A personal trainer who turns celebrities into superheroes has lifted the lid on how stars get jacked for movie roles.

Don Saladino, who has trained stars such as Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, appeared on a popular weightlifting podcast where he was quizzed about the murky world of steroid use in Hollywood.

When asked about whether he knows celebrities who’ve taken drugs to enhance their physiques, Saladino said that he ‘doesn’t play doctor’ and requires all of his clients to take blood tests to make sure they’re healthy.

Giving his thoughts on steroid use among the rich and famous, the New York fitness mogul said: ‘If someone could just turn around and be like, I’m trying to optimize body composition and I’m working with the best doctors and we’re monitoring our bloods and we’re going into this in a really methodical approach… then own it man, OK great, own it.

‘But don’t be the guy putting yourself on the [magazine] cover, (without) admitting it when you’re asked that question [are you on steroids?].

Don Saladino, a personal trainer who turns celebrities into superheroes, said a lot of the appearance of celebs is down to lighting and camera angles

Don Saladino, a personal trainer who turns celebrities into superheroes, said a lot of the appearance of celebs is down to lighting and camera angles

Much of Sparta 300 was digitally enhanced, as shown above here, with actors reportedly also using make-up to enhance the apperance of abs

Much of Sparta 300 was digitally enhanced, as shown above here, with actors reportedly also using make-up to enhance the apperance of abs

Chris Hemsworth has previously faced speculation about his steroid use

He also said Alan Ritchson had used them, with the star previously admitting to using testosterone replacement therapy

Pictured above are Chris Hemsworth and Alan Ritchson. Don Saladino said Alan Ritchson had previously used steroid, with the actor also having admitted it. Chris Hemsworth also faces speculation over him using steroids.

‘That to me I don’t respect because you’re going to have some 14-year-old kid who’s sitting there looking at that.’

Later in the conversation he added: ‘Just take ownership of it, that’s my thing.’ 

But Saladino said that some celebrities were making disengenous excuses for taking steroids.

He singled out Alan Ritchson, from the Amazon Prime series Jack Reacher, who admitted to using testosterone replacement therapy, a type of steroid, to achieve his hulking physique.

At the time, Ritchson — who appeared on the cover of Men’s Health — said he was unaware that testosterone was the equivalent to a steroid.

The actor said: ‘I didn’t even know that it was considered an anabolic steroid to some people. It was just: There was a hormone that was missing for me, and I needed it.’ 

Podcast host Dr Mike Israetel put it to Saladino that there have been rumors for years about film studios knowing and encouraging the use of steroids, even helping connect celebs with dealers.

Saladino gave a less exciting answer, claiming that a lot of actors are enhanced by camera trickery and computer-generated effects rather than drugs.

He stated: ‘What frustrates me… is people think because someone is at a certain level, they have to be taking something.’

Talking about the movie Sparta 300 — starring Gerard Butler and where 300 Spartan soldiers face off against the much larger Persian Army in Ancient Greece — Saladino said the six-packs in the film were ‘bulls***’. 

‘Look at the movie 300,’ he said, ‘… you could take the most in shape person in that movie, put them in a physique competition, and they’d finish dead last.

‘The lighting is amazing, make-up is amazing, the camera-angle amazing.’

Sparta 300 used a heavy dose of CGI, but the actors were also required to go on a strict diet and exercise regime to achieve more svelte bodies. Butler has previously described his six-pack in the movie as ‘ridiculous’.  

Saladino did, however, admit there were extreme pressures on actors to get in shape in time windows that are unrealistic naturally – revealing that a ‘tattooed A-lister’ came to him with only two weeks to bulk up for a role.

Don Saladino has worked with dozens of celebrities including Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal (pictured above)

Don Saladino has worked with dozens of celebrities including Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal (pictured above)

Don Saladino has worked with dozens of celebrities including Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal (pictured above) 

Saladino: ‘I can’t mention this actor- very well known, A-lister in Hollywood – really good physique on him too.

‘So he explained to me the role and he had some tattoos on his body. I said, “so how much time do you have?”, and he said, “two weeks.”‘

The actor said they wanted broader shoulders and a six pack, despite admitting to drinking alcohol regularly.

So, in response, Saladino told the star to get a tan, which would enhance the muscles he did have, start using saunas, walk more and avoid alcohol. 

The actor was thrilled with the results, and the studio immediately got started on shooting the movie.

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