Healthy for Men magazine
After struggling with drug addiction, Tom Hardy has emerged as one of Tinseltown’s fittest actors. It’s largely thanks to Patrick ‘PNuT’ Monroe, who tells HFM how he whipped him into shape for the new film Warrior
Tom Hardy is hot property. The 34-year-old London-born actor is banging on the door of the Hollywood A-list after a career that has included Black Hawk Down, the lead as the hardened real-life criminal in Bronson (where he put on 2.5st, or just under 16kg, of muscle), a roguishly charming supporting role alongside Leo DiCaprio in Inception and now the lead in the new mixed martial arts film Warrior, which has just opened in the UK. On screen, Hardy gets into shape for a mixed martial arts tournament with help from his father, a washed-up, alcoholic former boxer, played by Nick Nolte.
Patrick ‘PNuT’ Monroe took time out from training Hardy for the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, in which Hardy plays the villain Bane, to speak to HFM. “When the Warrior project first surfaced, several instructors were asked to test Tom to see if he could play the baddest middleweight in a cage,” says Monroe. ” They all said no. But they didn’t know Tom. I told Tom that he was a great fighter even without being able to throw a punch.”
“We started with his heart and instincts. While Tom’s history with substance abuse is no secret, unfortunately, all too little respect is paid to the strength it takes to claw your way out from under an addiction. The warrior in Tom is a formidable one. When we trained for Bronson, we would not be looking to develop a skill set. We sought only to build a brawler’s physique, which, thankfully for us, was mostly cosmetic. But for Warrior he had to come away with the skill set that would transform him, believably, into an animal in the cage. But you can’t like you can dance if you can’t dance. We had to do this training for real.”
“We began by teasing his evolution in the direction we wanted to go. This entailed something I call ‘signalling.’ You’ll notice that as we learn to crawl and walk as babies, the repetitive effort not only enhances the muscle’s memory, it also inspires a fortification of the muscles in charge of that movement. Meaning, the things you get better at, you get stronger at. As long as you repeat the movement, often the body will evolve in the direction of the effort.”
“His character in the film is a striker, so we started with striking movements. And being that all movement is primarily about our relationship to the floor, we started there. Push-ups, skipping, burpees and shadowboxing — these all became very important to establishing a healthy relationship with the floor so that his depiction of a striker could, as Tom would say, ‘fool the dog.’
“As far as his conditioning is concerned, there are lots of ways to develop a strong body. What was important was that we could achieve putting on 30lb of muscle, which often requires that you slow the metabolism down, while at the same time improving his cardio and overall leanness, which requires that you speed the metabolism up. And do it all within a few months. For this, we added resistance to the movements involved in striking and changed the variables as often as possible so as to confuse the muscles. We needed to do it this way in order to cut down on recuperation time.”
“I found it much more effective to do 10 push-ups every 10 minutes throughout the day, than to attempt to do 100 at once. You’re not destroying tissue this way. Your body adapts to the new task and fortifies for expedience. We could add various degrees of resistance, change pace, range of motion, number of reps and position regularly so as to keep the muscle groups from peaking. Tom did the rest. Tom and I worked like lunatics for approximately three-and-a-half months before he flew to Pittsburgh and continued his training with JJ Perry’s stunt team and the fight choreographer Fernando Chien, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we wanted fans of MMA and fight fans in general not to notice Tom was acting.”
“But no matter how many idea or much you have to offer, ultimately it is a person’s willingness to go above and beyond that will make them successful. This, above all else, is the main reason why Tom was able to achieve such great results. Tom just happens to be that guy.
“Once Tom gets a hold of an idea, he is one of the hardest working men I know. And one of his greatest skills is his ability to learn. He absorbs information and processes it faster than anyone. It’s an admirable quality. When you add talent and hard work you have something special and rare. When you add genius and hard work together you get Tom Hardy. And there’s only one of them.”
Patrick ‘PNuT’ Monroe- He’s got what is known as ‘form’
Patrick ‘PNuT’ Monroe is Tom Hardy’s trainer. He was born in 1969, in New York City’s South Bronx borough. An ex-Marine who has also spent three years in a wheelchair, he comes from a line of martial artists, starting with his father Chief Grandmaster Blackhawk Sancarlos and his elder brothers James GreyWolf Monroe and The Twin Dragons, who co-founded the Guardian Angels in New York City in the early 1970s.
He has studied various forms of martial arts encompassing Okinawan karate, five animal gung fu, a form of Chinese grappling called chin na and boxing.