With Marvel Studios latest super film Thor: Ragnarok hitting the big screen this autumn, I turned to Personal Trainer Ben Mudge, who is basically mini Thor, to ask how to get the God Bod.
When I say “mini Thor”, I mean…actual Thor. Ben is isn’t far off Chris Hemsworth in muscle mass and looks, but he’s also fighting a super hero battle with Cystic Fibrosis. I’ve been following Ben on social media for a while and I got the chance to talk to the him about how to get a God bod.
Thor! You must get people doing a double take when they pass you in the street?
Yeah! I have actually had that more often than I would have thought! Two of the most memorable occasions happened in Florida and in Tescos. I was in a shoe shop in a mall in Florida and the shop greeter said “Damn man it’s Thor!”. And the Tescos encounter was a child with his mum who looked at me and said “Mum look, it’s Thor!”.
What is it about Thor that made you want to take on the mantle as the God of Thunder? A lot of men, gay and straight really love the character.
I have always liked the powerhouses of both Marvel and DC but the more I learnt about Thor the more I liked the character. He is flawed unlike Superman, and yet he is an absolute juggernaut of a hero. I think the fact that people said I looked like him also gave me that attachment to him as well.
Did you research some of the ways Chris Hemsworth bulked up for the role of Thor?
I have read a bit about it. I think the amount of muscle tissue he put on is achievable in that space of time to an untrained individual who is getting paid to do such. Everyone is very quick to say its steroids when they see something like that. However, they don’t realise that that was his job to get that muscle on. He had a trainer every day sometimes twice a day, personal chefs, and a fat pay check to keep him motivated. I can only admire his drive and hard work.
Ok, so how does one get the God body? I want the God body…
I have been training now for 10+ years (not all of them as consistent or as good in terms of optimal muscle growth) I have stuck at it though as I saw the benefits it was having to my cystic fibrosis and my confidence. As I have learnt more and more about the body and training I have found that there are much easier ways of going about it than I initially thought. My big focus on my and my clients is QUALITY! However in the last few months to a year I have stripped everything back to the basics in terms of my sessions and even the exercises I choose.
I am a huge fan of full body workouts, for example:
- Pull ups (Assisted if needed) 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps
- Bench press 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps
- Squats 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps
- Shoulder press 3 sets x 15,10,8 reps
- Barbell curls 3 sets x 12,10,8 reps
- Tricep dips 3 sets x 12,10,8 reps
- Crunches 3 sets x 15,15,15
Resting 60 seconds between each set.
I would recommend performing this every other day. It targets the entire body which massively increases the ‘afterburn’ effect (the energy required to repair muscle tissue).
Why did you want to get in shape, and put on size?
I was always the skinny kid in school both primary and secondary. I never got picked to play any sports even though I turned up to every practise. When I turned 16 my dad got my brother and me a multi-gym for the garage and I loved it! (All chest and arms of course). It was when girls started to notice that I was more muscly than the other guys that I think I got hooked. I liked the confidence it gave me and that people didn’t see me as the ‘skinny kid’ anymore. I also realised now that I am older that it makes me feel strong psychologically in regards to my cystic fibrosis. It meant that people would never look at me as the sick one.
For those that don’t know, can you describe what cystic fibrosis is?
Cystic fibrosis in a genetic condition, which effects all the major organs, it makes the mucus in my body more thick than the average person. This means that my organs need to work much harder to perform everyday tasks. Imagine the mucus in your body is like water in a jar, it flows smoothly and freely and mine would be more like wallpaper paste. The main organ effected by CF are the lungs. Frequent infections cause damage to the lungs and eventually over time destroys the lung tissue. This then leads to the person needing a lung transplant to reset the clock as it were. Currently there is no cure for CF but some amazing advances have been made in my lifetime. My life expectancy when I was born was around 19 years old, now it is around 40.
When did you find out that you had the condition?
I was diagnosed at birth which was lucky as if it goes untreated it can be very serious. I only realised that I was different to everyone when I had to hospitalised when I was 18 for a chest infection which meant I was in hospital for four weeks. This scared me quite a lot and really showed me that I wasn’t invincible.
Does CF impact on your diet and the way you train?
In terms of my nutrition I have to take tablets with everything I eat as my pancreas doesn’t function correctly. I am used to this though as I don’t know any different. I have to be aware of my nutrition as I have to keep my immune system strong to keep me from getting sick. I ensure that I get plenty of fibre and vegetables to help keep my gut strong and healthy. I also ensure that I get enough protein to help my muscles recover and rebuild. In terms of my training I just treat myself like I would treat a normal person. I think this helps me psychologically as well as it keeps my mind off the illness. I do however ensure that I keep fit using swimming and running.
One last question. In Thor: Ragnarok, he has his hair short. Will you lose the golden locks too?
I can’t lie I was gutted but I think the iconic look of Thor is the long blonde locks, so I’ll be keeping them for now!
To learn more about Cystic Fibrosis please visit the CF Trust: www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk
This article was originally printed in Gay Times magazine.
Pictures by Martin Irvine.