If you’re a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and loosely followed the body transformation of “Mac” from the show…
Then this thought probably crossed your mind at some point, “How the hell did Rob Mcelhenney go from skinny to fat, to ripped, and back to normal?”
We watched Rob make these transitions, but when he became ripped and put many of us to shame, we just had to investigate.
We’ll be reviewing the workout routine and diet Rob used to get ripped, so keep reading to learn how this celebrity trained for his role.
Rob Mcelhenney’s Transition to Ripped Mac Philadelphia.
For those who don’t know It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it’s a sitcom directed by Rob Mcelhenney himself where he also plays one of the lead roles as Ronald “Mac” McDonald.
At the beginning of the series, Rob starts scrawny and looks like every average guy. Then as the season pass, he decides to become the fattest guy on set.
Case in point:
But why the sudden changes?
Nothing special. Due to some insecurities, Rob’s character (Mac) decides to become a lean mean muscle machine.
So he began his journey the way every scrawny guy starts (by cultivating mass). But Rob had other ideas as he set out to become obese through the safest means possible (the irony).
However, his doctor couldn’t think of a way and suggested that he ask a nutritionist for help.
According to Rob, his new sports nutritionist puts him on a chicken, rice, and vegetable diet every 2 hours. However, he quickly got tired of working too hard to eat and had a genius idea to drink a gallon of ice cream daily for lunch (don’t do this).
Rob gained an astonishing 60-70 pounds in 3 months. And he supposedly wanted to keep going, but his heart (and doctor) warned him to stop.
For the next season, we enjoy all the fat Mac jokes before it was time for Rob to lose it all and go back to normal.
Then a few years pass and Rob decides to do another body transformation where his character (Mac) gets jacked. But how would an untrained 40-year-old male achieve this in 6-7 months?
His answer – call Arin Babaian, the celebrity trainer for Magic Mike.
Rob’s request to Arin was simple – he said “show me what Channing did, but I’ll do one more every time, only with half the weight”.
And after working hard for the next few months, Rob finally packed a decent amount of muscle and got ripped.
His accomplishment was certainly surprising. But let’s dig a little deeper to see if you can achieve a body transformation like Rob Mcelhenney.
Rob Mcelhenney’s Height, Weight, and Stats
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia begins with Rob weighing about 135 pounds and being one of the slimmest guys on set. According to Rob, his co-star/girlfriend later turned wife didn’t find his scrawny body attractive (ouch).
Although his height remained constant at 5’ 10”, his weight saw drastic changes. From 135 pounds, Rob added 60-70 pounds, landing him in a 200+ pound zone. Then he lost it all and returned to the realm of “normal”.
Years passed by and Rob (and his character “Mac”) executed another body transformation to get lean and muscular like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. He put on a decent amount of muscle and managed to maintain a single-digit body fat for months.
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Rob Mcelhenney’s Workout Routine
Rob doesn’t reveal the specific details of his day-to-day workout routine, but he and his trainer gave a little insight into what his routine looked like.
According to Rob, his workout routine involved resistance training in the morning and cardio in the afternoon for six days a week.
Compare that with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor routine and you can begin to understand how celebrities get so jacked… so fast.
He simply tells us to run 3 miles a day, lifts weights six days a week, and call the celebrity trainer from Magic Mike. Not helpful.
If Rob’s workout routine was similar to Channing Tatum’s, then here’s a small snippet of a single training day in this workout (demonstrated by their trainer):
- Your day starts with a 20-mile bike ride
- Next is a pool workout where you swim 10-20 laps while doing a couple of water burpees and sit-ups between each lap.
The next exercise is a circuit workout that includes five exercises of four rounds with no rest between exercises or rounds ( But take a few seconds of rest if you’re struggling).
Below are the five exercises in this circuit:
- Quarter-mile run using a treadmill
- Squats – 10 reps
- Hang cleans – 10 reps (you can use a kettlebell or dumbbell)
- Man makers – 10 reps (Manmakers exercise is a combination of four movements that includes pushups, one-armed plank row, squat cleans, and thruster)
- Pull-ups – 10 reps
Again, Rob’s daily workout routine is vague, but if you’re going to be training 6 days a week, then your routine shouldn’t overtrain a specific muscle group.
And if you’ll be incorporating circuit workouts, then ensure the exercise combinations are effective instead of randomly stringing exercises together.
Rob Mcelhenney’s Diet Plan
In terms of what rob ate to get ripped, we don’t have the exact details (meal for a meal). However, Rob gave us small details.
