People love Hollywood physique transformations.
“How did they change so fast?” we ask, as if what prevents the everyday person from achieving similar results is a secret workout or diet and not a combination of great genetics, unlimited resources, and good ol’ Hollywood magic (wardrobe, lighting, and anabolics).
Then there are reverse transformations: stars who for a brief time go from beautiful to butt-ugly. Which is really more like an average person.
“Incredible! She gained 30 pounds, stopped getting Botox, and even removed her veneers! Now she looks almost like I do. Give her an Oscar. Her dentist too!”
Cynicism aside, there are legit lessons in the Hero to Zero schtick.
In 1997, Sylvester Stallone starred in a little movie called Copland.
The movie wasn’t special but what made headlines was how Sylvester Stallone got fat to play the lead.
Keep in mind, this was when Sly was still known for having a phenomenal physique, one any guy would love to have. As opposed to today and he’s all all fat and… never mind.
Anyway. Here’s a Hollywood specimen cast as a doughy cop.
But said specimen also fancies himself an actor. Stallone didn’t want to just put on a fat suit and look like Fred Flintstone with jacked forearms.
Instead he decided to go full Method actor and actually become a slow, overweight middle-aged guy.
At first it wasn’t happening. No matter how many orders of pancakes, he had issues gaining weight and just being believable.
The problem was Stallone was still self-identifying as Stallone, the jacked Hollywood action star.
So he’d be out for a (large) lunch and when friends or fans noticed his growing waistline or chipmunk cheeks, he’d immediately get uncomfortable and start explaining himself.
“This is just for a movie. I’ll lose it as soon as we wrap.”
But his defense affected his ability to assume the character. His movement, his mannerisms, the authority in his voice; still like a fit guy playing around in a fat suit.
It wasn’t until Stallone let go of his image and learned to truly BE an overweight man that the character started to emerge.
Soon he stopped explaining his condition to people. In fact he avoided going out to the usual Hollywood spots altogether. He spent more time sitting around at home, alone, watching TV. And eating.
The result was one of the most notable performances of Stallone’s career, and also a great lesson for getting in shape. At least in reverse.
If you’re overweight and and want to change, step one is NOT hopping on a new diet or exercise program.
Instead be like Stallone the thespian and go Method actor. Meaning start deeper with things that serve as your internal compass, and then work your way outward.
Step one are your values and goals. And then your environment and your habits and your schedule. The company you keep and how you you choose to spend your time
And above all, how you see yourself and how you want your future to look.
Are you just an out of shape person and that’s how its always gonna be?
Or are you more like a fit person finally ready to ditch the fat suit?
You’re the star in your movie. And you get to write the ending.