The American Sniper Workout: 37 Pounds in 3 Months?

When I was just starting out as a personal trainer in Los Angeles, I consulted with a mentor who gave me various assignments. One of which was to find 3 personal trainers who were currently in the position where I’d like to be. 2 of the trainers never responded to emails nor phone calls, but the third graciously called me back and invited me to his facility to “talk shop.” I stopped by his fancy Melrose fitness studio which was a mix of grunge and beauty. There were squat racks with chains, and then there were fake plants and expensive paintings. The mentioned trainer designed his facility to appeal to people his clientele comprised mostly those in the film industry, and at the same time produce results with more “hard core” modalities.


We spoke about everything from the current state of fitness, what we were reading, and hobbies we enjoyed. We found we had a ton of similarities in training and spoke the same fitness language. Probably the most personable and knowledgeable trainer I’d ever met. I left his facility that day inspired and excited.


The other day I was reading an article about the Bradley Cooper American Sniper workout routine, and the preparation in training for the film. Cooper got huge, and when I say huge, I mean he reportedly gained 37 pounds, with his body fat staying relatively the same. This means he put on close to 34 pounds of lean muscle mass. And guess what? He did it in only 3 months.


And who prepared him for the role? Remember that trainer that took the time out of his busy schedule to meet with a young, hungry personal trainer? You guessed it. Jason Walsh.


Below is the workout Walsh gave to that he used for Cooper’s role in American Sniper:

Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Day 1 & 2

Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Day 2, 3, & 4


Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Day 4


And here’s a list of his supplements:

Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Supplement Schedule

Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Supplement schedule continued


Here’s the before picture:

Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Bradley Cooper Before


And, here’s the after:

Bradley Cooper American Sniper Workout Routine

Bradley Cooper After


How the hell did he do this? You can see by the training and supplement schedule (I do not have the feeding schedule but it was reportedly exceeding 8,000 calories and paleo) the time and dedication he put into this transformation.


Here’s 5 things we can learn from Bradley Cooper American Sniper workout routine:

  1. Schedule, schedule, schedule

    • The number one excuse for not committing to a personal training program I hear is “I don’t have the time.” Sure, you can argue that nobody has the time, but do you find yourself watching TV for an hour or two, on Facebook, or any other task you can take out? Nobody has the time, but those who are successful in their fitness endeavors make the time. Yes, Bradley Cooper’s livelihood was based on his training program for the role, and yes he had the top personal trainer in the field working with him. But the Jason Walsh didn’t trap bar deadlift 405 lbs for 10 reps, and Jason Walsh didn’t walk thru the doors to the gym everyday for him, and Jason Walsh didn’t take that god forsaken laundry list of supplements which caused all type of stomach problems. Get on a training schedule and stick to is. No more excuses.
  2. Crank up the tunes

    • Chris Kyle, the SEAL American Sniper was based upon, had a playlist he worked out to which include Slayer, Metallica, Megadeath, and the likes. Chris Kyle’s wife gave his playlist to Bradley Cooper, and he blasted that list so loud that Walsh and Cooper couldn’t even hear each other talk. This cranked up the intensity of the workouts to push past the threshold of what was once thought of as comfortable, which leads me to my next point.
  3. Get comfortable being uncomfortable

    • Getting bigger and stronger can follow a pretty comfortable progression from beginner and intermediate skill levels of training. It’s getting comfortable being uncomfortable that helps the person jump to that intermediate/advanced level. Training isn’t meant to be easy. If it were, everyone would be shredded.
  4. Find motivation

    • Cooper reportedly hung a picture of Chris Kyle in the training facility, wore what he thought Chris Kyle would wear, and generally just morphed himself into an all around badass. He found motivation in the character he was portraying. Who/what is your motivation?
  5. Find a training partner

    • It was reported that Walsh would jump in with Cooper during training sessions where he could tell Cooper wasn’t pushing himself hard enough. The camaraderie helped Cooper push harder and stay focused during workouts. Those who have a training partner, from my experience, are twice as likely to stick with a fitness program than those without.

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