Key Points:

  • Celeb transformations aren’t just for celebs
  • Focus on doing these basics nutrition habits consistently

Ever wonder how actors like Ryan Reynolds, Brad Pitt and Rob McElhenney get into such great shape for TV and movies?


For a long time I did too.

I figured it had something to do with doing their boat loads of money, oodles of time, and access to shit normal guys like me didn’t.  

Which part of that is true, but it’s not the whole story.

A vast majority of the stuff they do, normal guys like you and me can do.  Maybe not to the extravagant level, but we can do it in our own non-10 figure net worth way.

So for this article I’m going to take Rob McElhenney’s transformation from Fat Mac to Jacked Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I’ll tease out the basic nutrition habits of a transformation like this so you can make your own celeb level transformation.

First, a Disclaimer…

There’s a giant jacked elephant in the room when it comes to celebrity transformations… steroids.  

Regardless if they are doing them or not is outside the realm of this article and it doesn’t matter.  

Steroids are just a way of getting to the end goal faster.  It’s like taking a plane instead of walking across the country.  

This article will teach you the basic nutrition habits of a transformation.

Think of this article as teaching you the basics of driving.  Things like what signs mean stop, who has the right of way at an intersection, and why it’s bad to hit pedestrians. The same principles apply if you are driving a Toyota Camery (natural) or a Maserati (steroids).  

How Rob McElhenney Got Ripped

Taken from Men’ Health:

“I’m gonna break it down for you, because it’s actually quite simple, and anybody can do this. Anybody on the planet can do this. First thing’s first: if you have job—like a 9-5 job—quit that. Do you like food? Forget about that. Because you’re never going to enjoy anything you eat. Alcohol? Sorry. That’s out. So what you need to do—you have a chef, right? like a personal chef?—make sure the chef makes you a lot of chicken breast. And make sure you keep your caloric intake at a certain level. And as you go to your physician 2-3 times a week—just to monitor all your testosterone levels—because testosterone is important to building muscle. You’re good friends with the trainer from Magic Mike? Arin Babaian. So you want to give Arin a call. And you want to make sure he’s at your house and takes you to the gym at least twice a day, because you’re gonna want to do your muscle-building in the morning and then your cardio in the afternoon. Now, do you have a family? Like a significant other or kids? Yeah, forget about them. You’re not going to have time to deal with them.

“So that’s really all you have to do. And make sure you have a studio pay for the entire thing, because it could become exceptionally expensive. So, I think if you just do all those things, then you too can have an absolutely unrealistic body type, such as me.”

The Unpacking of Rob’s Nutrition Habits

All humor aside, Rob keys in on great points on what it takes for a transformation.  

But first, let’s set aside some things he mentions like quitting your 9-5, quitting food you like, alcohol, and your family.

Obviously, being paid to get in shape where you only have one focus, you can go to an extreme like Rob did.  Your experience will look a bit different than if you are trying to do this while juggling a career and family.  When you’re getting paid to do this you can shorten the timeline considerably by going all in like Rob did.

For us non-rich, family oriented, 9–5er’s the same principles apply, just elongate the timeline.  So instead of 5-6 months, maybe you’re looking at 8-12 months.

Which is cool because you can still get there. A delay of a couple months is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get into what the take aways are:

“…you have a chef, right? like a personal chef?—make sure the chef makes you a lot of chicken breast.” = Meal Prep

“And make sure you keep your caloric intake at a certain level.” = Count Calories

“You’re good friends with the trainer from Magic Mike? Arin Babaian. So you want to give Arin a call. And you want to make sure he’s at your house and takes you to the gym at least twice a day, because you’re gonna want to do your muscle-building in the morning and then your cardio in the afternoon.” = Hire a Coach for Accountability/Plan

I’m also going to add in two more based on helping guys achieve their transformations in the Aesthetic Physiques Coaching Program:

Setup Your Environment


Meal Prep

My dad always told me growing up that he hated getting caught with his pants down.  Which is understandable.

What he meant was, he hated being unprepared.  He was an electrician and he hated not  having a certain tool or part and wasting time having to go buy it to finish the job.

Which is like meal prepping for your diet.  

If you have food readily available you can eliminate a whole laundry list of decisions allowing you to make better ones and making dieting easier.  

No time to cook a meal?  Good, it’s already cooked.  Throw it in the microwave for 2 minutes and you’re done.

There are two ways to go about this; the Bro way or the Busy Guy way.

First the Bro way.

If you’ve been in fitness for longer than 4 secs you’ll have seen the pics of people lining up their counters with skyscrapers of tupperware each meticulously portioned out with a protein, carbs and veggies.

If you have the time and don’t mind eating the same thing over and over, it’s not a bad way to go.

Spending an hour or so on a Sunday to cook up a week’s worth of a protein, veggies, and carbs eliminates a lot of guesswork and potential slip ups.

