When watching Season 13 of Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you’ll notice one major difference: Mac is now jacked.
Those years of ‘cultivating mass’ as Rob McElhenney’s character Mac puts it, seems to be paying off. The star is absolutely rippled with muscle for the 2018 season to the level of an elite athlete.
So, how did McElhenney manage such a feat. We know he’s no stranger to putting his body through intense routines for a role. It was only a few years prior to this season in 2011 that Rob went from 160 lbs to 212 lbs to play an obese version of Mac (or ‘Fat Mac’).
He’s an actor, director, producer and screenwriter for the show, and does whatever it takes to get the results he’s looking for. In this case he wanted to look like a bodybuilder. So how exactly did he do it?
Rob McElhenney’s (Mac) Workout and Diet: What We Know
Not a lot about the specifics of what Always Sunny’s Rob did to get such a desirable physique has been revealed. However, there is one post he made on Instagram that tells us a lot about what we need to know:
View this post on Instagram
Look, it’s not that hard. All you need to do is lift weights six days a week, stop drinking alcohol, don’t eat anything after 7pm, don’t eat any carbs or sugar at all, in fact just don’t eat anything you like, get the personal trainer from Magic Mike, sleep nine hours a night, run three miles a day, and have a studio pay for the whole thing over a six to seven month span. I don’t know why everyone’s not doing this. It’s a super realistic lifestyle and an appropriate body image to compare oneself to. #hollywood
That’s a hilarious post, but let’s break that down for everyone:
- The process took 6 – 7 months
- Weight lifting 6 days a week
- Run 3 miles a day
- 9 hours of sleep a night
- No alcohol
- No food after 7pm
- No sugar/carbs
- Use the personal trainer from Magic Mike
Depending on your lifestyle, if you really wanted to follow this workout plan with a 9 – 5 job, you potentially could. You could run the 3 miles in a morning and workout in the evenings.
Everything else is stripping back your diet to the bare essentials, which you can do with some tactful grocery shopping.
The only thing that you can’t secure (unless you have the cash) is McElhenney’s personal trainer Arin Babaian however, doing some careful research we believe we have the next best thing.
Our Interpretation of Rob McElhenney’s Always Sunny Workout
Running 3 miles a day sounds like enough cardio to keep his body fat down and his stamina up. What’s left is to work out what kind of routine he was doing in the gym.
Given how good Rob’s physique is, and that he is no stranger to pain, we believe he was following some sort of advanced bodybuilding program. That means high reps and sets but really squeezing the muscle during each exercise.
In our opinion, he wasn’t training individual muscle groups but several muscle groups a day. McElhenney was likely following a routine that focused on pulling movements one day, pushing the next, legs the day after. He would then repeat that the next 3 days in a different variation and take the final day of the week off.
Here’s what we think that might look like:
Monday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps etc.)
The day starts with a traditional bench press, like with most chest days, but with a much higher rep range to really burn the chest.
Make sure to use a light weight:
- Bench Press: 5 x 15
- Bench Press: 1 x Until Failure
When training to failure you should always make sure that you have a friend or someone at the gym available to spot you in case you can’t re-rack the weight.
Next you move onto your shoulders and triceps:
- Seated Shoulder Press: 3 x 25
- Weighted Tricep Dips: 3 x 30
And then over to the cable machine to give your chest one last blast:
- Standing Cable Crossovers: 5 x 50
And finally finishing off with another round of triceps and shoulders:
- Cable Tricep Extensions: 5 x 50
- Seated Dumbbell Raises: 5 x 50
Tuesday: Pull (Back, Biceps and Neck etc.)
To balance out that big chest, Mac must’ve been doing some serious back work to help keep him broad and his arms thick and strong.
Here’s our interpretation of Rob’s ‘pull routine’. We start off with deadlifts as they’re key to putting on that size and strength given by how many muscles it uses in your body.
However, unlike most deadlift sessions, you’re going to want to keep it light. This ensures that you recruit as many muscle fibers as possible to finish the lifts and gives you that overall rippled look:
- Barbell Deadlifts: 5 x 10
- Barbell Deadlifts: Until Failure
Be careful when doing these until failure, at any point if you feel that your form is slipping – count that as failure. You don’t want to give yourself any injuries here.
Next you want to move onto something a little lighter – chin ups and rows. This can help work your back and your arms:
- Weighted Chin Ups: 3 x 25
- Chest Supported Rows: 3 x 30
Don’t be intimidated by the sheer amount of reps on these chin ups. We’re just looking at this as if it was an elite bodybuilder routine. Just do as many as you can if you can’t hit 25 and do that for 3 sets.