Rob admits that he didn’t have to do any mental or physical work in planning or preparing his meals. Rob’s an actor, so we expect him to leave this kind of stuff to his nutritionist and chef.
According to him, when he was hungry, he’d just turn around and food was there waiting for him. Rob didn’t have to count calories or even understand the science behind what he was eating.
- Concerning his diet, Rob says to ensure your chefs make a lot of chicken breasts while monitoring your caloric intake. He also says that you:
- Shouldn’t drink alcohol
- Shouldn’t eat after 7 PM
- Should eat low-carb foods
- Should eat zero sugar (is life worth living?)
- Sleep 9 hours a night for six to seven months.
Again not helpful.
So if you want to look like Rob Mcelhenney when he was ripped, then your diet needs to consist of high protein and moderate to low levels of carbs and fats.
Both Rob and Channing Tatum (who inspired the workout) have publicly admitted that maintaining their level of body fat required starvation which was unenjoyable. So take note if you want to look like a celebrity.
How to Transform Your Body like Rob Mcelhenney’s
If you’re not an athlete, then it may be hard to maintain a single-digit body fat year-round. But if you’re still motivated, then here’s how we think you can achieve a transformation like Rob Mcelhenney.
Rob has sarcastically expressed how unrealistic his body transformation is for average people. And while there’s nothing extraordinary about his muscle mass, maintaining that amount of leanness as part of your regular lifestyle will be difficult.
If you want to achieve a rapid transformation like Rob, then you’ve got to be realistic about what it takes.
- Are you ready to do a 3-mile run every morning?
- Are you willing to lift weights 6 days a week?
- Are you ready to fight constant cravings to maintain single-digit body fat?
- Are you ready to wake up early every day and follow a detailed routine (so you can still manage to get work done while training like a professional athlete)?
Also, a workout like this may simply be impossible for some people. For example, a six-day-a-week workout that involves a daily 3-mile run may not work if you have a 9-5 job or any job with a regular daily schedule.
Even if your answer was yes to all the questions above, you may still struggle once you begin.
The truth is:
Training almost every day requires motivation to keep you going. And there’s almost nothing motivating about lifting 6 days a week, running 3 miles after waking up from bed, starving yourself, or spending little to no time for things you care about like family.
So if you’re wondering how Rob stayed motivated, according to him, “it was for the money”.
But for most people, no one is going to pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) to get in shape.
That’s why it’s important that you stay motivated and have belief in your transformation because following a routine like Rob isn’t easy.
Diet and Nutrition
Being ripped like Rob is all about staying lean to reveal the muscles underneath layers of fat.
If you truly want to stay lean, then manipulating your meals will do more compared to daily intense cardio.
So pull up a calorie calculator and start monitoring how many calories you consume daily. Keep in mind that maintaining a single-digit body fat requires high attention to your diet and everything you eat.
Remember that even small spoons of cooking oil can significantly add to your calorie count.
Besides losing fat, your diet is also crucial to building muscles. For example, your diet must be rich in protein, while having adequate levels of other essential nutrients.
The key thing to remember is that your diet must meet all your nutritional requirements without containing too many calories.
Rob didn’t just wake up and hit the gym, he had a celebrity trainer prepare his workouts, drag him to the gym, and motivate him during this gruesome regimen.
But for normal people, we have to find a suitable workout regimen that accounts for training almost daily (which is hard but achievable).
However, the workout must consider factors like overtraining a certain muscle group, which may require you to customize the workout.
For example, you may decide to have a back day on Monday, a leg day on Tuesday, a Full-body circuit on Wednesday,…., and calisthenics on Saturday. (you get the idea)
Ultimately, you may end up mixing things to find a balance between your daily life and intense exercise.
Noob Note: Rob Mcelhenney kind of admitted to elevating his testosterone levels when he was called out by social media users. In his statement, he says: “I won’t get into the details of the science, but men at my age need elevated levels of testosterone”.
Also, as part of the steps, Rob mentioned for his transformation, one of them was “going to your doctor to monitor your testosterone levels” (which regular people don’t do).
And Rob was heard discussing his TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) use on a podcast with Kumail Nanjiani and a few others. So Rob most likely used TRT during his transformation.
Get access to a Gym and equipment
The exercises described and demonstrated by Rob and his trainer require access to the gym. You may be able to improvise by buying your equipment. But if you can’t, then you’ll need to hit the gym 6 days a week.
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