you think that sounds pretty standard and old-school, Washington says these aren't the isolated exercises of your '90s action heroes.
'Remember back in the day when people used to work out one body part per day and try to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger and want to lift 200 pounds or whatever, some madness like that? Nobody works out like that now,' Washington told us.
'We'll do some primary muscle, but in a sport-specific, functional way, not the heavy three sets of 12, then you rest... We did none of that.'