Bradley Cooper is from Philadelphia, and enjoyed playing basketball and cooking as a kid, and his father inspired him to become an actor by exposing him to films such as The Elephant Man. He attended Georgetown University where he joined the rowing team and the theatre club, and graduated with a degree in English. His tv debut came in 1999 with a minor role in Sex In the City. He was accepted into the Actors Studio by James Lipton and received a Masters of Fine Arts in acting from the New School in NYC. He became better known as an actor in the tv show Alias, and more roles came in film, including Wedding Crashers and The Hangover, but Cooper shot into the superstar stratosphere with films like Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper. He made his directing debut with A Star Is Born. Cooper has won many awards, including 8 Oscars, a Tony, 2 Grammys and a BAFTA. One of the world’s highest paid actors for 4 years, he has been on Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People and Forbes’ Celebrity 100 three times. People named him Sexiest Man Alive in 2011. Cooper supports various charities including for cancer and Alzheimer’s. He has one daughter, and generally avoids social media. Cooper is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs about 185 lbs.
Bradley Cooper’s Diet
Cooper put on 40 lbs. of muscle through a combination of exercise and a 5,000+ calorie a day diet to get in his role for American Sniper. He worked with his personal trainer Jason Walsh and also had a personal chef (Kristin O’Connor) to help him keep on track. Because he needed to consume so many calories, Cooper ate virtually all day long. His calories came from whole foods, like chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, avocados and whole-grain bread along with plenty of protein shakes, and of course he drank plenty of water to help prevent dehydration during his intense workouts.
- Low-Medium Fat 25% 25%
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- High Protein 60% 60%
Full Time Job
Other than exercising, eating became Cooper’s full-time occupation. He would have to eat about every hour. Five meals were prepared by his chef and the rest were nutrition bars or protein shakes. Although it was widely rumored that he ate 8,000 calories a day, he says it was more like 5,000-6,000. (But they weren’t the fun kind.)
Breakfast of Heroes
A typical breakfast for Cooper might be whole-grain French toast made with egg whites. Not long after, he’d have a berry protein shake.
Cooper would have spaghetti squash instead of regular pasta, and meatballs made from chicken or turkey rather than beef, which is fattier.
Although he needed to gain, Cooper chose his fats carefully. Avocados and nuts were a common source of healthy fats for him.
Cooper enjoyed cooking with his grandma as a child, and that passion continues today.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Foods that contain hormones
Cooper on the Sniper Diet
‘It was a real shock to my body. If it’s pizza and cake, that’s one thing. Putting 6,000 calories a day in your body gets old quick.’
Cooper on his Sniper Diet & Exercise Routine
‘It was about 3 months of constant eating and working out. It was tough.’
Cooper on Cooking
‘I seriously love to cook…My grandmother was an amazing cook. As a kid, I used to help her make handmade pasta…It was one of my favorite things to do. I love the idea of making whatever is in the fridge into something.’
Cooper on How He Spends his Spare Time
‘Eating. I eat a lot of food. I’m a big eater.’
Cooper on his Post-Sniper Weight Loss
‘I shed about 15 lbs. in 3 weeks. The next 15-20 pounds were really hard to lose.’
Bradley Cooper’s Fitness Routine
Cooper worked out with celebrity trainer Jason Walsh 4-5 hours a day to prepare for his role in American Sniper.
Cooper’s routine was primarily weightlifting and very little cardio. Diet was also an important component to continually build muscle. By the end of his training, he was able to lift 415 lbs. for 5 sets of 8 reps each.
Build Muscle, Burn Fat
Cooper’s routine was designed to help him bulk up while reducing excess fat. Cooper started out at 185 lbs. with a goal was to hit 230 lbs. like the actual sniper, Chris Kyle.
Double the Daily Dose
Cooper would do an early 2-hour training session, and then head back to the gym in the afternoon for another 2+ hours.
Cooper’s routine involved circuits, meaning he would go straight from one exercise to the next. He was allowed a brief 1-minute rest between sets.
Move Like a SEAL
Cooper had to look like his new body actually belonged to him, so he did a lot of unilateral exercises like Bulgarian split squats and single-leg deadlifts to get comfortable with his bulk.
A Bradley Cooper Routine
4+ hours per day of weight training: 2 hrs of strength training in the am + 2 hrs muscle-building in the pm.
Progressive training by adding volume (more sets) every 3 weeks, working up to 10 sets by the end of the program.
Use compound moves such as deadlifts, presses, and rows.
Focus on shoulders, traps & triceps.
High volume on Friday’s pm workout before his recovery days.
Saturdays & Sundays off to recover. Rest is a key piece of the recovery process.
Cooper on his Sniper Routine
‘Every weekday from 6-8, I’d go to the gym…Then 2-4:30, I’d go. Back to the gym. It was basically a science experiment to get as big as that man was.’
Cooper on his New Body
‘It changes absolutely everything…the way you walk, the way people relate to you. If someone bumps into you on the sidewalk, they kind of ricochet off.’
Cooper on his Physical Accomplishments
‘It felt amazing. It’s also nice to know it’s possible to do it naturally, in that amount of time.’
Cooper on SEAL Training
‘[A coworker] and I talked about how Chris could stay on the gun for 8 hours without moving, which is an incredible feat.’
Bradley Cooper’s Supplements
One of Cooper’s dietary staples was. Whey protein contains the building blocks for muscles, and also helps reduce muscle wasting and shortens recovery time. Eating protein can also help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Bradley Cooper’s Lifestyle
Cooper says he did not consider himself to be handsome in his youth. His mother often had him wear his hair in a bowl cut, resulting in his frequently being mistaken for a girl.
Everything Gets Bigger
Have Language, Will Travel
Cooper on Growing Up
‘I never lived the life of, “Oh, you’re so good looking.” People thought I was a girl when I was little.’
Cooper on his Reckoning with Substance Abuse
‘I was at a party and deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor…And then I did it again. I spent the night at …the hospital with a sock of ice…I thought, “Wow, I’m actually gonna ruin my life.”’
Cooper on his Size
‘I had size 12 feet when I was 10, so I thought I was going to be 6’ 8”. My goal was to be able to dunk a basket. I wound up being 6’ 1” with size 14 feet. I got the raw end of the deal.’
Cooper on Women
‘I don’t see myself as a ladies’ man, but I love women.’
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