But if the thought of eating the same meal over and over all week turns your stomach, try the Busy Guy way.

Make 1-2 serving more each night for dinner.  Take the leftovers for lunch the next day and BOOM, variety.

^^ This is the method I use.

Regardless of what method you choose, having good food readily available is KEY for your transformation.

Counting Calories

If I told you to hit a target with a football, would you rather be able to see the target or blindfolded?

Unless you are Aaron Rodgers you’d prob want to see your target to give yourself the best chance at succeeding.

Same for dieting.

When you have a calorie target, that ensures you are in a calorie deficit, you are more likely to succeed than if you were to go based on hunger cues or blindly going with the flavor of the month diet pushed by the media.

With counting calories you bring awareness to the food you are eating, where you can improve when hunger strikes and ensure a calorie deficit.  Plus, there are no predetermined foods so you can eat the way YOU like to eat.

When it comes to weight loss, counting calories is far and away the best method I’ve ever used.

Hire a Coach

Ever try to change your diet only to fall off after a couple of weeks?  

That’s because there are no consequences if you quit.

And you can always justify to yourself not doing something.  

Richard Feynman once said “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Don’t fool yourself.  I’ve done it.  You’ve done it.  Let’s stop the madness.

Consistency with your plan is the only way you are going to lose weight.

That’s where coaching comes into play.  Having a financial incentive (monthly fee) and the accountability to another person (the coach) along with a proven plan (their method) makes it a perfect concoction for accountability and results.

If you need accountability and a plan to get to a place you haven’t been before (or in a long time), hire a coach.

Side Note:  I know a guy that’s pretty good at coaching.

Setup Your Environment

A personal trainer friend of mine used to put candy bars around his house when he was dieting for bodybuilding shows to increase his willpower.

Everytime he said no to the candy bar it made him feel stronger and less likely to cheat on his diet.

Not completely sure, but I’m pretty sure he was into flogging himself as well.

I, however, am on the other end of the spectrum.

I like shit easy.  I can incorporate easy into my everyday life.

Here’s what I mean…

Remember the first time you saw Jeff Goldblum in an commercial? 

WTF is Jeff talking about? Change your apartment, change the world? 

Once it clicked, it made a ton of sense.

So let’s repurpose it for our topic of dieting.

[In a Jeff Goldblum voice] 

Change your environment, change your body.

Setting up an environment that supports your hard work rather than relying on willpower is going to make things a shit ton easier for you. 

For instance, 

  • Hiding or removing trigger foods.
  • Having things to cook and measure with. 
  • Making healthy snacking options easier to get.
  • Putting snacks where they aren’t easily accessible. 
  • Having leftovers or quick heat up options for dinners and lunch.

Little things like this make the dieting experience easier and the results come faster.

Again, it comes back to the not getting caught with your pants down thing.


I’m sure you know this, but let’s get into what a lack of sleep does.

Multiple studies have shown that a lack of sleep is associated with fat gain, mainly due to an increase of cravings for carbs or sugary snacks and the increase in hunger hormones.  

A lack of sleep also impairs your decision making.  They’ve even equated not sleeping for 24 hours being the same as blowing a 0.1 blood alcohol content.  

And let’s also throw on top of that the stress you have to deal with daily; kids, work, relationships.  Which often causes carb cravings to help cope or mask the stress.

Impaired decision making plus an increased cravings for snacks plus stress…Hell, Ray Charles can see the problem here.

But you know what can help lessen all of this to reduce cravings and you better be able to deal with stress?

You guessed it, sleep.

Getting 6-8 hours a night can lessen all of these and allow you to be a better human and dieter when you’re awake.  There’s no better fat burner, energy drink, mood or brain enhancer than a quality night sleep.

Here’s some tips to get better sleep:

Turning Screens Off 

The blue light emitted from screens on your TV, computer, or phone can mimic sunlight which makes it harder to fall asleep. 


Getting your mind to calm down is essential to getting to sleep.  You don’t have to start your journal with “Dear Diary”, just do a brain dump of all the stuff that happened or shit you need to do tomorrow.

This allows your brain to rest so you aren’t worrying or running through everything all night.

Meditation also helps as a way to clear your brain.  Big fan of the Headspace app.

Use Your Bed For Sleep Or Banging 

Your brain uses a lot of association.  So if you are working in bed your body can associate bed with stress and the side effect being not sleeping.  Instead only use your bed if you want to sleep or get some ass.

Bedtime Routine 

Our bodies like habits.  It’s why you get typically get hungry around the same time everyday.  By creating a bedtime routine you will eventually start getting tired around the same time.   

My bedtime routine is:

Stop working at 8

TV for 30-60 mins

Take the dog out


Brush my teeth

Get in bed

Wrap it Up B

Celeb transformations or your transformation comes down to consistency with the basic nutrition habits:

Count Calories

Meal Prep

Setup your Environment


Hire a Coach