Jacob Gyllenhaal is the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner; actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is his older sister. He has been acting since childhood and appeared in several of his father’s films, but his breakout role came in 1999 in October Sky. Gyllenhaal went to Columbia University but dropped out after 2 years. He has played a range of roles in films such as The Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain and Spiderman. He also sometimes acts on stage. Gyllenhaal has received several accolades, including a BAFTA and an Academy Award. He owns a production company called Nine Stories. Gyllenhaal was named among People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People and Hottest Bachelors in 2006. He has dated several celebrities including Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift but has never married. He has millions of followers on social media. Gyllenhaal is 6 feet tall and weighs about 170 lbs.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Diet
To get in shape for Southpaw, Gyllenhaal threw himself 100% into the role as if he were a real boxer. To increase the level of difficulty, Gyllenhaal had just come off another film where he lost 30 lbs. and was thin as a rail. He ate every few hours, adding up to 6-7 meals a day. All of his food went toward fueling him, building muscle and helping with recovery. He ate plenty of animal protein in the form of eggs, chicken, and fish, but he did not avoid carbs, especially in the morning. He drank a lot of protein shakes to keep those muscles fed, as well as plenty of water.
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- Low-Medium Fat 30% 30%
- High Protein 60% 60%
Gyllenhaal’s staples included lean animal protein and also fish which contains omega-3 fatty acids and help combat inflammation, handy for people who do a lot of intense exercise.
To prepare for Southpaw, Gyllenhaal ate plenty of veggies, either steamed or raw, including plenty of salad. He also ate avocados which provide healthy fats.
Pasta Is Not Evil
Gyllenhaal didn’t go hog-wild on the carbs, but he didn’t avoid them like the plague either. He would have have things like rye bread, potatoes and pasta. He would also eat fruit in the form of berries, apples and bananas.
Gyllenhaal says he was working out so hard, the calories pretty much got used up the minute he ate them, and one of his faves for refueling was Chipotle. He’s also fond of a classic gingerbread cookie.
Cooking Show Fanatic
Gyllenhaal admits to loving British baking shows and says he’s seen them all. He also thinks it’s somewhat masochistic to watch them since you never get to eat the goodies.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Gyllenhaal on Food
‘I like food! I’m into food, and cooking food.’
Gyllenhaal on his Southpaw Diet
‘My look really came from my diet.’
Gyllenhaal on the Constant Effort of Refueling
‘It was 6-7 meals a day, eating every 3 hours or so — often to both fuel my next session and to get my energy back up from the previous session.’
Gyllenhaal on the Pluses of his Southpaw Diet
‘We trained really hard every day, all day, and you can eat a lot when you’re in that mode.’
Gyllenhaal on One of his Favorite Fuel-ups
‘I remember eating a lot of Chipotle.’
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Fitness Routine
Crank It Up to 11
Gyllenhaal trained à la Rocky Balboa for five months leading up to playing the role Billy Hope in Southpaw. He spent 6 hours a day training, frequently with no days off.
Pack It On
Gyllenhaal added almost 30 lbs. of muscle through his intense workouts and diet plan.
Miles & Miles
Gyllenhaal ran 8 miles a day as a ‘warm up’ for his training. He would then head to the gym for his ‘real’ workout.
Not a Tourist
Gyllenhaal took every aspect of training seriously, including getting hit.
Gyllenhaal couldn’t immediately do 2,000 sit-ups a day; he built his stamina slowly. He started out with 500 and worked his way up from there. Similarly, he didn’t set out running 8 miles a day; he started with 3.
Gyllenhaal would usually do 2 sessions of boxing or sparring each day as part of his prep for Southpaw. The am session would start with 15 minutes of jump rope, then they’d move on to footwork drills, shadowboxing and bag work.
For Southpaw, Gyllenhaal really focused on his core, spending an hour a day which resulted in a killer 6-pack.
A Jake Gyllenhaal Routine
Sit-ups: 1,000 upon waking/1,000 before bed
Run: build up to 8 miles
Core routine: Do 2-3 rounds, 1-2 min rest between rounds.
Arm walk-outs: 10
Bicycle crunches: 20
Single-arm plank: 10
250 lb. tire flips: 20x
Hit tire w/ sledgehammer: 3 min
Strength routine: 2-3 rounds, 1-2 min rest between rounds.
Weighted pull-ups: 8-12
Barbell squats: 8-12
Barbell deadlift: 8-12
Dumbbell shoulder press: 8-12
Walking lunge: 8-12
Dumbbell shrugs: 8-12
Bench press: 8-12
Gyllenhaal on preparing for Southpaw
‘Southpaw was one hell of a commitment.’
Gyllenhaal on his Training
‘I was training twice a day in the boxing ring, 7 days a week a lot of the time.’
Gyllenhaal on his all-in Mentality
‘I was sparring and really getting hit. It helped me understand the sacrifice it takes to be a fighter.’
Gyllenhaal on the All-Consuming Life of a Boxer
‘I was literally learning the skills of boxing, which is not only for the body but also for the mind. You can’t play a boxer and just look like a boxer; you have to believe you can exist in that world.’
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Supplements
Gyllenhaal would drink several protein shakes every day, often following a work out, to build muscle and reduce wasting.
Gyllenhaal also takes the ‘sunshine vitamin’ aka vitamin D. It helps the body absorb calcium, and can also help you lose weight.
Gyllenhaal regularly supplements with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, manage blood pressure and boost immunity.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Lifestyle
Ix-nay on the Travel
While Gyllenhaal’s parents encouraged him to try out for roles, they frequently made him turn them down if he was chosen. He had to say no to The Mighty Ducks because it would have meant being away from home for 2 months.
Gyllenhaal grew up privileged, but his parents made him get summer jobs, and so he did things like work as a lifeguard and busboy.
Gyllenhaal’s mother is Jewish and he considered himself to be Jewish growing up. For his 13th birthday, instead of a big party for his bar mitzvah, he volunteered at a homeless shelter to show his thanks for all he’d been given.
Gyllenhaal nearly replaced Toby Maguire in Spider-Man 2 due to Maguire’s health issues, but he recovered in time. Gyllenhaal and Maguire played Brothers in the the film Brothers, and Gyllenhaal says he is sometimes called Spider Man because of his close resemblance to Maguire.
Gyllenhaal says he’s not a ‘card-carrying’ Buddhist, but that he makes an effort to be mindful and meditate each day.
Gyllenhaal on his Father’s Influence
‘When I was young, before school, my father would wake me up and we would go running together. A love of being physical, being active, and being outside was something he instilled in me.’
Gyllenhaal on Actors
‘It bothers me when people say, “Oh, you’re so down to earth — for an actor.”…Why are the standards so low for performers?’
Gyllenhaal on Himself
‘Contrary to popular belief, I like to have a good time and not take myself too seriously.’
Gyllenhaal on Negativity
‘Don’t listen to what anybody says except the people who encourage you. If it’s what you want to do and it’s within yourself, then keep going and try to do it for the rest of your life.’
Gyllenhaal on Kissing a Man
‘As an actor, I think we need to embrace the times we feel most uncomfortable.’