Kumail Nanjiani sent the internet into a thirst vortex last month when he revealed the shredded new physique he’d been working on for his role in Marvel Studios’ The Eternals. In addition to showing off his progress, the actor was also upfront about the hard work and considerable resources that go into such a transformation.
So. How far can one guy get in just one week of Kumail’s training regime? That’s what a new YouTube video from Superhero Jacked aims to find out. And the answer is, unsurprisingly, not very far. Truth be told, whether you’re following a super-intense routine, or something far more basic (hey, it’s January, and there are plenty of beginners out there), you shouldn’t expect to make any substantial changes in size, strength, or body composition in a whopping five days.
And you certainly do need to consider where you’re starting in your fitness journey too. Nanjiani told MH last year that he was trying to add 20 pounds to his 150-pound frame, then showed us a few of his moves. Brandon’s starting out at 174 pounds—Kumail’s endpoint.
If you’re going to embark on your own transformative fitness quest, find a program that can work for you, and give it time. Ideally, you want to give yourself at least three months, and expect to feel the results before you see them, says fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “It’s not easy to add lean muscle, even over the course of 30 days,” says Samuel. “So give your body ample time to make gains; make a three-month commitment.”
You may feel strength gains before you see them, especially if you’re new to the gym. Expect to see the weights and control over those weights improve before you notice any visual changes. “Visual changes take time,” says Samuel. “But if you’re getting stronger and eating smartly, they’ll come.”
That doesn’t stop Brandon from his little five-day Kumail’s workout stunt, even though we (and anyone else who’s ever been in a gym for five days of training) already know that results don’t happen in five days. So he puts himself through what’s mostly a guesstimate of what Kumail’s training schedule may have looked like. (We also don’t know if Brandon stuck to Kumail’s diet, which the actor told MH last year was largely low-carb. And if he didn’t? Well, that’s another reason to expect negligible results, since diet is a huge part of both packing on muscle and dropping body fat.)
Either way, Brandon roughs out his guesstimate of Kumail’s training schedule, then starts off Day 1 with back and trap exercises, consisting of deadlifting, farmer’s walks, barbell shrugs, pulldowns, T-bar rows, and a triple superset of machine pulldowns, cable rows, and facepulls.
Day 2 is all about chest and abs. Brandon works his chest on bench press and incline bench, followed by dips and cable chest flies, then trains his abs with 3 sets of hangdown knee raises, 3 sets of situps and 3 sets of 30 second side planks.
He works his legs and calves on Day 3 with a series of back squats, lunges, hamstring curls, seated calf raises, leg press, calf raises, goblet squats, and box jumps.
Incorporating Kumail’s shoulder workout on Day 4, Brandon uses the seated dumbbell press, W press, lawnmower row, behind the back cable lateral raise, triple superset of front raises, lateral raises, and rear delt raises. He also works his abs again with planks, situps and hanging leg raises.
On Day 5, Brandon puts pressure on his biceps and triceps with cable curls, push downs, standing dumbbell curls, skull crushers, concentration curls, chin ups, and a triset of overhead tricep extensions, hammer curls, and kickbacks.
At the end of the week Brandon says he has put on a pound of muscle, which makes very little sense since he didn’t actually measure body fat composition or anything at the beginning of his lightspeed quest in small and meaningless sample set testing. His “proof” is a “before” and “after” series that mostly shows he’s really good at tweaking the lighting on his phone or in his kitchen. But again, none of this was unexpected at all. Five days of any program barely gets you into the program; in many schemes, after five days, you’ve trained every body part once, perhaps twice. No, that’s not going to pack on muscle, and it’s certainly not going to get you where Kumail is.
Brandon seems to know that though: he is upfront about how much dedication it takes to achieve superhero-like gains. “If you’re going to do this I really recommend you give it your all,” he says. “Spend an hour and a half each day in the gym and really go crazy and you will get a sick transformation.”
He’s not exactly wrong, but an hour-and-a-half each day for five days will get you pretty much to where Brandon was after five days, even if you are going crazy. It’ll take a damn sight longer than a week to build the kind of muscle Kumail, with his personal trainers and special meal plans, put on for The Eternals.