How Simon Pegg Got a Six-Pack for ‘Mission: Impossible—Fallout’

simon pegg
 Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Over the course of the Mission: Impossible franchise, the character of Benji Dunn has gone from IT guy to in-the-thick-of-it field agent. Comedic actor Simon Pegg decided to take the lead from his role and get himself the kind of body that could throw down if push came to shove.

 

“It has been cool to play someone who starts out as a lab potato and turns into a much more capable field agent,” says Pegg. Mission: Impossible—Fallout marks his fourth movie in the series, with the first being Mission: Impossible 3. “That was physically as well, I looked like a potato in MI3. But he has become much more fit, now that he’s working in the field. I think physically I have gotten younger onscreen as these films have progressed, because the training is so intense.”

 

 

On his search for the right help to get him in action hero shape, Pegg stepped into the gym of Nick Lower, who owns re:bourne fitness and nutrition in England. “Simon said that he was ready to get into the best shape of his life,” says Lower. There was extra initiative when a certain casting was announced—Henry Cavill. “I remember that Simon turned to me and said, ‘Superman is going to be in the movie.’”

The two set up a program that included five days of intense training along with one active rest day, and a carefully monitored diet plan. Lower slowly intensified the program with the approach of Fallout. “I would say the whole year leading up to production we worked on pushing Simon to a new level,” he says. “He was down to 10 percent body fat by the end of it.”

The fact that Mission: Impossible is a Tom Cruise-production also meant that there was going to be a lot of stunt work and action sequences, which Pegg would be a part of. They incorporated mitt work and sprints into their circuit days. For this movie, Pegg also had to train up to drive a speed boat along the canals of Paris and dive using a rebreather.

“These films always are physically challenging,” Pegg says. That goes for off the camera, as well, when he trains with Cruise. “I hope to keep getting better built so I can keep hanging. Tom and Ving [Rhames] now call me ‘Six-Pack Pegg’ on set. So I just want to hold onto that nickname for as long as I can.”

Circuit A

Do each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest. Finish the circuit with 2 minutes of cardio. Complete 3 rounds of this circuit with 2 minutes rest in between.

  • Side Plank Snatch With Kettlebell (Left)
  • Side Plank Snatch With Kettlebell (Right)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Kettlebell Reverse Lunge, Clean & Press
  • Kettlebell Front Squats
  • Cardio (2 minutes): Sprint

Circuit B

Do each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest. Finish the circuit with 2 minutes of cardio. Complete 3 rounds of this circuit with 2 minutes rest in between.

  • Single Leg Step-Up (Left)
  • Single Leg Step-Up (Right)
  • Box Jumps
  • Leg Raises
  • Cardio (2 minutes): Cross-Trainer Sprint

Circuit C

Do each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest. Finish the circuit with 2 minutes of cardio. Complete 3 rounds of this circuit with 2 minutes rest in between.

  • Med Ball Slams
  • Med Ball Burpees
  • Spider-Man Push-Ups
  • Squat Thrusts
  • Cardio (2 minutes): Hill Run