The only limit to what can be done in a video game is the developer’s own imagination. If the creators want the main character of a game to appear huge and imposing, with full, round muscles, single-digit body fat, and sharp separation, then a bit of computer wizardry can pull such a physique from the ether and put him on the screen just like that—no weights required. But what do you do if you’re Sony, and you’re trying to create a TV spot for God of War: Ascension, the latest installment of the critically acclaimed series, and you want a real-life version of Kratos, the massively shredded star of the game?
You hold a major casting call and keep your fingers crossed that if Kratos is out there, you’re going to find him. As it turned out, Kratos did have a real-life counterpart, and the honor of playing him went to a man who should be familiar to Muscle & Fitness readers: Brandon White. A personal trainer and fitness model who has appeared over a dozen times in Muscle & Fitness, White is also an avid God of War fan, having followed the series since the original installment hit the PlayStation 2 back in 2005. As soon as he heard about the casting call, White went straight to work, giving himself four weeks to prepare for his audition. He followed a six-day body-part split, and then combined steady-state cardio and interval training to get the kind of deep separation his muscles would need to retain definition through several layers of heavy makeup.
All the hard work paid off, and White landed the role. The full two-minute ad (which you can see on muscleandfitness.com) grounds Kratos in reality like never before and lends a new level of depth to his motives. In the original game, players learn that Kratos wants revenge for the death of his family—a simple drive that sets up the hours of hack and slash that ensue. In the ad for God of War: Ascension— a prequel to the original—we see Kratos’ daughter sprinting up a hill to her father, only to crumble to ash when she reaches him.
“I know the character quite well and wanted it more for that reason,” White says. “And I’m thrilled with how it turned out.”
Think you’re ready to build your own mythical mounds of muscle? You’ll have to attack the same weight training and cardio that White put himself through, meaning two-plus hours of training nearly every day for a month. But if you can follow it to the letter and keep your diet clean, you might just develop a physique worthy of the gods. And that’s something— whether you’ve followed the story of Kratos or not—that's worth aspiring to.
Perform the following workout for four weeks. Do 45 minutes of steady-state cardio every morning before breakfast— in White’s case, this is a brisk walk around his neighborhood. After each lifting session, do 30 minutes of cardio: 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (10-second sprints followed by 10-second recovery periods) and a 10-minute cooldown.