Robert De Niro – Capefear

Robert De Niro Workout preparation for Capefear

The New York City born actor, Robert De Niro entered the world on August 17, 1943. De Niro landed his first major role in 1973’s Bang The Drum Slowly. A year later he followed up that feat by playing Vito Corleone in the Godfather part II. Robert’s acting career resume also includes Midnight Run, Analyze This, A Bronx Tale and who could ever forget Meet The Parents in 2000. The highly popular actor took his career a bit further and put himself in the director’s chair for movies like A Bronx tale in 1993 and The Good Shepherd in 2006. Throughout his career, De Niro has received a multitude of awards for his on screen talents.

De Niro took his fitness program to another level when he prepared for his role in Cape Fear, the 1991 thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. This movie depicted Robert as a convicted rapist who goes looking for revenge against a public defender who put him behind bars for a 14-year jail sentence.

The suspense flick saw massive profits as it made over 182 million dollars at the box office while on a 35 million dollar budget. To prepare for the convict role, Robert turned to the help of personal trainer Dan Harvey who put together the extremely high repetition workouts that used exercises that mimicked what a real prisoner would have access to in jail. The 48-year old actor plummeted his body fat percentage to a scant four percent through hundreds of bodyweight repetitions. After the fitness preparations for the Cape Fear movie concluded, personal trainer Dan Harvey was amazed at the actor’s extreme focus all throughout the training program.

De Niro’s program involved all body weight exercises just as a real prisoner would most likely perform while in jail. Body weight exercises like dips, chin-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups were used in addition to performing 600 crunches a day which sculpted the actor’s abdominals and gave him a total body muscle building workout.  Training days were split into pushing and pulling days. This meant one day was designated for pushing movements like push-ups, dips, and squats and the other training day set aside for pulling exercises like pull-ups and chin-ups.

De Niro’s personal trainer also put together a strict cardio training regimen to help him cut his body fat while developing lean muscle mass. The body weight workout included multiple sets to complete muscular failure. At the end of the day, De Niro’s repetition range lead into the hundreds, which cut his body for the leading convict role. Given the intense nature of the body weight program, I find it mighty impressive for a 48-year old movie star.

Personal trainer Dan Harvey placed the actor on a high carbohydrate diet program to fuel his body during the endurance body weight program. A variety of complex carbohydrates were consumed like whole grains, brown rice, and lots of green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuce. In addition to the high carbs, De Niro consumed high amounts of lean protein to help build and shape the 48-year old actor’s physique.  The actor’s meals were distanced every three to fours hours apart to provide him with all day energy and muscle building nutrients.

By the time the movie Cape Fear hit the box offices, Robert De Niro showed people everywhere that it doesn’t matter how old you are to get to an amazing four percent body fat. Through intense focus, preparation, and hard work anyone can achieve huge body transformations at any point in life. The prisoner-like bodyweight training regimen also helped the New York native actor to tap into the role of the accused rapist convict.

With the help of his personal trainer Dan Harvey to push him to complete muscular failure each set, perhaps one of the most dramatic Hollywood body transformations of all time was achieved. For anyone else who wishes to take on such a training program, remember to start off gradually and push yourself to maximum and absolute failure each exercise set. With the focus and motivation that De Niro possessed at age 48, I would love to see if he could put together another amazing body transformation at his current age. I like to think he could.