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Sam Claflin

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Sam Claflin worked hard to get hard-bodied.

In the romantic drama Me before You (in theaters now), Claflin stars as Will Traynor, a wealthy young man with a zest for life—until an accident paralyzes him, that is. For the past 49 days, the actor has been sharing behind-the-scenes photos and anecdotes via his Instagram account. On Thursday, he shared a shirtless shot and revealed he lost over 40 pounds for the role. "I had to get myself in peak physical condition to play Will before the accident, and that came along with at least one long and hard daily session in the gym and a very strict diet, with little sleep," Claflin wrote in the caption. "It was important for me to show the distinct differences between him before and after the accident, not only emotionally and mentally, but physically too."

"I shed over 3 stone in the three months I was training, and honestly pushed my personal limits," the 29-year-old actor—who bulked up for his role as Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games franchise—said. "A lot of people struggle with every day life, and do it alone, I was fortunate to have a wonderful support network around me, guiding me through the process step by step."

Claflin said the total body transformation changed him in ways he never could have imagined. "I'm not saying I'm a hero. I'm merely saying I found it tough and therefore appreciate what other people go through," the English movie star said. "I'm an actor. I do what I can to make each part I play as believable as I can. To play it honestly. And truthfully. And hope people invest within that character. The two sides of Will, are of course just one person, but I believe we are all made up of many different versions of ourselves. A lot of us haven't been tested the way Will has, but something as life-changing as that, will affect people differently. Every person is different. Everyone deals with circumstance and situation differently. And everyone should be able to make choices in life without judgment or comment. This film is Will's journey."

"Enjoy your journey," Claflin wrote. He then quoted the movie's tagline: "#liveboldly."

This isn't the first time Claflin has undergone a total body makeover. For his role in 2013's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, he once told Teen Vogue, "They had me at the gym, working out twice a day. And then stunt training, it's nonstop. To be fair, I spend a lot of the film carrying an old lady on my back, as Finnick carries Mags for the majority of the arena scenes. I feel like every day of filming is a workout, running around Hawaii with little old Lynn Cohen on my back."

Like all stars trying to change their physique, his diet left a lot to be desired. "I think I've eaten more chickens than there are in the world," he said. "I would eat chicken and asparagus for lunch and dinner, and for breakfast I'd have an omelet and oatmeal. And I had that every day for four months. I've talked to my friends and said, 'Oh my God, I'm so depressed. I just want a burger.' And they're like, 'You don't know how lucky you are to be doing what you are doing.'"