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12 Amazing Bodies From Lord of the Rings Films

One gym to rule them all.

The "Lord of the Rings" film series, a monumental achievement even Orcs and Hobbits agree is a masterpiece, not only captivated audiences with its epic storytelling and breathtaking visuals but also showcased an incredible ensemble cast who brought J.R.R. Tolkien's characters to life. Here we dive into the personal journeys and physical transformations of 12 remarkable actors from the series. From Elijah Wood's profound experience as Frodo Baggins to Orlando Bloom's rigorous fitness regimen for Legolas, each story is a testament to the dedication and passion these actors invested into their roles. Beyond the fantasy realm, these stories highlight their real-life challenges, triumphs, and unique approaches to maintaining their health and well-being amidst the demands of filmmaking—even as they've left Middle-earth for middle age. Read on.


Elijah Wood


Elijah Wood opened up about life after playing Bilbo Baggins to Esquire. "My life was so defined by being in New Zealand, by playing this role, by being with these people for so long," Wood said. "It was a mixture of being so exhausted, beyond anything I'd ever experienced. I got pretty sick, actually, just from that exhaustion. My immune system was just like, 'You're going to lay down for a while.' I just needed to get a sense of 'Who am I, what am I, what am I doing?'"


Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom played Legolas in the film series. He shared his bulking up secrets with Men's Journal. "I start the day with some kind of fats and sugar for energy. Most of the time that's oatmeal or porridge, which I might add some Pureblend protein to for that extra little bump. The first workout is some sort of cardio, whether that's in the gym or on a run, followed by my real breakfast to keep the momentum into my larger workout. I follow that with a protein shake. Then it's time for lunch. The next part of my day is usually some work, spending time with my family, and perhaps something else active. I'm sure to get a real quality dinner before calling it a day. Sleep is super important to preserve those gains as well."


Sean Astin

Sean Astin played Samwise Gamgee in the trilogy. In 2017, he opened up about training for an Ironman to Men's Journal. "I've run ten full marathons in my life and in most of those marathons I've had some kind of injury going into them because I my nutrition wasn't right, or I just didn't prepare properly for it by overtraining. I've torn calf muscles, I have had Achilles strains, I have had hamstrings. But with this training, I've been great."


Liv Tyler

Liv Tyler played Arwen in the series. She opened up about her struggles with body image to Yahoo Style. "I've always felt this strange combination – a will to be myself and to keep what is authentic about me [with] this other side of my work, which is very much about beauty and physical appearance. I think there is a lot of pressure to look the same, now more than ever. I always try to remind myself of who I am, and stay true to that, to not compare myself to others."


Cate Blanchett


Cate Blanchett played Galadriel in the film series and spinoffs. She opened up about her fitness secrets with The Cut. "I really like Pilates. I feel like it's made for actors' bodies. For me, I need to do it one-on-one. I find that when you go into a big class, you actually need a guiding hand… At home we have an elliptical trainer, which is good because that's often the only exercise I get.


Dominic Monoghan


Dominic Monoghan played Merry Brandybuck in the trilogy. He talked about hosting the nature show Wild Things to Men's Journal. "I've always been curious about things in life in general—how things work, why things are the way they are. And the natural world gives you an infinite amount of things to explore. For me, it's a love letter to the natural world. There are so many incredible, beautiful, complex animals that we tend to disregard because you can't carry them around in your purse."


Lee Pace

Lee Pace played Thranduil in The Hobbit film series. He talked about learning fight scenes for Foundation to Interview Magazine. "I worked with the stunt guys and we perfected the moves. And I found that part of it really enjoyable. I love learning something new, and I got to work with real experts on how to choreograph that fight. And it's like a dance; a violent dance, but you want to do it in such a way that no one gets hurt."


Benedict Cumberbach

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Benedict Cumberbach voiced Smaug in The Hobbit films. He worked with trainer, Simon Waterson, to get in shape to play Dr. Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "The process was slower as we went through lockdowns, and was a little challenging as we did a lot through Zoom," Waterson told Men's Health. "You have to be careful not to alter him too much while he's filming one movie and transitioning into Strange. It's very delicate." 


Richard Armitage


Richard Armitage played Thorin ll Oakenshield in The Hobbit film series. He revealed to GQ that he loves skiing. "It's my huge passion – as soon as the winter comes, I'm looking around thinking, 'Just get me up a mountain.' I've done an awful lot of skiing all over Europe: I've done Italy, Austria, France. I skied loads in New Zealand – I did pretty much every ski slope I could find."


Aidan Turner

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Aidan Turner played Kili in The Hobbit film series. He talked about staying in shape to play Captain Ross Poldack in the series to The Sunday Times. "I guess people think that I care about my body a lot. I try to keep healthy, but it's not an obsession. I don't only choose roles that require me to be in a certain kind of shape. For Poldark, it had to be this way and it is what it is."


Hugo Weaving

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Hugo Weaving plays Elrond in the series. He talked about what roles he chooses to take with The New Zealand Herald. "I'm always on the lookout for something interesting, and I never know what it's going to be. Some actors might dictate their future more than I do. Sometimes I wish I could but I just try to choose things that interest me and will take me on a different course."


Miranda Otto

Miranda Otto played Eowyn in the last two Lord of The Rings films. She revealed how she got into acting with the Financial Review. "I remember going to a rehearsal of a play my dad was in, and all the actors and crew had this incredibly passionate energy as they were swapping notes. I fell in love with the excitement of working together. It sucked me in."

Anna Bechtel
Anna Bechtel is a freelance writer currently based in Hamden, CT. Read more
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