Bobby Strom has trained Ryan Reynolds for nine years now and has whipped him into shape for a whole host of movies.
And Reynolds called on Strom once again when he needed to get into shape for Safe House and I caught up with Bobby to talk about working with the actor ahead of this movie.
- You have just worked with Ryan Reynolds to get him in shape for Safe House so what were you aiming to achieve with Ryan for this movie - did he need to put on muscle or get into shape?
I have trained Ryan for nine years and so Safe House was more of a situation where we training for about two years before the movie and when he came up to do Safe House about five months before he did the film he actually stopped training.
So in other words all of the muscle, the size and the tone were there but he wanted to be a little bit smaller. The only training that was done right before that movie was cardio just hiking and treadmill work.
But you can’t overlook the fact that the two years of six days a week ninety minutes a day went into that physique as well.
- Can you talk about the two years prior to the movie and the regime that you put Ryan on?
The one thing about Ryan that I tried to do, as opposed to a lot of actors or models who have a fit body but every time you see them it is the same physique, with Ryan and each movie I tried to make it look obviously impressively fit but different; so when you saw him in Wolverine, The Proposal or the Green Lantern each physique is different.
So one might have been bigger, one might have been smaller or one might have been more defined so that was a thought out plan that we tried to do. He would do a comedy, he would do an action movie, he would do a drama and so each movie is different and each physique was different.
- And how different is it to change his physique because, as you say, he jumps from project to project so how difficult in such a short space of time to change his body for what each role requires?
Luckily he has a great metabolism and physique and also all the training really works so it is pretty easy to do with him because we can change the workouts so for Sage House the weights were removed from the training and then it became mostly just cardio and push-ups and things that were old fashioned exercises.
But for a role such as Green Lantern it was a lot of core training and a lot of stability work because he had to do a lot of his own stunts so it was a matter of making his physique… the movie premise was he was guy who knew how to fly so it was to make him look longer and leaner.
And then in Wolverine he was supposed to be this science experiment gone crazy and so I wanted to make him look bigger and thicker and just more of a villain, an ominous and muscular villain.
- So how did you en up working with him in the first place?
The first movie I worked with him on was Blade Trinity, which was right after Van Wilder, and he was just a very tall, thin kid who was twenty six years old.
For Blade Trinity there was a lot of heavy lifting and I think that that was the biggest physique that we ever gave him for that movie as he really was supposed to look like a jacked up superhero.
So the production company hired my for that movie and I trained Ryan and Jessica Biel and Dominic Purcell.
- You have trained Ryan for many years now so how do you find working with him?
Oh Ryan is the best and he is the easiest. The proof is in the pudding as the saying goes and we have stayed together for nine years shows that we have a relationship and we are good friends.
It’s a very truthful situation where if he doesn’t fell like doing something he is very open and he will tell me and whatever we are doing nutrition wise, in New Orleans I cooked for him for six months; he doesn’t have to worry about hurting my feelings ’more of that’ less of that’ ’no Bob’.
I think it is a very honest relationship.
- You have worked with a whole host of celebs and acting stars so how did you get into this line of work?
I am fifty five and I have been doing this for thirty seven years and have owned gyms in New York and L.A., so I have always been doing this. As far as working with celebrities it came to the fact that I was one of the few trainers in L.A. at the time, it wasn’t the business it is now and if you tried to do it now it would be almost in impossible.
When I started in L.A. back in 1994 I would say that there were only twenty trainers in the gym that I started at and in that very same gym there are 280 trainers.
So in the beginning I had clients that were publicists and they were managers and so slowly here and there I would get referred; one client sent me Jennifer Lopez, Elle McPherson, Gabriel Byrne and Winona Ryder.
From then one it was word of mouth then a production saw what I did - then when I got Britney Spears everything sort of blew up.
- So how have you found stepping into the world of celebrity and being the guy that the production companies call?
Well it’s a very humbling and rewarding kind of ‘wow’. But also then the pressure is on and your reputation is a little bit more public and a little bit more on the line.
When somebody hires you get someone in shape in three months or two months you have got to get them in shape and when they are not doing what they are supposed to do I yell at them ’listen this isn’t about you this is about me and if you don’t look good for this movie then my reputation is on the line’.
So I try to make them feel back that way if they tell me they had ice cream last night I will be like ’what? You have got three weeks to go before you shoot and if you ruin this for me I am going to kill you’.
- As you say you have had a whole host of celebrities through your door so who has been the most challenging in terms of getting the shape that was needed for them?
The most challenging? I don’t know. I won’t say this in a negative way but when I trained Scarlett Johansson for Iron Man 2 it was challenging in a way because my goal was to never do the same workout twice.
I know that initially she didn’t like or have fun working out and so the challenge was to make it fun for her and to teach her about nutrition and so it became this all encompassing thing.
She really took to like a fish in water as she started to have a lot of fun and was like ‘what else, what else’ so we did kick boxing and all the MMA stuff and she was just ‘more, more, more’.
And then I taught her about nutrition and I got her this isolated protein patter which she started cooking with and she would bake fat free muffins.
So in that respect it was a big project but it was a lot of fun and I changed her life completely, those are not my words they are her words so I don’t sound too self promoting.
Even Ryan said to me, because they were married at the time, ‘man you have created a monster’ she explored vegan stuff and did a lot of cooking and so her physique changed so much from before for that role. She did a lot of her stunt work and we laid the groundwork with all the core training and the kick boxing.
So overall it was a big project and a fun project but she was 100% committed, it wasn’t a difficult project because I had someone who was making it difficult it was just a big project.
I would say that that whole transformation was one of my best accomplishments in all the years that I have been doing this - not the mention that it was Scarlett Johansson.
- Summer is just around the corner so what tips can you give to get the perfect beach body?
Well you have got to do the nutrition stuff and I would say make some changes such as watching your in-take of salt, watch your in-take of dairy and try to limit your calories. Then you need to start moving, even if you are jus starting out just do thirty minutes of anything.
You don’t weights you can use your own body such as doing push-ups from your knees, squats, walking lunges, walking reverse lunges, jumps - all kinds of things to just get moving. Everything works you have just got to do and then it works.
- What sort of physical regime do you put yourself through?
I do boxing and workouts - now that I am fifty five I have got the whole ground work and I where I want to be so it’s just 30-40 minutes five days a week and that is all I need. But I do it fast I do circuits so I don’t stop it’s thirty straight minutes.
- Finally what's coming up for you are you whipping anyone into shape at the moment?
I am working on Iron Man 3 right now and so I am working with Ashley Hamilton, he is George Hamilton’s some, and he is going to be one of the bad guys. So I have been training him every day now and it has been fun.
Safe House is released on DVD & Blu-Ray 15th June
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw