Posted by: 4pack | June 9, 2008

Profile: Daniel Craig is Bond, James Bond

(From James Bond Lifestyles Online by: Drew Price, BSc MASc R.Nutr., ACSM Certified….

After the release of Casino Royale many people were wondering what type of training Daniel Craig (DC) had done to get into shape for the part of 007. People looked at his physique and thought ‘I want to do what he did’. A lot of fitness ‘experts’ have claimed to know the program that Daniel Craig used but oddly, very few match up. Subsequent to this, attention turned to discussions about the the type of training a ‘real James Bond’ might do. There’s two questions here, and we’ll aim to cover both in a some detail.

Now, before we go on a healthy dose of reality is called for here; I, of course, didn’t train Daniel Craig for the role and besides this is just a bit of fun, James Bond is of course a fantasy character, however that hasn’t stopped people wondering ‘What if?’. Luckily for us there is a lot of information out there and I have used what is available to me with the skills and knowledge from my own professional work to put together programs that fit the man and the character. I’m also lucky enough to know ex forces PT instructors as well as marines and paratroopers and the like, they have given me some useful insights.

The programs below are fairly advanced training guides. The first is a hybrid between the type of training Daniel Craig his PT Simon Waterson ( described. The second a tried and tested structure of training that is going to work on the average guy in the street helping them to get strong and look strong.

The third includes some of the types of training methods now popular with special forces and elite tactical units. Again, it is advanced, very advanced, using this correctly will get you very fit, fast and strong as well as probably rip kilos of fat off you at the same time but be warned: only consider using this program if you are an advanced trainee. 

The screen Bond diet and workout (The diet portion has been moved up from end of article because of the importance of diet to 4Pack…)

 The Diet

Intense training causes a lot of stress on the body and dependent upon your physical condition you may require a fair few more calories a day but it is important where you get those calories from. Obviously high quality foods are in, would Bond have anything less? However, unfortunately it’s not all caviar with toast and chopped egg.

Meal frequency
When doing a large volume of training you would be looking to eat between 4-6 meals or snacks spread equidistant through the day and based on good foods and beverage choices. But what are these? Bollinger ’69? Vodka martini?

I’m afraid martinis and fine wines are out and pure water is in. Try and find ways to make getting this easy, start the day with a big glass and keep a 2 litre bottle on your desk or in your locker, try and make a real dent in it by the end of the day. Add to this extra water when training, preferably having somewhere in the region of 400 – 500ml an hour before training and more after.

A couple of coffees a day is fine but that is all, keep them for when they are most needed or useful like before training. They should be an addition, not a crutch.

Firstly the building blocks of your body; fat and protein, the bricks of your new house. You are going to need good sources of both of these.

This is the macro nutrient that feeds the formation of muscle, helps to raise metabolic rate and keeps you feeling full. Good sources include lean meat and fish as well as eggs and some dairy. Try and get the best you can avoiding the high fat cuts and highly processed types of meat. Fatty fish is also great, eat this regularly.

Avoid and high sugar low fat dairy often seen marketed as ‘health foods’. Yes, you have lost the fat but it has been replaced by sugar.

These foods will help rebuild muscle, fueling recovery from workouts and raising the metabolic rate, you can also use them to displace some of the carbohydrate you might otherwise eat if you’re a little on the tubby side. This is another great way to feed muscle and starve fat.

Top secret & eyes only: Fat is good for you.
Unfortunately for years this has been the nutrition pariah, but things are changing and rightly so; our cells are surrounded by fat, our brains are ostensibly big lumps of fat. The problem is not fat, but getting too much of the wrong types, saturated fats and trans fats.

We generally get too much saturated fat (though saturated is still necessary!) and too little of the other fats (monounsaturated fats and omega 3 polyunsaturated fat) because of our ‘modern meat’ type diets. In a nut shell the animals we eat have too much fat on them, and it’s of the wrong type. Seems complicated, but don’t worry about trying to count grams.

 Here is the solution, eat lean cuts of meat and seek out the other fats. This means olive oil and avocados are in. Keep the yolks in your eggs and include Omega 3 containing foods such as oily fish, some nuts and seeds (don’t fret about which ones just eat plenty of almonds, walnuts and mixed seeds) which are essential, so put those pecan coated salmon steaks in the oven now.

Nature’s vitamin pill: fruit & vegetables
Lots of fibrous fruits and vegetables will supply you with many of micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) you need to function properly and help you rebuild muscle tissue – kind of the mortar between the bricks in you house.

Eat as much and as many different types of these as you can get hold of. If you have heard the term ‘try and eat the rainbow’ this is exactly what I am getting at – variety is the key to getting lots of nutrients you need to repair and rebuild supplying nutrients like no vitamin pill ever could. Explore fruits and vegetables you haven’t tried, find new ways of including ones that you know but are bored of and try those old hated ones again. I taught myself to like Brussels sprouts: if I can do that, you can do anything!

Last but not least comes starchy carbohydrate
This is the fuel you use to power the body. The brain and nervous system need a decent amount as you will use up energy working hard in the gym or on the road, eating a good supply is important, but not everyone needs the same amounts.

Carbohydrate has in recent times got a bad press. True, over-consumption of refined carbohydrate (found in sweets, cakes and pastries for example) is a major public health nuisance and not something that is going to allow you to get that defined, chiseled look but you will need it to fuel training. The answer is to

a) eat to support your energy needs and
b) time it right so it goes to the muscle and not ‘spill over into the fat stores’.

Breakfast and after training are the two best times to get these. Use good sources like oats, weetabix or branflakes for breakfast, and the brown carbs (whole wheat bread and pastes etc) soon after training.

If you’re very lean and looking to pack on muscle you would then add a little carbohydrate from good sources at each of your 4-6 meals. If you are looking to drop body fat, then restrict them mostly to the a.m. and around training.

The Bond menu

OK, so this is just a bit of fun, a menu calling on some choices from the books and films with some additions and changes for a better physique and recovery from training.

Breakfast: 08.00
3 Scrambled eggs
(with chives, but only a little butter)
2 slices whole wheat toast

Snack: 10.30
A protein shake and nut and seeds
(Daniel Craig mentions having these ‘seemingly every 15 minutes’)

Lunch: 13.00
Cold beef
Potato salad
Large green salad

Snack: 16.00
Boiled egg (cooked for 3 1/3 minute)
Some almonds

Training: 18.00
I know Bond always has a martini at 18.00 but you’re in training, remember to drink around 400ml of water one hour before training and perhaps a coffee (black with no sugar, not ‘medium sweet’) which may help with the intense training.

After training: 19.00
(Fat free) Greek yogurt

Dinner: 20.30
Grilled Sole
Large green salad with mustard dressing
Fresh bread roll
A glass of white wine (not half a bottle)

Train like Bond, eat like Bond and look like Bond, just don’t go shooting anyone, you hear?

What we know…. In a piece Simon Waterson did for Q magazine he went into a good amount of detail about the types of movements and exercises he used with Daniel Craig. It has also been mentioned that Craig spend about ’45 minutes’ in the gym ‘5 times a week’ and used a lot of circuits and high intensity cardio in his training.

Clearly the training was aimed at making him look the part, like he could ‘kill’ and also prepare him for the rigors of shooting an action movie. Simon Waterson is quoted as having said the workouts were based around ‘powerlifting’ with more compound exercises.

Also part of the mixture was posture, low body fat levels and the ability to move quickly, climb and fight well.

Movements used:

Useful additions would include:

  • Deadlifts, sumo deadlift high pulls lunges step-ups
  • Bench press, overhead dumbbell press, dumbbell rows, face pulls

 Other peoples ‘ideas’…

Many people have been claiming to know the exact program that Daniel Craig did to get in shape for the film. Strangely none of them match up…. One example program quoted is the following

 The Clean and Jerk

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Pull Ups or Chin Ups
  • Dips
  • Barbell Curls
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises

All exercises done in a circuit for a total of 4 giant sets: each exercise performed for 10-20 reps each, for 6 weeks (cycling the reps up and down over the weeks), this circuit to be completed 3-4 times a week. This is claimed to be the exact workout but I haven’t seen it confirmed.

I’ll be frank, I have a few major problems with this:

the training is not smart; if you do the same few movements again and again for high reps is a fatigued state you are leaving yourself open to injury. If you do it 3, 4 or more times a week for 6 weeks then you are bound to get problems, more so if you’re approaching 40 and have the added issue of fights scenes and other stunts to do.

This program is aimed at getting someone very lean, indeed the source this is from is a trainer who specializes in this however, look at Daniel Craig in other films he is lean and actually needs to gain muscle mass – this is not the best way to do this.

This of course doesn’t mean it won’t work, I just feel there are smarter ways to achieve the desired results. I am also aware that the above quoted workout may well not be the whole story.

Others claim that they have the program that Daniel Craig did for the film but they fail to mention exercises choices and workout structures explicitly mentioned by Simon Waterson and Daniel Craig.

So with all this confusion about the type of program, you have to ask the important question: what would you do to get into the kind of shape Daniel Craig was for Casino Royale? 

Looking like bond: an example physique program

 My aim with the below program is to get you looking a lot better, not wear you out. Daniel Craig would have had the expertise of a physiotherapist, masseur, nutritionist, access to plunge pools, etc.

You will not.

This means we will have to go cautiously keeping in mind your disadvantages when it comes to recovery – this is also why I have written this article. The training has to match the trainee and most of the routines I see quoted will leave the average person in the street injured, over worked or despondent.

A failsafe way of getting to goals of a lean muscular physique is with a 3 days per week upper and lower body split. This routine challenges all the different muscle groups stimulating growth but leaving enough room for proper recovery and thus muscular growth. The use of supersets helps with recovery of the muscles between exercises, whilst challenging the heart and lungs and upping the metabolic rate aiding fat loss.

Where you see a1, a2, b1, b2 etc. you perform one set of the exercise no.1, rest for the prescribed amount of seconds if applicable, and carry on to no. 2, rest, go back to no. 1 and repeat for the prescribed amount of sets and then more to the next letter up.

 Day 1 Upper body one

a1) Barbell bench press
a2) Barbell row

b1) Incline dumbbell press
b2) Cable row to neck

c1) Barbell preacher curl
22) Close grip barbell bench press

d1) Swiss ball crunch with twists
d2) Lateral raises

5-20 minute cardiovascular/energy systems work

Day 3 Lower body One

Back Squat 2 sets of 10 reps

a1) Close stance lunges
a2) Romanian dead lift 4 sets of 8

b1) Leg raises
b2) Standing calves raise 4 sets of 15

Back squats 1 set of 20

5-20 minute cardiovascular/energy systems work

Day 5 Upper body Two

a1) Wide grip pull ups 4 sets of 6
a2) Barbell overhead press 
 b1) Close grip pull up (palms facing)
b2) Alternate dumbbell press (elbows in palms facing)
c1) Dips
c2) Leg raises with twist

d1) dumbbell tricpes extensions (note: not ‘kickbacks’!)
d2) Zottman curls

5-20 minute cardiovascular/energy systems work

Day 8 Lower body Two

Traditional dead lift 5 reps of 5

a1) Sumo dead lift high pulls
a2) side lunges

b1) Step ups
b2) Seated calves raises

5-20 minute cardiovascular/energy systems work

Day 10: Start at day one

Energy systems work

How much of this you do is up to you. If you’re slim and in need of more muscle mass then you would do very little, if your carrying a lot of excess weight then you would do more.

I am a big fan of pad work, cycle interval sprints, hill runs or fartlek type training, but be wise with your choices – these are very taxing training methods. Sprints after a big leg workout are probably not the order of the day so use a little pad work or steady cycling cycling on leg days and sprints or intervals on the upper body days.

Rest days

Rest days are just that, go for a very light swim or a walk but keep the emphasis on moving but not taxing those aching limbs. And keep eating well, as I have said your body makes muscle, adapts and chews up fat outside the gym, feed it what it needs to do this!

So, the real Bond workout?

So Mr Craig looked good on screen but what kind of training would a real ‘James Bond’ do?

So, the real Bond workout?

So Mr Craig looked good on screen but what kind of training would a real ‘James Bond’ do? What qualities would he be looking to develop to help him do is job better? Speed? Power? Endurance and cardiovascular conditioning? Yes, all these would help.

Also what do we know about the characters background? Special forces background, interest in climbing, judo etc.

workout training excercise army Forces PT is usually quite prescriptive but ‘the best of the best’ have always been been allowed a little more free reign to structure their own training. To add to this in more recent years attitudes to training and physical testing in the armed forces has started to change. There has been a subtle move to include more important ‘functional’ training and tests in many armies of the world and special forces training has reflected this.

By ‘functional’ I don’t mean standing on a swiss ball waving pink 5kg dumbbells in the air. Functional means being able to shift heavy weights, in a safe manner, replicating bodily function and do a lot of it – in a short time.

Physical fitness and physical toughness

Obviously the main aim of a program is to develop fitness but you have to consider what fitness is. It is the ability to do physical work of all shapes and sizes, which means working on qualities as diverse as strength, power, strength endurance and cardiovascular capacity as well as other qualities like balance and flexibility. Most programs won’t do this but without all these qualities you are going to be little use to anyone.

Mental Toughness

Exercises as well as other drills and exercises should cultivate develop and test the underlying qualities of mental toughness. The main difference between a member of special forces and you and me is not necessarily their knowledge of weapons or combat or their fitness, it is toughness; the ability to keep going even when in a terrible physical state. Training this in the weights room or track is difficult but there are some workouts that can help.

It’s worth noting here that most forces PT is done in groups and for good reason; it helps get more out of each trainee and builds teams work and a team spirit. This is a very important element to remember.

Types of training

There’s a lot of qualities to train so this program allows for the the variety you will need to get the job done. To the mixture of high intensity weights training, weight circuits and hard cardio I have added long swims and combat type training. These additions obviously are going to help with conditioning and are intrinsic ingredients of an ex SBS special forces soldier. As you’ll see it’s much more than a few slow push ups in the morning and the odd swim up the coast.

We’ll look at

1) Strength workouts
not just working mass but training the muscle to work hard for a long time

2) Cardio and energy systems
training not only cardiovascular endurance but high intensity work that courses a build up of lactic acid

3) Martial arts training
This is pretty speculative but including some form of close combat training would be expected, styles chosen reflect the needs.

4) Creating a program
Putting the workouts together

1. The ‘Strength’ workouts

Here are some workouts I have adapted, made up or just blatantly stolen from other coaches. These workouts cover strength, strength endurance and power. They should be done in the a.m. or lunch time, so that they fall no closer than 4-6 hours before your martial arts training. Don’t train within 30 minutes of rising, allow your joints some time to settle properly after being stretched out for the (hopefully) 8 hours you slept.

Again, supersets (where two exercise choices are paired together and done alternately) and circuits (where a number of exercises are put together and done one after another with little or no rest, then start back back at the beginning) are used in this program. Follow the a1, a2, a3 etc instructions as above and remember that where no rest is prescribed, you should push on through trying to not stop.

 Strength circuit
a1 Barbell close grip bench press
a2 Barbell dead lift

Perform 4 hard reps of bench press, rest for 2 minutes and do the dead lift and again for 4 reps. Repeat that cycle 5 more times

Explosive power and pre-hab
Clean and jerk 5 sets of 2 reps (after a warm-up of a few sets)
Power snatch (from the hang) 6 sets of 2 reps
Clapping push-ups 2 sets of 8
‘Kipping’ pull-ups 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
Ball smashes or wood chops 3 sets of 15 reps
Boxing skills and bag work 4 rounds of 2 minutes

Go from one set of exercises to the next with minimal rest in a non circuit fashion.

Serratus push-ups
External rotations
Side hip raises

2 sets of 15 reps with 60 seconds rest

Lung busting weights workout
(with apologies to Charles Poliquin)
a1 Dead lift high pull
a2 Pullups
a3 Squat
a4 Dips

4 circuits of 12 reps each exercise resting 45 seconds between movements.

Strength endurance Big 50 (with apologies to Dan John)
a1 Pistols (alternate dumbbell press on a swiss ball)
a2 Lunges (either barbell or dumbbell)
a3 Box jumps
a4 Pull ups
a5 Barbell dead lifts

10 circuits using : 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps with as little rest as possible.

Strength and pre-hab
Dead lift

6 sets of 3 reps not in circuit fashion, but do six sets of the first exercise before moving on to the next rest 1 to 1.5 minute between sets.

Pull to neck
external rotations
Serratus pull-ups and press ups

2 sets of 15 reps of each, again in a non circuit fashion resting 1 minute between sets.

Bodyweight circuit
30 air squats
20 push-ups
10 pull-ups

Set a stopwatch to countdown 120 seconds start the watch and complete the circuit and go for it. When the seconds run out restart. Continue for 18 minutes.

2. Endurance and energy systems

Useful cardio involves more than just sitting on a bike reading the paper for 20 minutes; it involves training heart long and muscles to work hard for a long time. It should also involve useful training methods such as running or rowing as opposed to cycling (I can’t see Bond escaping on a bicycle can you?) as well as mixing in higher intensity bouts of activity.

Mixed run
3-7km ‘fartlek’ style run for time

High intensity and lactate work
3-5 repeats of 400m sprints (rest 2-3 minutes between)
6, 3 minute rounds on the heavy bag
10-15k steady run slower fun

Long slow and heavy
4-8 km run (with weighted back pack would be the forces choice)
Swim hard for 20 minutes

Long duration row
6-8 km row for time i.e. as fast as possible

Long swim
Swim hard for 30 minutes

Mixed intense and longer slow run
3-5 repeats of 400m sprints (rest 2-3 minutes between)
6, 3 minute rounds on the heavy bag
10-15k run slower fun

3. Martial arts

 I know which ones I like and prefer but if you look at a what types of styles people in special forces etc use they fall towards the ‘mixed martial arts’ end of the scale (but with no holds bared) so a grounding in western boxing
jiujustsu,  krav maga, and the like would be useful.