Finally you want to finish off with some high, very high, rep sets. This makes sure that no muscle fiber goes undamaged and makes sure you secure as much hypertrophy as possible:
- Shrugs: 5 x 50
- Standing Barbell Curls: 5 x 50
- Standing Cable Reverse Fly: 5 x 50
It goes without saying that these are supposed to be very light weight. Manage your expectations. It will take some experimentation to find out how much weight you can do for 50 reps.
Wednesday: Legs (Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves etc.)
As always, these days are starting with a big compound lift to help get the blood and testosterone flowing.
So, what are we starting with? You guessed it, squats! Take a look:
- Back Squat: 5 x 15
- Back Squat: 1 x Until Failure
Again, form is everything here. For that final set when you’re training to failure either have a spotter present of have safety bars arranged in the squat rack to save you if you can’t get back up.
Don’t fully unload those plates just yet though, as you’ll need it to work your hamstrings with Good Mornings next:
- Barbell Good Mornings: 3 x 25
- Leg Press: 3 x 30
Finally, after you’re done with the leg press, you’re wrapping up the day again with some serious high rep sets:
- Reverse Hyperextension: 5 x 50
- Seated Leg Curl: 5 x 50
- Seated Calf Raise: 5 x 50
Thursday: Push Pt. 2
For the next 3 days we’re going to follow a similar pattern to the last 3, just hitting the muscle groups again from slightly different angles.
This helps keep your workouts fresh and interesting, but also gives your muscles that extra benefit of being trained in different ways.
We imagine this the kind of training Rob McElhenney did for Mac in the build up to filming S13 of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Starting off this session with some big lifts, namely overhead press:
- Standing Overhead Press: 5 x 15
- Standing Overhead Press: 1 x Until Failure
Again, low weight, and if you feel your form breaking stop and re-rack the weight. Next you’re following up with Bench Press but not traditional bench – only incline and close grip:
- Incline Bench Press: 3 x 25
- Close Grip Bench Press: 3 x 30
The benefit here is that it can really work on your upper chest, whereas the close grip can put more pressure on your triceps. It works more on the supporting areas of your chest.
Finally finishing off with some light chest, tricep and shoulder exercises. Again, as light as you can go – you just want to make sure that you hit all the fibers in your muscle for maximum growth:
- Seated Machine Fly: 5 x 50
- Standing Tricep Pushdown: 5 x 50
- Standing Cable Lateral Raises: 5 x 50
Friday: Pull Pt. 2
Same as Thursday, but with back. McElhenney would probably be doing similar exercises to his first back day of the week – but in alternate forms. This fully works the muscle and really helps to thicken it up for onscreen.
Again, a big lift starts us off – deadlifts. But this time they’re snatch grip:
- Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift: 5 x 15
- Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift: 1 x Until Failure
As stated previously, form should always be a priority. If you’re losing form, stop lifting.
- Barbell Rows: 3 x 25
- Weighted Pull Ups: 3 x 30
If you can’t managed weighted pull ups, try normal ones. If you can’t manage 30 reps per set, just do as many as you can. You’ll get there.
Finally finishing off with another high rep group of sets:
- Single Arm Rows: 5 x 50
- Incline Dumbell Curl: 5 x 50
- Seated Machine Reverse Fly: 5 x 50
Saturday: Legs Pt. 2
The final day of this workout, more leg workouts with a lot of reps. Here we go:
- Front Squat: 5 x 15
- Front Squat: 1 x Until Failure
Keep your form solid, and make sure you have some form of safety net like a spotter or safety bars in the squat rack.
- Romanian Deadlifts: 3 x 25
- Barbell Hip Thrusts: 3 x 30
25 reps of Romanian Deadlifts is a lot. You need to be careful with your form and make sure your back is straight throughout.
And again, it’s time for those intense 50 rep sets:
- Dumbbell Lunges: 5 x 50
- Seated Leg Extensions: 5 x 50
- Hanging Leg Raises: 5 x 50
Finally take a day off to recover and be satisfied that you’ve taken another week closer to your Rob McElhenney Always Sunny Body!
And that’s what we believe is what you need to take your body to the next level if your goal is the body of Mac in Season 13 of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Another thing that you need to be wary of is the diet. Mac did a heavy diet of fats and protein with as little carbs as possible. That will require some research. We believe that he’s following a serious keto diet.
Stay on the path, get your diet in check and work hard. It’s time to cultivate mass!