These YouTube Stars Tried Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Workout And It Nearly Broke Them - Men's Health Magazine Australia

These YouTube Stars Tried Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Workout And It Nearly Broke Them

At 60-years-old, Van Damme is just as shredded as he was as an ‘80s action star.
Netflix

In the 80s, few action stars could command an audience quite like Jean0Claude Van Damme. Known as an icon of action cinema, the star became a household name after his role in films like Bloodsport, Kickboxer and Universal Soldier. Sure, the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone would soon follow, but Van Damme remained something of an enigma, a man who didn’t just have the body of an action star, but who knew the ins and outs of fighting sequences, could launch a fly-kick better than anyone else, and who had the charisma to boot. 

It’s been sometime since Van Damme was on the screen, but at 60-years-old the actor proves he still has what it takes to captivate audiences in an action blockbuster. Just recently, the star helmed the French-language Netflix action comedy, The Last Mercenary, stunning audiences with his high-energy martial arts skills (and of course, those dance moves) in a series of action set pieces. In the film, Van Damme defies his age as the “world’s most celebrated mercenary”, an expert fighter, sharpshooter and master of disguise who goes by the codename, Mist. After being denounced by his government as a former secret agent, Mist then must return to France when his estranged son becomes embroiled in a terrorist conspiracy. 

As you’d expect, the film is incredibly demanding physically and while you might be sceptical of Van Damme’s prowess at 60, you need only watch a few minutes of his performance to see that the man is incredibly fit. In fact, he still performs his trademark move: the splits. This legendary flexibility might come from genetics, but Van Damme previously revealed to Men’s Health that he’s been working out almost his entire life. “I started training when I was very young. I was always into flexibility training, so it made my muscles very elastic. Also, I have good genes from my parents, and that DNA is very important.” 

While the film is set to land on Netflix on July 30, the trailer for the movie has led many to once again look to Van Damme as fitspiration and for two YouTubers, that involved taking on his training regime. In their latest fitness challenge, YouTube vlogging brothers Rob and Arno committed to an entire month of training like their childhood hero, otherwise known as “Muscles from Brussels.”

After Van Damme shared a strength and mobility routine earlier this year, Rob and Arno took on the series of bodyweight exercises, kettlebell workouts, weights, and running, carrying out all the intense workouts at home due to the gym closures that resulted from the global pandemic. But as anyone tapped into fitness knows, you can’t out train a bad diet, so the brothers also made considerable changes to their nutrition. This included cutting out all junk food and alcohol from their diets for the duration of the challenge. 

Speaking about the challenge, Rob revealed, “It’s crazy how bad shape I am in. Training every day has been interesting. But eating fries and other crap is something I’ve missed a lot.”

But as soon as Arno began seeing results, the motivation was easy. “I’m seeing some changes, I’m feeling better, but it’s hard. It’s harder than I thought. I’ve never been this sore in my life…I just ran 12 km. Never again in my life. It was awful. It felt like dying, but really slowly.”

Still, nothing worth having comes easily and when it comes to overhauling your lifestyle, change takes time. Certainly, the results were worth it as at the end of the 30 days, Rob had lost 4.3kgs, with a visible increase in muscle growth in his arms and definition in his abs, while Arno lost 6.4kgs and was noticeably leaner.

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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