Other useful ones may include Silat, Systema and systems like the ‘S.P.E.A.R. system’ that are growing in popularity with special police and army units. Remember with all martial arts, attitude is as important as fancy moves; seek out good teachers and train hard.

4. Putting it together

There’s a few different ways of putting the training session into a system. alternate weights and cardio/energy systems training with at least two days off a week. Have a look at the movements involved and train the one that you feel freshest and most prepared for, for example if you shoulders are sore go for the running.

Give each workout type a number and roll a dice to let fate decide (see below)

Dice training and the randomness factor

The random quality of real life means that you are never sure that you are going to be in the best shape or totally ready to deal with a situation. A training program of this type should reflect this. To this end I have stolen an idea from US coach Dan John by using a dice to choose the workout. For example on a ‘Strength’ day number each workout, roll the dice once, check the number and do the workout.

OK, the down side of ‘random’ workouts means that it won’t be optimum for muscle growth, strength or power development, fat loss etc, but programs aimed at these are not aimed at total performance and besides you will support muscle mass and fat loss with your diet. You should however stick to the structure to allow for proper rest and recovery. The aim is to get fit, not injured.

The last piece of the puzzle: Recovery

Your body doesn’t grow or get stronger in the gym. It is outside the gym when you are recovering that it comes back stronger and more able to perform. Proper recovery is based on plenty of good sleep, good diet and the avoidance of stress and bad habits like smoking and drinking. I know Bond was no angel, but when the mission depend upon it he could knuckle down, so should you.

Adding to these plenty of restorative work such as stretching, range of motion work, a little active recovery like swimming, light yoga etc. will only help.


  1. thank you I will try this out starting today

  2. The routine that Simon Waterson put together for Daniel is now freely available on the Internet. In essence he did the following;

    • Clean & Press
    • Squat
    • Bench Press (super-setted with push ups)
    • Chins
    • Dips
    • Bicep Curls
    • Lateral Rotation (L-Flys)

    Four sets (one of them being a warm up) of each exercise with reps and weight varying over the six week programme. In order to maximise fat burning effect, Simon suggests moving from one exercise to another with minimum rest periods. Also, the time between sets should also be kept to a strict minimum.

    The above programme is suggested to be done 3 – 4 times a week.

    A minimum of eight hours per night of sleep is recommended.

    Around week five of the routine, reps should be high as 25 per set. Other rep ranges are 15, 10, 20, 8 & 6 for weeks 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 respectively.

    Having tried this, doing the above three times a week, is certainly taxing, and in my opinion, resorts to simple overtraining for natural trainees.

    Ab work at the end of each session comprise 3 sets of traditional crunches (25 reps each set), 3 sets of crunches with legs raised (25 reps each set), and finally 3 sets (25 reps each set), of ab leg raises (legs straight in the air lift with no momentum your lower back 3 inches off the ground.)

    Following the weights and abs is a 1000m row on Level 10 quick as you can. Trainees that complete this in under four minutes should pat themselves on the back. I usually play ‘You Know My Name’ by Chris Cornell on my iPod and try and finish the row before the track ends.

    Dietary wise the programme requests the following;

    • No refined carbs after 2pm
    • No starchy carbs after 5pm

    This works well for fat burning and Daniel can be heard discussing this during an interview found on YouTube.

    • 2 Litres of water per day
    • 2 Pieces of fruit per day
    • Vegetables everyday
    • Alcohol on weekends only

    Recommended supplements are Protein, Creatine and L-Glutamine.

    Daniel, during the same interview, is said that he drank a protein drink ‘seemingly’ every 15 minutes but the body cannot truly assimilate such amounts of protein.

    Anyone who has Simon’s books – Commando Workout and 30-Minute-a-Day Body Challenge will recognize the exercises above.

    These books are now discontinued but still available on the Internet, usually at quite a cost.

    You can also design your own programme with other exercises he recommends in his books such as;

    • Deadlifts
    • Shoulder Presses
    • Lateral Raises
    • Calf Raises
    • Bent Over Rows
    • Lunges
    • Dorsal Raises

    He is also a keen advocate on plyometrics so try, squat thrusts, alternate squat thrusts, skips, burpees, step ups (onto a bench) and press ups.

    Try the above for that real ‘Bond’ look!

  3. Wow! Thanks for the great info! I have printed it out for my husband with high expectations….

    Seriously, he is an ardent weight lifter (has painful neuropathy) and I know he will enjoy reading how Daniel Craig acquired his physique for Casino Royale. Looking forward to the next one!


  4. Glad I found your blog. I’ve found a few good tips on your site. I’ll be a regular visitor from now!

  5. Great post I learned alot! Thanks =)

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