Dave Bautista has starred in two billion-dollar franchises, but he still operates very much like a Hollywood outsider. Rather than making the move to Malibu or the Palisades, he has kept his full-time residence in Tampa, and despite the allure of leaning out in order to get more “serious” roles, Bautista continues to train like a complete badass.
“I like going to the gym,” Bautista says. “I like working out. There was a period where I tried slimming down, but I felt horrible, and it wasn’t a good place for me mentally either. If I can’t get a role because I’m big and muscular, then I don’t want the fucking role.”
Not only that, but even after three decades of training, Bautista is looking to push himself harder than ever before. In order to do this, he has enlisted the help of trainer Jon Bennett from Mi40 Gym, who’s helping create a whole new killer workout program from the ground up for the former WWE star.
Legendary WWE wrestler turned Hollywood star is preparing for his next movie appearance here at the #mi40gym with our resident execution expert @hypertrophycoach with joes attention to detail and @davebautista work ethic i can't wait to see what these two come up with. Awesome opportunities here at @mi40_gym
Bautista sat down at the Ritz Carlton Central Park, his massive frame dwarfing the café’s chairs, to discuss his fitness beliefs, what it’s like to lift Daniel Craig, life on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the time Chris Pratt challenged him to a wrestling match.
The fans love this sequel. Did you have a favorite scene to shoot?
I would have to say the scene where we are all gathered around the campfire, because we all got to actually hang out. So it was just a few days of bullshitting, and learning more about each other.
There are some great scenes between you and Chris Pratt. How has it been to get to know him?
I love that dude on so many levels. I was crying like a little baby when he got his star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. I just respect him so much in how he is living the dream, but taking it in stride. I mean just a couple years ago he was just the funny chubby guy on television. He lost a little weight and now he’s the biggest movie star in the world. I mean, how is that for motivation toward self-improvement?
He trains pretty hard too, and is a CrossFit guy. Do you guys get to work out together?
You know we talk about working out so often, but we are never on the same page about it. He likes to put together a really diverse program, with like 20 different exercises. I personally like going in chunks that are very targeted and specific. On top of that I will have days where I just want to grapple, or box, or other cardio. Chris was an accomplished wrestler back in high school and is a big MMA fan, so we usually talk about that.
Given your wrestling background, you guys ever thrown down?
He called me out one night, during filming the first Guardians, and he sent me this long text in the middle of the night. It started off telling me how much he loved and admired me, and how he consider me a friend. Then out of nowhere it started talking about how he thought he could take me in a wrestling match, because of his wrestling background. He said, “Let’s get together and have a match. Just you and me, nobody has to know.” I saw him the next day and I asked him about it. He was like, “What text?” Apparently he had been drinking that night and didn’t remember sending it at all. We both started laughing. He felt so bad.
Do you make sure to get into the gym during filming too?
For Guardians we had trailers. The stunt guys always have some sort of training facility, so I usually go to train with them. The actors have their own, but I like training with the stunt guys. I feel of myself as more of a glorified stunt guy. I work with this great guy Rob de Groot, who I met on the first Guardians. I used to do all of my own stunts, because it was hard to find a guy who could keep up. So we train together often.
Speaking of stunt guys, you got fairly injured on doing Spectre with Daniel Craig.
It was incredible. For one, we really beat the crap out of each other, and had a lot of fun doing it. He broke my nose. He tore something in his knee, which I think he feels like I’m responsible for, but I will never claim responsibility for that injury. That guy is tough, though. Him and his trainer Simon Waterson really went for it. I got to see him train a few times and that was impressive. I hope we get to do another one together.
Picking up Daniel Craig has got to be good for you core.
It’s a new CrossFit workout. I’ll call them Bond lifts.
A Peek Inside Dave Bautista’s Training
“I like to start my day with a little boxing,” Bautista says. “There is just something so therapeutic about hitting the mitts.” He has been working with coach Rob Radford for boxing and MMA since 2008.
Sample Leg Day (by Joe Bennett)
“Dave is amazing at putting on muscle,” Bennett says. “There were a few exercises that we needed to introduce to his workouts, to diversify, and there were a few that he was already well on top of.” The biggest hurdle was being conscious of injuries Bautista had sustained from his professional wrestling days, but by starting low weight and reprogramming movements, they’ve managed to see incredible results in a short period. “Right now we have been focusing a lot on building up his legs,” Bennett says. Here is a leg day sample.
Complete between 1-3 sets, with 1 minute rest between rounds. Keep the weight light.
- Single-Leg Extensions (3-second hold at top): 5-8 reps
- Single-Leg Curls (3-second hold at top): 5-8 reps
- Front Foot-Elevated Split Squats (3 second hold at bottom): 5-8 reps
Complete 6 sets, with 90 seconds rest between each.
- Heel-Elevated Safety-Bar Squats (1 second pause at bottom): 6-10 reps
Complete 4 sets, with 90 seconds rest between super sets. Last working set is a drop set.
Complete 4 sets, with 90 seconds rest between sets.
- Leg Press (banded from the bottom, continuous motion): 20 reps
“I eat as clean as possible,” Bautista says. “I do vegan protein powder. Right now it is Sun Warrior, and I was eating mostly vegan, except for eggs. I couldn’t give them up for breakfast. I usually start my day with a glass of fat burners; give myself 40 minutes, and then do a shake or proper breakfast. Then it is off to the gym.” Bautista does not recommend eating your eggs raw, Rocky-style, though. “I tried that once,” he admits. “I threw it right up. It was disgusting.”
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2 is currently playing in theaters.